Author Archives: Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

About Milie Fang, Biological Sciences / Pre-medicine

I am a senior and an acclaimed workaholic. While I like to keep busy academically, I really enjoy the simple pleasures of hanging out with friends and family, playing video games, or listening to music. When life seems to go well, allergies and eczema like to butt in and make me miserable. I hope to go into medicine so that I can have a better understanding of skin and the immune system to help myself, and to also help others facing the same problems I have faced since I was three.

There’s a Cloud Over My Head

Perhaps it is the weather, but I do think something is missing inside of my daily routine that makes me slack, complain, and feel sad.

Perhaps it is because I lost my grandfather, but I don’t know how to relieve that or how anyone could help me with that. Although it probably contributes to this pain I feel, I don’t think that’s the case. If anything, the thought of him just makes me want to work harder in life.

So what is this sudden feeling of helplessness? I guess the root of it might have been influenced by my weekend at Winterfest and trying to understand more about Christianity since I never knew about it growing up besides that some people just believed in a God and some didn’t. It left me with more questions, and I don’t think it was good–but overall I still had fun with everyone and I’m thankful for the experience. I guess I just feel like I don’t belong in that “crowd” and need space to myself to figure things out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and things become less and less sure. I mean, what if I don’t get into medical school? What if I don’t get married? What if I never have kids? What if the world really does end this year in December? What if what I really want to do is start working after receiving my Bachelor’s degree? I wish school didn’t take so long because you have to push some things farther and farther away and you have to neglect some things that used to make you really happy. I want to be motivated again, but right now it’s kind of gloom and doom over here. Then again, I might just be overreacting because “I’m still young.”

The co-ed basketball team I was in didn't win, but we still had a heart to carry on!

Co-ed intramural basketball was a blast! We didn't win any games, but I don't think the team was built to do that in the first place anyway. We always came pretty close and a lot of the girls didn't play basketball at all before so I'd say it was a great experience for them! Can't wait for more in the future.

I hate that excuse for everything. The whole elementary and secondary education system treats their students like they don’t know anything and when they come to college, then they REALLY don’t know anything.

Reader, do you have any obstacles that are getting in the way of your “plans” for the future, and how do you get by?

Okay, I’ll stop being so mopey. I’m going home to fill out my FAFSA and apply for summer programs so I can have something to look forward to! Things have been okay with school, but I know I need to stop being social and revert back to the person I was last semester and last year in terms of studying schedules. I finally got a smartphone and all I do is feed microbes (live wallpaper) and check Facebook. Remember when I would never go on? Oh it’s a curse.

How to Pay Attention in Class

I’m slowly finding myself more and more sleepy when I go to my classes, and the reason isn’t because the lecturer is boring (well, in some cases that is definitely the answer). As baffled as you may be, I get the typical 7-8 hours of sleep each night that most college students do not, and I eat something for breakfast each morning. So why is it that I’m still so tired? Clearly I’m getting the right sleep and energy for each morning, right?

Well, all of our needs are different, but I’ve come to the conclusion it may be where I’m positioned in the classroom, and how my posture is. You’ll always hear that the “anal premeds” (from Joel Brown’s vernacular) sit in the front, and the normal ones sit in the middle, and the ones who are always on Facebook are in the back. Well, that’s true, and I’m thinking of where I am in each of my classes.

CHEM 234 – I’m definitely never in the front or even close to it. It’s not that I choose not to, it’s because that spot is ALWAYS filled when I get there! I mean, jeez! I admit it might be my fault that I come into class when there’s five minutes until class starts, but that’s because I come from west side and waiting for buses takes forever sometimes. I tend to sit near the middle to the back, but I don’t like it because a lot of people talk and it’s hard to concentrate. How’s my performance in this class? Poor.

BIOS 350 – Again, the front row is taken, and the ones near the front row are taken. The first day of class it was super packed so my friend and I didn’t bother trying to find a seat in the front and sat in the back area. I guess we just kind of stuck with it, and man do I get sidetracked. I tend to listen better when I force myself to sit straight. I think if you’re too comfortable in your chair, you will no doubt fall asleep in your lectures. How’s my performance in this class? Not bad.

BIOS 351 – Labs are nice. You always have to be on your feet!

HN 307 – I sit in the front, finally. I feel like a lot of the students in that class are scared of the professor picking on them to answer questions (it’s a class of around 30 students) and surprisingly he doesn’t pick on anyone in the front unless you actually try to talk. The first exam only had four people who got A’s, including me, and I think that was attributed to sitting in the front since the others who received A’s were basically in the front of the class. My performance in the class? I’m doing all right.

HN 296 – I’m so intimidated in this class. Almost everyone knows about everything we talk in this class because they’re athletic and are work-out monsters! Even though I know studying for all of my classes is a good idea, just thinking about all of my fat cells growing while I’m sedentary makes me sad. Exercise probably helps a lot with focus in classes, so if you’re not doing that, you’re probably like me just trying to make ends meet. My performance in this class is decent.

