Unexpected Kind Words

So outside of the hard sciences characteristic of medical school, we have this class called the Practice of Medicine, which is a series of small classes and activities that are supposed to teach us our “doctoring” skills.

For example, we have an apprenticeship where we shadow a local doctors, even perform procedure under their guidance.  In the class Doctor, Patient and Society, we learn the basics of taking histories and interviews with practice patients and how to convey validation, assurance and compassion to the patient while doing so.  In Problem-based, case-based learning (PCL), we’re given cases  that we have to figure out, a la House (but a whole lot simpler than the cases that House’s team got): a fictional patient presents with certain symptoms, we’re given bits of their background and current life, and we’re expected to come up with a diagnosis, a treatment and highlight psych or social issues that may be present.  And finally in Physical Diagnosis, we learn the basic maneuvers of the physical exam and how to properly perform them on patients, while learning the clinical significance of the information we can gather from the exam.

All in all, Practice of Medicine is a big fat pain in the ass.

From the awkwardness of having to perform portions of the physical exams on your fellow classmates, intimately touching those who were but complete strangers to you several months ago.  To the abject terror you feel from having to complete an interview, trying to figure out the right questions to ask, while being watched by your peers who will later critique you.  To being pimped by your doctor during your apprenticeship on the knowledge that you were supposed to retain from class, which sadly most time you find you’ve retained next to nothing.


So my plan of action has always been to just show up with a smile and participate, regardless of whether or not I know what I’m talking about or what’s going on.

Truth be told, I rarely know what I’m talking about or what’s going on in life, let alone in medical school.

Then, after that semester of hell, (oh, and it’s a four year course, so we have seven more semesters of hell and embarrassment to go), you have to be evaluated by your instructors.  I hate evaluations, I always feel like I’m failing them.

During said evaluation in our PCL course, the usual issues came up: speak up, talk more, be confident.  Is it so wrong to want to be an unassuming presence?  Oh, the day to day woes of your friendly neighborhood introvert.

Then something weird happened: my instructor started saying I was inventive and that I bring a fresh perspective to 1235133_10151546502971786_941822155_nthe table. While I’m hesitant to speak, those times that I do, my life experience and maturity show, which he appreciated (as he was also a few years removed from undergrad before deciding to go back to medical school).  I knew things and I shouldn’t be afraid to bring what I knew out.

What was more, he said that he saw the potential to be a great leader in me and that he didn’t see that in anyone else in the class.

I don’t know why, but I almost cried when I heard all of those things being said about me… ME?!?!?  Are you SURE?!?!

And then as quickly as it started, the evaluation ended.   And I’m left wondering what to do with myself.

I’ll figure it out.  In the meantime, I have 5 more exams to go (out of 7!  Two down!!!  Whoop!!!).

And I’ll be complete with my first semester of med school.

Yay me.


The Previous Escapades of Lonely Beard

Back when I first started working at my company, all the young twenty-something new hires gathered together regularly for lunch.  Our group grew and shrunk as there were many ebbs and flows in the waves of new hires that came in.  Most would join our group and then eventually broke off into their own little cliques as it suited them. 

However, there was this one kid that we knew was a new hire in our department, but had somehow missed the memo.  Nobody was quite sure what wave of new hires he belonged to, but for weeks, we would all have lunch and this kid would sit by himself…  We all felt really bad that we had never invited him to sit with us, even worse because we couldn’t freaking remember his name!  So eventually we came to know him as Lonely Beard: thus dubbed for his substantial amount of facial hair and lone dining habits.

I think I was the one that invited him to sit with us one summer day.  And eventually he became acclimated with our group of workmates.  I’m kind of acquaintances with him now and he’s a a super, cool dude and fits in well with our group of friends.  The name Lonely Beard eventually faded from most people’s minds as we came to know him by his real name.

But I need a new hobby.  So I’m writing a comic strip!  Upon searching my memory for inspiration for comical and interesting protagonists, Lonely Beard was resurrected.  After a round of witty banter with a friend, the name of my comic strip was born: 

“The Previous Escapades of Lonely Beard”

The premise of the comic is that Lonely Beard will be this mysterious character that gets into a number of situations that lead to his untimely demise (a la Kenny from South Park) or otherwise hilarious conclusion.  I’ve already started sketching what Lonely beard would look like and I’m soliciting stories of previous escapades from my friends and drawing from my own life for inspiration.   I’ll be publishing another blog dedicated to Lonely Beard and friends.

