Friday, September 30, 2011

T - 66.5 Hours

Until my first o-chem exam.  Still really confuddled with stereogenic centers.  It can't be that hard... oh, and meso.

Meanwhile, I'm good in IUPUKE IUPAC, acid/base, formal charge, resonance v isomers, Newman projections, pKa for the assigned molecules, and functional group naming... Someone told me a trick with Aldehyde v. Ketone..  A little fuzzy on converting one substituent on a chain to a chair and the equitorial v. axial positions of remaining H atoms or other consitutents, and more fuzzy on two substituents on chain into a chair model.  I think I get stability of chairs now, however, as my TA helped me with BIG white board this afternoon.

So, with 66.5 hours to go, to gel the meso and stereogenic centers (I get chiral v. achiral - just not meso), I have 4 hours to put in for my job (the one that keeps me happy and attending school), and the rest is devoted to ochem.  Problems.  I will be finishing the problem sets this weekend, working with my model kit, and making sure I've memorized the remaining pKa numbers.

Oh, and I got another 100% on my biology quiz.  Just hope that equates to close to 100% on my exam in two weeks!

Back to ochem.  T-66.25...

P.S.  And I got a little ... irritated with a 19-ish young lady who was miffed that my life is so easy as all I had to do was work and go to school where she had "drama" --- heh.  I did not feel inclined to tell her I've had my own set of drama and that pushing 50 means my memory works a ltitle differently.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How I Wish...

South of the Mason-Dixon.  Check!

Affiliation with hometown.  Check!

World renown research and medical facility.  Check!

Would hear them laughing clear up in Minni if I applied.  Double check.


Mayo opening another medical school in Scottsdale.

Mayo Medical School #2

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Down Side Of Knowing Professors

You feel like a failure when you get something wrong.  On a short, OPEN notes quiz.

erg.  I not only had the notes, but knew the answer and STILL decided to take the wrong answer.

double erg.

Monday, September 26, 2011

In Spring, 4 Credit Biology "A"

My biology professor hosts a trip to Ecuador each spring, more specifically: Galapagos Islands.

The trip includes 4 credits from my university, all flights, boat, food, drinks (!!!), and other stuff. I compared it against the National Geographic tours, of which I've done twice now, and decided I liked the idea of a 4 cr, 4xxx level "A" on my transcript.

Kind of a motivating option for me right now (not that I need any, just saying) - I get to combine a trip I've wanted to take with a 4 credit "A" in research (we're required to do a project of our choosing while on the trip) .

I like!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Concerta FTW

Without Concerta, I spend about 20 minutes settling down with the books aligned appropriately, the chair getting comfy, the note cards, pens and pencils all stacked and sorted; then another 20 minutes actually figuring out which problems I want to work on for which subject; then another 20 minutes looking at my surroundings (lipoproteins); then about that time it's time for a bathroom break and on the way back and perusal through the JAMA magazines and finally, back to my seat 1.5 hours after I arrive.

With Concerta, I spend about 5 minutes getting my crap out, putting the book down, opening to the problems set I want to work out, another 5 minutes getting my molecule set out and aligned to study butane structures, or cyclohexane; and 7 hours on my glutes sitting on one chair in the library getting the homework done.

'nuff said :)

If Only

This were true!

Alas, it is not. Unless by some fortunate Genie, I was granted an otherwise unknown scholarship which I did not actively apply for, I still owe $4,779.90 for tuition this semester.

Made me smile though!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

About That "A" In Ochem

How does one actually do this?

I know, work the problems, play with my molecule set (rearrange chair structures into boat so I can see how the H atoms arrange axial v. equitorial?)

Ahhh yes.  I may get there.  First I have to memorize the pKa required molecules, and all the functional groups assigned.  The pKa might be DMSO or H2O... lucky me.

Found the easiest way is obviously note cards but then found that memorizing the functional groups along with the pKa helpful as well.  If the carbon is triple bonded to a nitrogen, the pKa = xxx and the group is a cyano (I think).

Anyway, exam in a week.  A bit stressed but nothing out of the ordinary.  I will get an "A"... I will.  I will.  I will.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tiny Pieces of Help

I'd asked for a meeting to go over spring semester's courses and Plan B... Plan B being what I do if not accepted to med school.

Response was from a university favored professor and embedded in said response?  A tiny piece of hope:

"I think Plan Bs are good for all students and non-students alike; however, I believe you are a great candidate for medical school."

And with that, I smiled a little brighter, opened the books a little longer tonight, and worked on getting the "dust" out of my eye - a little faith from someone I highly respect.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Depending On How You Read The Question...

