Hello stress!

Did I call it or what? My first blog of the school year is about stress.  Trying to coordinate my practicum and my actual job was a doozie!  

I had one week of class and I’m already worrying about not being able to handle this semester.  With the 100+ hours of practicum, 15 hours of field experience with my other class, homework and projects, working full time and then actually having to be physically present for class two nights a week?? That doesn’t even count my social life! AHHHHH!!! I need a clone. 

Speaking of schooling, I am so disappointed at all the changes our school system is going through.  These changes are not good for teachers or for students.  When you hear about the state budget (and even the national budget), education is not a priority.  I saw this on Facebook and thought I’d share:I truly hope that things change for the better soon.  Go teachers!!

Why the first week of school gets me going

I’ve been living on campus the past summer in the same room for the Spring 2013 semester and I will still be here in the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 semesters! It’s awesome seeing all the new faces on campus. You know I’ll be hounding them at the UIC Involvement Fair to join my pre-medical organization when I’m on east side and to join UIC Green Labs Committee when I’m on west side! I feel unprepared for school, but at the same time I am totally ready to do my best at everything that I’ve got going this year.

Comp Camp

I attended the First Year Writing Program's (FYWP) "Comp Camp" and it was so awesome! As a Writing Center tutor, I was invited to attend along with other tutors. In an effort to meet the Undergraduate Success Program goals, it is important to recognize that the retention rate from first year to second year is very low among students. I'm not sure why exactly, but it's important that the FYWP does its best to get those numbers up through quality teaching and awareness. I got to meet a ton of awesome English graduate students (I even saw my ENGL 161 teacher from freshman year!). I got to hear Professor Jessica Williams presentation on "Stuff FYWP Instructors Should Know about Language." It made me realize the incredible difficulty that English Language Learners face when confronted with dense text/essays, etc. It was great to hear what the other instructors had to say about their methods of teaching. I listened to Jon Mann's lecture on how he teaches ASP 090: Critical Thinking and it made me want to sign up for one of his classes, haha! For the second breakout session, I chose to go to the Formulating ENGL 161 Research Questions workshop and heard one of the instructors share an experimental method of teaching ENGL 161 in the 4 week summer session this past summer; it was almost mind-blowing at what he said and how it worked so well. Did I mention the awesome free food and free books/resources? The English department rocks at UIC!

I added the New Student Days events for freshmen and new transfer students to the Housing calendar I made last month. I still have to add things for September, so feel free to suggest anything UIC students should check out!

Festa Italiana

I took a picture of the entrance of Festa Italiana next to Papa Johns at Racine and Taylor. It looked like it had some cute rides and a bunch of entertainment and food, but some of the stuff kind of repeated itself so it wasn't too interesting in my opinion. I think I might have gone on a bad day, so if you differ in opinion feel free to share what you did at Festa Italiana!

When my roommate moved in, I figured it’d be better if I didn’t return until after she got acquainted and completely got her stuff in our space, so I decided to go to the city with my friend Alaina (she works at the Graphics Department with me at Campus Housing) because she wanted to purchase some hair spray bottles at Sally Beauty. We got off on the Red Line at Monroe and saw a fancy Target!

Target in Downtown Chicago

Does this remind anyone of UIC Target Night? Free stuff FTW!

We got to Sally Beauty and purchased the spray bottles and then came out to walk towards Millennium Park. I saw a stand for Divvy bikes and was reminded that we wanted to go and ride them before school started! We weren’t sure how it worked so we first walked past it and went to listen to some jazz being played at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. We decided to go search for another Divvy bike rack and after a lot of frustration and then finally figuring out how it worked, we went on our adventurous bike ride!

Alaina and Me

I asked a Millennium Park worker take my picture with Alaina. It was a beautiful day after the rain settled!

We went everywhere! From Millennium Park all the way to Roosevelt Road and back to MRH where I got to shower and see my roommate. My legs were so sore the next day and I slept in for an hour or two before going to research to do qPCR.

Chicago - Divvy Station Spot

We got to a Divvy Station to exchange our bikes and I had Alaina take a photo!

