Category: Friends


Taiwan: Dissonance

I seriously can’t believe how fast the past two weeks of teaching my students English went by! I felt like I just got here but now I’m leaving them to go on the Taiwan tour with my AID group and others. I already have students finding me on Facebook (somehow) and I’m debating if I really want them to see mine LOL. Well, I guess after tomorrow I’ll add them, haha.

We went on a janky bridge and it was really fun! :D Bouncy bouncy bouncy.

We went on a janky bridge and it was really fun! :D Bouncy bouncy bouncy. Oh, I don't know if I mentioned but I probably did in the last post...I cut my hair! Well, more like my aunt made me get it cut super short. I haven't had this short of hair since I was five years old. I look so....different, haha. A lot of people have commented on it and have said they liked it but IDK I still miss my long hair!

This moment is familiar; I think I experience it every day in college. It’s the moment where you take a step back to appreciate all of the great memories you had with the people you worked with and then you take a step forward to realize they might not be there in your future. Sure, there’s Facebook, but these people are so far away. I’m the only person from Chicago whereas everyone else is from California and still in high school (except for my teaching partner who is my age and Canadian). I was on a government-funded program three years ago in Taiwan where I volunteered with the Taiwanese Red Cross with people I never met either and we all were so incredibly close. And of course I’ll hit them up if I’m in their California/New York/New Jersey area (not sure when I’ll visit Texas), but they’ve become more and more distant, even though I’m sure they’d be willing to get close again!

I'm the only person in Chicago in my group and a lot of them don't know much about I am doing my best to represent our wonderful city! :D This is a picture of me with my "hope" which I wrote in Chinese on a lantern that we put up into the was really fun! :D

I'm the only person in Chicago in my group and a lot of them don't know much about I am doing my best to represent our wonderful city! :D This is a picture of me with my "hope" which I wrote in Chinese on a lantern that we put up into the was really fun! :D

Our Lantern

Here's the lantern blown up! They burn paper at the bottom and the gas makes the lantern go up. I hope my wish comes true! (:

I was hesitant on whether or not I wanted to go with my group to the tour that follows our teaching time. We are given the option of not going, which would mean I could come home early to my aunts and cousins and grandparents and hang out with them for a week longer. I asked the girls in my group, “Would you be offended if I didn’t come on the tour?” And they all quickly replied, “YES MILIE. YOU HAVE TO COME!” Haha, I love feeling needed in a group, and especially missed. Many times they have all gone to the night markets to eat yummy Taiwanese snacks and shop at ridiculously cheap prices for things and I, instead, stayed back in the dorm and did my own thing. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, but I guess there’s no reason for me to go besides stare at the food I can’t eat and look at the things I don’t plan on buying because I didn’t bring enough money (I’m saving it for when I shop with my aunts and cousins). It’s really my eczema on my face and neck that makes me a “party pooper.”

Tomorrow, for our last day, they’re taking us to a really fancy buffet in Taipei ( and the pictures on this person’s blog make us all SOOOOO excited! I cannot wait even though I can’t eat half the things (seafood)…but screw it. I don’t care if I have to turn into a red blotchy monster the next day…I want to enjoy my time in Taiwan and eat sushi! I MISS IT SO MUCH!

This was the first day of class and I was introducing my city! Chicago FTW!

This was the first day of class and I was introducing my city! Chicago FTW! There's a lot more pictures on Facebook you can stalk...and some on Tumblr (a lot of those are pictures of my kids!).

Anyway, I probably sound kind of emo in my post but I’m actually having a wonderful time in Taiwan! I guess I am just feeling a little bit homesick since everyone kind of knows someone prior to the trip and I just kind of came to do my own thing. I haven’t contacted my parents much (although after a year I finally added my mom on Facebook so she’s been abusing the Like button like no other) but I’ve kept contact with my brother and his possible new love outlook, haha! The teaching experience I gained was really fun even though it has made me definitely not want to ever want to be a teacher! Making presentations and planning all the activities so the kids learn something and not get bored from it was exhausting. People always tell me that I’d be a great teacher when I help them out with homework, but maybe they mean I’d be a great TUTOR! I love tutoring at the Writing Center and tutoring in other subjects like math or physics etc…but when it comes to teaching a whole class I don’t think I’ve got the classroom management part handled well. I had to discipline two boys yesterday because they were throwing things at each other during nap time. Today they were good though…so that was nice! My students are between the ages of 9-12 by the way. We were required to use only English with the students the whole time and tomorrow we’re spilling the beans that we can actually speak Chinese! They’re going to flip and probably start saying silly words in Taiwanese so we can’t understand them, haha.

