Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wisconsin and Chicago

Okay, after this post, I probably won't post about med school(s) for a while (thank god, goes the crowd, lol). Also, I retract my preconceived notions on Wisconsin and apologize in advance to any Wisconsin readers for anything I may say.

I just had my interview yesterday at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) which is just outside of Milwaukee. I will admit, I never thought much about Wisconsin nor the med school, till I looked into that med school. So naturally, I never expect how utterly amazing MCW was. It was so large, and new, and beautiful. I stood outside the main building just looking at it in awe. And during the tour, the lecture halls were so nice, the anatomy rooms were nice, the library was beautiful, they had cutting-edge conference rooms with the whole video tele-conferencing and such . . . the school was just amazing. I'm still a bit in awe. (Oh yeah, my tour guide was pretty cute. He had that cute dorkiness thing going for him.)

The only thing I didn't like so much about the med school was the neighborhood it was in. It's in a very residential suburban neighborhood, so I would need a car to do anything (which annoys me mildly). At least it's close to Milwaukee. Maybe there's stuff to do there.

Anyway, my interview went really well. Of the three interviews I've had, this one went the best. There were maybe 2 questions that, although I answered adequately, I didn't answer optimally. But who knows. This interview was also to be on their alternate list (aka, wait-list). So best case scenario right now for MCW is that I get on to their alternate list, worst case scenario is that I get rejected. In the next couple weeks and next few months, there are several possible/probable outcomes:

Optimal possible outcome: 1.) I get accepted to grad school for public health. 2.) Then I get put on the alternate list at MCW. 3.) Sometime during the spring/summer (preferably sometime in May) I get taken off the alternate list and given an offer of acceptance by MCW.

Most probable outcome: 1.) I get accepted to grad school for public health. 2.) Then I get put on the alternate list at MCW. 3.) I get accepted to either Wayne State or NYMC sometime during the spring/summer.

Worst probable outcome: 1.) I only get accepted to grad school for public health.

I suppose there's one worse outcome, and that's not to get accepted to anything. I have no idea what I would do if that happened, so I'm not going to think about it right now.
Now, on to Chicago. I was born in Chicago and I've visited Chicago often, and it still amazes me how little of the city I've explored or been to. At least in my recallable memory. While I interviewed at MCW, I spent the night and the following morning at my uncle's house.

In retrospect, I find myself in a unique situation here. Both my brothers and I are exalted amongst the children in our entire family (or as much of the family I know) on both my mom's and dad's sides. We're the "model" children, the ones who succeed in every class and get into good universities. My relatives dote on us whenever we visit, sometimes to the annoyance of our parents. And so I also see my uncle (my mom's older brother) trying to tell his kids to be more like me and my brothers, more focused and driven in their studies so they too can get into a good university (or get into a university at all . . . my Chicago cousin gets C's and D's).

My cousin in California's in better condition, though he's a B-average student right now I think. And his dad (my mom's younger brother) is always stressing over that. They all have potential, all they need is discipline and motivation. Both these things are harder to obtain than to just say.

Anyway, another interesting situation I find myself in is always coming back to Chinatown. I never really liked Chinatown that much, probably because it's the last place we stop before we leave Chicago and at that point we just all want to be home. But I grew up around Chinatown, and I remember the stores, and the smells, and the food, and the Cantonese. It feels weird going back, like a person who's gone to the city and then returns to his village. And yet, entering that Chinese store, smelling those smells . . . it brings one back. Is it nostalgia? Hardly, I think. I don't exactly miss that smell, but it is a memory.

I wonder where I'll find myself in the future, in terms of this strange amalgamation of cultures. It's awkward sometimes, and lonely. In some respects, I feel I'm "better" than this place, but a part of me belongs in this environment. I thought myself to be "at peace" with this part of me. Apparently not quite yet.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm Ready

I'm ready. Okay, I'm almost ready. For what? Many things.

