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Flint campus thoughts [1 | 4 | 12 - 10:08 pm]
Today I visited the Flint campus to get the feel for it with Nicole and Maggie. I thought I should jot down some thoughts about it while its fresh.

Let's start with what I liked. Pretty much everything, really. I LOVE the director. He is so nice and from what the students said, he is always available to answer questions and to help with career planning, something that is really important to me. With everything that's going on, I'll really need a lot of support, and it sounds like he will give it. The philosophy of the campus fit me perfectly. There are 3 hospitals that you rotate through depending on the rotation. Each hospital seemed to have a different population. At the hospital we visited, the population consisted mainly of people that don't have health insurance. The students said they really get to help people who really need it. They also get to teach people a lot about health, which sounds like something I'd like to do. I think it takes a lot of patience and compassion to deal with this population, and I would love to do it. Even if students weren't in LMU, it seemed like they all shared the same philosophy. They wanted to work with the underserved and had a passion for public health. This passion even led students to help their patients get access to better food and things like that, which really excited me. I guess at the end of the day, I'm not sure I have a concrete reason for liking it except I got so excited when the students and administration was talking about Flint. Everything they said fit me so perfectly, and it made me excited to be in medical school again after I felt like I was drowning all last semester. I'm so happy I felt that excitement again, and I know I just have to follow it.

I think I'm still interested in LMU. I'm going to go for it and see where it takes me. The rural experience sounds amazing, as well as working in the migrant clinic and going abroad. It really fits me to a tee. Every time I hear about it I remember why I'm doing this and get excited all over again. I know its time that I follow my heart and let my excitement do the talking. Its worked for me so far, and I know it will guide me to where I'm suppose to be.

Cons- The living arrangement is a bit weird. If you live in the city, you are close to the hospitals, but there are no grocery stores/gyms, so you have to travel to get to that type of thing. The opposite is true if you live in the suburbs. I guess that's a problem for later.

All in all, I liked it, a lot. I have a funny feeling I'll end up here, LMU or not.
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Lots to be thankful for?? [11 | 27 | 11 - 12:49 am]
Its been awhile. Turns out medical school is hard, who would have known?

Anyway, I'm journalling today because it seems like I can't get cancer off of my mind. I'm not sure what's brought it on these last couple of days. Its weird because my dad's latest scan results have been fantastic. I've been doing great in school, and he's been feeling and looking great. It might be because a couple of people from the support group passed away, I don't know.

Today, though, my dad hasn't been feeling so good. He started out fine, but then he got a sharp pain in his shoulder that's been bothering him ever since. His muscles hurt him terribly, to the point where it hurts to breath and he can't sleep. He has been having a really bad day and has constantly been asking why him and complaining about how it's just not fair. He's right, it isn't. I've learned that I just need to listen to him and let him say those things, but damn, its hard to hear. The worst part is that this chemo may or may not still be working, we never know. Even if it is, the pain that its putting him through almost makes it not worth it. He is so upset that he can't work, run, just be his normal self. It kills me to have to watch this, and I know it kills him to see me affected. All he wanted to do today was to help me study and watch me study, but its hard to do that when he is constantly on my mind. My mom even brought up his death today, saying she hopes we can be strong when it happens. No one deserves to go through this. I wish I could take even 1/100th of his pain away and carry it with me, or 1/100th of his worry. We try and live everyday for what it is, but when those future thoughts creep in, they are horrible. I mean imagine, my dad probably won't be around for my wedding, the birth of my first child, etc etc. That was NOT suppose to happen. But we just have to go on living our daily lives as if nothing is wrong. This "new normal" thing really blows.

Even with all of this, my dad still finds the strength to tease my mom and make jokes. He always pets my sister and I affectionately when he is sick, almost like he is reassuring us that things will be ok, even though I know it comforts him too. He still finds the strength to make Emily and I laugh, especially when he sees us getting upset. He will do anything to wipe the frowns off of our faces, especially when its because of the cancer. That is the dad I want to remember, not the dad that the cancer has turned him into.

At least we managed to have a good Thanksgiving. God, please give us a blessed Christmas, please. Its all I want for Christmas. No things, no snow, no stupid boy, just a beautiful, worry-free, memorable Christmas with my family. Boy have I learned that lesson the hard way.
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Party? [11 | 16 | 11 - 7:45 am]
Ugh I'm done feeling so alone. Yesterday after our genetics quiz some of us gathered at a friend's house for a triple birthday party. A lot more people showed up than what she thought, which was fine. I'm starting to feel left out of the group now, though. I think people are starting to get sick of me and how upset I am all the time. I understand that I'm a lot to handle right now, which was why I was so scared to start medical school in the first place. I can't do this alone with no support, but I need people to understand the trauma that I'm dealing with right now. I ended up leaving early after someone compared their liver to a body in the lab that died of metastic CRC. On the way home, my friends saw me and decided to yell Fuck you Angie and Yeah That's Right to me. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

I don't think this feeling is ever going to go away. My dad has scans today and two second opinions the rest of the week that I can't be there for, but I'm expected to just forget about that and act normal? Yeah, right. I guess its too much to ask for people to understand how much of a burden it is to carry. I just don't know how much longer I can continue feeling so alone. It's getting really depressing.

