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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Staying Calm and Confident During an Interview

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I love meeting new people, and making new friends and getting to know others. But when it comes to an interview, I just shut down. Especially when it’s something important and can determine where I end up in my future, I can feel the pressure. The butterflies churn away, the palms are drenched, and I start rambling and smiling  like I’ve taken a few shots (*note, I’ve never taken shots before an interview, nor do I encourage you to do so before one. But if you do or have done so before, I would love to hear your stories). Regardless, when it comes to interviews, the best advice I’ve gotten is be yourself and enjoy the moment. Practically speaking, it’s really hard to “be yourself” when you’re trying to sell yourself so what I mean by  “be yourself” is don’t lie. It makes you look silly, and they can tell when you’re lying.  Talk about your strengths, and spin your weaknesses into something that makes you still look strong and confident. It’s okay to be nervous during an interview. At the same time, be proud of yourself. You’ve made it this far, that’s an important achievement. So here’s are some tricks to try before an interview. Sometimes it works for me, and sometimes I’m still left with a bunch of butterflies:

1. Eat a good breakfast. And by this I mean like a real meal, not some yogurt and cheesestick and a banana. These med interviews run long, and they don’t feed you till late or if at all. And they may or may not have snacks. So plan accordingly. Bring snacks, and gum or breath mints.

2. Burn off excessive stress by going for a run before the interview or fitting in a quick crossfit WOD.

3. Listen to peppy/ upbeat music. (some people choose jazz, and country, and other soothing music. Choose what feeds your soul, and makes you confident and calm. I prefer my Backstreet Boys and N’sync, but to each his own 😀  )

4. Call your mom, dad, significant other, best friend or someone whom you love before the day starts. They feed your ego, and make you feel important.

5. Girls: wear your sexiest undergarment; Boys: wear your lucky underoos or charm bracelet or watch or whatever; but take that extra 15 or 45 minutes to look good. When you feel confident, you exude confidence. And confidence = power to success.

6. Right before an interview starts, step into the bathroom, and give yourself a pep talk. Builder statements: absolutely nothing negative. You’ve worked hard, you know you deserve this. Sounds cheesy, but truly effective.

7. Do your research about the school/program. What makes you a perfect fit for that school. What draws you to their program? Let your passion shine through. It’s okay to not know an answer, you can always change the direction of the conversation.

8. Make friends with the other interviewees. Get to know them. This distracts me from my nervousness, and like I said, I really do like getting to know people.

9. Smile. even if you have to fake it. Keep smiling. It releases endorphins…those happy molecules that zaps cortisol (the pesky stress molecules) .

10. Plan something fun for post-interview. Whether it is celebratory shots or  dinner at a nice restaurant or doing something extreme like skydiving; have something fun to look forward to after a long and stressful day.

Facing my fear of heights.

Facing my fear of heights. (*note: this was not done after any of my interviews. Though I would like to do this again soon)

Lastly, take it from me,  it’s probably not wise to drink 4 cups of coffee and a huge bottle of water right before an interview. I don’t know about you, but that coffee just makes me all jittery, and do the bathroom dance. like I said before, “Be yourself”, and have fun! Ask lots of questions to the current students, and get to know the school. See if it really is the right match for you, and whether you’ll be happy there for the next 4 years. You’re the one paying for that hefty price tag, make it worth your money and time! Here’s a great video to motivate you to feel confident, even if you have fake it: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc)

And enough of this med school talk. I’ll be back with more healthy choices soon. Good luck. And take care! 🙂

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Catch up Thyme

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So happy to be back home and in my own bed. I slept so well last night and actually slept in till 9:30 am. Here’s a recap of the last few days:

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started with one last WOD to get rid of nervous energy before the big interview. A good workout helps me stay calm. And this one was a decent workout.

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Who needs an alarm when you got this beautiful face to wake up to? Little guy woke me up at 4 am!

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A quick breakfast. These are fantastic. Yogurt and granola all in one package. Pretty nifty for when you are in a rush.

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Interview time. Let’s get this over with.

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Dinner and drinks post interview with my favorite gal.

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Gotta sweat off all the fine wine and dine from the night before. 30 min with this contraption and 20 min on the elliptical.

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Lovely lunch of Pesto Chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers, spinach, and cheddar. Thank goodness I worked out right before.