The students had to guess what I was drawing (I was drawing their school: Yude Elementary School).

The kids all crowded around me to see what I was drawing, and they had to guess what it was! I was drawing their school, haha. I'm grabbing my shirt to either wipe my sweat or scratch an itch LOL. My eczema always makes me look bad in all of the pictures!

As for other updates, I’ve been slowly working my way on the graphics for a book my previous nutrition professor is publishing by the end of this summer. I’m so happy he’s been so patient with my work since there are PLENTY of times where I do not have internet and can’t e-mail him when I want to…and it’s hard to find motivation to do work when the people around you only want to have fun! I definitely planned on applying to so many scholarships prior to coming to Taiwan, but I didn’t apply to a single one…someone please motivate me LOL. I got no grants this year and it’s been really bugging me about how we’re going to pay for tuition since our financial situation did not change at all from the previous years…and they were giving me $15,000 last year and the year before that! Did anyone else get jipped by financial aid? :[ I hate being a financial burden on my family and that’s why I have five jobs but they’re all part-time and wouldn’t be able to support anyone! I guess I’ll have to put up with paying off ridiculous loans later! ><

The Weather Song

For some reason the students really wanted to sing The Weather Song in addition to We Are the World for the closing performance. Just Youtube it and you'll know what it is. Anyway, there's a part that goes "in the spring there are flowers" and we were trying to make some hand motions so they're not just standing around while they're singing. This is our pose during that part in the song LOL. Don't judge.

I heard it’s burnin’ hot in Chicago! It’s always hot and humid in Taiwan, but every time I talk to someone in Chicago it sounds like they’re melting or dying in the heat wave. I hope you guys feel cooler soon. :D

The Biology Blues Part 2

I don’t think I have ever NOT studied for an exam, let alone two exams. Here is the part II of the Biology Blues, and it’s not pretty.

Being a biological sciences major isn’t bad, and it’s not supposed to be bad. In fact, I would say about half of the school is a biological sciences/pre-medicine major. It’s common because the requirements overlap, and biology is in general pretty interesting (you learn about life, duh). Had I done this all over though, I totally would have majored in music, nutrition, kinesiology, or computer science.

Too late now (technically it’s never too late to do what you truly want to do, but that’s why I’m staying with biology and pre-medicine). The two exams I had for microbiology lecture and lab were toast. The night before I was sick with a cold/flu and decided it was best to sleep early and wake up in the morning to study. Right before I went to sleep, my whole night and grades were instantly ruined. I won’t say the details, but let’s just say I had a conversation/argument about my relationship with a person that was already resolved a few weeks ago but that person just had to bring it back up again. The worst part was finding out they didn’t trust me like I trusted them. It hurts so much, and that killed me emotionally.

I ended up being a wailing and crying wreck and just wanted them to leave me alone. They had “waited” to bring it up until now…I mean, really? What kind of person is so inconsiderate and selfish to bring up something that was already resolved and wait around until the night before two of my finals, the night where I should be studying intensely or at least getting enough sleep and energy to continue my studies in the morning. I wouldn’t do that to them, or anyone! You know why? Because I care about people’s success. I care about people by motivating them and encouraging them to be involved and get good grades and have a true passion for what they want to do. If I have a beef with someone, then I confront them right then and there! If I KNOW they have an exam (which this person did know I had two exams since that’s all I would talk about), I would tell them at least two days prior. But to do that…it just ruined everything. I ended up waking up only an hour before my exam and just took the exams as is. If my failure on these exams are evident, then I really need to stop being around others and focus on school. Becoming a doctor is so important to me…

And this is my problem. I’m too nice. I let people just walk over me because I want them to be happy. I always try to make it go “their way” so that they don’t feel as hurt as it would if we did things “my way.” But even I don’t have a definite way of doing things because I always want to compromise their wishes over mine. I hate this feeling…I’m just so physically and emotionally drained (I have caught the cold/flu from my friend). So much for studying hardcore for organic chemistry.