I love my snowman earmuffs!

Going to work is really refreshing. I feel like classes are so intense because there's so much information and you can't concentrate. When I'm at work I can really get things done, and take my time. I just felt like showing everyone my snowmen earmuffs, and what the room I work in at UIC Campus Housing looks like. Weeee!

So from my analysis, I’d say if you follow these tips, you’ll be better at paying attention in class, taking notes, and need to study less because your listening will be improved.

  1. Eat breakfast
  2. Exercise in the morning
  3. Get enough sleep the night before
  4. Keep your back straight when you are sitting instead of slouching
  5. Write down almost every word your professor says unless it is clearly irrelevant (it might seem stupid, but if you’re busy doing something you won’t get sleepy)
  6. Sit in the front of the class, or kick someone out of their seat (just kidding)
  7. Ask questions, but don’t be annoying because professors will just roll their eyes at you
  8. Keep your phone in your backpack and don’t touch it until after class
  9. Get a watch so you can’t use the excuse you need to check the time on your phone
  10. Never bring a laptop, just pen and paper!

I think that’s basically it. The first few tips are obvious, but we’re all busy people and forget the most important things sometimes. There’s a lot more going on with me, but I’m so exhausted from midterms! I hope everyone did well on their exams.

Keep it up UIC! =)

Why Being Involved Is Important

A lot of people ask why I’m “crazy” when they really mean to ask “why do you do so many things when you could have so much free time?” I remember my first semester at UIC was a breeze (like everyone else unless you’re an engineering major) only because I had no job to worry about, the classes were easy, and organizations and clubs were flexible and genuinely fun. By the second month of my freshman year first semester, I figured I should take advantage of the work study fund from the government (do your FAFSA soon BTW). I got myself a job at campus housing for designing their websites (I actually had a security job before on the first day of school at east side, but having to walk back to JST at midnight wasn’t exactly in my best interest). I was really into web design and coding in junior high (it was seriously an addiction) and wanted to do it as a career at one point, but as my eczema got worse and my eyes kind of hurt from looking at computer screens, I felt that it was more important for me to solve this skin problem than spending my whole life designing websites for people who probably think “it’s so easy” when it takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a big pet peeve for graphic designers when a client asks for so many things and expect you to get it done in a flash because “it’s an easy task for you.” To everyone in the art and design college, I totally respect you.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think a lot of people at UIC who are in organizations, especially the students who have pre-medicine as their goal, only join so it looks good later when they apply for graduate school. It’s weird because I think everyone knows this, and everyone knows that their motives are always personal than selfless. I think what made me motivated to be involved in college was because of my lack of involvement in high school. I was more into sports than joining clubs (basketball, tennis, and badminton FTW), but obviously I haven’t kept that up since being here at UIC (at least I didn’t get the freshman 15!).

Getting involved at UIC was surprisingly really easy. I mean, everyone wants you to go to their club, and they almost always have food there so you will be motivated to come and see what they’re all about. Need a job? There are so many opportunities! I am currently employed at four part-time jobs and I might consider taking up another one. My parents think that perhaps college is too easy for me, but it is so NOT. Classes here, especially the science classes, are insane! I’m not the type of “smart” that can just learn everything in one night. It’s about time management, and I really think anyone can do what I’m doing if they use their time wisely, enjoy themselves, and get involved with what they are most interested in because otherwise everything will seem like work. Don’t we all just want to do what we love to do, and get paid for it? And when you volunteer, don’t you just want to get that satisfaction that you helped someone out in their day and they wanted to repay you but you declined because you genuinely just wanted to make them happy?

My unknown bacteria project is kind of cool.

Thanks to Xuxuan who took a picture of my unknown bacteria with his cell phone! It literally took him like five minutes to get the right position and lighting. He was so persistent, haha. We're lab partners in microbiology lab and have a good time inoculating organisms, teehee.

Those are just some things to think about. If you want the exact details of how to become involved, here are some tips:

