Author Archives: Sarah Lee

About Sarah Lee

Hi, I'm Sarah! I am a junior Neuroscience student in GPPA Medicine who is still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do in my life. One day I want to be fluent in Russian and explore Eastern Europe. In my free time, I love running, playing piano and guitar, and reading. I currently live in Courtyard residence hall as a Peer Mentor but my home is in Naperville.

One day at a time…

♪♫♪ Careful child, light the fuse and get away / ‘Cause happiness throws a shower of sparks…

It’s been a busy week getting accustomed to the regular feel of my schedule for the semester. So far my classes seem to be going alright, although organic chemistry II is definitely no joke. Not that I expected it to be at all, but I’ve been re-doubling my efforts to keep up for the weekly quizzes. Our first exam is already on February 6th, which floors me because on the one hand, it feels like we just started, while at the same time we have already covered so much material already. Every lecture feels a little bit like a marathon, both mentally and for my hand trying to copy my professors’ lightning fast notes. The other day during lecture, my pen actually half exploded as a result of my efforts…ink was leaking everywhere on my page and fingers!

Physics is also going well so far, but I know that’s because we’ve only covered the basic material that I can still recall from high school. The moment we enter unknown topics, I’m going to have to really kick it into gear. As for psychology, it feels a little redundant to study some of the material we’re covering right now because I think I know it pretty well already from taking other science or statistics courses. I’ll be more interested when get into material I haven’t encountered before.

For the first time in a while, I feel rather lost in Russian class! The professor speaks only Russian for the majority of the time, and I don’t think my level is quite high enough to keep up with all the directions and grammar. Most of our class is comprised of native speakers, and I’m pretty jealous that they seem can converse in Russian so easily! It’s been taking me more efforts on my part to translate more material on my own and learn grammar from the textbook, but I still love the language as much as ever.

In the meantime, I’m so excited to celebrate Chinese New Year with my dad! My mom is still in Taiwan at the moment celebrating the holiday with the rest of our family and my brother is in Cleveland for his grad program, so my dad and I will be celebrating on our own this year. I miss them all very much, especially my family in Taiwan. The fact that I just saw them makes me miss them even more. Thank goodness for modern technology that allows for free video chat and international phone calls!

And the recent freezing cold makes me wish I was back in Taiwan too! On these cold winter days, it makes me really thankful that I live on campus and my room is just a few minute’s walk away from my classes. Even if I have to trudge through mushy snow, I know I have it pretty easy compared to those who have to rely on trains and busses to remain on time despite treacherous conditions. Besides, since I have 8 AMs every day (I actually prefer it that way believe it or not!), I have the rare chance to enjoy the peaceful snow-blanketed campus of the early morning before everyone comes bustling in. It’s a strange cathartic feeling to feel the crunch beneath my boots as I tread through the quad, making the first set of footprints leading all the way to SES. So even though it’s been frigid, I feel like I can’t really complain – there are still little beauties all around me that I am thankful for.

So you tell yourself that’s enough for now / Happiness has a violent roar ♪♫♪

(Happiness – The Fray)

Singing to myself

♪♫♪ Let it go, let it go, I am one with the wind and sky…

Lately it feels like I am one of the few people who still hasn’t seen Frozen…but that doesn’t mean I haven’t listened to the soundtrack already…dozens of times. I pretty much love all Disney music, so it’s frequently what I have playing in the background while I try to get some work done. One of my secret talents is knowing the lyrics to pretty much every classic Disney song.  It’s a little silly that I know the words to almost all of the Frozen songs but I still haven’t seen the movie! (But I hear the sing-along version is being released in theaters…this may be my chance.) Although it’s been out a long time, I’m still trying to avoid spoilers on the Internet, which is a real challenge.

