Category: Academics

Academics: majors and classes at UIC.

Small Steps

In my nutrition and physical activity class (HN 296), we have been uncovering the methods or things we should be aware about when coaching or counseling someone about their health. Even though I’m not going to be a nutritionist or a sports dietician (although I guess it’s always something I can think about), I think the skills I’m learning in this class will be useful when I’m individually with a patient one day. They’re referred to as clients in the class since no one likes to admit they have “something wrong with them.” I know I wouldn’t like that either…but I guess if you recognize you have a problem you’re more likely to be more open with a health-care provider and take their advice more seriously (hopefully).

UIC College of Medicine

I was walking out of SCW from work when I suddenly noticed the scenery was engulfing the UIC College of Medicine building. It was pretty cool. Hopefully I'll be here for medical school one day!

Our final for the class is a mock interview with the professor (which will be recorded) and we’ll be given a case study of a type of athlete (could be pregnant athlete, young adult/collegiate athlete, endurance athlete, etc.) to counsel. Since we’re not licensed, we’re not supposed to “assess” their information but rather “educate and inform.” I’m not too sure how it’s going to go, but we’re learning about motivational interviewing right now so I imagine that will come into play.

UIC Medical Center Advertisement

I saw this in the UIC bus stop waiting area and thought it was really well made. I like the statement a lot: "The best way to treat a community is by treating the people who make it up." It could probably even go further as to hinting at an even more holistic approach but these words will do for now.

The experience kind of reminds me when I tutor at the Writing Center. There’s my goal: help the writer with their goals by helping them recognize what is stopping them from taking the next step in their writing. The writer’s goal, on the other hand, ranges so much because there are so many different writers out there. Some just come in to get some miscellaneous help on either grammar, sentence structure, making things “flow” or some come in to brainstorm ideas, talk about content and have deep conversations about the topic they feel passionate about. I’d say almost all writers come in for the former, but the latter is where I think I can get them thinking about their potential and I try my best to get to that point in every session. The problem with that is when it was never the writer’s intention to go there. I can’t control why they came (perhaps their professor required them to come), but I hope that I can encourage them to come again and become better writers and thinkers.

The other goal I have as a tutor is to improve myself and my tutoring practices. It’s interesting when there are so many people who need help with their health, academics, finances etc. and we blame them for their inability to do something about it. I’m guilty of it too, but then I switch my focus to the health-professionals, the professors, and whoever is waving the money around…the real blame might be on the “experts” and THEIR inability to help others with their problems. Does that make any sense? I guess it’s just something to think about.

BIOS 351: Plates

For our lab practical in microbiology lab, we have to recognize all of the mediums we've used to inoculate microorganisms and all of the test results. It's going to be an intense week of studying for me!

There are only two weeks left (well, I guess more like one) of school and I’ve been planning out a study schedule so that I can optimize the amount of time I have to understand the material and do well on the exams up ahead! I’m nervous, but I’m confident I can do it.

Finals Schedule:

  1. April 25 – HN 307 – Predicted grade: A
  2. April 27 – BIOS 350 – Predicted grade: B – BIOS 351 – Predicted grade: A/B (I’m terrified of our lab practical…the study guide literally said “In short, know everything.” How is that supposed to help?)
  3. April 30-May 4 – HN 296 – Predicated grade: A (Ahhh interviews scare me sometimes…)
  4. May 4 – CHEM 234 – Predicted grade: B/C/D….(I honestly just want to pass this class…luckily I have six days to prepare to I am going to be so hardcore with my studying!)

Good luck to everyone with their studying.
Summer is almost here so keep your head up! (:

The Formula

Over the last couple of days I have been trying to create a list of things I need in order for me to successfully study for finals. So far I have broken them down into three categories. When studying I find it essential to have the availability of food, comfort and someone to verbally regurgitate what you learned to.

Make sure that whatever you decide to ingest will not cause you to become sluggish. Before studying it is best to not consume anything that is either filled with sugar (with the exception of coffee) or starch. Anything with high levels of carbohydrates will drastically reduce your ability to focus. Loosing focus for even a minute can cause you to look over that one important step to solving a problem.

