Friday, May 24, 2013

10 lessons learned in 13 years.

Thinking today about my last Friday as a resident of the Metro DC area, I'm reflecting on all the hard "life" lessons I've learned over the past 13 years I've lived here (which is longer then I've lived ANYWHERE else in my entire life). And I thought it would be interesting to put these on a list, so here goes:

1) Many of the people out to help you won't look anything like you. And some people out to hurt you will.

2) Try hard not to work in an environment where you'll have to compromise your integrity to be successful, and be mindful that having integrity could cost you your job. Can you say Big pharma anyone?

3) 90% of achieving your goals in life starts with positive thinking, so maintain positive thoughts and ONLY keep company with positive people.

4) There are people evil enough in the world to use your words on the Internet to destroy your dreams and aspirations, so don't be afraid to address the issue if need be. #keepagoodlawyer

5) If you're severely disparaged on a job interview, do NOT take the job. EVER!!

6) Never work for a woman willing to sleep with her boss to get promoted in rank or for a "man" who gets PMS once/month.

7) All the love in the world won't make a person with an addition get clean.

8) Recognize and accept the fact that there's a reason God set the path in your life the way he did. So don't waste time questioning it, make the most of it and keep it moving!

9) A person that supports your dreams and aspirations is worth their weight in platinum! So focus on them, NOT the naysayers even if that includes close family.

10) Persistence and tenacity eventually pays off!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Correction to previous post!

I just need to correct a SERIOUS error in my previous post about studying for the MCAT. I already corrected the post, but I need to reiterate what I was saying here to clear up ANY confusion about what I was trying to say.

The point I was making about answering questions on the exam is that you be able to answer at least half of the questions with out reading the passage first, NOT the question stem (which doesn't make sense if you think about it).

So again, it's my opinion that a well prepared student can answer at least half the questions on ANY section of the test without reading the passage first.

Monday, May 20, 2013

THIS is how you celebrate graduation from med school!

Well, we're neck deep packing for our move and right now I'm just THROUGHLY exhausted! I have a habit of moving boxes with my legs which indirectly involves my knees. And THAT means that my knees are KILLING ME right now!!!!! URGH!!!! I'm trying to do as much as I can before the movers come so I don't ripped off like I did the last time we moved!

I haven't done much in the way of ANY kind of work and that's because packing IS my job right now. I did some MCAT Physics and added Chemistry just for fun, and scored double digits in both. And speaking of MCAT, I think I'm going to refrain from mentioning my scores in the future because it's starting to sound a little like bragging since I always score in the double digits. And quite frankly I should be scoring in that range since I tutor MCAT students. But what I am going to do is drop some knowledge on what has made such a HUGE difference in my scores now versus 21 years ago.

So here's tid bit #1: Read the answers BEFORE reading the question stem, and "unofficially" answer the questions you think are correct. By "unofficially" answering the question I mean to place a little dot with your pencil next to what you think the correct answer is. Then read the passage to answer the remaining questions.

Now I strongly believe that if you can't answer half of the questions on ANY section of the test without reading the paragraph first, then you need to work on your reading comprehension for verbal and/or your basic knowledge base for the science sections.

Despite all the packing, I did manage to have some fun this weekend when I attended the med school graduation of a former co-worker's kid and that in and of itself, probably isn't very remarkable since he's a PhD. What is remarkable is that it took this person SEVEN years to finish med school after a series of medical and academic setbacks. And I tell that story because there's a LOT to be said about importance of tenacity and perseverance in achieving ones goals. But there's also a LOT to be said about conquering whatever test taking/MCAT issues you have NOW before your matriculate, because no one knows how the rules for becoming a Doc are going to change in the future.

So with that said, I've never regret the path I've taken to get to this place especially as it relates to mastering standardized test taking. Because not only will this help me in the future, but hopefully, I'll be able to pass on a few helpful tips to others too!

Finally, cupcakes are my absolute favorite sweet to eat and I'm thrilled to say that the medical profession themed cupcakes in this post were VERY tasty! And I'm going to end this post with a shout-out to my girl Dr. T, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, and TRY again!!!:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

T-minus 21 and counting!

*Image credit google images

So in less than 2 weeks, the place we've called home for the past 13 years will no longer be our home! Hallelujah!!! Make that a double hallelujah!

