Tag: summer

Mentors and mentees: Why we need them in our lives

Today in one of our MOST Summer Program seminars, we got to listen to Dr. Marucha speak about the role of mentors in our lives as well as mentees, and at the end of the lecture we had to draw out a map that had everyone we felt were our mentors in the academic setting as well as other settings like our social/emotional side. The main gist is that it helps a lot to have someone who has gone through the route that you plan to take on, and whether it is advising or helping you jump on that scholarship application, they can be a source of strength and a valuable resource to your education and improving your personal well-being.

Weird Plant

One day we got this plant, and then it produced three other plants next to it...and every so often (more once every five years or something) they do this. I have no idea what it is...but this weather sure is fruitful.

For me, mentoring is about understanding someone’s challenges and struggles through their career and their life outside of their career. I find my mentors have given me the best advice through their own experiences, but in the end it is up to me whether or not it applies to my situation. Everyone has their own unique challenges and struggles but I always feel that inherently they can be weighted the same. And, I think it is through these hardships that define who we are as people.

But how do we choose our mentors? Or our mentees? I am very fortunate to have been placed through UIC mentoring programs that I signed up for my freshman and sophomore year with wonderful people, but when I tried mentoring my sophomore year I felt a little bit unprepared (and I am glad that I improved on it greatly since). If you’re feeling like you’re on your own, well — you’re not. There are lots of people who would be interested in helping you achieve your goals and I bet you would love to get to know them too. It’s a shame we don’t interact with people around us more often (mainly because we’re all paranoid or just don’t like forming new relationships as we get older … not sure), and I’m guilty of it too! Perhaps it is because I feel unwelcomed at some spaces, and very welcomed at others. Luckily, UIC is a big enough school where I think anyone can find their niche, but it is a small enough school where your contribution to the university actually matters and is cared about by someone (or can matter if you allow it to).

So, if you have been through UIC and haven’t already gotten involved through mentoring programs, I highly suggest that you get started immediately! Here are a few that I have personally been a part of as well as a link to more resources:

I hope you will all think about who your mentors and even role models are! They may one in the same or different people. It’s all up to you. I hope everyone had a great July 4th holiday and celebrated Blackhawks’ win and Pride Day!

Summer Working Out

Hello UIC!

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer! At the start of summer, I made sure I got a membership at a gym nearby since I want to achieve my fitness goal by September. I’m using the summer to learn to eat healthier and work out for a healthier heart. I started out running outside and on the treadmill and doing arm workouts with weights.

Apart from being in the gym, I actually started making fruit smoothies with protein shake in them. Since I am vegetarian, it’s more difficult to get my protein in so I started eating cottage cheese and more beans in my diet.

Hopefully I can meet my goal by the end of the summer!

This is the pool at the gym I go to. It's amazing! Swimming is one of the top three exercises since it minimizes joint impact.

Intense Brain Workout

One of the reasons I tend to continue going to work/research while I am studying for big exams (MCAT, finals, regular exams) is because I think I’d go insane if I didn’t! A full day of studying! It’s unbearable, but necessary if it is the day before your test (woo go crammers!). I’m not sure if people cram for the MCAT, but there are less than two weeks for mine and I’m on a cramming-roll! Of course, if I was smarter I would probably quit everything and just focus solely on studying…

How do people do that?! Study all day and night! Then again, people always ask me “how do YOU do all that?” Working and working and then studying!

Gowned Up!

I have been vibrating mice in a facility below the College of Medicine Building (COMRB) and we are required to wear a bunch of stuff before we go and work with the mice. I never thought about taking a picture until I saw the reflection on my phone and I thought "hey this would be fun to share..." The area is also where the surgeons are UIC practice the robotic DaVinci machine (I saw a kidney transplant a few months ago that used that and it was so cool!).

Shall I attribute it to my diet? No. My genetics? No. My exercising plan? Oh dear no! I’d have to say it’s all thanks to my work ethic. I’m not sure how others develop theirs, but I would say most of mine stems greatly from my motivation to overcome my biggest obstacle of eczema! Not everyone has a disease but I’m sure we all stress a lot and that’s something we should be able to deal with in any situation.

So, I figured it’d be good to list some nice stress-relieving and productive exercises for your brain and your heart!