I'm ready foremost for my med school interview in Wisconsin on Friday. I've prepared, and gone over possible questions, got feedback from my friends who've already been accepted to med schools, the whole litany. I feel confident in my answers, that they're not only good but also genuine, honest, and sincere. I can only hope all that comes across.

I'm ready to come out to JW-M. I've been wanting, and building up the courage, to tell him for the last week or so (but really, several months now). He's my closest friend here at the university. I can't graduate in a month without telling him. Unfortunately, I wasn't in any good emotional state to tell him last week or even earlier this week.

I'm ready to not be in a depressive mood. When exhausted, stressed, and worn thin, I experience several stages of mood change. The first is just general tiredness, but I'm able to just trudge on. Then comes an unwillingness to do anything. Then comes the easily irritated/angered state. Then depression-like. After this, then recovery and maybe temporary happiness (last ditch happy?). I'll be past this point in a day or so, and be back to my "normal" self.

And lastly, I'm ready for more sleep. God knows I don't get enough. Maybe after all this, then I can focus on deeper, and more personal, issues.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Worst Time of the Year

I fucking hate my state! Today's was the first day of spring or whatnot, and guess what happens? It snows!! Not light fluffy snow, but like a couple inches of blizzard. It's still snowing right now . . . so it's been snowing for about 12 hours. This was all after it's been getting steadily warmer for the last week or so, then blizzard! Sigh. What a crappy state. It has one of the worst economies in the US, one of the highest unemployment rates, one of the fattest states, one with population decrease - I swear it's going to get annexed into Canada one day!

Anyway, if you can't guess by now, this is going to be another rant post. Which sucks, because I don't like to rant, but this is the only real medium for me to rant and just let it all out. So if you want to skip this one, I won't blame you. I don't seek pity words (as that makes things worse for me), or even really just "nice words," I just need to let it out and let it pass through me.

So it all started a few day ago. For the last 3-4 days (with the exception of last night) I've been having this horrible thought as I lay in bed right before I sleep. The thought is this, "I wonder what it's like to be dead?" Despite whatever you're thinking, this is not a suicidal thought as I have no intention nor desire to kill myself (never have, hopefully never will). It's just that I wonder - "worst case scenario" - what it's like to be dead: to not think, not breathe, not see, not smell, not touch, not taste . . . it's a horrible thought really. It makes my heart pump quickly and anxiously, and makes me overall really really uneasy.

So this morning, when I woke up (or was awoken by my roommate knocking on the door, because I "forgot" I had locked it), I laid in bed for 2 hours. I was hungry because I hadn't eaten since about 5:50pm the previous day, but I just couldn't get out of bed. When I finally got out of bed around 11am, I just got dressed, brushed my teeth, and went to research. The first thing I heard and saw when I exited my room was one of my roommates sitting on the couch watching anime. He's ALWAYS watching anime!! It's like he does nothing else!

So it took me almost 15 minutes to walk to my research lab, which is almost twice as long as it normally takes me. I was dragging myself along all day. Research was kind of rough because my negative controls turned out overwhelmingly positive, whereas my positive controls turned out overwhelming negative. This makes NO sense. As the grad student next to me says, "It's not research. It's re-search. Re search." And it so is.

After that, I went to meet with JW-M so he could help me with my med school interview next Friday. I got lunch (it's around 2:30pm now, finally eating) and met up with him. I told him about the horrible thoughts the nights before and about how I was still in a depressive mood from last night. Then I kind of broke down next to him, sitting in a public place (thankfully, there weren't many people around). I had felt like crying for almost a week not, but it also felt as if I forgot how to cry. And here I was, exerting as much control I possessed to control my breathing so people near us wouldn't realize the tears leaking out of my eyes. Good thing that all passed after about 5 minutes. I totally would've come out to him right there and then, except that it was a very public place and I don't feel comfortable having strangers hear our conversations.

