Wedding festivities!

Hello UIC!

These first few weeks have definitely flown by! Can you believe it’s already a month into classes? These few weeks have definitely got me thinking where all the time has disappeared and how much time management is crucial for success. I find myself always doing something whether it’s working out or looking at class notes. Not a single minute goes to waste during the day.

I’m also excited about my new research position I got this summer at the College of Medicine- studying Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine. My independent project is going to consist of brain tissue imaging and neural stem cell research. So exciting! I’m hopefully also getting published this December under a master’s student who works in the lab! I’m temporarily helping him with his project doing mice wound samples so I can get properly trained from my independent project.

I attended my cousin’s wedding last weekend, which was just beautiful. It was the first time I actually had the opportunity to partake in a surprise flash mob! The friends of the bride and groom planned out a surprise flash mob for them! I always thought of marriage not only between two people, but two families as well. It was so amazing to see both sides of the family as one, and how proud the parents of the bride were (since I was from the bride’s side). I was so excited to be able to wear an expensive dress I bought from India when I went with my family. I can’t wait until the next wedding in my family!

Go big or go home

I remember my senior year of high school I wrote a meta-analysis essay on my growth as a writer and how I was tired of “half-butting” assignments (yes, that is what I wrote), mainly because I felt like doing the assignment would be pointless if I did not learn anything upon its completion. This is the basis of everything that I do.

(Or so I think).

When I came to UIC, I was only slightly insane; I jumped on every opportunity that came at me because I was like zero social in high school (no clubs, just sports); and man, I was on top of my game! Sophomore year…let’s just skip that. Junior year was a total rebound and I am pretty sure it was because of my awesome Taiwan trip / teaching experience. Senior year is so far so good (some same I am full blown crazy), but once I start my ER Scribe job, we’ll see. I may or may not have to cut down on some things. I hope the only thing I cut down is sleep, but if I can’t do quality work during the day, then clearly something has got to go! Or, if someone has recommendations on perfecting a sleep cycle that has quality over quantity (hours spent sleeping), please share!

Anatomy Lab

Anatomy and Physiology sure has a lot of stuff to remember. I'm not a fan of memorizing a bunch of terms, but some of them make sense so it's not too bad. I hope it gets easier but I know it won't. Oh well, no use stressing about it. I just have to stop procrastinating and study more intensively (the key to doing well in any class, but the hardest to start).

When I think about what I do on a day-to-day basis, I try to imagine myself not in my shoes. It’s a fun exercise you should all try. Basically, I pretend I’m like an ant doing all of this work and still somehow I am alive at the end of the day with everything that I wanted to accomplish on time. I still have trouble saying no to requests like volunteering and new projects, but once I open my calendar it makes it a lot easier to decline (haha, on second thought…).

Big Skies in Texas

Texas was so spacious and everything was big! Their movie theaters, parking lots, restaurants etc. were huge! And look at that sky! It's so clear! I'm so used to seeing Skyscrapers all the time at UIC. I never really notice the sky that much but wow it's so nice! (:

I’m noticing my skin is slowly developing more and more blemishes on my face in the T-zone (the annoying spots on my cheeks…stupid blackheads!). It’s most likely from my lack of sleep, stress and lack of diet. Catching up from my Texas trip was really tough and I woke up each morning at 6 a.m. and went to bed at 12-2 a.m. to get things done this past week. I hope it won’t have to be like this for the rest of the semester, but who knows. I need to train myself to work this hard since it’ll only get harder and harder!

BJs

I don't think I've ever seen a BJ's in Chicago, but they had one in Texas and my goodness it was amazing! I hope they bring a chain here in Chicago because I LOVED IT!

I hope everyone else is doing okay for their classes and other obligations. I’m stressed but it’s like a good stress/eustress. It feels good when I can control what makes me stressed out. If I was stressing out about the health of a family member or something, or perhaps being in a poor relationship, then I’d be like super down and unable to work very well (well, I’d still get things done but I wouldn’t be happy doing it!). Take mini-breaks when you can! I take mine when I walk from class to class (that’s my exercise and stress-reliever). Actually, you’ll probably see me with a turtle-shell sized backpack running across campus from place to place. I’m like a mini dart, hehe.

Pizookie

This is by far the most amazing dessert ever. It trumps any desert I can think of right now! It's called a Pizookie and it's a pizza pan with a cookie as the base and then ice cream on top. It's so genius and delicious! I wish there was a BJ's in Chicago! I am totally craving a Pizookie right now.