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Exciting and fun night ahead with my talented theatrical best friend and ex-roommate. Thanks for being such a gracious host. Miss you already Popcorn! ❤

And that’s a wrap. Going to go watch those Oscars now. Have a great rest of the weekend! 🙂

Drinking cups of Creativtea Thyme

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I’ve been slacking on my Thankful Tuesday Tea Thyme updates, but don’t worry; I’m still striving to maintain a positive outlook..even on crappy days when I just want to curl under the blanket and stare at Matt Bomer’s dreamy blue eyes while having a marathon of “White Collar”. Check out the first Tea Thyme Tuesday. If I were to have tea with you today, I would like to share with you this awesome DIY project I just finished. I’m really proud of it, mainly because I seriously don’t have a creative bone in my body. And this came out better than I thought it would. Who says science nerds can’t be creative too? 😛

From this boring piece of wood

From this boring piece of wood

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To this organized earring holder!

It's so nifty! I love it so much!

It’s so nifty! I love it so much!

Secondly, I’m finally getting around to reading my long list of books I’ve neglected to read since the last Harry Potter came out. Being a premed, I didn’t have time to read anything besides my organic textbook and the required research paper reading for the lab meeting. So I’m really excited to pick up a book that has nothing to do with molecular genetics and other scientific mumbo jumbo. Though I have to say I’ve been really enjoying reading “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” by Sidhartha Mukerjee. It’s well written, and a beautiful read. I recently finished the “Millenium Trilogy” and I am currently reading “The Handmaids Tale” by Margaret Atwood. If you have any book recommendations, I would love to hear them. I’m always looking for a good read.

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A gripping thriller of a trilogy

Lastly, I am really nervous for this upcoming medical school interview this Thursday. I don’t feel as prepared and I’ve become complacent since I know I have a backup. But I really want it to go well. I can’t wait for it to be over.  On a more positive note, this school is in the same area where one of my best friend lives, so I’m excited I get to see her after six months. She was my roommate in college for 3 years, and I’m really happy for our little reunion. It’s going to be a great weekend, but I just have to get through this intimidating interview.

Alright, I’m off to prep for this interview. Gotta go google the latest on HMOs and the Affordable Care Act and other interesting facts to make the interviewers love me. Have a good rest of the week! 🙂

Let’s go for a Run…Tomorrow

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I wish I could genuinely like running. It’s been a year since I did my first 5k. And usually most people are so addicted to running after their first 5k, that they sign up for more races; training for longer distances and trying to continue setting new personal records. For some people, running is addicting. I am  not one of those persons…yet. I would rather swim a mile than run one. Unfortunately, running a half marathon has made it to my bucket list, and I figure I should give this whole running thing another try.  (I cannot even fathom running a full marathon. My legs already cramp up just thinking about 3.1 miles, I think they’ll boycott running anything longer than 13.1 miles).

Honestly, my first 5k was a horrible experience. My friend and I had talked about doing a 5k for several months. So we started doing some training.  We began on the treadmill, and then a month before the actual race day, we started running outside. Those treadmills are so deceitful. Running outside really meant jogging…and taking really long walking breaks. We had beautiful running/jogging weather for training purposes. It wasn’t too humid, and the weather was perfect, and great for training outside. Fast forward to the morning of Feb 12, 2012: the one day in the entire winter season, where the weather in balmy Florida dropped to like mid 30s. Not lying. I was not used to such cold weather. I was dressed in layers, and even before the race started my fingers and my ears were freezing. My nose was running, and I was tearing up because it was that cold. Running seemed to make me feel more colder, but I thought I should try for a little while. After running a mile, I wanted to quit. This really wasn’t what I was prepared for. At All. Luckily I found some people who were running at the same pace I was, and we encouraged each other until we finally saw the finish line. I picked up my pace only so that I could get to my car faster and turn up the heat and go home to take a hot shower. And that is exactly what I did after I crossed the line. It was a miserable experience. But I’m glad I did it; only to say that I finally did a 5k.