Once again, cancer sucks.
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Med school life [9 | 25 | 11 - 2:19 am]
Where to begin..

Within the past week I've had about 3 breakdowns, all in front of people I'd rather not have time in front of. I passed by Phys and biochem exams, but failed by lab portion of my anatomy exam, thus failing the first exam as a whole. This got me really upset, and that, along with the fact that on Tuesday my dad gets CT results, has been driving me up a wall.

I don't fail. I just don't. But this medical school thing is hard. Its got me questioning whether I really want to do this, which sucks. I know I won't pass if I have any shadow of a doubt.

Something needs to change. I need to take time for myself to exercise, sleep, and enjoy what I'm doing. I need to change my study habits by focusing on what I don't know and converting all of this information into something manageable. Right now its just way to overwhelming. I already feel behind and we just had exams, its freaking crazy! I guess with the biochem quiz coming up, its kind of a nice way to politely remind us to be caught up, and its nice that Phys has only one lecture this week before the exam, but I've only gone over one lecture, which is totally not enough. I need to make charts, graphs, whatever and outline lectures as best I can. I need to be efficient, which means I need to be awake and alert, which means I need to take time for myself and be upset about my dad when I need to be and enjoy myself when I can.

I really thought this post was going to make me feel worse, but I actually feel better. Maybe I know how I need to change a bit more than I'm giving myself credit for. I mean, I did get into medical school, right? They must have seen potential in me... I can do this, what am I thinking?! I'm smart, I have to believe in that.
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Med School woes [9 | 22 | 11 - 8:30 pm]
I got lower than average on all of my exam last week.... and didn't pass my anatomy practical and therefore didn't pass my anatomy exam. Fan-fucking-tastic. I hate that I always feel behind, I hate feeling dumb, and I hate feeling like I'm doing everything wrong. I just hate it. I'm not usually like this... I'm always on top of my shit doing homework days beforehand and understanding things as they happen. Now its just so much information that I just don't feel like I have time to do everything to Angie standard.

Not to mention my dad is always on my mind. Cancer is used as an example practically everyday. Cadavers have died of cancer. We see X-rays and it reminds me that we are waiting for scans to see if dad's chemo is working.

This load is really heavy. I'm not sure I can kick my ass into gear and get going like I use to. I just don't know.
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Update on dad [9 | 15 | 11 - 8:37 pm]
Dad was feeling some pain today in his upper right quadrant today. He took morphine. It scares me when he is in that much pain. The first thing that goes through my mind is that his liver is inflamed, meaning the cancer is alive and well. I'm terrified that this means the chemo isn't working, even though it could be a variety of things. He is just doing so well, and I hate to think that its going to turn so fast, but with this stupid disease you never know.

It's just so cute when he calls me doc and he tries to be so happy when he is skyping with me, even through all of his pain. He is the sweetest dad.

I. HATE. CANCER. When I'm finished with medical school, I'm doing something about it.
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Orientation Week [8 | 23 | 11 - 10:55 pm]
Dear Journal,

So this week has been interesting so far. Orientation has been overwhelming. In addition to getting a lot of information at once, we are constantly reminded of how hard medical school is going to be, how much content it is, and how much we need to balance our lives. Well, with my situation, it kind of adds a whole new layer to the mix.

I've also already heard about cancer numerous times. It seems like it doesn't phase me at the time, but I find myself thinking about it later as the day goes on. I know I'm going to have to get over this, but I can't find the strength to be mean to myself and force myself to work at it. For now it just seems like it should be ok for me to feel this way, even though I know it will hinder me.

There is the added burden of not telling anyone yet about my situation. I know I should because I think about it more when no one knows, but I hate feeling like I'm bothering someone or pushing people away because they don't want to deal with someone with that much baggage. I don't want to isolate myself, but that may very well happen. I know I go to school with what should be very compassionate people, but it doesn't make trusting them any easier. I've told a couple of people who seem to understand, but their reactions are that that I would expect from someone whose never dealt with it or had a friend deal with it before, and I know it will take time for them to understand what I need from them, normalcy most of the time and just someone to listen to me when things get rough.

Then there are days like today when I find myself checking forums too often and nit-picking at my dad's habits, like drinking beer. He is looking and feeling a lot better than he was, but for some reason I can't accept that that may mean good news is on the way and have to be the party pooper. I was doing so well... but then I don't know what happened and I had a couple of bad days. I hope it's just a slump, and has nothing to do with the fact that I got busier. I wish I could just worry about myself, but its just getting to be too much. I'm not sure I can handle balancing academics and social life alone, let alone with this added worry on my head 24/7. I'm terrified, extremely terrified.

Angie
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Last day of support group [8 | 3 | 11 - 11:26 pm]
I should have wrote this entry yesterday, but seeing as after group I went to trivia with Amanda and Nicole and today Emily and I went to the mall, this is the first chance I've had to really reflect on this emotional day.

