Monday, May 7, 2012

Well, it's been a hell of a school year and I guess I'm technically done (spring semester grades are in and I'm not taking any summer courses) and yet, not exactly done. I'm doing a research project in the Chem department with my faculty mentor over the summer and today was our first rather serious meeting about things wherein he's all "we're doing this and this, go get access to SciFinder." SciFinder's rather exciting, actually, as it cross-references a lot of PubMed. And suddenly my summer research project has blossomed into about four of them (four times the presentation at the national meeting! four times the ahhh!) and the faculty mentor/PI is making noises that I should add a course on for Fall, a one-credit course in Undergrad Research Methodology, too. That semester is already pretty full with Organic I, Physics I, PreCalcI (review of I & II in prep for Calc I next summer - OMDG, no I don't really *have* to take Calculus but I get the impression that it would be a good idea, and I do, as of this writing, actually like math), and A&P II with a notoriously difficult professor, while teaching a lab of A&P I, possibly a lab of Zoology or Bio 101, and quite probably being a peer tutor in the Chemistry department. So that would be 16 credits and quite possibly a ticket to the looney bin, but we'll see. Precalc I should be more time-consuming than hard, I'm hearing that Physics I is much the same, but Organic and A&P II will attempt to eat my face.

That said - they said that about several courses this year and my GPA for this year is a nice and high 3.8 (B in Cell because... well, that's a whole 'nother rant.)

This summer is research, and it's interesting and demands I learn new stuff on a steep learning curve. I tend to do well with that combo, and since the learning curve is in a subject that's exactly within the purview of this guy who sits/stands within ten feet of me, I feel pretty secure. If only the ILL system weren't currently down for summer maintenance, but it is what it is. The articles will just be delayed for another day.

Meg is currently memorizing the most heart-wrenching song from Toy Story II, the one Sarah McLachlan, she of the heart-wrenching ASPCA commercials that make you want to tell the screen "YOU TAKE MY MONEY AND YOU RESCUE THAT BEAUTIFUL DOG I WILL EAT RAMEN FOR A MONTH I DON'T EVEN CARE" while weeping maniacally. Yeah, her - anyway, this one's another heart wrencher about how this doll was fantastically happy and delighted with her girl, who loved her and they played together and she was adored until the day her girl totally threw her away into a donation box, thereby giving the doll not just a/one abandonment issue but a whole attractively leather-bound set of volumes of issues. Meg is hoping to perform this at the school talent show and she's damn good at it and I will probably cry buckets watching it. I tear up and have to concentrate on something else while the song plays in the freaking movie, much less when my daughter is singing a song about being abandoned. Oy.

Saturday and Sunday were just great - I just cooked and cooked and cooked. Friday night was a properly muddled pair of mojitos for the hubby and I while we watched some Dr. Who. Saturday was market day, so I sold eggs and came home to make strawberry rhubarb pie and strawberry freezer jam , yesterday was a huge pot of new potato-cauliflower-broccoli-leek-garlic scape puree soup that's delicious hot with some cream in or cold with none, asiago polenta (for tomorrow's dinner), basil-pistachio-sauteed garlic scape pesto, arepas venezelanos con queso cotija (for whenever and also breakfast) and while doing all of this I caught up on a metric buttload of some tv series that I like via Hulu+ AND knit the first sock of a pair and started in on the second. All this while hugging and kissing on my girls and just generally being more relaxed.

Ahem. Yes. I might have a problem with wanting to stay busy in my "relaxation." But really, being bored is a bit torturous to me, so busy me is usually a happy me. But in the meanwhile my deadlines are largely my own to make or break with no consequence. Tomorrow, my PI is away for a promotion thing and I'm working from home with some print research, so it'll be nice to sleep in, have a coffee and a nice walk while I listen to an audiobook, and then engage the brainpain while I knit some more - in large part I'll be doing craptons of reading, which I can do while knitting all but the most complex lace patterns.  It keeps my hands busy while my brain zooms in on what I'm studying.

So. Onward. Still want to be a doc. I've been volunteering at the local hospital since September and even if I totally wash out, I'll still want to do it. I've been following the Chief of Staff (!!) since January (!!), which is convenient because rural medicine is exactly what I want to do. I have time now to read a book he's recommended (Rapid Interp of EKGs) and another one that a friend dared me to read (50 Shades, gag a maggot, y'all). Plus all this other reading for the research project.

Good thing I read quickly?

Well, possibly more later - heck, since it's summer, possibly more in general!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor: Top 8 Books I Used in Med School

Never mind me, I'm just taking a few notes....

A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor: Top 8 Books I Used in Med School: This is a list of the best 8 books I purchased during med school. Why 8? Because I started making a list and when I finished, there were 8...