Happy Half-Way Through September! :D

Catching flow

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I know I talked about how tight my schedule was the past two weeks. Comes with senior status, right? As I get adjusted to my schedule, I’ve come to a realization: the reason I take a lot on is not only because I enjoy my activities, but also because I want to make sure I am career-ready by time I graduate in May. I’ve had this mindset all four years of college and although time is tight and things get crazy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am determined to succeed in life — if it requires a little extra work and lost time, then I am willing to sacrifice that for a bit. In order to achieve success, you need to give all you have.

With that said, I couldn’t be happier to report that I am finally feeling more adjusted to my schedule :) So adjusted that this week felt like it lasted only two days! I’m getting a hang of how to approach homework time, work time, class time and every other aspect of life. Especially my internship.

This week I really caught on to the hang of things at my new internship. I’ve learned not only in textbooks, but from personal experience as well, that every company’s culture differs in many ways. In one company you’ll have to clock-in and out and your bosses keep track of your every minute — but in another, lunch is when you want it and your boss wants to give you free will. I’ve especially learned that once you learn and adapt to a new workplace’s culture, you succeed much more! I’ve done just that. Because I was able to understand and adapt to my new internship’s culture, I got a bunch more work done. I now better understand what I do, how I do it, when to do it and why I do it. I’m really loving my new internship thus far and am only excited to continue on with the company for the next couple of months.

Also, I’m excited to announce I was elected as the communications & recruitment chair for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG)! I am so happy to take on this role and make sure that you — and all UIC students — are able to come out of this school year knowing about USG and what we do. Keep an eye out for some of my new ideas and doings right here on my blog ;)

Do I wish I had a big empty space in my weekly schedule that I can just relax in? Yah…but then I think…hey…college is almost over!

Until next time…

Mike : )

Where were you?

I know this is a week late, but I was inspired by some friends who wrote their Facebook statusdescribing where they were on 9-11.  Every year on that day, I think about those moments and how I felt, as do most people.

I was a sophomore in high school.  I had 2nd period Musical Theatre.  Once a semester, we had to have a meeting with our guidance counselors.  No one ever wanted to go, especially when you were in a class that you liked, like Musical Theatre.  I always hoped it would be during Math or something.  Anyway, I was in class with about 6 other girls who were my friends.  When the time came, I had to leave and go see my guidance counselor.  I had planned to just smile and nod and say “everything is great,” so I could get out of there as soon as possible.  I sat and waiting outside her office until she was ready.  As I was sitting there, I was looking at all the motivational posters hanging up.  One said something like “Teamwork: The ability to work together for a common vision.” At the time, I thought it was lame. I noticed a group of teachers huddled in the hallway.  There were maybe 4 or 5 of them in a circle, and one in particular was crying rather hard.  I thought it was weird and that maybe if she was upset, she shouldn’t be crying in the middle of the hallway where she could make a scene.  I went into my guidance counselor’s shoebox of an office and smiled and nodded for about 10 minutes.  Then I went back to class. The atmosphere of the class was far different than it was when I left.  Everyone was quiet as my teacher was explaining something.  I walked in in the middle of it, so I had no clue what she was speaking of.  Then she uttered the word “terrorist.”  I said ” WWHHAT?”  She then began to explain what she knew at that point.  I was stunned.  After class, I ran to my mom’s office (Oh, my mom worked at my high school), and asked what was happening.  She had a radio in her office so she explained a bit more.  I remember starting to tear up but didn’t want to because I still wasn’t sure EXACTLY what it all meant, who did this, and that the second tower would be hit and eventually they both would collapse.  It was too much to wrap my sophomore head around.

The next period I had was a free period.  My friends and I wandered the halls, not knowing what to do with ourselves.  We passed by the Spanish teacher’s room and she had the TV on.  The room was full.  Everyone was either crying or completely stunned.  Then the principal came in and made her shut the TV off.  Needless to say, we were all extremely upset.  Why would they try to shield this from us? To try to have a normal day of school? Yeah, right!  We decided to eat our lunch in the Choral/Drama room, where I had originally found out.  I knew that way we could all talk about it and my teacher would be willing to tell us what else she knew.

The last period of the day I had Chemistry.  I thought, “For sure we can just talk through everything.  I can’t do chemistry now!”  I was wrong, my Chemistry teacher acted like nothing even happened.  Not a mention.  Nothing.  Not only was I angry that I had to actually do Chemistry, but I really wanted to talk about it with my teachers.

After school, I went to the gym because I had a volleyball game.  There was a note on the door that all sports were cancelled.  So, I went home.

