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.

Greetings, Fate!

I’ve been talking to my mom about my future plans and that talk turns into others’ plans and soon we’ve got ourselves bringing up issues we see now that can be easily alleviated if people just found something they love to do (the most important being their job). I’m very happy and content with the route I seek to pursue, even though I have spoken to both sides of the argument about the pros and cons (and let me tell you, family says more cons than pros!). But, as much as we students would like to make our families proud by doing what they ask of us, I think it is more important we think of ourselves first in terms of what would make us proud of our accomplishments and how that would in turn make our families proud.

Richard J. Daley Library Collection Opening Celebration

On Wednesday, July 24, I volunteered to be a UIC Student Ambassador for the Richard J. Daley Library Collection Opening Celebration. I was in charge of greeting guests as they arrived and escorting them to the Special Collections where Richard J. Daley's historical documents can be viewed by students, faculty and many other academic professionals. I didn't get to go in myself but just seeing it from the outside looked awesome. I plan on visiting the real thing sometime soon! This event reminded me of the Chinese American Service League Dinner Gala where lots of powerful people come to give their support via their presence. It was pretty cool seeing the Daley family and Rahm Emanuel! I also saw our past U.S. Student Trustee, Kenneth Thomas, there and told him I was a big fan of his, lol! I was surprised he knew me from my blog! xD I hope to volunteer more and represent UIC as a student ambassador again.

It scares me that many people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree have difficulty finding jobs unless they do more school by obtaining a master’s degree or had a lot of work experience during school. I know how important it is for me to have part-time jobs, but I don’t think everyone can handle a job and school at the same time. Even though I like to think that we’re all the same, we’re not.

Garden/Planting

Anyone else notice the wonderful terrestrial changes on campus? These cute mini-gardens are an absolutely wonderful idea. I believe it is the Latino Cultural Center who is leading this movement...I'm also enjoying the tobacco-free part of UIC!

So what’s the difference between the successful and non-successful people who leave college and find that job? I look at those close to me and this is what I notice about people who are successful after college (and this may or may not be obvious):

  • They more likely than not had part-time jobs/work experience during college (even if not in the field they were planning to be in)
  • They are adaptable to unfamiliar situations (whether through cultural exchanges in a diverse community or in an unstructured situation and you just have to roll with the punches or make your own structured plan to execute the task at hand)
  • They rarely “give up” and persevere in almost anything they want to do, whether it is sticking to a work-out routine or getting a C on a test and working really hard to get an A on the final (to get an A overall in the course)
  • Probably the most important, they are REALLY good at communicating with others. When I was taking an Honors 201 Seminar in Diabetes, Dr. Oberholzer gave us a guest lecture and helped us think like a real health care professional. He told us that if you can’t work with people, then you’ll almost always be fired and incompetent at your job. This is because no matter what you do, you WILL work with other people whether it is through clientele or your boss or a company … people are behind everything that goes on in this world and being able to communicate with someone on their level is a highly valued skill. Yes, I believe you can obtain this skill but you have to really try your best and WANT to.

I hope this brings some perspective on how we all view success and makes us analyze the people who are already doing these things. I would have to say the best way to improve yourself is find someone who is doing what you want to do in the future and talk to them, ask them questions on how they do it, and then think about what you can do to get there. My role model is my grandma, of course, but she’s not going to give me details on how to be an MD/PhD, lol! That would be silly! Have multiple mentors/role models that you can 1) emulate, 2) share similar morals/ethics with, and 3) argue with for the sake of listening to something you don’t want to hear because we should always consider the other side of the coin!

If you’re like me, a rising senior and going to graduate in the spring, I hope that you will make this year the best year you ever had. Start it off right by attending your classes and offices hours, keep it strong by forming weekly studying groups and creating other study aids, and finish with the grade that you strongly believe you deserve for the work that you put in.

