Blackhawks clinch!

I FINALLY was able to attend a Blackhawks game this season! I realized it had been about a year since I last went to a game because of the lockout.  It was so much fun! Even though we (my cousin and I) paid way more than we ever have for seats WAYYY at the top, it was still worth it.

The doors open an hour and a half before the game starts.  We like getting there early because we can walk around, get some food and watch the guys warm up (that doesn’t sound creepy at all).  This time, my cousin and I got there super early and it was a bit colder than we thought it would be.  Standing in line wasn’t very appealing.

A door opened and started letting people in.  We had no idea why those people were being let in, but we got in line anyway.  Turns out all you needed was an American Express credit card.  Props to her because she HAPPENED to have her work credit card.  We got in, sat at the bar and drank water until they officially opened the gates.

This is where our seats were…

Just kidding. We were all the way at the top.

Before the game starts, you can hang out on the first level and watch the players warm up.

If you’re lucky, you find some empty seats and just stay there until the people whose seat you’re sitting in kick you out. Then you just mosey on up to your nosebleeds.

The game was great! They played well and ended up winning and clinching their playoff spot. It felt really great to be there for that, no matter where we were sitting.

I cannot believe the season is almost over. Less than 10 games left!

Good thing we have our playoff tickets!!

I am ready for that Stanley Cup to be back with us in Chicago.

GO BLACKHAWKS!!

Not sure? Just ask the manager!

Very short blog this week. But I promise you I have some great information.

Since I left Facebook, I have been more productive. However, there are times I am looking for an Internet distraction. Usually, I do this by checking out the latest articles from Cracked and Buzzfeed. However, recently I came across a blog that I have found entertaining, helpful and I just can’t get enough of it.

The blog is called Ask A Manager. The blogger, Alison, is a hiring manager that answers any and all questions related to the workforce.  Her topics range from job-seeking components — such as cover letters, résumés, and interviews — to advice for people who are already employed, such as dealing with co-workers, performance evaluations and managing others. I have found her advice to be so enlightening.   Once I looked at her tips for cover letters and résumés, I realized there was a lot I needed to change to get noticed. Once I did so, I snagged an interview for the next job I applied for. 

Looking for a job is tough and confusing. Looking at her blog has really helped me to put a lot of things in perspective and organize the many components of job hunting.  Check it out, and if you are so inclined, try asking her a question. I have asked her a couple of things and she has responded very quickly.

Tea + TV shows = solitude

Hello UIC!

What do I find myself doing after a midterm? I make time for myself. Last night after my physics midterm I made some nice tea and just relaxed by catching up with TV shows. I think it’s important to be OK with spending time in solitude. I know it’s difficult and most people get depressed when they are alone. But sometimes it’s good to be alone so you can figure out what you really want in life without the influence of others.

I actually love being alone just to meditate and think about life. Sometimes when I study, I take breaks and plan out my week or month or summer. Every chance I get, I make time to work on myself. For example, I either make time to go work out or study. I know the time I have to get the results I want is limited. I can either spend it worrying and wasting time, or being efficient.

What do you guys think? Do you think it’s important to spend time alone and work on yourself?

Classes to take for the MCAT

I think I planned my classes well enough that studying for the MCAT wasn’t as disastrous as it could have been, but just in case people aren’t aware of what are the necessary classes that you should take BEFORE your MCAT (pre-medicine requirements have it all in the check-list), here it is!

  • BIOS 100/101 (or Honors if you’re into that)
  • CHEM 112/114 (or Honors if you’re into that)
  • CHEM 232/233/234 (yes, organic chemistry lab helps a lot)
  • PHYS 105/106/107/108 (or 141/142 if you’re into that)

While you can take the classes during your MCAT preparation, I’d recommend just really creating a solid understanding of the material during the class so that when you have to “relearn it all” you’re actually just reviewing the concepts and it’ll be a lot less painful. Try not to cram for those tests if you can! Prior to taking the MCAT, I’d recommend taking these extra classes on top of the required/basic science classes because they help a LOT (try to take them within a semester or two of your expected test date):

  • BIOS 240 Homeostasis
  • BIOS 220 Genetics
  • BIOS 223 Cell Biology
  • BIOS 350/351 Microbiology + Lab
  • PHYS 393 Introduction to Biophysics
  • BIOS/CHEM 452 Biochemistry I
  • HN 307 Nutrition and Metabolism

Most of these classes are mainly to assist in the biological sciences part of the exam. In terms of verbal reasoning, it’s good to read a lot of philosophical papers (always trips me up) or humanities-related journals. Making questions or articulating how the author makes his or her argument is good to do. Most of the chemistry and physics are covered well in the classes so you don’t really need to keep taking higher level chemistry/physics courses unless you want to! It may help, but from what I’ve heard it’s not necessary.

