My eternal love for Tumblr

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, and I have a list of posts waiting to be written. But this very short one, I had to write immediately. It’s just a major thank you and shout-out to the wonderful world of Tumblr. When I got a Tumblr about a year or so ago, I just used it as a place to look up pretty pictures, write a little bit, but generally didn’t take advantage of all it had to offer. Now, in the year that I’ve been using it, the site has changed a little, but one of my favorite things is the addition of “tracking” certain tags. So you can search for a tag and choose to “track” it, and then when you next click on that tag on your sidebar, it shows you all the recent posts with that tag, regardless of whether you’re following those blogs or not. It’s a great way to filter what you’re looking for.

But my favorite thing about Tumblr is the ability to fangirl. Yup. I said  it. My best friend was talking about how much she loves to use Tumblr to fangirl, and I realized, we love it so much because we realize there are other people out there just like us. People who are obsessed about tv shows, music, books, and especially fictional characters, and now we have access to the fanfiction, the fan art, the community that’s built around the love for these things. It’s a beautiful thing. And Tumblr still lets you control your anonymity (or lack thereof), so you can declare yourself to the world or not. But either way, you can find all those other people who are obsessed about the same things as you.

Lately, as my favorite TV shows have gone on break, or Comic Con has revealed new casts, all I can do is take to Tumblr to fangirl. Because I love seeing that other people are freaking out about these things just like I am. So even if I can’t quite fangirl in real life to the person sitting next to me, I can still have my moment online with all these other people. And it’s a lot of fun. So thanks, Tumblr, for indulging my already vivid imagination and helping me find others who then stretch my mind even further. 🙂

Sweet inspiration

One thing I love about all the volunteer and observational experiences I’ve had so far in the field of medicine is that I’ve gotten to understand just how large and varied the field is, and how many opportunities it offers for potential careers. Working at different places has taught me what I like, but more importantly, what I don’t like. It’s helped me really narrow down the field of medicine I’d like to be in, if not what particular career. But lately, I’ve found that that might also not be a problem. In the area of rehabilitation medicine, there is no shortage of possibilities to make an impact.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been observing once or twice at a rehabilitation center in the city. It’s pretty unique to me, because it’s directly attached to a larger hospital and the patient care is incredibly integrated. There’s a grapevine of people who care for the patients during their stay, from the occupational and physical therapists to the doctors to the nurses to the therapy aides. Everyone has to communicate about the care of each patient. This is the first time I’ve seen such close-knit care. The hospital in my hometown had its own rehab unit, but it was separate from the rest of the hospital and very different from the one I’m observing now.

Another difference for me is that I’m finally observing with the therapists, in the gym. Usually I’m a clinical volunteer aiding the nurses or transporting patients, but I never got to really see what happened once they reached their destination. I had the good fortune to find a lovely place where everyone works with a smile. It really is an optimistic, happy place. It might sound kind of silly to say that and sound so amazed, but after some of the places I’ve been, it’s incredibly refreshing.

I followed an OT my first day and got to learn a lot about what, in my opinion, is a pretty underrated profession. My main interest, though, lies with physical therapy. For the past few weeks, I’ve been following one particular PT who is kind enough to answer all my questions. It’s from him that I’ve really learned what kind of healthcare provider I’d like to be, no matter what career I end up in. I’ve known people in different medical careers who have definitely inspired me, so he is by no means the only one whose example I’d like to follow. But in this particular field that I am so interested in, this PT has been an amazing role model.

Although this therapist is young and seemingly recently graduated, you wouldn’t know it. He’s confident about his actions and slow to anger. He rushes nothing. Everything is at the patient’s pace. His patience and unfailing faith in the patients’ ability to get better are his best traits. I saw the change myself today. Within 1.5 hours of meeting an irritated patient, he had connected with her and she was hanging on to his every word. Movements she refused to do in earlier days, she now put in extra effort. I can’t say what her other therapists were like – I don’t know all of them, but I do know they’re all great at what they do. And each person is different in how they treat a patient, of course. But it heartened me to see that kindness and respect, along with patience, go a long way in getting someone to trust you. Again, it sounds simple. But sometimes I feel like people forget that more often than not.

