Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I spent Memorial Day Weekend in sunny San Diego, which ironically, was very chilly. Pre-summer weather in Southern California is extremely bipolar. It will be blazing hot one day and the next day, I'll have to step out in my winter coat and boots. Though it was nowhere near beach weather in San Diego, I can't complain. San Diego offered me a short reprieve from the onslaught of dental school applications. I had exactly one day to free my mind from the stress of cranking out a personal statement, filling out my AADSAS application, ensuring that all of my letters of recommendations have arrived, requesting transcripts, and figuring out which dental schools I should apply to.

It was my baby brother's first time traveling away from the confines of suburbia. We humored him by going to to the San Diego Zoo so he could see "elphants" and "brown bears" live. Traveling with a group of college students is vastly different from traveling with family. Both are exhausting in their own ways. With a group of college students, you actively try to maximize the number of exhibits you get to see by power-walking through the park and not stopping for breaks. Ever.  With family, it's more mentally exhausting dealing with numerous temper tantrums, incessant numbers of bathroom breaks, and prying children away from toys at the gift shops.

It seems the polar bears had a long night. That looks eerily reminiscent of college students after their second consecutive all-nighters.

We went to the beach afterwards. The chilly weather could not deter us from strolling along the Pacific Ocean. My baby brother was beyond excited - he had never been to the beach before.

My cousin and my uncle (somewhat) successfully flew a kite.

We ended the night with dinner at the Coranado Island Marriot Resort and Spa to celebrate my 21st birthday a few days early. The service: D (at best - they are slower than sloth and screwed up a few of our orders). The food: B+. The view: A-. The time with family: A+++++.

Extenuating circumstances in my life have made me somewhat weary of family. But this time, I'm beyond ecstatic that I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday with them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Job: Library Assistant

I've never met a species of people who are able to match my attention to detail and general level of OCD-ness. That is, until I started working at the dental school library. It takes a special type of person to be a librarian:
  • everything has to be done their way, down to the minute details like not using a mouse but using keyboard shortcuts instead (i.e. F8, F2, Windows+E, etc)
  • everything in the library is labeled - even the printers are labeled, telling you which type of paper goes into which printer.
  • scratch paper is sorted and labeled.
  • there are very detailed instruction manuals and flowcharts for every electronic device in the library.
I really like working in the library. I feel as though I have found my niche. I swear that if I were born in the early 20th century in a setting with less job opportunities for women, I would probably work as a librarian my entire life. But alas, it's the 21st century and women aspire to be more than librarians. But I took on this job because I have a lot of free time over the summer and I figured that if I was planning to waste my time on Facebook, I might as well get paid for it. And working at the learning center is essentially surfing Facebook and other internet junk for 4 hours while getting paid slightly above minimum wage.

Today was also Staff Appreciation Day at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry. I think it's pretty cool that I'm referred to as "staff" at the dental school. To prove how legitimate I am, I even have my own code for the dental school departmental copy machine!

Anyhow, there were a few dental students running around with some staff appreciation paraphernalia. I was working my shift at the learning center when one of them walked into the room.

"Hey! It's Staff Appreciation Day today and we have a little gift for you to show our appreciation," said the dental student.

She has a few miscellaneous items in her hands. I can't believe I'm getting appreciated as a staff even though I've worked here a grand total of four days.

"Yes, here's a mug for you," she said while handing me the cardinal mug pictured above, "we're trying to get rid of these, you know?"

I stare at her, eyebrows raised. It's pretty apparent that she's trying to get rid of the three mugs and two small gifts she's holding in her hands. She finally comprehends what she just said and backtracks a little.

"Well, not like 'get rid of them. We just had a few extras and we really wanted to show you guys our appreciation!"

Although I'm pretty sure she was trying to get rid of the mugs, I still appreciate the gift/gesture. I actually really needed a mug in my room so this gift was quite convenient. And hopefully in a year or two, I'll be able to join them as dental students appreciating the staff members.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Disneyland Overload

We visited Disneyland and California Adventures yesterday, making it the second time I've been to Disneyland in a span of two months. A friend of mine was able to secure 6 free parkhoppers to Disneyland, courtesy of her dad's patients who had a silver pass (for salaried Disney cast members). Moral of the story: always be nice to your patients.

Is it a bad omen if I'm sick of Disneyland after going there 2 times within a span of two months? Am I growing up too fast? Am I becoming jaded? Am I losing my sense of youthful wonderment? Is all the "magic" being sucked out of my world already?

I think back too all those good times in high school where it seemed like my friends and I could never get enough of Disneyland. "Let's go to Matterhorn again!" we'd scream as we raced to the line of the ride.

