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.

I’ve Caught a Bad Cold

I don’t think I’ve been actually sick with something for about two to three years now, but man I don’t miss it at all! It might have been okay in high school when I got sick because I could stay home and my dad could take care of me, but in college I refuse to not go to class! I need to work hard and study like a monster to keep up with everything that’s going on. Taking 18 credit hours is no joke, and attending club meetings and going to work or research is something I don’t want to miss either!

So I’ve been trucking through this week with some dosages of Dayquil or Nyquil every four hours and constantly popping a cough drop whenever I can to make my throat feel better. It’s not fun sounding nasally or raspy, and it’s not fun being in class when you just downright feel uncomfortable while trying to listen to your professor talk about how cells have all these mechanisms to do a bunch of things and you have to know almost everything about it.

On top of being sick, my skin has been really bad. I mean, I guess it’s always like this now, but these things don’t have to all come at me at once! It’s red, dry, and itchy above my eyes, above and below my lips, and also around my jaw line. Eczema can seriously go jump off a cliff and drown because it deserves to. I might also add to my uncomforted state that TOM came (code word for the girl thing) and that makes me feel very unpleasant.

Even though I feel like crap, I think I am doing quite well handling everything. I know I should be studying for my midterms but a part of me just wants to relax and let my body and brain chill for a few moments without thinking about school. I watched two hours of Bones last night on TNT and I’ve got to say being an anthropologist looks very cool. I don’t think I have the stomach to handle all of the fleshy grossness of the murder victims they find, but it’s cool to watch them do their thing.

My mom came home and apparently she and my dad bought a new car! That’s good because we were missing one and my dad’s car is about to die too…everything seems to break down at one point. Don’t ever buy important things that last a long time at the same time because ten or twenty years later they will all stop working and you will have to muster up some money to get new ones! My birthday is on the 18th but I probably won’t do anything for it. I’m going to be flooded with e-mails from Facebook that day, which will suck because then I have to go and reply to everyone at some point. I am so anti-social sometimes.

Looking on the bright side, it’s half way through the semester! (:

Organic Chemistry: You’re a Clump Nugget

Graphics Door

Kim (works in the Graphics room with me and a bunch of other people) made new door decs for us! I'm a ghost from packman, haha.

What is a clump nugget? I ask myself that every day, but it’s basically a pronoun to describe someone or something very annoying. I adapted it from my roommate ’cause she always calls her organic chemistry professor a clump nugget.

Anyway, this week was pretty eventful (minus the awful organic chemistry grades I’ve been getting). We had an SFP meeting Monday evening to prepare for our GBM next week. I have to create a t-shirt design for the club this weekend…I hope I have time! X__x

Wednesday I had my nutrition exam, and for once I did not double check my answers. It’s not like I didn’t have time; in fact, I actually had an hour and forty minutes left to spend double or triple or quadruple checking my answers! I guess I wanted to see how well or bad I would do by going with my gut…and if it works then I might just do that for the future exams (then again, we’re moving onto the vitamins and everything that they do…so maybe not).

Work Dino Nutrition

I like to draw on my nutrition note slides. It started out as an apple, but then I stuck a head on it...and then I decided it needed a tail. Isn't it cute? (:

I’ve been going to a small group with some AAIV members for about three weeks now, and it’s been really fun surprisingly. I was never raised in a religious household and I never knew much about Christianity or cared about it. We’ve been looking at chapters on Hosea (a minor prophet who God told to marry a prostitute) and it’s pretty interesting. I ask a crazy amount of questions during discussion because so many things just don’t make sense to me. I’m all for evolution, but I never got to the point to deny a higher being (perhaps because it’s a nice thought, but I’m not totally convinced). I mainly go just to meet nice people who are dedicated to something they’re really passionate about, just like when I attend the UIC Writing Club meetings and meet people who are really into creative writing. It’s just a lot of fun to know a diverse group of people, not necessarily diverse through skin color, but diverse through how we view the world.

I’ve been really sleepy lately. Cell biology and organic chemistry are just so boring right now that I find myself flickering my eyelids from closed to open every so often. I guess it’s because we can’t really have a conversation about those things as much as we can with the humanities (I love the Asian studies, fiction, and music therapy discussions in class). All you can do is sit and listen and take some notes…it’s like you can’t really connect with the information unless you force yourself.