  1. Bring a friend to attend a club meeting. I know it can be scary to walk into a room full of people you don’t know and attempt to start a conversation. Even though I prefer going alone to club meetings that I’m interested in because I want to meet new people, it can be nice to have your friends there (but only if they want to be there!). Need some clubs to attend? Come to the ones I’m involved with! UIC Creative Writing Club meets every Friday at 4pm in Grant Hall 104. We would love to have new members. Are you in the Honors College? Come visit SFP’s Health Activism Committee meetings, usually 5pm in Burnham Hall 121 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (check website for definite times). There’s a club for almost anything you can think of. Heck, there’s even a cigar club on campus. I don’t know what they do, but if you do that stuff then maybe you want to meet others like that (I wouldn’t because I don’t want my lungs to inhale secondhand smoke and get carcinogens, but it’s up to you).
  2. Need a job? Go to Student Employment in SSB! Most of my jobs I found through word of mouth, but I believe there are many places where people post job openings, especially if you have work study! There’s a UIC website where you can upload your CV/resume and people will contact you within a month. It takes patience.
  3. Get involved with research! I absolutely love doing research. There’s a unique program at UIC called the Undergraduate Research Experience that I personally went to check out when I was looking for a research opportunity in skin! There’s not just scientific/biochemical research opportunities. If you’re a social science major, business, art, etc…there’s something for you too!
  4. Don’t focus or specify all of your extra-curriculars to one that is related to your major or career goal. While it is obviously important to get those kinds of experiences, I wouldn’t consume all of your time to it (unless you absolutely LOVE it). It’s like that saying, don’t put all your eggs into one basket. We’re all still undergraduates and we know that the likelihood of getting employment past of college is still not as good as we’d like it to be. It’s good to explore your other interests while you’re in college so you make sure that what you want to do is genuinely what you want to do! I take side jobs to do art projects, I play piano and violin when I volunteer at RUSH hospital (although right now I am not since I might get emotional while playing, thinking about my grandpa…), I make websites, I go play basketball or badminton (it’s too cold to play tennis outside)…don’t ever cut out what makes you happy (I love having hobbies).
  5. Confused about what you’re interested in? Some people don’t even know they’re interested in some things because they’ve never been exposed. I feel that talking to people who you know well helps see how others view you and they can point out your special qualities better than you can trying to think of one!
  6. Just say no. I’m really bad at this. Sometimes I do take it too far. I have a lot of people who come to me and ask for favors, and of course I always say “Yes I will do it! No problem!” But right after saying that, in my head I’m saying, “Wow. Did you just say yes? You are totally going to regret this and your eczema is going to blow up on your face with stress.” You know yourself the best, and you know whether or not you can make commitments. Start off slow. Do what you can, but don’t over exert yourself because you’ll just end up beating yourself over it and people will feel bad that they made you stress about something that might not even have mattered much to them.

I hope that’s a good guideline for anyone who wanted to get involved on campus. =) Basically, be involved for the benefit of yourself and your well-being, not because you feel forced to by medical school/graduate school expectations. Of course, I’m not in medical school so you might just take my advice with a grain of salt and read Justin’s blogs instead (He writes amazing stuff), but I digress.

Good luck! Hope everyone did well on their exams, and I also hope everyone will have a beautiful Valentine’s day with the person they adore! I’ll be spending my Valentine’s day playing a basketball game at 7:10pm. If you’re around the UIC Recreation Center on Halsted at that time, you’ll probably see me and a bunch of short Asians against really tall people (we haven’t won a game yet, haha…but it’s so much fun! I love it!).

Looking Ahead

This whole week has been blue for me. I mean, it’s not like anything more awful happened, but I just don’t feel motivated at school to do anything spectacular. I think it will take a couple of years to feel “okay” or arguably happy for the things I’m doing to be satisfactory, and I know my grandfather wouldn’t want me to be hung up on spending my thoughts of him each night trying to convince myself I’ll be fine. There’s no point in lingering for too long, but I’m sure anyone who has ever felt loss knows it’s not easy…heck I bet you still think about them to this day.

Next week and the week after is going to consist of exam after exam. I’m spending most of my weekends most likely here instead of going home like I did when I went to visit my grandpa. I asked my parents to come visit me over the weekend so we can eat in Chinatown and hopefully they’ll bring my grandmother. She’s still going to live in the same place where she was with my grandpa. I don’t know why she wants to stay there when that whole place has my grandpa’s presence everywhere, which could be comforting in some ways but would be make me cry more knowing he’s not there…

I’ve been working out a lot more frequently (kind of)! The UIC recreation center is not that close to MRH so I am really unmotivated to walk over but ever since I joined my friend’s basketball co-ed intramural team…I feel more motivated! It’s really fun to be a part of a team again (yes, I used to play). I am totally out of shape but it feels so good to get my body moving again! Sitting and listening to my professor in my nutrition and metabolism class is intense because we always talk about inflammation and how it’s basically the cause of all of our problems…and that exercise is a great anti-inflammatory response! My nutrition and physical activity class is motivating too…only because everyone there wants to be a sport dietician or is a fitness trainer so I look like such a lazy pants when I spend most of my time studying. It’s so hard to be healthy without the balance of nutrition AND physical activity.

