Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday break? NOT!!!!!

                                     
I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to finish up 2 stats courses over the winter break, including one class where 70% of my classmates have dropped out after the second week! Yikes!!!. But I think I did it because I'm trying to make up for lost time toward finishing my PhD. I think................
So it looks like joining my local SNMA (Student National Medical Association) chapter was a great move for me because I constantly get email "motivation" from them to stay the Physician/Scientist course. Recently, I got an email about the Annual Medical Education Conference being held in Austin Texas this year and it's an understatement to say that I'm looking forward to attending my first SNMA meeting!! Austin is one of the most beautiful cities in the US and the food there is pretty amazing too, so it's going to be a great time!

That week is going to be especially busy for me since I'll be at this meeting in San Fran earlier in that same week, 2015 Joint Summits on Translational Science. As I mentioned before, many of the people from my old, UNsupportive department in Texas are going to be there and there's also going to be folks from one of my alma maters there too. So I tremendously thank 2 profs at that east coast university in DC for having planted the seeds which helped me get to where I am today, immersed and in demand (job wise) when it comes to the field of biomedical informatics. Speaking of that alma mater, the elementary school where I teach occasionally, has a flag from that school posted in front of one of the classrooms:

                                                      

People say a LOT of negative things about the people/education here in Texas but I tell everyone I know that there are quite INCORRECT!! From the free breakfast provided to ALL students every morning, to the emphasis on getting a college education ie posting university flags, public schools in Texas seem more than committed to higher education than ANY of the 6 other states I've lived in.

Speaking of jobs, I'm still meeting/interviewing like a crazy woman for positions in biomedical informatics/health data science, searching for that combination of flexibility and a gig that I can learn a LOT from. However, finding flexibility is proving to be the most challenging aspect of all but as I've said MANY times before, I'll happily (and blessedly) stick with teaching until the right gig comes along!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tests of resiliency and patience

Everyday, I get biblical scriptures by email which allow me to start my days off in the best way possible. And lately, these scriptures have been ALL about being patient and equally important to being a middle age premed, being resilient. Now the resiliency part of that is typically no problem for me though I've had my fare share of thoughts that I'll get my PhD and be done with school, permanently. But being patient is something I've struggled with all my adult life and in doing so, have made a few decisions that I wouldn't mind a "do over" for. That said, I recognize that for most of us, the "challenges" we have in life are part of our life's stories and that what happens, both good and not so good, are ultimately things which shape our character, define who we are, and define who we are yet to be.

So my semester ends up great, I did very well overall in the courses I'm taking for the certification exam as a Certified Health Data Analyst, and I'll be VERY busy over the winter break finishing 2 courses I'm taking as "refreshers" for my spring/summer PhD classes. Unfortunately, I did have a small "brouhaha" with one of my profs when I became so ill that I had to make a trip to the local ER. But that wasn't a good enough excuse for this new Prof not threaten to flunk me in the class for missing so many days (despite an almost perfect "A" average at the time). So it would be an understatement to say that I didn't take it too well, a position "aggravated" by my own position as an Adjunct Chemistry Prof at this same institution. Blessedly, I'm on the mend and have been for a while now and I'm so thankful to God for it! But I realize that whatever I did before in terms of taking care of myself, needs to be stepped up significantly. I talked before about how my eating/exercise habits have improved, in addition to carefully monitoring my asthma in a relatively new environment. But I must also stay on top of my flu season "preparation" (ie get the darn flu shot before flu season!!) like I never have before especially since I almost died of pneumonia in the late 90's. Aren't health professionals the MOST hard headed sometimes, LOL???

Movin' on, I've become quite active in my local "Data Science" community regularly meeting with others in this new and emerging field. So at a recent meeting, I connected with the 3 other women there which was not only dominated by foreigners, but men too. The fact that the 4 of us are all racially/culturally different was really kinda cool too!! More than ever I realize that bonding with women with similar goals will not only be key to my success it will certainly be key to my "survival" in this field as well.

On the med school front, I was able to get a pretty thorough review of general chemistry through tutoring a local predoctoral student last semester but I know in the area of chemistry, I have MUCH more work to do as far as MCAT practice testing is concerned. So next spring, I plan to cover that in addition to biochemistry and biology review. I'm still on target for a Summer MCAT exam and I'll be assured in my prep time due to being purposely part-time in my PhD program in the Spring. And it also helps me tremendously that my studies in Health Data Science reinforces my "med school in my 50's goal", todos las dias or everyday!!

**For a reminder if what my PhD program in Informatics/Health Data Science has to do with the practice of medicine, click on the link.**



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Stuntin' like a med student!

Obviously I won't know how it feels to be a med student until I become one. But until then, I'll be THOROUGHLY acclimated to being SUPER busy ALL THE TIME!!!

With just 2 weeks left this semester, I'm FINALLY feeling what I call "academically normal". My grades are still high though I did have little slump when I got sick a couple weeks ago for the second time (still working on managing my allergies/asthma in a new climate), but overall I'm VERY pleased with my academic performance this semester.

MCAT wise I'm behind but without a set testing date on my schedule, I'm not overly worried that I haven't done much in the way of formal studying. With the way my schedule is working out, I won't be able to do a lot of focused studying until May at the earliest. So maybe a late June/early July 2016 date will work? We'll see!!