Anyway, super excited for the fall! I had an e-board meeting with my pre-medical organization (Society of Future Physicians) and I am so PUMPED with what we have for our members. The whole calendar is going to be filled with events like physician lectures, surgery viewings/physician shadowing, volunteering events and a bunch of other great ways to be involved. We’re going to start something new in Health Activism Committee so that we’ll have our Health Education Program as an option for our interested members and/or our Social Outreach Program where we will be researching ways to inform uninsured adults about the Affordable Care Act and hopefully get them enrolled so that they can be insured!

On another random update note, I’m still vibrating diabetic mice and attending my MOST Summer Program seminars (we talked about ethics last week and it makes my judging cap go sideways) … and I am still tutoring at the Writing Center so if you need assistance I am there Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m.-11 a.m. for the summer. I have been using those services for everything from my medical school application to now my Fulbright application for the ETA position in Taiwan!!! I’m super psyched to finish this all before school! :D

Hard work is satisfaction

What I love about writing is that you have the chance to revise, revise and revise. With multiple revisions, you can achieve some amazing results that you feel strongly proud of! I’m a spontaneous writer, so, when I force myself to write, it can be annoying. What I like to do is free-write like old-school style (just grab a loose-leaf notebook paper and pencil or pen and just WRITE!) or read examples of work that is similar to what I want to write about.

Thai Bowl

I had lunch outside with my brother and my dad one afternoon at one of my most favorite Thai restaurants: Thai Bowl! I ordered Jade Noodles and they were super delicious.

I finally finished my personal statement, and technically I would be done and ready to submit to my medical schools but I still have two more essays to write for the MD/PhD programs. I have to write one essay that is below 3,000 characters (with spaces) about why I want to pursue an MD/PhD and one essay that is below 10,000 characters (with spaces) about my significant research experiences (the personal statement is 5,300 characters by the way). I’m not too sure how to write the second MD/PhD essay because it seems like it’d be straight-forward but I’m not sure if I have to fill up the space. I’ve been looking online at forums but there doesn’t seem to be much of a clear answer. It’d be easy to fill the space up if you worked in multiple labs but I’ve remained consistent in one lab only (I wonder if people are allowed to work in two labs…that sounds like cheating, lol!).

Giant Head

I was walking on Michigan Avenue towards the Art Institute and saw these big heads with a bunch of different designs using plants. It was a little weird for me, but it was fun to see.

Art Institute of Chicago

It was quite a sunny and busy day by the Art Institute of Chicago! I met with an incredible MD/PhD student at UIC (Tammy) and she helped me so much with brainstorming ideas for my personal statement. I had written a draft before the one that I have now but when I went to pre-health advising for a final look they said they were totally confused the whole time and didn't understand my organization. I actually cried after that session, lol. I tend to get emotional with my writing so it kind of hurt to hear that it wasn't good, but later I understood why they said what they did and it made me a lot more aware of how I present myself on paper. I normally do fine with these kinds of things but after doing a ton of research and looking at examples I knew exactly what they wanted but I had trouble expressing them in a straightforward way because I'm just an abstract person sometimes, haha!

Lion

My favorite part of the museum is the entrance, and the violin players.

Rest on a Bench

Ah, Chicago's views are magnificent!

I had my first online tutoring session at the Writing Center and it was pretty cool. The set-up was like Google Docs where you can invite people to a chat and then highlight things, etc. I was scared it’d be difficult to have a conversation with the writer or even going over grammar rules without being able to write things down on a scratch piece of paper to work it out with them. Luckily I did well and we finished on time! I’m super happy to be working at the Writing Center again! I would work more hours if I wasn’t crazy doing other things at the same time, hehe.

Lydia Will Kill Us

For one of my sessions, I used this cute sign that reads: "If we get to class late, Lydia will kill us." I had Lydia as my ENGL 222 instructor so I was cracking up when I first saw that sign. I didn't know the purpose of it until I saw the colors for dependent and independent clauses. Brilliant.

Waterrr!

Tammy had her kids play in the water and we watched them. They were so cute! We had gone to Payless to purchase water shoes and Walgreens to get food for the picnic later.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

I thought it'd be a fun idea to take advantage of the free concerts by the Grant Park Orchestra (Camino del Inka). It was very nice but went on a bit late so we departed and I walked back to MRH.