But what exactly was I so distressed about? Simply that I do so much, put forth so much effort, try my hardest, and it appears to amount to nothing. In contrast, I know people whose grades are worse than mine, who don't try as hard, who are sometimes a waste of space, and these people get into grad school AND have choices as they got into more than one place. I never missed lecture without a really good excuse - the last time I missed lecture simply because I didn't want to go was for calculus 3 freshman year, and even that was because: we just had an exam, lecture was at 9am, and there was a sub. I try to get people motivated for my work, where I sort of tutor a group of students. I put countless hours into research, and in all these 3 years I still can't get this damn sub-cloning to work. I throw in all I've got into applying for med schools, and what do I have to show for it? On top of all this, my parents think I don't try my hardest despite whatever I tell them. They think I waste my time on the internet (not always untrue), play video games and watch TV all day (both of which are totally untrue).

Case 1: My roommate (won't identify him) is always late to his first class of the day, if he even shows up. I know his GPA is lower than mine. He sits there and watches anime all day and doesn't wash the dishes as much as he used to; as a consequence, our sink is overflowing with dishes as I refuse to do them (though I might just give in soon). In fact, he really just sits there all day watching anime with the TV on, even though he doesn't really watch TV. And he complains how he doesn't have time to do his work and readings.

Case 2: My friend (won't identify her) doesn't go to many of her classes. I think she's barely pulling off a 3.00 GPA, although her major is rather difficult so I don't completely begrudge her. But she also has all sorts of health problems - if only she took better care of herself! She's my stand partner in Pops Orchestra, but she's been absent for about 5 rehearsals (just under half the total number of rehearsals we've had so far). She's on the board, and if it were anyone else, she would've been kicked out. I've resorted to learning her part and playing it at the same time as mine (not always possible on the cello, but whatever). Oh yeah, she's gotten into several grad schools and is in the process of visiting them to choose which one she ultimately wants to go to.

These people - whose GPA are far less than mine, who've done so little extracurricular or activities that help people, who're more often than not lazy or incapacitated - are in grad school AND have choices. I haven't even gotten in anywhere! Med school or public health grad school. I don't have choices, I can't choose, and yet I've done so much. Did I do something wrong?

I'm the kind of person who's really hardworking, and I don't mind that people around me slack off a bit. But after a while, it grates on me. I believe that people get what they deserve, except I rarely get what I deserve. Why does it feel like I have to work so much harder to get what I want?

So with that thought in mind, I kind of broke down next to JW-M. I thought to myself, "Why do I even bother? I work so damn hard and have nothing to show for it! Nothing, absolutely nothing. I should just give up and become a professional bum. It's not worth it anymore, and I don't care." Except the problem is that I DO care. I work hard because I'm like that.

I really must thank JW-M for putting up with this. I must also applaud him for not trying to comfort me and rather just waiting for the worst to pass before doing anything. If he tried to comfort me while I was breaking down, I may have ended up sobbing. I cry maybe once a year. This would be it for this year. And I so badly wanted to just blurt out to him and come out, and I don't know if that was part of my problems or if that would've made me feel better, but it might've provided some temporary relief.

Later this evening I almost felt like breaking down again. But I contained that episode. I never did get a clear chance to come out to JW-M. Perhaps when we go to the gym tomorrow, right before he leaves for home for Easter. Anyway, I've written enough. Hopefully, things only look up from here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The System is Against Me

I was going to blog about how my week kind of sucked, and how it was getting better today. It's starting to get warm outside, which is great! Almost all the snow has melted, and the muddy fields in its wake are also starting to dry up. I had a pretty good small ensembles concert, I was going to help JW-M with his phone interview with China, and then go play beer pong with RZ-F and others. (And this is the part where this post turns into a giant rant that I can't contain for the life of me.)