Movin' on, I'm spending a lot of time reading papers for what I hope will be my dissertation project and I'm meeting with PIs as well. However, given my VERY specific interest in health disparities and natural language processing (NLP) in clinical decision support, I'm realizing that I may be "winging" this dissertation work solo. And by that I mean that rather than taking on a project already in progress, I'll be creating and defending my own. And given the paucity of research in health disparities using NLP, this will be a TON of work. But hey, this is what I've wanted to do for a while so it's ALL good!! :)

Lastly, I've realized the hard way that I'm at the age now where it's do or die as far as me getting in tip top health is concerned. So after realizing that I've gained 15 pounds since I relocated to Texas ( putting the "B" in baby got back), I'm back down to what I was when I moved here, 5'8" and 140 pounds. I haven't started running again just yet, but I am exercising on a regular basis about 3X/week. But this weight "stabilization" hasn't come without major sacrifice, I eat at most 2.5 complete meals a day. And that works out to me eating 5 smaller meals everyday so I'm not hungry. To say it's been a little rough is an understatement especially since I've never in my life had to monitor what I eat. But between the escalating blood pressure and getting a booty made for a rap video, I decided that it's more important to be healthy especially as an old premed and to pass on the ability to REALLY "make it clap", lol!!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Peace at last!!!


So it finally seems that I'm getting pretty well settled in here in Texas. And by that I mean, I've finally decided on my next career goals. I think............, LOL!! With this semester almost over (HELL YEAH!!), I eagerly anticipate formally continuing along the path toward my PhD at my new institution in the Spring.

And yes, I did decide to go for the PhD because I think I can get "more bang for my buck". The fact that almost all of the cohort I would have been classmates with in the Doctorate program were already Clinicians, pretty much "sealed the deal on my decision". And in the biggest irony of all, the methods I aced but received no encouragement/support for in the Asian group I rotated with last summer, are the same ones my new adviser (who is also Asian but Indian, like the folks who have made up most of my tutoring clients) is encouraging me to continue to develop and pursue for my dissertation. That means, that I'll see them next Spring at a meeting for an organization we're all a members of! Boo-Yah!!!

Movin' on, my MCAT studying is coming along though I've dropped off a little recently to prepare two presentations I have to do by the end of the month. And after reading a post on oldpremeds, I've decided NOT to mention a date/year for when I'll apply to med school until after I take the MCAT because there's simply NO point. Yes, I'm still shooting to take the MCAT next year, but the exact date is a moving target (late next summer?). And you know what I'm okay with that for now, because med school isn't going ANYWHERE and though I was concerned about being 50+ when I apply, I've simply decided NOT to worry about that anymore either. Why? Because there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. I realize most many MD schools will rule me out because of my age, but I'm certainly not going to let that stop me from applying anyway. At this point, MD, DO, Caribbean MD, it doesn't matter to me as long as I get it done!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Breathe!!!

So after 3 weeks of nuthin' but exams, quizzes, projects, and more quizzes, I FINALLY get a chance to catch my breath and relax! Translation, I've had time to tap daily naps for the past few days, LOL!! And as I learned when I was a grad student with a book in one arm and a nursing baby in the other, a power nap makes ALL the difference in the world! Now all I need to do is find a good bubble bath mixture to put the rarely used jacuzzi tub to work then I'll really be feeling wonderful!

Movin' on, I'm doing a presentation on a field of HIT in 2 weeks and naturally I choose something I'm thinking about myself, the field of Clinical Informatics. I've talked about it before but today, I'm going to discuss more specifics.

To enter this specialty requires successful completion of Residency, followed by a 2-3 year fellowship period. So as an example, my top Resident fields are IM and/or Peds, and Preventative Medicine and today, my very top choice is Preventative Medicine. To date, there are only about 10 or so approved programs in the US. Obviously with the importance to Health Information to the practice of medicine (duh), this field is continuing to grow, a realization that becomes more real every day with my current study of health data science/health information technology.



Saturday, October 31, 2015

What do YOU need?

I just LOVE the song by Justin Bieber "What Do You Mean" and found out from my kid that what I thought he was saying "need" was actually "mean".  But I thought it would make a good post topic anyway, so here's my list in no specific order. What do I need?

1) A 4 day vacation to a Caribbean island, STAT!!!

2) Another cat, I really miss having 2 balls of fury love!

*nosy cat chasing birds from inside

3) A chef for a month, the thrill of eating out has LONG gone (especially in Texas where they give you 3X the "normal" amount of food) and cooking everyday is starting to get old! AND tiring!!

4) A sports car, now that I haven't been a "tennis Mom" in almost 3 years, I'd like to trade in my SUV for a car "on fleek" for the next few years, LOL!!

5) Some clarity now that I've been accepted to a PhD program in Biomedical Informatics. I actually didn't see this one coming!!

6) Relating to #5, a PhD sounds "stronger" than a Doctorate in Health Data Science so I need confirmation that my suspicions are true. Le sigh!

7) A "cuter" way to carry my books and laptop, I feel like an old bag lady with this thing.
*my uncool looking back saver

8) Some consistently cool weather for fall, temps in the 90's in October is just BAD!!!!! URGH!!!!!

9) The energy to keep going at full speed throughout the day, of course getting to bed before 12:00AM would certainly help.

10) To continue to be thankful for all that God has blessed me and my family with through tough times and good times! Life is TRULY a rollercoaster and I wouldn't have it any other way!! :)


Monday, October 26, 2015

Tools of the trade

* a yellow highlighter disguised as a injection device

So as I mentioned last week, I attended a premed "fair" at one of the top medical schools in the US which just happens to be in hot arse Texas. And despite some trepidation about how I would feel attending with people around the same age as my daughter, I ended having a great time and "connected" just fine.

Turns out that there are a few middle aged folks at this institution though I still haven't decided if I'll add it to my list. And in retrospect, moving to Texas when we did was a masterstroke since there are numerous med school options with the opening of TWO new medical schools in the state this year alone. But then given the commonplace morbid obesity here, Physicians are definitely needed!! So as of today, there are ~4 school on my list the names of which I'll keep to myself until I matriculate ( when you talk as much smack as I do, it's just common sense to play it safe since this seems to be the era of EXTREME hateration, LOL!!! Speaking of that, shout out to "Illinois" and "MUSC" ;))

Anyway, I'm really glad this semester has kicked my butt as much as it has so far because I really needed the adjustment to my motivation and more importantly, my organizational skills (eternal shout out to Whitney for the upteeneth time!! :))

I'm also leaning toward finishing my Doctorate before matriculation (assuming I have a choice) since I've come to the realization that having dual degree career aspirations in middle age brings on too much negativity. Of course, I've heard this ALL my life starting in my teens, the ONLY thing that's changed is the reason. So rather than telling naysayers to kiss where the sun don't shine, I may chose to matriculate as a Dr. instead.

