Monday, September 03, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Ah, Labour Day! The unofficial end of summer.

I used to approach the end of the summer/the beginning of the school year with such an optimistic attitude. This, unlike January 1, was my New Year's. I could make my new academic goals, get settled into a new schedule, make other, various resolutions (which, like most, usually went unfulfilled). But things are different this year. Uncomfortably different. Yes, I am returning to school, but I'm not exactly working towards anything. My first sixteen academic years had a natural following act. My last one did not. Now everything seems forced, wrong, unnatural. Again, part of this "growing up" thing.

I suppose this uneasy feeling I have about this autumn is really exacerbated by the fact that my summer hasn't got much to show for itself. Yes, I wrote the MCAT, but studying for it occupied more than half of my summer. Yes, I vacationed for about a week and a half, but it wasn't like I was vacationing from anything. I didn't get a job as soon as I got back, and frankly, I didn't really try that hard. I slept a lot. Tutored a little. That's about it.

[By the by, I got my MCAT score back. Not bad, not great. I smoked the written section, though... surprisingly.]

I didn't even complete half of my summer reading list! My over-ambition is to blame on that one, though. I did finish the books I really wanted to, those of course comprising the Harry Potter series. I re-read it annually, and I intend to continue the tradition even now that the series is complete. I ended the summer by reading The Passions of the Mind by Irving Stone. I'm about 75% into it, now, and its completion is my first task in the Fall Reading Challenge.

The last few lazy days of my summer have been spent watching a lot of sports. FUN FUN!!! Of course, the EPL started up a few weeks ago, which means that I can, once again, cheer for my Spurs!!! They have got off to a disappointing start, and just this past Saturday they settled for a disappointing draw against Fulham. Liverpool, who has squeaked into my Numer Two Favourite spot, has been on a bit of a roll, and that's without my dearest Gerrard. Torres is looking good-ish for them. Chelsea, whom I enjoy watching but don't exactly like, have been unstoppable for a while, thereby making their loss to Aston Villa on Sunday quite unreal. The CFL is also getting to the meaty portion of its season. Of course, all the Labour Day Classics were played this weekend. My hometown Esks got off to a good start today, but lost to the hated Stamps. The main focus of my sports-watching has been the US Open. My love for tennis is rather inexplicable. I don't every really remember getting into it. I just know that I used to hate watching it when I was younger because I had no idea how the scoring worked, or even how the lines on the court worked. Right now the men are into the fourth round, and I am currently watching my Dearest Roger Federer battle Feliciano Lopez. Federer.... drool..... what a man....

I suppose I have a full autumn schedule to look forward to, though. On top of my three classes (and one lab), I'll be working at one of the University's libraries five days a week. I also plan to take on as many tutoring jobs as possible. I am also volunteering with a course, setting up microscope slides for its lab each week, and there is the possibility that I might be able to help out with another course, too. I will be playing indoor soccer (finally! I love it more than outdoor), and I have signed up for an indoor cycling class to take place every Saturday until December. I plan on playing some soccer intramurals for the month of September as well.

Plus, MORE SPORTS ON TV!!! The NFL regular season starts next Sunday... the NHL season kicks off in about a month's time.... more EPL... more CFL... it's going to be grand.

I don't really know how to end this post with some clever or sage thought. So I won't.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Growing Pains

Ever since I wrote the MCAT my life has been tragically devoid of purpose. Yes, my vacation time in Ottawa was fun. Yes, I'm glad that I don't have to solitarily spend silent hours in the library. However, I feel unnecessarily and guiltily lazy. I feel I am at one of those metaphorical crossroads. I have to sort out my life, make a plan, and follow through with it. I think about it all a lot, I just don't do anything about it.