 It’s still in the making, but I can’t wait to see what Lonely beard will be getting into next!

F@#$%* Boring!

Fresh  from my twelve day trip to Scotland/London, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take a new outlook on life.  I cried a little coming back because I was reminded of how much I loved the UK and how badly I had wanted to stay there.  But I’ve recovered from that, reminding myself that it’s all about looking forward, not back, and making the most out of my present situation.

My complaints about life are usually the following:  ‘I’m bored’,  ‘Adulthood is boring’,  ‘When did I become so boring?’,  or some other phrase in which I use a form of the word ‘bored’.   After speaking with a recently married friend of mine out in London (Mary), she had me ask myself: why do I have to rely on other people to make life more interesting?  I love going out and I’m always open to try new experiences, but I largely depend on other people to introduce me to these things or to do things with me… why?

I guess on some level I’m afraid of doing things by myself.  But I’ve had enough of boring.  If I can’t find someone to do things with, I will do them by myself, dammit!  That might mean I’ll have to go to an intimate concert, museum, indie film screening or art event alone, but hell!  I’m tired of being bored!  And if the thought of going alone is just so overwhelmingly daunting, I’m just gonna have to take a few swigs of liquid courage and get through it.

Anyway, Mary made a great point, doing all these things by myself may very well make me more interesting and attract those elusive others to me.  Pretty soon, others may be inspired to come along with me.  And who knows?   I might even meet people there.  People are great and I want to surround myself with lots of friendly and interesting people.  But I don’t NEED anyone.  I can make life more interesting for me by myself.

So the plan is to take advantage on being within a stone throw of these big, thriving cities (NYC, Jersey City and Newark) and within reasonable traveling distance of Philly, Trenton and New Brunsick… There’s tons of stuff to do in these places! So I’m making a budget, googling events, and grouponing it out!   At least, every other week, I’m going to do something interesting, with or without company…

As I said before:  F@#$%* boring!  Bring it on, Life….

Let’s try this positivity thing…

I haven’t been posting much so, to all those who check my blog regularly, I apologize!  Hopefully I’ll make it up to you… Work has had a bit of down time recently, so I’ll be taking this opprotunity to make up for lost time.

I hope to take my posts in a different direction…  I realize, I complain a lot, I’m very melancholy, I overanalyze things and I’m very critical of myself and my situation…  I recently decided that I’m taking these next couple of years before my medical school entry to develop myself professionally at work, in order to instill myself with a better work ethic, accountability and to be more goal oriented.  So I’m using my employment to try and force these skills and ways of thinking upon myself…  And people have noticed, co-workers and bosses!

With my 24th birthday looming just around the corner, I  realize that that only leaves me a year before I’m 25.  I always claim that I will be ‘perfect’ by 25 because I intend to become the person that I want to be for the rest of my life by that time.  Just as I’m developing myself professionally, I wish to do the same personally to acheive that.  I want to be more positive and uplifting, less dependant on others and content with myself…   And I intend to share this personal growth with you… aren’t you lucky?

So, let’s give this positivity thing another crack, init?

Geek Chic… On a Budget!

I have been a glasses wearer since I was about seven or eight years old.  Back in the day, you were not cool if you wore glass, period.  So when I was about eighteen, I decided that I wanted to see my face and I traded in my glasses for contacts… around the same time (while i was still in college), glasses made a comeback thanks to the  birth of geek chic.

Since then, I like to switch in between feeling pretty, getting all made up and wearing my contacts so as not to obstruct what I’m working with (conceited pout) and an incredibly trendy pair glasses that polish off a great, well put together look.

Problem was the trendiest pair were usually designer: Gucci, Fendi, AK, etc…  I spent $250+ dollars on a bad ass pair of Dolce and Gabanna frames in 2009 (not including the cost of the Rx lenses)… I lost them shortly before going to London.  I still cry about them sometimes.  Even with a Vision plan on my benefits, glasses still cost a pretty penny.  And now that I’m actually trying to save money, I have to think twice about spending a few hundred on glasses verses less than one hundred on my vision plan for a year’s supply of contacts.