So on the topic of great music and soundtracks, I have a confession: I absolutely love singing. It’s doubtful that many people know this at all, because I could probably count on one hand the number of people who have ever heard me sing outside a middle school choir setting. And there’s good reason for that too, seeing how I have a very weak and pitchy voice. As a result, I only sing when I’m completely alone or with close friends. When I am alone, however,  it’s almost a constant behavior. I don’t just in the shower, I sing while cleaning, laying in bed trying to fall asleep, doing homework…but I’m afraid years of this kind of practice has never improved my voice. When it comes to performing for others, I stick to just playing the piano, where I’m much more confident. I’m so incredibly jealous of singers I hear, especially those with powerhouse voices that sound amazing. I think one of the reasons I adore showtunes so much (I fall in love with musicals easily) is that a lot of the singers belt out their notes so passionately. As childish as it may seem, listening to Let It Go or Defying Gravity makes me feel as if I can sing vicariously through Idina Menzel. If I could really be anything at all in the world, I would choose to be a Broadway actress, hands down.

(But alas, I seem to be lacking in the whole singing, acting, and dancing requirements…so it’s the medical life for me.)

When I was in Japan this past Christmas, my mom, brother, and I had the awesome chance to go karaoke with my aunt and cousin on our last night in Tokyo. It’s crazy how many karaoke places there are in Japan! This is especially true in a large city like Tokyo, where there’s at least a few on every street. The later it gets in the evening, the more popular karaoke becomes; after a certain time, they even have one hour time limits on the rooms! Even though it was around 10 PM and we had an early flight the next morning to Taiwan, my mom treated us all to karaoke that night.

It was such a cool experience! We were all in a small room with just couches and a TV, and we could pick any song we wanted while ordering drinks throughout the hour. It was really typical to my aunt and cousin, Yoshihiro, but my brother and I were excited and kept picking songs on this seemingly magic karaoke machine that had thousands and thousands of Japanese, English, and Chinese songs. My brother Bob shocked us all by being able to sing a great number of Japanese songs! He took Japanese in high school, and so he was able to read the lyrics pretty easily, and he picked many of his favorite songs from anime.

Another confession of mine to share this week: when I was really small, perhaps 3 or 4 years old, I sang to the karaoke of “My Heart Will Go On,” and apparently toddler Sarah was not shy about her voice at all, because my mom loves telling the story of how I stood on a table with a microphone and sang Celine Dion to my parents and all their friends. (While I’m sure I was adorable then, I think a few things have changed haha…) So since then, whenever karaoke is made available, it’s an on-running joke in my family that I should give another fabulous encore of the song. That night, I decided to let loose and finally do it! I sang with my mom and had a fantastic time. I can really see why people in Japan must love karaoke so much—everyone is able to let loose and enjoy themselves in such a warm and fun environment. It doesn’t really matter if you sing well or not since you’re with all of your friends just having a great time! I wish places designated just for karaoke like that were a lot more common here in the states!

Even though I have no desire to sing on a stage, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it on my own. I’ve never been a big performer, and I’m fine with that. Music keeps me sane and happy, which is all I need.

~~~

Here I stand, in the light of day / Let the storm rage on / The cold never bothered me anyway ♪♫♪

(Let It Go – Idina Menzel)

Waking up in winter

♪♫♪ We got no money, but we got heart…

~~~

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was pull on a second layer of socks with my gloved hands. I zipped up a jacket over my sweatshirt, pulled a hat on my head, and hobbled to my bathroom like a sleepy penguin (except I was probably shivering).

It’s pretty safe to say that I am not built for cold Chicago winters! Every year, as soon as it hits December, I am wrapped in as many layers as possible because I fear the biting cold so much. So far, I haven’t gotten sick yet (knock on wood), and I am doing my best to keep it that way. And of course, with all the talk of the Polar Vortex this year, I am especially bundled up from the moment I get up until it’s time to take shelter under my heaps of blankets at night. Even though I keep the heat in my room on high, I still feel cold in the morning! It might be because my room in Courtyard res hall happens to be right next to an exit, and people coming and going lets a lot of cold air in. Usually a hot cup of tea can warm me up though!