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My first 5k in such awful weather, and all I got was this shirt, and a tank top at that. Oh the irony 😀

I quit running for several months, until I started a gym membership, and decided to be friends with the dreaded treadmill again. I’m still no good at running. I get winded really easily. My knees and ankles get agitated. And I have yet to finish a 5K run under 30 minutes. My best was 35 minutes. Now I’m trying to get myself to endure running outside. Choosing a different running route definitely makes the jog more interesting, as does meeting friendly running neighbors, and finding upbeat and poppy music. I still don’t like running. But sometimes amazing views like this fills me with hope, and encourages me to not give up…just yet. But for now, I’ll still stick to swimming and doing yoga and crossfit and building endurance. Maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow 😉

Spectacular view in one of the most magical places ever.

Spectacular view in one of the most magical places ever. ❤ CBC

Any of you runners out there? Got any tips on being a better runner? I would love some advice.

Dealing with Med School Rejections

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It’s going to happen. With increasing number of applicants, and only about 100-120 available seats in each medical school, a lot of students are going to face rejections. Last year, according to AAMC, of the 45, 266 applicants, only 19,500 matriculated. That’s barely 43% who got accepted into medical school. More than 50% of the applicants got rejected (1).  It hurts, trust me. Whether the school emails you and lets you know that they just can’t take you even with your super high GPA, and exceptional MCAT score, and outstanding volunteering and research, or they decide to give you the cold shoulder and let you sit anxiously for the entire application year, don’t take it too personally. This is your life. If this is what you want to do, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, least of all an admission committee that takes less than 2 minutes to assess you and your application.

This year, I’ve already gotten rejected from several schools after paying my several hundred in secondary fees. I have one acceptance, and I am pretty sure I’m not going to be hearing back from many schools, especially so late in the game. In fact, I got rejected from one of my top schools just a few days ago. I was bummed. It was so perfect for me: close to home and outstanding hospitals nearby. Brilliant professors, great research programs, and exceptional local health outreach organizations. Rejection hurts, but a good workout can help. So can your attitude. I was upset, and talked to the momma. Then I went in to my usual 4pm Crossfit and got a great WOD in, and then did some running while doing some soul searching, where I finally kicked myself for being so hard on myself. I have an acceptance. And I have an amazing family and great friends. I’m lucky I’ve a great support system and incredibly supportive parents. And I have an incredible opportunity to go to India soon. It’s all about perspective. If you didn’t get accepted this year, and you know this is what you are meant to be, then:

It doesn’t matter if you decide to go to med school now, or decide to take a few years off and apply later (I actually took 2 years off…Best decision ever!). Admission committee want to know that you are serious about your decision to pursue this career. They want to see your perseverance. I can tell you that one of my close friends had brilliant statistics: graduated from an ivy league with a phenomenal GPA and well above the average MCAT score, did more than 4+ years of research, and volunteering, and even got published in a well known journal. Rejected from all the schools he applied to his first year. The second year he applied. He nailed it. Schools loved him, and now he has a very difficult decision to make. So be patient. Enjoy life, and do something fun. But don’t beat yourself too much because it didn’t happen the first time around. One of my favorite quotes from the book, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Cohelo is, “when you want something [so earnestly, and for the right reasons], all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Good luck! And stay safe. And if you have questions, I’ll try my best to answer from my own personal experience 🙂

1. https://www.aamc.org/download/321442/data/2012factstable1.pdf

2. http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/63/6363/OKE8100Z/posters/keep-calm-and-carry-on-motivational-pink-art-poster-print.jpg

There’s a Rumbly in my Tummy

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Confession time: I have a really bad habit where I forget to eat throughout the day. And then I come home, and I’m so ravenous that I’ll eat whatever is in front of me. I know. This is horrible. DO NOT follow in my footsteps. Seriously. Don’t. It’s bad. This horrendous habit started in college. I would have crazy hard classes all back to back, and have labs and meetings, and before I knew it,  it’s 5p.m. and I haven’t eaten anything…and I am cranky and just peeved at everyone and anything that moves. If I’m smart, I would have eaten breakfast and carried some snacks in my backpack. But on days, when I’m waking up at 8:20 for my 8:30 am class…the last thing I want to do is eat cereal. This habit didn’t even end when I graduated college, and started working full time in the lab. Except this time, since I didn’t have to be at work till 9 am, I made myself a big breakfast: usually consisting of of a mug of chai latte, and eggs and toast. Unfortunately, in my usual haste, I became lazy about packing lunch, and I would just grab a banana or some yogurt or promise myself I would buy something from on campus.