Then my parents called, and all went downhill. Insert same litany as always. Actually, my dad was pretty civil for a while. Even while he "berated" me for doing so much music in my undergrad when that time could've been used for "more beneficial and productive" things. Then he got suddenly upset that I never call them, and that they must always call me. Well, you know, if you call me 3 times a day once or twice a week, that's more than enough for me for that week. Why should I call you? I don't have any news, good or bad. If I do and I feel you should know, you will know. Sigh.

All the while, I was with JW-M. And we talked afterwards. I'm glad he's like my "best friend" here on campus, because he intelligently puts forth what I think (without me explicitly saying anything), but from another person's perspective so I know it's not just me. We talked about "the system," that is, the med school application process and how it works against someone like me.

So I'm not exactly the "cookie-cutter" med school applicant. I chose to pursue music in my free time rather than devote innumerable hours to hospital volunteering. Not entirely my fault, because I tried twice and couldn't get a position. I did tons of research and actually liked it (for the most part), rather than just doing it to say I did it; I also didn't really get any publications out of my research. I don't have the best GPA nor the best MCAT scores, though I'm solid on both (mediocre at worst, slightly above average at best). While I did major in a science, I also took lots of other courses - foremost Spanish and Chinese.

I feel like my interviews so far have sort of worked against me. Not once was music nor foreign language brought up, two things "out of the ordinary" that I invested significant amounts of time in. But are these two things irrelevant or useless? I'd like to think not. They say ("they" being med school admissions) that it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you've done something, you've done it consistently for a while, and it's truly what you want to do. Music and foreign language are these things to me.

What's more is that there's a need for primary care physicians in the US right now, as too many doctors go into surgery or a high-paying specialty because that's where you can pay off your debts. I, on the other hand, do genuinely want to be a primary care physician (pediatrician) and don't care for the money. I don't want to be a hotshot surgeon or hotshot anything really, I just want to do what I want to do and help where I can do my best. I seek neither fame, glory, nor fortune, though JW-M and I agree that countless people do.

So why would this system be against me? Why when I do care about what I do, where I truly believe foreign languages are an asset, and where being a decent human being is more than one's grade or MCAT score? JW-M postulates that there are two kinds of people: the ones who've spent all their undergrad working solely towards med school, towards getting that MCAT score or GPA, towards completing the "check list" of activities; and people who do other things to show they're well-rounded and actually human. But he also suggests that the people doing the interview tend to be the former, and not the latter.

It's interesting because there are specific patient care courses and cultural competency courses in med schools now. It's as if the med students going in have never been exposed to another culture or don't know how to properly interact with people. How hard can that be? Where have they been? It seems a little common-sense to me. Apparently, the medical establishment have pumped out too many doctors who aren't human enough to adequately create rapport with their patients, especially if they're from a different background.

I feel poised to be perfect in this arena. I recently read a study where Asian-Americans are among the most dissatisfied with the health care they receive. Hmm, I wonder why, maybe it's a language barrier and cultural differences? I think so and I know I can bridge this. I also know my patient base will be diverse and so if I tackle Spanish, the second most common language in the US, and fully master Chinese, the most spoken Asian language in the US, I've extended my ability to adequately relate to and care for so many more patients. Where's the bad in this?

What's sad is that I hear/read about health care professionals who're all like, "Why should I learn a second language? Everyone should just speak English, or we should just pay for a translator." Well, a translator isn't always around. When I shadowed a doctor near Chicago, I observed him on rounds in a hospital one day. And I overheard nurses and maybe a doctor talking about a patient who only spoke Spanish and no one understood him, and the translator had the day off. So . . . no one else in the entire hospital is competent enough with Spanish to communicate?! I bet I could've been of some use (not that much, but some nonetheless).

JW-M agrees with my sentiment that of all the requirements in undergrad, the foreign language one is the most useful and that the most utility can be gleaned from it. And there are two kinds of people in the world: the kind who've never experienced another language/culture and think everyone should speak their language; and the kind who've experienced another language/culture and see the inherent value in foreign languages. Unfortunately, the US is too full of the former.