Aside from this crazy weather, I am quickly getting back into the bustle of school and work for this semester. I had the best winter break over in Japan and Taiwan by spending all my time with family and loved ones, and it wasn’t easy having to say goodbye for another unknown amount of time. I really hope I get to go back to see them all soon or they’re able to come visit me here! I kept telling them all about Chicago and how I’d love to show them around. Unfortunately, while I was there, internet was harder to come by than I anticipated, so I wasn’t able to blog regularly, but I’m glad to finally be back. I definitely want to share more about my experience and seeing my family (some who I had not seen in 5-10 years) in the coming weeks, and I’m still gathering all the pictures that were taken together. Stay tuned for some pictures of Tokyo and Taipei!

It has been a while since I last traveled, and I almost forgot how much jet lag can hit me. I was living on a pretty dysfunctional schedule for a while, and even though I tried to adjust in the few days I had before classes started, I was still sleeping at unconventional hours, usually waking up around 3 AM every morning. The temperature here is also about 50 degrees lower than it was in Taichung, so I quickly pulled out my thickest winter jacket from home to take to my room here on campus! Since I only had about one day at home before having to come back to school, I was in a harried state preparing my things for school. I had hoped to be diving smoothly into my work, but it feels like I sort of fell into the pool of work instead. This semester, I am taking (in order of increasing trepidation) Psychology 100, Russian 104, Physics 105/106, and Organic Chemistry II. The first two I am less concerned about—I have always been on my game for Russian since I love the language so much and I have taken some psychology before, even though this is my first real class in it because I have decided to switch to a Neuroscience major. I’m regretting not taking AP Psych in high school now to get out of the 100 level class, but I never expected that I might do something other than Biology or Biochemistry. I think this is the right choice, though, because looking at the course list, I find that the science classes for neuroscience fascinate me a lot more. However, I’m pretty anxious for orgo 2 and physics! I have heard some intimidating things from many friends, so I am trying to go in as prepared as possible. I already have quizzes for both classes coming up even though it feels like we are just starting to cover material. I really hope my retention from orgo 1 and high school physics doesn’t fail me. In the meantime, I’m just going to try to stay warm, set my circadian rhythm straight, and get back to the gym!

~~~

We’re gonna rattle this ghost town / This house is falling apart! ♪♫♪

(Anna Sun – Walk the Moon)

Brace yourselves…winter (break) is coming!

♪♫♪ Dancing bears, painted wings, things I almost remember…

I numbly left SES after my organic chemistry 1 final on Thursday morning. It was absolutely frigid outside, but it didn’t stop many of my classmates to linger outside the building doors to commiserate over the terribly treacherous exam through murmurs of disdain, worry, and even indignation. Despite my own concerns over the final exam, I defaulted to my typical coping mechanism, which is generally a mindset of optimism.There’s nothing I can do to change anything about it now, so being negative about the situation would only depress me further. I try to combat my worries with some blind hope instead. Maybe it’s a bit foolish sometimes not to worry more, but I did the best I could and in my heart I believe that everything will be okay in the end. As one of my best friends often asks me when I’m anxious about something, “What’s the worse that can happen?”

That being said, I am so thankful for my wonderful friends who listened to me worry my mind out over organic chemistry this past week! They were my lifeline when I felt like the brain matter was seeping from my ears, so I am forever grateful that I have them in my life! So with that final hill climbed and (maybe) conquered, I can finally relax for winter break! Because my finals didn’t end until Friday, I’ve been a little frazzled trying to completely prepare and pack for going to Taiwan and Japan for 3 weeks! It’s incredible to think that I’ll be in Tokyo in less than a week…but I’m so excited! My mom, brother, and I will be staying a week with my aunt in Japan and then 2.5 weeks more in Taiwan with my grandma. Everything has been really busy around the house with everyone packing, but I’m just getting more and more excited. I have never been to Asia in the wintertime before- whenever I traveled to Japan or Taiwan in the past, there was always sweltering heat in the spring or summer. But I’m excited to finally be there in the winter for once! It can’t be as cold as it is in Chicago, right?