I plan to start intensely studying the second I feel better, but until then I’ve been trying to sleep (Nyquil isn’t working too well though) and watching my turtle Chompy try and chase the fish in his tank. My finals week is pretty chill since I only have to worry about organic chemistry, but I still fill it up. Tuesday of finals week I’ll be going into research; Wednesday I’ll be tutoring at the Writing Center and then volunteering for CASL’s Fundraising Dinner at the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue; Thursday will be an intense day of studying; and finally, Friday will be my exam! I have to move out the day after from MRH, which kind of sucks because I’ll be moving back in just a week later for the 4-week summer session (not taking classes thankfully).

This semester really flew by. I’m already half-way through my undergraduate career. After this summer, it’ll be intense studying for MCAT and then applying for medical school. I could stay here and continue to do research (my PI really wanted me to apply for a fellowship but he didn’t let me know soon enough) but if I don’t go to Taiwan this year, I don’t think I’ll get another chance for another two years! I really want to see my grandparents over there and connect with them. All of the other years I’ve gone to Taiwan I’ve never really tried to talk to them because I was scared of sounding like a fool, but if I were them I wouldn’t care about how my granddaughter sounded…the point is putting in the effort and I want so bad to have a good relationship with them before they leave this world. I went to see my grandmother here but I couldn’t hug her since I didn’t want her to catch my sickness; that would be really bad. It’s already been three months since my grandpa passed away. Three months! I miss him so much…

I hope everyone will enjoy their summer break with the ones they love! And if you’re having any struggles, don’t be scared to go into counseling or talking to someone about it. It’s bad to keep things in and sometimes the things we worry about are really minor.

Thank you for those who read my blog regularly. It means so much to me! =)

Gotta Love Family

Tennis at UIC

My cousin will be an incoming freshman at UIC in the fall of 2012-2013! He got into GPPA for Physical Therapy so he came for a tour and then later met up with me to hang out. I showed him around and we met up with one of his friends to play tennis at the UIC Recreational Center. The weather in Chicago has been decent, but still nothing compared to what it was during spring break!

It’s really cool to have some family go to the same school as you. Even though I didn’t exactly go to the same school as my brother (down at Urbana-Champaign) as my dad wanted me to, I still consider it the same to some extent. I chose UIC for the opportunities, the diversity, the cost of tuition, and of course the location!

Microbiology Tubes

Our lab practical is coming up for microbiology lab and I'm pretty nervous. The TA said that we would have to know every single result of each test that we've conducted in lab and all of the mediums we used...I guess I better get on it ASAP! Luckily my science paper (includes methods, results, discussion) for the unknown bacteria project has been getting high marks so I hope that will help me get an A in the class.

Some people will consider the friends they make in college as family. Others will just see them as friends or “best friends.” From one of my previous posts I questioned how people made friends, or at least declared the title of a “friend” onto someone. I think I use the vernacular for people that I talk to on a daily basis but don’t really get close to, which is almost everyone. UIC has so many different people and I love choosing classes where I can meet them. I don’t like meeting people on different grounds because I am either 1) not social 2) not social or 3) not social. Haha, I’m kidding.

Anyway, I think most of the people I meet and get close to (sharing perspective about life and all that deep conversational stuff) I would consider a “non-related sibling.” I don’t like to throw the term “friend” around because the definition is so complicated to me and there are so many variables, but I know what I’d call someone close to me just as I am close to my family at home.

How do you define the feel of “family” in the context of UIC? Well, the first question you need to ask yourself is: Do you feel at home when you’re here? My immediate response is yes! I just feel like I belong, and although there may be some institutions that I don’t feel a part of within the campus (Honors College, AARCC, etc.), I can always find a niche and I make things my own.