That night, my family and I sat in front of the TV and watched, almost in silence like most families did that night.

I don’t remember much after that.  I remember attending a candlelight vigil at Scoville Park in Oak Park and I remember crying there. I cannot believe it has been 12 years. But I look back and I think about that poster about teamwork.  The one that, at the time I thought was something they put up to take up space, but became so much more meaningful to me as Americans all over the nation were saying “United We Stand.”

I will never forget where I was and how I felt that day.

Back in school mode

Hello UIC!

Do you find it difficult to switch gears in life sometimes? I think after a summer of hard work and dedication toward a certain goal you get so used to the living style. And we tend to forget how to get back into “study” mode.

I am so swamped this semester with classes, research and my EMT course. I finally decided to apply for the EMT course offered at UIC. It’s about 8 hours/week of class time aside from practicals, but it’s well worth it. I’ve been procrastinating on getting EMT certified since high school. I can’t wait to work as an EMT over the summers.

Last week, I spent almost every break of mine studying for my anatomy class. It’s so overwhelming! I haven’t figured out a way to study all the bones, ligaments and their structures and functions yet. There’s just so much! I’ll have to split up the work and take it a little day by day. I went to Caribou Coffee for 8 hours and memorized a week’s worth of structures. It’s odd because I have trouble trying to study at the same place every day. I need a new spot to study every day that is quiet. I enjoy my solitude.

Hope you all had a wonderful start to the semester!

Happy times

When family comes together, it’s like a magical happiness pill. It’s also a won’t-ever-get-any-school-work-done pill, but that’s OK. I never regret being with family, although sometimes I wish my family would tell me, “You can’t hang out with us unless you finish your schoolwork.” That would be motivating.

Grandma's 90th Birthday Cake

It was my grandma's 90th birthday and we had almost everyone from the Fang family come to celebrate it. This cake was so big and amazing! I think my grandma had a good time. She's still young in my eyes, haha!

My grandma is 90! She keeps saying she’s just 89 but she said she was 88 two years ago so….>_>

My Netbook and Hello Kitty

My family had to clean the house to be presentable to our cousins from New Jersey who stayed with us (the one who got married in Cancun!). My mom found good use for my stuffed animals. She placed them in every corner imaginable and every sofa imaginable. Fun, cute and cuddly!

I really need to get my priorities straight. Remember that blog post that I wrote only a few weeks ago about priorities? Man, where did that go? In one ear and out the other. I am disciplined in time management, but not disciplined in getting my priorities straight. There’s so much going on that my mind is exploding, haha! Take one day at a time. Do whatever task is at hand and work with your schedule (this is me trying to give myself advice, and I think it’s working).

Milie and Nai Nai

After dropping off my cousins at the airport, my dad took my grandma and me to eat in Chinatown. She hasn't been there in awhile so we went to Minghin Cuisine and ordered a bunch of dishes. She's so funny.

I hope she lives past 100! She deserves it. I hope she can pass her genes onto me, but we’ll see. Sometimes these kinds of things skip generations!

At O'Hare Airport

I was waiting for my flight to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. I received a Scribe job at Rush University Medical Center and I am so excited to work in a medical/clinical environment! I had to miss three classes (don't worry, I let the professors know ahead of time), but it'll be worth it. Texas is pretty nice so far. It has a lot of sky whereas Chicago has a lot of skyscrapers, lol! (:

I can’t write too much today because I’m in Texas trying to study for my Scribe exams (and I still have to study for my other classes…). I hope everyone got a lot of information about joining organizations at the East Side Involvement Fair! I’m excited to meet the new inductees for my own pre-medical organization! (:

New beginnings

Last week I said school has been pretty light so far…I guess I spoke too soon.
Although I love my classes, this week I started USG and my internship — add that on top of my classes, other organizations, work and maintaing my social life — well, things get tricky. However, I think that the long and arduous week is due to lack of sleep. I’ve got an average of six hours each night, which is no good. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my college career is that life is A LOT easier with more than seven hours of good rest. So it’s time to kick my bad sleeping habits back to the curb.