Stay warm, friends – the cold and the snow don’t seem to be letting up, so remember to stay safe this winter break! I’ve never been too fond of the cold, but with things like Christmas lights, holiday songs, and hot cocoa, I guess I don’t really mind!

Far away, long ago, glowing dim as an ember / Things my heart used to know,, things it yearns to remember / And a song someone sings once upon a December… ♪♫♪

(Once Upon A December - Liz Callaway)

Looking forward

♪♫♪ The night is gonna fall and the vultures will surround you / And when you’re lookin’ in the mirror, what you see is gon’ astound you…

If you are a UIC student reading this…congratulations! I am currently writing this in a sleep-deprived and harried state of studying, but by the time this blog is posted, everyone will have hopefully finished their final exams! No matter how worried you may be about how you did or your final grades, just take a second and recognize everything you have accomplished this semester. Take pride in the work and time that you have put in these past 16 weeks – it’s been long and it hasn’t been easy, but you made it.

I know that I have learned a lot and not just from classes. I still sometimes with I could go back and re-do the semester by changing many things and correcting all of the mistakes that I made as a student, Peer Mentor, and friend – but I know that making those mistakes has taught me how to improve myself and be better. It hasn’t been an easy semester for me, but I think I finally have a grasp on how to balance my time to be both the best and most well-rounded person I can be. Instead of being caught up on what I wish I did differently or what I can’t change, I want to focus more attention on what I will change and improve for next semester and years to come. Specifically, I want to get better at planning ahead and staying on top of things to get the grades I want – time management has really helped with that – and remembering all the little things that I treasure and don’t want to see sacrificed because I’m so busy all the time.

  • For instance, I want to always make time to call my parents and my brother regularly, even if I don’t really have much to say except to tell them that I love them.
  • I want to keep learning new songs on the piano and then play them for the residents at Rush University Medical Center, where I volunteer as a student musician weekly. With that, I also want to pick up the guitar again and try learning some new chords other than the small handful I know now.
  • I want to journal and write again – blogging for UIC has actually helped re-kindle this – because free-writing helps me express the worries and frustrations as well as the excitement and hope that I unconsciously keep bottled up otherwise.
  • I want to step up my workouts and be more healthy and fit than ever before. I really honed my running during freshmen year, and now I want to add more lifting to my workouts as well. It might be hard, but I hope to always carve out an hour a day for a good workout!
  • And of course I want to go out with my friends more. It’s been ages since I simply went to see a movie at the theater with a friend, which is one of my favorite things to do. I’ve missed a lot of great movies I wanted to see this semester but I hope to watch them all soon.

I want all of these things, and I fully intend to see that they happen! No matter what I do, I want to do it with heart, because that’s the only way that I will find the result meaningful.

Now there’s an entire winter break ahead of us! Make some plans for yourself to enjoy the holidays and spend time with your loved ones. I myself am so excited because I will be visiting my relatives in Japan and Taiwan for the entirety of break! It’s been 5 years since I last saw them, so I can’t wait to see them, especially my grandma. I have missed her so much!

Congratulations again, everyone! Happy holidays and enjoy your time off! You deserve it.

But all these lines and greys refine, they are the maps of our design / Of what began on a Monday morning… ♪♫♪

(Monday Morning – Death Cab for Cutie)

“If there is a future, we want it Now.” – Paramore

♪♫♪ Well she lives in a fairy tale, somewhere too far for us to find / Forgotten the taste and smell of a world that she’s left behind…

There are very few artists in my music library that I can honestly say I own every single one of their albums and songs (including the unreleased!) but Paramore is one of them. So when I found out during the summer that Paramore would be playing in November at the UIC Pavilion, literally down the street at from where I live on campus, I was ecstatic and bought my ticket right away–and I am so happy I did because the concert was astounding! My friend Brandon and I met up amidst the bustling people inside the pavilion as the bands hellogoodbye and Metric opened the concert. When the lights dimmed down and PARAMORE finally flashed up in bright lights on both sides of the stage, there was a deafening roar in the crowd while the opening drums began to play.