I’ve been vibrating diabetic mice at research and it has been good until someone else is using the hood and I have to snoop around for free rooms that I can change mouse cages in! I traveled with the other student researchers in the UIC MOST Summer Program to the American Dental Association and it was a nice facility! We got to listen to a lecture given by a researcher working at Rush on metal implants. I got giddy inside when he spoke about the inflammasome, hehe. He showed pictures of a patch test that can test for allergies to metals and in my head I was like “I DID THAT ON MY BACK TOO!” I couldn’t shower for a week as instructed by the doctor. I’m glad that’s all over.

American Dental Association

Outside of the American Dental Association, there was this really wickedly cool sculpture of a family (I assume). I wish I could have gotten a better look at it.

I really can’t believe August is almost here. I really have to get my application in ASAP! I wonder how many people are in the same boat as me. Gah this sure is a stressful process! I’m excited for the week before school because I can slightly rest up until hitting the books and cramming my life into our short days. Am I the only one excited for Christmas right now? xD

University Hall

Every day in Chicago is hot, sunny and beautiful! I dress in pants and a light sweater (plus my floppy hat) because I don't want to get burned by the sun's UV rays. I'm always sweating because it makes things a lot hotter, but it's nice to know that at least my skin won't get darker! I don't want to damage my skin. Anyway, I was waiting for the 7 bus to go to research after tutoring at the Writing Center and thought University Hall looked nice.

Enjoy your summer because school will be here before you know it! Then, it’ll be graduation. Eep!

Piling it on

Piling – (Pile-ing in case you were confused…)

So I started working at the Writing Center again and was surprised that people signed up for my time slots in the morning so fast! It was awesome to tutor again and it makes me more excited to write my personal statement and describing those 15 experiences I need to include for my AMCAS application.

H&M at Roosevelt Collection

I went to see The Lone Ranger with my friend Jeffrey and it was surprisingly really good! Johnny Depp had his crow on his head the whole time. Anyway, apparently there's an H&M at the Roosevelt Collection! I think it's kind of random, but pretty cool. I wonder what other stores will be poppin' up here soon.

I am still in my research program and working at housing making websites too. I got to learn more about what it is a clinician-scientist can do and how it is a great time right now to become one. I’m very excited to pursue an MD/PhD (we’ll see how it goes though, haha…depends on that MCAT score and other things) but one person had brought up teaching in addition to being a clinician, which I never thought about and am kind of thinking of now. There aren’t too many people who ever talk about being involved in medical education (you have to find them!) but I’m curious to understand more about it and maybe encourage some of my pre-medical club members to investigate what the eclectic nature of becoming a physician can entail.

Whole Foods

There was a time I tried gluten free food and had to go to Whole Foods as my safe haven, haha. I like how close it is to MRH. (:

It’s kind of weird to know that school starts in about one month and a week! I have to start checking out what books I need to purchase or rent for the school year. The most important thing is making sure you’ll actually use the book! This is my schedule in case you were curious:

  • KN 251 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • HN 110 – Foods (Woohoo)
  • HN 311 – Nutrition During the Life Cycle
  • BIOS 323 – Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • HON 201 – Honors Seminar (Dental Caries: Prevalence, Etiology, Classification and Everything You Need to Know About This Infectious Disease)

I am pretty excited to take on these classes and do research + tutor + work (and more, of course). It’ll be my last year of undergrad at UIC (and hopefully not my last year in total!). We’ll see where life takes us though. I hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather! (:

How to cut your medical school list down

Now that the MCAT is over (for now), I have been trying to get my application together. However, it has taken me a lot of time because I’m not even sure if I have met all of the requirements for the schools that are non-UIC ones for the MD/PhD program (Of course, you know that my number one medical school is UIC! I’ll be open minded though since it is incredibly competitive out there for any medical school or joint-degree program…or professional school in general). And thankfully (and kind of stinks too, but in this case I think it’ll save me money), I have not met some requirements and have thus cut from my list of schools I want to go to by at least a half.