Try to consume little to none of the following:
• Cookies
• Pasta
• Cakes
• White bread
• White rice
Developing a healthy diet will help you to study more effectively, and chances are you probably will remember more of the material you covered while reviewing.

This brings me to the next point. Make sure that wherever you choose to study is comfortable, by this I mean anywhere that makes you feel relaxed, and I mean anywhere. It is always good to try and get as relaxed as possible before and while your studying, but not to the point where you might fall asleep. If you are studying and you find that you are becoming stressed, sleepy or uncomfortable it is best to stop studying and try to relax or regain energy. If you continue studying while feeling these symptoms you will more than likely forget the material you studied during that time period. Stress and sleepiness cause our neurotransmitters to not send and receives messages properly. This factor can drastically reduce the probability of you doing well on an exam.

Lastly, you must see to it that you find someone to talk with about what you have learned. Talking with someone helps you to verbalize your thought process and see where there might be flaws in your interpretation of the course material. If it is a mathematical equation try manipulating the wording of the question and its numbers and see if the process by which you learned to solve it can be applied to the new situation. Hopefully you’ve work hard all year and as of such final examinations will not be as stressful and hard. Until next time think ethically.

Kneed a break.

I finished my knee project. (see previous post). The knees are complete. I need a break, but NO! The next assignment is due in a week and a half. Which means I have to start now. NOOOOO!!!!  This is the bane of graduate school. (or just school.) (or life.) Anyway, here are my knees:

The "realistic" knee, painted in photoshop and 3ds-max. I also scanned in some real bones to get the very bony texture.

This one is the "ink and paint" version, where I tried to make it look like a drawing. I added an aneurysm there for educational purposes.

This is supposed to look like an x-ray of the front of a knee. After creating an x-ray like texture in 3DS Max, I brought it into photoshop to add the translucent leg and the "L" for "Left"

I sure learned a lot about texturing. Oh, you want me to texture that bone? that 3D character? That entire 3D world plush with colors, ornate decoration, dogs, cats and monkeys? BRING IT ON.

(I might be getting a little ahead of myself)

Knees (pronounced “neys” like “keys” or just “neez”)

I photographed these knees at the UIC health sciences library. I’m thinking about using them for an inspiration for the textures I must place on my modeled knees, shown below. (On an unrelated note and sort of morbid note, I think it would be really cool to donate my body for science, but especially if someone could guarantee that it would be on display for thousands of people to see, like maybe an airport exhibit about anatomy… yeah, celebrity bones!)

The modeled knees below are created from MRI scans of a real person’s knee, and a program called Mimix to piece all the 1000s of scans together. Then you can bring it into 3DS Max and add your own textures and materials to it. It’s crazy.


This is a shot of the current state of my modeled knee. It doesn’t have final textures on it, but I set it up on a stand and all the lighting for the scene. I have it all set up to paint on it!

This is an “ink and paint” version of the knee- it’s a material in 3DS Max that you can place on your model and it sort of flattens the model and makes it looks like you drew it on a piece of paper. I like the effect- this is a simple version I hope to work on more.

You can also assign an “X-ray” material to a model, to make it look like an x-ray was taken of the model. I created this material from scratch by playing around with opacity and self-illumination (where it looks like the model emits light from itself).

More to do on this assignment, I’ll report back later!

No Help For You

I think I’ve noticed this before and was warned about this from my mentors, but it’s kind of messed up. I go to my nutrition class and they treat you like you’re really going to be a nutritionist or dietician! The attitude I get from them is along the lines of “when you guys become professionals in the field, we want you to be role models.” I go to my chemistry class and they treat you like you’re going to fail unless you do X, Y, and Z for every second of your life until you finally get it but you never use that information ever unless you become an organic chemist or work at Fermilab (even then, it’s probably a lot more fun than sitting around thinking about how to synthesize molecules). The attitude is along the lines of “a lot of you will fail and you should consider dropping so you don’t sacrifice your GPA, unless you really want to then okay, whatever.”