You’re in charge of your change. Start something, be proud, and be you.

Making Bubble Tea

My mom bought some boba (tapioca) and made some delicious green tea/milk tea. It was so good! It's great to have a beautiful mom.

Speaking about making change, we (my fellow HAC members and I) went to visit Clemente High School and got to present health presentations, which included sex education and nutrition! Of course, they weren’t put together in one powerpoint, haha. It was such an awesome experience going to a CPS. I went to one last year when I was in HAC but it was a lot smaller and less intimidating (I think it was because I was presenting to adults than students). Actually, I think I was more excited than intimidated when I entered. The high school was so far more different from my high school back home and I just loved that I got to have the opportunity to experience what it was like and experience the demographics that are so different from UIC, even though it was only 25 minutes away. I got elected to be Activities Chair again for SFP and I can’t wait to make improvements and go back to Clemente High School and other nearby high schools! The most exciting part of what we accomplished this year was that it was ALL student run and made. It just shows how much you can do with a dedicated group of individuals with the same goals!

As the weeks are winding down, I am preparing for my final examinations. Most of my finals are surprisingly not during finals week, which is totally awesome! The only real final I have to worry about is organic chemistry. We took our third exam last week and I’m crossing my fingers that I did well! It was definitely a whole lot better than that second exam (a ton of people dropped after they got their exam scores back). I’m still holding out strong and can’t wait for the semester to be finished so I can go to Taiwan! My summer plans are probably going to consist of learning languages (Polish and Spanish, maybe Japanese), draw more with my Wacom, and start studying for the MCAT! Hyped.

Top 3: “Pickup Lines on How to Talk to Anyone” -Confessions of an RA

Hello Chicago!– (4/14/12)

**Random Picture of the Week** 

Drawn from one of JST's Residents and placed in a study lounge =)

The 40th Annual CSSLA Ceremony. Me and my friend Winston at the reception area.

This was my second award win for CSSLA (Chancellor’s Student Service and Leadership Awards). The first one was for my work with Campus Housing and Undergraduate Student Government. This second one was for creating a new service project to address Chicago’s youth (with the help of the US Army and ROTC) and expand their health and fitness as well as leadership skills with high-risk teens.

So, THE 10 DAY COUNTDOWN BEGINS!!! 10 School days left before finals week. Can you believe that??

Top 3: ” Pickup Lines on How to Talk to Anyone (Literally)” -Confessions of an RA

3.) “I absolutely love your [insert piece of clothing]!! Where did you get it from??
This breaks the ice, especially if you have never met them before. Compliments always open a window of opportunity. From there, you can pickup from their response and carry it on from there.

2.) Starter Subjects: Highs and Lows of their day, Weather, Classes, Pop Culture, etc.
…then ask keeping sincere questions and show genuine interest. This opens up a lot of opportunities and you can follow up next time you talk.

1.) Remember the acronym “S.H.E.”
-Smile like they just changed your world for the better
-Handshake with truth, confidence, and that they are important
-Eyes that will make them feel like a million bucks every time you see them

So next week, talk about upcoming fashion and trends around UIC for summer!!

Stay tuned,

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Fashion Trends on Campus

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Ever had something lucky? (lucky boxers, socks??)

Almost There!

Hello UIC!

This has been an event full week. My week started off with celebrating Easter with the family. We went to the park for some Easter egg hunting, barbeque, and family time.  All of the adults helped hide the eggs and then the kids went off to find them. My niece and nephews looked so cute trying to find the eggs. They are only around five years old on average so it was really cute to see them run around and instead of taking all the eggs giving some to their cousins.  After the egg hunt everyone started preparing the meal. I appointed myself the guacamole master. I must say although I might be biased, my guacamole was pretty delicious. My cousins and sister prepared the meat. They really outdid themselves; I had forgotten how delicious barbeque meat could be. It’s traditional in my family to fill dried egg shells with confetti and crack them on someone else’s head. Sometimes it really hurts depending on who cracks it on your head.  It can get a little competitive and chases to catch each other usually arise. Overall it was a pleasant Easter Sunday.

