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old school

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

This is quite the timely prompt. One, it allows me to procrastinate even more on studying for AAP (which I basically have decided is impossible). Two, this is exactly the direction I’m going in.

So, let me explain. The prompt asks about when was the last time you took the time to write something substantial in the old fashioned pen and paper. Well, I write my notes in class everyday with a pen and a notebook. I don’t know if that qualifies as substantial, but I’ll consider it as one. I’ve also started carrying around a small pocket notebook to write down all my ideas and to do lists or whatever. It’s the Baron Fig Apprentice. I’ve mentioned this brand quite a lot because it’s quality stuff. I love it. It has decent pricing and it definitely competes with the bigger brands such as Moleskine and Leuchtturm. I’ve practically converted to Baron Fig notebooks exclusively. (And no, I’m not getting any sort of endorsement from these guys. I just really really love their products.)

Going back to the old school idea of notebooks, it’s something I’m doing now. My notes have always been in the cheap Mead notebooks you get for about a quarter during back to school sales. That hasn’t changed since high school. But now that I’m getting into fountain pens, I’m starting to realize the quality of hand writing everything again. So much so, that this novel that’s been burning in my head for the last year or so as finally taken over my brain and I’ve decided to write it all down in a Baron Fig Confidant.Β It’ll just be notes for now, but I eventually plan on writing it all out as well as typing it because it’s so much faster.

In fact, the entire fountain pen experience has been quite a trip. I want to buy more pens! And ink! It’s expensive, especially for a poor grad student. But it makes writing so much fun again. I’ve never found more excuses to write things down than ever before. I actually cracked open one of my lined journals I bought a couple years ago to start a journal. I buy all these notebooks with all the intentions of filling them with journal entries, or with a millions of ideas for stories that run through my head, but I never actually do. Now I do. I just realized I missed yesterday’s entry, but that’s okay. I can write a new one right after I finish this post.

So to really answer this question, yes, I wrote an actual journal entry a couple days ago. I’m going to write one soon. I’m going to start filling up my Confidant with awesome stuff. In fact, I have another Confidant that’s filled with doodles. Well, it’s maybe about a fifth full, but the rest of the blank pages are there waiting to be filled up with the next greatest idea.

To answer the second part — could I every imagine going back to pre-keyboard era? Oh heck no. If EVERYTHING, including my paper and reports and what have you, had to be hand written and turned in? Forget it. It’d take forever. The convenience of the keyboard and the computer is fantastic. You can send emails in a flash and get a reply just as quickly. Imagine asking for something important in writing and having to wait two weeks? No. There could be phone calls sure, but then you’d have to hop in your car and pick up the powerpoint or the documents in person. For the sake of efficiency, I don’t ever want to go back to a pre-keyboard era.

But for personal matters such as journals or letters or novels? Sure, go ahead, write them down in the old fashioned way. Sometimes, it’s the experience of putting a pen down on paper and having it glide across as you put down your ideas is really what it’s all about.

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Honeymoon Over

Happy New Year… two weeks late. Well, I hope it was fun for you either way.

My break was nice. I got to sleep and eat lots of food. My cousins came for Christmas and we had fun playing games and whatnot. Then my dad and I drove my bro and his stuff to Utah to move him back to school. It was right before school started, so I was very tired. In fact, we spent New Year’s Day driving down to SoCal, spent the night, then drove all day to Utah. We spent the night in a hotel, then moved him into his dorm the next day and then literally drove the 12 hours back to California right after. Absolutely exhausting with all that driving. Then I had to drive the 2 hours to get back to Sacramento the day after. It’s a good thing we don’t have classes on Mondays or else I would’ve never made it.

A week and a half into school and I’m starting to feel the pressure and stress again. Week 1 was nice and easy as usual, and I thought maybe Week 2 would be the same. Nope. We had a brutal 4 hour lecture on autopsy procedures and basically found out that our exam next week is basically an in depth look at the entire textbook. We had TWO lectures. Now we have some crazy scary exam. Yeah, I’m terrified and stressing out like crazy. Plus, I’m super behind on path because I decided that doing nothing this weekend was more important. So there’s that.

Life’s a ball right now. Most of it is my own doing, but not all of it this time. That autopsy exam is definitely not my own doing. I just hope I can photocopy the right pages and somehow jam all that info into my brain in the next few days.

On the bright side, I had a few packages come in that totally make my life so much happier. I’m easing my way into the world of fountain pens. I bought the Pilot Metropolitan (Animal Print, White Tiger edition because I have a thing for white pens) because it’s cheap and everyone says it’s one of the really good starter pens out there. I splurged on the ink and bought the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo ink. It’s this ‘moonlight’ blue that’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s THE reason I even bothered with fountain pens. I wanted to write with that color ink for pages and pages. I could take notes forever with it. I could write NOVELS with it. Which I plan on doing eventually.

I went ahead and purchased more notebooks from Baron Fig pretty much so I could use this pen. I got the limited edition Three Legged Juggler Confidant and the new Time Travel limited edition Apprentice pack. I’m so excited to do this. It’s completely old school and I don’t care. The pen writes wonderfully. The ink looks gorgeous on paper. The notebooks are quite excellent for the fountain pen. There’s very minimal feathering and no bleed through. I can write on both sides of the page! Huge, huge plus. I have plans for these notebooks and I fully expect to use them all up this year. I’ll just have stacks of notebooks and journals piled up. Especially once I start rotations. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say then.