In group we talked about a lot of different things. We talked about role reversal- how wives and husbands, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, and parents become round the clock caregivers taking on new responsibilities. We talked about balance- how to balance our own lives with being a caregiver. We expressed our frustrations with being unable to reach doctors and nurses and when we do reach them, their sometimes lack of compassion and understanding for our difficult situations and our frustration with feeling helpless and lonely. We discussed hope, and how hope means different things to different people and is defined differently by everyone. The list goes on and on.

I think its really important to reflect upon what I got out of the group. This group gave me so much. I went into the group so nervous. I remember my first day, one of the ladies gave me a tour and explained how group would work. I cried just sitting there, but everyone was patient with me. It took me so long to tell my story since I was crying so hard, but the group looked at me compassionately and assured me that I was in the right place and was doing something positive for myself and for my family by being there. Ever since that first meeting, that group became my second family. I became close to every single member of that group, close enough to some that we met outside of group to talk about our lives in a way only we could understand. As the group went on, it allowed me to discuss my concerns in terms of leaving for spring break, my California trip, and, lately, leaving for medical school. The group was happy for me when I graduated and when scans showed the chemo was working, and disappointed when I shared it stopped working. They cried with me and laughed with me and gave me strength to go on. Without them, I'm certain I wouldn't have graduated and wouldn't be able to be strong for my dad and family. I wouldn't be able to see hope in the love that my dad and I share. I woudln't have had the strength to stand up to the oncologist nor to understand that my place now is to go to medical school and give my dad something positive to keep his mind off of cancer. Sometimes the most comforting thing is a touch, a hug, a smile, and just a listening ear, all of which this group provided for me. Sometimes we don't need or want advice, but just want a compassionate ear and reassurance that we are doing all we can and reminders that we need to take care of ourselves as well. We need understanding and a feeling of comradery, we need the belief that tomorrow is another day and it holds the promise of being better than today. It's ok to be upset sometimes, and its great to have people who care to vent to when that happens.

I learned that in cancer, sometimes a cure isn't what is most important. Sometimes success is restoring someone to a great quality of life for as long as it lasts, then allowing for peaceful end of life with minimal pain. I learned just how important it is to be thankful for everyday and live everyday to the fullest and to be the best that you can be.

On my last day, the group raved about how much I gave to the group, how strong I am, how proud my dad must be, and how great of a physician I will be. I hope that I can use this experience to see my patients as people, to not, as in Mary's story, assume that a patient is having a heart attack mainly because of the machine, but to actually look at the patient and assess their physical and mental health partly by their appearance and how they are feeling. I learned to have compassion with my patients and their families, to take the time to explain things and to give that touch, hug, smile that the patient wants but won't ask for. To give reassurance and hope, whatever that hope may be. I want to be that physician that pushes the envolope in terms of really caring for my patients and demonstraing an understanding that thankfully many others haven't had the chance to acquire. As much as the group claims that I gave to them, I don't think its possible that I gave more than I recieved. They've all touched me, and I'm so thankful to have met them. Out of this ugly thing we've been dealt, we've managed to find something beautiful, friendship and love.
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Lots of emotions to capture [5 | 25 | 11 - 11:41 pm]
[ mood | exhausted ]

This is going to be a really long entry, but I want to write down some of the things I'm feeling right now, as I feel they are really important things to reflect upon later.

Today my parents and I went to a church in Detroit whose father, Father Solanus, was known to cure the sick and perform miracles. My parents have already been a couple of times, but it was my first time. The healing mass went something like this. There was an opening hymn, then a reading and a small sermon. During this, father talked about how in times of despair we need to have faith that God is with us the entire time. We need to eliminate worry because God will take care of us, a lesson that is hard to listen and even harder to live by in times like these. After the sermon, the father passed around a microphone to those that wanted to thank God for good things happening in their lives, like cancer going into remission, or safe travels. The father then passes around the microphone again, this time listening to petitions for what people want/need from God. All it took was the opening Ave Maria to get me crying. I tried so hard to not cry, but I couldn't help it. People thanking God for cancer going away just reminded me how far off that goal is for my dad, but how great healing powers can be. Then my mom took the microphone and thanked God for the fact that the chemo is working and for the opportunity my dad had to come watch me graduate college. That was too much for me. Who would have thought that coming to my graduation would ever be something we'd have to thank God for? Then everyone was looking at me, not as if I was some weirdo, but with these sympathetic looks that seemed to say "We understand what you are going through, and we are right there with you." I wish I could say I fully understood where the urge to cry came from, but I don't. I don't know if her taking the microphone solidified the disease to me, reminded me of how terrible it is, or what, but it had its effect on me, that's for sure. Once the crying started, it was only made worse my people's petitions. This class of 5 year old students came asking God for healing for their friend Ryan, who was diagnosed with cancer recently. Another woman came asking for help in dealing with her husband's diagnosis of ALS, another for a successful surgery, and another broke down asking God for help in dealing with her husband's stage IV lung cancer. She came while he was in treatment, probably walking from Karmano's. Even writing this makes me emotional. It just seems wrong to me that there is so much hurt. It was during this mass that I began to make sense of everything. I almost felt like in that moment, I was being called to stand up against cancer in the way I was meant to, by becoming an oncologist. It just seems right, so fitting, that this be my calling. It kills me to think that because I didn't hear the calling, God had to take drastic measures, making my dad so ill and possibly terminal, just so I could hear it. I pray that I'm not the reason he is sick. But him being sick has made me aware that this is something I can affect a lot of people with. I can learn the science and understand the emotions of this terrible disease. I understand that treatment doesn't just mean medical intervention, it means indulging in faith, regardless of religion, and pursuing any and all avenues that make the patient feel comfortable. I fully believe that going to this mass is making my dad better, whether it be divine intervention, or just the fact that my parents believe they are doing everything possible to save his life. As much as I've strayed away from cancer, perhaps its my duty to go back to oncology and make it a big part of my future.

