Power Nazi

On today’s “On This Day” surprise courtesy of Facebook, I got a throwback to March 18, 2009 – the day I found out that I was accepted into UCLA. I remember everyone was anxious to hear from UCLA and before I received my acceptance email, I had heard that many had been rejected. When I saw the word “Congratulations” light up on my computer, I was so insanely happy. And of course, I did what any teenager in 2009 would do – I wrote a status simply saying UCLA :]. I got a lot of congratulatory messages from friends, but I also received this comment from a former acquaintance – ” I guess they only accepted power nazis this year.” And just like that, miles away, years later, I felt triggered.

I have been struggling with this issue a lot lately. This perception of me that everyone else seems to have when I don’t perceive myself that way at all. Back in high school, I was president of a club that grew from 50 to 500 members. We were so big, we had to start meeting in the gym because a classroom just wouldn’t suffice. So when you’re trying to get the attention of 500+ teenagers during lunch time, you have to be assertive. You have to be loud. You have to have a commanding presence. But of course, when I did this, I was automatically deemed the “power nazi”, even though back then, I was one of the sweetest people you would ever meet. It bothered me then, and it bothers me way more now. Because I’m 99% sure that if it was a male president who tried to assert his authority at at a meeting or an event – a male who was organized and stuck to agendas – he would have been called a boss, not a “power nazi.”

But I digress. Fast forward eight years, and once again, I feel weighed down by this sadness that others perceive me as someone I am not. They see me as a radical feminist (because in this town, any word spoken against men or gender inequality automatically deems you as a man-hating liberal), a gossip, a weirdo. Some seem me as “too smart”, while others don’t see me as competition at all. I am a mother/planner to some, but then I’m too irresponsible for others. One guy who I met early on last year and who I thought shared a lot in common with me, apparently was turned off by the fact that I held the door for him once. He waved me off as too aggressive because I am proud of where I come from and I challenge those who are too ignorant to realize there are other countries in the world other than India. But maybe, they are all right in some way – maybe I am an aggressive, weird, organized, young soul, who makes mistakes and has flaws. I just wish, they would acknowledge that at the end of the day, I am a good person. I do what I can for others. I try to do good. I try to make others laugh. I try to make life better, more meaningful.

It has been difficult finding my tribe, but this weekend once again proved that I desperately want a group, a clique, a family. I have friends and I have some closer friends, but I still feel as if I’m floating, not necessarily tethered down. Or perhaps all of this is just a combination of PMS and being homesick. Spring Break can’t come fast enough.

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[E/I]NFJ

9 years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test for my AP Psychology test and was dubbed ENFJ, or “The Giver”. Despite numerous claims that this test is unreliable, I continued to score the same results taking the test 6 months and then a year later. I was convinced that this was my persona. However, a lot has changed in 9 years, and honestly, all I can say is thank god, because when I read my posts from 2009, I cringe with embarrassment. 17 year old me had completely different perspective on life – more optimistic, more naïve.

I finally reached a point in my life where I am satisfied. I am where I want to be in at least one aspect of my life. So that being said, I decided to take the test again, and lo and behold it is almost exactly the same as my results 9 years ago. Except, I am leaning more towards being an introvert than extrovert. But if you look at the breakdown below, you can see that I am pretty much split 50/50. Taking the test again, after a glass of wine, leads to pretty much the same results, except as you can see below, the scale has tipped back to being extroverted.

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Daydream Thoughts

It’s almost 2PM this rainy, Sunday afternoon and I still haven’t found the motivation to watch these last three lectures. Finding motivation has been hard this weekend. On one hand, I could journey to MANS and get myself into ‘school mode’, but I know I won’t retain the information. I think it’s the latter that’s keeping me from starting these lectures on the pelvis. I need to be in the right mindset to tackle such an intricate concept.

Among my bouts of daydreaming, I think about my life before and can’t help thinking that that “A” was an entirely different person. I enjoyed my life where I made money, but at the same time, I am more satisfied where I am right now, actively working towards my future. I guess every step I made was a step forward in a sense, but here I am – hundreds of miles away from home – taking medical school courses! I’m interacting with future physicians, current physicians, and academics who blow my mind by their passion. I think that’s why this past week has been so dull – without anything to do, I’m left daydreaming, or bingewatching TV, or eating my weight in snacks. So unlike my peers, I’m very excited that classes are back in session tomorrow. Yes, six MGA lectures taught by a meticulous professor sounds daunting, but it’ll give me the drive necessary to keep going and not just sit here and think.