Microbiology lecture and lab have been okay. We started our “Unknown Bacteria” project in lab and it’s worth 200 points (regular lab reports aren’t worth any points so my grade is basically this one giant lab report for the whole semester and a lab practical at the end). Organic chemistry II…don’t even get me started! I went to the review and I have so much studying to do for the exam. It’s only on two chapters, but one of the chapters has to do with reading spectroscopy graphs that seem completely pointless unless you’re in organic chemistry lab, which I’m not. I basically have to look at a graph, maybe do some calculations, and draw the organic molecule. Wish me luck…

My whole family feels kind of the same. I went to work out with my cousin who also goes to UIC (we don’t see each other much because we’re so busy) and she’s got even more exams than I do in addition to preparing for her occupational therapy application. Can you believe there are only five schools in the Chicagoland area for OT? I’m glad there are more options for medical school, although the competition is probably just the same. I don’t even want to think about the MCAT and medical school applications until next year! We’re all just piling on stress over stress.

Research has been going well, although I should really start writing my grant! There’s an Honors College grant available that I want to apply for so I can help my lab out with money. Research is ridiculously expensive, and they always give you so little so you really have to be careful not to waste materials. Crud. I also need to apply for the UIC scholarships! All of the deadlines are next week so I better get on that ASAP so I don’t miss out on those opportunities. I was a recipient of the Association Award from SAUIC and that helped out a lot with paying for my tuition. There’s so much going on I’ll get dizzy just thinking about them.

On top of this stuff, I’ve got the SFP Health Activism Committee to run. Most of the committee members have a “co-” partner in crime so they can split the work, but I didn’t run with one so I have to organize meetings and rent rooms all by myself and make agendas and get people interested…and e-mail schools (I have had one school reply so I hope we can go there). I’m not complaining because this is what I signed up for to do, and I do enjoy it because it gives me a chance to be a leader. I don’t think many students have those opportunities unless they seek it, but even some organizations don’t work out like that. I don’t see the point of running with someone for the same position because the point of being a leader is to take on responsibilities for yourself and making time for it.

The main reason we have so many co-chairs is because each of them want to be a leader, but they are busy so they can’t commit their whole time and effort as they would like to. They can only do half, which is okay but I think the group would be more efficient with one person as the designated treasurer or vice-president etc. It’s hard to communicate when there are so many people trying to lead and we all have different ideas that need time to take into consideration.

Anyway, sorry for no pictures. Well, okay here’s one photo you might enjoy.

Sushi by the UIC Marketplace

On UIC west campus, I treat myself to some sushi made at the UIC Marketplace (it's legit and delicious) before I go to work or research.

There are more things to say, as usual, but I think this is good…OH. Wait, one more thing. Summer…does anyone have any exciting summer plans yet? I need to hurry up and attend a study abroad “first steps” session so I can organize my thoughts and application if I want to do this one traditional Chinese medicine program in Kunming, China. My friend told me she’s going to a medicine program in Copenhagen and that the priority deadline for that is soon! I hope the program I want doesn’t want the application too fast, but I shouldn’t wait to find out…otherwise I might go to Taiwan and teach English to little kids in the rural areas, which I’ve been wanting to do for some time. There’s always summer school or studying for the MCAT too…but who wants to waste their possible last summer doing that? Mayans and their predictions…

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if the world ended at the same point. It’s sad to slowly watch people leave your life when their time is up. I don’t like that feeling that “someone’s next.” But um, I don’t believe in the whole Mayan thing so eh. Just live your life to fullest for this year…and eat everything you want before going on a diet, just in case you regret not eating that special and tasty treat you love when the world ends. That would be sad…

My Disguise – 安息爺爺

I’d say I’m skilled in many things, but only because I’ve worked hard to obtain those skills. There are a few skills that I’ve acquired that I don’t think I’ve worked hard to obtain, but perhaps were molded through experience. One classic example I point out is my weight, and how I may look like I’m 120 (or thinner, for those who are so kind), but you’d be surprised how much I actually weigh if I step on a scale. Claim it what you will, muscle mass or whatever – but I’ve got a great mask.

Now, this post isn’t going to be about how to lose weight or stay healthy (although if you were interested in that, attend one of SFP’s HAC training sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5pm in the Honors College – look at the website for solid dates). I wish it were that easy to do. I was debating if I was going to write about a certain thing that happened to me and my family, and I decided that it’s very relevant to living or adjusting to college life.

The skill that I’m going to talk about is my skill to act like nothing is wrong. I think a lot of people have those moments, when something tragic happens and they will cry about it until they realize there’s no use in crying but moving on, especially if there is nothing you can do. Well, my moment probably lasted a mere half hour before I knew I had to stop and focus back to school. It was a Wednesday, and I had my regular morning with microbiology lecture and lab. I went back to my dorm to have lunch and study organic chemistry for a quiz that was in two hours, but I only had an hour because I was going to tutor at the writing center for an hour first. On top of that I had nutrition from 3:45pm-5:00pm so it was going to be a long day.