My mom and our kunhangela shades.

For the Fourth of July we went to see my grandma and we took our Kunhangela sunglasses from the Cancun wedding with us. My mom and I are fans.

My cousin told me if I can afford to do so, apply everywhere. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of money to spend on the initial fee of one school ($160), the additional 35 dollars for each school on top of that, and the secondary application fee that ranges from 80 dollars to 100 dollars for each school … and I definitely doubt I’ll have money for each interview’s plane ticket and hotel after all that craziness!

And here is how it is done in steps:

  1. Go to every single medical school’s website (the ones you are interested in).
  2. Search for information about AP credit (assuming you received credit for them from your institution) and see if the medical school will take them. If they don’t, either take a full year of upper-level physics/chem/bio/math etc or take it off the list!
  3. Search for information about letters of recommendation and see how many you need and who can write them. It’s pretty tough to get a science professor to write you one when there are so many people in a classroom. I’ve been able to talk to a few during office hours but it takes a lot more visits than that and a good conversation needs to follow … so if you only have one or one that is a non-science professor … be sure to check what the school accepts and does not accept. That can take out a good number of schools off your giant list.
  4. Location by state: I was thinking about applying to Missouri or Florida but then I felt like those places would be super hot and my eczema is not a fan of hot weather (or cold … I need everything like Chicago … even though it’s not that great here year-round but there’s always something I can do to keep my mind off it).

And now to finally begin writing that personal statement + two other essays + everything else on that application…best of luck to everyone who is applying this cycle! (:

Mentors and mentees: Why we need them in our lives

Today in one of our MOST Summer Program seminars, we got to listen to Dr. Marucha speak about the role of mentors in our lives as well as mentees, and at the end of the lecture we had to draw out a map that had everyone we felt were our mentors in the academic setting as well as other settings like our social/emotional side. The main gist is that it helps a lot to have someone who has gone through the route that you plan to take on, and whether it is advising or helping you jump on that scholarship application, they can be a source of strength and a valuable resource to your education and improving your personal well-being.

Weird Plant

One day we got this plant, and then it produced three other plants next to it...and every so often (more once every five years or something) they do this. I have no idea what it is...but this weather sure is fruitful.

For me, mentoring is about understanding someone’s challenges and struggles through their career and their life outside of their career. I find my mentors have given me the best advice through their own experiences, but in the end it is up to me whether or not it applies to my situation. Everyone has their own unique challenges and struggles but I always feel that inherently they can be weighted the same. And, I think it is through these hardships that define who we are as people.

But how do we choose our mentors? Or our mentees? I am very fortunate to have been placed through UIC mentoring programs that I signed up for my freshman and sophomore year with wonderful people, but when I tried mentoring my sophomore year I felt a little bit unprepared (and I am glad that I improved on it greatly since). If you’re feeling like you’re on your own, well — you’re not. There are lots of people who would be interested in helping you achieve your goals and I bet you would love to get to know them too. It’s a shame we don’t interact with people around us more often (mainly because we’re all paranoid or just don’t like forming new relationships as we get older … not sure), and I’m guilty of it too! Perhaps it is because I feel unwelcomed at some spaces, and very welcomed at others. Luckily, UIC is a big enough school where I think anyone can find their niche, but it is a small enough school where your contribution to the university actually matters and is cared about by someone (or can matter if you allow it to).

So, if you have been through UIC and haven’t already gotten involved through mentoring programs, I highly suggest that you get started immediately! Here are a few that I have personally been a part of as well as a link to more resources:

I hope you will all think about who your mentors and even role models are! They may one in the same or different people. It’s all up to you. I hope everyone had a great July 4th holiday and celebrated Blackhawks’ win and Pride Day!