Even though I know these classes they make us take (pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, etc.) are just for weeding out people, it’s kind of cruel in my opinion. The LAS counselors aren’t very helpful, nor are the Honors College counselors. Does it bother anyone when these people smile and act all perky but you can tell it’s either through habituation or forced because they have to be nice? I mean, if you’re not happy to helping people, then quit your job! Do something more selfish where you don’t have to care about anyone but yourself, and be happy! No one wants to be around secretly grumpy people. It’s like when someone is lying through their teeth in front of you. I guess I’m a little peeved of people who want to come off as helpful but from my experiences and others, we get zero help when it comes to our future. I’d say the Applied Health Sciences college is the only one that really knows what they’re doing and are happy doing what they do. As for the other colleges at UIC, I’m curious to know what other people think.

I took two exams this past week for nutrition and they were fairly good. I haven’t gotten my score back but I’m not too worried about getting anything lower than an A since I actually enjoy the classes. Organic chemistry is going to suck because our third exam is coming up, but I’m spending my whole weekend to study for it day and night! I’m going to smack that test in the face once I’m done preparing for it. Microbiology has been going fine but I’m a little worried about the lab practical exam. I’ve never had a practical in college, although in high school we had one where we were silent and went to different stations to answer questions; so, hopefully it’s something like that!

Anyway, can’t write too much because I’ve got a lot of studying to do for organic chemistry. Sometimes I wish every class was just graded on a giant final paper. I think it’s more useful, and has a better gauge in terms of knowing how much work a person puts into it and how much they know. Exams are really just luck sometimes, and you pray to God that you get tested on material that you studied the most for.


My friend was playing with my hair and twisted it for fun. It stayed that way and so he decided to take a picture of it. Thank you Fluffy.

Call Me Dr. House

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t regularly watch the show, but this week I had my first “Dr. House” moment — and by that I don’t mean that popped a Vicodin and got belligerent with my colleagues. Rather, I had my first light-bulb moment, where all the seemingly disjointed aspects of my patient’s signs, symptoms and hospital course came together to form a text-book presentation of a rare disease.

Here’s how the magic happened (disclaimer: certain aspects will be changed to ensure the privacy of the patient, and no identifiers will be used). He was a 20-something year-old with no past medical problems, who, though completely healthy just several weeks ago, came into the ER complaining of flu-like symptoms (malaise, aches, and fever) for the week prior, with severe right-sided chest pain which began only 2 days before. In the ER he was found to be febrile, with findings on chest X-ray suggestive of pneumonia with a small amount of fluid (known as an effusion) surrounding the lungs. Thinking it was a run-of-the-mill community-acquired pneumonia, he was started on Levaquin, a commonly-used and appropriate antibiotic for such a case, and was admitted to the general medicine floor for monitoring.

Up on the medicine ward he began to show signs of significant respiratory compromise, with his O2 saturation (the metric used for determining how much oxygen someone is actually getting into their blood — and subsequently their organs) dropping below safe levels. In response to his worsening condition he was given supplemental oxygen and taken for a stat CT scan of his chest. In this type of instance, a CT offers a fast, reliable way to view the lungs with a level of detail that a plain-film chest X-ray lacks. With regards to this patient, what they saw on the scan was worse than they had anticipated from the X-ray.

Scrolling through the results it was obvious his lungs were in bad shape. There were, indeed, infiltrates (a radiologic term basically meaning junk that shouldn’t be there) within the lung tissue proper, as suggested by the chest X-ray. But what jumped out most was the extent to which the fluid first seen on the X-ray had progressed. This buildup of fluid within what’s called the pleural space (the space between the lining of the chest wall and the lining of the lung itself), isn’t all that unusual in hospitalized patients, but in this case was complicated by infection. From the looks of the CT, it was clear that the patient had what is called an empyema, which is a build-up of pus and all kinds of nastiness within that pleural space. But unlike your every-day effusion, in the case of an empyema, the body tends to react aggressively and wall it off, making it harder for antibiotics to penetrate and work their magic on the infection.

