Slow & Steady

For the most part, my blog has remained pretty quiet since Thailand. Save for the occasional advertising for Accepted.com, I have been doing a lot of reflecting these past few months.

Let’s back up a bit. To the summer when AMCAS had opened and I was putting together my AMCAS application. I knew I wouldn’t be submitting my application on June 1st. In fact, I had decided to submit early August because I still had a few loose ends to tie up. Quite a few people voiced their opinions against waiting two months longer to submit, but I knew that I wasn’t entirely ready June 1st and I wanted to be 100% ready when I submitted my application. However, come August, I started having doubts about entering the application cycle all together this year. Early August became late August and before I knew it, it was time to go off to Thailand. So I decided to put the process on hold and apply to schools with later deadlines when I arrived home in October. However, when I came back from my rendezvous in Asia, I was convinced that the only way to get more traveling in was to go to a medical school abroad. I put a pause on all my current application attempts and threw myself into research in order to find a way where I could combine my love for traveling and medicine. Until I realized that if I wanted to attend a residency program at one of my dream schools, I would have an easier time actually attending a U.S. medical school.

Some time by the end of October, my gnawing feeling turned into growing realization that I would not be entering the 2015 admissions cycle. And oddly enough, I was comforted by that fact. One more year to really put together an outstanding application. One more year to proceed according to a checklist and officially submit everything on the day AMCAS opens. One more year to apply for financial aid so that I am granted a fee waiver well before the application is available.

Looking back at my old drafts from the summer, there were many times where I voiced how I would love to just wait another year if it’s weren’t for my biological clock. I am all for a feminist view when it comes to the workforce, but let’s face it, it is hard to solely focus on your career when you want to factor in a family as well. And for me, another year off meant another year that I would have to wait to fulfill another desire of mine.

if only.
if only.

But I knew, I knew deep down in my heart back in June . . . back in May, that I was not ready. I may have had my MCAT score and a few letters of recommendation lined up, but I was not financially or mentally prepared to go into battle. And at the end of the day, I want to take my time. I rushed through high school and I rushed into college. Granted, everyone in my life seems to moving forward. But at the same time, slow and steady wins the race. And as we established before, the journey to medical school and beyond is a marathon, not a sprint.

Everyone around me has different opinions. My parents, my friends, my colleagues, and my classmates – all have high expectations for me. They only know parts of my story, so they don’t understand why I haven’t already started the next chapter of my life. I know many of them will be confused with why I am stalling – in fact, I fear that many of them will believe that I am wasting my time away. But I’m not.

I was the student in undergrad who skipped lectures and discussion sections in order to pick up an extra hour or two of work here or there. I was the student who selected the lowest meal plan, 11 meals a week, in order to save a bit of money, which meant I skipped lunch every day and ate one meal a day on the weekends. I was the student who didn’t have my family’s financial support nor any financial guidance, and ending up running her credit score into the ground to salvage payments due for school. I didn’t go out nearly as much as I could/should have and on the rare occasion that I did, I wouldn’t allow myself to buy anything. It was sort of miserable.

Is it unfortunate that I will be 3 years behind my fellow Class of 2013 graduates? To put it in simple terms, yes. But if I only focus on that one aspect, I won’t realize the benefits I have already reaped from taking time off. Regardless of schooling or age, every individual is different and each and every story varies to some degree. My background has led me to where I am now, and while some might scoff at the delay, I know that this is the right thing to do for me.

So this year, no doubts, not buts, I am throwing in my hat for the 2016 admissions cycle. I’ve already begun throwing around a few 20/20 vision jokes with my mother, so hopefully (fingers crossed), I will get a seat for the class of 2020. Sure, I’ll probably graduate medical school when I am 29 or even 30, but I hope you take it as a sign of maturity when I say that life does not end at 30 and I certainly don’t plan for anything less. I will defeat the odds. Women should not have to race against time in order to fulfill both their personal and career goals. I want a family and I want to be a physician, but I also want to be the best person that I can be. And if that requires more time, well then I will take the time I need without regret.

you guessed it, I'm on a Friends binge!
you guessed it, I’m on a Friends binge!

– A.

 

 

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It’s a Journey

Following my grand gesture a little more than a month ago, when I voluntarily decided to opt out of graduate school, I made a promise to myself that I would use this “time off” wisely. I try to stray away from the words “vacation” or “break”, because in my mind, this year off is just as crucial to my applicant status as the years at UCLA were. So I need to be productive. Not busy, but productive. And likewise, I can’t indulge in this new-founded free time. I’m not saying that I have never had free time to myself when I was at UCLA. Realistically, I have so much time to spare that I finished seven seasons of 7th Heaven in a month during the summer, along with taking classes. But at the same time, I never had time to myself to be productive. I’m gluttonous when it comes to free time. I tend to soak it in – which means sitting in bed in my pajamas watching TV and being a couch potato. That’s what I have always done when I  have wanted a mental break from school, home, work, and life.