These next paragraphs get a bit selfish, however, I know I have to be honest with myself and acknowledge these feelings; chances are, they are normal.

First of all, I just do NOT understand how some people can seriously have it all. My plan after graduating college was to go to Malta and to make stops in Europe along the way. Now I'm sitting at home, in Woodhaven with no job, no volunteering positions, and no life. All I do all day long is run errands with my dad and take him and my mom to doctors appointments. The only time I get to myself is when I run or read in my bed before I go to sleep. Meanwhile, people who went to school with me are off gallivanting in Europe and other exciting places before they go off to top ten medical schools, law schools, and/or fancy jobs. While I acknowledge that they worked hard to have what they have, so did I and my MCAT wasn't a 40. How do people do near perfect on their MCAT, have the perfect friends/look/life, do everything right in their life and get to do everything they want while I'm sitting here dealing with hell? It just doesn't seem right. I can't take people asking "is this real life" because they can't believe how good their life is much longer. You know what real life is? Real life is dealing with sickness, poverty, and tragedy everyday for most people, not traveling without a care then coming home and wanting to cure cancer. THAT'S real life. Real life is also appreciating the little things so much more. My dad, for instance, realizes what I'm going through and is doing everything in his power to comfort me, even if it should be the opposite. He even stopped to help an old man who fell on the side of the road, something many healthy people wouldn't do. His compassion for people and ability to see the good in everyone is something I will cherish and hope to emulate in my own life.

What I'm struggling with is this. At this point in my life, I'm suppose to be taking opportunities, exploring, getting away from my parents and discovering myself. However, I'm at home, taking care of my parents, and I feel like I'm loosing a sense of who I am. I do everything my parents say because I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to cause any more pain than what they are already feeling. I just want to be there for them. But a natural part of growing up is sometimes going against what your parents say to do and learning for yourself, because, at this point in your life, you know yourself and what you want. You've grown to become your own person (and are growing) and make these decisions differently than your parents because you ARE different than your parents. I just feel like I'm not getting this opportunity, and I'm scared for that this means for my future. How can I grow as a person during this difficult time? Is it something I'm not seeing that's already happening? How can I grow away from my parents into my own person without abandoning them?

Secondly, I feel like I've finally unlocked the key to being happy, confidence. Its being ok with yourself, how you look, what you wear, and doing things that you like to do regardless of what everyone else thinks. Its being truly honest to yourself and accepting yourself entirely, your good and bad points. Its about having faith in your decisions and not regretting them, because you know you make the best decision you could with the information and emotion you had at the time. That's how you are happy in whatever you do.

Today has been a very trying day. Hopefully I figure out some answers to these questions in the future, but for now, all I have is questions.

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Need a place for my thoughts [4 | 17 | 11 - 1:56 am]
It's all so overwhelming. I'm trying to take things one day at a time, trying to enjoy each day, each hour, each breath, each moment, for what its worth. My dad's still here and feeling great. He is trying to do the same, planning on coming to my graduation, plant the garden this summer, and see my white coat ceremony in the fall. Hell, he's even planning on sneaking in some free visits from me one I'm a doctor. He's even still trying to help me out by calling MSU and asking about my different loan options and offering to help me pay for my living expenses and stuff. He's an amazing father.

However, after the baby shower today, when everyone kept coming up to my mom and I and saying sorry, the future crept up on me. I'm so proud of my parents. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. My dad has helped me so much, not just financially, but with everything. I can call him with any problem and he'll have a solution. I can call him freaking about some exam or stressed out about something, and he'll know just what to say to make me feel better. He texts me funny jokes/sayings when I'm studying, or reminds me to do simple things like eat, drink, and take breaks. No matter how much we treat and how long we prolong his life, the unavoidable fact is this cancer will probably take his life. How can I go on without him? How can I get through medical school without his funny remarks, and unparalleled love and support? He's the only person who truly understands me. I can't imagine a day without taking to him, let alone the rest of my life. I can't imagine getting married without him walking me down the aisle and having kids without knowing the man who shaped my life, and feeling his love and care. There is going to be a void that no one can fill. Its not fair. It's not just me, how is my sister going to survive... and my mom? My mom just lost her mom and can't even hear a love song without crying and thinking about how she'll be able to go on without him. This can't be happening to my family.