Well, studying wasn’t very effective, and I called the director of the writing center to tell him I couldn’t go. Nutrition was brutal because I couldn’t focus and just wanted to leave and cry in my dorm for a few hours. If you haven’t guessed yet, my grandfather passed away that Wednesday early afternoon. My mother texted me “Ye ye pass away in peace” and I immediately went from normal to wreck, but I couldn’t keep it up for long since I had to tutor, take a quiz, and attend a lecture before I’d have time to myself…so I only cried for a few minutes before I slapped myself on forced focus mode and did my best to throw my energy into school. I feel bad for not tutoring that day, but I don’t think the writer would come back to the center if I just suddenly cried in front of them. The organic chemistry quiz was crazy hard, but I’ll just hope for the best. The nutrition lecture was interesting as my professor was explaining how cholesterol didn’t cause heart disease, but then I got sad about thinking of the cancer that took my grandpa’s life. I texted my brother, and he just told me to hold my mourning for the funeral.

I’ve never lost anyone before. I mean, I’ve lost really close friends and those were painful, but they’re still alive and I can always mend those broken pieces together if I really wanted to. But this is different. He’ll never come back, and I don’t know how to deal with this fact yet. I’m kind of tearing up as I write this, so bear with me.

I guess I’m just curious how other people have dealt with this situation. I guess because we all expected it, it doesn’t hurt as bad as if it came out of the blue. I saw him last week and even talked to him the night before he passed, telling him I’d come see him when the weekend came and that I would play violin and piano for him again. We knew it was going to be happen, I mean, when you have stage four cancer and none of the chemo or radiation therapy works, and when you don’t eat because the therapies screwed up your body, there is little chance you’ll survive for long.

We didn’t know when it would happen…and now that “when” came, I feel almost out of place. I still act the same at work, at research, in class, in lab, at the organization meetings, and all that jazz…but it’s always on my mind and I don’t know how I should act. I’m sad, but there’s something forcing me not to show it. I guess it could be my grandfather’s presence. He was a really tough guy, and he always tells us to study hard in school. Even with his cancer, he told me he would wait for the day I graduated, and I definitely believed he had the strength to do so.

I guess what makes his death the saddest is that he won’t realize his long time dream, of watching all of his grandchildren get married. I remember my grandmother kept telling us all to get married soon so our grandpa would be happy and get better from his cancer. A silly idea, but I think if we (cousins, my bro, and me) had serious girlfriends/boyfriends, we’d probably consider it.

The main reason I feel the way I do is that I don’t know how is the best way to commemorate his life. Funerals are sad, and he wouldn’t want us crying over him. The funeral is tomorrow (I’m writing this Jan 27), and it will be my first one. I’m going to be wearing my high school orchestra dress, simple and black. I never thought I’d actually wear it at a funeral. I remember when I was in high school my friend and I would joke about how hideous the dress was and that the only time outside of orchestra we would wear it would be at our own funerals. Weird. I’m going to bring my Erhu (two-stringed Chinese instrument) and violin to play for my grandfather and the rest of my family and family friends. It will be a nice service.

I wish he could have had someone write his story, the life he lived and the challenges he came across. We’ve compiled many pictures of him and his medals from World War II when he was in China fighting against the Japanese; these will be displayed at the funeral. I remember he would tell me not to marry Japanese in the future because he would be too sad at my wedding for killing their people in the past, but when you’re a soldier and you’re fighting for your life and your family, you have to do what you can to protect it all. He ran away from home when he was seventeen to join the army, got married around early 20s and had seven kids, all of which he sent to the best colleges. It’s really amazing what he accomplished in his 90 years.

Perhaps, maybe one day, I’ll write that story. For now I know he would want me to keep with my studies and enjoy life, so I’m going to do my best. I wonder what my grandma must be feeling. I mean, losing the person who has been a witness to your life for over 65 years must be traumatic. You knew it was going to happen, but you just hope that day wouldn’t have to come. I have a feeling she’ll be living with us, which would be nice so that I can spend even more time with her on the weekends that I go home.

Although a life was lost, a life was born too.

Although a life was lost, a life was born too. My grandpa got to meet one of the newest members of our family (my cousin's two-month baby) while he was alive, and this baby is such a cutie. Welcome to the family Andrew! We're so happy you met your great-grandfather before he left.

My cousin played a very old Chinese song on my violin by ear (he's so amazing I don't know how he does it) for my grandpa and my grandma was so happy because he was trying to sing along with it. It was amazing to have that moment because he couldn't talk with all of those therapies.

My cousin played a very old Chinese song on my violin by ear (he's so amazing I don't know how he does it) for my grandpa and my grandma was so happy because he was trying to sing along with it. It was amazing to have that moment because he couldn't talk with all of those therapies.

My cousin is so talented. He was playing a song he wrote on the piano for my grandpa. I wish I could be as talented to do that. We did a duet together and all of the other residents of the nursing home came to listen. We played Pachelbel's Canon with me on the violin and he on the piano. Everyone really liked it.

My cousin is so talented. He was playing a song he wrote on the piano for my grandpa. I wish I could be as talented to do that. We did a duet together and all of the other residents of the nursing home came to listen. We played Pachelbel's Canon with me on the violin and he on the piano. Everyone really liked it. My mom said she and my aunts were getting really emotional.