On a happier note, as I mentioned, I started my new internship this week! I have held two previous internships before — one doing social media and another doing radio promotions — but this one is more public relations/media intensive.
I’m interning at Christopher Foltz Collaborative, L3C, which is a social enterprise firm. Social enterprise means that it applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environment well being, rather than maximizing profits for shareholders (according to Wikipedia ;) ). We primarily do public relations and marketing for local companies as well as implementing give-back models for them. I am working on some new and exciting projects for the company so I’m super pumped to be on board there.
My first week went very well. The atmosphere is very Google-like. In case you didn’t know, Google is known for a very relaxed atmosphere, which allows tons of innovation. There’s even a dog in the office! The atmosphere is a lot different than other internships I have held, but in an exciting way. I cannot wait to see all of the knowledge I gain and the experiences I have during my time there this semester.
Although time and stress get tough, I am very blessed to be able to have all of these experiences in my life. I mean, that’s what college is for, right? To work your butt off so you can succeed after graduation! So with that in mind, I know with patience and SLEEP, I can make my last year at college THE BEST.
Until next time…
Mike : )

I remember…

One would think that memories from our younger childhood years would be few and far between.  However, I have very specific memories from first through third grade.  I attended a Catholic elementary school in Elmwood Park with my older brother.

Before I turned 5 and was entered into an all-day kindergarten, we had recently moved to the place where my parents reside today. Our new neighbors had three children similar in age.  Needless to say, we became very close friends.

I still remember getting through that year of kindergarten and having a graduation.  I knew that the next year would be different.  I would be in a new part of the school, wearing a uniform and I would have a completely new teacher.  The new teacher aspect wasn’t so scary because from what I remember, I did not like my kindergarten teacher and she did not like me.  Especially after I put Elmer’s glue on my hands, let it dry and imitated her and her wrinkly hands.  Karma will probably get me for that one.  My first grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Wiley.  She was an older woman and probably the best teacher to get right out of kindergarten.  She was very nice and I remember thinking, “she is my favorite teacher.”  Well, she was the second teacher I ever had, but it was a step up from kindergarten.

Something I will always remember from elementary school is how hot it was in class when the school year first started.  We didn’t have air conditioning but we were allowed to bring water bottles.  My mom would freeze them over night, then cover them with a paper towel and foil so they stayed cold.  Our uniforms were not very comfortable when it was hot.  We would just be stuck to all of our chairs after sitting for a couple hours.  Sometimes they allowed us to wear regular clothes.  We didn’t have a playground, just the asphalt between the school and the church, then the parking lot.  I had a lot of skinned knees.

In second grade, I had Mrs. Stout.  I don’t like to make fun of teachers, but she was exactly what her name described, stout.  I always felt bad that some of the kids would make fun of her because she wobbled when she walked.  Some kids don’t know any better at that age.  I don’t remember much from that school year but I do remember she liked me because she had already had my brother and knew we were good kids.  I think that was the year that I peed in my pants.  I do remember having to go so bad when we were in gym.  We were playing kickball in the parking lot and I didn’t go to the bathroom before so when I asked the gym teacher, Ms. Bass, to go to the bathroom, she said no because then someone else would have to escort me back inside and it was too much work for her, I guess.  Well, we had about 10 minutes left and I remember starting to cry because I had to go so bad.  I was in the outfield and I sat down and just went.  It was like my bladder gave in.  No one really noticed when I stood up there was a puddle.  When I think about that now, I’m not embarrassed at all.  It was my gym teacher’s fault.  This gym teacher later on went on to be my ballet teacher.  Let’s just say, I always went to the bathroom before her class.

Third grade was an interesting year, to say the least.  I had Mrs. Nicholas.  Again, I felt lucky because she had my brother and liked our family.   It was my first memory of trying to work hard to impress a teacher.  I wanted to live up to my brother’s reputation as a student.  Our classroom was in the basement of the school so it was always chilly.  As much as I felt I tried to be her teacher’s pet, I felt she was beginning to not like me.  She would yell at me for making noise with my pencil, she accused me of cheating when I wasn’t, and for the talent show we were forced to be in, we performed “Think,” and I put someone else’s costume on by mistake.  I remember so vividly going to look for the clothes my mom had put in a plastic grocery bag.  Well, everyone’s mom’s put their clothes in plastic grocery bags.  Someone put their bag on my hook. So, naturally I put those clothes on. They were a bit big so I figured they must have been my mom’s when she was younger.  Wrong.  When I came back in the classroom, my teacher was very upset with me, assuming I did it to be malicious while this other girl is crying because she couldn’t find her clothes, the ones I was wearing.  That is the last memory I have from that year.  I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Reflecting on all those memories, the good and the bad, I believe they have helped me to know and understand the kind of teacher I want to be.  Those years are so important and I certainly would like to have a student of mine remember how nice I was rather than how I didn’t allow them to go to the bathroom, leading to them having an accident.