I’ll never be able to say enough thank-you’s to him for letting me observe this summer. It’s been a great reminder of why I love healthcare and why I’m continuing onwards. And I know that I’ve found at least one field that I could really see myself working in one day. There aren’t enough words to describe the feeling of not being able to do anything for a patient except talk to them. Every time a limb is wrapped or the patient is taking steps, I want to be that person standing next to them or helping them. But lack of a license means I can’t do much more than offer kind words and water. And I know that still helps a little, but the ache to do more really becomes a bit more every day. I can’t wait until I’m finally there, especially since I’m starting to find out who I’d like to be when I do get there.

It’s official…I’m a graduate!

It actually happened. After four years of undergraduate studies, I found myself sitting in the gym – nearly unrecognizable due to its transformation into a ceremonial theater – in my cap and gown, giggling with anticipation with my fellow classmates as we listened to the many speeches that marked this special day. We adjusted our robes a thousand times, making sure our bobby pins were holding our hats firmly in place, and that our yellow hoods were worn correctly to show our degree colors. After the masters students and many other bachelor students were announced, it was finally our turn. Our row, second-to-last of all the graduates for the day, stood up and made our way towards the aisle, and finally the stage. One photo op before we strode up the ramp and awaited our turn. Of course, the name got butchered. I guess it wouldn’t be right if my name wasn’t butchered. It’s deceivingly simple, I guess :/

The lights were blinding. I was pretty grateful for that; it kept me from staring out into the sea of faces (hello, stage fright). I received my scroll, a gift, and shook many hands, and just like that – it was over. I was out of the heat of the stage lights and back into the darkness of the gym as I walked down the ramp. One more picture, and I was following my friend back to our seats. She turned around and said, “That wasn’t so bad.” No, it wasn’t.

We cheered, clapped, and roared for our class as the ceremony came to a close. We are the class of 2012. After hearing it for what seemed like ages, our moment was finally here. It was exhilarating. And when it was over, my parents and my best friends were there to celebrate with me. My mom and dad had brought a bouquet of flowers – school colors, of course 🙂 – and my best friend/roommate gave me a graduation teddy bear (see above!), who I later named Twinkie. I was the typical graduate, with flowers and and a teddy bear, and I loved every second of it. We took countless pictures with multiple cameras (thanks, roomie for being the official photographer!) by our mascot and in my beloved new science building.

This graduation day was everything I could have asked for and more. It’s amazing to think it’s already come and gone, but thankfully I have the pictures to prove it 😉

 

Summer nights

“Legend has it, when the Santa Anas blow, all bets are off. Anything can happen.”

                                                               -The Holiday

Even though I live nowhere near California, I’d like to believe the east coast has something similar. For the first time the other night, I had that feeling, even though I’m on the opposite coast of Cali. It felt like I was a character in a book, who has that moment where they realize something is starting, but they’re not sure what.

My best friend and I had just stepped out of the movie theater at night. It was dark and had just rained, so it was wonderful weather. Warm, but with a constant, beautiful breeze that made you want to stand outside forever. We took our time in the parking lot, stepping quietly at first, like it was something too precious to disturb. And then, the sky lit up with lightning, my flip-flop landed in a puddle, and the spell was broken. Then came what always comes after a movie: spending a good 20 of the 30-minute drive back home yelling about the movie. Good, bad, and everything in between.