The school week was full of studying and a little leisurely time. Along with time to relax while watching a Bull’s game with friends. I also ran for President of SHPE-UIC.  SHPE-UIC is my student organization. We have done a lot of awesome work in the past and I hope that this upcoming year we can attribute even greater successes to our Familia. I was excited to see a lot of the names on the ballot. A lot of the younger generation is becoming more interested in SHPE and that shows the success of the organization and the awareness that organizations like SHPE bring to the Latino community.

Along with recreation and fun I also had more news from my professors. Final’s test dates are starting to be announced. This time of the school semester is usually really joyous but really stressful because there are a lot of projects to hand in before the end yet the anticipation of the end of the semester gives you so much joy.

I hope you enjoyed your week. Thanks for reading this week (sorry for no pictures, I forgot to take some)

Hasta Luego,


Fanesca Time!

Hello UIC!

I hope your semester has been going AWESOME! This week has been full of great events and school work. It’s hard to believe but we are down to the last month of the semester.   Along with a week full of studying I had the opportunity to spend time doing extracurricular activities.

Monday, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Nassif she is the Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Post-secondary Education. Myself along with about twenty other students had the opportunity to talk to her about our experience, our passion and some obstacles that could hinder our learning experience. We also had the opportunity to hear from her about some of the initiatives at the Federal Government. Along with hearing about them we also had the opportunity to voice our opinion about them.  She was very attentive and had a genuine concern for our needs. It was an overall inspiring experience and I am very thankful for the opportunity.

After my classes and my studying were done for the day, I attended SHPE’s intramural soccer game. We have two official teams and one team with our younger members. On Monday two of the three teams played. Both games were very intense. I felt like if I was watching my national team play in the world cup and the best part was that both teams won their respective games.

The Games were very intense.

Tuesday, was my mega fan’s (Erika Ayala’s) birthday. There isn’t a better way to celebrate a fellow girl’s birthday than to take a trip down to the mall. We went to the Water Tower Place, on our way there we stopped by the water tower. I had never been to either the mall or the tower. The tower is smaller than expected; there were historical facts and pictures on the wall. After we were done with our history lesson for the day, we spent some time in the shops at the water tower. I can tell the birthday girl fully enjoyed her birthday.

Inside the Water Tower

Inside the Water Tower Place

On Friday, my friend (Carlos from Panama) and I went to visit my other friend (Mauricio). We went to visit him because he invited us over for Good Friday Dinner. His family cooked Fanesca, a traditional dish made on Fridays during Lenten.  Fanesca is a soup made with 12 types of grains some include: lentils, corn, garbanzos, and beans. After the Fanesca we had Molo, a dish somewhat like mashed potato but with a lot of favor. For dessert we had peaches and ice cream. After the dinner we stuck around to catch up with him. His mom even made more empanadas. It was an enjoyable dinner and evening, can’t wait for next year.



More empanadas!

Thanks for reading this week!


How Do You Make Friends?

Some people are shocked when I tell them I have “no friends.” Of course in their definition I would have friends, and according to Facebook I have a few hundreds, but when it comes to me and what I see as a friend, I’m ambivalent.

Cherry Blossoms

Every spring our cherry blossom tree comes out with really gorgeous flowers. It lasts a few days and then the petals fall off. Isn't it pretty? I made it my new background on my phone. Chompy is jealous (he's eating now btw! I guess his hiberation season is officially over!).

When I meet someone that I genuinely appreciate their presence or personality and they feel the same about me, I’d say we’re “pals” or “we coo” or some other kid slang vernacular. I feel like the word “friend” doesn’t mean anything like it used to, especially ever since Facebook came along. Not to hate on social media because I’m on it a lot now, but I struggle trying to be likable while also staying true to myself.

One of the main reasons why I chose to go to UIC was because of the diversity (my high school was incredibly diverse), but I don’t think it was quite how I imagined it to be. I had “friends” from all different cultures and backgrounds in high school, but once I came to UIC I found it hard to have that same diverse group of friends to talk to every day and it instead just became almost monogamous.