Yawn. Tutoring at the writing center was pretty fun this week because we have to record one of our sessions as part of our training and right now I’m listening to myself talking and creating dialogue with the writer. I sound so Asian American it bothers me, haha! I didn’t realize I say “Yeah!” and “Okay!” so much. This is quite an interesting experience.

Excited for Some Quality Dr. Who

My brother is coming home for the weekend, which means I can catch up on Dr. Who and continue working on our iiclothing stuff! Even though each day this past week felt so long, the week actually went by crazy fast and it makes me wonder how I’ll feel by the time I’m done with school and having my own family (well, if I ever do haha)!

My mom went to Taiwan Wednesday to go see her family. I never really thought about what it would be like to have your family in a whole different country (immediate family) and you with your spouses family like your whole life. In the Asian studies class, it was pretty common and I’m sure it’s still common today where the woman basically is brought into the man’s household and the woman’s family loses her as an asset. It must be really sad for her because the only family she has here through blood is my brother and I. Well, I hope she has a good time there and makes them feel more at ease.

Hmm…there’s nothing going on besides the fact that I have exams coming up again (ahhh!). I’m worried, but not that worried. Weird. I met my WISE mentee Tuesday and we have a lot in common! I can’t wait to see her next week so we can talk more. It’s fun being a mentor, although sometimes it can be a little tough if you’re only a year older than if you were two years older. With age comes experience I guess.

Sorry for the brief post! My brain is all over the place because there’s just so much to do and think about. I would complain, but there are so many more things that could be worse. Taking a step back always makes me appreciate things more than before. Ack. October already? My goodness.

Not Sure What to Title This Week

Each week at UIC is jam-packed with so many events it’s hard to catalog them all here, although a glimpse of my phone calendar might scare people. For brevity’s sake, I’d rate my performance in school with a B+/A- so far (although after that organic chemistry test, it might shoot down a bit). Bleh that test was so intimidating. I think if we had more time in class I could have worked out at least one solid answer for each problem, I mean come on, we had to draw a fischer projection of glucose! Yeesh.

My other classes have been okay. I did one point lower than the average score in cell biology, which was disappointing so I am going to study a lot harder on the new material for the second exam. For some reason I tend to do better on the harder biology tests (for most biology classes here, the first test is always the easiest to popular belief). I think I tend to do dramatically better because I freak out about failing the class with a B so I study extra hard. For sure I’m going to pick up my game with organic chemistry because my quiz tests are outrageously nasty.

Tuesday was SFP Induction for the new members, mainly freshmen. I had to dress up that day and it felt so weird wearing a skirt. I guess I enjoyed some of the attention, but I would much prefer sticking to my t-shirt and jeans look! Haha, I should really get with my feminine side…anyway, the induction went really well and a lot of people signed up for HAC (Health Activism Committee) which I lead for the spring semester. Since we have so many people interested, though, I think I might just start this fall semester too! I’m so excited that so many people want to work with me and go to high schools to inform students about health topics like drugs/alcohol and nutrition. It’s going to be so much fun, hehe. Although, I really got to get the logistical things down ASAP. I also have to edit the banner for SFP because we changed our theme (which I came up with mwahahhaha) and just a load of other things for HAC.

I went to the dermatologist for a check-up and looks like the best option for me to decrease my eczema flare-ups and allergies would be getting allergy shots. I’ve heard of the concept before and I’m really excited because the medical student who was in rotation (there’s always three people who examine me: resident dermatologist, medical student observer, and the actual dermatologist) said he got it and his condition improved so much. Apparently allergy shots are the closest thing to a cure for allergies. I just hope it’s not too expensive…luckily CampusCare makes things really cheap. Normally my co-pay for the dermatologist in the suburbs would be $30-$50 dollars but at UIC it’s only $10. Best insurance ever.