I'll never forget him, and I'll hear him in my head everyday, saying what he always says to me. His lessons will never leave me, and I will pass them down through my family. I will learn from his compassion, from his ability to see the good in everyone and everything, and apply it to my life and in my practice. I'll never forget the opportunities he blessed me with, all the places he took me, and all the memories we've made. He will always live inside me, and in my children. I promise dad, you didn't/aren't living in vain. Everything you do and everything you teach me I keep with me, and I'll keep it forever. I will never forget you. You will be a part of every decision I make, and be with me through the hard times and the happy times. I know you will always guide me, and that I will always feel your love. And dad, I promise to fight this killer, because I know in your selfless mind you don't want anyone else to die of this disease. I'll do everything I can to prevent another person from going through this, and another family go through this heartache.

I love you daddy and I'll honor you forever, even though you gave me such a silly last name <3

One more thing dad, I'll NEVER give up hope, just like I know you'll NEVER give up fighting. We're a team daddy, and I'm on your side. We've beat many obstacles before, and they've all prepared us for this. You're my hero and my inspiration, I love you.
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My life is in shambles [1 | 17 | 11 - 6:49 pm]
- My grandma died.
- This boy tells me he is dating someone else after 5 months of flirting with me.
- Doctors find a cancerous tumor in my dad's colon. His only cure = surgery.
- My parents don't support my decision to even look at medical schools outside of Michigan.

At least I have my health?

WILL SOMETHING PLEASE FUCKING GO MY DIRECTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Letters [12 | 23 | 10 - 11:09 pm]
So at CAPS I've been instructed to write letters to people to have hurt me. Thank God for this advice, because a couple days after some guy who I'd gone on dates with and told him I liked but needed to wait until after I got over my grandma's death and finished medical school interviews told me he'd been dating someone else for the 2 months that he led me on for. For the record, he told me he liked me too and couldn't wait, but flirted with me and talked to me more than his girlfriend, that's right. He said if we had more time he'd be dating me, but picked her because of logic, not heart. Idiot. Anyway, here's my letter to him and to all the guys my freshman year that made Ann Arbor hell on Earth for me.

Dear BulliesCollapse )

you're so not worth itCollapse )

Ah, much better. :-)
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9 months later... [11 | 21 | 10 - 12:20 am]
Wow, its time to update this journal!

Since my last post, I've taken the MCAT and did well enough to apply to medical school. I spent my entire summer working full-time in Ann Arbor in a lab at the hospital while applying to medical school. For those of you that don't know, this process first requires a primary application which includes a personal statement in which you state why exactly you want to be a doctor, descriptions of all your extracurricular activities, and explanations of research that you've been involved in. Once schools get these primary applications, some give all applications secondary applications while some choose who to send too. These secondary applications are usually more specific essays, like why that school or an explanation of some cultural experience you've been a part of. After this, schools decide if and when they would like to interview you. You then have to do more research on their school as well as on other aspects of the healtcare field, like ethics and health-care policies. You have to decide what exactly you want to say when they ask you to "tell you about yourself" and what makes you unique. I basically spent the summer really discovering what makes me me and what exactly is important to me. While the application process was stressful, I'm glad I had this time to discover myself and all of my strengths. The whole year before, with class and MCAT studying, all I ever heard was that I'm not good enough to be doing this. I needed this time to really look at myself and discover the things I have that others can't offer- empathy, compassion, and a sense of cultural competency gained from personal experience. I learned that its ok that I'm not applying to top notch medical schools because they aren't top notch for me. I want to be the type of physician that patients feel comfortable talking to and striking up conversations with. I want to be that doctor that nurses and PA's like. I NEVER want to make people feel like I'm above them- I want them to feel like an equal part of the team. Schools that value research value such competitiveness and hierarchy... this isn't me. Does this mean I won't make a good doctor? No, it means I'll make a great one.

Anyway, since then, I've gotten 5 interviews. 1 school (Wayne State) wait-listed me, 1 put my application on hold until next month (Rosalind Franklin in Chicago), and 3 accepted me (Michigan State, Creighton (Omaha), and Drexel (Philadelphia). I'm over the moon by this. Sooo many people told me my score wasn't good enough, and now look at me! My parents came here to give their children a better life. My dad had to study by candlelight, and my grandma had to fight the system to learn to read. Neither of my parents went to college, and now here I am about to go to medical school. My drive comes from them, it comes from knowing that this is what they came here for. Everything I do is in honor of them and of my past.