Milie and Divvy Bikes

Alaina took a photo of me posing in front of a Divvy bike, hehe. I know I don't have too many photos of me on my blog (mainly because my eczema loves to be in the spotlight of the photo), but I'm going to try to implement more!

I hope I can make time to go on another Divvy bike ride before the frosty winter weather comes our way. I probably can’t, but hey who knows!

View of Chicago from Shedd Aquarium 1

HELLOOOO CHICAGOOOOO!

View of Chicago from Shedd Aquarium 2

Why, hello there to you too! (:

Anyway, a brief To-Do/Event list for me in case you were wondering what’s going on:

  1. Scribe University: September 5 – 9. I got a job offer to be a Scribe at Rush University Medical Center and I am totally excited to do my training soon! I have to miss class (I have only missed like one class at UIC) to be at the training that will be conducted in Fort Worth, Texas. I emailed all of my professors to let them know and see if I can make up what I miss. I hate missing class, but this kind of opportunity doesn’t come all that often!
  2. Spark in the Park: September 5. I have to miss Kendrick Lamar since I’ll be in Texas, but hopefully someone else can tell me how the concert was!!!
  3. Writing Center Opens: September 6. Make some appointments soon before they’re all filled! We help you with ANYTHING!
  4. SFP Induction: September 9. I get to meet all of the new SFP members and share with them what is ahead in their pre-medical careers.
  5. Fulbright Deadline: September 13. I need to get my finalized drafts and all that jazz in soon! >__<

On top of those most pressing things, I have my usual research stuff and classes/studying to do. I haven’t made my MCAT restudying schedule yet, but for now I’m waiting for my Berkeley Review books to arrive at my home in the suburbs (I should have just sent it to MRH, but oh well).

Thank you so much to all of my readers! I am excited for my last year at UIC (unless I get into UIC’s medical school, then maybe they’ll let me keep blogging, hehe). I don’t get notifications when people comment on my blog, so I’ll be going through all of my posts to respond to people sometime soon…(classwork and other obligations tend to pile up like crazy though). It’s so great to be back at school, UIC!

…And we’re back!

After a restful summer, I am back on the blog grind for the 2013-14 school year! Its crazy to think that the first week of school is already here, and even CRAZIER that I am now entering my last year of college! But more on school later … let me fill you in about my summer.

The summer was pretty eventful for me. It all started with a move of houses with my family. We moved to a different city back in June. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong! Who knew that moving would be so difficult?! It was such a difficult process — packing boxes, lifting furniture, transporting them in trucks, and unpacking were all strenuous. For a matter of fact, I still have some boxes to go through and unpack in my house. Any free time I had at my new house was spent cleaning up or unpacking. It wasn’t all bad this summer, though.

Despite working at my local summer camp again, I also began working out. I signed up with a personal trainer and began learning rigorous workouts. For the past month and a half, I’ve spent most of my free time doing cardio or lifting weights … pushing myself to the limit at times. However, it’s been worth it so far. Working out regularly is something I’ve been wanting to do for the past seven years. After years of working out off and on, I think I’ve finally got into a good habit of exercise and strength-building. It’s something that I want to make a routine for the rest of my life.

When not unpacking, working, or working out, I managed to squeeze in some long, crazy nights with my friends. Towards the middle of the summer, I realized that this could potentially be my last summer of freedom, since I graduate in May. Although I didn’t get much rest in this summer break, I do not regret making the most out of every minute I had.

This week, I begin another busy semester. Despite only having 12 credit hours this semester, I also have my senior seminar in communication — my big senior cap for my degree! I am hoping with a light load, I am able to put all of the focus and energy I have on every single one of my classes.

In addition to classes, I also am working part time this school year and will still be involved in the Undergraduate Student Government. I also have a new title — president of the UIC Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta! As president this year, I am hoping to bring more opportunities and knowledge to the students enrolled in the communication program. I am also looking to bring on an internship this semester as well.

It’s been a busy summer and it will certainly be a busy school year. However, I am just going to put my boxing gloves on, apply my new-found strength, and knock out my last year of college HARD!