So behind MRH is basically a huge outdoor gym where you can play tennis or baseball etc. I decided I needed to get my butt off the couch from studying and exercise! I eat right and all but it’s still not considered healthy if I’m not active. I guess walking from class to class does something, but not as much as running each day. I usually don’t exercise much because my eczema gets really bad, even though in high school I was always in a sport (I miss basketball the most and regret not doing it sophomore-senior year). But maybe if I take it slow and build-up a routine to exercise, I’ll start to like it and maybe the endorphins will help block out the pain or itchiness from eczema. I’m going to run once a week Thursday evenings with my roommate and hopefully start to increase the amount of days overtime (erm, that plan might fail if it starts snowing actually).

I’m going home for the weekend and I’ll probably just study like a monster. I have so many things to coordinate and plan. Can you believe October is coming up? That means I will be turning 19 soon. Eek.

I Miss Chompy

Chompy on the Rock

I caught him basking on his favorite rock. Unfortunately he is getting too big to fit below it.

I went home last weekend and visited my family as well as my baby Chompy. He’s gotten so much bigger, probably two or three inches in diameter! The tank looks a lot smaller now, and I want to upgrade him into a more spacious living quarter, but my dad says there’s no place to put a tank like that in the house, even though we have plenty of bigger sized tanks. My dad wants me to let him go and be free, which of course is where turtles should be…but he’s so young! Winter will come soon (this morning was seriously forty degrees) and he’d be defenseless. Perhaps next summer I will, but not now. =(

This week has been fair. I had my cell biology exam and it was easier than I thought it would be, but not that easy that I could do it in my sleep. It just required insanely careful reading of each question, and I mean insanely. I’ll probably get a B or barely an A. Now, all I have to worry and study my butt off for is organic chemistry! The exam is only a few days away and it won’t be an easy one at all.

There’s nothing too much going on besides the SFP Induction ceremony on Tuesday, which I have to talk near the end! I’m not too good with public speaking. I recently got paired with a mentee from the WISE Mentoring Program, so that was awesome. She e-mailed me and right now we are figuring out a time to see each other. Luckily, she lives on campus and we are in walking distance so making time should be easy.

Hmm, nothing else besides that. I took a picture of my USB that I use when I go to the machine for qPCR when I do research.

qPCR machine from research

I got the Hello Kitty charm for my USB from my friend that I met in the Taiwan volunteer trip.

Man, that machine has made me angry lately. Sometimes it doesn’t work, or sometimes someone comes late and takes up your some of your time slot so you end up waiting longer than you thought you would. It costs $20 each time I go, and an hour and a half of waiting time. Research can be tedious.


Research is crazy expensive too. I use this when I do qPCR and one of these 5mL bottles cost over $300!

I’m almost done watching “Hi, My Sweetheart.” It’s so good I just keep crying in every episode near the end! Ahh I will need to get a tissue box for the last two episodes left, I’m sure. Oh, and is anyone bothered by the sudden change in weather? I am indifferent for some reason. I like the cold because I like wearing more clothing to cover my skin, but at the same time it’s not very pleasant when you walk out and immediately start shivering! Brrrrrr.

Already Anticipating the End

I know it seems a bit too early to be thinking about next semester and the summer following that since we just started school, but I think I have already gotten so routine with my schedule right now that the time will pass by even faster than I imagine. I mean, we get out in December and that’s only three months away!

Smiley Cut

One of my eczema patches on my hands looked like a smiley. It was both entertaining and itchy to me. It's healed now though...

I had my nutrition exam this past week, and it was pretty easy. I think she made it that way so we could get used to the questions, but regardless of her intentions I hope I do well in the future tests if they are like this.

My cell biology exam is Thursday, and I need to study insanely hard for it! We had a quiz this past Tuesday and it caught everyone completely off guard. You would expect the quiz to be a multiple choice or short answer type format about the material we covered, but it was not even close! We were given the abstract and first paragraph of a research article, and from that information we had to design an experiment and explain why it would work. Miraculously I got 5/6 on that quiz (more like free-response essay), but if I did not do research on campus and did not have journal club with my research lab, I would have probably gotten a 0/6. Application of the things we learn is so crucial, so I guess I was kind of excited she gave us such a quiz to keep me on my toes, but at the same time I was terrified I would not have answered the prompt correctly.