And speaking of being a Dr., I'm thinking (again) that a residency in Preventative Medicine followed by a fellowship in Clinical Informatics, may be a good fit. Especially in Texas. I'm starting to see way too much in terms of bureaucracy with indigent care which makes me think that while serving undeserved patients is a personal calling, there may be a more fitting way for me to do so. Plus, I think this career could give me the flexibility to every now and then, volunteer my serveries in a country that needs Physicians. Sure, I won't be "certified" to practice medicine, but I'd certainly be willing at assist those who are in whatever possible capacity. I figure that since med students do this kinda thing all the time, there ought to be space for a Physician board certified in a non patient care field to do so too!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

When it rains, it pours

*Image of recent flooding in Texas


I knew when I got up 1 hour later than I had intended, it was going to be a challenging day because: 1) I NEVER wake up late and 2) I HATE being late to work! So I called the school I signed up to work at to let them know I would be very late. The time was 7:05AM which was the time I should have been heading out of the door especially because people in Texas don't know how to drive in the rain when flooding conditions are present.

So as I'm dropping my daughter off, I'm telling her than since I'm so late, I should just call in. Plus I had a bad feeling that I couldn't shake to which she responded, "Mom maybe you should just go back home" which she almost never ever says to me. But I said, no I'm going to show up because it's unprofessional not to, especially at the last minute after I've already told then I'm coming.

Seeing a police car in front of a school isn't unusual for the kinds of schools where I choose to work. Seeing 2 as I was parking my car only raised an eyebrow. But when I saw the third police car, I should have turned my a$$ around, called in to say I couldn't' show up, then went back home and got back into my bed!!!

But no, I decided to "do the right thing" and report to work anyway. BIG MISTAKE!!! Though I'd called in to let them know I would be very late, the secretary got a serious 'tude with me when I went to clock in. So between the perimenopausal PMS I was dealing with, getting soaked coming into the building, and the "police officer reunion" being held at this elementary school, I responded in a pretty curt way. Harumph, LOL!!

Now I'm heading out to the cubical (disguised as my classroom) when I see the a$$ drawz of whom I would later learn is one of the reading teachers, but whom I assumed was a parent by the tossled dirty blond hair, large "tramp stamp" CLEARLY showing, the off the shoulder top showing a bra strap, and flip flops that were better suited for a pool party than teaching reading to a class of children.

So my day goes as normal until after lunch, when as my class is walking up to the classroom, "tramp stamp" let out a scream so loud, I can still hear her ringing in my hears. Apparently her class decided to as a group, run over to the nearby play ground instead of returning to their room with her. And as I looked at her as my (quiet class) walked by, I'm certain I gave her the death stare of the century since these were the exact same kids that an hour earlier were working quietly at their desks in MY room. In fact, I didn't have to reprimand these kids AT ALL during our science lessons.

What happened next....well...... "tramp stamp" decided to come to my classroom and in front of the entire class, call me out in the most unprofessional of ways, for the death stare I gave her for screaming at the kids. So between the perimenopausal PMS I was dealing with, getting soaked coming into the building, and the "police officer reunion" being held at this elementary school, I was compelled to respond as follows:

" I don't know why your here, I suspect you need a paycheck. But I'm here to show these kids that despite their upbringing, environments, and poor teachers, they can aspire to be more than cashiers and professional athletes when they grow up. Now all morning long, I've heard nothing but screaming from you and disruption from your kids ALL MORNING LONG. So instead of asking me why I gave you the look I did when you screamed at those kids something you would never have done if they looked like YOU, perhaps YOU need to check yourself for the kind of personal and professional  example you're setting for these kids. Because from my perspective, I don't see where you're doing either. Now if you don't mind, I have a class of well-behaved students with bright futures to teach. Have a good rest of your afternoon".

About 10 minutes after my "chat", the vice principle comes in and asks me if there's a problem. And I say: "Yes, there's a big problem. The problem is that you have a teacher here that think it's appropriate to scream at the top of her lungs at children and to allow them to run around uncontrollably. And based on the written answers these kids have turned in for their science lesson, she isn't doing a good job of teaching these kids anything either. I work at schools like this all the time, and I have never seen anything like this at any other school. And it's a shame."

Needless to say what was supposed to be a two day assignment (that I was going to change to one day when I got home for the evening), became one when the Principle a Hispanic woman, informed me that my services would not be needed the following day. And this was her very unprofessionally written response to my email to her of what happened with "tramp stamp" earlier in the day.

I've documented my experiences working in disadvantaged schools pretty often on my blog over the past years, and with this one exception, my experiences have all been wonderful. Challenging but wonderful, and I've been offered numerous opportunities by the Principles I've worked with to make this my full-time gig. But as I learned 20 years ago as a chemistry teacher at an inner city high school, the "system" isn't set up to truly help these kids succeed and this bothers me GREATLY. The fact that other minorities are often complicit in this failure of a system (like this Cuban principle) really  REALLY angers me. Still, I hope that in the short time I spend with these kids reminding them of how smart they are and of how much they can achieve if they work hard and stay out of trouble, that something will stick with at least ONE of them. Because as my daughter said when I picked her up and told her about my day, try as I might, I simply can't "save" every kid that needs it. And it was that realization that made me cry after I sent the principle the email essentially chastising her for not doing more for the children who need the help the most.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

These kids......

