Thursday, April 21, 2016

Research Articles - MCAT Prep

Largely, the new MCAT is similar to the old one in that the questions stem from passages.  It is probably only in that vein that they are similar.  In every other way, they are different exams.

Hence the 528 scale vs 45.

My own prep is including research articles published at any time over the past 20 years that include graphs, diagrams, data tables, and other types of non-verbiage information.  Things likely to be seen on the MCAT, in other words.

Below you will find links to articles that I found on reddit.  The goal is to read the published research, come to my own conclusions and then see how that matches to the researchers themselves.  In a way, this should mimic to a small degree how the new MCAT is tested.

3 Functional Classes of Transcriptional Activation Domains

SNF1/AMPK pathways in yeast

Recognition of Trimethylated Histone H3 Lysine 4

Rat1 in Coupling mRNA

Control of Somatic Tissue Differentiation

Will add more as I find them; waiting on links to genetic predisposition of behavioral issues.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Wow. Just Wow.

Often having spoken about hope, it just keeps coming back to me.

Again.  And again.  And again.

It did again today.

Michael Jackson once wrote:

"In my darkest hour,
In my deepest despair,
Will you still care?
Will you still be there?

In my trials
In my tribulations
Through my doubts
And frustrations

In my violence
In my turbulence
Through my fear
And my confessions

In my anguish and my pain
Through my joy and my sorrow
In the promise of another tomorrow

I'll never let you part,
For you're always in my heart"

Many don't really understand the begin of the demise of the Great Recession.  It didn't start in 2010, it started in 2008... for me, at least.

$675,000 home, owned 50% of it as appraised
$180,000 in stock @ Lehman
$120,000 in autos in driveway, 90% paid off
$50,000 in the bank
$17,000/month income

Life was good.  I was good to the people I hired, always protecting, always having their back.

Then life threw me a curve ball.  Or 9.  Wells Fargo stole my house, sold it to someone in a short-arm transaction leaving me without my $350,000 in equity.  Lehman filed for bankruptcy and I watched my $183,000 portfolio drop in a matter of days to less than $3,000.  General Motors had claimed they'd repurchase my lemon Escalade ESV, the one that died on the road when I drove as it had been declared a lemon by both the State of MN and GM itself... but GM filed for bankruptcy protection and it was repossessed in the middle of the night by Chase, who was then bailed out by the Federal government.  And finally, there was the tiny little lawsuit of mine - a whistleblower lawsuit - that I settled to keep my then physician boyfriend out of the press.  He'd done nothing wrong other than be by my side.  But opposing counsel threatened him.

But through it all... I had hope.  Hope that somehow, someday, I would be okay, things would be okay.  I had hope that someday people would know the truth about how the scumbags of Wall Street and Texas and Florida got away with theft and deceit and fraud.

I had hope that my path to medical school would not be for naught.  Through all of 2009 and 2010 while I watched in anguish as my life fell apart, there were two professors who stood by me, listened with pained eyes, as I told them what was going on in my life.

They stood by me.  Offered support, guidance, links to help for paying for school; told me not to give up.  Told me often, I had it all inside... that good would come again.

Today, I came home to find a fancy letter in my mailbox.  A letter from the great state of Minnesota.  Home.  Ad2b, come home, type letter.

The entire escrow that was fraudulently placed on my home, the escrow that pushed me into foreclosure when I'd just filed the whistleblower lawsuit... well, it came home today.

In my mailbox.

Last week, the dogs had been eating home cooked rice and oatmeal with boiled 6-month old turkey and carrots.  My son was starving, I'd not eaten for two days.

Tonight, we ate.

Hope never left me.  I knew that things would turn around.  I knew that someday, things would be okay.  I never lost hope. I hoped that I'd have enough money to register for the MCAT before the dates were booked.  I hoped I'd have enough money to pay for my last prereq course (physics 2).  I hoped ... and then I hoped some more.

Tonight... hope shown brightly once again.

Never give up hope.  Ever.  MCAT registered for 7/8/16.

And tonight, I wrote both of those professors and said, "Hope never left me.  Guess what?!?!"