But this “time off” is not a mental break. It’s more mental preparation for what is to come. Especially now that I have decided that I am really, truly, whole-heartedly going to dive into this doctor thing. In the past month, I have started shadowing doctors to gain a better understanding of what to expect. Per my primary care physician’s recommendation, I have looked into osteopathic, along with allopathic careers. Three months ago, if you had asked me what the difference between a DO and MD were, I would have looked at you with complete and utter bewilderment. Fast forward to now, and I am shocked at how little I really knew of the medical field. Maggie Gyllenhaal once commented that her Columbia education taught her to

“acknowledge that I really know nothing”

Well, you can say that this time spent researching and shadowing has done just the same in my case. I have wanted to a pediatrician since kindergarten. Why a pediatrician? I liked children. I liked being surrounded by fresh faces and young minds. Great personal statement for what motivates me to be a doctor, right? So as much as I am drawn to pediatrics, I have decided to look at other specialities via shadowing. Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, OB/GYN, to name a few. And so far, every occupation I’ve looked into has strengthened my resounding want to become a health professional. It is not about one speciality, it is about the whole package. And being a doctor is not just a “job”. It is a lifelong journey that I need to be emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to take on.

“You’re too lax”

This was told to me in 10th grade by a girl who was extremely gifted. When I first heard her utter these words, I was in complete and utter shock. I, of all people, lax? Are you kidding me? I have never been as tightly wounded as I was back in high school. So I took in those words and promised myself that I would some day meet up with her again and be able to throw them back in her face. Petty? Extremely – especially now that I realize that she wasn’t completely wrong. I may have been a “tight-ass” in high school, but at the same time, I had such idealistic/naïve views of the medical field. They told me it was going to be hard. They told me that I would meet thousands of crazy pre-med students in the same scenario. But I sort of half-listened as I charmed my way out of high school, not really knowing how to study, and optimistically thinking that becoming a doctor meant taking a test and getting into a school.

Thankfully, I have been given the time to really discover how being/becoming a doctor is multi-faceted. And through this knowledge, comes acceptance and understanding of what I must overcome – not only in this year or next year, but for years to come. It’s a bit hilarious really, thinking of how, a month ago, I cringed at the thought of disappointing so many people by not carrying out a false dream of mine. Now I cringe thinking of all I might have lost if I decided to blindly follow my mind.

Sometimes it pays to consult your heart. As corny as that may sound, I really think regrets stem from solely following either your brain or heart and not allowing a dialogue between the two. Sure, I don’t have the hustle and bustle of a city. I can’t call myself a graduate student or revel in the immensity of Columbia University. But I do wake up every day at 7 or 8 AM. I learn more about this field that I am dedicating my life to and I get to read often. I have become a regular at Planet Fitness with my two best friends. I have fallen in love with the guitar. I get to find the beauty and importance in the little things. Sure, it’s not New York, but I have never been healthier or happier.

And with that, I leave you with this hilarious comic:

My personal favorites are Pediatrics and Radiology [:
My personal favorites are Pediatrics and Radiology [:
<3 A.

Frustrations

I am absolutely frustrated with life right now. What I would to do, more than anything, is turn off the computer, turn off my phone, and take a leave of absence for two days without any repercussions. I’m frustrated that even though my staff has increased by seven, there is not a single person who can cover my RA obligation tonight – even though I’m always one of the first to agree to switch/cover. I’m frustrated that my supervisors see me as incompetent / a disappointment to the establishment due to my constant negligence. And most of all, I am frustrated that I have a midterm in less than 6 hours and frankly, I just don’t give a shit.

Imprinting

With all the ‘Twilight’ craze in the air, it’s hard to not think about the newly-released movie, ‘New Moon’. Even if you are one of those people who are 110% against it, that hatred doesn’t keep you from hearing about the film and the response it is receiving. Now where do I stand with all of this? I began to read the Twilight series around Fall 2006. The reason I’m aware of this date was because Toni was the one who introduced the series to me and I’d read during bus rides to band tournaments. I’ll admit it, I am a hopeless romantic, so obviously, I was attracted to Twilight. I kept up with the series and anxiously waited for the release of the third book Eclipse. I followed the online site, which is when I found out a movie was in the works. I checked out the cast and was excited to see that Taylor Lautner was part of the crew, since I’ve had a crush on him since he starred in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. And I remember telling people about it (advertising the series and the fact Taylor was in the movie) and having them return the news with an “I could care less” attitude. Riley and Kristina, in fact, just made fun of my interest in Twilight, exclaiming that it was first ghosts (alluding to the Mediator series) and now vampires.

