Saturday, April 27, 2013

Physics state of mind!

So I took an MCAT Physics exam on Thursday and scored an "8". And given that I hadn't review anything before hand, that's not a bad score.

For my in depth review, I'm using the book Conceptual Physics along with the solutions manual that accompanies it, and I still believe this is the best physics book I've ever come across. And when you've taken physics at 3 different universities which includes an online review, it gives you a little background for making a judgment call about good physics text books. Now I should mention that this book is NOT heavily math based at all, but it's the theory that's proven more challenging for me, so this book works. And I have to admit that I’m really, really enjoying Physics this time around while giving ALL credit for this new attitude to the MCAT tutoring I do on the side.

Other rather surprising news is that after months of rarely getting leads about local positions, I’ve now got more than a few to consider AFTER we’ve made the decision to leave. URGH!! And I haven’t changed my mind about moving one bit, but I may consider adjusting the timeline. The biggest players in this decision to relocate after 13 years of living in metro DC is a combo of the fact that my kid can get her exact engineering major at this school (which is only offered at about 20 schools in the US), and I’ll have access to both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. And the combo of osteopathic and allopathic schools is important because as I’m now in my late 40’s, I’m VERY concerned about my chances at an allopathic school. But what I’m not concerned about is getting accepted somewhere…………… eventually.

Other things going on in my life right now is that I’m still working on my business plan and website, though now I need to think about whether or not I want to wait to register it in my new home state or register it here then transfer which isn’t an inexpensive proposition. I can say that this is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done because I’m sooooo far outside my comfort zone.

The last thing I really needed to do right now was place an “order” on my career/educational priorities and that was no easy task. As it stands now, the order is this:

1) Continue to review Physics for both MCAT and business reasons for the remainder of April and May 2013.
2) Take the certification exam for Histology in June 2013, which if I can secure a hospital based lab position, will make it easier for me to transition into a paid health informatics position.
3) MCAT subject area reviews will be one month on each of the remaining subjects after physics in May, including Bio, Orgo, and Chem. I’ll study Chemistry last since that’s my strongest area for an exam date in September.
4) Continue working on courses for Health/Bioinformatics certificate throughout the summer.

As for moving, that’s probably on hold until at least August 2013 because my kid was selected to be an engineering intern with a major local group. This means that she’ll miss an engineering honors program being offered in the new state (which I’m thrilled to say is strongly recruiting her to their undergrad program), but that’s okay, because I’ve learned the hard way that having a great plan ONLY works when it’s timed right!

At any rate, this post has me in an empire state of mind:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dawn of a brand new day!

It's exciting, in an overwhelming kinda way, to contemplate what our lives are going to be like in our new home state. But at the same time, I feel an overwhelming amount of excitement about the future too! In fact, so much of my life is falling into perfect place these days that I often feel like I'm dreaming.

One thing that I'm pretty sure about is that my days of wanting to become a pathologist are coming to an end. Thoughts about the type of people who do this kinda work and how I've NEVER "fit in", pull me VERY strongly toward patient care which is a MUCH better fit personality wise and of course, comes with a whole other set of issues I know, LOL!. But more practical justifications including serving in an underserved community, thus allowing me to continue to give back to the Black community. And obviously, loan forgiveness isn't far off my mind either.

Thankfully, I have an interview set up for early June at the cancer center in my new home state, a place I've revered since I became actively involved in cancer research over 10 years ago. And while I still have some reservations about going back into a lab setting, I believe this experience will be a pivotal point in my career. The center is strongly affiliated with a med school so professionally speaking, this is icing on the pivotal cake! That said, I’m also still VERY jaded about the cancer research “field” in general given what I saw and experienced in grad school and working in industry. And that realization pushes me further on the patient care side of a research career.
MCAT wise things have been on hold as I’ve had interviews, applications, ect, all those things you do when you’re relocating to a new state and interviewing for jobs at the same time. But I plan to get back on track tomorrow starting with Physics, so that I can not only be ready for the MCAT, but be able to offer additional services through my business.

Other news is that I’m working diligently on the website for my business and will launch it when I register my business after the move. That’s also the time I plan to launch my new blog website, the title of which I’m sure will be a hit, LOL!!! Overall, I can’t say it enough, I’m VERY, VERY happy in my life right now and I’m soooo looking forward to my new life adventures!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Momisms 101

I thought it would be fun to share my expriences as the Mom of a teenager which is on MANY levels, the most difficult yet fun experience with a child:

Path201X: "If those jeans you're wearing get any tighter, you're going to be a walking case of Candida albicans".

