Balancing Extracurricular Activities With School

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As pre-health students, we’re often swamped with multiple activities going on in our life that we sometimes forget to take a breather, so how do we keep trudging on? Here are a few things that have helped me along the way:

1.Ranking your activities-

“How is this going to help me in the long run?” This is one of the biggest question that I usually ask myself when I’m torn between certain activities/commitments. Sometimes I take on too much for myself (haha my friends know this about me– such a bad habit) that I get overwhelmed. So ranking the activities that you on which is the most important to you will absolutely help.

 2.) Deferring activities-

This basically extends to #1. Given a certain amount of time within the semester, break down the activities that you have then assess the amount of time that you can devote to. With that said, are you able to defer some activities until next semester? That will definitely make your shoulder a lot less lighter.

3.) Connecting with your loved ones-

What usually helps me when I feel like my walls have broken is by checking in on my loved ones. Who knows they may be in the same boat as you, and may need your presence?

Nonetheless, school is a priority, extracurricular activities is a priority, and work is a priority–but, don’t forget that your health is also a priority.

Forever your explore,

Singature Blog

THAI-ing for this place

My love for elephants, meditation, and Thai Food are just a few aspects that drove me into taking a trip to Chaing Mai. The people, the culture, and the activities are definitely an experience of a life time. Here is a couple pictures that gives you a glimpse of Thailand.

(P.S: Food will be featured on a different blog post)

  1. “Say Wat?”

Fun fact: You can locate a wat that is within a distance of 200 meters apart from each other. The most popular  Wat that you need to check out is the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Liam, and Wat Chedi Luang.

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  1.  Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

Oh man, you guys! This was one of my favorite activity that I have partaken in Thailand. This program tour activity basically gives you a brief overview of what elephants are like. The plus side to this is that you can bathe and feed the elephants! It was sooo awesome!!

Check out the link below:

https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com/chiang-mai/

 

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  1. Night Bazaar/Market-

I don’t know what it is, but in Asia, there’s usually a tradition in what they call a night bazaar, which is similar to a Farmer’s Market. It’s basically  where you can bargain for high-end items at a cheap price.

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Although four days was a wee bit short in Thailand, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Learning about the culture through areas, food, and activities are what made this trip a gem.

For more information about Chiang Mai, check out the following links below:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/chiang-mai-province/chiang-mai

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g293917-Chiang_Mai-Vacations.html

https://www.tourismthailand.org/About-Thailand/Destination/Chiang-Mai

Forever your explorer,

Singature Blog

Quote of the week (07/15/18-07/22/18)

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WHY THIS QUOTE?

           Take initiative for your goals. Reflecting my time in the summer undergraduate research program has allowed me to discover the importance of using your voice. Okay, yes it sounds silly, but there’s a reason as to why I am writing this post. In our classes, we are spoon fed information from our professors. However, entering the realm of research allowed me to reflect on being independent upon your academics. What I mean by that is no one will hold your hand and no one will tell you what to do. Yes, our professors and mentors will guide us, but it is up to you to take initiative upon your goals.

         One of the biggest frustrations that a couple of my peers and I discovered in the research program is that we have PHD students and medical students working alongside of us. As undergraduate students, it could be frustrating  entering a new realm not knowing what we can do to contribute (trust me, there are many ways that we can do to help– but it’s the fact that we don’t want to get in the way.)

        In order to take initiative of your own dreams, one of the ways that you could do is to use your voice (I know– common sense.) In all honesty though, when we are thrown into a new atmosphere, we often get the fear that we may ask a stupid question. But truth be told, would you rather ask a question and get an answer or execute upon a task that you didn’t know how to do in the beginning? So, take initiative for your goals by using your voice, don’t be afraid, because with all questions comes answers.

 

Truly Though, What Does An Exam Teach You?