So even though the presence of the empyema itself wasn’t good news, at the very least, they had a partial diagnosis: the chest pain and the trouble breathing were being caused primarily by this infectious buildup of fluid that was pressing on his lung and making it hard for him to take a breath. Now the only problem was that the patient was becoming hemodynamically unstable, a sign that the infection had progressed to such a point that the body was beginning to lose control. His heart was racing, his blood pressure dropping, and he was spiking a high fever, making a secondary diagnosis of sepsis a very real possibility. Of the various causes associated with this condition, the admitting doctors suspected that the culprits were bacteria in his blood, and drew several samples for culture (along with a good number of other samples for a slew of different tests and analyses). Meanwhile, they knew they needed to tap the fluid that was building up, both to relieve the pressure and get a sample of the fluid itself for analysis and culture. But hospital bureaucracy being the way it is, this took about a day and a half to execute, during which time, though hemodynamically stable, the patient continued to spike fevers and labor with each breath.

And as if all this weren’t enough, while convalescing in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) waiting for his tap, the patient began to have some transient swelling localized only to the right side of his face and right upper extremity. Now, localized swelling can mean many things, but the way it presented in this patient suggested the formation of a clot in the veins around his neck or upper extremities, which was confirmed with a venous ultrasound which was able to visualize an active clot in his right internal jugular vein. Now, in the average 60+ y/o hospital patient, venous clotting is not unusual, and is something that is actively addressed due to the serious complications it can cause down the line. But even in those patients for whom it’s more common, it is much more likely to occur in the lower extremities. Needless to say, in a young, previously healthy individual such as our patient, it was highly unusual. So the hematologist chalked it up to local trauma to that area and ordered close monitoring for any progression of the symptoms or signs that the clot was expanding.

When they did finally get the interventional radiology team to sample the fluid, for the most part it was what they’d expected: a turbulent (signifying a build up of pus), bloody mix, although the amount of fluid that they were able to drain was less than anticipated. This was because the empyema had walled itself off into various little sections, termed loculations, which, in itself, is never a good sign. It was clear that the patient would need a surgical procedure called a thoracotomy and decortication to enter into the infected, scarred pleural space and tear down all the loculations, such that the full extent of the fluid buildup could be manually drained.

Enter: the cardiothoracic surgery team, who, after hours in the operating room, managed to successfully rid our patient of all the infectious build-up that had set up shop around his lung. The surgeon noted that the pus had extended all the way from the patient’s armpit down to the base of the lung, and was the most extensive empyema he’d ever dealt with. And so, with 2 chest tubes in place to drain any subsequent build-up (and prevent another empyema from establishing itself), the patient was sent to the ICU for close monitoring to ensure that his breathing was stable in the first few days following the surgery.

When he was finally deemed stable enough to breathe on his own, he was transferred to my team on the general medicine floor; his chart — which at this point contained countless progress notes from the various specialists, ICU doctors, and residents who had been taking care of him up to that point — came along with him. It was my job to make sense of this mess of information and present it to my senior resident, so that we would be able to pick up his care where everyone else had left off.

This was no easy task; the binder holding all the various records, notes, and test results was bulging, and looked like it was about to explode. But page by page, I went through the chart, deciphering the chicken scratch and trying to fit the pieces together. Why was such a young guy in such bad shape? He had none of the risk factors for having bacteria in the blood (e.g. intravenous drug use) and wasn’t chronically immune suppressed (e.g. in patients with HIV), and moreso, had no history in his family of excessive clotting, which might have explained the clot in his jugular vein. Then I came across the results of the blood cultures they’d taken soon after the patient arrived at the hospital. Turns out they were positive for an organism called Fusobacterium necrophorum, an uncommon pathogen in general, which is even less common in terms of bugs that can enter the blood and cause sepsis, like that seen in this patient.

And yet, that name, Fusobacterium necrophorum, sounded familiar — probably something I’d come across during the massive information binge leading up to my USMLE Step 1 exam — and prompted me to look a little further into the matter. A single database search is all it took: lo and behold, that this little Gram-negative bacterium was the key to making the diagnosis.

