Heading into the “real world…”

I am actually really excited about it! I was just talking about this with a friend this past week and I think Whitman has done a phenomenon job of making me want to stay in Whitman and Walla Walla for these amazing four years but also making me feel ready and excited to venture out of Walla Walla after graduation :)

I actually will not be done being a student after graduation. My current two plans are either going to teach English in China for a year and come back to medical school after that or go straight to medical school. Right now, I am leaning towards the latter, which means I will be a student four at least 7 more years – 4 in medical school and at least 3 as a resident. And the exciting part is, I may be able to come back to Walla Walla for a clinical rotation!!!! So graduation definitely will not be the last time I will be in Walla Walla and Whitman!

Even though I will still be a student, I am positive that the atmosphere of graduate/medical school is very different to that of an undergraduate institution. When I was interviewing at the medical school, most of the applicants who were also there were older than me and had their Master’s degrees already. Some people even start medical school after obtaining their PhDs! So in that sense, even though I will still be in school, I think the atmosphere will very much reflect that of a “real world.” And Whitman has definitely prepared me for it inside the classroom and outside of it through different leadership positions, jobs, internships, etc. And hopefully, I will be able to give back and act as a mentor as an alum to future Whitties the way my multiple mentors have helped me accomplish my goals.

So in short, my immediate post graduate plans are still up in the air but as my advisor would say, it is a good dilemma and I will be making some final decisions in the next month!

 

Spring Break 2013

Hey guys! Spring break just ended which means this is really the final stretch of my Whitman career! I can’t believe there’s only 6.5 weeks of school left. This break was definitely my most uneventful break from Whitman – I had to get my wisdom teeth out so I pretty much slept for most of the break. But it’s done now and I won’t have to do it again! :)

For me, these next 6.5 weeks will feel both really long and really short at the same time. Really short because as you can probably guess, I still have a lot of work to finish, including my thesis. Really long because I found out that I am on the ranked alternate list at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Both the admissions office at UWSOM and my advisor here at Whitman told me that I am in a good position on the alternate list but that I’d have to wait until May to hear back. I am not getting my hopes up too high yet though. Just trying staying “cautiously optimistic” as one of my many mentors would say but it definitely does not help decrease my anxiety with all of this waiting since October! Another reason the next 6.5 weeks will be long is because my grandparents just received their visas and will be coming to the U.S. from China to attend my graduation! I haven’t seen them in two years and am really excited to have three generations of my family reunited in Walla Walla :)

Well, that’s about it for now! Can’t wait to see what happens in the next two months and what all of my friends end up doing after graduation!!

 

Happy December!!

Today was the last day of classes for this semester, which means there’s only one semester left of my undergraduate career!!

It’s pretty crazy to think that my four years at Whitman are coming a an end so soon Some highlights of this semester (in no particular order):

1. Having a successful mid-Autumn festival celebration at the Asian Studies House. We had nearly 100 people at the house that night and we had mooncakes, bubble tea, crafts so it was really fun!

2. Officially finishing all of the classes that stand for my major, BBMB: Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology. So class wise, I just have to take senior seminar and I am officially done with my major!

3. Getting to meet a lot of amazing prospective students!

4. Attending and presenting at my first all expenses paid national conference to present my thesis research on HIV!

5. Getting a medical school interview!

And for this coming winter break, I am really excited to spend time with my aunt and uncle who are visiting from Shanghai, China and hanging out with all of my friends who go to different schools!

That’s all for now! I hope you all have a great holiday season!

 

Four Seasons

My favorite part about the Walla Walla weather is the four distinct seasons we have here. I am from the Seattle area so we have rain almost year-round – just to give you an idea, Seattle gets an average of 37 inches of rain and 225 cloudy days in a year. With that said, we almost set a new record this year with our recent 48 days of no rain!