So, imagine, if you will, my absolute elation when I found this site:  http://www.warbyparker.com/.  I literally just

A pair that I'm considering... Looks great with bangs and a bob

walked up a complete stranger whose glasses were so boss that I had to find out where they were from.  Not only is it less than $100 dollars for a pair of glasses with prescription (Rx), they have an excellent range of really trendy men and women’s frames.  You can find a pair of glasses that will complement your face shape and you can even shop according to face width (which is great for me, as I have a wide face that make glasses shopping a bit difficult).  They even offer a FREE home try on, where you can select the glasses that you like the most, get them shipped to your house (once agian FOR FREE) to try on in person to see which pair works for you!  You can then send them back for free and order your favorite pair with your Rx!

And here’s what really sold me:  for every pair of glasses bought, they donate a pair to an individual without access to glasses.  They’ve distributed Rx glasses to following countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • El Salvador
  • Moldova
  • Ethiopia
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Nigeria
  • Ukraine
  • Bulgaria
  • Fiji
  • Costa Rica
  • Grenada
  • Lebanon
  • Philippines
  • Egypt
  • Trinidad
  • South Africa
  • Sierra Leone

So they’re incredibly stylish with a global humanitarian service mission: affordable and altruistic?!   I couldn’t ask for anything more!

To my fellow fashion and budget conscious geeks, go out in droves!!  Support this company!!  Warby Parker pretty much get an all around awesome rating in my book :-).

Justice (…?) is a dish best served cold

I had no access to a television or the internet outside of my blackberry last night, but facebook and twitter were aflutter as the news went viral: under President Obama’s command, a CIA strike resulted in the death of the infamous long, sought after Osama Bin Laden.  Shortly following that announcement, the amusing, one-liner thoughts on the matter began: ‘Obama got Osama!’, ‘Obama 2012! Obama’s got this next election in the bag’, ‘Obama and Osama are probably related, lol’.

My thoughts on the matter will be brief.  Politics is something I never got into due to some really unfortunate Social Studies-related experiences in High School and a racist American history teacher who I unfortunately had two years in a row.  Even today, I have to fight my incredible unwillingness to stay politically informed and force my ass over to CNN.com or the New York Times website… It’s like my adolescent obesity, it was really easy to fall into a terrible rut, but now incredibly hard to develop the right habits to get out of it.

But I digress.  My thoughts are short, simple and sweet: this doesn’t feel like justice to me, it feels more like a long, sought after revenge.  And the elation of some Americans to this news is a bit unsettling to me.

I don’t think we should rejoice over the death of any man.  His life was no more ours to take than the lives he was responsible for taking.  Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Following that logic, good can only vanquish evil.  Therefore, violence and hate beget more violence and hatred.  No matter what atrocities he was guilty of, putting more death, hatred and negativity into this world in the wake of Osama’s terrible legacy will by no means make it a better place in the future.

However, I hope this means that the war that was started ten years ago in the hopes of ending this reign of terror will now end.  Maybe ceasing to add bloodshed and death by ending this war will be the beginning of that light that will drive out some of the darkness in our world.

And this by no means will lead to the end of terrorism… the causes, and fuel behind terrorism still exist.  The perverse justifications behind terror in the mind of its perpetrators are far larger than one man, and the death of one man won’t change that (even if that man was as great a figure as Osama Bin Laden).  We should not herald this as a victory, but rather ask ourselves, where do go from here?  What back lash will this bring from his followers?  We should be pensive and start having dialogue about the repercussions of this event for America, for the Middle East and for the rest of the world.

So many things are happening in these times… I can’t help but be reminded of a biblical verse (pardon my French, but I learned the Bible in French, lol):  “…la scène de ce monde est en train de changer (the scene of this world is changing)” 1 Corinthians 7:31 .   Right now, these words are ringing with such truth in my head.  My generation and those who have come along for the ride these past couple of decades have witnessed much in such a short period of time… Just really wonder what the culmination of these events will be and what it will mean for the future.  Godly fear was instilled in me young.  So I can’t help but think after witnessing so many cataclysmic and telling events that, as the Bible warns, a terrible end is near.

Social Ine(m)pt(i)ness…

I feel very dissatisfied with the way that my social life is going… As an undergrad, I had a very progressive, mind blowing group of young thinkers around me, people that I still to this day think will change the world… I had some very intellectually stimulating discussions which forced me to challenge and look at myself in different ways… and I also had plenty of nights of mind numbing partying and drinking… plenty of nights… because you need balance in life, you know?