It turns out that the patient had a textbook presentation of what’s called Lemierre’s Syndrome, a series of specific signs and symptoms all due to infection with Fusobacterium nerophorum. The French bacteriologist, Andre Lemierre, first described the syndrome in a series of young, previously-healthy, male patients presenting with sore throat, fever and respiratory distress in the early 1900′s. The patients all had the commonality of Fusobacterium in their blood, along with symptoms of recurrent fever, violent chills (termed rigors), respiratory distress (due to lung involvement), and in many cases, infection of other organs as well (including the liver, heart, and even brain).

He realized that the sore throat they were suffering from was due to the Fusobacteria itself, and that once in the tonsils, the organism had free reign to enter the blood stream via the tonsillar veins. This is where it gets interesting. The organisms have several factors on their outer surface that, in certain individuals, can cause blood to clot more easily, leading to an event called supperative thrombophlebitis, in which a clot made up of platelets (normal components of clotting) and large numbers of bacteria, sets up shop in a vessel (in this patient’s case, the right internal jugular vein) and just hangs around, throwing off little bits of clot and bacteria that travel to the rest of the body with every heartbeat. This allows the infection to spread from the initial site in the tonsils to the rest of the body, and also explains why the lungs are almost always involved in patients with Lemierre’s Syndrome — after all, the lungs are one of the first places that oxygen-poor blood from the veins travels as it’s pumped through the heart to be re-oxygenated. In other words, this was the pathophysiologic process underlying our patient’s empyema!

Still, one thing was missing from our patient’s story. He noted having had flu-like symptoms for the week prior to his admission to the hospital, but never mentioned a sore throat, which was one of the tell-tale signs of Lemierre’s Syndrome. This seemed like a set-back, but everything else seemed to fit into place so well. What’s more, I knew that much of the time the notes written when a patient is admitted to the hospital are imperfect and lack bits of useful information (which is why most any attending will tell you to always hear the patient’s story yourself). So I went into his room and took my own history of how exactly everything had played out, only to find that he had, in fact, had a sore throat, with swelling and pain which was worse on the right side (the same side as the clot!), but which had improved shortly before the onset of the flu-like illness and respiratory problems.

And with that, the diagnosis was sealed: bacteremia, supperative thrombophlebitis, pneumonia and parapneumonic empyema due to Fusobacterium necrophorum pharyngitis. In short, textbook Lemierre’s Syndrome.

On an extended course of high-dose, intravenous antibiotics, our patient slowly improved and was able to go home (albeit still on a massive dose of oral antibiotics for several weeks), having come through a rare and serious infection which, back in the days of Lemierre, would have most likely killed him. Lucky for him, it’s 2012, and antibiotics really do work. (Modern medicine for the win!)

But you can throw antibiotics at an infection all day, and there’s a good chance the patient will improve. Nonetheless, there is something incredibly fulfilling in making the diagnosis, and getting to the very bottom of what is going on. As a budding physician, I find myself continually humbled by the herculean processes of diagnostic medicine, but find near-limitless inspiration in the magic I felt in that moment of discovery, when I was finally able to give a name to the previously nameless entity that was afflicting my patient. That “House” moment is what keeps me going, and reaffirms that medicine really is where I belong.

One Month More

It’s always nice to know that there’s only one month left of school before finals, and that means one month closer to summer (or one month of giving it your all to get the grade you hopefully deserve!). Aren’t you excited UIC?

Visiting Grandpa

We went to visit my grandpa this past weekend. The last time we tried to go but it was covered with snow and we couldn't find him. It's not that big as it would have been were we in Asia, but this is where he will lay and my grandmother will one day join him here too. My aunts and uncles and parents sang a Chinese song that my grandpa liked a lot, and it was weird because the sun came out and then left when they were finished singing. Perhaps it is coincidence, but sometimes I think there is something out there bigger than all of us...

I signed up for classes for Fall 2012. It’s going to be pretty awesome.