Of the following, which one is NOT included in a list of ingredients on a food label and why?

1)  Nucleic acids because they are in trace amounts and because of their toxicity levels
2)  Carbos
3)  Proteins
4)  Lipids
5)   none of the above

25 Years

In 1986, the Challenger was destroyed shortly after lift-off.

In 1986, Garth Brooks married his first wife (and mother of his three kids), Sandy

In 1986, Duran Duran started as a three piece band.

In 1986, Tina Turner was awarded her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1986, Oprah went national.

In 1986, FOX became the country's 4th nationally televised channel.

And, on this day, in 1986, my son Austin passed away at the age of 6 months from SIDS.

No matter how much time flies, a mother never stops loving and always remembers.

Baby Cakes, ride that cloud, give Stasha a hug for me. Love you always, AJ!

~ Mom

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blonde or Brunette

I cannot decide:


(yes, I'm ignoring ochem for the moment)

Geeky Me & OChem

Yep, my molecule set came on Thursday, opened it up on Friday, and last night, after watching "The Lion King" in 3D, I came home, plopped on my bed with my ochem book and molecule set, and started building.

I AM one fun and crazy fun lady, I tell ya!

What did I learn?

That I enjoy playing with adult tinker toys...

Which, by the way, is how I announced it on Thursday night:

While shaking a box, I ran into my son's office (he's 19) and proudly proclaimed:

"OMG, I'm sooo excited!!! My toys for adults arrived!!!"

I did not get, at that point, why my son blanched at me... then he sort of blushed... and then I realized what my exclamation sounded like.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sometimes, I Still ...

am haunted.

I think Saturdays will be my days to remember; the rest of the week is dedicated to moving forward which includes school, and trying to forget.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Biology - Ochem Combo

Ad2b's most excellent adventure continues. Today in biology, after covering the subunits making up carbohydrates and lipids, we ventured into proteins and nucleic acids.

What's interesting, is that yesterday in o-chem, we covered some similar material. What I'm getting in one class, is being reinforced in the other.

Two years ago, a then college peer told me it was not general chemistry that should be required for biology but ochem; which even then, made sense to me.

My professors are both equally enthusiastic about their subject matter. One is a coach, the other is like a galloping cheerleader chucking out words, tossing out food labels, telling stories.

For instance, we talked about enzymes today. A student asked why the enzyme was not consumed in the reaction (g-chem 101 - eh... it is neither reactant or product therefore, not assumed to be consumed; it just speeds up an otherwise, ploddingly slow reaction; kind of like the commercials currently airing by Comcrapcast re: CenturyLink and the turtles)... okay, ADHD is kicking in.

I digress (again).

Enzymes - lipase, ligase, kinase, 'ase et al just help something along.

Did you know that shrimp are only 30% protein at MAX? And that most meat is not full protein? And that eggs when raw have no enzymatic action but boiling them does? (Seriously, I question that as there is no enzyme in it, there is just physical change - chemically, is the egg still not an egg? and boiling water just the mechanism for it to change? not the enzymatic action? and which enzyme is there? one doesn't add an enzyme to the inside of an egg shell whilst boiling to get the reaction - physical change - to being... I think it might have been a bad example)...

Speaking of which, the 11 year old asks LOTS of questions.... lots. Not exactly annoying yet (key word).

Okay, so that was my 2nd week in review.

Oh, and one last thing for tonight (I think, unless my new organic molecular set showed up from Prentice!!! - whoo hoo!!!); I had a quiz on Tuesday IN lecture. I also had a small group sheet to complete in Wedsnesday's lecture as well.

I still have test anxiety. It showed up in both situations.

Back to propranolol... and Concerta.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Mom - 79

Mom's van has been overhauled at least seven times now. The front end, the sides, and once I believe even the back end was redone. This past weekend while out driving, she did it again.

I'm concerned not only for they're finances in paying for the deductible, but at what point should my elderly parents not drive at night anymore? Dad quit driving already given his medical issues of the last 9 months.

My mom is relatively healthy - her knee replacement surgery held up, her hips don't hurt as much anymore, her back is good and she's never had heart r mind issues...

But her nemesis on the road?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strangers In The Day

Trying to figure out where to study is always an adventure. I knew I needed to be on campus, somewhere quiet enough so my ADHD doesn't kick into hyper drive. After arriving, I decided to head to the med school area hoping that little extra jolt of reality would help keep me focused (I'm currently off Concerta because until I registered, I've not had health insurance for almost 2 years).

I digress.

Walking into the school, there is an upward staircase leading to the dental school and other research areas, and downward that leads into the medical school and health sciences section.

