Friday, December 31, 2010

2010, What a Year!

Here it is at the end of 2010, minutes until 2011 (yeah, I'm blogging now since I've nothing better to do). I must say though, 2010 was full of ups and downs, and I welcome the new year with mixed emotions. On one hand, I can't wait for 2010 to be over, on the other, I'll miss it. It's been one heck of a year looking back!

Early in the year, I had met a guy online and met him for a coffee date of sorts. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and ended almost as fast as it started.

I shadowed Dr. P in ID (infectious disease) for the first time, and that was a great (albeit, somewhat nervous) experience. I'm going to make it a point to shadow him again in the next month or so, now that I know some more!

I visited some of my friends in DC over Spring Break. It was one of the best Spring Breaks ever, and I sooo needed it.

I became the president for 2 student groups, APAMSA and LGBTPM; and co-chair for 2 student-run programs. It's been A LOT of work, but somehow everything happened more or less as planned.

To begin the summer, my roommate and a friend took a weekend trip to Chicago.

I spent 8 weeks over the summer on a pediatric externship. First in peds ID, then in primary care peds, then in peds rheumatology. It was one of the most meaningful learning experiences in my life to date.

To top off my summer before heading back to school, I visited 2 of my friends in NYC, another amazing (albeit too short) trip!

In September, Dr. P helped pay for all but my plane ticket to San Diego for the GLMA Conference. It was a pretty eye-opening experience and a great one to meet so many diverse people. Also met blogger Mike of Random Thoughts In My Life while I was there!! :-)

And lastly, my friend's starting up a non-profit in 2011, and he's asked me if I'm willing to sit on his board of directors. So it'll definitely be one heck of a way to kick-off 2011!

With that, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Step Into the Light

If you haven't noticed by now, my blog layout has changed (rather dramatically). In the past, the color scheme has always been within the darker palettes. In some way, that conscious decision to keep this blog with the darker color palettes has reflected something within me.

And now I feel like it's time for a change. It's time to step into the light. Things have shifted around a bit, but the core content hasn't changed. Only the blog title panel designed for me by a blogger who blogs no more remains as a relic of the past.

I'm not yet sure how this change in the blog layout will reflect the direction of this blog going into the new year, and its fifth year. Wow, have I been blogging that long?! Anyway, to those who've been following for a while now, step into the light and walk with me for the fifth year. Let this change represent a rebirth of sorts, let it refresh within me the reason(s) why I blog and within you why you choose to follow.

Lastly, I came across the following while passing through some blogs:

Greyson Chance - Waiting Outside the Lines

You never enjoy your life
living inside the box.
You're so afraid of taking chances,
how you gonna reach the top?
Rules and regulations
force you to play it safe.
Get rid of all the hesitation,
It's time for you to seize the day.

If you haven't been over to Ron's blog at I'm Keeping Score, do so NOW. He's having a tough time (as you can read from his last few posts) and can really use the support right now. Many of his greatest fears have materialized and we need to help him through this dark time.

Send him lots of hugs and show him the true light of support and love that we all are able to provide.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Agent of Change

Have you ever had the feeling that you're on a journey to seek out your purpose in life? That there's something you can do to change the world, in whatever small way you can? That something out there needs to change?

It's a feeling that's been growing in me recently. I read articles about things like the Embrace baby warmer for premature infants, designed by a group of engineering students at Stanford, or about the gay teen in AZ changing things for LGBT youths posted over at You Could Have It So Much Better, and I kinda wonder what I've been up to these last few years. Sometimes I feel like I should've accomplished more by now.

But then I realize that I should step back and take things into perspective. What is the kind of difference and change I want to make? What have I done? What can I do? What might the future hold? Time, energy, and effort are all limited resources. So with some perspective, a few things come to mind.

First, short-term are the various things I'm doing through student organizations. Patient Education was on the verge of being axed from the free clinic. T_T However, since we changed the flow of the program 3-4 weeks ago, the managers have agreed to let the program survive another year. Phew! Hopefully we'll be able to reach out to more uninsured patients at more than one free clinic in the city, and educate them on how to take control of their own health. Also, basically reviving the LGBT group to a semblance of a group from practically nothing is no simple feat.

Second, in the near future, my friend - who I've known since kindergarten - is starting a non-profit. He has asked me to be one of his board members. The central idea of his non-profit is simple (aren't all great ideas simple?): to provide kids with someone who will move with the kid through grades 1-5 and provide guidance, encouragement, and help. I'm incredibly proud and honored to be considered to help him with this endeavor! I could go on and on about the merits of his idea, but perhaps in another post.

Third, in the far(ther) future, my friend AG-F and I will make our video game project a reality. Over a year ago, we had drafted the concept of a video game to educate kids (and adults) on genetics. Now AG-F works practically across the hall from the professor for whose class we wrote the project for. Evidently we made a big impression as he keeps talking about it now! So yes, we promised each other that one day we will finish what we started as just a class assignment.