The point of this whole not-too-well-constructed discourse is this: my interviews thus far have failed to touch upon that which, I believe, would make me a better doctor than maybe the next guy after me. That I care about patients, that I'm well-rounded beyond the cookie-cutter, and that I see the inherent value of languages and will use them to facilitate better communication with my patients.

If you've read this far, I applaud you. If you've only skipped to the end, I don't blame you. Sometimes, I get OCD about this and I just have to let it out. Blowing steam.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Took a Pregnancy Test!

It's true, I did . . . in my animal physiology lab. So, the home pregnancy tests test for the presence of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which is produced by the embryo as it implants itself in the endometrium of the uterus. Apparently, men with cancer also have this hormone because as cancer attempts to implant itself in the body (where it shouldn't be), it secretes HCG as well. The embryo can be thought of as a "tumor," but one that is controlled.

So we had three samples to test, none were human urine (which we thought was lame). We had a solution without HCG, a solution with a little HCG, and a solution with a lot of HCG. Then we took the pregnancy sticks. There were no instructions on how to use them, on either the packages or the lab manual. Yeah . . . it's rather funny as everyone looked to each other and was like, "Do you know how to use this?"

We eventually figured it out (after like, a minute). But still, it was rather amusing. Here we are, undergrads at one of the best universities in the nation, and we're not sure how to use a pregnancy stick. "Lol" is all I have to say.


On something completely unrelated, I'm frustrated in almost every sense. Recently it feels like I've been spending more time with RZ-F. And the more time I spend with her, the more I want to be with her and the more I think I'm attracted to her. But I don't know. Sometimes I wonder, because every now and then we do things that, to an outsider, could almost seem like we're "dating" - like eating lunch together, or cooking for each other, or going to concerts together. It's too late at this point to start a "relationship" because really, it'll just have to end in about a month and a half when we graduate and disperse across the country. I'm not looking for a long-distance relationship, so why bother?

I also feel a bit sexually inactive in that it seems like I have a low sex drive. What little I have I don't know what to do with. I don't know what to do with myself!! Perhaps it's something deeply psychological, who knows. All I know is, I am lonely sometimes. I'm lonely in the sense that I want to hold someone, to hug someone uninhibitedly, to wake up next to someone. I have a somewhat erotic fantasy about this (the few I have), but I won't go into that right now. In any case, step 1 = getting into shape by losing about 20 lbs and making myself physically presentable.

Oh, I'm sleep-deprived. Not good.

Monday, March 10, 2008

String Orchestra

We had our String Orchestra concert tonight. It was a great concert. Not amazing and not perfect, but still great. And now that it's over, I'm starting to realize how much I'll miss it.

I realize now that I may never get the chance to play music like that ever again. Music like Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, an outstandingly challenging yet rewarding piece to play, and verily listen to. I realize I may never play with that many people again, people that I have gotten to know because the groups relatively small. It's sad to think that this could be "the end."
Oh, quick tangent-ish thing.

All the guys had to wear suits and ties for the concert. The hot German guy at the back of the second violins brought his change of clothes (he has the sexiest arms, and his body overall looks great underneath it all, and the accent's always a plus). I went back to the room where our cases were to quickly rosin my bow right after the warm-up and before the concert. Just as I was about to leave, SR-F came in to get something. Then the German guy came in to change. He was taking off his sweater and was about to take off his pants to change. Then SR-F (obliviously) was like, "I don't remember the way back to the stage from here without walking all the way around. Can you show me?" Grrr. He was changing right in front of us! Oh well.
Anyway, back to the main topic. I'm just sad to see it end. I don't think I'll get a chance to play in such a group in med/grad school and beyond. A small ensemble - like a trio or quartet - maybe, but not a chamber or full orchestra group. And this experience is one of the defining experiences of my life since 5th grade. It's end is somewhat . . . anti-climatic.