Week before the Big Day

I’m not quite sure what I would do without Google Calendar on my phone and on my computer browser! This week is stacked up with sections tests, full-lengths, and everything that I need to know to rock this standardized test. I think my eyesight it slowly deteriorating because of being on the computer all day practicing my test-taking skills. Sometimes I wish the MCAT wasn’t on the computer, but it is nice in regards to preparing for it because I can access a computer almost anywhere on campus. In fact, I’ve been going to the library to simulate the same environment as Test Day! It’s hard to find a quiet spot sometimes, but luckily there aren’t as many students in the summer and since the 8-week session just started it shouldn’t be too crowded at 7:30 a.m.!

I’ll still going to go to research next week, but only for two days. I had to ask my lab-mates (not sure what to call them actually…) to help me vibrate my mice. I’m excited that we’ll be done with these guys soon because their poop really stinks! I get to start working on diabetic mice soon and they are just so cute (and depressing, but cute nonetheless). I will be doing my best to sleep at 10 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. to review notes and take tests. I saw a video for the test center and it looks so intense! I heard from friends that it feels like you’re a criminal when you are there because they need to take so much identification material from you.

For those who are also taking it the same day I am, or have their MCAT date nearing soon…don’t forget about the essentials! I’m going to prepare a Ziploc bag of stuff to bring so that I can prepare for the worst (and thank you to Kaplan for letting me know all of this):

  • Bring government issued ID cards (2 preferably like your driver’s license and passport) and make sure they are NOT expired.
  • Printout of confirmation email (in case they don’t have you on their roster)
  • Snacks/sports drink (I’m going to bring raisins and granola bars, probably water too)
  • Tissues, cough drops (for sniffles and such…my nose always gets runny when I take tests)
  • Ibuprofen and Tums
  • Anything you deem “lucky” (I don’t have anything lucky but I’ll just bring a nice comfy sweater with a zipper in the middle in case the air conditioning is blasting in my face or behind me).

Not sure if I am missing anything, but the main thing I am concerned with is my eczema on Test Day! I know I tend to scratch and pick at things when I think and it’s not good…need to practice more. Work hard everyone! It will pay off! (:

Intense Brain Workout

One of the reasons I tend to continue going to work/research while I am studying for big exams (MCAT, finals, regular exams) is because I think I’d go insane if I didn’t! A full day of studying! It’s unbearable, but necessary if it is the day before your test (woo go crammers!). I’m not sure if people cram for the MCAT, but there are less than two weeks for mine and I’m on a cramming-roll! Of course, if I was smarter I would probably quit everything and just focus solely on studying…

How do people do that?! Study all day and night! Then again, people always ask me “how do YOU do all that?” Working and working and then studying!

Gowned Up!

I have been vibrating mice in a facility below the College of Medicine Building (COMRB) and we are required to wear a bunch of stuff before we go and work with the mice. I never thought about taking a picture until I saw the reflection on my phone and I thought "hey this would be fun to share..." The area is also where the surgeons are UIC practice the robotic DaVinci machine (I saw a kidney transplant a few months ago that used that and it was so cool!).

Shall I attribute it to my diet? No. My genetics? No. My exercising plan? Oh dear no! I’d have to say it’s all thanks to my work ethic. I’m not sure how others develop theirs, but I would say most of mine stems greatly from my motivation to overcome my biggest obstacle of eczema! Not everyone has a disease but I’m sure we all stress a lot and that’s something we should be able to deal with in any situation.

So, I figured it’d be good to list some nice stress-relieving and productive exercises for your brain and your heart!

  • Listen to music (or Audio Osmosis by Exam Krackers for you MCAT lovers)
  • Exercise (or window shopping) either walking around your room or doing some stretches … don’t do jumping jacks because that always hurts peoples’ heads (or at least it hurts mine … I feel like my brain is jumping up and down in my skull) … or just get up and shake your booty! Helps me out, haha.
  • Meditate (don’t fall asleep though)
  • Play an instrument (smashing waterbottles together to create a sound works too)
  • Drink tea (or make water with a slice of lemon in it)
  • Read a book for leisure or the news (the news is surprisingly really fun to read about)
  • Closing your eyes for fifteen seconds and taking deep breaths (again, don’t fall asleep!)
  • Talking to a loved one (I bug my brother all the time with my worries and woes and it always helps to get myself motivated again after a good phone conversation with him!)
  • Find humorous videos (or cute ones, like puppies and kittens)

I hope you will use this list or leave a comment with your own ideas! We’re almost done with the month of June! I can’t wait for this test to be over so I can start working on my application.