Some tough things have happened this semester too. My mom decided to go to Malta in mid-September to see my grandma, as she hasn't been doing so well. A week after she got there, my grandma passed away in her arms. Many people think I couldn't have been close to her because she lived so far. On the contrary, I was so close to her. She fought the system when she was little to get the little education she has. She was so feisty and taught me I can do anything I set my mind to. She always encouraged me to further my education regardless of what anyone else says. I get my determination and my drive from her. She also taught me how to be selfless, how to use my talents to help others and never keep more than I need. Because of this, I hope to use my MD to help immigrants here in the United States and to help the poorest people abroad. If she would have lived just 1 more month, she could witnessed me being accepted to medical school. I dreamed of sending her a picture of me in a white coat, showing her that her lessons meant something to me. I carry her in my heart everyday, and I know she is praying for me and supporting me in everything I do. I love you, nanna, RIP.

My mom was devastated. I called Malta and she cried to me for the whole phone call. She didn't leave the house for the longest time. Meanwhile, my dad's back hurt so bad he couldn't walk. He forced himself to go to work because he knows if he doesn't he'll get laid off, and he can't afford that because both of his daughters want to go to medical school. The amount he sacrifices for me is truly admirable. My sister was also going through a tough time with lots of exams in weeder classes that are made to discourage people from pursuing science. It was during this time I was flying to interviews (I had to pay!) and trying to focus my energy on getting into medical school. Since she came back, its been better. Although I held her while she cried the first night, she seems to be focusing her energy into supporting Emily and I like nanna told her to do before she passed away. My dad is feeling better due to some shots and my mom's cooking I'm sure. Since my acceptances, I'm able to support my sister in ways I wish someone could have done for me when I was her age.

All of these experiences have really helped me define who I am, and, through counseling, I've learned to look at myself in a positive light. I don't have to get into top-notch medical schools and/or be a douchebag in order to be happy with myself or to be successful. Its not in me to be that way. I've learned how necessary it is to take time for myself. I now take a Yoga class and love it. I've become more adventurous- I go out more and try new things more often. I'm more spontaneous. I'm like I was in Chile and its amazing. I'm so different than I was in high school and even when I started college and I'm loving the person I'm developing into. This process is hard, but the results are so worth it.
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SOOOOOOOOOOOOO [9 | 27 | 09 - 2:52 am]
Over it.
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I suppose I feel the need to get some things off of my chest. [9 | 24 | 09 - 1:03 am]
Let's update life a bit, shall we?

Well, apartment living is wonderful. I love my housemates and I love coming home to a living room, and not just a bedroom. Cooking for myself has actually been nice, since it gives me something to do besides homework all the time. I love coming home to the girls I live with and having random, hilarious conversations, mostly about a certain topic but its all good.

Football is going great, always a plus. 3-0 those Wolverines are... gotta love it! Notre Dame was possibly the best game I'd ever been too... no it was. The sheer joy that day brought me and the whole University was crazy!

School is school. I changed my major to Microbiology and couldn't be happier. Although I have an exam Friday (not cool!), I love the subject matter. I'm also in Biochemistry and that class reminds me everyday of why I changed my mind to go to medical school. I love these classes and it really makes me feel like I'm making the right decision. I am worried about my other classes though. My anthro and humanities classes are a lot of reading that I just don't have the time, nor the attention span, to do. My English class is just straight up annoying with pesky readings that have to be done because of in-class writings. Somehow I'll find a way to get it done, I always do. I need to keep up the GPA man, really I do.

Medical School- yea I need to do more about this, hah. I should probably start researching schools, but time is not on my side right now. I'll be taking an MCAT class this winter and taking the MCAT in the Spring. Then I will start applying and hopefully get in somewhere that I like. I'm thinking of going out west since I loved the desert in Chile, we'll see. I know I was a big school, that's for sure!

I wish I had joined more extra-curriculars though. It was hard for me when I got here because unlike most who were pre-something, I was pre-Ph.D. I wanted to do research and really didn't fit into any clubs because of it. It was also such a new world that I really didn't explore and take initiative. I let people tell me what clubs I should or shouldn't join. If they didn't like it or think it was interesting, I didn't do it... I really, really regret that. I suppose I still have time, but with MCAT training coming up next semester, I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I guess that's a problem I'll deal with this weekend.

I am doing ASB, which is cool, something I've always wanted to do. Hopefully I get to work with kids with mental disabilities because that's my number one choice... we'll see I guess. Wish I could go abroad again, but who knows.

Social life is going great. I have friends that I would die for, and I can honestly say that I've weeded out those who cause drama and kept those who don't. I haven't had an ounce of drama this year and it's not looking like there will be any, thank God.

Boys- well I guess just boy is a better description. There's this one boy that I've been talking to since last semester, including over the summer. We've been studying (and flirting) a lot together and I really enjoy my time with him. We are actually suppose to hang out besides in the library this weekend, so we'll see how that goes. He's just so cute and funny and smart... he's pre-med, that doesn't hurt! I just don't know if he likes me or not, as usual. I guess only time will tell!