Back to school

I have made sure that I remind the kids I nanny every day that they go back to school VERY soon,  just to let them see my happiness like my parents did to me when I was young.

Except for the fact that I start school on the exact same day and this semester is going to be a difficult one. One reason being that I have practicum. Which means, I have 100 hours to complete in a classroom and it will interfere with my work schedule. It just came to my attention that since I will be working less, I will certainly be making less. Every time I start feeling a little more financially stable, something comes up that takes that feeling away. And another reason this semester is going to be a challenge is not only do I have 100 practicum hours to complete, I still have field work to do for my other class and none of those hours include homework :(.  (Cue the blogs about being stressed out!).

Anyway, on to more positive things. This summer was a pretty good one. I traveled to Starved Rock and Lake Geneva. Went to Naperville Rib Fest to see Slash. Went to Country Thunder and Lollapalooza. Ran a race. Passed my TAP 400 test (FINALLY). Built a garden. Celebrated my team winning the Stanley Cup on my birthday. Lost some weight (Yipee!). Went to Six Flags Great America. Got a great tan. Went to the zoo a few times. Read a couple books and saw a bunch of movies.

I really tried to make the best of this summer because next summer I will be working non-stop in preparation for student teaching next fall (which is pretty much a full-time job, unpaid for three months).

I already have tickets to one of the Blackhawks preseason games.  BEYOND excited.  Good luck to everyone this semester.  Hope it’s a good one!!

Time Flying By?

Hello UIC!

Is it just me or does it feel like summer basically flew by? It’s been a busy four months of summer. It almost feels like the busier I get, the more quickly the days go by. I have been working in two labs, one of which I left because it was only a temporary job in the Physics Department. That job gave me a chance to test out labs for the new lab component added to the lecture for the course Physics 116. It was a lot of fun and I definitely was a great review for the Physics section on the MCAT!

Hope you all enjoy the last week of summer! Classes will be in session soon!

 

What are your priorities?

I’m not sure how many people ask themselves what their priorities are on a day-to-day basis, but I know in my case that I have trouble balancing my priorities and all those other things I want to try and squeeze into my life (side projects, part-time jobs, volunteering, etc.). It can be frustrating, but when it gets stressful and I feel a lot of weight put on top of my shoulders, I know I need to rethink where my time goes.

Advocate Children's Hospital at Union Station

I saw this adorable advertisement at Union Station for Advocate Children's Hospital. It makes me want to go back to all of my graphic design jobs, lol! I love it.

So, for my purposes, I’m going to list out my priority list. Why they are important should be obvious (I think). It’d be smart for you to do the same if you are having trouble picking out what extra-curriculars to take on or whatever obligations you have!

  1. Studying for Classes – I’m excited to be taking Foods, Nutrition During the Life Cycle, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, and Molecular Biology! I hope to learn a lot and get all A’s to keep my GPA up. It was a smart move last semester to focus on schoolwork greater than focusing on MCAT studying.
  2. Studying for MCAT – While it is a downer that I am retaking it (way too embarrassed to apply to MD/PhD programs with what I got!), I’m excited to aim higher and analyze what it was that went wrong the first time. You always have to learn from your mistakes (and I am pretty sure I fell into my habits of making those mistakes on Test Day).
  3. Research – Because I will be a senior, I have to complete my Honors Capstone project. I am super excited to dive deep into the research literature for the projects I have been doing in the lab and presenting to as many places as possible to get experience! I hope to get in one more publication before I graduate, but we’ll see!
  4. Society of Future Physicians (SFP) – As exciting as being president is, I have a lot of work to do! The past few years have been rough for our organization, so it’s my goal to make it packed with medical events, lectures and opportunities for my members. I need to be well over a month ahead of planning and I need to make sure rooms are reserved and speakers know when and where they will be. Luckily I have a great e-board to help me out! I definitely want to be at the Health Activism Committee meetings, but this year will be different because we’re splitting it into two programs: Health Education and Social Outreach. It’ll be exciting to see how much our organization has grown! I hope to make great leaders in this club!
  5. Other clubs or part-time jobs: I want to help start the Undergraduate Research Journal with other students, but I’m not sure how big of a role I can play if I got my hands tied with SFP. I also ran for publicity officer for UIC Green Labs Committee, mainly because I wanted to be more involved with sustainability movements but at the time I did not know that I would have to retake my MCAT. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but we’ll see how things go. Darn MCAT! >:O I also want to keep working at Campus Housing because I love coding (I’m remaking a ton of pages to make them look more modern and pleasing). I really want to keep working at the Writing Center too! I already had a couple writers ask me my fall schedule for tutoring because they want to work with me again, but I’m not sure how many hours I can devote with all the other stuff that’s going on. It pains me how many hours I have to study! I wish I was like my brother — he crams all the time but he does well! I take months and months of studying to match that. Some people are just talented!
Squirrel eating leaves