I listen to pieces I've already played in the past, or pieces I would've liked to play, and I'm struck by an overwhelming nostalgia. Those were the days. Not even all the research I've done makes me this nostalgic for it. I think it's because it is music. And music brings out emotions and memories in people that not too many other things can. And to play music, to let it infuse you and channel through you, that's a special experience. Granted, on stage with the anxiety that comes with it, it's sometimes difficult to feel the music at first. But, it always comes.

I think my friend MW-F put it best, something like: "Music's like a natural high. It can make you feel so good." She's actually not that far off there. There are some studies suggesting that music sometimes releases more endorphins in the brain than eating really good food or even from sex. So music has the potential (doesn't mean it always does) to trump however good food and sex can make people feel. It's sad to say she's no longer with us (she became a nun, seriously). I miss those orchestra and trio days with her. I hope wherever she is, she's still enjoying the music of her viola.

Okay, enough nostalgia and being an orch dork.

Friday, March 7, 2008

So Apparently . . .

I'm good at beer pong. And no, I don't have that infamously low Asian alcohol tolerance and I don't turn bright red (only a little when I've had enough). Usually it takes me about 3-4 shots (of vodka or tequila) for me to feel anything, 5-7 to get my tipsy, and over 8 to get me drunk. I'm not sure what my upper limit is, but it's somewhere between 12 and 15.

I actually rather like the taste of alcohol. Until the first and only time I got drunk enough to throw up. After that, I'll never touch tequila again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What Dreams May Come

I was going to write a post on this a while ago, but things keep coming up. You know how it goes. Anyway, I think I have really random dreams. They're usually PG/PG-13 or so, but every now and then (fairly rarely, actually), I have one of those wild porn-like sex dreams. The following are PG/PG-13 though. I just thought I'd share what some of my dreams are like.
1. President Bush vs. Squirtle

I was walking in a city park, one of those nice large ones with small hills, lots of trees and grass, some fountains, nice paths for walking, and maybe a small pond. So I was walking along on a path when I see President Bush up ahead. For some reason (I think it was his facial expression) he pissed me off.

Next to me I see a turtle walking by. I picked up the turtle and kind of "tossed" it in front of me towards Bush. Lo and behold, the turtle transforms into a Squirtle-like thing. At this point President Bush noticed me and was alert.

I issued commands at my new "Pokemon," and told it to use water gun. Apparently, the President Bush in my dream wasn't only annoying, but also really acrobatic. He did all sorts of flips and jumps to dodge my Squirtle's attack, all the while chuckling at it. My Squirtle was pissed too now. So, I told Squirtle to use bubblebeam or something. At this, Bush laughed even harder because, well, they're bubbles. He easily maneuvered around the silly bubbles until he was right in front of Squirtle.

He then bent down, tapped it on the head with his hand, and kicked Squirtle away. Squirtle kind of fell on its back and couldn't get back up. Then he came for me. He did the same thing: patted me on the head, and then kind of kicked me. When I got back up, he disappeared.

Then I woke up. The first thing I did was go to my friend's apartment to tell SR-F and JW-F about my dream. Then I woke up for real to NPR. And guess what? It was talking about Bush's plan in Africa.
2. Library incidence

I was at the undergrad library working on a project with like 2 other people. I had my laptop out and was explaining things, working on a PowerPoint, etc.

Suddenly from behind, this Middle-Eastern guy comes up. He was chewing gum or something. I gave no notice at first, thinking he'd walk away. But no. Instead, he takes the gum out of his mouth, it was all bright pink and whatnot, and was just playing with it in his hands while watching us.

This was weird, I thought. Now we're all giving him weird looks. Suddenly, he bends over and starts typing on my laptop with gum all over his hands. He got some gum on my keys so it became all sticky. At this point, I was shocked. I was like, "Wtf are you doing with my computer?!"

He stopped for a moment, and I turned around to yell at him. Then he kind of scooted onto my chair, displacing me a bit. And starts typing with both hands. Now I was pissed. I go to hit him, and he suddenly gets up and runs away. He turns around a shelf and disappears.