It’s a ritual we have. The movies were where we became best friends. I’d met Gabby when I moved to the town earlier that year and started middle school, but we didn’t go out of our way to do a lot afterschool. Then I ran into her and her mom in Walmart one day (I love small towns where Walmart is the biggest thing around), and she invited me to the movies. So started our tradition – she bought tickets, I bought the food. The next time, we traded off. And the next, and the next. When I got my permit and eventually my license and was able to take us without the parents, nothing changed. Except that there was always a playlist for our movie adventure, courtesy of Gabby. The girl will make a playlist for about everything, and I love it. She is my reason for loving movies/tv/pop culture as much as I do, and both of us share the obsession with books and writing.

So when we left the theater that night, we couldn’t believe our luck. We’d missed the big storm but got to enjoy the beautiful weather after. It just felt like a really…interesting moment. And when we talked about how lovely the weather was, how it reminded us of something we couldn’t quite pinpoint, I remembered, “It’s like the Santa Anas! From The Holiday?” Gabby’s face lit up, understanding the reference right away. Usually, when our area gets rain, it’s just damp or humid. So this was pretty rare weather. It was one of the nights you just wanted to sit outside the entire night, just because of the possibilities. It felt like something different, but good different. All bets are off as to what that was.

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am a book fanatic. So it was inevitable that the issue of Kindle/e-book readers vs. traditional paperbacks would eventually come my way. And while it’s not necessarily a huge problem for me, I was curious as to what other people think – aka, you guys! 🙂

So many bookstores in my small hometown and even in here in the city have gone out of business recently. From Atlantic Books to Borders to little independent bookstores, I always get sad when I hear of another bookstore that has been forced to shut its doors. While it may or may not be entirely due to the rise of e-books can be debated forever. But I’m sure the e-books played some role. I’m guilty of it myself. I swore I would never get an e-reader and remain faithful to my beloved paperbacks – because who doesn’t love turning the pages of a real book? And hello, bookshelves were made to be filled. But two years ago, my dad surprised me with a Kindle for my birthday. And I’m both sad and happy to say I haven’t really looked back since.

I was excited for the Kindle because of the possibilities it brought with it. My favorite thing about the device is not having to wait for a year or more for the paperback version of a book to come out. Countless times, I’ve been in a bookstore and put down a book because it was a hardback, and therefore more expensive. Now, that problem is gone. So far, I have not purchased a new book on the Kindle above $13. And that’s at the very maximum.  Most are $10 or under. All of a sudden, new books are at my fingertips, and it is amazing.

Have I still bought a paperback now and then? Of course. How could I not? Sometimes, I can’t resist a particularly enticing paperback. Other times, I’ve borrowed a book from a library and loved it so much that I go find it in the bookstore on purpose, because I have to have a real copy in my hands.

Amazon also has a ridiculous wealth of books available on Kindle. It’s gross, really, how much you can find with the click of a button. Especially when you’re stuck inside because of the weather. Still, I do hold out hope that bookstores do continue, because that’s where I fell in love with books in the first place. Bookstores are wonderful places. And who doesn’t want a library like the one in the Swan Princess? With the ladder that lets you glide from one end to the other? Or the library in Beast’s castle? 😛

So I’m curious to hear other thoughts on this topic, just because it’s become really prevalent lately. Kindle? Paperback? Both? Neither?

Beautiful cover

I stumbled across this today thanks to a link on a friend’s Facebook page, and I really can’t get enough. So I felt like I should share it with people and hope that it spreads. Boyce Avenue, a band I hadn’t heard of until now, did a gorgeous cover of Fun’s We Are Young. While this song has been overplayed tremendously on the radio, I still can’t help but like it or get it stuck in my head. And thankfully, because of bands like Boyce Avenue, there are some beautiful covers out there that help change the song just a little to make it fresh again. This acoustic cover in particular is just lovely to listen to – no yelling or anything. Just a really pretty voice singing a good song. This is one of the wonderful things about living in such a technological age. While there are definitely some downsides to it, there are also really cool things like being able to access so many different song covers and talented people. I love song covers. Some of my favorite songs are covers. So thanks to this link, I find myself looking for these guys on iTunes and previewing their album, too. Pretty sweet deal for them and me 🙂

Too many thoughts

So many things have happened in the past month, and yet I still find myself more restless and lost than ever. So here’s hoping a post can at least get all my thoughts assembled before I scream them to the world instead.