From this ocean bordered state to that land of snow and ice, I can see them smiling.  They've had the same hope for me all along.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another Professor = More Hope

Life has thrown some more curve balls my way.  Or rather, just one.

16 years ago, I worked for a man who'd founded an IT company.  I left and my career took off like a rocket, and plummeted in 2008 like a rock.  Since then, I've had exactly 2 good years financially.  Every other year has been beyond difficult.

For the years 1997 - 2013, I paid for my parents' life.  Mortgage, cars, credit cards, etc.  Saving was not really key as taking care of them was more important.  I don't regret that.

But it did leave me with no 401k or much of savings.  What I did have, 2010 wiped out.  Completely.

2014 was good to me as was most of 2015.  I'd been able to build up a savings on e-trade, put money in an IRA.  My contract, after being extended four times, expired on October 30, 2015.  I'd been told (lied to?) that I would be extended through Dec 2015 after I was begged to stay in August.

See, Nov and Dec are probably the worst months for me to find something.  I was begged to stay.  With the promise.

Well, promises are like the wind.  I'm okay with that.  I finished out my fall semester with an A- in genetics.  Had registered with that professors approval and override on school policy for his next courses.

But when January came, and no job prospects were around, I had to drop.  Because he'd gone to bat for me, I felt obligated to let him know why I wasn't in his class.  Explaining what was happening, he asked if there was something he could do to help.

"Can I sit in your class anyway?  IF there is space?" I demurred.

"OF course!"  and with that, I was set up as if I was a real student. I attend.  I do all the work as if I were a student.  The notes are transcribed into hard stock, just like I did last semester.

I ran into him today after class outside the library.  He asked if things were going well for me.  And once again, explained as succinctly as I could that my job prospect had gone poof.

See, that boss from 16 years ago had a client in a different state, one I'm interested in moving to, which needed someone with my background.  We discussed relocation package, salary, sign-on, etc.  He was waiting funding from his client and then I was good to go.  March 1.

Happy?  Of course!  But then, I didn't hear anything.  Curiosity being the better part of me, I wanted to learn more about the client so I perused the site.  And found it'd been purchased by a Chinese entity shortly after my former boss and I spoke.  That was mid - February.

Last week, it was confirmed there was no job waiting for me.  And whatever I'd saved was not entirely depleted keeping things afloat.

It was spring break last week.  Going to class with that professor has been a mind-saver.  I love learning and being pushed to learn more.  That job going poof was a kick to the gut.  I'm not angry with my former boss, I'm sure he's very disappointed too. It's simply not his fault.

But my professor?  There he was asking what he could do to help (again).

I said, "Nothing really, just really thank you for letting me sit in the class."

He replied with a smile, "Come sit in my other class. Today at such and such a time; there's fewer students and I think you'll really like it.  Can give you access to all the material for it as well.  Too bad I didn't think of it earlier!"

And then he added, "Don't stop.  Things will get better.  You know that."

Yes, Dr. E, I do.  And with people like him in the world, it's a little bit brighter and there is hope.

It's the little things in life that keep hope alive, not the big.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Where It Started & Where It Continued

I believe my first post for this blog in 2008 was written about my 4th grade teacher, Garry Ranthum.  And not wanting to bore you here (or anywhere), I'm simply posting the 4th grade class picture including, the one and only Garry Ranthum who lost his battle with leukemia in 1976 (I think it was '76) and caused the eyes of many, many students to well up and weep.

Garry... was one in a million.  Took all the "bad" kids, including David Sill who found a used condom by the hockey rink boards and brought it into class (for starters, "I" did not know what that was but everyone else was laughing so I did too!).  He took kids who were dyslexic and instead of making them continue to feel like failures, he helped them succeed.  He took bored kids whose desk was permanent put in the hallway prior to his class, and welcomed her into class helping her finish 4th grade math and science by the Christmas break.

I am the tall brunette with pigtails in red ribbons in the corner... without a dunce hat!

Garry.  RIP.  He will never be forgotten by any of us who had him.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Genetics Final Grade: A-

Meh.  Bah.  Humbug.  Was told this professor is excellent (he is), was told it's a difficult course (it was), was told that I could easily get an A (probably had I done things differently).

It's that last piece that I'll try to help here.

Where to start.  Probability.