To Blog or Not To Blog

It’s funny, you would think that after deciding to take a break from school last June and focus on work and traveling, I would have had all the time in the world to resurrect this blog, catch up on my Goodreads book list, and reacquaint myself with the girl who began this blog. But life literally escaped me. True, I tacked on a few more responsibilities and I engaged in #teamnosleep more often than not. But there are periods of last year where I can’t even tell you what consumed my time. When I try to recall last summer for insistence, I need to pull out my Google Calendar and visibly see what my time commitments were – and I think the summer flew by simply because I was following that motto “work hard, play hard”. In 2016 alone, I worked over 2000 hours as an ER scribe. And this didn’t include the occasional babysitting gig, my weekly shift at the local yoga studio, or my new position as Anatomy/Physiology STEM Coach at a nearby community college.

That being said, I feel such a void currently now that my hectic scheduled has dwindled down to simply school. And I know that’s a good thing – to not have to worry about financial commitments and to simply be a student and learn. I haven’t experienced that since high school! But at the same time, for someone who followed a routine – “work in the ED from 6P-4A, teach Anatomy/Physiology from 9-5P, repeat” – I feel out of my element. Additionally, I’m away from my support system – my friends and my family. Besides the occasional text or Snapchat, I am completely and utterly alone. It is difficult to simply not fall into a whole, and that is why I am so grateful for classes that I am taking, which keep me motivated.

Anatomy is one of my loves. I fell in love with the subject when I took it at my local community college and then gained respect for it when I dissected a donor and proceeded to use that donor as well as others to teach the lower-level Anatomy classes. Do I have an edge? Well slightly, but that doesn’t mean I came in with all the knowledge. I was introduced to multifidus, the branches of the axillary artery, and I finally now understand the brachial plexus (because for some reason, it just did not click in my head years ago). But what I am learning, specifically clinically-oriented Anatomy, has been absolutely riveting, that I want to learn more, I want to learn everything – what’s before, after, and under. So when other students ask me if I study a lot, I laugh, because I honestly waste more hours trying to decide whether I want to resurrect this blog than memorizing innervations. That doesn’t mean I don’t study at all, but when I review the material, I do it with the intention that I will be using this information when I treat my patients.

Span of One Day

At 4 AM yesterday, I went off to babysit a child who was about to become a big brother. At 7 AM, his father sent me pictures of the latest addition to our population. Although the delivery itself had some complications requiring a C-section, the outcome was a healthy baby boy. My charge and I spent the rest of the day looking at pictures of his new sibling and celebrating the day of his birth.

At 6 PM the same day, I headed to the ED to start another 8 hour shift. Not even thirty minutes into the shift, we had two full arrests come in by paramedics. The physician whom I was scribing for took the 97 year old who was in respiratory distress. The other ER physician took the 4 year old pediatric cardiac arrest. As far as I know, our 97 year old is still thriving, albeit in critical condition in the ICU. The 4 year old, who was running in the park just an hour before, was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival. There are a lot of terrible sounds in the world. But the sound of a mother screaming out her daughter’s name is bone-chilling. It is a wonder how anyone – physician, nurse, respiratory technician, EMT – can continue on with their jobs after losing such a battle.

January 29th marks a witnessed birth and death. Life works in strange ways, doesn’t it?

When I Grow Up

Inspired by barefootmed’s post about passion, I decided to create a “mindmap” from a post I drafted up back in October of 2013 that illustrates my thought process as I was deciding what career would suit me best.

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This is of course a watered down version of the real deal. There were many other professions and disciplines that I considered going into whether it be for a moment or for an extended period of time. I wish I could say that I had it figured out in high school. I mean, I thought I did – like many other pre-meds, I had declared that I wanted to be a doctor back when I was 5 years old. But as you learn more about the world, you just realize there is just so much more out there than your generic, “teacher, firefighter, lawyer, doctor” spiel that you get in elementary school. Friends, movies, tv shows, books, professors, colleagues, people – they all gave me perspective.

While I am happy that I found my way back to my five-year old’s dream, up until two years ago, I honestly never knew why I was hell-bent on becoming a doctor. There aren’t any physicians in my immediate or extended family. I wasn’t exposed to death at an early age, nor was I diagnosed with any life-threatening disease that required frequent trips to the hospital. I had no fractures or broken bones growing up and I was seldom sick so the only time I would see my pediatrician was once a year during a wellness exam. That’s all. So why was I “passionate” about becoming a doctor when I couldn’t identify where that passion stemmed from?