Knowing this, I went home to NC this weekend to see my family since it will be awhile before I see them again once we move. And given all the pure garbage AKA drama going on in my family right now, that won't be a bad thing! No details needed, every family I know of has a certain level of dysfunction but geez, some people seem to thrive on it!!

Anyhoo, my first stop is ALWAYS a hot spot called Paul's place pictured below:

And when I say I ate hot dogs, I mean I had hot dogs for lunch AND dinner for the first 2 days I was there, LOL!!! So I "prepared" myself by keeping my fat intake on the low in the days before my trip (and hell naw, it probably didn't make a big difference!). Funny thing is that my Internet didn't work so I ended up having a true vacay, though not being able to get on the Internet for almost the entire time I was there was kinda HARD!!!!

I also went to church and my daughter took this photo afterwards:

The thing about my kid is that now that she's older AND taller, I'm starting to have frequent "speeches" with old, crusty men trying to come onto my kid. BAD IDEA, I'm the queen of the "what da' hell are you looking at with your old a$$" statement, ROTFL!!!

Another commonality on my trips back home to NC is breakfast at this fine, dining establishment:

Yeah I know, I'm lucky I get outta' there without an active case of shigellosis, but hey what's country girl at heart who's eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the US supposed to do, other than hope I don't get a case food poisoning, LOL???

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Awwwwwww d*mn, here comes that freakin' microscope again, LOL!!!!

So I'll find out THIS Friday if the Oncologist at the medical school department of a MAJOR cancer center, wants me to run his histo lab. Yeah, THAT again!!! And right now I feel sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo schizo when it comes to my career right now, that at THIS point, it's just laughable! I mean just yesterday, I was communicating with a school about finalizing a teaching position this Fall, and NOW this! And while the salary is just "so-so", the relocation and temporary housing assistance is the biz-ness!!!

Uh-hmmmmm Path201X, and I'm just about ready to replace the "X" with a number! :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Black girls DO play chess.

So I mentioned last year when we moved to a predominately Black county in Metro DC last year, that one of the reasons was because I wanted my daughter to have more interactions with Black folks who are like our family. And so far, I've been more than pleased though I'll NEVER understand why folks in this county settle for average to below average public schools. Actually, I do understand it on one level as it was explicated to me by a man who works in Ed Admin in this county. And let's just say that when Black folks talk about "educational conspiracies" created to keep us down, there's some legitimacy to that sentiment.

Anyhoo, after I removed my daughter from Orchestra a couple months ago due to some racial bullsh*t that after 3 years, I had tired of seeing her deal with, she was told to choose another activity. Well one of the activities she'd wanted to participate in was chess club, but her school didn't have one. So I was thrilled when I learned there was one not 5 minutes from our home.

The photo in this post is her playing one of the leaders of the club, so on her very first day participating, she was playing one of the best players they have. And by best, I mean he's a nationally ranked chess player. Yeah. But what I was VERY surprised to see was that there's only 2 other minority women in the club, so my goal of getting her around minority girls her age has not been as successful as I would have liked. Now I understand that most of the things she's interested in don't have a lot of Black participation, but I though for sure that wouldn't be the case with a chess club in a majority Black county. Oh well!

Speaking of my kid, I'd been stumped for the last 2 days on ONE physics problem in translational motion, which has been since 1986, the bane of my physics existence! Well not anymore, in 2 mins my kid with the 98% average in Physics over the entire school year was able to quite easily explain to me the following: 1) When doing problems involving free fall, acceleration is ALWAYS negative and 2) I'm supposed to use equations for the Y axis NOT X axis on these problems because I'm looking at vertical movement, NOT horizontal movement. Now I get that this are NOT difficult concepts to learn/understand/practice. But this is a GREAT example of just how damaging "mental blocks" about certain problems can make you feel dumb as rocks. The "translational motion" issue is one I've held for 30 freaking years and that is simply ridiculous! In the past, I was always bailed out in the PS section on the MCAT because of my Chemistry background, but when I became an MCAT tutor, I realized that I was going to have to FINALLY let that "crutch" go. And with my new found test taking strategies and an in home Physics tutor, I finally hope to do just that!!