Now my laptop keys are not only sticky, they're stuck. When pressed down, they wouldn't come back up. I wanted to cry.

Then I woke up.
So yeah, those are some of my weird dreams. I don't think anything will top the "President Bush vs. Squirtle" one.

So, there's this guy in my bio class. I swear he's gay. He has a lot of the "stereotypical" attributes that people would associate with gayness: the way his hair is done, the way he moves, the way he talks, and to a lesser extent, the way he dresses.

So I found out his name and looked him up on Facebook. Apparently he's a grad student, but he's enrolled in this class and taking it for credit (which explains why he looks older). Also, it says he's interested in women. Hmm, I guess I could be wrong. Or he could be lying.

I think I have broken gaydar, or a lack thereof.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I Know They Mean Well . . .

. . . but seriously, my parents are ridiculous. More so than my sexuality, more so than worrying about med schools, more so than academics, my relationship with my parents is the singularly most frustrating thing in my life. Our relationship can be described as tenuous, or perhaps bipolar. I know they mean well, they always do, but they always come across in such an antagonistic way. Sometimes we get along great, sometimes we butt heads (hardcore). My parents are so hardcore in all they do.

My dad called last night to "talk" to me about me applying to public health. In retrospect, I didn't say much and he was able to rant a lot within about 15 minutes. Let's see if I remember what we "discussed" (and that's putting it loosely and mildly) in relative order . . .

1. My dad asked me whether or not I looked at the courses required for the 2 MPH programs I chose. Well, of course I glanced at them, but not in-depth. He then went on to say how HME (Hospital & Molecular Epidemiology) only required 1-2 biostat classes whereas IH (International Health) required more. Somehow, he felt like I wouldn't be able to handle statistics. Seriously. I took calculus 3 and basic statistics, and I survived both. I think I'll manage.

2. My dad then asked why I chose the 2 programs I did. Well, I wasn't qualified/allowed to apply to some programs, and the rest I wasn't particularly interested in. He then pointed out a job posting linked from a link I sent him, because he asked for the link. The job required an MPH in epidemiology, and it only earns $18/hour to $30/hour depending on experience. Somehow, that works out to be about $30,000/year (lower end). He went on about how the pay sucked and all. Well, I asked him what the position was. He said data analyst/research assistant. That explained everything (to me).

3. At this point, my dad practically ranted about how I shouldn't choose a career where the starting salary is below $50,000, and that I should change my plans but now it's too late (for this). I countered with that I'm sure there are plenty of jobs with an MPH that pay in that range, starting out. He just chose a bad example. It's apparent now that he's quite against me applying to public health. Oh well, too late.

4. From here, he transitioned to how I should focus on med schools and nothing else. Well, I had essays and homework that needed to be done. Now. Apparently, all that doesn't matter, only getting into med school. Umm, if I fail my courses, I won't be able to get in anywhere, med school or otherwise. So I think my homework/essays due the next day take priority.

5. My dad also mentioned an open-house presentation, sometime in early April, by a med school in Antigua that they're having in the city where I currently attend university. It is a Saturday. He asked whether or not I was going and I said I didn't know. He was "shocked" at my answer of "I don't know," because this was my future and I should go no-matter-what. Well, I don't know what I have planned for that particular day! I very well may have something going on, I may not, and I would have to see. This was unacceptable and whatever I may have on that day - whether it's a concert, or an event, etc - I should cancel it. Now, I HATE to cancel things I commit to. He also said that I had to register for this open-house session thing, and that I could bring 2 guests. In other words, him and my mom. Great, just what I need, more nagging/ranting directly in my ear as I sit through this.

6. From here, he goes on to say how playing the cello in college had ruined my academics, that if I hadn't played the cello my grades would be much higher. Yeah, like my 3-4 hours of playing the cello per week really had any effect on my grades. Umm, no, it didn't and doesn't. I think research has had a more negative impact on my grades than all the cello playing I've done; but that would be blasphemy to say.