Myself- Well I've changed a lot this summer. I have so much more confidence in myself its crazy. I wear my hair down and put some make-up on and dress nicely for class, it just makes me feel good about myself. I actually thought, well if Nate doesn't like me, its fine, I'm smart, ambitious, and pretty, its not like its my fault. That's NEVER happened before, and I'm so glad it did. I've learned how to go for things I want and express my opinion, but I've also learned who I am and how to stay true to that person. I'm stubborn and impatient, but I'm also caring, funny, and loyal. I like that about myself, its who I am. The best thing is that I'm no longer as judgmental... if I guy comes up to me and talks to me I'm not scared... its nice.

That's all for now I guess! I'll keep you updated!
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How do you know... [9 | 11 | 09 - 12:09 am]
if a guy likes you back?



The age old question lives on.

I just want to let it go and just see where it goes... stop being so wrapped up in it. But I can't. This is the first time that it might actually work with someone I really want it to work with. I can't stop thinking about the possibilities, and instead of just letting things fall, I'm ruining it.

How do I let go? How do I play the game successfully? How do I let him know that I care but not make him think I'm crazy?
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Junior year starts tomorrow... eek! [9 | 7 | 09 - 11:13 pm]
I cannot believe I'm starting my junior year tomorrow. It seems like only yesterday I was a freshman here, scared to death about classes and making friends. How funny that 2 years later, I still feel the same way.

I write this the night before my first day of classes, more nervous and anxious than I remember being in a long time. Going to Chile was a different type of anxious, one filled with excitement to go and do something I've always wanted to do. This nervousness, this anxiousness, well its not quite that. I've had a headache and have felt sick all day long, and even yesterday a bit. I've been reserved, taking walks and sitting in the empty Chemistry building thinking to myself. This nervousness is not filled with excitement, but instead with a feeling of doom, of frightfulness. I'm overwhelmed with all the choices I have to deal with this semester... with all the things I have to do. On top of dealing with a 5 class 17 credit work load, I have to figure out my timeline for the MCAT and applying to Medical School, be involved in the First Gens and other clubs, maybe find a volunteer opportunity, living in an apartment and dealing with bills and cooking dinner, and maybe fit in having fun, which I've just conveniently learned how to do this summer. I'd love to go to free dancing lessons, for example, but I just don't see the time. On top of all of this, the guy that I've been talking to all summer is confusing me so much. We hung out unexpectedly on Friday night and I had the time of my life, but I don't know if he likes me or not. I owe him a book, but I feel like he is being very vague about meeting for it, using facebook and writing on my wall. I wish I didn't stress out about him, but I do. I just want it so bad, and I wish I wasn't this wrapped into it.

I just hope that once I get back into the swing of things, the anxiousness and nervousness will go away. The stress will always remain, I know that, but I just can't deal with this frightfulness of the unexpected, and the fear of failing... at everything.
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Personal Entry [7 | 9 | 09 - 7:52 pm]
So its time for some personal reflection. I'm already tearing up and I haven't written anything yet, jezz.

So since we've arrived, the 5 of us have dwindled into two groups of 1 and 4. D'Ana, the group of 1, is very negative, and, in my opinion, a bit judgemental. She is just not someone I would hang out with if I didn't have to. She got into it with one of the girls, and ever since then it was weird. That girl finally confronted her and now she just doesn't hang out with us at all. Its a bit rough for me becuase while I want to be a part of the 4, she really didn't do anything directly to me to cause me to act this way towards her. Its a predicament for sure, but I don't want the others to not like me because I hang out with her. She is not someone that's fun to hang out with, but at the same time, like I said she didn't do anything bad directly to me to warrent rude behavior from me.

Out of the 4, the boy, Gieric, gets on my nerves. He is one of those perfectionist pre-meds that will stomp over anyone to be the best. I confronted him about it and he says its not true and that's not his intentions, but I just can't trust and believe him. I've been taken advantage of so many times by people like this and I can't just let someone else walk all over me. As much as it sucks, my guard is up. Everything he does and says just gets me so angry, I just think he is so fake. He wants all of us to know how great he is, and not just that he is a better candidate for med school, but that he is a better person in general. He acts fake so everyone likes him and seems to form opinions in a way that gets the majority of the people to like him... ugh! Its annoying.

With the other two, no lies I feel a bit like a third wheel. They are both very strong girls and I respect them more than anything, but sometimes it feels like they are very alike and I'm not. We have discussions about things I don't understand and don't even have opinions on because I don't understand them. I feel like I've lived in such a bubble coming from Woodhaven that I don't know what arguments are to be had, what sides there are, and, most importantly, where I stand. I don't know how to express myself, how to have discussions with people, how to handle myself with people, nor how to be real with people. So I said to myself, fine, from now on, I'm just going to express myself and be who I am. Then came the scariest realization I think I've had since my religious questioning a year ago... I don't really know who I am. That sounds really stupid and profound, but its true. I don't know myself, and I really don't have a relationship with myself. I feel like I'm just going through the motions and not really experiencing much because I just really don't understand myself. I don't know my personality and where I stand and what I like and don't like. Maybe its because I've just let others lead my life and make decisions for me or let situations lead me places that I haven't really had to think about it. Well being here and having to be a strong person, I'm starting to realize that I need to have a relationship with myself and understand myself a lot better. Once I'm more comfortable with myself, maybe then I can enjoy myself and life to the fullest. The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself, and I need to build that in the month I have left here. Hopefully being in some of the most beautiful places in the world will help me reflect and build up a relationship with myself... I really need to.