We could never get enough of the magic that was Disneyland. We visited the park three times a year and never left Disneyland until after midnight, when the park closed and we were forcefully ushered out of the gates.

Yesterday, we were done with Disneyland by 9pm and couldn't wait to leave the park after the World of Colors show. Granted we were experiencing seemingly subzero temperatures in the middle of May but even the magic of Disney couldn't sustain our interest in the park any longer. What is wrong with us?

More pictures from Disneyland below:

The Cars ride at California Adventures
Tower of Terror!!
Bugs World at California Adventures
Posing as Toy Story characters at California Adventure
Showing Captain Jack Sparrow some love.
Lining up for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride
Pirates at the gift shop.
The Asian Jack Sparrow?
Disneyland lollipop that is roughly the size of our head.
Everyone bough a Pook-a-Looz because they were so damn cute (and 40% off!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

50 Things

These are some of the truest and smartest words of advice I have heard. Looking back on my three years in college, I wish that I had stumbled onto this at the beginning of the freshman year in college.

  1. Your friends will change a lot over the next four years. Let them.

  2. Call someone you love back home a few times a week, even if just for a few minutes.

  3. In college more than ever before, songs will attach themselves to memories. Every month or two, make a mix cd, mp3 folder, whatever - just make sure you keep copies of these songs. Ten years out, they'll be as effective as a journal in taking you back to your favorite moments.

  4. Take naps in the middle of the afternoon with reckless abandon.

  5. Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you're nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.

  6. If you write your best papers the night before they are due, don't let people tell you that you "should be more organized" or that you "should plan better." Different things work for different people. Personally, I worked best under pressure - so I always procrastinated... and always kicked ass (which annoyed my friends to no end). ;-) Use the freedom that comes with not having grades first semester to experiment and see what works best for you.

  7. At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying. The night before my freshman year psych final, my roommate somehow scored front row seats to the Indigo Girls at a venue 2 hours away. I didn't do so well on the final, but I haven't thought about psych since 1993. I've thought about the experience of going to that show (with the guy who is now my son's godfather) at least once a month ever since.

  8. Become friends with your favorite professors. Recognize that they can learn from you too - in fact, that's part of the reason they chose to be professors.

  9. Carve out an hour every single day to be alone. (Sleeping doesn't count.)

  10. Go on dates. Don't feel like every date has to turn into a relationship.

  11. Don't date someone your roommate has been in a relationship with.

  12. When your friends' parents visit, include them. You'll get free food, etc., and you'll help them to feel like they're cool, hangin' with the hip college kids.

  13. In the first month of college, send a hand-written letter to someone who made college possible for you and describe your adventures thus far. It will mean a lot to him/her now, and it will mean a lot to you in ten years when he/she shows it to you.

  14. Embrace the differences between you and your classmates. Always be asking yourself, "what can I learn from this person?" More of your education will come from this than from any classroom.

  15. All-nighters are entirely overrated.

  16. For those of you who have come to college in a long-distance relationship with someone from high school: despite what many will tell you, it can work. The key is to not let your relationship interfere with your college experience. If you don't want to date anyone else, that's totally fine! What's not fine, however, is missing out on a lot of defining experiences because you're on the phone with your boyfriend/girlfriend for three hours every day.

  17. Working things out between friends is best done in person, not over email. (IM does not count as "in person.") Often someone's facial expressions will tell you more than his/her words.

  18. Take risks.

  19. Don't be afraid of (or excited by) the co-ed bathrooms. The thrill is over in about 2 seconds.

  20. Wednesday is the middle of the week; therefore on wednesday night the week is more than half over. You should celebrate accordingly. (It makes thursday and friday a lot more fun.)

  21. Welcome failure into your lives. It's how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.

  22. Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major(s), purely for the fun of it.

  23. It's important to think about the future, but it's more important to be present in the now. You won't get the most out of college if you think of it as a stepping stone.

  24. When you're living on a college campus with 400 things going on every second of every day, watching TV is pretty much a waste of your time and a waste of your parents' money. If you're going to watch, watch with friends so at least you can call it a "valuable social experience."

  25. Don't be afraid to fall in love. When it happens, don't take it for granted. Celebrate it, but don't let it define your college experience.

  26. Much of the time you once had for pleasure reading is going to disappear. Keep a list of the books you would have read had you had the time, so that you can start reading them when you graduate.

  27. Things that seem like the end of the world really do become funny with a little time and distance. Knowing this, forget the embarassment and skip to the good part.

  28. Every once in awhile, there will come an especially powerful moment when you can actually feel that an experience has changed who you are. Embrace these, even if they are painful.