Then on top of my full time workload, I started volunteering and shadowing in the hospital. I worked with a phenomenal doctor. He’s a neurosurgeon who primarily focuses on movement disorders like Parkinson’s, Essential Tremors, Dystonia, etc. But he’s more than just a great neurosurgeon, he’s an excellent teacher. (nerd alert!) I fell in love with the brain, and even more so with learning about the human brain. Thus, I started to spend long hours in the OR and in the clinic learning as much as I could from him. Clinic normally closes at 5pm…but because this doctor cares so much about providing the best care for his patients, there would be times where we would spend almost an hour with each patient, and we wouldn’t leave clinic until 7 p.m. The OR was another story. The latest I ever stayed in the OR was 9pm…and we still wouldn’t be done for the day. If I was lucky I would be able to sneak out for lunch or grab a quick snack, but there were days where I would be so engrossed in what was happening in the OR or so absorbed with a patient’s history, that I would literally forget about eating.

Long story short: This is not a healthy habit to continue, so now I try to make sure I have some sort of snack in my bag at all times. And I’m making it a mission to continue eating healthy and staying fit. These are a few snacks I’m recently obsessed with this month:

Bananas, Papayas, and Pineapples... Such deliciousness!

Bananas, Papayas, and Pineapples… Such deliciousness!

I love fruits, even more than I love cheese. And I love finding new fruits to try.  Banana’s are so portable. And cutting up fruits like pineapple, and papaya and storing them in the fridge make for a great midnight snack!

Hard Boiled Eggs...still boiling.

Hard Boiled Eggs…still boiling.

Fast and easy source of protein. I don’t care what anyone says, eggs are super healthy. At 70 calories per egg, you get all your 9 essential amino acids, and almost 6 grams of proteins. And it is an excellent source of choline…an important B vitamin that helps in neural regulation and prevents against numerous other diseases. So if you don’t have high cholestrol problems, don’t go out of your way to avoid eggs simply because of the negative vibes surrounding them.

Chobani yogurt!

Chobani yogurt! (please ignore my chipped nails. I tried so hard to make them last a week 🙂 )

I’m very picky about yogurt and their flavors. But lately I’ve been liking this brand a lot. I prefer their honey and vanilla flavors. But Costco had this one on sale.

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Cinnamon Almonds from Trader Joes

So addicting. I seriously have to control myself. I think I could finish this whole bag in one sitting. Gotta exercise that self control.

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Do you know what fruit this is?

STARFRUIT! My parents have a starfruit tree in their backyard, and this year we have had a great harvest. They’re fresh and super sweet and delicious. They make for a great snack. And fruits taste so much better when you can pick it straight from a tree and eat it.

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String Cheese!

I love Cheese:  Aged Cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, you name it, I’ll try it. I try to keep some string cheese handy. They’re great for munching on, and an excellent source of calcium. I’m trying really hard to increase my calcium and vitamin D intake. Like I said, I’m a little paranoid that my bones are going to break from an early onset of osteoporosis. Doing Crossfit 5x a week and increasing my calcium levels has to make my bones stronger, right? At least I really hope they will. 😀

This is a short list of what I’ve been recently snacking on. What’s your favorite snack lately?

Feliz Día de San Valentín

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Happy Valentines day, Friend! I can’t wait for tomorrow when all the chocolates go on sale. Dove dark chocolate, I’ve got my eye on you!

It’s also my one-month anniversary of doing Crossfit! Not going to lie, Crossfit is kicking my butt, yet I keep going back. I just can’t say no.  I really can’t believe I’ve been enduring this torture for a month already. But honestly, as much as I complain about the difficulty of the WOD’s, I truly love it! Sure, I’m in a semi-permanent state of being sore all the time, but I really look forward to my 4pm. I’ve met some really cool people, and we have some awesome coaches. That’s what makes me love crossfit so much. You build a community where everyone encourages and pushes each other to do better.  And the best part: I’ve definitely noticed some great changes. I can tell I’m getting physically stronger, and I have definitely improved a lot on my times and reps. I even have some baby muscles in my twig like arms! 😀 I’m still working on my perfecting my form rather than adding more weights. But baby steps…

What doesn't kill you, really does make you stronger!

What doesn’t kill you, really does make you stronger!

Until tomorrow…Hope you have a great Valentines day!