Being the quasi writer I am, I can't put into words the feelings I get working on a regular basis with disadvantaged kids. And what I also know is that it's almost impossible envisioning yourself doing something if you never see anyone that looks like you doing it. So while I grew up reading about Dr. Percy Julian a famous Black Chemist, I NEVER in a million years thought I could do the same because I'd never SEEN a Black Chemist. Even with two college educated parents. But not long after I met a Black Chemist working at a majority institution, I became a Chemistry major and the connection there isn't coincidental. Of course, if I had attended an HBCU I'd have seen examples of Black folks majoring in science a LOT sooner, but that's a topic for another day.

Movin' on, after WEEKS of struggling to get organized, I'm finally there and I'm seeing the benefits, a straight "A" average in all my classes. That isn't to say that all my grades have been "A's" thus far, just that that's where I am now and will remain for the reminder of the semester. I'm also maintaining pretty good progress with my MCAT studying, though there's room for improvement as far as how much I review is concerned.

This weekend, I'm attending a premed fair at one of the top medical schools in the country and while I think my age is a substantial "barrier" to my admission to this school, I'm going because I certainly won't get admitted if I don't network and apply anyway. I'm just looking forward to the looks of bewilderment I'm certain to get from people who I'm sure will be wondering what I'm doing there at my age, especially since I've decided to leave my edges slightly silver. Speaking of age, I found this HIGHLY inspiring article in DO magazine about med school matriculants in their 50s:  


If I'm being realistic (and honest with myself), I pretty certain that my best options for med school matriculation are at a DO school and that's perfectly fine by me. The first med school to ever recruit me as a premed was a DO school, my pediatrician growing up was a DO, so I've long since been comfortable with the idea of having the letters DO behind my name rather than MD. More importantly, I'm very comfortable with myself and my abilities so I'm not concerned about having to "defend" this choice should it come down to that. My work will continue to speak for me, I'm sure!!

Lastly, I met with the other profs yesterday at the college I'll be teaching Chemistry at next Spring, and I have to say that I'm really looking forward to it! :) I've also volunteered to help students with their research projects so that adds an extra sense of purpose to me teaching chemistry at this school primarily attended by URM students!!! 






Sunday, October 18, 2015

The best premed major is..........................

*image from myfootpath.com

.............Health Information Management/Health Information Technology (HIM/HIT)with a minor in Biology. For this post, I thought I'd share some info rather than focusing on my premed/Doctoral student life, LOL!!!

Why the big push for HIM/HIT? Simple, a Physician spends an obscene amount of time handling/creating health data and I realize this more and more each day as I get more exposed to the health data side of medicine. Plus, a certified HIM graduate (with an RHIA), would make BANK (good money), while gaining everyday access to the bread and butter of medical practice, medical records and health/medical data.

Of course, my current experiences in Health Data Science biases my opinion about premed majors, but the job market and the ~50% med school rejection rate is the primary reason I'm not pro Biology or Chemistry majors for premeds anymore. So I say, why not get a jump start on the data and language of medicine!

I also think this is a great second degree program too, plus there are a few you can do online while holding a full-time job!!! Following graduation and after getting certified, you could work from home as a few HIM gigs are virtual (especially coding positions) which works great for premed parents.

Here's a link to a list of AS, BS, and MS programs in Health Information Management, Health Information Technology, and Health Informatics: Directory of AS, BS, and MS programs in HIM/HI:

Check it out if you're looking for an interesting and in demand major! Speaking of in demand, the RHIA was recently listed #2 on a list of certifications worth having. Certifications in demand:


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Working Day and Night!!!

So the title of this post is a spot on definition of what my life is these days, and I honestly wouldn't have it ANY other way!! After a few rough weeks of adjusting, I'm finally in a great place school and career wise though I have to resist the temptation to continuously question why in da' hell it took me so long to get to this VERY comfortable and focused place. MCAT wise, I'm doing concurrent review in Biology and Chemistry and as I've previously mentioned, regularly tutoring a student in chemistry is that extra push I needed to get the lead out so to speak. The book I'm using is below and it's an updated version of the book I used in undergrad 30 years ago.
I realized recently that what Profs are teaching these days is a LOT more extensive than the stuff I learned, so I decided to upgrade my "equipment". Speaking of Profs, I interviewed for a part-time position as an Adjunct Chem prof at a local college starting in the Spring and I'm looking forward to doing that again too, but in a MUCH more socially and financially diverse school than the one I worked at a few years back. And in the spirit of yet another revelation (not that I needed this one), I've come to the conclusion again that educational environments work best for me!!! And for the future, that means that I'll likely end up working at an academic institution as a Research Physician if I don't go the Locums route which still looks VERY appealing too. As it relates to building my career in health data/health informatics/health information technology, I've decided that based in large part on my past job experiences, that I will ONLY work for someone with the "Dr" title moving forward. Now I realize that this sounds educationally elitist but the reality is that working for someone I outeducate has led to the worst jobs experiences I've EVER had. In today's work environment, people seem to worry about you either taking their jobs or having to work for you one day (although most times, it feels to me like most people still have a high school mentality). At any rate, I've simply decided to avoid what I know does NOT work for me. Plus, you add the fact that I'll also be working on my Doctorate (classes, which would have to be signed off by my Supv), and now I could have a recipe for an insecure Boss explosion!!! Thanks, but I'll pass on that!! So that might bring up the question of how will I adjust to being a med student who frequently works with/around people with less education. Well, I 1000% respect folks who have something to teach me plus, those folks know going in what my ultimate goal is so as a student, I'm NO threat to their current job security. And since medical school is a place for me to learn, I have absolutely NO qualms about the fact that they'll be PLENTY of people for me to learn from no matter how much education they have. However, the biggest differences between med school and answering to someone I outeducate on a job is that: 1) The people I'll be around in med school will be there to teach me something I'm dying to learn and I gladly accept this. Most importantly, I'm NO THREAT to their current position as a lowly med student. So I expect an entirely different situation than the one I've experienced as a hospital employee. Finally, being the daughter of an Advanced Nurse from a family full of Nurses, I know better than to disrespect Nurses who make up the majority of healthcare professionals in hospital settings.