Also, I need to mend this relationship with myself in order to be open to others. Ya, the others are going to love hearing this. I went to a bike event with everyone on Tuesday night where a guy decided to hit on me. I was cold, as usual, to get him to go away. I don't know why I do that, its just like a natural reflex or something... a man that's interested, I want nothing to do with it, shut down! Then when my friends just flat out told me that I was cold, I looked back and decided that he wasn't trying anything, he just wanted to talk, and that if I wanted anything to ever happen, I'd have to be more open and willing to get to know a knew person. So later that night he came back, and I tried to be more friendly, and it wasn't that bad. As the others say, you must give love to receive love, or be open to love to receive it. After all I've been through (and haven't, for that matter), that's going to be a hard lesson to learn. I feel like my guard has to be up, that all guys are just going to break my heart in the end. I just get so scared when a guy says hi that I just act cold to get them to go away. I guess its something I need to work on, and really realize when and why I am doing it. I guess I can no longer complain about not getting guys because its my own damn fault, although I will say its no one that I never want.
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Year Review [4 | 28 | 09 - 11:03 pm]
This school year has changed me so much, so I thought I'd write a review.

When this year started, I was debating on whether to go into research or Pharmacy, and thinking about doing a dual PharmD/Ph.D. Why these two and not pre-med? Well, just 1 thing, cadaver. I was convinced that I woudln't be able to handle it. I knew deep down that I didn't want to do research, but I didn't want to give up a dream I've had since I was little. Also, getting a Ph.D. is a really prestigous thing, and, as bad as this sounds, I really wanted that. Changing to Pharmacy was hard, but I thought this is right, I need more patient contact, and as a hospital pharmacist I can know everything about drugs and have patient contact. Then I shadowed both a clinical pharmacist that dispenses drugs and checks drug orders from doctors and a hospital pharmacist that does rounds. I hated the dispensing, not enough excitment/contact for me. Then I toured with the hospital pharmacist and liked it, except for the fact that it made me want to be the doctor. Like I said, the pharmacist gave their opinion about the course of action, but ultimately the doctor had the final say. If that's the only difference, the work ethic of getting through medical school to do basically the same thing but have more responsibility, I'll go for Medical School. Then came the thing that had be scaring me from Medical School my whole life, the cadaver. But my awesome friends gave me some advice, and that was to not make a decision on Medical school based on the cadaver, to make it based on what I want. They had faith that I could do it, and they were starting to make me believe that I could do it too. I talked to a couple of doctors who all told me that they could see I really wanted medical school, and then shadowed a pediatric oncologist and absolutely LOVED it. When I make the decision to pursue medicine I felt so at peace with myself. It felt like this is what I'm meant to do, this is my calling. Yes, I'm scared. But I have faith that God will guide me through it and will only give me what I can handle. I can do this, with a lot of support, I can do this.

I started this year with a different group of people that I came out with, and I couldn't be happier. The people I came in with I knew it wouldn't work out, and I'm ok with that because the girls I've met are amazing. They really have helped me with this decision I've made. I've also had so much fun with them and have grown so much as a person. I'm so glad to have met them. They support me and I couldn't be happier and luckier to have them in my life. To many funny memories to write down, although we already did!

I came into the year with a different attitude then I'm leaving with. I was closed minded, and really in my opinion mean before. Now I feel like I'm happier, nicer, and more open. I'm also more optimistic and don't complain nearly as much. I am working towards being the person I've always wanted to be.

And finally, I think I might have a prospective guy :-) He's super cute and funny and has a lot of the same goals as I do! He was in my Spanish class and we are planning on staying in contact through email, but I don't really know what's going to happen, nor really how to handle it. I loved talking to him everyday and I'm really going to miss that. I went into this class trying not to get attached because I just didn't think anything would happen... and now when I think something is I'm starting to get attached and I'm not sure its the best thing. I mean, for all I know, he is just this nice to every girl... I have no idea what to think!

So as I go to Chile, I have a lot to think about. I want to make sure I'm making the right decision by doing a lot of shadowing, see where this boy situation goes, and also have fun and learn a lot about myself. A lot of the girls last year said that this type of experience changed them a lot, and I'm really exicted to see what I'm really capable of on my own.

I have a blog that I am starting on a different site so I can keep this journal private. That way people can read that one to see the public stuff and I can post here for my more priviate thoughts.

Goals for next year:
1. Join more clubs. I need them!
2. Do Alternative Spring Break :-)
3. Watch a surgery.
4. Job Shadow a Physician regularly.
5. Have fun :-)
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UGH! [4 | 25 | 09 - 1:28 am]
I would really like to know why everytime I get my hopes up it doesn't work out.

I've decided to go to Medical School, by the way.
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