People here just like to hang out with people who look like them, talk like them, and share common values. It’s not a bad thing, I suppose. It’s what we naturally feel comfortable with and I am guilty of it too; but man do I try really hard to make friends outside of my comfort zone.

Sapling Homework

I was too lazy to rotate the image, but this is basically the last problem I'm stuck on for organic chemistry homework online. It seems easy but I can't figure it out! Any geniuses out there?

Sometimes it really bothers me when people say they want go into a certain profession to “help other people.” I mean, don’t we all want to help other people? I can’t think of anyone who would NOT SAY they do not want to help others. We all mean well, and that’s why most people think in America we’re just fine and happy and it is the people outside of the US that have turmoil and lack of resources and that it’s our civic duty to help them, which is true but we’re not all that different from “them.” I feel like, in general, we don’t know who we want to help. We consciously know we want to help people, but I don’t think many understand what kind of people are out there who need help the most unless we really try our best to reach out.

We only think we’re super different because we don’t explore outside of our comfort zones. I mean, what about those people who are in jail and prisons? We treat them like we’d never do what they did, but we don’t know their whole story and we shouldn’t judge others by their race or socio-economical class. The point I’m trying to make here is to get you all thinking about how you make friends, and why you make friends with them and not others…and if there are “others” that you don’t befriend…why? Is it because they are “bad people?” Aren’t we supposed to help them too?

Here’s a classic example. You rarely see full-fledged Christians hanging out with full-fledged atheists. Why not? You could say “they have different morals and values” but I would have to disagree. One side believes in God, and the other does not believe in one. Why is that so hard to grasp? We see things as being so complicated and don’t even attempt to uncover what could be simple because we “don’t have time” or “I need to go study now because all of this will get me into medical school.” Does anyone care about the present these days? I feel like I’m just trapped in a zone where people just come and go and do their own thing and I’m just watching it all happen. I just want to stop them, shake them out of their trance, grab their hand, and say “Hey, I want to get to know you.” They would probably freak out and run to their group of friends and be dramatic about some crazy Asian girl who stopped them and grabbed their hand and asked to get to know them.

I know…I’m strange.

Anyway, I spent most of my spring break being unproductive. I hung out with my grandma for most of it and then played on my Xbox with my brother’s roommate who stayed over a few times. My brother was busy playing League of Legends and I was killing aliens on Gears of War 3. Overall it was pretty awesome. I also watched 21 Jump Street and The Hunger Games. If you’re going to pick a really good movie that’s worth your money, you MUST absolutely go watch The Hunger Games. I didn’t know anything about it but that everyone was excited for it, and now I know why. This movie was phenomenal and I can’t wait to get my hands on the books!

Time to go back to school and get my act together. There’s only about five or six weeks left and that means very little time to slack off. I normally don’t do procrastinate on things, but after the passing of my grandpa and some friendship issues, it’s been really hard and I have faced some struggle…but perhaps I’ll check out the UIC Counseling Center for advice. I heard they’re amazing! I have so much to do…

Pre-Spring Break Jitters!

Hey Y’all!

This past weekend was my nephew’s fifth birthday. He is such a happy kid. His parents had his birthday party at “Chi Chis” (Chuck E. Cheese’s) as he calls it. It was so much fun I never had as much fun at a child’s birthday party. All of his friends and cousins really enjoyed themselves; they had a lot of room to play and to just be kids. Also, as I found out they LOVE pizza it kind of reminds me of the Ninja Turtles. Coming from a very fun weekend it was a little had to refocus this week.

This week is the week before Spring Break. The excitement is noticed around campus. Everyone has exams or projects due this week. For others like me we have a little bit of everything. My group and I had a presentation about our final project. I really like it, it’s a mix of engineering, marketing and business. The project shows a lot of promise and it could even work in a real life scenario.

Yesterday, after my presentation I went to the CHANCE Ambassador FUN-A-THON, it was really fun and a lot of people went.  I was one of the Ambassadors who planned it. I wish I could have been there for the entire time. There were karaoke, games, and food what more can we ask of an event? It was a very proud moment to walk into a packed event.

