Monologue 

An inner monologue I had a bit ago:

There’s so much out of our control. People use that to their advantage or disadvantage and sometimes they create explanations just to fill in the gaps. I think that’s why some people have such a hard time with God. Because when you think God, you think a person, a human like us, up in the sky out in space. But our brain tells us that can’t be true because humans can’t live forever. The thing is though, the human body can’t live forever. Science is right about that. Our cells have an expiration date and one day, that’s just it for our cells. But science has no theory for soul. And no one ever said God was a body. A body is just a thing, a place-filler, just like time is a measurement and space is the absence of place-fillers. But soul isn’t defined, it’s infinite like space. And we as humans can’t wrap our minds around that because we can’t fathom that there are things out of our control. So we try to define things, like religion, and make right and wrong and limit things and put them in this tiny space that we can understand, and when we can’t we make up what we wanted to happen. Aliens might be souls just like us who just happen to look different. Souls are being, not body. God is being. Space is being. I totally think there are aliens and parallel dimensions and things we haven’t even thought of yet. I just wish more people knew how small we really are and how much more there really is. Perspective is just a matter of perspective. 

The Little Things

The Little Things

I like that moment just after the rain clears. I like the feeling of coziness that accompanies Christmastime. I like when nature can take my breath away. I like looking into someone’s eyes and finding them there, looking back. I like when you can be silent with another person and still be comfortable. I like when touching by accident isn’t awkward. I like meeting someone for the first time and instantly feeling like I’ve known them my entire life.

I like that moment when you first wake up and your bed is so comfortable and you feel completely relaxed. I like the feeling of spring. I like capturing memories with pictures. I like when I’m not the only one who feels something. I like when I’m reading and I have to put the book down for a moment because a sentence just resonated that deeply with me. I like being able to create something out of nothing.

I like the sound of a piano playing. I like when making eye contact isn’t awkward. I like when people laugh. I like thinking about how big the universe is. I like noticing little details about people. I like when people notice little details about me. I like the feeling of a brand new book being opened for the first time. I like how clean a fresh journal looks.

I like that split-second at the top of a roller coaster right before the drop. I like happy accidents. I like words of affirmation. I like transformative moments for characters. I like when I can say hi to a passing stranger and it isn’t weird. I like looking at the stars and pretending I’m in a snow globe. I like how your cheeks burn from the cold after a fast sled ride down a hill. I like feeling someone else’s heart beating.

I like that moment when a conversation suddenly becomes real and alive, dissolving the layers of irony and sarcasm  both people have been hiding under. I like when someone says something that grounds me, and for a moment I don’t feel so at odds with the world. I like when an every day moment seems so irrelevant at the time, but when I look back, it was an essential turning point in life.

I like making eye contact with someone from across a room and having that one little action speak more volumes than their words ever will. I like when someone hugs me for a second longer. I like when all the things that were left unsaid are finally said. I like putting recognition to these little moments that happen every day, but that people rarely take notice of.

New Year, New_____?

I’ve decided to do two things in 2017. They’re not necessarily resolutions per say, but more like a change of mindset.

  1. Find something lovable in everyone.

I really believe that there is something to love in every single person. I’m making it a point that every time I meet a new person this year, I’m going to make a mental note of something positive or lovable about them. It’s so easy, especially with women, to instantly and usually unknowingly, negatively judge a person right from the start. We notice how their hair is an odd color. We notice how her boots don’t match her outfit. We notice how he is wearing the same hoodie that he wore yesterday. Let’s notice how nice she always is. Let’s notice how lively he is when he tells you a story. Let’s spread some love.

2.  Say ‘Yes’

I decided to do this after having read Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I never realized how much I resonated with Shonda and had in common with her. Shonda had decided that, for one year, she would say ‘yes’ to everything that scared her or pushed her out of her comfort zone. She describes her experiences in her book and explains how helpful this process was to her.

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So many times while reading her book, I’d think to myself, “Yes. That’s me. I do that.” And I wasn’t always proud about it. The best way that I can describe myself is an introvert who can sometimes be an extrovert socially. But I’m inside my head a lot. I’m always thinking and analyzing and wondering things. That’s not always a bad thing, but I realized how detrimental my own thoughts can sometimes be to myself, especially when anxiety stems from it. So:

Yes to meeting new people.

Yes to meeting that person for coffee.

Yes to going new places.

Yes to doing things that scare me.