Finally, I've started thinking about the MCAT stat that in my score range, the chances of my score decreasing is HIGHER than the chances of increasing my score, and that's kinda worrisome. Then I remind myself, that the statistical chances of me improving my score from where I started to where I ended when I last took in in 2011, was 0.00001 percent. And I mention this to my readers who may be concerned about being able to raise your score, the fact is that you SHOULD be concerned. But don't confuse concern, with defeat, do whatever you have to do to get that score up!! And I'll continue to contribute tips that helped me do the same. And with that, bring it on, 'cause imma be ready on September 12, 2013!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Except when it comes to the MCAT, ROTF!! I started my registration for the MCAT which I'll complete later this week, and boy has the registration formed changed!! Of course, when you've taken the MCAT multiple times over a 20 year period, you're bound to see some changes! Notable ones include breaking the African American box (a phrase I HATE, I prefer Black American) into 3 categories of Blacks, including African, Afro-Caribbean. I think this is critical because most med schools classes seem to be over run with Africans NOT Black Americans and culturally there are too many differences to name. Along this line, I don't think Africans should be entitled to the benefits of Affirmative Action, my personal belief being that the program was set up to right wrongs created by 300 years or so of slavery and the descendants of these people who are severely and negatively impacted. And if in my professional and personal experiences I'd seen more of an attempt of the 2 groups of Blacks to work together, then I'd feel VERY differently. But Africans tend to look out for other Africans, first and foremost. And that's just dumb because I don't see ANY other groups of folks doing the same, the Chinese, Indians, ect ALL work TOGETHER!!! So, it'll be real interesting to see what the data looks like in 5 or so years with all these categories.

Moving on, I took Physics and Chemistry exams and did pretty well overall. In both subjects I average an "11" which is significant because I tried a new strategy for answering the problems, I did NOT read ANY of the passages first. This is the same strategy I use in Verbal and do well there, so I'm thinking this may be a permanent change in my test taking strategy. I've also observed that if you can't answer at least half of the science questions without reading the passages, then there's a serious lack in comprehension of the material covered in the question. Again, this is all anecdotal, but pretty compelling just the same.

I also worked on my personal statement, most of which was written over a year ago while I was on the metro. And today I looked at it and felt pretty proud, I think it really captures who I am and how I got here very well!

Finally, anyone looking for updated MCAT tips from me, should check out my blog over the next few months.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I got the pow-er!!!!

*Image credit, google images

So I decided to review verbal in prep for my MCAT last week and the first day, I averaged an "8". But the second day, I averaged a "13", which is significantly better than I've EVER scored in the early part of my MCAT review. Again, much of the credit is due to the fact that I do MCAT stuff for a living and for that I'm VERY thankful. And now better able to see why God set things up for me this way in the first place. Yeah, I feeling kinda powerful about this MCAT thing:

Other very fabulous news is that I had an international client from Asia, an exciting first for me! I also had 2 interviews this week for histology positions and really, I don't know why in the HELL I'm still considering those. I mean yes, I want to be in a hospital setting again mainly to help me segue way into informatics, but not in that capacity where I've been frustrated working with the people who do that type of work for a living. So shout out to my Informatics guru Lori for setting me on the straight and narrow with my career decisions and forcing me to put ALL my professional eggs into the Informatics basket. Blessedly, my tutoring work gives me financial space to make the best professional decisions I can, so I need to get another dose of "faith and patience" and wait this thing out.

Anyhoo, those 2 histology interviews I had earlier this week were kinda of a waste of time for other reasons, in that one of them wanted someone who’s certified which I’m not, and the other was really trippin’, ONLY wanting me to seek positions through them. I mean what da’ hell, this isn’t that kinda economy, so while there’s significant advantages to them for “hogging my talent”, I’d never be stupid enough to go for something like that. Sure, there are folks out here looking for jobs by playing one company up against another, but companies have LONG since stopped being loyal to employees, so why are THEY trippin”? Again, all this is yet another reminder that business ownership is the ONLY way to go, the companies you work for aren’t going to look out for you, and as I've learend in an extremely hard way last year, neither are the people you work with.

So I’ve decided to sign up to volunteer at a local hospital known for being strong in the informatics, and hopefully that will come through. In the meantime, I’m back to going full speed ahead with my health informatics courses, so I’m happily, crazily, busy these days! And other than gain 2 new clients, I haven’t done much with the “business side” of my business, mainly because I’m not sure where we’re going to be living in the next 6 months (And it’s expensive to transfer a business to another state). What I do know is that this business stuff is more work than I EVER imagined, but the idea of having something I own and run is priceless!!