My mom and I were walking around our neighborhood one weekend and saw this cute squirrel nibbling on a tree's leaves! I think it was trying to eat the tree seeds since they are like little propellers when they fall to the ground. Propellers or helicopters? One of those...

Well, knowing me, I’ll want to keep everything. However, I know ALL time should be focused on the first two on my list. The others are just things that I want to do because I like to do them (and it keeps me sane). I hope studying for the MCAT the second time around is easier. I ordered some Berkeley Review books to see if that helps. I have my Kaplan books but I read online that re-reading the same material won’t help!

Chinese Opera

My brother was invited to be an MC for a cultural event that featured a new Chinese opera class. Not many people really know about Chinese opera, and I don't even know the details! But, I know that my grandma and grandpa would almost always sing Chinese opera songs when my brother and I were growing up and only now we've started to appreciate it. I hope people enroll in the class but not many people will take the time to learn something like this! If only I had all the time in the world ...

Now that school is going to be in session, I’ll have a better, critical review of what my priorities are. Hopefully, though, all of the most pressing issues are resolved before school even starts! XD

Milie at the Chinese Opera Show

I bought this awesome, crazy dress in Taiwan last summer and I badly wanted to wear it when I got back to the US. Too bad there was no appropriate event to wear this dress! When I heard my mom talk about the Chinese Opera Show, I was looking at my wardrobe and this dress just spoke to me. I'm so happy I got to wear it! It featured this weird looking bug on the front and the whole dress is handmade. The company name is Milida (kind of like my name) and I think it's French? But the dresses are made in Taiwan. SO COOL. SO HAPPY I GOT TO WEAR IT! I need to work on my poses. My mom took this picture of me, lol. She always catches me in my awkward moments (or maybe I just have them all too often).

I hope everyone starts their semester off right! :D

School…already?

School hasn’t even started yet and I’m already feeling stressed out. Obviously, not about homework or being overwhelmed with work and projects. But life has been a bit stressful in the last month.

There is a test that most people take right out of high school. I took it 2 years ago. I passed 3 portions and I had to retake the 4th. That fourth subtest is my enemy. MATH. The questions on this test are on some things I did in high school and some things I had never seen before. The test only consisted of 35 questions. Not bad, right? Wrong. That leaves very little room for error. So, I am preparing to take the test again.  But they have changed it since I took it last. Now, it’s 50 questions, I have less time (yea, figure that one out), and it’s on a computer.  Not sure how rigorous the questions will be but there are some things that I just cannot reteach myself. I am just awful at math. I found out there is a math center at UIC that you can just walk in for tutoring help. What I didn’t know is that if school isn’t in session, they aren’t either. With the help of countless study guides, and my brother and boyfriend, I am PRAYING I pass. Because if i don’t, that means UIC will not let me pursue my program because it is a requirement through the state. And think about it … I’ll be teaching preschool or kindergarten. Why do I need to prove I can do rigorous equations with negatives and exponents EVERYWHERE that I haven’t done for 10 years? A LOT OF PRESSURE.

Another thing adding some worry in my life is the health of a family member of mine. Someone who inspired me to get into acting and pursue my passion. He lives on the other side of the country and I just have this extremely helpless feeling. I have been trying to keep my composure and stay positive, but it definitely takes a toll.