For example, I have yet to decide if I will apply to med schools this year for entrance in September 2008. That was the initial plan. Then, I thought about it some more, and doubted whether my current applicant profile would offer me a standing chance. I have a fairly amateur resumé. I have no research experience. I have very little formidable volunteer experience. I've got a good GPA, and what I think might be a strong MCAT score, but they clearly won't suffice. I don't think I'd even be able to wrangle up two appropriate references. This led me to the conclusion that I should wait until next year to apply and in the meantime accumulate some work experience, volunteer experience, and hopefully attain some good references along the way. However, I then talked to a fellow med school aspirant who advised me to apply anyway, just to experience it, and who knows, maybe I'll get an interview somewhere.

I am also on the hunt for a job. Living in Alberta, you'd think that would be like shooting fish in a barrel, pardon the cliché. But I don't want just any ol' job. I want a job that'll count. Something relevant to the medical field, something that will call upon the knowledge gained from my degree. A tougher find, she be! Ideally this job would be part time as I will be in classes come September. It would also pay moderately well as my funds are currently performing a disappearing act. I do not want to have to resort to the food service industry or retail.

I have been formulating in my mind what would ideally happen in the next year or so. Say I apply for med school this year. I am in classes until January. During these classes, I would work part time, start saving up, get some volunteering in. Come January, I can continue working, most likely full time as I currently do not foresee myself being enrolled in classes. Best case scenario, I get an interview at a med school, possibly more. That will occur some time in February, March, or early April. Say that by May I have accumulated enough funds to go on some valuable, overseas volunteer mission (I've been looking at this two-month hospital stint in Ghana). I return with the awesome news that I have miraculously been accepted to a med school!!! September will roll around and I will have a fresh, self-planned, (4 + x) amount of academic years ahead of me.

It seems possible.... maybe. I can just sense it won't happen. There is currently some debate within my household whether, or more appropriately, when Ma and Pa are packing up and moving to the BC interior, of course taking with them my twelve year old sister. I am thoroughly opposed to moving away from Edmonton. I know it's not the greatest city, but I like it. It's the city in which I was born, the city in which I have lived the longest without a move. My life is here. My future is here, I know it. What would happen if they decided to move? Would I stay? How? Where? Would my nineteen year old sister stay as well?

That just opens up a whole lot of terrible, TERRIBLE questions and fears and problems and whatnot. I am as dependent as they come; I doubt that I would be able to support myself. I don't drive. I currently don't have an income. I still need my mom to kill spiders for me (though I assure you I have a genuine phobia). On the other hand, is that what I need? A swift and drastic rearrangement of my life? I don't know.

What I do know is that I need to grow up.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pack A Lunch

That's some new slang that I picked up in Ottawa, and have decided to spread westward. You can use it in place of such expressions as "F**k off," "Get off it," and the like. For example:

Enemy: Krista, you're a dummie.
Krista: Pack a lunch, lunch packer.

I sometimes forget that I have this ol' blog.

Nevertheless, here is a little update. The MCAT was okay... we'll see when I get my marks delivered in a couple weeks time. Ottawa was fun. Lots of family fun time and general merry-making. Harry Potter has changed my life, once again, that sly dog. Aaaaaand, I pretty much have my whole life to set in order now that the MCAT ordeal is over. YAY DECISIONS!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Hour Approaches

In a mere eight days I will write the MCAT.
I'm not quite ready yet.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Lesson in Self-Loathing

I don't like my life right now. My reasons are these:
  • I can't make myself study as hard as necessary, which is hard.
  • Hormones. Ugh. Hormones.
  • I have not yet come to the realization that I am young and have time to figure out my life. In fact, recently having turned twenty-one, I feel old and unaccomplished.
  • I've resigned myself to the fact that there is nothing in this world that I love enough to fashion into a career. Yet.
  • The weather is ugly.
  • My ankle has suffered a phantom injury.
  • I've officially received my science degree, but I have not experienced the elation and excitement and pride and joy and opportunity to the extent I thought I would.
  • I am extremely jealous of all those travelling this summer.
  • I will likely end up a spinster.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Lesson in Self-Sabotage

Having set out to study for the MCAT, I have come to realize how truly remarkable it is that I have made it this far in my academic career, especially with such success. Seriously, I am the most lazy person I know.