I am quite thoroughly convinced that Hayley Williams is one of the most incredible singers/performers of all time – she has such an effortless stage presence that commands an entire screaming crowd and gets everybody pumped up. Her voice has an amazing range that can go from loud, crazy punk rock to slow, beautiful rock ballads. I was completely psyched for the concert beforehand, and she was even more amazing live than I expected. I don’t think many singers can do that! This concert was part of Paramore’s Self-Titled Tour and featured songs from their newest album Paramore, but I was thrilled that they also played the best of their old songs too, including lots of my favorites like Ignorance, Decode and crushcrushcrush. The whole pavilion lit up with cell phones and lights when they played the slow and soothing In the Mourning, which they even combined with some lines from Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, and the acoustic The Only Exception, one of my favorite songs. During the energetic Misery Business, she even brought a super lucky fan on stage to sing it with her!

I was completely pumped up during the whole concert. My friend was laughing a lot because I was jumping around and singing so much, whereas I’m usually a pretty reserved person. I fit in with the rest of the crowd though, because everyone was beyond excited by the time the finale came about, which was the super popular Still Into You. During the song, balloons rained from the ceiling of the pavilion and it felt like one crazy, awesome party. I had a fantastic time and it was the perfect way for me to end a hard week with one of my favorite bands!

I only snapped a few poor quality photos with my phone because I was too busy rocking out! (It actually bothers me when people spend so much time taking pictures or recordings – Put your phone down! You’re missing the whole concert!)

A lot of people don’t expect me to be such a huge Paramore fan (I don’t really come across as a punk rock fan) but Brand New Eyes and Riot! are two of my favorite albums – I especially love them during my intense workouts. And even though their sound and style has definitely changed since then, I still think they’re great. I hear and read a lot that they’ve “fallen” to being mainstream pop, and that the departure of the Farro brothers (two of the band’s founding members) a few years ago ruined their music, but I don’t think so at all. Their music has changed, so I can see how some people might not like it, but I personally still do. In my opinion, it shouldn’t matter if a band is mainstream, or how many people like them, or who liked what song first, second, last, etc…if you like a song or artist, then listen to them! The music is for you to enjoy. I like to think that’s a big reason why musicians want to make music in the first place—for people to listen, appreciate, and share with others.

Never heard Paramore before? Then thanks for reading this long, excited rant about how spectacular their concert was. Now go rock out to That’s What You Get.

Well, go get your shovel and we’ll dig a deep hole / To bury the castle, bury the castle… ♪♫♪

(Brick By Boring Brick – Paramore)

Enter the 20s…

♪♫♪ Do you know where the wild things go? / They go along to take your honey, la la la…

Apparently a lot of big things happened on 11/12/13. The number order must have seemed auspicious to a lot of people, because I saw the news report on dozens of couples that decided to get married on that day (many of them on a whim!). Also there was a report on a baby that was born at 14:15, and another baby that was born whose parents married on 9/10/11…

Haha well personally I celebrated 11/12/13 because it was my 20th birthday! It feels weird because many of my friends are a year younger or more than me, and I kept hearing, “You’re not a teenager anymore!” or “Wow, you’re sooo old!” I certainly don’t feel much older…it actually only really hit me yesterday during my Russian class when we were practicing speaking, and I had to say “Мне 20 лет” for the first time. I was browsing Buzzfeed (because who can resist clicking more links on the sidebar?) and I read an article that actually described age 20 as the “purgatory year” because you’re not a teenager but not quite yet an adult yet either…

Well, regardless of what should/could/will come in the next 10 years, I was just happy to relax a bit and celebrate my birthday with my loved ones. I still had classes and lots of work to get done, but my friends surprised me with some awesome presents that I am so thankful for. I got a beautiful soft scarf that’s perfect for this frigid weather, a fruit arrangement, and lots of cupcakes. In the evening, my wonderful parents also visited and surprised me with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins! I definitely ate waaay too many sweets that whole week…on the weekend my friends and I went out to Flattop Grill too!