Yes to doing things that push me to new levels.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

20 Things I’ve Learned Since Turning 20

Ever since I turned 20, I feel like I’m living in a different lifetime. And I mean that in a good way. It sort of feels like the clock has reset. Maybe that’s just my newfound wisdom in my old age. Here’s 20 bits of wisdom my seniority has taught me so far:

1. My 20s are going to be great
I’m not actually sure why, it’s just a feeling. Turning 16 was exciting because I got to drive. Turning 18 was cool because I was an “adult,” though I really didn’t feel like one. But turning 20 somehow felt different. It’s the start of a new decade and I feel like it’s filled with so many opportunities. It’s time I can take to get to know myself and live my life for me.

2. If I want to try something new, I should do it
There are so many things in life to discover and see and do. I want to experience everything at least once. You never know what could come of trying something new. I used to think crocheting was something only old ladies did, but having tried it for myself, I find it really relaxing. It also helped my regain dexterity in my hand after a nerve injury. Instead of stereotyping crocheting, I’m in the process of making a very lumpy, but very soft, afghan.
3. College really is the best four years of my life
Oh, the places I’ll go. There’s so much to see and do. There are so many new people to meet. College is great because you meet people from all over. You do things other than hangout in the same person’s basement every night. Football games are ten scale. The higher maturity level is also a bonus. There is a club for anything and everything.

4. I started to realize who I am
Growing up with the same people for 12 years, it was interesting to see how I fared outside of that mold. I had never really had a chance to explore anything other than the circle of friends that I had always grown up in. Being tossed onto a college campus, particularly a big one like Ohio State, started to bring out sides of myself that I didn’t know I had. I had ever had to think about making all new friends or signing up for new clubs. It has been really refreshing and eye-opening to get to know myself in a new environment.

5. I am learning who my friends are
That has a double meaning. For one, I’m learning that I will not be friends with all the people I was friends with in high school. Some of us just have different lifestyles that don’t mix anymore and we’ve grown apart. It’s sad sometimes, but it happens. And I’ve noticed that whenever one friend goes by the wayside, I meet a new one who better fits my lifestyle. Being in my 20’s and in college has allowed me to start to see who people really are as we start to come into ourselves. In that way, I am learning who my friends are; what their goals are, who they want to be, what their beliefs are. Things that weren’t so relevant in our teenage years are becoming much more relevant now.

6. With being 20, comes 20x more responsibilities
Laundry does not do itself. Meals do not cook themselves. Money does not grow on trees, or out of dad’s wallet. I suddenly have more to pay for, more to do and less time in which to get it all done. I constantly find myself wishing I had more hours in a day. Prioritizing is everything.

7. No one really cares if you don’t go to the party
It’s not the end of the world. Most nights, going out consists of the same activities. Work and school are way more important. The bar will still be there tomorrow night.

8. Trends die
Sometimes, I’ll look back on a photo from a few years ago and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I bought that dress. I expect I’ll still be doing that same thing another five years from now.

9. I worry about trivial things less often
One bad hair day for the month isn’t the end of world like it used to be. Yes that’s a zit and no there is nothing I can do about it. If the house isn’t on fire, my car is still running and I’m still breathing, then it’s a good day. I’ve come to realize that almost everything can be managed and dealt with if I take the right approach.

10. Turning something electronic off and then back on still fixes 99 percent of its problems
I don’t know why. I really don’t. Maybe my computer just ‘can’t even’ right now.

11. Having hobbies outside of what my friends like to do is good for me
It’s nice to be able to have an activity or a hobby that is just mine and I can indulge in. It’s a way for me to get some me time and relax. I like knowing that my friends and I have different interests, and it’s cool to hear them talk about their thing that they like to do. I like the individuality in my friend group and I think it’s important to have that. I don’t want a bunch of friends who are copy-and-pastes of myself. I need friends who are different than me to challenge me and help me grow.

12. Eating a meal alone isn’t pathetic
I actually really enjoy it. During the school year, half of my meals are eaten on-the-go or in class anyways. While it is nice to have dinner with friends and catch up, sometimes I just want to eat my pasta in peace and scroll through that new blog I found. I used to think that people would look at me weird if they saw me eating alone. Then one day, I took a good look around the cafe and realized that one 1.) the people who are eating alone don’t care if I’m also eating alone and 2.) the people who are eating in groups don’t care if I’m eating alone. Strangers aren’t paying attention to me.

13. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting dumber with age
I don’t really know why. Maybe I’m not getting dumber but the world is actually getting more complicated. Whatever it is, I have less answers than I did before.