As I walked down the stairs, there was an elderly man with a cane making his way. I stopped to hold the door for him, insisting that respect for my elders is greater than his respect for my gender. I held the next one as well, insisting on it.

He stopped to thank me. Asked me if I was a student. When I told him that I am, he asked for what.

"Allopathic physician, sir," I replied.

He gave me his office number, it was hard to hear his last name. He gave me the encouragement to stop by, requested I send him an email.

Turns out he's the head of a division of the medical school.

He wants to help.

There in the bowels of the medical school my dream got just a little jolt of optimism. Now, I will need to continue to perform!

Make it a great day - chase your dream!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

... (Edited)

Everyone pays tribute today, on a day that will live etched forever in all of our hearts..

This was played on national tv tonight, during the NFL game, for the 2nd time ever.

The original:

The remake, shown tonight:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Honoring Those Lost

We are ever mindful of those who save our lives, and lost theirs doing so.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week Review

In one of my classes, there is a young student in the front row.  Smaller in stature than the others, surely shorter than me at 6'1", wears jeans and sweatshirts, takes notes, fiddles with the drawstrings.  The questions the student raises are fairly astute, the behavior very similar to all other sophomores and that is where the similarities end.

My classmate is:  11

Yes.   Really.  You read that right: 1 year past 10 years of age.

There is a 36 year difference between, what I hope will be, the two curve busters.

I'm still stuck on the fact the student is 11, in a biology class which requires 1 year of college chemistry to be able to register.

Shaking my head, I can only imagine how proud the student's parents are, how hard they've worked to keep their obviously gifted student engaged, energized, intrigued, and emotionallly connected to others.  Kudos to them, and to the academic systems that make such brilliant minds prosper.



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

There IS A God!

And... life is great.

Got switched into the class I wanted with the instructor that rocks.

I only hope I can rock as well...  maybe I'll make one of those fun pre-med videos rocking ochem!

Make it a great day - I'm off to class!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hakuna Matata

Remember Pumba in the Lion King when he first sees Simba becoming smitten with Nala?  He kind of says to Timon, "It starts!" and then winces a bit...

That's how today felt.

It was awesome to be an entire week ahead on reading and notecard making.  I'd been prepping for the class(es) over the weekend and must admit, I smiled inside when the professor started talking about key points during lecture and I just made stars on the cards.  "Got it!"

Then there was the open o-chem slot with a teacher who is well liked.  Conflicted with my bio lab though.  Only professor left is very well UNliked and known to be rather difficult... doesn't like to give "A"s... doesn't believe the student body at a Big 10 school are smart enough, like him from Ivy, to obtain the coveted "A"...

I registered anyway and am going to try and get into the other class that doesn't conflict with lab.  An "in" at the school told me I really needed to "A"ce ochem or med school go buhbye.  It may anyway but why stick one foot in a hole that I know exists, right?

That "age" thing keeps slapping me in the face.  If I don't take ochem this semester, I not only lose my health insurance, I fall another year behind in applications.  I'd be 49 at applications and 50 starting, if admitted.

I'm not going to lie.  THAT scares the bejeepers out of me!!!!  50???

It's easy for the younger people to say age doesn't matter.  There are docs who read here, and others who work with them, that know differently.  MY age does matter and as much as I try not to think about it, I can't quite find the "Hakuna matata" inside me tonight.

Maybe it's just first day jitters.  Hope so!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

From Another Forum

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
     Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
      Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
      Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
      Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
     Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
      Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
— Mother Teresa

'nuff said.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

T-3 Days

Pinch me.  Tell me this is going to hurt just a little but that everything will be better in the long run.

After a 15 month reprieve from school, tying up loose ends financially, loosing my beloved Storm, finding a contract that finally says, "You go girl!!!", I start school on Tues.

This time there is less stress.  Before, maintaining a 4.0 was near impossible with the debacle that was my life.  Emphasis on "was" -

There have been many bright spots in the past 15 months.  Sir Hawtsalot who tossed me out of an airplane (with a parachute) encouraged me to continue and gave me solace in the summer to unwind on his boat.  Unbeknownst to him, his... ahem... quality characteristics I choose not to live with... were also a reason to celebrate my new found self esteem.  I have learned to say no to behaviors I do not wish to be a part of, hard as that may be.  In this case, brutally difficult.

I think finding myself, ala Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride" will serve me well.  If something feels wrong, I'm strong enough now to say so, or walk away and not try to fix it, or him/her.  While my confidence teetered on the brink of collapse, and probably did for a period of time, it's back now.

I know I can get "A"s... and with that, I'm not going to let my age dictate my path, or my passion, or my goals.