  1. HN 311 – Nutrition in the Life Cycle
  2. BIOS 220 – Genetics Lecture
  3. CHEM 233 – Organic Chemistry Lab
  4. POL 101 – Polish I
  5. SPAN 101 – Spanish I

On top of that, I enrolled in summer school for the 4 week, although I’m not sure if I will keep that since I just found out that I got into AID Summer Program in Taiwan! I’m so psyched because this will probably be the last summer I can enjoy until post undergrad. My mom is trying to buy me a ticket to Taiwan right now but man are they expensive. The cheapest is in May but that would mean I wouldn’t have too much time in the lab or at work, so we’ll see what comes up.

Classes are going pretty well if you disregard organic chemistry. I know I should be studying every night for at least two hours, and I tell myself to do that too, but for some reason I just can’t get myself to do it. Perhaps it is because I don’t see the connection of how learning this will help me become a better doctor, but I should still try to get the most out of the class. It could be too late since there’s only one month left, but the final is worth 200 points so that can always be a grade turner!

I’m going to be going with my HAC members to Clemente High School the week of April 9th to give health presentations! It’s really exciting because it was all student-run and student made. It just shows how much you can do as a college student if you just put your effort into it and work with a lot of people who want the same goal.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping this short since I have a lot of exams coming up! Work hard UIC and you can really do great things. (:

Ipad hysteria

Well, the Jetsons really did it. They predicted the future. Yes I’m talking about the cartoon featuring George Jetson, his wife Jane, their daughter Judy and their son Elroy.

I remember watching the Jetsons when I was a little babe and thinking how crazy and cool it was that they could talk to people- namely George’s angry boss- over video on the wall or on a computer right next to them.

Well, that’s happened. No big deal, we can video chat people all the time now- our bosses, our family, our friends. It’s amazing.

But did the Jetsons predict being able to walk around with little computers that you hold in your hands? Not exactly that. We have made a step forward, past the “Jetsons predictions” future, to the unpredicted future (well, unpredicted by the reliable source of the Jetsons at least). And the ways in which we can apply this technology are pretty freakin amazing.

Especially in the field I’m in. Ipads are becoming a tool for everyday use in the medical field. And biomedical visualization (if you forgot, that’s what I’m learning here) in addition to graphic design and interface design, are necessary components of the development of apps in the medical field.

The animations I’m creating for my research project explaining diabetes will be incorporated into a larger diabetes management program that can be viewed as a video on YouTube, or used as an interactive program on a computer or an Ipad. As soon as I get these little animations done (soon I hope!) they will be put together with the narration, videos and testimonials to make a comprehensive program about diabetes that targets people without much science background and with low health literacy.

A team of health care workers will bring Ipads to the homes of diabetic patients to teach them about their disease and the importance of medication. It’s effective because it brings the information to people in a very hands-on, visual way. But still personal, because the health care worker can stop the video, talk to the patient and answer questions they have. Using technology like this, in a very personable and individual way, could revolutionize (and IS revolutionizing) patient education- the way people receive information about their disease, medicine regiment, surgery, etc.

Other applications of the Ipad in biomedical visualization:

- Medical Student Education: Blair Lyons (UIC Biomedical Visualization Class of 2011) created an Ipad App about the electron chain transport to teach students learning biochemistry.

It’s interactive with quizes and games so you can test your knowledge. Here’s the link to her website:

- Anatomical Education (for students or patients.) This is a review of a new application that basically is an anatomy text book in an Ipad app.

- Surgeries. Doctors in the ER can look at images of the patient’s anatomy (x-ray, mri, ct data) in real time, zooming in to see the details of certain areas of the brain or whatever they are working on.

They can also view all clinical information about the patient like EKG results, all health records and use this information before or while conducting surgeries.

Of course, there are some quirks about using an Ipad in a hospital setting- like losing it, breaking it, making sure it is sterile or in a plastic, sterile protective cover. It has the potential to be a distracting device for the health care worker in a patient care setting. But overall, visualization techniques using technology like the Ipad are going to change the doctor-patient relationship and the surgical setting, most likely for the better!

At Last, A Legit Spring Break

The Chicago weather has, for once, been treating us very nice this year. The winter wasn’t as harsh as most winters, and it didn’t even last that long. It literally feels like summer, and everyone’s mood has been happy.

I was waiting for the UIC Intracampus Shuttle to go to West Side for my Thursday morning Nutrition class. I just had to take a picture!