During that same week, I was also pretty proud of my Tea Tasting program! All of the RAs and PMs of Campus Housing host programs that can be academic or just for fun. I love tea and frequently binge-drink it when I’m up late doing homework, so I decided to do a tea tasting — the only problem was that I didn’t really have it in my personal budget to buy a great variety of loose leaf teas. So, I had to rely solely on my program budget that’s designated for Jewel. I managed to get a a pretty good variety though, because I already had my personal stash of tea to pick from. In the end, I had green, peppermint, ginger, white, black, and chai spice. Overall, I was very pleased with my program as it had the best turnout I’ve had so far! The people who came said they enjoyed the tea, with the most popular being the pomegranate white. An old friend of mine also surprised me and brought his own loose leaf tea. I tried some loose leaf Golden Monkey tea for the first time, and it was wonderful.

In other news, I’m so excited to say that the third issue of The Ampersand will be out soon! For those of you who don’t know, The Ampersand is the newsletter for the UIC Honors College. We cover all kinds of Honors College related news, events, programs, and student life. If you like reading I Am UIC blog posts, you’ll probably enjoy The Ampersand as well! You can pick up your copy in the Honors College at Burnham Hall right before finals week. We are also on Facebook – like our page to get the most updates!

By chance I stumbled into writing for The Ampersand last year as a freshman because I just wanted to get involved in publications to write more, and it has definitely been one of my best decisions at UIC. I’m currently an editor and writer and I love it! It’s been a good way for me to stay writing in my free time, and also stay involved in the Honors College.

Tired? Stressed? Drained? (I know those feelings…) I recommend brewing a hot cup of tea — lately I have found it is one thing sure to make me feel a little bit better, no matter what.

Please don’t go, please don’t go / I love you so, I love you so / Please break my heart ♪♫♪

(Breezeblocks – ∆)

Perfect day for a perfect 10

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father / Run for your children, your sisters and your brothers… ♪♫♪

On Saturday, November 9th, I ran the Chicago’s Perfect 10 race at Navy Pier! I ran the 10K (6.2 miles) race, which took place at 7:30 AM. The 10-mile race, which was an extension of the 10K course, started shortly after at 7:45 AM. This was only the third annual Chicago Perfect 10 at Navy Pier, and it was run by the Gateway for Cancer Research, which is a nonprofit organization that funds cancer research, including new drug investigations, combination therapies, and alternative medicine studies. I was happy that my entry fee was going toward a good cause, and before the race started, one of the race organizers, who is a cancer survivor herself, thanked all of the racers for participating that day.

I had signed up for the race kind of a on a whim, so I was pretty proud of my results! I finished in 52:47 (with 8:31 pace), which was faster than I expected. That typically happens though — I’ve noticed that adrenaline really gets to me on race days and I usually with better times than I anticipate. I came in 4th place in my division (girls 15-19) and 149th overall out of about 1,500 people.

I’ve been completely occupied with my courses and work the past couple weeks, so unfortunately I hadn’t really designated a lot of time to train. These days I just try to make enough time to fit a good workout in every day! After being a Peer Mentor for a few months, one thing I have definitely instilled in myself is how to be relentless with my time management. (Though sometimes even after all of my planning, it seems like there still aren’t enough hours in the day.)

Navy Pier was lovely at 6 AM! I arrived just as the sun was rising, so I was able to watch it from the pier. Then I played the usual waiting game / pre-race pump up by ambling from different sponsor tents to another. After a few races, I’ve learned that it’s pretty routine. There’s always the typical GNC/Road Runner Sports/Skechers booths, dozens of runners stretching in one corner, and somebody blasting “Livin’ On A Prayer” or “Firework” in the background. I was happy that it all took place indoors though, because it was still frigid outdoors! I was glad I chose to wear my longsleeve shirt to run that day, even though I typically only wear short sleeves because I sweat easily.