Along with papers and presentations, today I have my second Linear Algebra exam. My first exam went well but not good enough. I have really been trying really hard to get an even better score than the first exam.

Enjoy Spring Break! I‘ll be in Kentucky (I haven’t packed YET and I leave TOMORROW)!

Have an AWESOME Week!


Sixth Week Anxiety!

Hola UIC!

It’s the Sixth week of the semester. I hope your semester has been going AWESOME so far. Hope those exams are treating you well. This week I had two exams and one speech. I did pretty well on my Math Exam and I am waiting for my Physics Exam results.  So far I like my Math Class but things are starting to get a bit more abstract. I really like that my classes are starting to coincide and complement each other well.

As I mentioned last week, it was my birthday, I had a good time with my friends on Friday night. We went to the Vagina Monologues. The monologues were really empowering. They were performed by different women from all over campus. I even saw Michelle Geddes; her performance was very empowering and fresh. After the monologues, my friends and I went to Lalo’s to dance the night away. It was really fun and I loved having friends from all different parts of my life there, it was a nice feeling.

After a fun night, it was time to prepare for the exams on Monday and the SHPE Jr Event. The SHPE Jr. Event gave us a chance to provide a different type of event for the SHPE Jr. Students. They had a chance to shadow some of our UIC members (Diana, Emmanuel, and Perla), talk to our chapter advisors, tour the school, and compete in a friendly competition with students from other organizations. With an event as big as this one,  a lot of help was needed to make it a success. It could not have been a success without my friends (Victor, Anthony, and Janis).

On Tuesday, Valentine’s Day SHPE-UIC had a Sale in the Student Center East. Along with selling flowers and chocolate, there was a panda that was taking pictures in exchange for donations. It was successful and a lot of fun as well. There are a lot of pictures on the SHPE-UIC Facebook Page, you should check them out.

Have an AWESOME Weekend!


*Next Week, Chilean food review*

Why Being Involved Is Important

A lot of people ask why I’m “crazy” when they really mean to ask “why do you do so many things when you could have so much free time?” I remember my first semester at UIC was a breeze (like everyone else unless you’re an engineering major) only because I had no job to worry about, the classes were easy, and organizations and clubs were flexible and genuinely fun. By the second month of my freshman year first semester, I figured I should take advantage of the work study fund from the government (do your FAFSA soon BTW). I got myself a job at campus housing for designing their websites (I actually had a security job before on the first day of school at east side, but having to walk back to JST at midnight wasn’t exactly in my best interest). I was really into web design and coding in junior high (it was seriously an addiction) and wanted to do it as a career at one point, but as my eczema got worse and my eyes kind of hurt from looking at computer screens, I felt that it was more important for me to solve this skin problem than spending my whole life designing websites for people who probably think “it’s so easy” when it takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a big pet peeve for graphic designers when a client asks for so many things and expect you to get it done in a flash because “it’s an easy task for you.” To everyone in the art and design college, I totally respect you.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think a lot of people at UIC who are in organizations, especially the students who have pre-medicine as their goal, only join so it looks good later when they apply for graduate school. It’s weird because I think everyone knows this, and everyone knows that their motives are always personal than selfless. I think what made me motivated to be involved in college was because of my lack of involvement in high school. I was more into sports than joining clubs (basketball, tennis, and badminton FTW), but obviously I haven’t kept that up since being here at UIC (at least I didn’t get the freshman 15!).

Getting involved at UIC was surprisingly really easy. I mean, everyone wants you to go to their club, and they almost always have food there so you will be motivated to come and see what they’re all about. Need a job? There are so many opportunities! I am currently employed at four part-time jobs and I might consider taking up another one. My parents think that perhaps college is too easy for me, but it is so NOT. Classes here, especially the science classes, are insane! I’m not the type of “smart” that can just learn everything in one night. It’s about time management, and I really think anyone can do what I’m doing if they use their time wisely, enjoy themselves, and get involved with what they are most interested in because otherwise everything will seem like work. Don’t we all just want to do what we love to do, and get paid for it? And when you volunteer, don’t you just want to get that satisfaction that you helped someone out in their day and they wanted to repay you but you declined because you genuinely just wanted to make them happy?