The last topic I want to blog about today is that I decided to go ahead and pursue my Doctorate concentrating in Health Administration and Health Data Science because I realized that there's NO real reason I can't keep ALL my education and career goals in play at the same time as long as I'm willing to work hard. I realized that all I really needed to do was change the company I keep to positive folks, share details of my career goals with folks on a "need to know basis", and bust my tail to get both the organizational skills and motivation to multitask on multiple levels ALL THE TIME. But the single most important thing I needed to do was to have the faith that God gave me multiple talents for a reason and that if I maintained a "faith of titanium", there was absolutely NO REASON I couldn't do what I've talked about FOR YEARS!!! So right now, I'm preparing for the MCAT, teaching/tutoring Science courses, working on my HIT/Health Data Analyst certification which doubles as Doctorate course prep too.
*multitaking without compromising style
I'm also volunteering with Komen and participating in organizations related to my future as a Physician (through SNMA) and Health Data Scientist (through Women Who Code and Blacks in IT). And when it's cool in hot a$$ Texas, I manage a couple tennis matches too!! Yeah, it's an understatement to say that I work day and night!!

 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Being mindful of the company you keep

If there's ONE single thing I understand more and more and I contemplate my application to med school in middle age, it's that my goals and dreams are a gift, one that I must be very mindful of whom I share them with. Because when it comes to negative people who feel stuck in whatever career path they've chosen or are just plain negative people, it becomes obvious that they are more often than not, incapable of sharing in my happiness, to be in a position where I can pursue whatever goal I want as long as I'm also prepared for the sacrifices that come with that choice. Whew, that was a LONG sentence, LOL!!!  But it was also was my daughter's statement to me recently that I seem happier than she's ever seen me and far more career "settled" since I've significantly cut communications with EVERYONE who's ever had a negative word to say about my goals of becoming a Physician. And I mean EVERYONE including, VERY close relatives. 

Now I know I may be taking quite a few liberties with the following biblical quote:
2 Corinthians 6:17"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."

But the fact is that it applies to many things in life figuratively speaking, that negativity is an "unclean thing" that can derail even the best thought out and executed plans. So I've done what I needed to do and for the first time in YEARS, it feels that my plans are coming to fruition. In fact, I know for sure they are!

So on that note, I can say that I’m on track to be ABD or having all but my dissertation completed by the time I matriculate into med school and my regular readers over the years may recall that this was always my original plan. How I got off track has been pretty well documented on my blog, I’m just so thrilled to now have a focus and direction to be very excited about. And next year, when I start regularly travelling to meetings for SNMA (Student National Medical Association), AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), and a yet to be determined 3rd organizational meeting, I’ll really start to feel like this is MY time, and 2016 will be MY year!



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Komen Saturday!


So yesterday, I was at my old hospital working the Komen table at a health fair with Ms.R, who's currently undergoing treatment for triple negative breast cancer. And the day was really wonderful, filled with music, great health information, and focused on the primarily Hispanic and underserved population that makes up the majority of the patient population for my old hospital.


While there I found out that the dude in the little Kmart suit that posed as my former Supv, had hired someone to replace me about a month after I quit and that that person had quit after only 2 weeks. And don't worry, I won't say much more about his mysonginst little arse (that hasn't already been said, then erased, LOL!!), I'm going to keep this post as positive as possible!!! But suffice it to say, that I'm not the least bit surprised!!!

Movin' on, I decided to pick up another student to tutor in Chemistry after realizing that I need it to make sure I also keep preparing for the MCAT. And I had a moment where I thought about how unmanageable my schedule is, but then figured that a VERY busy schedule is the life of a med student and that I had better get used to it. But enough about that, it has been a beast trying to get caught back up with everything after having the flu, but I have my last assignment for the week due later this evening and I'll be sooooooooooo glad when I'm done!!

Other news is that I'm going to a premed student fair at one of the top medical schools in the US next month and received my formal invitation about a week ago. To complete it, I was required to specify my age and I wish I could have seen the look on the faces of the people who checked the date after reviewing my information, LOL!!! Still I remain more focused than ever on my future Physician goals especially now that I'm getting an up close and personal look at the field of Clinical Informatics. And if I had to choose today, I'd complete a Peds Residency followed by a fellowship in Clinical Informatics. But since I'll have my doctorate in Health Data Science by then, I'm not sure how that would work out logistically since I'll have almost a decade in the field by the time residency rolls around too.

Lastly, I'm a HUGE Janet fan, so I'm thrilled to add this banger to my exercise playlist!!!




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thanks, but NO thanks!

*image from bravo life coaching
So yesterday, I withdrew my name for consideration for the Health Data Analyst position I was recruited to apply for last week. And my reasons are: First, I'm enrolled in classes for my certification as a Health Data Analyst and I'm not willing to drop them to work full-time and for less money than I would make because I'm not certified. Second, my past job history has clearly shown that if I don't have an offer on the table within 48 hours of the last interview, than means that there's someone else this group would rather work with. And given that I'm usually offered the gig on the spot or within 24 hours of the last interview, I've got the wisdom now to walk away from situations (doubt) that have been disastrous for me in the past. And outside of a major decision maker being unavailable, I've learned from my own experiences as a "Boss" that I don't need to think about working with a person I "jive well" with at the interview. So I politely withdrew my name. Lastly, my career over the past few years has suffered from a HUGE lack of consistency and focus and now that I have it, I'm not willing to let it go. Especially considering that being a Health Data Analyst it's not by ANY means, my ultimate career goal, being a Physician with extensive training and experiences as a certified Health Data Analyst IS. Plus, I have this idea that I could create a great EHR one day, once I know what Docs value and need..............