Eek. I don’t even want to think about organic chemistry! I get the majority of the iClicker questions correct on lecture, and it all makes sense during lecture, but when it comes time to be on my own and understand the material, I get a little lost. The organic chemistry exam is four days after my cell biology exam, which I pray is enough time for me to really nail the material, but whatever happens I’ll be sure to practice more problems in this subject! Oh chemistry you will be the death of me.

Anyway, to keep things a little more happier, I went downtown yesterday with a bunch of AAMP (Asian American Mentor Program) people. Of course, I’m not in the program, but it wasn’t an official outing so anyone was welcome to join. There were a lot of us though! Eventually the group just split up, and I went with some close friends to Chipotle, and then FreshBerry, and finally a quick stop to Jimmy Johns (I’m a hungry one). I was sad Jimmy Johns ran out of their 50-cent bread. That was really the only thing I wanted…ah oh well.

Jazz in the CTA

When you're waiting for the CTA, there's almost always someone performing music! I think I've seen this Jazz guy perform all over downtown.

FreshBerry Froyo

I got split a large Green Apple Frozen Yogurt with my friend. It looked a lot prettier before we indulged in it...but here's a glimpse! I put gummy bears, rainbow mochi, and kiwi for my toppings.

Happy September

I still find it hard to believe that we’re on our ninth month of the year 2011, and that my beautiful roommate and friend Simona turned 19 today! Soon I will turn 19 (in October) and it just feels weird. I know it is probably nothing like turning 20, or even 21, but it’s almost like the last “teen” year I’ll have.

Ice Cream Cake

We went to Dairy Queen in downtown to get an awesome Blizzard Ice Cream Cake for my roommate's 19th birthday!

Starting next week, I will have my first nutrition exam; the week after, I will have my first cell biology exam; and finally, the week after that, I will have my first organic chemistry exam. I feel so fortunate to have taken 18 credit hours and coincidentally have almost every exam spaced out! It is a rare quality. Week two of my crazy schedule went well, but I still need to study a bit more in organic chemistry. We have a Russian TA, and he seems a bit impatient and intimidating to all of us.

Yesterday in Music Therapy, my class and I watched a video on an overview of the arts and medicine, and it was just so inspiring! It made me want to play my violin again, and the piano and erhu. I miss music so much but it really takes a lot of practice each day to be good and it is just very difficult to balance study time and class time, work and research, and of course all of those extra-curriculars. Fortunately, the extra-curricular clubs tend to be unorganized (sad, but it is true) so I do not have to worry a great deal. Every club that I joined last year started out great, but overtime people just got busy I guess and did not contribute or attend. I suppose it is because undergraduates just like party all the time, but I seriously don’t understand how people who do that can maintain good grades. It is quite boggling.

Anyway, Spark in the Park was AMAZING. Lupe Fiasco sounded just like he does on the CD when he performed live. The only annoying part was when people blew big puffs of cigarette smoke in front of my face. My eczema definitely does not react well with those free radicals…

Spark in the Park

Lupe Fiasco at Spark in the Park! I love UIC. :D

It’s labor day weekend! I am going home tomorrow…somehow. My brother has to meet with the restaurant owners of Bop n’ Grill because they want us to design their t-shirts! My brother’s designs are pretty cute, haha. Speaking of which, I need to switch hosts because my brother is complaining that it’s annoying to click “store” and not arrive to the store…and other things. Yeesh.

My cousin is having a baby shower this weekend! I’ve never been to one, so this will be a fun and new experience. =)

Pleasant Surprise

Every time I check my e-mail, there’s about 80% newsletters/spam, 10% work related things, 9% personal, and 1% completely random surprises. Today the 1% came up, and apparently I received the Association Award for $1000! It’s weird because I applied like a LONG time ago (in the e-mail, they even begin with “I truly apologize for long delay in providing notification to you”), so I was really surprised to see this in my inbox this morning. Ah what a good morning so far.

Classes started this week, and as you probably know or might have intimated I have the tendency to go beyond what I think I can handle. To my surprise, I made it through my first week of classes (no classes on Friday, I love block scheduling).