7. My dad ends (and really, this permeates throughout this phone call) about how I don't seem like I'm worried about anything. Or rather that I'm obviously worried, but not worried enough to do something about it. He keeps saying how anxious and worried he is, and how he keeps looking stuff up for me, and all that, but I don't do anything. Well, maybe it's because I have classes and a life to attend to. Also, there isn't much I can do at this point. My parents think I have it easy, that my courses are easy because I'm not taking grad-level courses in my last semester of my undergrad. What kind of logic is that?!

8. My parents also kept mentioning how me taking Chinese this year and a Chinese culture class this semester has been an utter waste of time. Well, let me just say, the Chinese I learn will be more important and useful than anything single thing I learn in any particular biology class. If I do become a doctor, when's the next time I'll need to know the Hardy-Weinberg equation? The answer: never.

What's also annoying/frustrating/infuriating, is that on my parents merge into one entity whenever they lecture my brothers or me. If they're on the phone, my dad will be talking but I can hear my mom in the background commenting and giving commentaries on what my dad's saying. And if my mom's on the phone, I can hear my dad yelling in the background. This is much worse in person, however, so I prefer the phone where I can hold it away from my ear every now and then.

And my brothers and I all have different ways of coping with my parents. My youngest brother is the "ultimate antagonist." He will resist, rebel, and argue endlessly with my dad especially. They can yell at each other for well over an hour until someone's all red in the face. My second brother is the "obedient one." He does everything my parents say, but he does it as minimally as possible to appease them. I also think my parents favor my second brother over the rest of us. I'm the "patient waiter." I prefer to sit there in silence and just take it, and wait for it all to stop. Because I know if I speak up, things will drag out, and I will lose all emotional self-control. This does tend to backfire, as my parents interpret my silence/stoicism as either not listening or not caring.

This is all just ridiculous. I SO wish I were in med school so all this bullshit is over. But I know it won't end there. My parents will subtly urge me to go into a high-paying specialty, like dermatology or anesthesiology. I, however, have no interest in either of those. In fact, I will choose the lowest paying tier of physicians - that of the primary care doctor. I will be a doctor, sure, but I will gladly make less money doing something I will enjoy; and making less money will have the added bonus of spiting my parents. I choose pediatrics. It's what I originally want to do anyway, and I'm sticking by it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Plan B

So, I know I obsess over this, quite obsessively. I've a feeling all pre-meds obsess over this to a degree that borders OCD. And here it goes for the umpteenth time (forgive me).

Wayne State: alternate list (aka, wait-listed).

NYMC: wait-listed.

MCW: interview on March 28th (for their alternate list).

Med schools still to hear back from: USC-Keck, Tufts, Drexel, Loyola, and Rosalind Franklin. Still holding on to hope. If I get an interview at either USC-Keck or Tufts that'd be amazing, because those are my first choices right now. Still hoping . . .

I still have hope at all three of the "wait-list" ones. After looking at MCW, I wouldn't mind going there at all, even if it's in Wisconsin (actually, I think it'd be really cool). I've a feeling that at some point I will be admitted at either (or both) Wayne State and NYMC; though, "at some point" could be any time between now and August. But I must bolster my chances. I need to get a hold of the in-progress paper on which I have an authorship from the lab I worked at over the summer.

Anyway, in lieu of this, I've enacted plan B: public health. I just submitted my application tonight. And I couldn't have done it without the help of W, thanks!! But am I done? No, because I still have to snail mail a 1-page form that they didn't have as part of their online application, and I have to get my MCAT scores to the school of public health (somehow, calling on Monday). Curses!!

I dislike applying. I don't think I'm going to apply to any more schools of public health other than the one I did. Here's hoping I get into public health, if all else fails (which, I'm still hoping doesn't).