Sunday, August 14, 2011


In what really seems to be an eleventh hour thing, I have achieved a bridging loan. As a dependent (yay, being a SAHM :-/) available federal financial aid maxed out at $5500 for the year which was short of tuition by a few hundred after the state university system's Board of Regents approved a rate hike. We could have covered it and books but childcare would have been impossible and I invite the reader to try to get a part-time job in this area as a mom, a full-time student, with one shared vehicle, and with this being a secondary income. Yeah, I still haven't gotten called back for anything. On top of that, I would have been trying to do all the studying plus family/childrearing things, plus a job that would have had to be about 17 hours just to pay for childcare and that on top of my first semester back in school.

I'm just delighted. We're doing all the signing bits at present, some of which involves the mail, but we're going to be good for this. It's a relief. Next year will be much easier in one of two aspects. I'll either find that I'm washing out and decide to withdraw or change majors or something, or I'll do well enough that I'll qualify for one or more of the plethora of my university's privately funded scholarships, all of which, for some reason, apply only to second year students or greater, or those who have the credit equivalent of a year from my university. So that will help a lot.

The childcare bit starts Monday, so that we can sort of transition my youngest, who's never been cared for by anyone not family for so long that I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember the three hours a friend watched her (read: wore her in a mei tai/Babyhawk) while hubby and I went to a brief dinner and a movie. She'll got M-W-F for the next two weeks and start full time on the day my classes begin.

Reason #1 why just childcare alone is a great thing involves the following confession: I just absolutely hate childcare. Have for years. I love my girls, wouldn't trade them for anything, but I just detest babysitting. I am delighted to have a couple of weeks where I can catch up without having interruptions every minute and a half (yeah, I timed it one day) while I'm highlighting important bits in my Chemistry text.

Reason #2: Meg will also be interrupted when she gets home on the bus and sits down to do her homework. This was a real problem last year. Rose was just so happy to have her home and wanted to play with her Right Then And Forever Till Bedtime, and I was happy to have her home both because she's awesome and because then Rose would have two targets to pester, which meant I could possibly use the bathroom without worrying that she was walking out the front door to the road again, usually entirely in the buff.

Monday will be busy but just lovely. Meg will get on the bus (same one she's been riding even though she's now at middle school), and Brett and I will go drop Rose off and we will head into town. I'll get the van and then go do something crazy like avail myself of the uni's exercise facilities at my leisure, and then go to the library and study till I'm ready to stop. At some point there will be some shopping for related supplies, then probably more studying and possibly just a lot of farting around after that. Without dragging kids along! Then getting the hubby and kids and home. Most likely Wednesday and Friday will be entirely boring and largely consist of cleaning the house because damn, y'all.

Then in a couple of weeks, things really, really start. It will be just lovely. I feel like I've been spinning my wheels and making little ground for a year and a half. It will feel good to hear the starting shot and finally head out of the gate. I also feel like I'm fairly decently prepared at this point. It will be good to head forward.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blorp: the Update

As I managed to completely goober out and not check my Blogger Dashboard for comments, I missed that I'd had a couple in the past, uh, year. Simple mistake - I mostly use it so that I can read others' blogs and if I got notifications that I had new comments I missed them entirely. My apologies; it wasn't intentional. Hence, an update. A year is a lot to update, even in brief, so bear with me.

The last year has been spent with preparing for university work again and reviving my non-geometry-based-tailor's-math back up. OMDG, you were correct that I didn't need calculus. A school I was looking at wants to see a calculus-based physics course at some point but I know for a fact that there are graduates from my program who attend there and they didn't take that. At this point I'd like to take a precalc course just to be a little thorough but I'm not sure I'll have the funds.

I applied for admission to the local university and was admitted. I confess to some nervousness about whether or not they'd want me, but my first degree (people, music history is not necessarily the most useful major, tell your kids) had a GPA of 3.1 and was completed in 4 years and they like both money and proven finishers. The nervousness was more like that feeling in your belly that you get right before the roller coaster hits the first huge fall, that sense that "oh, holy crap, I'm really on the ride now!"

Since then, it's been financing Plink-O. There were hijinks between getting my two institutions to speak with one another and with the Dept. of Ed, then there were intra-institutional hijinks that finally took raising a little fuss to get attention on a minor issue so that my financial aid could be figured up. First we had to raise a couple hundred dollars beyond the financial aid provided, which we'd have been fine with and had prepared for, then the aid was modified and I had an enormous seven dollars' surplus in aid above all my fees, and then the Board of Regents approved a tuition and fee increase and now we're about $500 below my fees and tuition. Two things give me a smidge of hope in this. If I kick ass and take names, next year my financing should be much easier thanks to being eligible for tons of scholarship opportunities from a huge assortment of scholarships attached to my university that are only available for students in their second year there, or those in my program. For this year, there's a financing plan at my school that's interest-free and will take care of the remainder of my fees plus the little bit of books that I've got to buy. We'll need to raise a much smaller amount now, which should be do-able.