Speaking of career focus, I met with one of my Profs after class yesterday to discuss my plans over the next year and a half, and I must say that it feels good to get some positive feedback for the first time in a LONG time. While he did initially question my decision to leave a graduate program in Health Informatics to pursue certification as a Health Data Analyst, after I explained that there were "gaps" in my knowledge base not being filled because most of my classmates were already Clinicians of some sort, he thought my decision made perfect sense. Along those same lines, the one major thing I realized in my last data gig at a major hospital a few months ago was that clinical/medical terms, how clinical environments operate, along with the nuances of patient care and patient data, is not something that should be learned "on the fly". In fact, it's the idea that most hospitals think that little to no clinical background is required or needed to code for things like medical records and EMRs/EHRs, that's the primary reason EMRs/EHRs don't function all that well in clinical environments. Put another way, not ONE of the 4 different EHRs I've used was written by ANYONE with a clinical background. Yet people wonder why they don't function all that well in clinical environments?? DUH!!!! Even with some of the data focused computer programs I've used, NONE of them were written with health data in mind. And over the long haul, I'm going to change that.........

So for now, I'm at home with the flu (in front of  a bowl of oatmeal, YUCK!!) while preparing for my first health stats exam due on Monday. I'm also feeling darn good about not only being in a good focused place where my career is concerned, I'm also excited about everything "medical" I'm learning too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Bout D@*n Time!!!

*image of Viola Davis from the telegraph

I rarely watch the Emmy awards, but I decided to watch the Sunday night event to see Viola Davis win the Emmy award for Best Actress in a Drama series (and yeah, I KNEW she was going to win!!). But I didn't know she was the first Black women to ever win in this category. Really America? So lately, I've began to take notice of a quite a few folks who seem to be getting their professional strides in their 40's.......a LOT like I'm doing now, LOL!! People like Morgan Freeman who didn't get his first big acting role until he was 52 after 30+ years spent in the business. And yes, 52 sounds like the age I'm going to be in med school too. ;)

Then I stared thinking to myself, if they can achieve such great success being middle aged in Hollywood, which is by far the most fickle and racists "institution" I can think of, then surely I can matriculate in med school being middle aged since the odds they face are significantly greater than ANY I face as a middle aged premed. SIGNIFICANTLY greater!!! Not only that, my dual doctorate degree goal ought to still be doable too, I've simply got to be smart about how I go about things. And right now, being smart means making the most of my time which is exactly what I'm doing as we speak........................................................................................................................................................


Friday, September 18, 2015

Too good to be true??

With all the grammatical errors I make while blogging, it came as quite a shock when I submitted an assignment for one of my HIT classes and was accused of copying someone else's work. But then writing scientifically in proper grammar/English hasn't been a challenge for me since undergrad. None to worry, after I explained my background to my Prof he apologized for his error in thinking though he didn't change my grade on that particular assignment( he gave me a "C"). And being the late blooming gunner that I am, since my overall grade in the class is an "A", I decided to let this one pass.

Moving on, I made a LOT of progress in my MCAT Biology review this week. But I also dropped the two students I had been tutoring because I realized that I just don't have the time if I'm going to make getting accepted to med school and mastering Heath Data before medical school (and getting paid a LOT of money in the meantime) a priority. Along those same lines, I'm also interviewing for another Health Data Science gig after a local recruiter got my attention with a potential offer that I just couldn't pass on!! And speaking of gigs, I had an amazing week working with my kids and feel like I have a couple future Scientists among my students too!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Getting to a more organized state or negative Entropy!!

* one of my favorite things in wedding cake, my favorite flavor!!!
So in my last post, I talked about the organizer I recently purchased to help me get myself together. And so far so good, but the other thing Whitney has (indirectly) helped me with is getting my notes better organized too. Actually, by her example, I know how to use colors in a way that makes sense.
Below, is the page I borrowed from her to learn how to use colors in a way that leads to better understanding instead of confusion (Whitney, I hope you don't mind me posting this page but if you do let me know, no hard feelings either way):

* Image by Whitney http://dikaios18woman.blogspot.com/
Now I would be embarrassed to show you what I used to do when it came to multiple colors in my notes. But here's what I do now:

 
Now maybe for some of you, this way of highlighting makes perfectly good sense. But for a person with ADD (like me, LOL!!), it's real easy to get carried away especially with coloring!!!
And speaking of coloring for my birthday which was yesterday, one of the things my daughter gave me was a set of colored pencils and a coloring book of Indian images. It works well for relaxation/lowering blood pressure, but it's also also fun too though I have to wear reading glasses to do it. And here's my second drawing (and trust me you don't want to see the first one, LOL!!):

Lastly, I started teaching at a local school system and after the disaster that was the middle school science class I had first, I've decided to work at a bilingual inner city elementary school instead. Now it wasn't my intention to select a bilingual school though I was quite deliberate about selecting an inner city one (and living downtown makes this so very easy). But when I learned that I would be giving science lessons in English and Spanish, I decided to embrace it and chalk it up to God directing my path again especially since I hadn't been practicing my Spanish as I thought I would on my own. And once again, I had a really great experience though I kept my English/Spanish dictionary readily available too!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

MY Life

"If you looked in my life
And see what I've seen..."


Whenever I'm surfing the net reading various blogs, I always wonder about the things people don't blog about. Because it seems to me that people only really blog about good things and that's disingenuous in a way because we ALL Have "challenges" in our lives, though most people who blog don't seem to be as open as I am about mine, LOL!!! That's also part of the reason why I'm rarely on Facebook for any length of time because it seems to be more about "Hey, I got a Bentley" or "Hey, my husband brought me 'Louie'", more than things that really mean something like "Hey I just finished Chemo" or "My kid just graduated tech school". But I guess to each their own when it comes to these things....................