Anyway, there’s probably more I want to say, but I hate being emotional in public places. Nothing new with me besides that I’m playing co-ed intramural basketball. I have games Tuesdays and Thursdays, so cheer me and my team on if you ever come out to the UIC recreation center sometime. I think next weekend I’ll be going to visit my brother down at U of I because PSA has a fashion show and he made the choreography for the dances. I have some other things going on, but writing this kind of stressed me out.

Keep your head up UIC, and I’ll try my best to do the same.


Tips on Better Time Management

I might not be the smartest when it comes to academics, but I know what I need to do to understand information while keeping a healthy balance of work (soon to have four jobs), research, and extra-curricular activities. While I do agree I’m busy most of the time, I always feel like I can do so much more!

9am microbiology lectures are great. I'm so glad I don't have any 8am lectures this semester!

9am microbiology lectures are great. I'm so glad I don't have any 8am lectures this semester!

I’ve noticed a lot of college kids know what they have to do for their optimal performance in school (getting good grades and all that jazz), but they just don’t do it! I’m guilty of one of those things, like not eating breakfast in the morning or skipping lunch because I’m busy in class or at work. Luckily, I decided this semester to force myself to get up early and make a quick and tasty breakfast to see how my concentration and focus in classes would be. Nothing like Nutella on whole wheat bread to get me going! I’m not sure if it’s really a part of a “balanced” breakfast as it is advertised, but it sure is yummy. I also grab a GoGurt on my way to my class or work. Do you guys remember GoGurt? I love that stuff.

Anyway, what made me want to write a quick spiel on time management was influenced by my Health Activism Committee meeting because most of them are freshmen and still needed help adjusting to college classes. By the way, our group is so close to being fully done with the materials! I’m e-mailing the schools this weekend and we will begin our training sessions soon with the presentations, which will be posted later on the SFP Website.

So, I suppose I’ll tell you the most obvious but not so common thing that is used to manage my time. You’ll probably say, “Well that was unhelpful. I already knew that.” But do you do it? Do you keep a calendar? I would assume so. Do you USE it? I wonder about that one.

I’m assuming most phones have a calendar, so I advise you to either get a paper one that you can carry around or just your phone (I just the one on my phone frequently). I don’t have Android or anything fancy (although I hope to get a smartphone this weekend with my family) so I couldn’t possibly use Google Calendar or whatever kind of apps they have out now (go on a searching spree if you do). Things I input on my phone:

  • Doctor Appointments (Dermatologist, Dentist, Allergist)
  • Things to do (Write Blog, Fill Out Scholarship Form, Print out slides, etc.)
  • Due dates (Scholarship due, Final Paper due, E-mail schools, etc.)
  • Meetings (Writing Club, SFP Club, HAC, etc.)

With everything listed above, I will also make a side-note in addition that says the location (for example, I would write BH for Burnham Hall) and also put the time if applicable. Unfortunately, my phone only lets me input 15 characters, so if I were to put “fill out scholarship form” in my phone calendar, I will most likely just type “scholarshipform” with no spaces. I’ll go to UH sometimes to visit a professor or employer so in those cases I type in my phone “UH ####” where the #### is their room number. Sometimes it’s super cryptic. I obviously know what it means, but I don’t think anyone would really understand unless you’re in research. For example, I have this for Tuesday: Cd36mc5nlrp3mf2. I’m not sure how other phones work in terms of character limit but you get what I mean.

The most important thing about this is implementing or actually inputting the information the second you hear about it or are informed of it. If you just see something and brush it off with “oh I have a meeting on Friday…well I check my e-mail a lot so I’ll remember it when I see it,” then you’re most likely going to forget, unless you keep it marked as unread (another great tip of mine). I get so many e-mails each day and I’ll read them all of them but obviously won’t have to time to reply all at once. If I do, then less work for me! But most of the time, I hold it off until I can think of a good answer, in which case I mark is back to unread so that I know to go to it again.

My nutrition and metabolism class is located at PEB, which is conveniently next to my dorm! The class is from 3:45pm-5:00pm so I usually get there kind of early since my classes before end at 3pm.

My nutrition and metabolism class is located at PEB, which is conveniently next to my dorm! The class is from 3:45pm-5:00pm so I usually get there kind of early since my classes before end at 3pm.

I hope this information is useful to someone out there, even if you don’t go to school. Anyway, nothing much going on with me besides intense studying for organic chemistry II and nutrition and metabolism (first exam on the 23rd!). Speaking of the 23rd, that day is Chinese New Year! It’s the year of the dragon, and my dad’s birthday is this weekend (he’ll be sixty…so old). My mom says it’s going to be his lucky year since he was born in the year of the dragon.

