Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lab Work

A component of every science course is the lab. Given my poor performance on Friday's exam, I was more than a little worried about overall grade (that's the panic attack in me). When I finally calmed down inside enough, to focus on the overall picture: I'm going to be fine.

According to my lab instructor (not some ... unmentionable TA), I'm doing exceedingly well. I credit part of that to my lab partner who is likewise, picky about data, specific about equations, and a great student. My lab grade is equal to one test score.

That made me smile!

Okay. Off to start problem 1 of the first 147 at the end of the chapter.

Advice given and taken.

Make it a great day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Recovering From Bad Tests

Anyone on this path, or any other, has tasted that sickening feeling when a test does not go as hoped, expected, and surely, not as wanted.

That was mine today.

You might recall, if you've been lingering around for awhile, I have bad test anxiety to the point where I have a pretty letter giving me extra time and a private room in which to take it, along with medication (propranolol). Didn't matter today.

Today, I was really ill prepared, tired, and overly anxious. My test result will more than likely show that. My concentration got broken on way into exam (Concerta helps greatly with concentration but when the focus is broken, it is hard, if not impossible, to get back on track mentally).

I felt like crap after... especially, when I got to the end of the exam and realized there was a blank sheet with a 20 pt question on it, that I had about 5 mins to answer. I knew how to do it and got to the point where the proctor came in and said I was done. Hopefully, I'll get a few points on that question.

I also checked to see the impact of this exam overall. There are many other ways to earn points in this class, so after panicking and stressing out, I realized, I just need to regroup, use this test as a benchmark, and improve.

The bigger question is how to improve.

First, I need to be better prepared. My son moving back home this past weekend notwithstanding, I needed to be better prepared, and only in review this past week, not scrambling to catch up, and get my crib sheet done.

So, next exam prep starts tomorrow. I will be on track, I will not fall behind.

Second, I need to work, rework, change up, and rework equations so that I truly understand no matter what variables are thrown my way. Today, there was the conversion from d=m/v to molality and molarity based upon a percentage of solid in solution. I can do that now, away from exam. However, I need to be able to do that in the testing environment and the only way I'm going to get to that point, is practicing moving variables around and seeing if I get same answers.

Third, I need to be rested. I've had about 2 hours of sleep a night since last weekend and I'm completely drained.

Fourth, now that I've found a quiet place to study on campus, I need to use it daily. Home is not quiet and it is home where the dogs are, where the food is, where my bed is, where my son resides and asks me to play video games with him.

I think I'll be okay overall. I'm very unhappy with results of this test but I will not drop the class and honestly, I will be okay.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Found Yet Another Reason

To like the new chemistry class; people MY age! Not that the youth are not fun, polite, considerate, and helpful but meeting people MY age going to class, obtaining further education is very, very helpful.

This woman turns out to be getting her master's in math (eeeeeee gad!) and is a former pilot for one of the world's largest airlines. She is wonderful even taking time to help me with my calculator problem (yes, I still am struggling NOT with the actual math but with the inputting of numbers into the tiny, hot pink calculator TI-85T my son gave me.)

So today, a bright, sunny Weds, I am thrilled yet again, to be in school, meeting new people, learning about new lives, and becoming engaged in conversations with other non-trads pursuing their own dreams.

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And Then, The Doctor Called

Wrote me a little email actually: "Wanna come shadow?"

Three little words spoken by someone carrying two little initials at the end of his name.

Three little words and a smile crosses my face.

Three little words and I remember why the chemistry exam matters.

Three little words, two little initials.

I really am on this path, aren't I?!

My response was just a big grin with a thank you and "Of course!!" This doc is awesome. His patients love him, the city loves him, and I can only imagine how his wife and child feel. What a great man and with three little words:

he made my day! :D

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Got Volunteerism?

A few weeks ago, a young student just having decided to try and apply to medical school asked the medical school symposium members when he should start volunteering.

I was slightly aghast.

Start volunteering?

To me, volunteering and/or giving back to the community is not something one does to fulfill a check mark on an application for med school, it is something one does because it is something one feels compelled to do. I think the med school adcoms probably see beyond the check mark mentality and I would hope, subsequently, give far less credit for it on an app than those who truly give of themselves.

My own volunteering started when I was about 9. My parents were heavily involved in our local church whose philosophy was give unto others as that group had so much to give.

It started out with used dresses to very sick girls in the terminal ward at the hospital. There were no hospice care facilities so these young daughters stayed in hospitals until their death. Any small token of happiness was greatly appreciated by them, and their parents. My parents made sure I was part of that.

From the young women getting dresses, my young life took me into being a vacation Bible school teacher for the church in the summer, and then into serving the poor as part of Job's Daughters operating mantra. By the age of 15, I had been well entrenched in giving back.