The MCAT is a pretty important exam, apparently. It'll hopefully be my ticket to medical school, ideally any one of my choosing. You'd think that this FACT would be all the motivation I'd need to study. As it turns out, it's not. Not yet, at least. I am finding it impossible to get in more than six hours a day of hardcore studying. I am more easily distracted than I can remember, and I am failing to retain any substantial amount of information. It has been too long since school ended for me to try to convince myself that I'm still coming down from a high-stress semester. And yet... and yet...

I even have these huge fears that my inadequate preparation for the MCAT will have its repercussions resonate throughout the remainder of my life. Say I score embarassingly low on the MCAT. It's so low that I can't even apply to med schools with the faintest glimmer of hope. Sure, I could fork over more money and write it again, hopefully as soon as possible, but let's say my shattered confidence sends me into some downward spiral. That'll leave me with a summer spent studying for nothing, unemployed, money-less. I'll go back to school in September, not working towards another degree, hopefully employed. I can't even apply to med schools for another year. I wouldn't even get in for at least another two years. I might as well have gone for my Masters. Or PhD, even. Or found a permanent job. But no, now I'll just be hopeless, likely accruing debt, not knowing where my life is headed.

Sure, I'm young. I've got time, so "they" say. But really, do I? Shouldn't I use my youth to my advantage? Get a leg up? Stay ahead of the curve? I think I should. Or do I? I don't even know anymore. And that scares me.

Best case scenario: I get my act together, study amazingly hard for the next seven weeks, score ridiculously well on the MCAT, apply to med schools come the fall, and get accepted (somewhere) for entrance in the fall of 2008. It seems too good to be possible, at the moment.

I fear my chances of acceptance are also hindered by the fact that I have little to no volunteer experience to speak of. I hadn't decided on trying for med until about three months ago. Up until that point, I thought I was going to stay in school forever, get a Masters and PhD. So, unlike other med school applicants, I haven't been volunteering at hospitals and other various establishments to pad my application with "good-heartedness." Thus, I'm banking on my high marks both in school and on the MCAT to get me in. This is probably too wishful.

Again, you'd think all this would be motivation enough. But it's not. So what am I to do? I have seven weeks left, seven weeks that are likely more busy life-wise than the past three. Wedding, my birthday, convocation, concerts, soccer, frisbee, preparations for my trip to Ottawa.... it's daunting, to say the least. I need a kick in the pants, probably literally.

And all this hardcoreness that needs to occur will seriously hurt, possibly obliterate, my chances of finishing my summer reading list. I've completed ten percent of my list in approximately twenty-five percent of my summer. Pathetic.

Books Completed:
On Natural Selection - Charles Darwin
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling (re-read, probably for the twelfth time)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling (re-read, also probably for the twelfth time)

Books to be Completed:
the remainder of the Harry Potter books (5) (all re-reads ranging from three to ten times, except the seventh, of course)
a famous "trilogy in five parts" - Douglas Adams (5) (all re-reads, for the second time)
A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket (13, but probably equates the two and a half, three books tops) *Don't judge me. I just want to see what it's all about.
Passions of the Mind - Irving Stone
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (a re-read, for the fourth time)
1984 - George Orwell (a re-read, for the fourth time)
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Beatles Anthology (a partial re-read)

I like fiction. I can't seem to find a non-fiction subject that has really captured my interest to any great extent. I also like re-reading, apparently.

Anyway, I hardly need to point out that I shouldn't be blogging. It's only adding to my self-destructive plan, which is wholly unintentional yet highly inevitable.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Oh boy! The last time I blogged was two and a half months ago! That was about the time I had to get really serious about school because it was on its way to kicking my ass big time. Accordingly, blogging slumped to the bottom of my list of priorities.

So, dear reader, I shall tell you a tale in the ancient and revered story-telling style of..... BULLETS!