 

Less talking, more doing

After the first week of class, my cranium has been worked out like an old train engine! Holy smokes. I’m surprised I’m still alive, haha! I’m glad I’m taking it well so far, but I know the closer exam time comes around, the higher the stress I’ll feel (and I’m already feeling it to the max right now). I’m being influenced by others in my classes, especially anatomy and physiology. I’m just taking it as an elective, but typically most students who take this course are pre-pharmacy, pre-nursing, pre-dental, kinesiology and nutrition majors, and/or crazy like me! xD

UIC Target Night on Racine

TARGET NIGHT! It was at a different location than the last three years that I've gone. You had to play games to get free stuff, but at the end they had a nice packaged to-go tote bag filled with free things to compensate. I bought bananas, fruit cups and a package of GoGoSqueeze! I'm trying my best to eat more fruit!

These students are usually sophomores and juniors; let me tell you, sophomore year sucked! My GPA was totally dead that year and even though junior year was so much better, it was a heck of a lot of work. My senior year, so far, seems to be the most insane because of my obligations and commitments, not exactly because of my classes. Everything together in this huge bundle is a lot to handle, but if I’m still alive, then I’m happy! I’ve already got my great study habits into gear, but all of this memorization to study every single bone in the body and the names of the different parts of the bones is kind of making me anxious for the exams that will be coming around by the end of September. I need a lot more practice so I’ll be visiting ASAP more frequently. It’s right next to MRH so I can just swing on by and rent a bag of bones!

I can’t even fathom what will be going on these next few weeks. I’d list them and such, but pictures say more than words (although I’m more of a word person the more I learn about myself and the way I like to study!).

Sushi at Hana

I ate with my cousin Spencer at Hana on Taylor Street when Festa Italiana was going on. It filled me up surprisingly! (:

Gyros at Greektown

I tried out a new restaurant in Greektown! It was Subway/Chipotle style, where you choose what you want on your gyro! It was yummy and surprisingly wasn't oily or greasy like some other gyros I've had. It actually felt healthy, haha!

Burger at 25 Degrees

My brother took my cousin and me to a place called 25 Degrees. They're known for their burgers so I went ahead and ordered one and WOW it was soooooo GOOD! I want to go back again just to have another one, but I'm a broke college student so I need to first pay of my tuition! Don't forget it is due September 28! Bank account, please prepare to be diminished.

Involvement Fair on West Side

I was representing the UIC Green Labs at the Involvement Fair on the west side of campus last week. We had great weather! My table was next to UIC Radio so it was kind of hard trying to talk to others. I felt like I had to shout at people when I talked to them, lol. I'm not good at this outreach stuff, or maybe I am because I did get a lot of people to sign up to get information on our next meeting. I saw a lot of my friends who were in medical school or pharmacy school or dental school and they were all saying how tough it was (but they kept encouraging me to keep trying, so yay!). Overall, I had a fun time!

Happy Birthday Roommate

My roommate's boyfriend bought her two large balloons and a vanilla ice cream chocolate cake! He was so sweet and made fried rice for dinner and then cleaned the dishes. You are the man! :D

I hope things are going well for you and your classes, UIC students! See you at the Involvement Fair on the east side of campus today! I’ll be flying to Texas in the early morning Thursday for my Scribe training, then flying back Monday night. I hope I can juggle the assignments/courses for the training and then the stuff I have to do at school! Luckily it’s only the second week, but man it’ll be done before you can say pie!

Smooth sailing

My, oh my, first week of classes has gone by fast!

I started off the week on a great note – I got a new internship! I interviewed with a public relations firm last week and I was beyond excited to find out that I received the position. I am interning at Christopher Foltz Collaborative, L3C, which is not too far from UIC. Even just after my interview, I know that I am going to really like this position. I am hoping to gain a lot from this experience and become more prepared for career work after graduation.

As far as classes go, I really can’t complain! I am only taking 12 credit hours, with three of those being internship credit. Although my classes are heavier in material, I am confident that I can do well in each of them with proper time and dedication! I am fortunate to have such a light schedule overall, since I have my internship, work, USG and the communication honor society to focus on.

One thing I may have a hard time with, though, is scheduling in free time. I did a pretty good job this week, however. I was able to grab lunch with a couple of friends throughout the week and make time to exercise. I’m hoping I can continue to make time for myself, as all work, no play = sad Mike.

Overall, I couldn’t have had asked for a better first week of classes. With more homework coming up next week, along with the addition of USG and other commitments, I am hoping I can still maintain a sense of balance and do well this semester.

Until next time…

Mike :)