Cancun Wedding

Even though I only have three weeks left until I take my MCAT and should be studying insanely, I can’t seem to focus as much as I want to. Then again, being on a sudden family trip to Cancun to attend my cousin’s wedding isn’t something you get to do all the time…and hey maybe the break will help clear my mind from all of this craziness going on. I don’t know why I feel so exhausted all the time. Ah, you know what it might be the new medication the allergist prescribed…my skin has been getting these weird rashes everywhere. He says it’s just my eczema but I don’t think so…this is different. Well, in any case I’ve been super itchy and I have a stronger antihistamine to reduce the symptoms, but it makes me very drowsy and I find it very difficult to get up early in the morning.

Mule? Donkey?

I couldn't figure out if this was a mule or donkey, but it was pretty cute! We took a picture next to it but they wouldn't let me use my phone camera, and then we found out it was $10 for the photo and I didn't have cash on me so I feel bad for wasting their time! Oh well, it was fun! My brother got to ride it, haha!

Anyway, how exactly do you study when you’re on vacation? Is it plausible to bring everything and get to all of your studying material? I think the most important thing is to have one specific goal and have that as your absolute must-do assignment for your whole entire trip (assuming its only a weekend). For example…

  • Verbal Reasoning passages (just one and timed)
  • MCAT flashcards – all of physics
  • Make a studying schedule (if you can’t study at all, at least do something productive and make a schedule via Google calendar or some thing… And be specific!!!)
Heart Fried Rice

Isn't that sweet? This place was made for lovers!

I am hoping to get a lot accomplished on the plane ride but we’ll see! I get kind of sick when I read in a moving vehicle. I haven’t been on a plane since last summer in Taiwan. I still can’t believe that was a whole year ago! I still feel like I just came from it sometimes.

Fruit Faces

You can do a lot with fruit apparently! This is like edible arrangements on steroids or something.

Cesar

This is my new friend Cesar! He showed us how to shoot a rifle and do archery. Surprisingly I hit the target on my first try with the rifle, whereas my brother and my three other cousins were unable to get even close! I was in disbelief too. I think I may have to check out the shooting ranges around the Chicago area sometime!

EDIT: I was unable to study the whole entire trip. This means I better buckle down these next three weeks! I tried to do my best but it was too hard avoiding “fun” when it was everywhere, even if your room!

Wedding Gazebo

They were setting up for the wedding...it was so beautiful I cried three times that night!

The Beach

The ocean rocks! Too bad I was unable to swim due to my unfortunate state of womanhood. Ah...maybe next time!

Maraca and Program

It was so sunny and I hate being bombarded with UV rays! I can't wear sunscreen because it irritates my skin/eczema...so I do my best to stay in the shade and wear a floppy hat. On our seats we got these cute maraca-things that said to shake them when the bride and groom were pronounced husband and wife! So cute!

How’s your summer going? (:

Dancing!

Did I ever tell you I like dancing? Hehe.

EDIT: I took more photos but I’d have to ask for permission (not that they wouldn’t say yes but I like to keep peoples’ privacy). Overall Cancun was amazing and I am really happy I was able to go to my cousin’s wedding. We weren’t going to go originally because we had no money but my dad was able to pick up a small project so we were able to go! Now that I’m back in Chicago, it’s time to get real and kick this MCAT out of the water! Good luck to all of my pre-medical friends and acquaintances who are doing the same, and all others who are studying for examinations for applications/licensures/etc. (:

Research happenings

I’ve been on research and MCAT studying mode (more like just research because MCAT studying is being very slow and I should probably work on that more). Let me say, it’s been intense and the days go by so fast.