Oh, and I am going to redesign the website for iiClothing soon…when I make time for it, haha. I didn’t have many controls over the coding at so I switched over to our own host with and I’m excited to start! For now I just put a static page, acting like a portal to the store and stuff. I’m actually kind of proud of it, hehe.

At Last, A Snowy Chicago

Obama came to the UIC Forum and there were tons of snow trucks blocking the road and waiting to plow!

Obama came to the UIC Forum and there were tons of snow trucks blocking the road and waiting to plow! Doesn't the Sears Tower look pretty (or Willis Tower for those who swing that way)?

The whole winter break lacked snow, yet finally the week school begins it comes around! A bit late, but still appreciated in some respect. I don’t like walking in it too much, but watching it from inside the research lab was nice.

I sure love the snow!

On my way walking to the Polk station to wait for either a 7, 157, or UIC intracampus shuttle, I figured I take a picture of the first snow of the year! Beautiful right?

So I have officially been to every class in my schedule, and man do I have work to do! I heard from many people microbiology is easy, but so far there seems to be a lot of work involved and the labs require so much preparation before even entering! I learned my lesson last semester not to underestimate the higher level biology classes.

Organic chemistry seems like it will be the same, but the professor requires we get online homework so I had to pay $30 for that the other day. Luckily it wasn’t too expensive as I heard physics online homework is (~$60). As for nutrition, I’m totally terrified! HN 196 was a breeze, and I was hoping the upper level ones would be too, but my 307 class is insane. The professor has slides and made the textbook optional (it costs $210 otherwise) but he doesn’t really follow it and goes off the top of his head. He continually tells us to forget what we knew about nutrition because all of those “facts” are actually just theories or things that people made up…and that we have to think like a biochemist. Well, he has definitely changed my whole view on nutrition just in the first week, but this is going to screw up my notion of believing anything the textbook or other professors tell me. Seriously, you can’t trust anything except research, but even research doesn’t tell the whole truth! I’m debating if I want to get the book because I’m not sure what he’s going to test us on (no multiple choice for once…all long answer essay questions). Wish me luck!

My 296 class is nutrition and physical activity and it’s a little intimidating because a lot of people in the class are super knowledgeable about nutrition and I only had a semester so I need to make time to brush up on the notes I took last semester (although my 307 professor would probably say forget about it because it’s probably all wrong). My brain is racing.

Anyway, I bought the Xbox Kinect UFC game and it’s so intense! My arms and backside hurt from jabbing and elbowing. I’ve been showering every morning because my eczema just looks awful on my face when I wake up. T-T I don’t know if it’s the weather change or what, but I don’t like it! I lost my hair tie the other day, probably stretched it out too much. I used my Hello Kitty cap to keep my hair up while I was doing homework, as you can see below. It’s annoying to have long hair sometimes, but it’s nice to enjoy before I get old and have to take on that awesome granny-fro look. Oh, and I finally went on Facebook! I feel bad when I don’t go on because I lose immediate contact with friends, but then again it’s a huge distraction so it’s not a bad thing I don’t go on often!

I like to eat Cuties.

I like to eat Cuties.

How did everyone enjoy (or not enjoy) their first week of school? =)

Hyped for Spring 2012

A minute ago I was complaining about going back to school, but now I’m suddenly excited! I just finished writing an e-mail to the sub-organization I run for Society of Future Physicians (Health Activism Committee) and this semester we are planning to go out to more local high schools to give health presentations that we created ourselves! We only got to go to one last spring, but it was a lot of fun. I’m kind of nervous to be sending out e-mails to a bunch of schools because I’m not sure who exactly I should contact yet…perhaps the principal of the school we plan on going to.

I drew an undetailed Christmas bow that Rita, a post-masters student in the lab I work at, gave me on my desk!

I have a Wacom tablet that I got on my birthday a couple years ago. I haven't used it in awhile so I took it out to draw something that was laying beside my desk. Rita (works in the research lab with me) gave me a cute envelope with a Christmas bow on top of it. I tried to draw that with Easy Paint Tool Sai because Photoshop was being stupid. There should be a lot more detail but I'm very rusty! Hope it looks okay.

I’m also hyped for research. The results have been going well with my qPCR and soon I’ll be learning how to do a Western Blot and probably another cell isolation sometime on my own. I’m so thankful to have a wonderful PI to let me do so many things! I’m also excited for microbiology lab because our lab reports have to be in the legitimate science layout (introduction, methods, procedure, data, discussion, etc), and knowing that would really help me out when I write my research report with my own data. It kind of sucks that I have to bring my own gloves and extra-fine point Sharpie marker to microbiology lab. I mean even the chemistry department had enough money in their budget to give us gloves!