So in my surfing for new and inspirational blogs to read, I came across this one from a reader I had no idea had started med school( Unless I have her confused with someone else with the same name, LOL). Her blog about being a medical student at Ross University is here:

Besides being the impetus for me purchasing a detailed planner with times ie 8, 8:30, 9 ect.,


*photo bomb courtesy of another teacup from my collection


Whitney is also absolutely GORGEOUS, not that that has anything to do with anything! But back when I was in school (30 years ago), women that looked like her and this young lady didn't go to med school, at least not from what I can recall. And that's no dis to the women who did go except that more than a few of the middle age versions of these women aren't that much fun to work with. But I digress, this reminds me of once being asked where people should look for women to recruit to enter STEM fields and I responded with the cheer leading and Pom Pom squads, which was met with a dropped jaw and bulging eye balls, LOL!!! But that's actually how I feel, though I understand that there are societal stereotypes to how STEM women should look. But fortunately with this new generation, that seems to be changing!!! You can actually be cute, wear nice clothes and perfume, be feminine, get your nails done, and it's all good (though more of the "fuddy duddys" need to retire or free their minds) !!!

Moving on, things are really going great in my HIT classes and I'm also very excited about the “gaps” in my knowledge base that are being filled. Unfortunately, studying Health Informatics without being a Clinician of some sort always left me feeling like I was missing something and while I did extremely well in the program (had a 4.0GPA), it was clear that I need something more. Luckily for me, I feel like like I've found that missing something by officially switching from a program in Health Informatics to one in Health Information Technology. That also means that I decided to leave my old school too and in too many ways to count, it was good bye, good riddance!! With all the issues I had in that program, I should have left a LONG time ago but more importantly, when my mentor left the program and my adviser didn't speak well of the “Asian” dominance occurring in the program, that should have been my second MAJOR clue to MOVE ON!!. But that tenacious/stubborn thing I have going on leaves me hanging onto things that God clearly warns me to walk away from, I just blessed that now I'm in a MUCH better mental place to do what needs to be done and have the unshakable faith that God will “clear my path” for me if I'm willing to pay attention and listen.

As far as my MCAT review, I didn't get much done last week because I had a TON of things to do for my HIT classes but with today being a holiday, I have time to get back on track. I've also decided to slow things down some with the Chemistry with Kimberly website since my schedule is already pretty jammed packed and as I've mentioned before, recording those videos takes up a LOT of time.
Finally, I did find time to visit a few thrift stores where I've found a couple items to add to my teacup and saucer collection. Here's my latest find:



I have NO WORDS for how much I enjoy having a cup of coffee or tea in one of the pretty cups, absolutely makes my mornings!!! Now I'll leave you with some of the best lyrics in R&B music, Mary's music has been the "songs" of my life for decades!

"Life can be only what you make it
When you're feelin' down
You should never fake it
Say what's on your mind
And you'll find in time
That all the negative energy
It would all cease.....
And you'll be at peace with yourself
You won't really need no one else
Except for the man up above
Because He'll give you love"




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The bigger plan!!

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28


I had a moment on the commuter train coming back from one of my HIT (Health Information Technology) classes, where I realized that there's no way in the world I could have continued my studies in health data science while working on my last data research gig!!! ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!!!

Then I smiled a BIG smile when I realized that for a while now, nothing good, "bad", or indifferent that has happened to me since relocating to (hot a$$) Texas has been an "accident" or mistake. In fact, I wouldn't change a thing about all the valuable lessons I've learned both academic and personal because I became more certain with each passing day that it will all come together to make me a phenomenal Physician one day! Yep!!

So after very carefully planning out my life for this Fall semester, I realized that I need to be very smart and deliberate about the schedule I set for myself. So with that in mind, I've only taken on 2 students to tutor, a Pharmacy student and an undergraduate Premed student and that's it!!! I'm also going to work in a local school system, though I still haven't decided in what capacity. It will be science oriented but in what way, I haven't made up my mind and I have until Wednesday to do so. I also feel like I'm finally in a good groove with the Chemistry with Kimberly website, which also doubles as some MCAT review for me too. Along those same MCAT lines, I'm taking weekly exams in the biological sciences after reviewing the new EK material too.



* Expanded work station, with the MCAT always on my mind

And so far so good, it's kinda weird to look at my progress on the MCAT which is pretty substantial given where I started over 20 years ago when I totally BOMBED the exam, following a night of partying :( And I often think of the kind of Doc I would have become had things worked out the very first time I applied to medical school and while I think I would have been a competent Physician, I think these years since that time of learning, researching, and learning some more, will make me a far better Doctor than I would have become otherwise. Throw in some terminally ill patient caregiveing, raising a kid with little family support to an Engineering scholarship, and earning 3 additional college degrees in the sciences, and I'm feeling like I'm at the top of my personal and academic game 20 years later! All I need now is ONE acceptance, and I'll take it from anywhere I can get it, to put all this hard work, patience, and time tested faith to work!!! Until then, I'm GRATEFUL for ALL the trials, tribulations and challenges that I worked through to get to this point!






Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ahhhhh, Push It!!!!!

These days, "push it" is the song playing in my head as I contemplate the more than a plate full of goals I've set for myself this Fall. And in my mind, I feel like I'm in prep mode for what it will be like to be a full-time med student.

First things first, I had to find something to help me deal with the adult Dx'ed ADD I've been dealing with since my MS in Pharmacology days 7 or so years ago. Why I went as long as I did (~ 3 years) without taking something to help me focus is beyond me, I realize that just like I must take my asthma and allergy meds as required to maintain good health, I must also take my ability to stay focused just as seriously.