Therefore, it was such a slap in the face when everyone began jumping on the bandwagon and over-obsessing over the books and more so, the movies. Obviously, one can understand why there was such an anti-response to Twilight, due to this unnatural obsession. People began quoting the books, getting tattoos, watching the movie 50+ times, and more, just to prove that they were the true fans. And these people included fellow peers who once before, ridiculed the mere notion of the book. For crying out loud, there were ‘fans’ who lined up for the New Moon premiere SIX days in advance. And there weren’t even teenage girls, but 50 year old mothers. Really, all I can say is, “WTH??”

I admit, I joined that line early in the morning of the 16th, but it was more to see Taylor Lautner than anything. And just for the premiere experience itself. But dear lord, the New Moon premiere was one on crack. It’s funny, in an article in the Daily Bruin, the reporter was saying how people need to learn how to be apathetic toward celebrities and treat everyone with the same respect you’d treat a celebrity with. She then continued on by asking “What did you think was going to happen?”

Were you planning to catch Robert Pattison’s eye and have him walk off the red carpet to ask you your name? Did you think that Taylor Lautner was going to rip off his shirt in slow motion just for you after taking you out after the movie? You had to know that unless you were holding a microphone in the press lineup that the stars weren’t going to stop to chat.

Wow. Now that was a slam back to reality. What DID I expect would happen? I mean, I claim to have been a true fan, who read the books way before the hype – and yet, compared to those people who surrounded me during the day of the premiere, I realized I was more of a poser, or at least, a little more sane. I also claimed to have lost interest in the series once the craze began. But in truth, I still enjoy the series, and loving the series does mean I have a desire to watch the movies. And I said before, crushing on Taylor Lautner, will cause me to ogle him. But that’s about it. I don’t want to “be a vampire” and I don’t want to get a tattoo of Stephanie Meyer’s signature. For me, the series is like any of my other favorite books.

Regardless of where I stood, I had fun at the premiere. I got to make fun of the crazies with my good friend and I got lots of ‘freebies’ which all ultimately go to my sister since she is one of those crazy fans ;) . The only downer was that Taylor Launter did not come to our side like his fellow colleagues did, whereas last year, he snuck out of the premiere to greet more of the fans. It is funny that he dubbed the passion of the crazy fans as “not normal”, but I was disappointed that this year he wasn’t as charismatic. I am hoping that the fame hasn’t gone to his head. Or maybe, I was one of those crazies who was hoping that in the midst of receiving his autographs, his eyes would meet mine, and he’d realized I was someone totally different from the rest. Actually, that’s not being crazy, that’s being a hopeless romantic.

So no, I am not some freaky fan with no life whatsoever. And no, I am apparently not sane. Haha, I am a hopeless romantic, who just wants to get a picture with a person who she’s been crushing on for 4 and a half years now. I suppose I am just me. (:

So until my next post, here’s something I snatched from Sabrina’s blog because obviously in the real world, there is no such thing as ‘imprinting’:

Why Do Boys Fall in Love with Girls:

(This was written by a guy)

1. They will always smell good even if it’s just shampoo.

2. The way their heads always find the right spot on our shoulder.

3. How cute they look when they sleep.

4. The ease in which they fit into our arms

5. The way they kiss you and all of a sudden everything is right in the world.

6. How cute they are when they eat.

7. The way they take hours to get dressed but in the end it makes it all worthwhile.

8. Because they are always warm even when its minus 30 outside.

9. The way they look good no matter what they wear.

10. The way they fish for compliments even though you both know that you think she’s the most beautiful girl on this earth.

11. How cute they are when they argue.

12. The way her hand always finds yours.

13. The way they smile.

14. The way you feel when you see their name on the call ID after you just had a big fight.

15. The way she says “lets not fight anymore” even though you know that an hour later….

16. The way that they kiss after you have had a fight.

17. The way they kiss you when you say “I love you”.

18. Actually, Just the way they kiss you…

19. The way they fall into your arms when they cry.

20. Then the way they apologize for crying over something that silly.

21. The way they hit you and expect it to hurt.

22. Then the way they apologize when it does hurt.

23. The way they say “I miss you”.

24. The way you miss them.

25. The way their tears make you want to change the world so that it doesn’t hurt her anymore. Yet regardless if you love them, hate them, wish they would die or know that you would die without them it matters not. Because once in your life, whatever they were to the world they become everything to you.

<3 A.