  29. No matter what your political or religious beliefs, be open-minded. You're going to be challenged over the next four years in ways you can't imagine, across all fronts. You can't learn if you're closed off.

  30. If you need to get a job, find something that you actually enjoy. Just because it's work doesn't mean it has to suck.

  31. Don't always lead. It's good to follow sometimes.

  32. Take a lot of pictures. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn't take more pictures in college. My excuse was the cost of film and processing. Digital cameras are cheap and you have plenty of hard drive space, so you have no excuse.

  33. Your health and safety are more important than anything.

  34. Ask for help. Often.

  35. Half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at any given moment. Way more than half of you will be in the bottom half of your class at some point in the next four years. Get used to it.

  36. In ten years very few of you will look as good as you do right now, so secretly revel in how hot you are before it's too late.

  37. In the long run, where you go to college doesn't matter as much as what you do with the opportunities you're given there.

  38. On the flip side, don't try to do everything. Balance = well-being.

  39. Make perspective a priority. If you're too close to something to have good perspective, rely on your friends to help you.

  40. Eat badly sometimes. It's the last time in your life when you can do this without feeling guilty about it.

  41. Make a complete ass of yourself at least once, preferably more. It builds character.

  42. Wash your sheets more than once a year. Trust me on this one.

  43. If you are in a relationship and none of your friends want to hang out with you and your significant other, pay attention. They usually know better than you do.

  44. Don't be afraid of the weird pizza topping combinations that your new friend from across the country loves. Some of the truly awful ones actually taste pretty good. Expand your horizons.

  45. Explore the campus thoroughly. Don't get caught.

  46. Life is too short to stick with a course of study that you're no longer excited about. Switch, even if it complicates things.

  47. Tattoos are permanent. Be very certain.

  48. Don't make fun of prefrosh. That was you like 2 hours ago.

  49. Enjoy every second of the next four years. It is impossible to describe how quickly they pass.

  50. This is the only time in your lives when your only real responsibility is to learn. Try to remember how lucky you are every day.

Be yourself. Create. Inspire, and be inspired. Grow. Laugh. Learn. Love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I'm finally done with finals for Junior Year.

Don't ask me how finals went. They were terrible.

What if I can't get into dental school because of my junior year GPA? What am I supposed to do?

One More Final Until Summer

Can you believe that it rained in Los Angeles last night? But after the rain, the smog in the sky clears up temporarily. It smells slightly damp outside but fresh. Like spring.

Three down, one to go. I can feel the pull of summer break on the tips of my finger.

I just finished my HP 200: Introduction to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention final, an ordeal that took less than 30 minutes. I don't know why I studied so much for this final considering the class is somewhat of a joke. The first question on the first quiz we ever took in this class:
True or False: Is cancer a communicable disease?
So the final was a breeze. But Starbucks DoubleShot Espresso and Cream is a godsend for keeping you up late at night.

Until I realized that I was going to quit studying at 2am and go to bed. The caffeine started really kicking in and I could hardly lay still in bed.

Moral of the story: don't chug a can of Starbucks Espresso Doubleshot two hours before you go to bed, especially if you have an 8am final the next morning.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

That's It.

It's the middle of the fourth quarter and I've turned my television off. The Lakers are pulling a King Lear like no other. I'm officially going on another four year hiatus from watching NBA basketball. Maybe by then, the Lakers will have their shit together again.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lakers vs. Mavericks

The Lakers vs. Mavericks game last night was simply horrific. We had this one in the bag, then we lost it. It was painful to say the least.

I might be sick in the head or crazy or thrown off or something like that, but I still think we are going to win this series,” Bryant said.

While I may not be willing to bet on this in Vegas, the fact that I'm still planning to watch Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals show that I still have hope.

But someone please get Pau Gasol to snap out of it. Someone tell the Lakers bench to be more productive and not blow a 16 point lead like in Game 1. And someone please bloody guard the mother fucker Peja Stojakovic - he should not be allowed to start raining 3-pointers like that.

Watching the Mavericks team is like watching the ghosts come out of the closet. The entire team is comprised of the old souls who played against the Lakers nearly a decade ago. They are the players whom I hated almost as much as I hated the Celtics last year - Peja Stojakovic (former Sacramento Kings), Jason Kidd (former New Jersey Nets), Shawn Marion (former Phoenix Suns), and Dirk Nowitski.

Which reminds me, why am I watching NBA games again? I had already given up watching basketball games for four years during high school to prevent myself from becoming too emotionally attached to the games. If you put in four hours of your time every other day to watching a basketball game, you would be emotionally invested in the team too. And if your team loses, you can't conceivably do anything productive after the game besides seething with anger or wallowing in misery.