I still have the opportunity to have those mind-numbing partying nights now. I’m not that old.  And I have a younger sister and friends that are still in college, but I don’t find the experience as satisfying as they were in college… I’m not old yet, but I’m getting too old to get drunk for the sake of getting drunk.  I’m old enough to want to live my life purposefully, despite my whole rebellion against growing up.

The partying just isn’t fun anymore.  And I don’t have those great mind stimulating moments to balance it out.  The conclusion I’ve come to is that I need more adult friends like myself so that we can combine the two: cosmos in Manhattan shared over a lively debate of religion and politics; a museum crawl ended in a cozy down-town pub; provincial wine and cheese tasting afternoons; an artsy lecture, dinner and a lounge… In short, I would like to have events where I can get that cultural and intellectual stimulation while not having to completely phase out of my love of alcohol… It takes a lot less to knock me out nowadays, post weight loss and non-frequent drinking.

The point of this rant is that I’m trying to find my balance in this new life… Spiritual, social and professional… I’m off balance right now, and the result is constant dissatisfaction with my situation.  It makes me an unpleasant person to be around and really, I’m such cool peoples…  Trying to complain less and be more proactive about the matter.

…Pour myself a cup of ambition…

I am officially a working woman.  In fact, as I write this, I am sitting at my computer in my assigned office space… I even have a sign that says my name.  I feel so official.

Since I work for a CRO who is very serious about the protection of client information and protection against competition, the information that I share with you about the company will be very sparse and non-specific (I signed all kinds of confidentiality agreements, so I’m legally bound to do so).  Just know, any opinions that I share with you about my company do not reflect the stand point of the company in any way… it’s 100% Ismanie.

Now that I got that legal stuff out of the way, I have to say that I think I will enjoy my time working for this company.  Though the salary was lower than I would have liked to earn, I can overlook it.  It’s decent money, just about the national average for entry-level positions.  Putting money aside, the work atmosphere is really great.  It’s been pretty hectic for the first couple of days, but after getting over the initial anxiety, while demanding, the pace is manageable.  The work is hard, but there’s tons of help offered.  Asking questions is in fact encouraged.  Anyway, since there will be more new hires, they’re taking it quite slow.  The really intense training will start in two weeks.

It does feel like the two co-workers who started with me are being given actual tasks much quicker than I am… in fact, to date I’ve received none.  The one guy is under a different manager, and the other girl is technically my superior, so it makes sense that our shared manager would debrief her before getting to me. Still…. It would be great to have something to do… since all kinds of social networking sites are blocked o_O….

But I am not wasting too much of company time (Anyway, I think a distraction every so often is healthy… it keeps me sane)… I’m using the vast majority unoccupied time I have to get some training forms and new hire paperwork out of the way ASAP… But I can see myself doing this for a few months, maybe longer… but not my whole life… I’m not meant for the 9-5…  I dream too big for that…

bucket list

The years are passing me by quicker than I’d like to admit and I can’t help but be a little sensitive about my age.  I’m young, but I won’t be that young for that long… so I have to make the most of my youth.  I don’t want to waste my twenties away and become an old woman… filled with regret, ‘what if’s and ‘if only’s.  So, as the first half of my twenties is going to be over in less than two years, I figure I should economize the time that’s left by setting some goals for myself…

Here’s what I have for my Quarter Century Bucket List:

  1. Lose all excess weight
  2. Train for and run some sort of marathon for charity
  3. Road trip cross-country to Cali
  4. Live in France (Paris or Nice) for at least a month, but ideally three months or more
  5. Do relief work in Haiti
  6. Publish a small volume of poetry or a short novel
  7. Learn Spanish… and if I have time Italian and Arabic
  8. Be classically trained in the piano

To some, this might seem a bit ambitious, but when I really think about it, if I apply myself there’s no reason I can’t accomplish 90% of this list by the time that October 27, 2012 rolls around…

I just want to feel a sense of accomplishment, as if I achieved exactly what I wanted when I wanted.  I find my biggest regrets is what I missed out on, not so much the mistakes or missteps I’ve made.  At least what I’ve done wrong has contributed to the person I am today, a person that I can honestly say I am content to be.  But the things that I didn’t do… I will never know where they would have brought me.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being unsure.  Not knowing.   Since I am in a constant pursuit of knowledge, it kills me.

So this list is me telling myself that I’m going to do something about it and no longer let opprotunities pass me by.

I’m tired of wishing my life was better.  What’s stopping me from making it better?


~ L. Astounded