High school students (and younger) are often led to believe that in order to find that right job for you, you must be passionate about it. This hit close to home for me because there were countless times in college and high school where I would find something science-related boring and question my intentions for going into the medical field. I had a high school guidance counselor who stood up to my freshmen class and told us that if we weren’t passionate about science and math, we were probably not going to become doctors. It struck a nerve then, and it still irks me now that a counselor would say that to students who barely had a grasp on what they wanted to do, let alone understood what the term “passionate” entailed. As someone who naturally excelled in English and History, I definitely started questioning myself after hearing just that one phrase. And that’s probably what spawned my inability to commit to one profession during my college years.

Of course, nothing beats being Mr. Feeny.

So back in October of 2013, months after graduating from college and on the brink of taking classes for the MCAT, I sat down and tried to logically explain what worked and what didn’t. And I came to the conclusion that it’s just not ONE thing that makes this profession suitable. It doesn’t boil down to passion. It stems from a myriad of factors including my likes, dislikes, and job expectations. And when all of that was taken into consideration, I just knew. Regardless of how long this process will take, nor how many hoops I need to jump through to get there, this is what I want to be when I grow up.

<3 A.

 

Growth

This may be trivial to admit, but a little less than two years ago, the younger, less mature version of myself would have ranked the series finale of a TV show above my school work in my list of priorities. I know that sounds ludicrous, and reflecting back on the slew of decisions I did make, I realize how out-of-control I was. I had a serious case of FOMO, or fear of missing out, and due to this particular fear of having TV events spoiled via social media, I tried to stay on top of the massive list of shows that I was watching. Looking back, if I had the restraint that so many of my other classmates had, to be able to binge watch during breaks and using that time for self-improvement instead, perhaps I would have been in a better place now.

My lack of maturity in college never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps it’s because I have had so many people compliment me on my wisdom and “good head” growing up. Or maybe it’s because in high school, I was nicknamed “Mom” not only in my social circle, but in other groups and clubs as well. So going into college, I thought I had everything figured out. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I was anything but prepared until months after my graduation.

When I look at myself now, compared to my 18-year-old self, I don’t only see someone who has aged 5 years, but someone who just has a better grasp of everything around her. 18-year-old A. did not get the memo that television shows were meant to be put on the back burner when it came to school. It may have been because I had such an unfortunate first year, but I turned to television as comfort and used it as a daily lifesaver rather than doing what all the other college students did and just waited until winter or summer break to binge watch on shows. When I applied to Campus Events Commission and was asked about my favorite TV shows, I mentioned this:

“However, I LOVE television and I believe that it is those weekly shows that get me through a boring and dull week. For example, I have a TV show that I religiously watch almost every day of the school week so that when a day is dragging, I can just tell myself, “Well, Vampire Diaries and Supernatural will be on tonight!” There are also those miserable Sundays when you realize that class on Monday is in less than 12 hours. On those days, I try to console myself by saying “Gossip Girl will be on tomorrow and who knows what Chuck has in mind to get Blair back today”. Of course, it does kind of suck when you don’t have a TV in your dorm that you can conveniently go to; however, all I have to say to that is thank you ch131.com and free-tv-video-online.me!”

I bring this up now because I am just now catching up on shows that I had neglected while I was taking Human Physiology at my local community college. And although it is trivial, I am proud of myself for how far I have come that I don’t feel this “fear” of missing out by being behind on a couple of episodes.

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I finished up my 6-week accelerated Human Physiology last course, and similar to many of the other courses I have been taking these past few years, I feel a sense of sadness knowing that the end is here. I’m quite remorseful that I never bothered to take a Physiology course during my undergraduate years. Perhaps I would have had a better appreciation for Biochemistry, knowing how the inner-workings affect the body as a whole. I definitely think I’m more of a “big picture” type of gal.

In other news, this week marks the beginning of the Spring semester at the local community college and I feel as if I am in elementary school again, anticipating the start of a new semester and new classes. I’m taking a Public Health course, which is something I’ve never dabbled in before. Also, who knew that community colleges offered music classes for credit? My university never had any opportunities such as that – if you wanted to learn guitar, you fork over $100+ for a course at the Student Recreation Center. To know that I can add in an Intermediate Guitar class, free of charge, and enhance my skills is so exciting! It’s also quite exciting to just be enjoying school again.