Can’t believe there’s only four weeks of classes left! I’m happy to say that things are looking brighter than ever–must be the weather’s influence. :) I hope everyone got to pick the classes that they wanted!

RECESS is coming

Hey readers! This week I’m going to fill you all in about something exciting that I’ve been working on with Campus Programs for three months now…GET EXCITED.

So back in January, I met with Campus Programs to talk about bringing back an old UIC tradition: RECESS. For many years, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) hosted the event to give students a break from end-of-the year work and have one last hoorah before the end of the semester. After a two-year hiatus, this year RECESS is back and will be hosted by Campus Programs.

As the Vice President of USG, I have been collaborating with Campus Programs to ensure that the event is as fun as previous years and will bring students a stronger sense of school spirit!

The event will be on Wed., April 24 from 4 to 7 p.m., which is the perfect time for students who commute. In a case of rain, as April weather could be a bit unpredictable, the event will be held on May 1.

Let me give you all a (tentative) preview of what will be going on at RECESS:

  • A huge roller rink in the Quad
  • Music from UIC Radio
  • Free cotton candy, drinks and popcorn; other food on sale as well
  • Pitch & Burst – we will have some notable UIC peeps on the wet seat…get ready to dunk them into the abyss by popping a balloon!
  • Make your own lip balm
  • A scavenger hunt for some cool prizes
  • Photo key chains for memories
  • Tie-dye T-shirts
  • Airbrush face painting and glitter tattoos
  • A magician
  • Various sporting games

It’s basically a carnival of fun. I’m going to fill you all in with more tidbits about RECESS as more ideas develop. Keep an eye out for advertisements around campus in the next week or so.

I couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the 2012-2013 academic year!

 

 

Humble beginnings

In 1923, my Austrian great-great-grandparents boarded a boat called “The Amsterdam” in Holland, which would eventually make its way to New York.  They wanted to come to America to see how great it really was.  When they arrived, knowing their destination was Chicago, they began to make their way toward the Midwest.

Note: In doing some research I found a website where you can find the ship and passenger boarding information about your ancestors, what year they came, where they came from and possibly a picture of the ship as it was coming to America.  My name is quite common in Austria so I wasn’t able to find anything.  There are many versions of my last name.  It could have adapted from something else.  Very cool though.  You can actually get your hands on those boarding documents. I’m assuming if I spent a few hours, I may come across something.

When they arrived in Chicago, they settled in a building around North Avenue and Pulaski. This building had a store on the first floor.  My great-great-grandfather was a contractor and his son (my great-grandfather) was a bricklayer but they eventually opened a live poultry store on the first floor of their building.

My grandfather and his family went to St. Philomena Parish and elementary school on Kedvale and Courtland.  After elementary school, he attended Austin High School.  When my great-grandfather passed away, my grandfather took over the family business.

My grandmother and her sister came from Poland with her family.  They settled down near Augusta and Ashland, otherwise known as Ukrainian Village.  Her father worked in a factory and her mother stayed home.

After coming back from World War II, my grandfather met my grandmother.  They had four children, Larry, Marilyn, Tom (my father) and Donna.  My father attended St. Philomena for elementary school and Prosser for high school.  He also eventually worked at the family store.

When my parents met, they moved to an apartment on Pulaski and Milwaukee.

When my grandfather turned 42, he sold the poultry store and became an insurance man.  Twenty-three years later, he retired.  He and my grandmother moved to where they still live in Jefferson Park.

After a few years, my parents moved to Carbondale in Southern Illinois, where my oldest brother was born.  They moved back to Chicago by Kildare and Fullerton, then to a house by Lamon and Fullerton, where my other brother and I were born.  They were there for 13 years until my father got a job offer on the other side of the city.  So, in 1990 we moved again to the house we live in now by Harlem and Grand.

Chicago has not only been the place where I was born and raised, but it’s where my heart and soul is.  As a little kid, I wasn’t sure If I would ever leave Chicago.  As an adult, I know this is where I’ll stay.

 

 

The adventure continues….

“The adventure continues…” is a phrase my boyfriend and I constantly said during our spring break staycation.  We planned an exciting getaway together and things just kept going wrong.  Some points we really just had to laugh it off.

1.) First, we booked a room at a bed and breakfast, we meant to check in at 3:30 p.m., but the traffic was horrible.  Right when we were leaving my apartment, we encountered some intoxicated guys watching March Madness games. They were having trouble catching a cab and thought it would be fun to pretend my boyfriend’s car was a cab. One guy tried to open the car door.  I may have said some pretty bad obscenities.  The adventure began…..

2.) When we finally got to the bed and breakfast, the proprietor had issues finding the key to our room.  The adventure continues…

3.) After we get settled, we had issues turning on the TV.  Somehow I turned on the childlock for the DVD player and ”50 First Dates” just kept playing over and over again (how appropriate).   So then we decided to play some Wii.  After spending about 25 minutes trying to hook up the Wii, there is no color on the TV.  We decide to live with it and get our Wii on, but one of the Wii controllers did not work!   The adventure continues….

4.) The next day, after eating a nice breakfast from the bed and breakfast, my boyfriend and I went out to grab a chess set from Walgreens ( I really wanted to learn chess during spring break).  As we were sitting in the car….someone hit my boyfriend’s front bumper.  The adventure continues…

5.) After we made it back to the room and played a little chess, it was time to get ready for a surprise my boyfriend had set up.  I just knew I had to dress nice.  I probably spent about an hour on my hair.  We went outside to catch a cab, but it was SUPER windy and the cabs just kept passing us by.  All the work I spent getting ready was for nothing.  The adventure continues…

Pre-surprise. I decided to even ditch my signature braids for the occasion.

 

6.) We went to my favorite restaurant, Karyn’s Cooked. Luckily, this was incident free. Afterwards we got into another cab and my boyfriend made me close my eyes.  He wrote down the location where we were going and told the taxi driver “this is a surprise, so I don’t want to say where we were going.” The next thing I heard the taxi driver say is “Oh, State and Monroe, OK!”   I could feel my boyfriend’s anger with my eyes closed.  The adventure continues….

7.) The next part was great. We got out of the cab and I realized we were going to see The Book of Mormon!  Not only that, but my boyfriend bought VIP tickets.  We had an open bar and a semi-private bathroom.  I highly recommend The Book of Mormon!  It was funny and entertaining. The adventure became awesome…..

8) The next day was spent staying indoors.  We played chess, watched cable (we both don’t have it) and relaxed for the first time in about a month.   Life just could not get better until…..

.Someone hit my boyfriend’s car again, really doing a number on the driver side door.  The adventure just keeps on continuing…..

Happy April!

Hello UIC!

Happy April! Hope your spring break was fabulous! I know mine was! I didn’t do anything too fancy or fun, but I spent a lot of time preparing myself for upcoming exams for after spring break. I didn’t want to procrastinate on studying because it gets too overwhelming. We have about a month left of classes so it is safe to say that we are in the final stretch!

Other than studying, spring break did give me the chance to do some spring cleaning. I looked through piles and piles of old high school test scores and homework assignments and memories and decided to recycle most of it. I also looked through old clothes to donate and I got rid of pounds full of old clothes. I also helped my younger brother do the same thing.

In addition, spring break gave me the chance to think about what I want to do for the summer. I want to make sure I am being as productive as possible!

How did the rest of you spend your spring break?

Caught between the two

A lot has been on my mind lately. I wrote last week about not rushing into things and really exploring what it is you want to do. What was I conflicted about? Well, deciding to go to medical school (more like just applying) is an expensive choice that can lead to great things if I really want it. And I was very sure I wanted it, but with my lack of clinical experience it’s still kind of hard to prove to myself (and the person who reviews my application) that it is what I want to do. It’s hard to find doctors who are willing to let you shadow them, and I heard volunteering doesn’t get you much experience to really understand what it is to be a physician. I’m going to be trying really hard this summer to do well on my MCAT and to get that clinical experience (long-term) that I need to prove to myself that this is in fact that I want to do.

Ramen and More

Over spring break I had to cook for myself (I know, very lame), and it was great! I used a packet of ramen, cut up some green onion, and added Taiwanese meatballs. It tasted soooo good! I'm excited for my foods class next semester and pretty soon I will have fulfilled my nutrition minor.

I was also thinking about teaching. Last semester I went to an informational session about the MEd in Instructional Leadership: Science Education and I really enjoyed learning about the program and meeting the faculty. They were so awesome! When I think about the work I do as the Activities Chair for my pre-medical club, I always keep the students at the schools we teach (Health Activism Committee) in mind (even the students’ parents). I try my best to motivate the members to be filled with energy, willing to help those in underserved communities just near UIC and it is a very rewarding experience. It’s also the only time I give to volunteering (darn tuition tripled so I had to work a lot more to make up for it) and I was a pioneer of volunteering my freshman year! I loved it so much and wanted to make it an integral part of each semester, so thankfully I have HAC. Although, elections for next year’s e-board members will be coming up soon and we’ll see who gets the most votes.

I’ve also had a lot of other experiences with teaching, such as tutoring at the writing center and my volunteering experience in Taiwan where I got to teach English in disadvantaged areas. To serve is the greatest honor (in my opinion!).

And so, my “in the moment” plan was to take a year off to get clinical experience while pursuing a masters, and if I didn’t get into medical school right away I could at least apply for teaching jobs because I know I’d enjoy that, but then I was wondering if I would still even want to go to medical school at that point?

And then it hit me (after watching a terrifyingly sad “Walking Dead” episode all by myself), my freshman year had it all right. I should have known, and I think I did, but somehow along the way my mind got clouded (perhaps from miscellaneous sad events) and I grew doubt of everything. The whole reason I got into research in the first place my freshman year was because of a speaker who was at my pre-medical organization to talk about her dual degree (MD/PhD) and she said the earlier you get into it, the better. I immediately was all giddy after her presentation because that was what I wanted to do, to not just care for patients but to find new therapies and contribute to the field so that others can be aware. Not only can I do research, but I can teach and see patients as well. There are a lot of career opportunities too! Thinking about all of that, it’s never made me happier to be out of my net, with one goal in my mind and to do my best this semester as well as my coming senior year (can you believe I’m going to pick my classes already?). Speaking of which, here’s what I have tentatively planned:

  • HN 110 – Foods (I get to learn how to cook, finally!)
  • HN 202 – Food and Culture (I get world culture credit AND learn about food? Yay!)
  • HN 311 – Nutrition and the Life Cycle (This will definitely come in handy with pregnancies)
  • BIOS 221 – Genetics Lab (I heard this class used to be so easy and you didn’t even have to do the labs, but apparently they are changing it and you have to stay the whole time and actually do the labs. Well, more work to do but hopefully I learn something…)
  • Biochem lab? I’m not sure if I get credit for it towards my degree but you get to write actual top-notch lab reports that look like the stuff you see in published journals, and I DEFINITELY want to do that…even though it’ll be a heck of a lot of work and a slight pain in my back!
  • Anatomy? The kinesiology waiting list for this class still isn’t up, but I’d really like to take it!!!

Anyways, spring break wasn’t too bad. I didn’t do as much studying as I’d like to (exam on April 4, eep…and MCAT is in a month!), but that always happens whenever I come home. I just tend to choose my family over studying, but I also try my best to tell them, “HEY DON’T BOTHER ME WHEN I STUDY OKAY?” but they still come into my room and say things like “What are you doing? Do you want food? Hey look at this! Does it look good?” There’s no avoiding it, but I don’t mind. I took another practice MCAT and my score went up two points! Now I am at least competitive for DO schools, yay! I had an erhu recital on Saturday at the Elk Grove Village Library and I practiced so hard for that song. I only had a week to practice it, and it’s like freaking 9 minutes long. I’ve never done a solo on the erhu! When my teacher scanned me the song and I looked it over, I was like “heh heh…you want me to play THIS? O___O” in my head I kept thinking “this woman has too much confidence in me…” but I’m glad she does because I practiced for hours and hours to get this right. I’m not up to speed as the woman who plays in the video (the link above) but it’s pretty good for only a week! Maybe I will post a video of me playing it…

One more month and then this semester is OVER! Man it still feels like I just came back from Taiwan…

Six more weeks!

Grr…back to school. On the bright side, there are only six weeks left of classes and finals.

In a sense, this school year has gone by super fast. I often have random moments during the school day in which my mind thinks we are still in the fall semester and still have the spring semester to go. I’m not sure if this is due to the lack of sleep I have had this academic year, or just because the year has gone by fast. I really hope it’s the latter and I’m not losing my mind.

Nevertheless, I have to say I have been proud of my academic achievements this year. I have been able to stay afloat in my classes, especially this semester. I learned a lot about planning my days and using time wisely – something that has taken me a while to learn. I’m just glad it’s come now rather than never. Prioritizing is the key to time management. Do I really have to look up more celebrity gossip at 1 a.m.? It could wait until tomorrow. Should I spend an hour on the phone talking to my best friend? Nope, having a cap of 20 minutes will do. In order to learn time management, you have to figure out what is important and prioritize it according to your daily schedule.

Juggling 18 credit hours, an internship, the Undergraduate Student Government and sanity is difficult – but it could be handled well.

Here’s to six more weeks!

Cheers –

Mike