Lastly, there has been some definite unneeded drama in my life. I’m 27 years old and I don’t need it. Period.

Moving on, school starts and I spent $100 on books, so far. And that is because I decided to rent my books instead of buy. It’s way less expensive. The only downside is that I can’t highlight or make notes.

I also have to find a child with a disability to observe this semester and my first family already fell through. Not a good start to a semester that didn’t even start yet.  Eeek!

So let’s say I need a big GOOD LUCK!!

Welcome back students and I wish YOU the best of luck this semester!!

Jumbled Mess

It really is too bad we can’t predict the future, or even glimpse at all possibilities so that we could make the best informed decisions. Well, this is where we rely on our mentors, advisors and my dear old friend the Internet.

So, the moment we’ve all been waiting for … (more like just me) *drum roll*

SES Parking Lot

I was walking through the SES Parking Lot towards MRH and thought this was a nice scene.

I will be retaking the MCAT! A little sad about it, but I’m also excited to re-prepare because I know I can do a lot better. I was nowhere near where I thought I was going to be based on my practice exams.

As for where did I go wrong, I am still trying to figure that out. Something tells me I require a lot more analysis of my test-taking habits because sometimes I get lazy during practice … (bad bad bad). Don’t ever be lazy for these type of things.

Another reason could be because I was studying AND doing a bazillion other things, but that never really stopped me TOO much .. .(sigh, maybe I will have to go on hiatus again). I need to evaluate my classes, my extracurricular workload and work for the fall if I’m going to succeed at getting a higher score.

A lot of people retake (although I’m always curious what they thought their reasons were for the first time around). Is there hope for me this cycle? I’m too embarrassed to even apply! I’m still thinking if I should withdraw my application or not, but a hunch tells me that I will.

Beef Thick Noodles

I forgot what this is called in English but in Chinese it's like gan-cao-niu-he. My mom made it for the first time (normally my brother orders it from a restaurant) and it was pretty good! Although I have a feeling that I will become a vegetarian out of pure laziness. Meat is complicated to prepare (for me).

It’s great that I’m a senior now, but it also means this is my last year to make an impact at UIC and beyond (although I am thinking about the graduate programs here already).

I am currently in UIC Green Labs Committee, where people from different departments can share their ideas on how to make laboratories more sustainable. I’m hoping to be at the Involvement Fair (formerly called Fun Fair; not sure why they changed that) on the west side to get more graduate students and faculty to attend the meetings.

I am also currently working with other students and faculty to start an Undergraduate Research Journal for UIC. It would be a rigorously peer-reviewed journal that is open-access/free-for-public (because knowledge should be free or at least affordable!). I think it would be pretty dang awesome to have this kind of journal because there aren’t too many places for undergraduates involved in research to present their work or get published. The experience can benefit anyone! We are thinking of inviting graduate students and faculty to be reviewers for the papers as well as the undergraduate researchers. I’m super excited for how things will turn out!

Even though I want to be involved in these two new projects, I have already committed myself to being President of SFP and very available for my members. I absolutely do NOT like biting more than I can chew (because I’ll look like a bunny and because that’s not good for ANYONE). So, we’ll have to play by ear, but at the same time an opportunity like this does not come by so often … gah, the decisions!

I’m also going to be in charge of a subdivision of the Health Activism Committee that we are implementing this year called the Social Outreach Program. Basically, we want to help healthy, uninsured community college students enroll in CountyCare (Obamacare). Having health insurance is so important (I can’t get ENOUGH of CampusCare! UIC’s insurance is the best!) and I really don’t know how I would do without getting my allergy shots every other week and seeing physicians about my sudden eczema attacks or pains in certain areas. School would be impossible to manage, and that added stress does not help.

So, anyway, my thoughts are kind of everywhere right now. School is going to start soon and I don’t even know if I can handle the coursework now that I am going to have to include study time for my precious MCAT (hah …). I hope I can make time to tutor at the Writing Center because I want to be available for some of the writers who see me regularly. So much to do and think about. I still haven’t written my Fulbright essays, heh heh.