14. I don’t really care if my phone dies
While I’m still weirdly attached to my phone, I don’t have massive panic attacks anymore if it gets down to 5% and I don’t have a phone charger. I’m actually sort of relieved if/when it dies (which is still rarely because I tend to carry a charger) because for that period of time I can’t be bothered. What is that important anyways? What could I possibly miss out on in the twenty minute drive home from work? Let’s see: Mom, telling me the weather is nice; Dad, asking if I’ll be home for dinner; a random snapchat; some Instagram likes; Bed Bath & Beyond letting me know that my 20% off coupon has arrived.

15. Spending time with my family isn’t lame
I actually really like it. The older I get, the more I start to get to know my parents as people and not just as my parents. My family is pretty fun and has a great sense of humor. It’s nice to have friends too who can come and hang out with both me and my family.

16. My friends are supportive of whatever goals I have, no matter how crazy they may seem
I noticed that I had this list of goals in my head but I was too nervous to say them out loud in front of my friends. I was worried they might think that I’m crazy or not be supportive, but it turns out that they’re just the opposite. And I should have known that because I have great friends. When I mentioned that I’d love to write a book one day, one of my friends not only said that they thought I’d be good for it, but they started brainstorming things for me to write about. If my friends can’t support me for being me, then they’re not people that I should be friends with.

17. No one is going to push me but myself
Thankfully, this is something that I sort of always knew from a young age. I’ve always been pretty self-motivated. Still, there have been times where I’ve caught myself throwing a pity party and subconsciously expecting someone to do the dirty work for me. In the real world, the teacher does not ask you for your essay, nor do they remind you that it’s due. My grade doesn’t affect them, but a C versus an A does affect me. If I want something, I have to go and get it.

18. I can’t fix everyone
It’s a hard truth, but a truth. I’ve had a few close friends who suddenly have started to crash and burn, and it’s hard to watch it happen. But the bottom line is that I can’t help people who don’t want to help themselves. This has probably been one of the hardest things for me to try and come to terms with, because I like to fix people, especially people who are close to me. I want to help people and I don’t like to see people get hurt. But if they don’t want my help, they won’t take it. And if a person continues to become a toxic force in my life, then I need to put myself first and cut them out.

19. What I think of myself is greater than what anyone else thinks of me
The only people whose opinions I really value are those of my friends and family. But my friends and family might not always agree with the decisions I make. Sometimes, I’m going to have to make decisions for myself with myself in mind. At the end of the day, what matters is that I’m able to look myself in the mirror and know that I did what was right. I need to be able to know that I determine my value, not anyone else. There is an old African proverb that says, “If there is no enemy within, then the enemy on the outside can do no harm.”

20. The world is so big
The world is a big, big place. That really got put into perspective when I went away to college. I find myself longing for places that I’ve never been to. I want to travel the world and see new places and experience new cultures. There is so much Earth and I want to take in as much as I can while I’m on this planet. I can’t miss out on the world, and I’m looking forward to exploring it.

Road to Medical School: There’s No Rule Book

One of the first things that I learned very quickly: there isn’t one set way on how to get to medical school. I wish there was because that would make it a whole lot easier. You’d think that we’d like having the freedom to choose some of the classes we take but, being the Type A personality that I am, it actually drives me crazy. I always feel like I’m doing it wrong. Actually, that might be a bit of an understatement. The medical stuff comes naturally to me, but chemistry is my green-eyed monster. It’s eating me alive. I’m constantly stressing and I’m most definitely not the best one here.

I came from a high school that didn’t prepare me at all for General Chemistry 1 at Kent State University, and the professor I had wasn’t the best either, nor was he very helpful. It also didn’t help matters that I was in over my head and wasn’t sure how to really study. I withdrew and spring semester I had to retake the course. I am happy to announce that I did very well the second time around with a new professor. Everything seemed to click better the second time. Knowing that Kent’s department wasn’t up to par, I decided to transfer to The Ohio State University. To say that OSU’s chemistry department is rigorous is only the tip of the iceberg. Mentality wise, this feels like boot camp. I was not used to the test format or having to write extensive lab reports, which we didn’t do at Kent. Furthermore, Kent didn’t teach as much in their Gen Chem 1 course as Ohio State does and so, once again, I’m behind in curriculum. My academic advisor and I are currently in a debate of whether or not I should withdraw and…you guessed it…retake Gen Chem 2 spring semester. The whole idea of it is sort of embarrassing as I’m used to being at the top of my class and understanding things naturally. I know that I’m most definitely not stupid; I’m doing very well in all of my other courses. But for whatever reason, chemistry hits me and it hits me hard.