The remaining hurdle is child care. The solution that I previously had for that fell through and we're trying to find something else. I'm really in a bit of a Catch-22 with that because I might need to get something part-time but I live in an area that tends not to hire married women with children who are also in school full-time. You know, since clearly we should be at home taking care of children, a fate that drives me batty and shrewish. Anyway, to resolve this part we may end up getting a loan on that issue, but I don't really know. Unfortunately, we have no relatives nearby at all who could really help with this. My stepdad has some issues that would make that impossible and my youngest sister who lives with him is 16 and I'm not sure she really wants to be the childcare for my hellion of a three-year-old. We'll figure it out but dang, son, time's running on.

In a money weirdness I was able to buy my Chemistry texts and they included a book on algebra for chemistry students. I've nearly finished that and it's been about a week but I feel pretty much back up to speed on the math I need, which is a relief. (I loved AP Chem but they didn't tell me I needed to have completed the Alg II/Trig/Precalc course before taking it; lacking those math skills nearly killed my grade.) I've been taking advantage of iTunes U's various videos and reviewed an entire course of Biology classes this summer, though no labs or tests or the like, and have watched various videos of other classes, as well.

I tried to get into a volunteering position but the nuking of the child care thing took that out as collateral damage. So that sucks tons but I'm hoping that I might have that opportunity next summer or something.

I continue to be amazed at how far the technology has advanced since I was a college student my first go-round but expect to hear tons of whining, anyway, at which point I will likely break out my walker and tell kids to get off my lawn. I mean, for crying out loud, you can write drafts, get a peer edit on it, revise, re-edit, and then hand in to your professor without leaving your seat. Since they're providing cloud storage and the major bits of M$ Office ONLINE, you don't even need to worry about your computer losing everything if it kicks off without notice. You can even do craptons of research now that's of decent-to-quite-good quality at your computer, as I know from my own hobbies (I'm the freak who decided to research and teach a class on notable heresies from ~1CE to 1600ish CE, for free, to other history enthusiasts).

Heh. A crapton is NOT an SI-approved unit of measurement. Using conversion factors, convert the crapton of research into metric craptons and solve for the inherent weirdness quotient. Don't forget to retain only significant figures at each level. Do you encounter truncation errors?

So anyway, a year gone, and after a year of feeling like I was spinning my wheels, this past last Spring and Summer have been finally moving right along. I'm still nervous about things: do I still have the academic chops to learn quickly? I'm less nervous about other things: I know I'm a much better student, now, and I'm devoted to not coasting (yep, that 3.1 was me coasting through my first degree); as I've reviewed and whatnot I can practically feel the rust knocking off the mental gears. Classes for this upcoming semester are Chemistry, Zoology, Developmental Psych, and a PE because I needed 1 more credit, didn't want to overdo it my first semester out of the gate, and really need to work on increasing my stamina and losing weight put on thanks to having my youngest and living a near-enforcedly sedentary lifestyle.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I want to be a doctor

There. Out loud, in blog land. I want to be a doctor. I want to offer comfort and provide needed health service and counseling to the rural families that need it. I want to do this. Be this. The other aspects, making better money than being a SAHM, providing an example to the girls in line with my own beliefs, perceived community status, challenging my own limits again, are nice and welcome but really, I just want to be a physician.

When I told my family in January that I had decided to be a doctor, many of them - God bless, I still smile about it - had attitudes and comments that were obviously predicated on the idea that one day I would wake up and realize that I'm supposed to be a doctor. Now, Momma then recommended Psych. I'm not sure that's really for me; I prefer the idea of the rural doctor, filling a need in a community vacuum. But it's like everyone in my family but me saw it, and most cases, have seen it since I was a kid. Wise of them not to tell me, except the way that Daddy did, that I would be a student all my life. I still remember that conversation and the huge grin I wore after he said it. It still makes me smile.

If I can, I should. If I can, I will. And I can.
I'm getting together the financial aspect right now, and knocking the rust off of the whole "formal learning" process. I've finished a review of pre-calc maths and have started in on teaching myself a bit of calculus. I need to take Calc and some science courses - my previous degree required none of that and allowed no time in it except for perhaps electives and I don't know many 19-year-old's who'll voluntarily take a 100-level chem course voluntarily when their time is already taken up with studying and multiple rehearsals and private practice on top of classes. Still, I think I'm pretty much ready for a calculus course now. Not too bad for someone who's not had a formal math course since she was 18.

I'm going to start in on reviewing for sciences, too, now that I'm more up to speed in math. Check out a Biology and HS Chem for Dummies book or equivalent, brush back up on the Kreb's Cycle, all that. If I *must* wait till next year for graded classes, I'll make it work, with taking up my awesome doc's shadowing offer and volunteerism and all. We've just about got child care in place - here, this is not easy on a $45k/year budget with a house and two kids while one potential earner is unavailable for childcare. In the meanwhile, Brett's looking for something else, that pays him something like industry standard (which would make childcare easy to pay for while still allowing my eldest to participate in the ballet that she loves).

Onward into the future.