Lollapalooza 2013

Everyone who knows me, knows I am a city girl.  So, seeing a ton of bands play in DOWNTOWN CHICAGO is amazing.  The lake, the skyline, Buckingham Fountain!  Lollapalooza 2013 was awesome. I’ve gone every year for about 4 or 5 years.  I think it’s so great to be able to see so many bands right in Grant Park. In the past couple years, I’ve seen Gnarls Barkley, Foo Fighters, Jane’s Addiction, Lady Gaga, Wolfmother, Green Day, Japan X, Erykah Badu, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Postal Service, NIN, Mumford and Sons, Queens of the Stone Age, Alex Clare, The Lumineers, Steve Aoki, Eric Church, and many more! Definitely worth getting a three day pass.  The only problem is, they sell out so quickly.

This is my brother and I at the Lake Shore stage watching The Lumineers on Saturday.
This is my oldest brother’s girlfriend and me at the Lake Shore stage watching Eric Church on Saturday.

This is the amazing view from the south side of Grant Park.  Who wouldn’t appreciate this?

This is Postal Service at the Bud Light stage on Saturday night.  This is the first time i’ve ever seen them.  Their music reminds me of when I was doing my undergrad at Columbia College.  I would listen to Postal Service while riding the train.  This is me and my guy seeing Queens of the Stone Age at the Bud Light stage on Friday night.

Another issue that I had this year is that many of the bands I wanted to see were playing early on Friday and I couldn’t get there due to work AND many of the bands were playing at the same time as other bands that I wanted to see.  Naturally, I had to choose!  The artists that I was heartbroken I missed were Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop, Atlas Genius, Thievery Corporation, Hot Chip, Ben Howard, Matt & Kim, Grizzly Bear, and Tegan and Sara.  That’s a lot :( !!

However, I’m already looking forward to next year! August 1, 2 & 3 of 2014!!!

Unmotivated; Need a Break

I am productive each day. Sure. I am unproductive each day. Yes. At least, that is how I currently feel. My main priority right now is to finish those Fulbright essays before school begins, and maybe some secondaries if the schools send them over (it’ll probably take awhile though). It’s already August and I find out my MCAT score really soon. It’s kind of scary, and I am thinking about what I would do if I did bad on that test in terms of my application. We’ll see!

Cute Pooches

I was walking to the Writing Center in the morning and saw this man walking his two really cute dogs! Too bad I'm allergic to them. I love seeing people walk their pets around, or use different modes of transportation like that Unicycle Guy...

I have been working at three jobs for now to keep me busy until school starts. Even though I have the evenings to myself, I feel tired from work and can only think about enjoying my dinner and watching television (and they always seem to play fun things on Style Network that get me hooked from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. … Thank goodness for commercials so I get up and move for a little bit!). I get a bit sleepy around 9 p.m. so I start getting ready for bed and then put off writing essays for the day after. I’m wondering where all of my diligence has gone since I was great about it for the MCAT, but I am thinking that perhaps once I see my MCAT score next week I will work even harder (whether it is good or bad) and can finally get myself together before school starts!

Baby Bunny

I was tutoring in the Writing Center and I noticed this adorable little bunny outside the window where I was sitting. He didn't seem to notice me until I got the lightbulb in my head to take a picture and just barely caught him as he dashed away in fear from my blue smartphone. I must have seemed like the paparazzi!

There’s so much going on in the next few weeks so I need to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally for this upcoming year. So, I think the week before school I’ll take off for myself to get some fresh air and clean the house, maybe get a head start on reading … Anyone have any ideas for what to do before my summer is gone? Eh, I probably won’t get to it anyway … I need to read up on literature because the MOST Summer Program is ending soon and I need to make a presentation and abstract! Then, I need to be a qPCR psycho so I can crank out all of that data from my experiment…and the list goes on! Enjoy the last of your summer because it’ll be gone before you know it; I’m already counting down the days until Christmas … well okay actually my birthday goes on the list first…THEN Christmas.