DD: " Is that some microbiology term?".

Path201x: "Yes"

DD: "Does this mean you think I look stank?"

Path201X: "It means that if you keep washing those jeans in hot water, you're gonna BE stank".

DD: "Dang Mom, it's like that"?

Path201X: "Just say no to being a walking petri dish, okay Boo Boo"?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On the road again!

So the image of this post is the story of my life these days, and what's TRULY ironic, is that I never got rid of the boxes from when we moved last year. Um hum, I think God's been speaking to me for a while and I just started listening!

We took a moment from packing to play some tennis today, which essentially means that my daughter had me running around like a crazy lady. This is my kid about to serve a ball I can't hit back, LOL!!

Honestly, I don't have a count of how many aces she scored against me, so we don't keep score because it would be a LOT of 6-0, 6-0 mathches between us. So while she worked on her serves, volleys, ect, I worked on holding up the fence:


Movin' on, I got in touch with the Pathologist at a local med school that I used to shadow earlier today, to ask if she had any recommendations for Pathologists I could shadow at my new city. And while I haven't heard back yet (I just emailed her today), I'm hoping that betwwen her and the world reknown NIH pathologist I published with, I should be able to find someone to shadow. Put another way, I plan to hit the ground running when I get there!!! The only thing I'll have to decide on is what I want to do for a living and given the way things are employment wise in metro DC, I'm so VERY blessed to have viable and well paying employment options in my new city.

So with pathology back to being front and center work wise, I'm actually thinking more about Oncology and how much my pathology background could significantly help me in that field. And as much as I complain about the negative aspects of patient care and/or being a researcher, I KNOW deep down in my heart that I REALLY want to do both. Put together with the fact that a Cancer researcher/mentor in my new city is back in my life in a big way, I'm starting to believe that I just may have the right support to make this MD/PhD career happen. Because the motivation to do so has NEVER been in doubt!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yes, THAT again, LOL!!!

So this image was taken from a blog article by a company that claims to have a legitimate and of course proprietary way to maintain staining signal strength in old (10+ year old) tissue. And I'm on the fence about whether or not I believe clarity this strong is really possible based on my own experiences with old tissues. Perhaps.

Anyhoo, I got a call from a PI that offered me a PhD spot in his lab almost 10 years to the day, in the city of my next home state. Yeah. And back then, I was making a b-line to the field of Pathology as this was a PhD program in Pathology with the expressed intention of becoming an MD/PhD program in the next 2 years. So why did I pass it up? In retrospect, I wasn't mentally "ready" but I also wasn't feeling relocating at the time...........funny what a difference 10 years and an almost empty nest make.

Not ironically, he and I had always maintained contact, so when I mentioned last summer that I was considering moving to this state, he was VERY encouraging, just as he was 10 years ago. This time though, I'll be looking for employment in this new city and since he works at the cancer center where I've already had a phone interview, I think it's a safe bet that I'll be back in the bench cancer research mix sooner than later. And back in the Pathology mix too!

But then that's probably NOT such a big surprise, ROTFL!!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013


Anyone reading my blog knows that I've taken the MCAT a zillion times which, if I can take a step back and look at it, is crazy as hell, LOL!!! My regular readers many also remember that I've kept track of my progress through my EK MCAT prep books. So in the ones I'm working in now (EK Biology), I have scores going back to 2003. That's NINE years of working through the same darn book! URGH! But even more ironic is the fact that because I'm a "Science book horder", I haven't had to buy much of anything to get started with my tutoring business, so I guess things kinda worked out!

That said, it's just soooooo ironic that I'm not only an MCAT tutor (and paid quite handsomely too) after FLUNKING out of undergrad as a Science major, but that sitting on this side of the MCAT equation, I see the exam soooo differently. I see the tricks in the questions like a woman with Superwoman vision. And the question I keep asking myself over and over and over again, is WHY did I let this exam "psyche" me out so much back in the day?

Anhoo, I'm meeting with a student on Wednesday for Biology and Chemistry MCAT review, so I'm spending a lot of the next 2 days preparing for our sesison. And that means LOTS of MCAT review problems. I've also decided to register for to retake the exam on the last day it's given this year as applying to med school this year before my 2011 score expires isn't on the table given all the changes coming over the next few months. And I definitely want to apply to med school as a state resident in my new home!

Get your "big girl" on!