 

What is the point of an exam? As finals week gets closer and closer, I often find myself pondering on this question. We always hear professors or even admissions directors say, “Numbers don’t define a person,” yet it seems as if numbers are one of the important factors that dictates our entrance into medical school. The big picture question is why do these numbers mean so much to professors and admission committee? After speaking to several admissions committee and professors, they reiterate the fact that exams answers the question on “How motivated is this individual?”

As pre-meds, we are soooo dissapointed about attaining a letter grade below an “A” that we fail to understand why we are not receiving that grade. However asking yourself these three questions could help to pave the route in understanding how we can improve our grades:

  • Did I strategize my time correctly?
  • Is my study method working for me?
  • Am I learning the amount of level detail that I need to be learning?

1.Did I strategize my time correctly?
Professors give us a due date for an assignment, but that should not mean that we do the assignment a day before the deadline (haha who am I kidding?) But let’s look at this in a bigger picture, we’re college students who have a gajillion things going on– jobs, extracurricular activities, and research. Setting deadlines and goals for ourselves helps us to accomplish more tasks, and thus improve our mental health. For example, say that your professor gives you a lab report that is due within two weeks, say May 5. Split up your taks in doing the introduction and methods within the same week, then do the results and discussion within the next week, and then make a goal to finalize your lab report two-three days before the assignment is due.

2. Is my study method working for me?

Just a heads up, different study methods reflect on the type of subject that you’re studying for (obviously). I won’t elaborate further into this as I wrote another blog post about different study techniques– You should check it out (: Nonetheless, if you did not receive an A for that topic, truly truly reflect back on your study method.

3. Am I learning the amount of level detail that I need to be learning?

This was definitely one of the biggest traps that I fell into. I am currently taking neurophysiology, and it is considered to be one of the difficult science courses as an undergraduate as it is similar to taking a masters class. However, after getting my grade back from the first exam, I realized that I was not learning the level of detail that I should be learning. For example, learning about an action potential. I learned how an action potential occurs, but not understanding why they happen and what would the effects be if there was damage to properties that allow for an action potential to be generated.

All in all, regardless of whether we get an “A” on an exam or anything lower than an “A,” we should all strive for improvement, and not allow any scores (especially horrible ones) to discourage us from attaining our dreams, as they say we are not studying for a grade, but more so to save a patient’s life.

Don’t Forget To Take A Breather

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We are given 24 hours in a day within seven days a week, and most of the hours that we spend are working. Sometimes when we work too much, we often have the tendency to “up and quit.” However, allowing ourselves to rejuvenate for at least one day will definitely enhance our focus and performance. Below are the following suggestions on what activities can be performed:

1.Enjoy the presence of your loved ones

During the middle of the semester, I usually have the tendency to isolate myself from others to the point where I drive myself crazy. Once you have a coppious amount of tasks on your agenda, it may be hard to spend some time with loved ones. However, there’s no better way to spend the day with your loved ones.

2.Explore your city’s gems

Randomly driving to different places and seeing a new sights is definitely amazing. There are so many hidden gems around your area, why not explore it? There’s always a story behind each scenery, get to know that story– who knows maybe once you end up meeting a new patient or a new friend, there could be a place where you two can bond talking about. We only know a portion of what the world has to offer, let’s  explore it!

3. Physical activity

We all have heard of the phrase that physical activity alters your emotions in a positive effect, but why is that? According to scientific literature, the main reasons for this is due to an increase production of endorphins, which is the neurotransmitter that helps you to focus better and put you in that positive state. Activities, such as backpacking, rock climbing, or even hiking are some examples.

4. Reconnecting with your hobbies

Usually when we are caught up with trying to balance school work, extracurricular activities, shadowing, etc., we often would lose a portion of our identity. Partaking on what you enjoy and what you realign with is some ways to boost up your day.

5. Reading

Simply checking out a new book or reading the latest scientific journal is a great way if you’re looking for a quiet day. If you are ever in need of trying to find new books to read, download the “good reads” app. It’s an app that suggests new books to read based on your preferred genre. I promise that once you download this app, you won’t be googling up “what to read” anymore.