In high school there was not a lot available to help in rural North Dakota. So, I took care of others people's dogs while they were on vacation, mowed their lawns, and helped build a camp for recovering youth.

Later, in college, I joined the national service sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma which had the sole purpose of service to others and service to the community. My wild side in college was always prevalent but even then, I volunteered (hung over or not!!) to help the elderly, those with various health challenges, and sometimes, just those needing a good hug.

As I moved into my "real" adulthood, volunteering took many other forms: helping inner city kids forget their horrendous lives if only for a day, gathering up shoes for kids with cleft palates in foreign countries, training a therapy dog for cancer patients, and now, I'm applying to work in hospice care facility.

For those of you reading this as pre-meds, I am hoping what you gather is that the time to act and help is now. Don't wait until you are close to applying, help now and make it part of who you are.

Read that again:

make it a part of WHO you are, not something that you do

In tribute to one of the greatest celebs that I've had the pleasure to meet and become acquainted with, a man who you will NEVER hear how much he gives:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Son Home, Guitar Hero Blasting

Remember my post from back in January where I resolved to find something OUTSIDE of school to do that I enjoyed and that freed my feeble mind from all that is school?

Well, as I type this, I can hear my son rapping on his guitar hero guitar to various artists and receiving ample cheers from the video "crowd"... oh no! I think he beckoned me (I play the drums for GH)...

More later; drums to play, son to cherish. He seemingly doesn't mind that I suck on drums (or the guitar, or /aghast, singing!).

Make it a great day! :D

Friday, February 19, 2010

Found online related to chemistry.

I might think myself the Bromine but it is negative and I think women should be portrayed as positive Cations, not negative Anions.

Oh well. Enjoy!

New University Chemistry Class

Professors are amazingly kind and helpful. There is not a sense of autocracy although one always senses they are completely in command of their classrooms.

One of them has a reputation for being a difficult tester. However, what I've also found is that the professor is approachable, helpful, understanding, substantially patient; explaining concepts and math that are not readily understood, taking a different tact to explain it if first approach does not come easily, changing up format of slide decks for those of us (me!!) who have aging eyes and no longer can read 6 slides per handout in MS PowerPoint, answering questions about different schools, study habit characteristics, and finally, checking in with labs to make sure students are understanding. For someone who has a PhD from an extremely well known, and world respected institution to have that LACK of arrogance, is amazing to me.

The lab professor (not a TA, not an undergrad but a real professor) is absolutely a gem. In keeping with the privacy of individuals on here, all I will say is that anyone who is lucky enough to schedule the lab with this person is lucky.

Last night, lab was scheduled to be out and over with. Some of us were slower than the others, trying to make sure the concept was understood and the math correct. The lab instructor waited, answered questions, laughed with us at our comments, offered up other help, and when WE were done, the individual closed up the lab.

We were not shuffled and scuttled out of the lab only to get a poor grade, the emphasis is on learning the material from the inside out, not just the math.

Yep, I like the new chemistry department and yet, I likewise know, eventually I will have to return to my alma mater for UD credits.

Happily, they will be in other departments and the smile on my face still intact.

Make it a great day!

(oh and lest I forget: Welcome Home, Garret!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Moving For Med School

The situation at my university is fairly dire. I've asked a plethora of people for their thoughts, and apparently, I'm not paranoid. The issue with the professor has stunk up the pond, so to speak.

My parents are geriatric pushing 80. They are my lifeline, my sole support, my greatest love outside of my own son. I cannot imagine not being within a few hours drive time max of being here for them.

What to do. I've also signed a lease for 16 months until May 2011 at which time I'd hoped to be admitted somewhere.

I'm not sure where I'd even go, to be honest. This great country of ours is amazing.

North Carolina is absolutely gorgeous. LOVED Raleigh-Durham.

Florida is amazing with its summer heat, no bugs during the day, and NO snow.

Tennessee is stellar. The rolling hills of Chattanooga are a sight to see and breath taking.

California homes some of my greatest friends and has the ocean.

Colorado has the mountains and the fresh clean air.

Minnesota has the lakes, the snow, and the nice people.

But there is no place like home... and being close to my elderly parents.

What to do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Reviewing Various Models

After reviewing many models, I think this one is the most appropriate. I can hold patient files, my stethoscope, cell phone, handy pager for when I fall down and break a hip; was thinking I could even add in pink tennis balls to help the walker glide along the floor while moving between patient visits. So, when I apply to that med school I visited this weekend, the physician who dismissed me can accurately depict my physical abilities because obviously at 45, this is what I should aspire to.

Yes, this is all tongue in cheek.