In terms of school and grades, however, there has been quite a lot of angst among students. The second exam for our organic chemistry II class was a big slap to the face. The average was 34/100 points, and you can imagine how many people are dropping this course to retake in the summer or fall. I’ve never been the type to consider dropping the course because I have confidence in myself that I don’t let myself fail, but in this class I was thinking about it! The professor posted midterm cut-offs and luckily I’m still keeping my head above water with a solid C. There’s only a few weeks over a month left of school left and I am going to dedicate it to studying for organic chemistry!

Here’s a list of study tips that I plan to employ, and hopefully it will help someone else who is struggling to really kick up their grades before the end of the semester:

  1. Can’t study at home? Can’t study at your grandmother’s? Go to the library and get a private room by yourself. Can’t go out and have to force yourself to study at home? GOOD LUCK. Force your sibling or mom to study with you, and attempt to explain things to them to better your understanding of the material.
  2. Don’t know where to begin studying? Start with the easiest thing you have to do just so you can accomplish SOMETHING this spring break. If you start with something crazy hard like organic chemistry, you might just feel unmotivated to do any work and give up!
  3. Having trouble retaining information when you’re studying and pulling all-nighters? Stop forcing information that’s not going through to you at night. Go to bed at 9. Wake up at 5 or 6 or whenever you naturally get up, and study then. It’s actually really nice and the information stays! Just try it.
  4. Use colored pens.
  5. Watch videos on YouTube on your particular subject.
  6. Eat candy or have some chocolate while you work. I think there’s some psychological reason that helps…
  7. Stay away from your phone and computer unless it is absolutely necessary for you to finish your assignment (need Word? Try writing down your essay using pencil/pen and paper and then just type it out later…your train of though and transitions will be better if you do it by hand.)
  8. Take a break! There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something that will probably not get done if you aren’t 100% into it. Play video games to blow off steam…like Left4Dead or something.

Anyway, spring break has been treating me really well. I’ve been hanging with my grandma and seeing my cousins. I’ve also gotten addicted to “Draw Something” by OMGPOP on my phone. Look me up and play with me!

Art Institute of Chicago

My mom got me two tickets to go to the Art Institute of Chicago to watch a Chinese concert called "Migratory Journeys." I took my friend Piotr and it was really nice, although it was quite contemporary music so it took more effort to enjoy it, haha.

We like to kick around while we dance.

After the concert, I went back to MRH to play on my Xbox. Simona (my roommate) and I played Dance Central 2 until 12PM. It was a fun workout, hehe.

Career VS. Family

It is quite fascinating to wake up each morning not knowing what the day holds for you. Very often one might optimistically view the coming hours as one filled achievements, at least something worthwhile. Being a marketing student has made me more focused and driven towards my career goals. However, it is imperative to realize that it is not always about work, some allotted time must be shared with the family. Although I strongly believe that with a successful career I will be able to not only support and foster a family while also being a positive role model.

Many times you hear negative connotation about a workaholic but not often do you hear the second hand benefits that working hard produces. Benefits such as a well fed family and ample supply of resources to help others in need, a little philanthropy if you want to call it. I remind myself daily of the various struggles and obstacles that I encountered growing up due to the lack of sufficient funds, and I use these memories as a drive to achieve more than my predecessors. This done in no way shape or form to belittle or condescend on the hard work that my parents have put in thus far, it serves only as a reminder of what I need to accomplish. Securing an honorable and honest career will help to provide a life map to my nieces and nephew, not necessarily coercing them to be like me but to show them that it can be done.

One of the most important lesson I have learned about career choices is that enjoy doing what you do for a living and the money will follow, so that’s the reason I took up marketing. Marketing is an extension my personality, always trying to find the underlying causes to peoples’ reaction and measuring how to sway them into doing what I want them to do. Some might call it manipulative but in essence is marketing at its simplest form the only difference is I am not always selling something. I was once told that a college education is a good thing but a specific marketable skill is much more valuable. I encourage everyone who has the time to search for that one thing they do well which has great value to society and build on it.

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