  • Listen to music (or Audio Osmosis by Exam Krackers for you MCAT lovers)
  • Exercise (or window shopping) either walking around your room or doing some stretches … don’t do jumping jacks because that always hurts peoples’ heads (or at least it hurts mine … I feel like my brain is jumping up and down in my skull) … or just get up and shake your booty! Helps me out, haha.
  • Meditate (don’t fall asleep though)
  • Play an instrument (smashing waterbottles together to create a sound works too)
  • Drink tea (or make water with a slice of lemon in it)
  • Read a book for leisure or the news (the news is surprisingly really fun to read about)
  • Closing your eyes for fifteen seconds and taking deep breaths (again, don’t fall asleep!)
  • Talking to a loved one (I bug my brother all the time with my worries and woes and it always helps to get myself motivated again after a good phone conversation with him!)
  • Find humorous videos (or cute ones, like puppies and kittens)

I hope you will use this list or leave a comment with your own ideas! We’re almost done with the month of June! I can’t wait for this test to be over so I can start working on my application.

City love

Last weekend was one for the books.

My guy and I planned to stay in the city for the weekend for a few reasons.

1) We wanted to use our Shaw’s Crab house gift certificate that we won from Eric and Kathy from 101.9 The Mix Radio station2) My brother and his girlfriend were out of town, so we had a place to stay…AND they needed their fish fed.

3) It was the Hawks VS Kings Game 5 and I wanted to go somewhere to watch it.

4) I love being in the city.

Well, about 30 minutes before we were about to leave to catch a cab, I just HAPPENED to look at the fine print on the back of the gift certificate.  “Valid only Friday through Sunday.” WHAT?!? Well, good thing we didn’t go and rack up a bill we that couldn’t use our gift certificate for!! Phew! Close call, but I was kind of disappointed.  I was REALLY looking forward to some crab legs!

Quick thinking by Kyle, he remembered a place he’s been wanting to take me that has amazing ribs.  And he knows I love me some ribs! So, we grabbed a cab and headed to Twin Anchors in Old Town.

I definitely recommend this place. I hate to admit this but … yep … I ate an entire full rack of ribs.  I’m justifying it by saying I hadn’t eaten that whole day (which is true).

Our next plan was to head to Benchmark to watch the game.  It was about an hour before puck drop, so we figured we had plenty of time. Old Town had other plans for us.  I hadn’t realized that the Old Town Art Festival was going on.  It’s blocks and blocks long and Benchmark had a huge line.  I started to freak out a bit because it was so chaotic and we could not find a cab for the life of us.  (Sidenote: he had a strained abdomen, so walking wasn’t exactly the best idea).  I saw an elderly man slowly getting out of a cab and I ran for it.

For some reason, I could not come up with a place to go to watch the game.  We ended up heading to Five Star on Chicago Avenue.  (They have a special place in my heart because I had my 21st birthday party there).  They only have one big TV and I found a place right in front of it.

So … Game 5. Blackhawks vs Kings.  Blackhawks are up in the series 3-1. One of the most nerve-racking and riveting games of the 2013 NHL Playoffs.  The first period we were looking good.  Keith scored almost immediately and Kane shortly followed.  The second period, the Kings answered, tieing it up.  Grrr. Third period, Kane scores again making 3-2 with just under 4 minutes left.

People in the bar started going crazy.  But I knew.  There was still time left.  With 9 seconds left. … 9 SECONDS … the Kings tied it up AGAIN.  And we were headed to OT.  And not just one OVERTIME … TWO OVERTIMES!  “Hatrick” Kane saved the day with a 3rd goal sending us to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins.

I was pretty exhausted throughout the whole game.  Yet when they won and when we witnessed The Naked Bike Ride (Yes, it’s a real thing), I suddenly found the energy to continue the night.  My brother met us and we headed to 694 Wine Bar (which I highly recommend, as well.  The people there are great and they have tons of different kinds of wines, meats, cheeses and specialty beers).  A great ending to a great night.


Cancun Wedding

Even though I only have three weeks left until I take my MCAT and should be studying insanely, I can’t seem to focus as much as I want to. Then again, being on a sudden family trip to Cancun to attend my cousin’s wedding isn’t something you get to do all the time…and hey maybe the break will help clear my mind from all of this craziness going on. I don’t know why I feel so exhausted all the time. Ah, you know what it might be the new medication the allergist prescribed…my skin has been getting these weird rashes everywhere. He says it’s just my eczema but I don’t think so…this is different. Well, in any case I’ve been super itchy and I have a stronger antihistamine to reduce the symptoms, but it makes me very drowsy and I find it very difficult to get up early in the morning.