It’s these little things in life that make it more bearable with all the stress and pressure of this program. Now let’s see how long this lasts. πŸ˜›

Another one down…

Fall semester is finished. Done. Complete. I even got my grades back and I’m pleased to report that I did very well for all the craziness that happened. I managed to get the B I wanted in Med Path and As in everything else. 20 units of evil and I survived with all my grades intact. I’m incredibly proud of the B in Med Path. Now you might wonder why I didn’t shoot for the A. It’s because I’d still like to have some sanity left. It was a med school course, so the fact that I’m not in med school and pulled a B out is more than enough for me. Plus it was a 6 semester unit course. Don’t give me crap about not getting straight As.

This semester was full of ups and downs as usual. 18 grueling weeks of cramming all that info in my head was quite an adventure. This program is relatively new out here in Sacramento, so there were some hiccups that should hopefully be straightened out for the next semester. I’m excited to see the changes. We started implementing some of them at the end of Fall, and it seemed to be working out quite well.

It’s crazy to think around this time last year I was freaking out about applications so I could get them in on time to Drexel. Now, here I am, two semesters in and one left to go before we go on rotations this summer. How insane is that?! I feel like I’m not ready for it, and yet I can’t wait to go. Everything will start making more sense once we start practicing what we’ve learned.

Next semester we have a course that’s exclusively for our program, Applied Anatomic Pathology (AAP), that will basically teach us how to do our job. We’ll practice sectioning and dictations for both autopsy and surgical path BEFORE we go on rotations so we’re not going in blind. Our instructor is one that’s been with us since the beginning and he’s been in this field for about 40 years. He specializes in autopsy, but lately he’s been doing some per diem work in surgical at Kaiser, so he’s definitely got the experience to teach us. I’m very, very excited about this. I can’t wait to get my hands on stuff. I’m much better in lab settings than I am in lecture, so it’s been a long time coming.

But the thing that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around is the fact that our white coat ceremony is only a few months away. On my birthday! So I get an awesome gift of receiving my white coat. Then I’ll be legit. We’ll have the Drexel patches on the shoulders and our names embroidered on our chests. Freaking sweet.

Now, it’s the holidays and we get three weeks off. I’m going to enjoy every last moment of it. It won’t be long enough, but I’m just glad I can let my brain rot for a little bit after getting beat down so hard. Time to catch up on everything — my tv shows/anime/manga, do some art, maybe get some creative writing done since I missed out on Nanowrimo this year, and SLEEP. My goal next year is to update more regularly. I totally dropped the ball this past semester, so I’m hoping I’ll have more exciting things to post next year/semester. So hang around a bit longer. I promise I’ll come back with awesome stories.

Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

WORLD SERIES 2014

How can today NOT be a good day? It’s Game 1 of the World Series and my SF Giants are in!!! MadBum is on the mound and he’s my fav Giant. CanNOT wait.

Of course I still have a bunch of studying to do before it starts in a couple hours, but that’s beside the point.

We got our rotation schedules yesterday! I just forgot to mention it. We also met our co-director of the program in the flesh instead of just seeing her on the screen. It was nice, had a free pizza lunch. I took home all the leftovers. πŸ˜›

My rotation as of right now goes like this:

  1. Sacramento County Coroner’s Office
  2. UC Davis Medical Center
  3. Sloane Kettering Memorial Hospital in NEW YORK
  4. Kaiser Fremont/Hayward
  5. Kaiser Oakland

Each rotation is 10 weeks long, then I move onto the next one without a break in between. It’ll be an intense year long training, but it’ll be worth it, I hope. I’ll be in NY for Thanksgiving, but I’ll be home for Christmas! How exciting is that? This is literally everything I asked for. They asked us to make a wish list and would try to accommodate our suggestions as best as they could. For once, things fell my way and I got all the sites I wanted. Crazy, crazy stuff. I didn’t think I’d get NY since it sounded like so many people wanted that, but they gave it to me anyway! I love my program manager. She totally fought for our slots like a BAMF. While this is not officially set in stone, she told me it basically will fall this way until she hears otherwise.

I am super excited and pleased. Now I just gotta own my next exam and catch up on med path. And cheer on my Giants! Woot.

so it’s been a while…

Yikes. It’s been what, two months since my last update? It was week 3 back then? I think I’m on week 11 now? Ridiculous. I won’t even bother with excuses.

So, I did well the first round of exams. I could’ve done better in micro, but whatever. I did way better in path than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise.

This second round of exams, not so much. The most recent path exam was on the heart and lungs. I thought it’d be easier since it was so specific instead of random KNOW ALL THE FUNDAMENTALS, but no. It was everything I didn’t expect. So I expect to fail it spectacularly.

You know what is absolutely insane about this med path course? I am already an entire system behind. Out of nowhere. This nephrology module was over in a few days. I’m talking like the weekend. First lecture was Friday, then Monday and Tuesday ends it. THREE DAYS. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?! I HAD THREE DAYS TO LEARN ABOUT THE KIDNEYS, BLADDER AND URETERS?! Then another three days of Endocrine wraps up this entire module. hahahahahahahaaha

I can’t help but just laugh at the sheer amount of ridiculousness this is. And THIS is why I didn’t want to go to med school, my friends. Imagine having five courses like this all at once? I literally would’ve died from stress and anxiety already. I felt like I did last week in preparing for that stupid path exam.

So this is what I tell everyone now: If you like to be tortured, go to grad school. Grad school is where you pay to be tortured for two years (or however many years your program is).

Someone contradict me. I dare you.