I’ll just be brief to save my sanity, but nutrition and cell biology almost talk about the same thing (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates) so when I sit in both of the classes, I feel like I’m studying and learning the same material for the other class (an amazing feeling because less work for me). My Asian Studies class is so…interesting. I chose to take that class because no one really talks about love, sex, or marriage in Asian cultures. We read The Economist and chapter 2 of Lovesick Japan (the latter is truly SICK). I had no clue what we’d be discussing in this class, and the few discussions we’ve had cover things I have never thought about: this is one of the reasons I love college, especially at UIC. Since UIC is so diverse, you get a full spectrum of thoughts and ideas. When we were discussing the definition of marriage, some people questioned if it had to even be with people. Someone said “yeah, my cousin married a tree…” or “I heard an Asian guy married a pillow, and another who married a video game.”

Fiction is nice so far. We haven’t done too much besides talk about the difference between fiction and poetry and how awful our classroom is at BSB because there are no windows and there is a huge echo when someone talks, or moves. Yesterday we went outside to enjoy the weather, although the sun was kind of blinding and burning our skin. My professor (erm, graduate student?) was talking to us with focus and then suddenly “yeah so when we think about short fiction and its relation to poetry…” (stares at my shirt) “you have AK47′s on your shirt…cool. Anyway, when I write poetry…” It’s funny that he just randomly stopped in his train of thought to say that phrase and moved on so quickly. I just happened to be wearing my light blue Rogue Status shirt. Sometimes I forget I have guns on that shirt, but oh well. Freedom of expression!

Music therapy was really cool, and our instructor said if we knew how to play an instrument, we could volunteer at Rush to play for in-patients! I really want to do it because I think it would be more meaningful than the volunteer work I do now (well, I am currently on hiatus).

Finally, organic chemistry. Our professor is really cool and even asks students to go up to the front and draw lewis structures and all that jazz. This class is the only one I have not read the book for, only because I wanted to make sure I got my act together with everything else. This weekend I’m planning on studying organic chemistry a lot.

Well, I better get back to work, although I don’t have much to do at the moment…afterwards I’m going to research! I need to find two samples of mine that have gone missing in one of our refrigerators (might take me a bit).

This is what the graphics office looks like in UIC Campus Housing! Across from us is SRH 330, where people who write graphics proposals pick up their posters.

Oh yeah, and apparently next week Lupe Fiasco is coming to Spark in the Park. I am so excited.

Hello Inflammation

I stayed up with my brother last night until 4am, reading the first chapter of my cell biology textbook. I figured since I’m taking so many classes that will require intensive reading, I might as well be a week ahead of everything! I have no clue how organic chemistry will turn out so I want to make sure I have everything else down. My brother, on the other hand, was obviously not studying anything because he’s not crazy like me. Instead, he was sewing up a stuffed plushie panda, very similar to one of our t-shirt designs. As for why he was sewing (extremely rare activity for him), his friend’s birthday is coming up and he just decided to conjure up his old life skills home-ed type knowledge to make something oddly cute.

Unfortunately I did not get much sleep since I had to wake up this morning around 9am to see my previous boss since she wanted to take me out for lunch at noon, and to also help out the new girl who needed to upload a .exe file on the website (took a long time but FTP program saved us). Either it is my lack or sleep, or perhaps something I ate, that has made my face and body become really red all over. It is eczema, and lots of inflammation. I really hate flare-ups. I seriously don’t understand why it happens and I am pretty sure I have been staying away from things that cause allergies for me. I take a Zyrtec each night to help, but maybe I should switch brands. I’m a feeling a little down, even though school is starting and I should be excited, but I’m scared I will have trouble coping with so many classes.

I wonder when the Chicago weather will change again. Summers are nice but short, and winters are long and crazy cold. Spring and fall are perfect, but not if you’re like me and dying from the allergy season! :(

I haven’t been up to much this week besides promoting iiClothing and going to the research lab. I finished collecting my cells, although I made another mistake which made me slap my forehead again—however, mistakes are necessary to learn. Ever since that other mistake I made (not clicking a button), I always make sure to click it, and so when I do another bone marrow isolation, I’ll be sure to not the same mistake twice.

Say What?

Currently rocking out to I’m On One – Drake
Currently singing to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – Utada

Chompy is a cutie pie.

My baby turtle Chompy is getting a lot bigger!