  • Once I realized that school and I were going to have to confront our differences and just get on with it, I committed myself to spending seemingly endless hours in the library. Let me tell you, J.W. Scott and I were very close to announcing our engagement come semester's end. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I spent close to twelve solid hours in the library, most of which were researching for and writing lab reports.
  • Lab reports are pretty much the worst thing ever. I would wish them upon only my sworn mortal enemies. You'd think that having to write at least one per week would make the task easier as the semester wore on, but it really didn't. In fact, it probably got harder because, while the research and writing skills improved, the expectations were higher. Plus, I am a slow writer. I like to write things out by hand, type it up once, let it sit for a day, print it off and edit, and revise, revise, revise. Over the course of the semester, I wrote seventeen lab reports for two lab courses - ten for one, and seven for the other. Ideally, each was supposed to be five pages at most, which would bring my page total for the semester to eighty-five. However, I will, with confidence, purport that my reports averaged seven pages in length each, bringing my page total to just under one hundred and twenty pages. This does not include procedural flow charts, appendices, and any raw data sheets. So, I'd say that my page total was nearing 130-140 pages. Ew.
  • My final exam schedule was weird this semester. I had two finals in the last week of classes in addition to having two lab reports due in the last week and a bit of classes. On the one hand, that really sucked because of the inherent stress of having to write finals, let alone two in three days, and having to bump the numerically less important lab reports to the proverbial back seat. On the other hand, having written two finals in the last week of classes, I only had three to write during the designated finals period, each nicely spaced out thus providing me with ample time to prepare for all of them. Or so I thought. One of them was probably one of the toughest finals I have ever written, for one of the toughest courses I have ever taken - IMIN 452: Advanced Immunology. This course totally rearranged the way I approached academics, really... the way I processed information, the way I wrote tests and answered questions, the value I put into the information presented in a text book, and the way in which I perceived experimental research. I guess it showed me that what I have learned and done in my undergrad career is really (truly) just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what a life in academia is about.
  • IMIN 452 also made me realize, or really confirmed, that immunology is likely not exactly for me, even though I thought it was for a couple of years. That is why I am, henceforth, going to pursue medicine!! And it all starts RIGHT NOW. I went through a lot of crap-ola to get a seat to write the MCAT, and it ended up that I am not even writing it in Edmonton - I'm writing it in an old city of residence, Ottawa! While it's unfortunate that I can't simply write in here, it's fortunate that I am writing it in Ottawa where I have family and all the sweet hookups that I need. I'm writing the test on July 13, and I plan to stay in Ottawa for about a week after to visit the fam. I think it's going to be fun. What's not going to be fun is the studying I will have to do, which is (I hope) starting tomorrow.
  • And speaking of the 13th of July.... HARRYPOTTEROMG!!!! I am so pumped... for both the movie and the book. Oh my. OH MY!!!!
  • And speaking of literature, I have an excessively ambitious summer reading list. It's close to thirty books, I think. Granted, some are very short, two or three of which could possibly be ticked off the list in one solid day of reading. The excess ambition stems from the fact that I will have to dedicate more than half of my summer to studying for the MCAT. But we'll see. I have already read one book and have started another since exams ended, but that's not really saying much considering how short the book was (On Natural Selection by Charles Darwin). It's not really a book actually, more of an extended essay.
  • Unrelatedly, being able to watch the NHL playoffs has made me a happy happy HAPPY person. Seriously. Last year it was incredibly torturous because the Oilers were doing so well in the playoffs whilst I was dealing with final exams, but since I essentially stopped caring about them after The Big Trade, and since they licked arse and didn't make the playoffs, I was less distracted during this year's finals period. But now that I have had the time to actually sit and watch some games, I can't believe what I was missing. It's beautiful, albeit unfortunate for the likes of the Canucks, but beautiful. Plus, all these overtime games - how exciting!
  • Back to school - I have graduated! With a Science degree! Which is essentially useless! That's why I'll be back in classes come September, I think... I hope.... I have to accrue some more physics credits, but that might not even happen until January....
  • Come to think of it, my life is pretty much in shambles at the moment. I have a few ideas of what I want to do with it, but I might be lacking on the resources end. I hate growing up.
Okay, I think that's enough of a story for now.... my train of thought is taking a few detours on account of me watching the Rangers-Sabres game as I write this.

Friday, February 23, 2007

If I were a hockey player.....

In response to a tag from Mr. Bergman...

Edmonton Oilers (DUH!!!)

Uniform Number: 38. I used to be quite attached to this number. I don't know why. It's not even my current soccer number, nor has it been in years. But I like it.

Position: Left Wing

Nickname: Among teammates, Banjo. Why? Uhhh. Beats me, but it has a ring to it, a certain je ne sais quoi. No wait, what would a better, monosyllabic nickname be?

Dream Linemates: the Sedin twins. Not that they are favourites of mine or anything, but look what they did for Anson Carter! Plus, who could not want to play with the coolest Swedish twins ever. If not the Sedins, maybe Ales Hemsky. Possibly Joe Thornton. Pretty much anyone who will make my goal stats soar.

Rounding out the PP: Yeah... I don't even know if I'd be on the PP. I'd be more apt to appear on the PK.

Job: Defensive forward, probably on the third line. I'd like to think I'd be something like Toby Peterson. Not too flashy, but reliable. And short.

Signature Move: offensively, a killer one-time shot from close range, just like Petr Sykora; defensively, an outta nowhere stick check.

Strengths: reliable, good skater, fast hands (wink wink)

Weakness: chocolate

Injury Problems? Nope. Well, I heard females are more likely to get knee injuries than are males, but knee injuries suck, so I'd rather not have one of those. I saw this segment on CBC about Jed Ortmeyer (Buffalo Sabres) and how he had a pulmonary embolism. It made me so paranoid such that any time I have even the faintest of pains in my chest, say, after soccer, I think I am having a pulmonary embolism. So maybe that's my "injury" problem.

Equipment: skates, stick, jersey, etc. What kind of question is this? Or does it mean brand? If so... I don't know. Nike Bauer? CCM? How about every piece of equipment I wear will come from a different brand?

Nemesis: Drew Remenda. Or Peter Loubardias. Actually, either may well be my current nemesis.

Scandal Involvement: If being awesome is scandalous, I'll have scadal written all over me.

Who I'd face in the Stanley Cup Finals: I dunno.... What Eastern Conference team would I like to CRRRRUSH? Toronto, maybe? Although, it'd be a shame if they even made it that far.

What I'd do with the Stanley Cup after our victory: Recite every name engraved on the Cup, possibly in an opera voice. Why? Because I'm cool like that.

Would the media love me or hate me? I'd say they'd be pretty indifferent. I mean, I wouldn't be a league heel, that's for sure. But I probably wouldn't be a star, and thus wouldn't warrant too much mention. I might, one night, have a multiple point game and my name will flash across the highlight reels, and people will be all, "Dang, who is this girl?" But that will only last a night or two and I will return to being a virtual nobody. Once I get some tenure in the league, my name might pop up here and there, but it will probably be because of my off-ice contributions to the community, or something equally cheesy like "celebrity" poker tournaments. (Not that charity, in principle, is cheesy).

Saturday, February 17, 2007


You will have likely noticed that I have not blogged in nearly a month. This is because school has taken over my life, namely the lab reports. If I am not writing a lab report, I am cramming for an exam or reading a multitude of research papers. My Reading Week (February 19-23) will be spent READING!!! I have five midterms and six lab reports in the five weeks following Reading Week. They are, of course, not evenly spaced throughout those five weeks; rather, they are lumped, clumped, grouped, what have you. But it's not like I am really entitled to complain. I knew this was coming, and I have time. I just don't WANT to prepare. I don't WANT to hole up in the library for the entirety of my "freedom." I want to sleep and watch movies and DVDs and sports and plain ol' do NOTHING!!!