Mule? Donkey?

I couldn't figure out if this was a mule or donkey, but it was pretty cute! We took a picture next to it but they wouldn't let me use my phone camera, and then we found out it was $10 for the photo and I didn't have cash on me so I feel bad for wasting their time! Oh well, it was fun! My brother got to ride it, haha!

Anyway, how exactly do you study when you’re on vacation? Is it plausible to bring everything and get to all of your studying material? I think the most important thing is to have one specific goal and have that as your absolute must-do assignment for your whole entire trip (assuming its only a weekend). For example…

  • Verbal Reasoning passages (just one and timed)
  • MCAT flashcards – all of physics
  • Make a studying schedule (if you can’t study at all, at least do something productive and make a schedule via Google calendar or some thing… And be specific!!!)
Heart Fried Rice

Isn't that sweet? This place was made for lovers!

I am hoping to get a lot accomplished on the plane ride but we’ll see! I get kind of sick when I read in a moving vehicle. I haven’t been on a plane since last summer in Taiwan. I still can’t believe that was a whole year ago! I still feel like I just came from it sometimes.

Fruit Faces

You can do a lot with fruit apparently! This is like edible arrangements on steroids or something.


This is my new friend Cesar! He showed us how to shoot a rifle and do archery. Surprisingly I hit the target on my first try with the rifle, whereas my brother and my three other cousins were unable to get even close! I was in disbelief too. I think I may have to check out the shooting ranges around the Chicago area sometime!

EDIT: I was unable to study the whole entire trip. This means I better buckle down these next three weeks! I tried to do my best but it was too hard avoiding “fun” when it was everywhere, even if your room!

Wedding Gazebo

They were setting up for the wedding...it was so beautiful I cried three times that night!

The Beach

The ocean rocks! Too bad I was unable to swim due to my unfortunate state of womanhood. Ah...maybe next time!

Maraca and Program

It was so sunny and I hate being bombarded with UV rays! I can't wear sunscreen because it irritates my skin/eczema...so I do my best to stay in the shade and wear a floppy hat. On our seats we got these cute maraca-things that said to shake them when the bride and groom were pronounced husband and wife! So cute!

How’s your summer going? (:


Did I ever tell you I like dancing? Hehe.

EDIT: I took more photos but I’d have to ask for permission (not that they wouldn’t say yes but I like to keep peoples’ privacy). Overall Cancun was amazing and I am really happy I was able to go to my cousin’s wedding. We weren’t going to go originally because we had no money but my dad was able to pick up a small project so we were able to go! Now that I’m back in Chicago, it’s time to get real and kick this MCAT out of the water! Good luck to all of my pre-medical friends and acquaintances who are doing the same, and all others who are studying for examinations for applications/licensures/etc. (:


I am so happy that it’s summer!!  I love warm weather, my birthday is at the end of June, I’m going to get a new hairdo, my boyfriends birthday is the first week of July, I’m going on a vacation in the middle of July to Country Thunder, I’m running a race with my girlfriends, and Lollapalooza is early August! Busy, busy, busy.  But I can’t forget what I promised myself I would do….apply for scholarships and learn Spanish.

Work has been a bit crazy since the boys are out of school.  I love them, they’re great and all…but I come home with a headache almost everyday. Its important to make a plan, though.  Otherwise, chaos will ensue and I’ll most likely lose my sanity.  So…we made a list of ideas of things we can do and wrote it on their chalkboard (Although, that didn’t stop Jack from telling me he was bored almost everyday).

Monday- We spent a lot of time in the attic making a fort.

Tuesday- We made a fort again, went to the Oak Park Library, had a picnic in the park, and played catch.

Wednesday- The dad took the two older boys to the library and I took Sam to the park.  Then we made crescent dogs for lunch.  Wednesdays are the days I go sit for the second family.  I picked the two boys up from camp and took them to 711 for slurpies.

Thursday- I took Jack, Ben and Sam to the Yorktown mall because they have a lot of attractions for kids.

Friday- We made pizza.  Cooking or baking something is always a fun idea for kids and takes up time ;).

Now, they start summer camps…phew!

Last month I did the Squat Challenge, this month I am doing an Ab Challenge!

And as always…Go HAWKS!!!