When you ever have this tendency to “up and quit,”  take a step back and remind yourself why you are taking on these tasks.From there, take a breather– don’t feel guilty about taking off for the day.Once you are rejuvenated, you can get back to your routine. Thus, don’t forget that your health comes first.
References:

http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1991-00542-001

http://www.jpsychores.com/article/0022-3999(95)00554-4/pdf

Time

 

There’s so much to do in a day, but with little amount of time. I don’t know about you guys, but this is definitely the biggest phrase that I always tell myself. In turn, I usually try to do everything at once leaving myself overwhelmed in the whirlwind of life (please please don’t do this.) This has definitely hurt me in the past. Here are some methods/tips that have helped me to dial down the emotions of feeling anxious or overwhelmed:

1. Be honest with yourself-

Sometimes when we have so much tasks to accomplish, we try to check those lists off all at once. One of the biggest challenges that I have encountered is have is thinking that I can conquer everything. During my sophomore year in college, I took on way too many activities, leaving me so stressed out. Acknowledging that we are not a superhero (no matter how much we want to be) is definitely the first step. Creating a goal for yourself within a week, and using each day to execute a task to reach that goal is definitely helpful.

2. Treat Yourself-

After a long day’s hard work, remember to give yourself an incentive. We all go through multitude of obstacles within a day.  Be proud of yourself for surpassing boundaries that you haven’t done, especially when you are frustrated. It’s okay to treat yourself, don’t be guilty in taking a step back to allow yourself to recuperate.

3. Timing yourself: The 50/20  rule

Throughout my life, my parents have always emphasized that time is gold. Whatever you do in your time is important, especially when it comes down to studying. WIth that in mind, there’s always that 50 minutes of studying and 20 minutes of having a break. There’s als this app called “pomodoro timer” that one of my professors have recommended me to use. This is a time management app used to disintegrate your work into intervals. (You all should get this app– it’s sooo beneficial!)

4. Don’t forget to squeeze in time with your loved ones-

Lastly, spend some times with your loved ones. I always had that mentality that being surrounded in social crowds was a distraction(it’s pretty ironic because I’m an extrovert.) However, I learned that isolating one’s self from friends and families could is not helpful as it may damage some of your relationships with others. Your friends and family are your pillars.  They are your biggest cheerleaders, so don’t forget to spend some time with them.

Nonetheless, we are all busy in trying to accomplish a multitude of “to do list,” but don’t forget to take a breather from life’s chaos.

Extracurricular Activities: Helpful or Hinderance?

 

Advisors, professors, and medical schools emphasize the importance of partaking on extracurricular activities as for the following reasons: 1) You are more of a holistic person by having a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. 2.) You’re providing service to those who are in most need of it. Extracurricular activities are very helpful, but there comes a certain extent. I am the type of person who likes to get out in the community and lend a helping hand. However, I do have the tendency to take on more things than I should. My main breakdown was during my sophomore year. At this time, I had waaaay too much on my plate– I was taking 19 credits, doing research, was an officer for 2 clubs, let alone most of my classes were heavy science courses.  As a result, my sophomore year took me into a bad turn. After this experience, these are the following lessons that I have learned:

1.) Extracurriculars are important, but grades matter more (This is a given)

Going out in the community and lending a hand to those who need it is important, but sometimes when you give so much of your time in this area,  it’s extremely challenging to study and balance class work. Therefore, the basic fundamentals of each course could have been taught, but maybe you did not study as much as you should have. This means that you have to work twice as hard in your classes.

2.) It’s all about quality vs quantity

Because I did so much extracurricular activities, it was so hard for me to put 100% into each activities that I partook in. The bottom line with extracurricular activities is to identify why you are doing what you are doing.