This post isn't meant to be a ridicule of any of my readers who wear or love someone who wears undies like the ones featured in this post (except my stalker, LOL). It’s about the fact that I realize that these past few years of utter chaos in many aspects of my life, I’ve learned to wear a pair of these, figuratively speaking ONLY, LOL!!!

Put another way, I really, really, needed to “put on my big girl drawz” as it relates to my relationships with the “haters” and otherwise SUPER evil folks I’ve come across while working over the past few years. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know this has been an area of consistent struggle for me over the past 3 or so years. So what do I think has changed? Only my attitude because the evil people are certainly still out there. But my way of dealing with them is significantly different, as in I realize that I have to literally and verbally evoke the name of God when I find myself in these kinds of situations (which ironically seem on the rise for people of color in the "age of Obama"). As an example, when my last punk a$$ supervisor in pharma starting verbally and loudly going off on me about some made up crap in his office toward of the end of my tenure at that hell hole, I should have LITERALLY started saying the 23 psalm or some similar scripture OUT LOUD before I walked out of his office. And what would that have done? I believe it would have stopped the devil right in his tracks. I mean really, what was he going to say when he reported the incident to HR, that I was praying loudly in his office? Perhaps, but what he ended up doing was lying like the STILL unemployed dog he is about the incident. And THAT is just one part of the reason why he is defendant #1 in this little legal thing I got going on.

But I digress, I said I was going to keep my blog positive and I am, so it’s with a tremendous amount pleasure that I mention that we’re moving OUT of Metro DC in the next month or so to a state of undisclosed location. I mentioned before that after realizing my blog was being stalked by a malevolent future witch MD, I probably won’t ever again mention the exact place I’m continuing my dream of becoming a Doc for reasons which should be obvious. To that point, I know of a man that on a political blog had his boss called by someone he interacted on the internet, so I’m not fooling myself about the kinds of evil out there. What I will say is that I’ll have access to both MD and DO schools, but then I already kinda’ have that in Metro DC.

This move will also constitute a significant change in my personal life and you’ll have to read between the lines to figure out what that means. And with a kid on her way to college soon, I’m REALLY looking forward to ALL the new adventures God has for me in the future! Blessedly, after a limited time submitting job applications, I’ve already gotten interviews lined up in my new city for both teaching AND research positions! And I’m also moving to a city where I have very close friends so for me, it’s doesn’t get any better than that! But like I said before, I’m going to let God work this thing out in terms of what I’m going to focus my doctoral studies, either in STEM/Science Education or Computational Biology. And in the biggest irony (or not) of all, pathology related research/lab positions are front and center!

God is Good, ALL THE TIME!!!!! 

My latest FAVORITE gospel song these days, which speaks VOLUMES to my soul:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's HARD out here for a pimp, err, I mean a Scientist!

Thinking about the employment plight of my Scientist brethren brings to mind the theme song from the image in this post. It's soooooo hard these days for most of the Scientists I know to find gainful employment. And IMHO, no matter how much people want to dress it up, a primary reason is because there are thousands of foreign born scientists filling these positions. NPR decribes the probelm quite well in this article.

But it seems that when you make a statement like that, many foreign born scientist draw one of the following conclusions:

1) You're racist.

2) You're afraid of competition.

3) Both

4) You're not smart enough to compete.

5) 1, 2, and 4.

And my response to that is, HUH?

To have the racist card pulled on me is simply pathetic. Not that I don’t think Black people aren't capable of being racist, of course EVERYONE is capable of being racist. However, what I KNOW without equivocation is that it’s easier for example, for an Indian born Scientist to get a job here than it would be in 50 million lifetimes for me to get a job in India, unless I wanted to be a prostitute. And that’s just me keepin’ it real as it relates to the international image I feel most people have about Black women. As for the competition and as a true Type A , I’ve always welcomed competition and have never felt that any one race cornered the market on intelligence. And given that most of the people I tutor are Asian, the proof of that is in what I’m seeing with my own eyeballs!

It’s simply my opinion that given the difficulty of earning Science degrees, it makes sense to me that Scientists should expect to be able to be gainfully employed when they’re done. That said, the reason I NEVER suggest a student get only a PhD is seen in today’s job market, though saw this coming MANY Years before. But what I also see happening is that many US born scientists are becoming openly hostile toward foreign born scientists and while I don’t feel blatant hostility is necessary, I certainly understand their feelings on this issue.

And just a heads up, the lyrics to this video are explicit: