Your spring break staycation continued

Last week, I told you how to start off your staycation with some events going on in the city.  Here are a few more activities! They are not free, but they are affordable and pretty cool!

Thursday, March 28

Analog -This show relives a man’s self-prescribed task of transcribing, by hand, the entirety of the 1954 novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Admission: Pay-What-You-Can.  (Please support the arts! Normally, Students tickets are $10)

Friday, March 29

Between Heaven and Earth
Walk into a lush bird habitat filled with videos of birds flying overhead and the sounds of birds calling to each other at this special exhibition. It explores the impact that birds had on ancient Egyptian religion, design and the conception of the state and includes 40 artifacts.

Oriental Institute Museum
1155 E. 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission: Adult suggested donation: $10
Children under 12 suggested donation:$5

Saturday, March 30

Ebony Fashion Fair
Inspiring Beauty: Ebony Fashion Fair, an exhibition of an American story that explores the show’s legacy, vision and creativity of Eunice W. Johnson. You’ll see priceless garments collected over the fashion show’s 50-year history.
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults – $14.  Students and seniors  – $12. Kids 12 and younger – Free

So there you have it!  How are you spending your spring break?  I’m really looking forward to the exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.   Get ready for spring break pictures in the upcoming weeks!

Priorities! Priorities! Priorities!

Hello UIC!

Are you finding no time for the things you need or want to do? Not enough time to study? Not enough time to explore Chicago or go out with friends? Chances are, you’re not alone.

Is it just me or do the weeks go by extraordinarily quickly? This week, it literally seemed like the days didn’t even exist! I end classes by 5 p.m. three days a week. I come back to my dorm, maybe relax a little, eat and jump right into work. I’m taking five classes this semester and it’s tough to keep up with all five of them. I find myself staying up until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. some nights even when I have an 8 a.m. class the next morning. I also normally multitask with what I am doing. For example, while I am writing in the middle of a philosophy paper, I’ll have a tab open solving organic chemistry problems online! This is probably not the most efficient way to get work done, but it works for me most of the time! I think it’s just amazing how the mind can quickly switch from one task to the other. It is just like text messaging while studying for a test. Our mind can quickly focus on a conversation, then go back to studying.

Making lists is another way I tend to get my work done and prioritize. I’ll type up a sticky note on my laptop and every time I complete one of the tasks, I delete the task. It helps me because as much as I love seeing the tasks diminish, I also love knowing that I had a productive night. It’s so easy to procrastinate! I try to be as productive and prioritize my tasks during the week so I can somewhat relax over the weekend. Ha. Just kidding. That’s a joke. A typical weekend is spent studying and working just as much or even more than i work during the week! I wish I had time to just put life on hold. But that’s just too much to ask for. Might as well figure what works for you and go with it! Ask yourself what works for you and go with it! College is the time to build the foundation you want for the rest of your life!

How do you work most efficiently? What ways do you prioritize? Those are some good questions to start with.

Think about it.

Your life is not over

I make plans and when things are good of course they go well (or at least, go as planned). But most of the time, it doesn’t happen that way. The first response? Panic. The second response? Freak out jitters. The third response?


It’s this third response that sends most of us downhill and our self-esteem plummets pretty fast. We’re in the state of doom that no one can help get us out of and it can be pretty terrifying. The point most of us start beginning to doubt our plans probably happens halfway through our undergraduate career (although I’m sure it can happen in plenty of different other points, namely after graduating and realizing how difficult it is to find a job). For me, I have been up and down way too many times, yet in the end I gravitate towards the original plan because I think subconsciously that’s what I want to do the rest of my life, no matter what.

And of course I consider my Plan B, C, D, etc., but those won’t take into effect until two or three years of consistent determination to do what it is what I want to do. As they say, the third time is a charm! My brother was telling me how his one friend applied to the same medical school in three consecutive years, the first two times getting a rejection and causing her to take the MCAT two times. She had considered taking the MCAT a third time until she got an acceptance letter and now she’s going to medical school.

UH and Sears (or Willis if you prefer)

I ended my Kaplan MCAT class last Wednesday! It's so surreal that it's over...that means I'm on my own to take advantage of all of the additional resources that the course offers me! I'm so excited and terrified to take the real MCAT exam, but I am very determined to do well if I just study every single day. I'm glad my classes (biochemistry, homeostasis, genetics) are really helpful in studying for the MCAT!

Now, I don’t think I’ll have the pleasure of spending $1,000 each year for the application and another $270 each time I retake the MCAT (I really hope it would not come down to that), but if I do have that “pleasure,” then I know that the only thing keeping me going is my motivation to reach my goal.

Of course, not everyone wants it that bad. Sometimes we’re OK with exploring our other interests and pursuing careers there. That’s awesome! There are so many options, jobs, and schools that can carry you on to your career. So, when life seems dim, get your search on! There are tons of resources on campus and online that I know everyone can find their niche.

Check out these resources:

Best of luck to everyone! I’m excited to see how this semester will turn out. This week and the next week the Health Activism Committee will be at Clemente High School presenting health topics! I’m very excited to hear how the experience is for my members, especially for the new members!

Student elections 2013

As some of you may know, this week UIC is holding its annual student elections. During student elections, undergraduates vote for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president and vice president. Additionally, both undergraduate and graduate students vote for their choice for student trustee. This year, the only position that has two candidates is the student trustee position.

I’m writing this blog to encourage all of you students to vote! Vote today and Wednesday for your favorite candidate! Here are links to the two candidates. Please review them and their platform and decide who you will vote for:

 Ponnu Padiyara

Danielle Leibowitz

Is it spring yet?

Ok winter, you’ve had your chance.  Time to go away now!

I am so ready for warmer weather.  It’s that time of year when I start to get stir crazy.  I’m tired of the big puffy jackets.  I constantly feel like Randy, Ralphie’s younger brother from “A Christmas Story.”

All the layers just create more laundry! I’m tired of constantly searching for a new pair of gloves because I lost one (and only one) from my previous pair.  I’m tired of the sniffles.  I’m tired of the kids always getting sick.  Which, in turn, gets me sick.  I work in a germ factory.  I’m tired of immediately freezing my buns off when I step out of the shower.  It becomes a mad race to put as many layers on as possible.  I’m tired of shoveling snow.  Although, shoveling has been somewhat of a substitute for working out on days I can’t get to the gym.  And I’m tired of being cooped up in the house.

So, now that I have all my complaining out of the way, I can think about all the stuff I am planning to do this spring and summer.

Of course, I am planning on going to a couple hawks games.  I have tickets to an April game and a playoff game in May, which I’m praying doesn’t fall on a night I have class!!

I’m also planning on running a couple of races.  I haven’t entered a race in a really long time but I’m really excited for this one.  The Color Run! You have to wear white clothes and by the end of the race, you have paint all over you!

I recently started listening to country music (which my family totally makes fun of me for).  Maybe in the last couple years, I started liking it a lot.  So this summer, I am going to Country Thunder! It’s a four-day country music fest. I’m going with a fun group of people and I’ll be treating it like a vacation.

I’ll definitely be going to Lollapalooza, too!  The 2013 lineup was leaked and looks good!

And that’s my list so far.  I know it will get A LOT longer.  Spring and summer…here I come!!!!

Planning your FREE spring break staycation

Spring break is around the corner!  If you are like me and short on cash, a staycation is in your future!  That does not mean you can’t have the spring break experience because you aren’t soaking up the sun in Los Cabos!  My boyfriend and I are actually planning some FREE spring break activities in the city!  Here are a few things we came across

 Monday Night:

The ComedySportz Theatre
929 W. Belmont

“The Chaser” – 9:30 p.m.


The Chaser is a totally free standup open mic where the prize is a chance to perform in next week’s professional set.  It a great place to go if you or someone you know loves the limelight and being on stage!



Shedd Aquarium

1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
(312) 939-2438


Illinois residents can enjoy free general admission. This includes the Waters of the World, Amazon Rising and the Caribbean Reef. Packages including Wild Reef, Polar Play Zone and Abbott Oceanarium are available to Illinois residents at a discounted rate!


Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St.

(312) 742-2000


I live in Lincoln Park and I actually go to the zoo a lot during the summer time, but it holds some significance for my boyfriend and me.  Right by the zoo is a conservatory and a nature boardwalk.  On a pleasant day, it is a very nice stroll.

Side Note:  Lincoln Park Zoo has a new male African Lion that moved into the exhibit in August!  His name is Sahar!


Next week:  I will finish off the rest of your FREE Spring Break Staycation!  

Stay strong in your studies peeps!  Spring Break is just around the corner! Does anyone currently have any cool plans?

Already halfway through the semester?

Hello UIC!

It seems like the semester has just begun and now we are practically halfway through it! The spring semester always goes by quicker than the fall semester! I hope all of you are spending your time wisely and accomplishing the things you want to accomplish. For me, it literally feels like every week flies by. I find myself coming back from classes, eating, then jumping right into studying and/or sending a bunch of emails. This semester is one of my hardest of the few semesters I have been at UIC. I am taking 18 credit hours, including two tough science courses.

Time management is one of the most important life skills to master. Some of us have mastered this by the time we get to college, while some have to take the time in college to master this skill. It took me a while to master this skill. One way I learned to balance was to get more involved at UIC and I learned effective studying habits.

I’m going to keep this blog post short, but I wish the best for all of you taking any of the admissions tests whether, it be the MCAT, GMAT, GRE, DAT, etc! Study hard! It will pay off!

It’s a freak-out moment

It’s March. Can you believe it? I sure can’t. Do you know what March entails? Absolute insanity! I have recently been very jittery and can’t sleep, constantly feeling happy and sad, nervous and hyper–like a hummingbird! I can’t tell if it’s my hormones, the caffeine from the pain reliever or me just being me in a new situation. Whatever it is, I don’t like it at all.

It’s happening so fast. Time! I wish I could stop it. I need so much of it but how can we do all of the things we want to in a day, a month, a year or four? Maybe this is why people choose to stay longer than four years so they can do more, but at the same time they can do more by pursuing higher education sooner, too! Ahh, there is a flurry of things going through my head.

The most obvious that comes up is going to Clemente High School soon! I finalized the schedule with my committee members and we’re all set and ready to go! I wish I could go for every single day, but I am planning on taking my MCAT on the first day of spring break. I was even considering cancelling it, applying to medical the following year, just so I could be with my peers! But they strongly preferred that I did not cancel it and so here I am, freaking out about everything. I have much faith in their presentation skills, but it’s almost like watching your baby grow up (not that I have one, although my turtle Chompy counts in some respects)…you just want to be there throughout the whole process! Ah, I must keep focus though. The MCAT is around the corner and I need to get at least a 30+. Is it out of reach? Perhaps…I’ve been taking two full-length practice tests each week and trying to study as much as I can for the MCAT on other days. It sucks that I have two other exams to study for before my MCAT, as well as receiving allergy shots and going to research twice a week for 6 hours each. Maybe I should ask my PI if I can just come in once until my MCAT is over…or maybe I’ll have to cancel it and really just apply next year!

Ah, no no. I need to be confident. No more “we’ll see” or “if it happens it happens.” You decide your own fate and you get there if you believe it and actually do it. Being passive about these things will never get me anywhere.

So, here’s to all of you MCAT-takers + super pre-meds who do everything and deserve all the best!

Productively busy

It’s funny, but I feel like I’m the most productive when my schedule is fully loaded. This semester I am at 18 credit hours, have an internship and still in USG. It’s a pretty heavy load…but knock on wood…I’m managing it well?

I think it’s because whenever I am beyond busy, I truly value the free time I do have and make sure I accomplish all my tasks on time. It’s like I realize that I have no time, so I make sure I make use of the time I do have. I’ve been studying management intensively this semester so this is the best way I am making sense of this.

I am doing pretty good in my classes this semester, which is great. But I still feel like there’s more to make up for. I wish I could schedule more time for exercise and meditation. These things really helped me last semester, but I haven’t had the time to really fit them in. It’s something called work-life balance that I need to find. I feel like school eats up so much of your time that it’s really hard to live you life, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, I still go out and have fun with friends, but I think there’s always more I want to do. With college being a time of working to get to the next level, it’s just so hard to squeeze everything you want in you want to do in between.

So I’m writing this complant-esque blog to see what you all think…how do you get a sense of work-life balance? Thoughts?




Time gets away

Have you ever had a lot of free time when you were able to relax, sleep in, watch movies and lounge around?  Well, I had that last weekend.  It was nice…except for one major part.  I didn’t really have free time. I had so much work to do that I didn’t realize I had to do. When Monday came, I almost lost my mind.

Let me explain in more detail.  I had a pretty rough week (See: Stuck between a rock and a hard place).  I was SO ready for the weekend and excited to spend some time with my guy.  I had some days off of work approaching and was ready to let loose!

On Friday, I had the day off.  I woke up early and ran a couple errands, had lunch with my cousin and picked up my guy from work in the afternoon.  The Hawks were playing that night and we were going to go somewhere and watch it (which I don’t get to do much anymore).  We went out and he started not feeling well.  So, no big deal.  I figured I could just watch the game at home.  Except for the fact that when we got home, all hell broke loose.  He became so ill, so quickly.  I ended up missing the rest of the game.  I felt so bad for him, though.  We think it was food poisoning.  Anyway, so that night was pretty awful.  I spend the next day catching up on the sleep I missed the night before.

We watched some movies.  Slept.  Ate a little bit.  He didn’t eat much because he was still so sick…and I didn’t eat because, well, I had lost my appetite from WATCHING him being sick.  Relaxing was so nice that the days started blending in together.  I didn’t have to go to work until Tuesday, so I had no worries.

No worries, that is, until Monday when I realized….”OH MY GOD….WHAT HAVE I DONE?”  I quickly came back from my fantasyland of pajamas all day and catching up on movies, that I almost started crying when I realized had how much work I had to do for school. Ya know? The OTHER full-time job that I have! I wasted so much time doing nothing!! And on top of THAT…I had observation hours to complete on Tuesday and Wednesday through Friday, I would have to kids ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT.

I tried not to get too flustered because my guy was still sick and I wanted to be there for him.  But man, I really made things harder for myself in the long run.

So, what did I do?  I did as much as I could on Monday.  Tuesday, I did some of my observation hours, went to the library and spent 4 1/2 hours doing homework.  If that gives you an idea of how much I had to do, after those 4 1/2 hours, I still wasn’t done.  Then I went to pick up the boys from the second family I nanny.  After I was done there, I went to class.  After class, I went back to the house of the first family I nanny to spend a couple nights while the parents are away.

I didn’t exactly time manage very well.  But I did get through the week without losing my sanity AND my guy started getting better! Next time, I need to make sure I don’t lose sight of the things I have to do.  Man! It really stinks being an adult sometimes!