So my lab partner texted me today about final grades in chemistry because she doesn’t know how to use the student self-service thing, which is cool because she just transferred from Elgin Community College and I’m happy to help her ease into a successful year! Anyway, I checked online and swore that I was going to get a B, but to my surprise I got an A! I am seriously and ridiculously happy. My lab partner got an A too so we are both texting each other how happy we are, haha!

And of course, grades aren’t everything, but seeing your GPA go a few points higher really boosts self-esteem!

Today I took the Metra by myself for the second time ever and it was really nice. I was a little angry in the morning because I woke up at 6am and got to the Bartlett station at 6:27am—then the train left! It was supposed to arrive at 6:30…actually, 6:32! I had to wait for the 7:00am train, and then guess what happens next: the train is LATE. Unbelievable. I had to call my P.I. numerous times because I was supposed to meet him at 8am in the lab to do bone marrow isolation. I got to Union station around 8:00 and tried to locate the 157 bus. After circling around the whole Union station, I just gave up and called my P.I. and asked for directions because I was totally lost. I wonder how the commuters who go to UIC do it, but man I had no clue of anything.

It’s kind of fun getting lost though and being on your own. I went to Taiwan a few years ago to volunteer for the Taiwanese Red Cross to give supplies to the less fortunate and keep elderly company and active, and it was the first I ever went out of the country by myself. I remember landing at LAX in California and didn’t know I had to go from domestic to international, which meant I had to physically leave the building to go to another one since they weren’t connected. Finding the certain airline was hard too. I saw Korean Air, Japan Air, but where was China Air? You know how I found China Airlines? I followed the sound of Mandarin Chinese. China Airlines basically had its own giant section and you wouldn’t believe the amount of Asians crowded there.

Taiwan 2009

We went to a Buddhist temple during our volunteer service.Apparently it has 1000 rooms!

Ah, it was so much fun though. I am hoping to go to Taiwan or China next summer either for study abroad or just for vacation…or maybe even volunteering again! Europe would be nice to go to for study abroad since I will probably never go there, but my parents only approve of England…and that’s basically America but more proper, I think.

I guess not much going on, although last Friday I got to hang out with some people from AAMP (Asian American Mentor Program) at a bakery in Greektown, which is a part of AARCC’s programs at UIC. I was a mentee last year and applied to be a mentor for this year, but unfortunately I didn’t get accepted. I was pretty bummed because I felt like that was the only way I felt connected to the Asian community at UIC. Weird, huh? I’m happy for my peer mentees who got into the program as mentors though! Totally jealous of them because they get to help cute, innocent freshmen! I plan on applying again next year, so cross your fingers! =)

Greektown - Cake

Eating At the Bakery in Greektown

Did I mention I had to kill a mouse today? Well, I didn’t do it personally, but down the road I’m going to have to learn how to do it. For the bone marrow isolation, you have to get the mouse’s bones (obviously) and so you paralyze them, shave them, and then pull their head and tail apart to disconnect the spine. Messed up? Well, to researchers it is necessary. I think, for me at least, it’s one of the worst parts of research and medicine.

Things always have to be tested until approved for human use. I get sad when I see the diabetic mice because they are bred to be fat and in a sense diseased so that we can test on them to make sure things go well and transfer the same method to humans. It seems kind of silly to make animals “sick” when we should be focusing on alleviating humans with sickness already. I guess the only way to be healthy is with preventative medicine.

Lately my family and I have been indulging in green smoothies. My aunt from New Jersey gave me a book called “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko and it was really amazing what this woman has done. Seriously, it’s like she’s found the cure for everything just by drinking green smoothies. I sure hope my eczema gets cured by this soon because I’ve seriously done just about everything to fix it!

School begins basically next week. I’m going to be hardcore pre-studying so that I can get ahead with some classes. I’m sure organic chemistry will kill me so I better get my cell biology straight. I’ve been spending most of my free time working on the clothing company I started with my brother, which by the way we are going to have a photo-shoot so that will make the website look ten times better! I’ve also been learning Spanish on my Nintendo DS (My Spanish Coach) and I am officially a second grader! Yay! :D

My Lionfish

For some reason, my lionfish likes to chill upside down in the tank.

Darn. School starts so soon. My summer flew by way too fast!

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