Since ALL of my time has been devoted to school, there is little else to report. Lost started up again after its extended hiatus. What's the deal with that anyway? Primetime TV shows have gathered such massive followings that they can afford not making new episodes for months without risking the loss of their viewers. And with the advent on TV on DVD, all that additional revenue means they can afford it even more. It makes sense, but it's dumb. Just show your show.

I got my first mobile phone. Well, it's actually not my first. I had one in the tenth grade for a few months, but no one else had one soI basically never used it. It's pretty useful, I suppose. I have only had it for a week, and a lot of my friends don't have my number yet, so I suppose I haven't exactly hit peak usage. But I pretty much love text messaging.

I have been thinking about extending my degree by at least another semester, taking a few courses that I wanted to take, but didn't get the chance to since I switched programs mid-degree and have been bogged down with requirements. This extension would also serve to help me prepare for.... applying to med school. Eeep. When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. Then I wanted to be a lawyer. Then I wanted to be a researcher. And now I have come full circle and kind of want to be a doctor again. I think I could do it. And I know it would interest me beyond imagination. But.... I still don't know. Is it truly what I really want? It is my goal to figure that out over Reading Week, which also means I will have to work out my degree.... and scrap my application for graduation.... and register for some summer classes..... and somehow find some money to faciliate this extension. So much to think about. It's making me emo.

And speaking of emo... I know I generally wouldn't talk about this on a blog, but it's really bugging me. What the heck is up with males? Why are boys dumb? Do they know they are emitting mixed signals? Do they know that such mixed signals are ripping my figurative heart in two, nay, millions??? GAH! So, I am pretty much feeling foolish and heartbroken at the moment. Stupid boys.

Movies I've seen recently: Children of Men and Notes on a Scandal - see them both!
Movies I want to see: Apocalypto, The Departed, Babel, Flushed Away, Smokin' Aces, Stranger than Fiction
Music I've recently aquired - Children of Men Soundtrack (very eclectic; everyone's bound to like something on it; includes a beautiful rendition of "Ruby Tuesday"), MSTRKRFT, Hot Chip, Emily Loizeau, Snow Patrol, Justin Timberlake.
Music that I want to acquire: Thirteen Senses, Bloc Party


That's it, essentially. I will blog one more time in the near future to explain what I would be like were I a hockey player, but thereafter, I should be expected to be MIA.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Break It

This past weekend was my academic "make it-or-break it" weekend. School has been a lot more demanding than I had anticipated, and I have been a lot more lazy than I had anticipated, so I have already become grossly behind in all of my courses. I was supposed to spend my weekend at school, writing lab reports, reading primary research papers, reading chapters and chapters from texts. That did not happen. Not only did I sleep in on both Saturday and Sunday, I did not once change out of my jimjams, nor did I make it to school. What's more, I failed to crack open my backpack until Saturday night, by which time I quickly stowed all my books away to watch My Beloved Oilers lose again. Thus, I broke it. Is this a sign of what's to come during the remainder of the semester? Will I be perpetually behind? Will I fail all my courses?

Currently, I am working on a calculation-heavy lab report for an experiment where we isolated lymphocytes from rabbit blood. Not only did it take me a needlessly large amount of time to actually figure out how to calculate the values required of me, but in order to calculate such values I had to use values from my previous experiment in which I determined the concentration of lymphocytes in rabbit blood. This meant that I had to go over my last lab report, and to my horror, I discovered numerous MAJOR errors. Not only did I screw up some calculations (very dumb mistakes, such as not converting a number to its correct scientific notation), I completely forgot to include a whole table, copying and pasting another, unrelated table in its stead. Since this report was handed in nigh a week ago, there is basically nothing I can do, and I will thus suffer a low mark that need not be low had I spent two extra minutes to properly proofread. I hate when I make this kind of mistake. It makes me feel completely inept, and I get all worried that whoever is grading my paper will think I am just dumb. The first paper of the year is the opportunity to make a good first impression, and I have made one that depicts me as a dummy that can't use a calculator nor copy and paste correctly.

So yeah. Woe is me. School is dominating my life, whether I am actually tackling everything it throws at me, or avoiding it at all costs.