I’m so used to be on a set schedule; one way to do things and that’s the way it’s done. In high school, they give you a set schedule for 4 years and it’s easy and you know what to take and what to do and when to do it. College, I assumed 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, then residency and fellowship. Instead, it’s more like, major in what you want, just make sure you take X, Y, and Z and do it relatively well. It never really occurred to me that college is not about getting things done within a certain time frame. It’s simply about getting things done. If I need to take a 5th year, then I can do that. (The thought of that is still a little unsettling, but I’m working on it). If I need to take a year off, then I can do that too. This is the one instance when it’s about the final destination and not necessarily how fast you can complete your journey. There’s not one set way on how to become a doctor and I haven’t really settled with that yet. It makes me feel like I’m walking around in the dark. I wish we had a rule book to follow, a set of specific directions.

It’s definitely hard and not for the faint of heart. But medicine is all I want to do, all I can see myself doing. So it’s one of those things where I have to ask myself how much I’m willing to do to get there. Half of the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and that I suck at this, and the other half I feel confident that one day I’ll make a great doctor. I’m constantly wondering whether or not I’m good enough for this. The whole process can become a little lonely at times too, especially when I’m stuck staying in studying while watching vicariously on social media as my non-medical friends go out and have fun. It really does help when I have people to stay in and study with. Most med major students are friendly enough, and they’re in the same boat.

Now the internal battle, that’s all me. And that’s the part that sucks. I have to learn to get rid of the little critic on my shoulder telling me that I’m not good enough. It’s tough and sometimes I do doubt myself. But I can’t imagine walking away after coming this far already. And I know that if I don’t have confidence in myself then no one else will either. The ironic part is that all of my friends tell me how my life is together and I’m just like, are you kidding me right now? I’m an absolute mess! Analogy wise, I’m a duck: stoic on the surface but paddling like hell underneath, always feeling like I’m going to sink.

I have a Dr. who teaches one of my neuro courses give us a really good piece of advice one day. He said that if we’re not constantly questioning ourselves every day and wondering whether or not we want to do this, and wondering how we can improve, then medicine isn’t for us. Questioning is part of the process. Sometimes it’s not about natural talent and more about consistency and drive, and how badly you want it. He also told us that curiosity will bring more success than natural intelligence. I’m hoping that he’s right, because I feel like I fall more on the hard-work-and-drive end of the spectrum. Natural talent for medicine? Maybe. For chemistry? Hard work is barely saving my ass. I just keep telling myself that people may be smarter, or richer, or faster, or better than me, but they will not outwork me. I feel like I could be a really good doctor once I get there. But I’m still scared that something as simple as chemistry is going to prevent me from ever getting there. I think that half of the “weed out” process is just seeing who can survive the mentality of it.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

A Moment Like This

Yesterday, I got to go into The Ohio State College of Medicine cadaver lab with my neuroscience class. So cool and so fun! I held and observed brains, spinal cords and dissections. Our cadaver had been dead since 2001, but the dissection planes were perfectly preserved. I could have easily spent all day in there.

A friend sent this photo to me shortly after I had gotten out of lab and told her about my experience. It literally takes the words right out of my mouth. During my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to visit the morgue with my medical vocational proIMG_3227gram. We got to hold organs that had been removed for an autopsy. I had loved every second of it but was more interested in jumping right in and learning the structures and functions of everything. I wanted to know everything and see everything. Yesterday, when I had held the brain, it was different. I knew the structures already and could just appreciate the brain for what it was. I held it and stared at it and was completely amazed at how a lump of squishy, squiggly mush controls us. It doesn’t look any different from anyone else’s on the outside, but somewhere on the inside it’s completely unique to each one of us. I was holding the essence of what used to be a person; what was once their likes, dislikes, thoughts, fears, ideas, secrets, addictions, etc. was sitting in my hands.

The classes may be hard, really hard. I might have to study every day and sacrifice going out with my friends sometimes. Tuition may be expensive and I might have to sell my car or not get the newest phone update. But moments like this completely make up for all of that. I would much rather work hard now and have a job that I love and feel ecstatic and amazed like that for the rest of my life. Why do I want to be a doctor? For moments like this.

Food For Thought…

Everything happens for a reason, but everyone expects that the reason things are happening is to benefit themselves in the long run. What if things happen to you for reason in order to benefit somebody else? What if the reason things happen to us is so that our lives can intertwine and we can all help one another, learn from one another, connect with one another, love one another…