The race course was beautiful as well — after running through the Pier, we looped by Lake Michigan and eventually entered Grant Park. It was wonderful being able to sightsee while I ran, and the course itself was not too difficult — only at one point did I have some trouble running on some grassy patches (I’m always nervous that I’ll roll my ankle). Also the wind was treacherous at some points, which was to be expected so close to the lake. I’m not used to running in really cold temperatures, but I luckily warmed up pretty quickly. I was most tired between miles four and five, but I distracted myself with my upbeat running music. I also have this ridiculously competitive obsession with trying to pass people during races for some reason; even though I know I’m exhausted, I don’t like being passed by runners behind me! I suppose it’s a good motivating factor, though, because I always redouble my efforts no matter how strenuous so that I can keep up with those around me.

I look a little wild-eyed in this picture because I was trying to keep my eyes open in the crazy sun!

Overall it was a pretty fun race, and I would definitely do it again. Running is something I hope to continue for a long time to come. I’m not signed up for my next race just yet, but it may be a St. Patrick’s Day 5K or the Shamrock Shuffle!

The dog days are over, the dog days are done / Can you hear the horses? ‘Cause here they come ♪♫♪

(Dog Days Are Over,  Florence + The Machine)

 

Sunday studying…

Got the radio on, my old blue jeans / And I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve ♪♫♪

My current state-of-being: secluded in the corner of Caribou Coffee, huddled over my laptop and textbooks while binge-drinking vanilla tea latte. I’m quietly singing to the Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne songs that keep playing over the café speakers, but I should probably stop since the barista keeps giving me odd looks. Today is a peaceful Sunday, even though as always, I’m barely keeping up with plenty of work to get done. The weekend is always too short, and this semester is just flying by. I can’t believe I just registered for spring courses. At the moment I’m just relieved to take a break from my treacherous organic chemistry homework to make my very first blog post ever!

My name is Sarah and I am currently a sophomore Biochemistry major and Russian minor, which I am often told is an odd combination. But I studied abroad in Russia in high school and fell in love with the language, so I’ve kept up with it ever since. It’s my hope to study there again sometime in the next three years. I am “one of those crazy pre-med students” and a member of GPPA medicine. It’s an incredible honor to be a part of that program, and one of the big lessons I take away from it is to never let myself settle for complacency, in classes or otherwise. I try to consistently challenge myself and take risks, even if it leads to a rather hectic lifestyle with long days and late night.

After a long day, I decompress by making all types of hot tea, tinkering on the piano, and reading for fun, especially young adult books from my childhood. I have awful eyesight and somehow I went from being farsighted as a toddler to being extremely nearsighted now. My go-to series to watch on Netflix is How I Met Your Mother but my all-time favorite shows are probably Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. Whenever I get a chance to head home in Naperville, I like to relax by baking with my mom, going to the movies with my brother, or cheering on the Chicago Bulls with my dad. I own over 30 scarves and always have trouble picking the right one every morning. It seems like the weather is getting colder every day and I’m dreading the frigid days ahead because I get cold very easily.

I love music and couldn’t live without it. One of my favorite things to do is to craft playlists for specific people, occasions, or memories. I have all kinds of artists and genres in my iTunes library. While I listen to instrumental or piano music when I study, I indulge in Taylor Swift and radio music, especially when I workout. I try really hard to carve out an hour a day to go to the gym, and my workouts usually consist of running, Pilates, and some casual lifting. I like to challenge myself by signing up for various races throughout the year. My longest one yet was the Chicago Half Marathon this past September, and I actually just finished the Chicago Perfect 10 (10K) yesterday morning at Navy Pier! Stay tuned for my next blog post coming soon about that experience.

Well, it’s time for me to get back to the books – I have plenty of cell bio reading to get caught up on before a quiz tomorrow as well as work to get done for my job. I work as a Peer Mentor in Courtyard residence hall for Campus Housing, and I’m currently planning a tea-tasting program. I’m super excited because I absolutely love tea and can’t wait to share it with my residents! In the meantime, though, I’m keeping to my corner in Caribou with my books…although I think it may be time for another latte…

I’ll be strong, I’ll be wrong, but life goes on / I’m just a girl trying to find a place in this world ♪♫♪

(A Place In This World – Taylor Swift)

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