As I type this, it also angers me for a bunch of reasons the least of which is those who actually NEED these types of mobility units.

Are they discriminated against because their mobility is somewhat decreased?

Are they seen as being less ABLE MINDED due to their decreased physical mobility?

Do we as a society look to those who don't have 10 toes, 10 fingers and an ability to run a 4.3 100 meter dash as less than equal?

Yes, I'm still bothered by that physician's comments. Caribbean my butt... maybe I should buy this, send it to him with a note attached:

"From the 45 year old pre-med you deemed too old and apparently, too stupid for your med school. Enjoy as you look at the diminishing years of your own life."

Then again, maybe not.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pre-med Summit Event

Told with my 3.7 that I should consider the Caribbean schools.

'nuff said. After the break, I went back to hotel, took my son to lunch, and took a nap.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Found The Remote

Life is good. Box underneath my bed labeled, "Princess Diana books" contained:

power supply cord for above
remotes for TV and DVD player
pictures from my freshman year of college (oh... I'd love to forget about them)
pictures of my nieces when they were 5 and 7
pictures of a sailboat I used to tool around Lake Superior on
Princess Diana memorabilia

Also found underneath my bed:

my backpack, developing fuzz balls, calling my name, asking what the heck?!

Back to planning my path to med school. Every day back in the business world and I remember why I just don't fit in.

Oh well. Make it a great day for those who can't!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where Has Ad2b Been?

Working. Like a dog. The house? Oh. That thing where my body tries to sleep every night?

Well? The boxes are not here yet, the remote for the tv is still missing, my microwave blew up the first time I tossed a bag of popcorn in it, and life as I once knew it... is gone. I love my new life, in a new home... just wish I could watch the tv now that I have cable.

So, classes. I'm finding out tomorrow if I can do the installment plan and if so, then I'm in chemistry. Curious to find out, though, if I really need the credits for G chem 2 as the med school no longer requires it (yes, the MCAT still contains the material but I know the rate laws, kinetics, dynamics, equilibrium, solutions, solutes, solvents, molality vs. molarity, and biochem). Have been thinking maybe I could AP out of gchem 2, work this semester to get my feet financially under me, and then start up with ochem in the fall...

Not sure yet. A lot depends on which way the university sends me tomorrow morning. In some ways, I'd really like to take the class for credit and help stay in school... until then, I hear I can warm up hot fudge the old fashioned way - boiling water and putting the glass jar into that pan. Of course, I do have Moose Tracks waiting for the topping!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back To Chemistry

I'm not quiet in the real world about the issues surrounding the chemistry at my alma mater. It is not the professors themselves anymore, the one with the issues was subsequently told to stop showing up for work, it is the overall mentality that the department is untouchable.

So, I'm taking chemistry elsewhere. The professor seems approachable and yet completely NOT creepy. The professor is funny without being crude and slimy. The professor is helpful without digressing into his own personal life struggles with his wife (yes, there is WAYYYY more to that than I will ever post on here).

I'm excited again! Came home last night, renewed with energy, excited to be part of a classroom where I can learn the material, digest and ingest it for the MCAT because as we already know, the MCAT is our beast to slay... in my case, MCAT is going to be my best friend, my ticket to a little envelope that gets delivered by the UPS truck and says, "Congratulations!"

Yep, I'm on the path... one day at a time.

Now, if I could only find my pencil pack, the flash cards, my desk, the floor, the pots/pans, and food... :)

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Moved, Unsettled - School Starts

The move went. Things I've found out in the process:

Don't buy furniture unless at some point you are willing to leave it behind, put it on Craigslist, or burn it in effigy to a former home. Two pieces I knew would not fit and was going to store. However, my favorite formal furniture would not fit through the door. Sigh. The big screen tv, perfect for that upcoming scrum? FAR too large to fit down the stairs and the opening into the family room below. So it, and the piano are crammed into a room with a teensie sitting sofa from my former sitting room in the front room of the house.

Hire the best movers you can. In my case, this is a shout out to Matt's Moving, they were phenomenal. Actually, let me be more specific: Mike and Jesse were amazing!!! On a day that snowed like hell, roads were icy, furniture didn't fit, I was not really ready at old house, they were the absolute perfect fit for me. They made my move less stressful, more manageable, were precise and careful with my personal items up to and including, the urns that carry the solo cremated remains of my furkids, Tank, Boozer, and Abby. These guys were so polite, so accommodating, I was blown away.

Matt's Moving - use them if you can!

Last, I learned that sometimes home can feel like home even when you don't own it and all the stuff doesn't fit. Last night and today, I feel like I'm home not just occupying space.

I'm home. I start school ASAP.

Make it a great day, smile for someone who can't, and enjoy your life!