-My two best friends/roommates and I finally moved to our new apartment, which was blessedly closer to campus and seemed to be great. While it is and will be amazing one day, we are quickly learning that it is a major work in progress. It’s fun to fix up a place and make it yours, for sure. But I know there are days where one of my roommates wishes she didn’t have to be the live-in repairman/mechanic/electrician, too. Because she’s been a godsend helping us fix things, despite being exhausted from work. and yet there seems to be a never ending list of things to do. To top it off, a little shit mouse is having a blast in our kitchen and won’t just die in our traps. He’s now scared each of my roomies in the middle of the night whilst chowing down. Our food is/was securely wrapped, or so I thought. But damn this mouse.

I meanwhile am still unemployed and pretty much going crazy. Don’t get me wrong, after 4 years of college – with more coming – I know a break is good. But I had it. For a month. With my best friend. Being on a “break” alone while everyone else is busy sucks, though. And sitting in the apartment alone with the aforementioned mouse and added noises is enough to make me go crazy. I did the long walks every day but all they did was give me new scenery for my never ending stream of thoughts.

I have been applying to jobs left and right. Internships, LinkedIn, monster. All of it. Sometimes I get a response, and with that comes hope. And then, time after time, has been the defeat that comes with finding out I was thisclose but didn’t make the cut. So now I find myself belatedly looking for any summer job that will occupy my time and make my brain feel active again. It’s also very demoralizing. I wonder how much things have changed in a year that I would feel so unqualified for so many jobs. I wonder if it’s me or if things really are that hard in the job market, or both. I just don’t know.

I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve read in my time off, and as much as I love them, they’re ultimately just a temporary escape from my life. When each book ends, I’m reminded of my reality, but lately it frustrates me so much that I just want to be lost in another book.

All this lovely time off has also given me the chance to do my loan exit interviews with my parents. I’m lucky, I recognize that. I have wonderful loving parents who are helping me with this mess of loans. But when I see the numbers I finally really see and wonder if I really want to keep adding to this, with loans that will be even bigger if I ever make it to med school. I knew it would be a lot when I started this journey- but sometimes things don’t quite hit you until you see the numbers. I also have different worries now, worries that extend to years I cant see yet. I think about family and if i really want to put such a strain on myself, my parents, and any kid I may have. I’m sure if I was occupied or still in classes I wouldn’t be as worried, only because my mind would be busy worried about other daily things. I’m 21. I don’t know how normal it is to worry about this stuff, but it’s all floating in my head because frankly I have no better use of my time.

I hope I find something soon.

Looper

It’s a well-known fact that I’m in love with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. My best friend and I continuously maintain that when she gets famous she’ll have to meet him, just so that his awesomeness will be in our lives. I’ve been a fan of his before Inception, but I am SO glad he is finally on the map and getting more movie roles. I am perfectly happy with lots of JGL on my screen any day.  So when I saw this trailer for Looper, his new film, I was stoked. Add to that the fact that Bruce Willis is in the movie, along with one of my favorite heroines ever, Emily Blunt, and I’m done. The plot is definitely sci-fi, which a geek like me just looooves. JGL plays a hit man who kills people that are sent back from the future to prevent them from performing their horrible deeds. But one of his victims from the future is: himself (played by Willis). And that’s where the story begins.

What a game it is

The current installments of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. 5/7 books.

Authors consistently astound me. They are the reason I continually devour books. I am actually a kid in a candy store. It’s kind of sick. But in the best way possible. Authors have amazing imaginations, but those that know how to share the stories in their imagination on paper are particularly impressive. I have a big imagination. Whenever I read books, it goes wild, continuing on after the book is over, like a neverending fanfiction in my head. But I never write these stories down, simply because I don’t think I could do them justice. I’m also freakishly private about these things, so it feels too personal to write down some of the stories that occur in my head. But I love reading other fanfics and novels and being inspired. It’s just a lot of fun.