I’ve been researching on mice for three weeks now and it’s been fun and annoying at the same time. It’s fun because people do it all the time and I get to experience doing the actual experiment from start to finish (yay). The mice are pretty cute too, until they poop…a lot. It really stings the nose.

The annoying part is my allergies. I don’t sneeze or anything when I’m with them. In fact, I’d say I don’t think about itching or scratching at all. If anything, I’m sweating from gowning up and feeling very tired from moving things around and keeping things very controlled in a nit-picky manner. It is after the whole mouse routine that I start to feel the itchiness all around me. My whole body is covered in blotches and patches of scratched up skin. I should probably go see a doctor but the dermatologist canceled my appointment randomly so I had to reschedule it for two months. I wish she had an earlier availability because I was supposed to see her this week and get medication for my eczema on my body. Gah and this weather isn’t helping either!

The MOST Summer Program has started and I’ve already experienced a lot of fun lectures! I joined the UIC Green Labs Committee and can’t wait to learn more about other ways to get involved in the lab (and out of the lab per se).

Gah. So much to do. I hope everyone is having a productive summer!

MCAT in one month

I’ve been searching for a calendar script to upload to the Campus Housing website that doesn’t use Perl/CGI (because that’s annoying) and when I finally came across an awesome code I began to upload and test it out. We’re trying to get a calendar up so that the students taking courses for Summer College have a place to find fun events in Chicago and some campus housing-oriented ones, too! Anyway, as I was mingling with that I noticed I only had one month to study for the MCAT before I take the real thing.

As you may or may not know already, I had to postpone the exam two times because I didn’t feel prepared enough. The first date was March 23, which was two weeks after my Kaplan course ended (they say it is good to take it within a few weeks of taking the course)…but that was a bad time because I was really focused on preparing my Health Activism Committee members to Clemente High School and also studying for lots of exams in my science classes! So, I figured moving it to May 11, the day after my last final, would be a good choice. HA. I ended up following my fellow biochemistry friends to the library and stayed up all night to study for that Friday final. I am so glad I moved that MCAT because I don’t think I was able to fix my sleeping schedule until a week after!

Right now I’m doing the free Kaplan retake but I’m enrolled in the Advanced class (need a 27 or higher to be able to register for the class) instead of the Advantage class. It’s really awesome but super intense because we meet every TWR from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and have extra materials to cover on top of the regular stuff I was doing this past semester in the on-site class. I kept up really well during the semester and was able to finish everything and read everything, but doing it again I’m totally not motivated to reread that material (since I already read it and know it) so I’m a little confused on how I should go about targeting my weaknesses.

Hands down, physics is my weak spot, but luckily all those semesters of taking chemistry courses helps out with the physical sciences and biological sciences score! Verbal is a butt-kicker. I really need to improve my vocabulary because apparently “pictures” is the same as “film” in certain cases. Confusing.

The main reason I have been struggling to keep up with everything is because I am doing research in the morning, working at graphics/web for campus housing in the afternoon, then going straight to class. By the time it is 8:30 p.m. (we go over sometimes and it ends at 9 p.m.), I’m pooped! But I still stay up to at least do the topical tests that need to be done within 24 hours of the class for the best results (looks great on everything except for physics, haha). I haven’t taken physics since high school! That was four years ago…time sure flies.

I’m also busy working on my medical school application and thinking about what classes to take in the fall. I’ve recently added human anatomy and physiology (KN 251) so I’m really excited about that! But, after adding the class, I was at 17 credit hours and I’m worried I won’t be able to dedicate time into research/work/other jobs so that I can pay for tuition. I hope my financial aid package got better this year! Otherwise, I better keep on applying for more scholarships at UIC. More scholarships = more time for school and less time for work!

To those of you who work while in school, KUDOS TO YOU! Seriously. It is something to be recognized for and don’t forget to give yourself a break! Think about your goals and never lose sight of them. (:

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! I’m having fun vibrating mice and PCR-ing…coding and such. Hehe.

Oh, and studying for the MCAT. T-T

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