Giordano's Deep Dish Pizza

I haven't had some quality Giordano's Deep Dish Pizza in awhile! I was planning on going to the one in downtown but my feet hurt from walking so much sometimes! I'm glad there's one in Greektown, which is really close to UIC! =)

Even though I’m ready for this semester, I’m even more ready for summer break! UIC already posted the summer classes, and I’m deciding what to do. Should I study abroad? Should I take classes again so that I can simultaneously continue with research and my other job? Or should I just apply to a volunteer program that’s super fun, inexpensive, and requires little learning? Too many thought bubbles for now.

Why 2012 Will Be Different

I bought a new camera on the last day of 2011!

Fry's Electronics was selling the Sony NEX 5A/B for $379.99, which was a rockin' deal so I went to buy it! The only camera I have is my phone's camera, but I'm interested in getting into the DSLR stuff so here's the next step! As you can see I've been trying to knit and write papers...but that hasn't really fostered much, haha.

For once I spent new year’s eve alone; well, I guess not totally alone because at the last minute I was tweeting with my cousin who came back from Japan and they had no plans for new year’s either so she and her brother came over. My brother was out at Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Chicago so it was kind of fun being the cousin that someone wanted to see (in the family, my brother is the more popular one haha). Anyway, we basically watched Donald Glover’s stand-up, played on my Xbox Kinect, and then went to the PS3 for some quality Little Big Planet and Castle Crashers!

In between we stopped to watch the ball drop, but that wasn’t very interesting. I’m trying to think back on 2011 but it’s really a big blur. I feel like it just contained school, research, and work…because that really was it. There was the occasional “I hate chemistry” but eh. That’s still school related. I guess 2011 won’t be a key year for me, but I think 2012 could be something special.

My dad is turning 60 this month. What an oldie. This is “his” year my mom says, since he was born in the year of the dragon and guess what this year is: the dragon year! I wonder what crazy Chinese auspicious moments will happen. I’m hoping to apply to a summer study abroad program in China to study traditional medicine; the experience would be awesome! If I get it, then I’ll travel to Taiwan too (where my parents are from).

I haven’t made a new year’s resolution list, but I’ll figure it out before school starts. Speaking of which, my classes on blackboard are slowly appearing! I’m taking:

  • BIOS 350 – Microbiology
  • BIOS 351 – Microbiology Lab
  • CHEM 234 – Organic Chemistry II
  • HN 296 – Sport, Fitness and Nutrition
  • HN 307 – Nutrition and Metabolism

I’m sort of excited for these classes, but I’m not entirely sure. I chose to not take any electives this semester since it kind of killed me this past fall semester in terms of my science GPA. The spring semester always feels really long compared to the fall since there’s nothing exciting going on (holidays and such). I guess the Honors College Ball will be something to look forward to.

For the remainder of break, I’m going to visit my grandparents’ place as much as possible, maybe study a little bit or read a book. Their time is nearing short, and I don’t want to regret not spending more time with them.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their break! I have so much to do in so little time! SFP, CASL, Research, Classes, RUSH, iiClothing, Scholarship Application, and perhaps selling some old stuff on Amazon if I make good product photos from my new camera! Unfortunately I didn’t submit my paper for the Writing Center Journal because I wasn’t diligent enough on writing it in time…but there will always be more opportunities.

2013: the key year

This year is going to be intense. It’s the year I take some of my hardest classes, in addition to taking one of the most important examinations of my life: the MCAT. I will also be applying to medical school during the summer, which means I better get my application materials ready! I haven’t written my personal statement yet, nor have I begun to collect letters of recommendation (although I have contacted a few professors about that). I will also apply for an undergraduate summer research program here at UIC to engage more into the research that I have done in the past two years working in Dr. Koh’s laboratory. I’ll be turning 21 in October and hopefully receiving some interviews from medical schools in the fall or winter (not sure when they start doing that precisely). My grandma will be 90! Oh man, there’s so much to expect…oh my gosh and I can’t believe I glossed over my cousin’s wedding that will happen in the summer! She’s getting married in the Cancun. I’ve never been to a destination wedding (for obvious reasons) but this year I’m going to go! So excited. I might also take some summer classes at UIC if I feel the need to, but it can be expensive so we’ll see how things go.

All right, I know that was a lot of information, but basically this year is going to be key! I need to be flourishing endlessly. How about you? What’s going on in your yearly schedule? Get those new years resolutions out! :D

I’ve started going back to research again and conducting my qPCR things for my human and murine samples. Commuting is so tiring. I don’t know how people do it. I guess you just get used to it or people take up drinking coffee. Coffee gives me headaches for like four days though! I could never develop that habit. During the hour it takes there and back, I always tell myself to study a little bit of MCAT, but I usually end up just listening to music and napping. It’s so exhausting! I’m so glad I live on campus. To all you commuters, I don’t know how you do it! Do share your wisdom and how you balance work and life. Thanks! =)

School will be starting up again. It’s already two weeks into our break! I hate when time flies so fast. :( I already got my textbooks…actually I got them right after the fall semester ended LOL. I know…I’m nuts.

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