3.) Main categories that medical schools look for in an applicant

Based on the physicians that I shadowed and the medical school admission committees that I have spoken to, these are the following of what medical schools are looking for in an applicant  when they take on extracurricular activities:

*Medical-related experience

*community Service

*Integrity and Ethics

*Cultural Competencies

In conclusion, if you are looking for some extracurricular activities to partake on, look for things that stimulate you. (I’ll scratch up another post about the different types of extracurricular activites that medical schools look for)

A Letter to Yourself When You Feel Unloved from Those Around You

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We live in an environment where we are dictated by society; if we deviate from a certain norm, then we are looked down upon to the point where we question our own identity. Here is a letter to yourself when you are feeling unloved and are rejected from those around you.

Dear (Name),

I know that it may seem as if you got thrown into a pool filled with sharks, and you are sinking. Whatever you are going through, just know that you are loved. Rise above the people who constantly put you down, because you are better than that.  There will be people who will love you for you and there will be people who will reject you. Just know that you are here for a reason, you are here for a purpose.  The right people will come. If you are not happy with your environment, then just simply walk away. Remember that this is your life and you control it.  Embrace your quirks, your passions,  and your strengths, and be humble towards yourself. Because, in the end, we will all be judged one way or another. You are amazing, and NEVER EVER forget that!

Love,

(Your Name)
P.S: There are some self enhancements that you can also do, such as writing down your  five strengths or self reassurance in the mirror. In addition, if you feel like you need to talk to someone please do so, there are friends and families that you can turn to for advice.

One Of The Most Effective Study Tips: Learn One, Do One, Teach One.

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We spend a countless amount of hours allowing our brains to permeate  important information. However, once the exam comes, we suddenly forget the information that we studied. Question is,  how do we retain these important information? My professors have always emphasized the phrase “Learn one, do one, teach one.”  I did not acknowledge the importance of this phrase until last year, which was my junior year of undergraduate. So what does this phrase mean?

1.) Learn One-

First thing’s first, learn the topic. Finding a method of learning  may vary due to the type of learner you are. With that in mind, are you a visual learner, an auditory learner, or a tactile learner? 

  • Visual learner They usually learn best by through pictorial/diagrams
  • Auditory learner They usually learn best by listening or repeating key phrases/terms
  • Tactile/ Kinesthetic learner They usually need to use their hands

** What I found most effective is to combine different learning styles. Therefore, I am a visual learner, but I also found it best when I used diagrams/writing things down (tactile method.)

Don’t know your learning style? Click on this link below.

http://www.educationplanner.org/students/self-assessments/learning-styles.shtml

2.) Do One

The second portion to this phrase is basically application. How do you execute the information that you learned below? Whether it being through basic research or shadowing, always remember to apply what you have learned.

3.) Teach One-

After completing the first two portion of the phrase, share the information that you have learned with friends or family. One way that I have done so was through group studying. Having different input on learning a topic is so beneficial because some information that your peers may have gathered may be different from what you have gathered. Nonetheless, having two heads is better than one.

 

Happy Studying!

 

Forever your Explorer,

Singature Blog

How To Prepare For An Amazing Week

 

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You get off of work on a Friday night, enjoy a nice weekend, then BAM, the weekend runs away from you. You begin to dread the thought of the incoming week, and then the cycle continues. So how do you actually break that chain and actually have an amazing week? Here are three main tips that I found most effective — The three R’s: Roster, Reflect, and Relax.

1.)Roster

One of the most effective ways that I found really helpful is to plan your week on a Sunday night. By simply jotting down the date of the week with a goal for that week will truly help. With that in mind, use each day as a game plan to execute that goal. It’s basically living by that phrase, “Take smaller bites to finish a big pizza.”

2.) Reflect

It is so important to reflect on your days. The two most important questions to ask  yourself when moving through your days are:  “What am I proud of today?” and “What can I improve on?” It is  scientifically proven that self assessment can enhance performance.

Source: http://depts.washington.edu/lend/pdfs/Orientation/Davis%20_Art_self-reflection_2013.pdf

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1354060042000337093

3.) Relax

The last tip is to relax. There are about 10^11 neurons (100 billion) firing every second. Thus, it is so important to relax before a wonderful week ahead of you. Some ways that you can do so is either meditating or by reading a book. Once you are done, get some good night sleep and you are ready to take on the week.