So when a series like A Song of Ice and Fire comes along, it’s literally a dream. It’s the most sumptuous, rich type of series a reader can hope for, all created and written on the page by George R.R. Martin. The man is a genius. He is fantastic at creating villains, suspense, heroes, anti-heros, uncertainty, and chaos. He knows how to build characters. And even if you think you hate someone…just wait. He finds a way to make you feel kinda crappy about wanting to see them go down in flames. I mean I was still glad when it happened to some people, but there was a small part of me that went “damn, that sucks.” That is just part of his genius. Writing multiple novels from multiple character viewpoints is no easy task, but Martin switches from character to character effortlessly, like he’s shedding one skin and putting on another. It’s beautiful.

The advantage of having such a huge cast of characters is that of course, people have their favorite stories and people. The crazy thing is that many of these stories tie in to each other somehow, and so even if you think it’s safe to skip a story here or there…it’s not. Also, Martin switches up the names of the chapters in the later books. Instead of just having the character’s name, you get another name – an alias. And often, you don’t find out until multiple viewpoints later, who that actually is (unless you guess it, of course). The reveals are great fun, though, so it’s fun to sit back and let Martin take you where he will.

The fact that the HBO series also exists doesn’t hurt. It helps put faces to names, and I’ve found many of the show’s actors and characters to be very distinct from one another. It helps, in a cast as big as this one- and continually growing. Having the TV show as a sidebar to the books is a lot of fun. We get to see how things work out differently from in our heads, and sometimes, from the books. Also, the show has a pretty clever way of consolidating some storylines with good dialogue to quicken the pace or get a character to a certain point.

It’s easy to pick your favorite character, but it’s also surprising how much you come to care about other people. There have been a few characters who I didn’t think I’d be too invested in that I now follow closely, just because they got so damn interesting. It’s also cool that the people we really hate are pretty complex. It makes it that much harder – but fun – to hate them still, especially with multiple chapters from their POV. It’s a clever way to show just how messed up this game is.

The next two books, the penultimate & final novels in the series, are currently titled The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. I  have my current ideas on who might win, but as Martin has shown time and time again, nobody is safe. Anything is possible. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Accepted!

After a long, long process of applying and interviewing, I found out last Thursday (my best friend & roommate’s birthday, no less) that I was accepted into the post-baccalaureate program at my first (and only) choice school! 😀 I’m so so so excited that it’s official. Until now, things were a bit up in the air. Everything was based on “if” I got accepted to this program. IF I got in, then I would only have a six-month gap after undergrad. IF I got in, I’d be preparing for the MCAT once more. IF I got in, maybe things would be different a second time around. Now that I’m officially in, it’s like I’ve finally taken the first step toward what I hope will be a great second attack on organic chem, physics, and the MCAT.

I constantly worry about whether or not I will be able to master these subjects a second time around. Physics and chem kicked my ass so hard during sophomore year, and the only thing changing this time will be the format – instead of 10 week terms, I’ll be back to 15 week semesters. Whether that’ll help me better manage the courses together, I’m not sure. It’s more of a wait-and-see thing. But I do know that in the two years that have passed, a lot has happened and changed. I’ve changed. I hope it means that I’ll find some way to change the outcome this time, and get the better of these classes that have so dogged me for years.

But the first step is getting in, so I’m thankful that I was at least able to accomplish that. It was also really nice to hear the encouragement and advice from my professors, mentors, and friends. Having that support group just plays a really big part in keeping up the morale during the application process. The waiting is made a little easier having people who help distract you also. It’s good to know I have them going into this upcoming year. So I’m one step closer! Now that I’ve been accepted, I just have to prepare myself mentally for what’s coming. And then just do it.