P.S. – I watched the movie New Moon and I loved it because the filming was so much better than the first one. It was just more visually appealing. And here’s the kicker: I think Taylor Lautner looks better with his shirt ON rather than his shirt off. Just in case you were curious. (:

Forbidden Yearning

It sounds so dark doesn’t it? And I swear, to me, the matter doesn’t seem as heavy, however, I’ve always had to mask my desire. What am I talking about? Simply the act of getting a tattoo. Is that worthy enough to elicit a *gasp* from all of you? Yes, I know that our bodies are sacred temples that must not be smeared by images that are somewhat permanent. And yes, I know that as we age, the tattoos will, like our skin, become all wrinkled and ugly. And YES, I was there when Deputy Wright lectured on how tattoos are harmful to our bodies and the needles may not be sterilized.

And yet, I have ALWAYS wanted a tattoo. Does that sound crazy? I think I may have wanted since elementary school. But then again, who hasn’t thought about tattoos when we’re little. But even as I grew older, the yearning for a tattoo overcame all the negatives that were attached to it. Of course I never told my family this, but I also, never broadcast-ed it to any of my friends. I think it’s because the surrounding society deemed a tattoo as trashy or related to gangs. But that is definitely not the case at all. In fact, tattoos can be seen as self-expression, and the ones I’ve seen definitely do not scream “bad apple”.

I think it was just this past year, when I told my best friends (PAACKS) about wanting to get a tattoo. They were talking about getting matching tattoos and all of them just looked at me, expecting me to be, like always, the one who turned down an “adventure”. Thus, they were quite surprised when I revealed my own desires on getting a tattoo and soon. I think after that I’ve told some other people and I’ve gotten a variety of reactions. Some people were cool about it, others were wary, but decided against saying anything. And then other people, like Jennifer, vocally voiced their disgust about getting a tattoo. She actually told me, “Anantha, if you get one, I’ll be disappointed”.

Anyway, I just don’t get why some people get worked over this and why there was this need to hide my yearning from everyone. Wanting a tattoo or even getting one, doesn’t change a person. I won’t suddenly drop out of school as soon as I get a tattoo and I’m pretty sure I’ll still be modest as ever. Just wish I could figure out society for once.

So what design do I want? I want a butterfly. Now wait, I’m not being all girly and childish or whatever. The design I want is different, and I’ve only seen it once. But mark my words, as soon as I find it, I’ll post it everywhere and anywhere I can. There’s a girl in my Woman Studies’ class who has an awesome tattoo of four butterflies flying off, but I don’t think I am mentally or physically strong to have a tattoo artist work on me for that large amount of space. Haha, but whatever happens, I will be getting a tattoo, so if you don’t like it, tough.

<3 A.

Imperfect

I always said that I would make mistakes,
I’m only human, and that’s my saving grace,
I fall as hard as I try
So don’t be blinded
See me as I really am, I have flaws and sometimes I even sin,
so pull me from that pedestal,
I don’t belong there.

always hiding . .
always hiding . .

Before and After

Hey kids,

So this weekend was quite interesting. I got my report card in and like I emphasized before, it wasn’t up to my parents’ standards. Of course, one can never achieve my parents’ expectations because they always want more. For example, after I got all A’s, they determined that A’s were not sufficient unless they were A+’s. Yeah, I know . . . -.- . So because of this, I was basically under house arrest for the entire weekend. I got lectured all weekend about how I have to stop having fun (really now?) and at least pull everything together for this last semester because who knows if I’ll survive in college. Again, this is completely absurd. As Diana put it, do grades really determine whether we’ll survive in college?

Anyway, so I spent most of my time in my room on my bed, watching the time go by. You know what’s funny? We often don’t see the shortness of time until the halfway mark’s over. For example, you have to get up at exactly 7:30. When its 7:24, you have this feeling as if there’s all the time in the world. And then you take a quick glance again and realize it’s 7:26. Suddenly it’s as if time has accelerated and now you become aware of your lost time. Another example? Winter Break. Before Christmas, you feel as if you have all the time in the world. However, once Christmas is over, you suddenly see your break shortened and realize the looming amount of homework in front of you.

So why is it that we never appreciate our time? We let is waste away and idly watch. It’s kind of like an old sweater. Threads slowly unraveling without any notice until a big hole appears. And how ever much we try to tie the threads together, the knots will eventually loosen and then that part of the sweater will be lost. And if we’re not careful, the entire sweater will soon go to waste to the point where we’ll look back and weep with regret.

Alright, so why this emo note? Just because I feel like time is precious and therefore shouldn’t be wasted on trivial things such as grades or statuses or altercations. So even though I wasn’t able to go out into the world this weekend like I planned to, I still was able to make the best out of the time I had so that there were no regrets. And with that, I leave you with these two photos that just make me adore the Obamas more and more (:

<3 A.

awwww, they exchange a little look (:
Awwww, he gives her his coat and they share a secret smile!
Awwww, he gives her his coat and they share a secret smile!