My unknown bacteria project is kind of cool.

Thanks to Xuxuan who took a picture of my unknown bacteria with his cell phone! It literally took him like five minutes to get the right position and lighting. He was so persistent, haha. We're lab partners in microbiology lab and have a good time inoculating organisms, teehee.

Those are just some things to think about. If you want the exact details of how to become involved, here are some tips:

  1. Bring a friend to attend a club meeting. I know it can be scary to walk into a room full of people you don’t know and attempt to start a conversation. Even though I prefer going alone to club meetings that I’m interested in because I want to meet new people, it can be nice to have your friends there (but only if they want to be there!). Need some clubs to attend? Come to the ones I’m involved with! UIC Creative Writing Club meets every Friday at 4pm in Grant Hall 104. We would love to have new members. Are you in the Honors College? Come visit SFP’s Health Activism Committee meetings, usually 5pm in Burnham Hall 121 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (check website for definite times). There’s a club for almost anything you can think of. Heck, there’s even a cigar club on campus. I don’t know what they do, but if you do that stuff then maybe you want to meet others like that (I wouldn’t because I don’t want my lungs to inhale secondhand smoke and get carcinogens, but it’s up to you).
  2. Need a job? Go to Student Employment in SSB! Most of my jobs I found through word of mouth, but I believe there are many places where people post job openings, especially if you have work study! There’s a UIC website where you can upload your CV/resume and people will contact you within a month. It takes patience.
  3. Get involved with research! I absolutely love doing research. There’s a unique program at UIC called the Undergraduate Research Experience that I personally went to check out when I was looking for a research opportunity in skin! There’s not just scientific/biochemical research opportunities. If you’re a social science major, business, art, etc…there’s something for you too!
  4. Don’t focus or specify all of your extra-curriculars to one that is related to your major or career goal. While it is obviously important to get those kinds of experiences, I wouldn’t consume all of your time to it (unless you absolutely LOVE it). It’s like that saying, don’t put all your eggs into one basket. We’re all still undergraduates and we know that the likelihood of getting employment past of college is still not as good as we’d like it to be. It’s good to explore your other interests while you’re in college so you make sure that what you want to do is genuinely what you want to do! I take side jobs to do art projects, I play piano and violin when I volunteer at RUSH hospital (although right now I am not since I might get emotional while playing, thinking about my grandpa…), I make websites, I go play basketball or badminton (it’s too cold to play tennis outside)…don’t ever cut out what makes you happy (I love having hobbies).
  5. Confused about what you’re interested in? Some people don’t even know they’re interested in some things because they’ve never been exposed. I feel that talking to people who you know well helps see how others view you and they can point out your special qualities better than you can trying to think of one!
  6. Just say no. I’m really bad at this. Sometimes I do take it too far. I have a lot of people who come to me and ask for favors, and of course I always say “Yes I will do it! No problem!” But right after saying that, in my head I’m saying, “Wow. Did you just say yes? You are totally going to regret this and your eczema is going to blow up on your face with stress.” You know yourself the best, and you know whether or not you can make commitments. Start off slow. Do what you can, but don’t over exert yourself because you’ll just end up beating yourself over it and people will feel bad that they made you stress about something that might not even have mattered much to them.

I hope that’s a good guideline for anyone who wanted to get involved on campus. =) Basically, be involved for the benefit of yourself and your well-being, not because you feel forced to by medical school/graduate school expectations. Of course, I’m not in medical school so you might just take my advice with a grain of salt and read Justin’s blogs instead (He writes amazing stuff), but I digress.

Good luck! Hope everyone did well on their exams, and I also hope everyone will have a beautiful Valentine’s day with the person they adore! I’ll be spending my Valentine’s day playing a basketball game at 7:10pm. If you’re around the UIC Recreation Center on Halsted at that time, you’ll probably see me and a bunch of short Asians against really tall people (we haven’t won a game yet, haha…but it’s so much fun! I love it!).

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