But back to Walla Walla – if you walk along Boyer Ave these days, you will see an unmistakable fall scene. The sidewalks are lined with orange leaves everywhere but the sun is still out so you don’t see anyone bundled up in their winter clothes yet. In the winter, we get snow and there are always some students for whom it’s the first time they’ve seen snow in their life! Spring is variable – cold to start with but definitely warms up and there isn’t too much rain. Summer in Walla Walla is really hot!! And there’s a fountain that students like to cool off in…the Chinese native speaker who lives in my house even started calling it the “bikini fountain” because she has walked by so many students sitting in there in their bathing suits!

Here’s the fountain that students like to cool off in:

Here’s a view from my apartment last December :)

White Christmas!

Andddd a CRAZY thunderstorm we had last semester! (Photo courtesy of a friend)

View from the same apartment as above!

Break Time!

Our 4-day mid-semester break is a great time for students to explore the outdoors with the outdoors program, visit family, explore Walla Walla, pay their sleep debt and the list goes on and on. But basically, the break gives everyone a good four days to have fun and catch up with friends and family, and refresh for the second half of the semester. Freshman year, I went home for break, sophomore year, I stayed on campus and hung out with friends, and last year, I went kayaking with one of my housemate.

This year, my 4-day break will actually be extended into a weeklong break because I am presenting my summer/senior research on the association of bacterial burden and seminal HIV-1 shedding at the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) national science conference in Seattle right after break! This is my first national conference with undergraduates, graduate students and professionals from all over the nation so I am really excited to meet people in different stages of their science career! The research award I received from Whitman to do the summer research also has a separate travel fund that allows me to travel to any conference during the academic year and since this conference also happened to be in Seattle this year and right around 4-day, it also gave me a free trip home to visit my parents and my 6 year old brother :)

Some things that I am SUPER excited to do/try this break are:

1. Halloween costume shopping with my brother

2. Pretending to be a soccer mom and picking up my brother from school in my purple minivan (I think I’ve been conditioned into being his second mom)

3. EATING SUSHI!!! Like real sushi with raw fish, not rolls that you would probably never find in Japan :P

4. Attempting to make mooncakes (I already bought a mooncake mold!)

5. Making edible bonsai (it was a sporadic idea that some friends and I thought of but it’s basically an edible tree art with brownie as the base…maybe it could be an Asian dirt cup?)

Hopefully, I will be able to accomplish or at least try all five activities I have planned for myself this coming week but there are also other things like catching up on practicing piano, thesis, etc. that I have to do so we will see what happens!

Adjusting to college work…

Is a different process for everyone! For some, it might be the amount of work, for others it may be the type of work, and for a good number of students, it may just be learning to practice self-discipline because professors are not going to constantly remind you of your assignments or readings. I personally work best when I have a lot on my plate and am under a certain amount of stress – in high school, I went to school 6 days a week, 5 days at my regular high school and Saturdays at a Japanese immersion school where I studied humanities, history, science and math in Japanese, played the piano and the violin, and participated in high school swimming and tennis. For me, the stress and pressure keeps me focused and without them, I tend to overestimate my free time and end up getting nothing done.

At Whitman, I found my challenge in Encounters and other reading and discussion heavy classes because I like to memorize facts and demonstrate my knowledge on a test rather than analyze what different passages infer and build a discussion around that (can you tell that I am a science major yet?). First semester of sophomore year, I took organic chemistry, physics, genetics and calculus III, a course load many had advised against, but I actually found it to be pretty manageable because I was able to stay in the cramming mode the entire semester. But this is not to say that I avoided all reading and discussion based classes and I would definitely discourage others from trying to do so. I have chosen to take reading and discussion based courses on international politics, classical Chinese literature, cultural politics of science, Chinese film, and there are other discussion based courses like medical anthropology that I was dying to take but could not fit into my schedule. I guess my point is that a major component of adjusting to college work is finding your own learning style and identifying your strengths as well as your weaknesses. And if you had to focus on one thing to work on, I would recommend identifying your weaknesses early on because there are so many resources at Whitman that can help you succeed, whether it is the writing center, the foreign language learning center, professors’ multiple office hours, student academic advisors, the academic resource center or free tutors on various subjects. So take advantage of your resources, don’t be too intimidated by what you hear about college work load, and enjoy the four years at Whitman because pretty soon you will be a senior and wonder where all of the time went!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!