And so, I think in each of our own small (or big) ways, we can become agents of change. For the better or for the worse, that's up to us to decide. As Gandhi said:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

In case you haven't heard the news (as if it's possible miss something this big), DADT was repealed!! About time. A lot of human resources were wasted in the military as a result of this silly legislation. Listen to one soldier's account here, it almost moved me to tears. I don't think when that was recorded months ago, that he thought a repeal would happen within the year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lost in Conversations

Well, no comments on my last post. Whatever, no answers for you. :-P
Anyway, a couple days ago I called my best friend from undergrad to wish him a belated birthday and to just catch up. We've both been quite busy, what with me in med school and him in grad school halfway across the country. Now I'm not normally the kind of person who likes chatting on the phone for hours, but we chatted for almost 2 hours!

I could chat with him for hours. I always appreciate his perspective on things and he's probably one of the like five people who I can let my guard down and be completely open with. And that's saying something. After being surrounded by med students day and night, constantly discussing and whining about classes, it's refreshing to talk to someone whose background is just so radically different (he's doing his PhD in political science). We talked about anything from arsenic-eating bacteria to parasite-carrying flies in Africa (to which he suggests a genocide of all the flies) to Liu Xiaobo to the idiocy of certain Midwest governors for refusing federal dollars for constructing an interstate high-speed rail system.

I also found out that his fiance doesn't have texting. People without texting unite! Lol.
On another note, remember Online Guy 2 (Drew)? Well, we've been chatting here and there online for almost a year now. And I still haven't met him in person. :-/ He doesn't have a car and doesn't particularly care to travel halfway anywhere to meet up. Or should I say, didn't?

I had previously discounted a possible relationship with Drew for a variety of barriers. The least of which is the 30 minutes or so that separate us (rough estimate). But he had been having some very rocky months with his ex-boyfriend and almost every time I chatted with him he wasn't in a good place. Recently things have been looking up though since they broke up for good.

Last night we chatted online for a few hours. We first talked about our desire to travel and such. And then he wrote, "Maybe we should finally meet in person, get to know each other, and do something like that [camping]." Apparently he likes camping and I've never really gone. That sounds fun (though certainly not in these winter months here), and thankfully the only real thing I have to worry about is Lyme disease, lol.

So progress? Hmm, we'll see where this goes (if anywhere). It'd be nice if he'd want to meet up somewhere for a coffee date or something (except I can't remember if he said he liked coffee or not). Our conversation then became quite sexual, which it never had in the past. I guess we were both kinda horny. It was kind of fun making him even hornier online, hehe.

So I recently came across this:

It Gets Better by Chris Salvatore

He's really attractive and has a great voice. Though, he makes some rather over-exaggerated facial expressions when he sings, haha. He's also not afraid to bare it all either!

There are some parts of this song that's quite cheesy. However, I like the following refrain:

We will make it, we're stronger,
for all the pain they put us through.
Words won't hurt us, no longer,
our dreams will be what get us through.
And when it feels like your whole world is ending,
remember me and all the other ones saying,
"It gets better, believe me."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power to the End

- Health Fair: check
It's good to finally be done with the Health Fair. That event took more effort to organize than I expected! It also takes a lot of people to make the event a success. Alas, the snow thwarted even the best in planning; as a result, not as many people as anticipated showed up, but it was still fairly sizable. I'm in the process of writing a manual of sorts for next year's students, such that it can be even more successful (despite any potential snow).

- Autopsy viewing: check
This morning my group finally got called to go in to see an autopsy. We had been on call for a week now, and it was annoying having to get up earlier than necessary just to wait for that page. I must say, viewing an autopsy is rather gruesome. And all the coroners have rather dark humor. That first cut into a freshly dead body smelled worse than the preserved cadavers we worked with in anatomy lab last year (and I thought that smelled bad!).

- OKCupid profile: deleted & re-made
So last night, my friend asks me about my OKCupid profile. I had never revealed that I had such a thing to her or anyone else in my class. But someone in our class had come across my profile and forwarded it to her. Naturally I freaked out a little inside. I have some personal info on there that I don't want anyone in my class to gossip about. Hence, I promptly deleted my profile and created a new one that's still in the process of being fleshed out. This time, I'll be more cautious, especially with pics.

- Exams: next week
So final exams are next week. Ugh. Cumulative microbio final won't be fun. But, just gotta power through to the end. Can't wait until they're over. Also, I should probably register for the USMLE boards this week . . .

So, a few days ago, a friend of mine here in med school linked me to the following (her friend is the lead singer):

Muse - Resistance (A Capella by Uni. of Chicago)

The original is here.
Is our secret safe tonight?
And are we out of sight?
Or will our world come tumbling down?
Will they find our hiding place?
Is this our last embrace?
Will the walls start caving in?

I love that first stanza. Something about those words just echoed with me. Maybe it's the loneliness talking, who knows. There's something romantic about it.

Anyway, I realized like a month ago that I now have 101 followers! :-) Thanks for following! I think for my next post I'll do something special. Hmm. So I pose this request: comment in this post and ask any 5 questions you want, and I'll answer them (to the "reasonable" questions). So go! You've only got a couple days, as I'll get sick of studying for finals at some point and will need a break anyhow.