I also received my first assignment with Komen Texas and ironically, it's at a health fair the hospital I previously worked at is giving. And that means I'll be back in touch with the really cool (but occasionally frustrating) ladies I used to work with. And that reminds me that people (me especially) need to be real careful about what they verbalize and more importantly, put in writing "in the universe". For example, I remember blogging about how much I enjoyed/preferred working around Asians.....until last summer when I had the one of the most negatively challenging research experiences in my career, in a group where I was a minority in nationality,gender, and race. And while I was able to enjoy my interactions with my younger colleagues and still do with one of them today (except the smell of the thousand year old egg dish at lunch time LOL), those middle aged folks............URGH. I've also blogged about being frustrated working with women...yeah I've "eaten" those words too, LOL!!! Now I'm just at a place where I understand that folks with the personality of a sagging diaper exist everywhere in BOTH genders, so I simply need to focus on those relationships that are positive and enjoyable. And luckily for me, positive and enjoyable experiences FAR outweigh the more challenging ones, it's simply easy to get into a rut of seeing only the negative in things when you're in a bad head space. Which I was for what seems like many years for a multitude of reasons and most of which I've blogged about. But being here in Texas at this point in my life has been a really great experience overall, challenging gigs aside. I also realize that interacting with like minded and positive people on a regular basis is critical for both professional and more importantly, personal reasons.

So even though I didn't sleep well last night and I'm feeling a little tired, I'll be at a local tennis court at 7PM later today to play with Zhang and Lee, members of the local tennis club I recently joined. Thursday, I'll be on campus to get my second class added to my schedule and I'll also be meeting with members of the local chapter of the American Health Information Information Management Association (AHIMA). Friday, I'll be at orientation for my new teaching gig which starts next week. Saturday afternoon, I'll be at a python group for women programmers which is led by a transgendered woman. And Sunday, I'll be in fellowship at a local AME church. And this doesn't include my MCAT study or work on the Chemistry with Kimberly tutorial blog!! Whew!! In other words, I'm going to live my life, pushing it ALL THE WAY!!!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In my feelings.........

I have to admit that this year for the first time, I'm REALLY "in my feelings" as I observe friends, relatives, and virtual friends embark or reembark on their paths to medical school and other professional schools. One recent slap in the face reality check I received was from Dr. X, a student I'd mentored since her days as a community college student, through to undergrad, then grad school at a top 3 institution, through 2 post docs, and now finally as a newly minted faculty member at a major institution. And some days (like today) it's just real easy to feel like I'm just walking in place, getting in my own way so to speak, because I feel no closer to achieving my med school dream than I was 10 years ago. Add to that how severely disappointing most of the science flavored gigs outside of teaching have been for me for the last 3-5 years, and now I'm kinda feeling like I've wasted a LOT of time. :(

Then I look up from my computer and see my kid's happy, smart, well adjusted to the rigors of a STEM major face, and I'm reminded that I had to focus on priorities were right for me, and for me getting her to the point she's at right now, was my main priority. Throw in a couple family and personal illnesses and surgeries, and most days I know for a fact that I did the absolute best with the circumstances I was given. But moving forward, I do wonder what will happen in the future? People are ALWAYS getting sick especially in the Black community. But I've told EVERYONE that it's time now for me to focus on med school and while I'll do the best I can to help my loved ones as needed, my career is now my top priority. As an example, one of the very tough decisions I had to make many years ago after my father had a stroke was whether or not to put him in a nursing home or go to med school. I took one look at my nonexistent support system and realized that going to med school was completely out of the question with a baby and husband on board too. And as disappointed as I was about delaying med school, the time I spent with my Dad was priceless and turned out to be his last since he died just 2 years later from cancer.

Fast forward to today and I'm straight up not willing to make another sacrifice on that level until after I'm done with my medical training because at some point, I just need to be selfish! And today is that day, Med School class of 2017 baby!!!!




Monday, August 17, 2015

Expression, 'cause I gotta be me!!!

One of the things I realized when I think about my work history over the past 3-5 years is that there are some environments I'm just not cut out for. For one, work places where the primary goal is to make money by ANY means necessary cough, big pharma, cough. And unfortunately, that also includes almost every company in America, LOL!! I laugh, but I really don't think it's that funny. The other is a group of nerds, being a "cool nerd with a personality", just hasn't gone over as well as I would have liked around other nerds who think Birkenstocks are dress shoes.

I also realize that the people I talk to the most outside of my family are increasingly female, Asian, and at least 15 years younger than I am. I also started to recognize that the older I got, the worse I "got along" with other middle age people, especially women. And my daughter says it's because despite my age, I'm always "on fleek", which after she told me what that meant on point, put together well, didn't make very much sense to me. Except that when I mentioned this to my Dr. "Sister" who's really my best friend, she said she was starting to have the same issues as me, the issue of (mostly) women getting their "mean girls" on because they're not aging in a way that's pleasing to them. So I finally concluded that in conjunction with the fact that working for other people indefinitely is becoming more and more UNacceptable everyday, I realized that most people haven't changed much since high school. As for aging, Black don't crack, so there's that and other folks need to get OVER it!!! Now, I contrast that with the "put my foot in your hind parts" position I take when it comes to standing up for women especially when they find themselves under the "leadership" of little men in tiny, Kmart suits, LOL (yeah I went there again), so it's quite the paradox! However, most of my clients are women at least 15 years younger than me and often years more than that, and I find working them pure joy! Their energy and most importantly their OPENNESS ABOUT THE DIVERSITY OF AMERICA is what I find most appealing about working them. Ditto on EVERY job I've had for the past 3-5 years, I really like these young people!!!

Moving on, the work on my website is moving right along and I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm sure it will be a continuous work in progress and the fact that I'm having fun and learning too is an extra bonus!! So please check it out when you can and let me know what you think too!

Academically, I have yet to register for classes (I will by this Friday) and I also need to decide on a gig. My choices are either being a part-time STEM Coordinator for an educational organization or working directly with students. I also joined a local professional organization of Blacks (since I live it the cit-tae, LOL) and will attend my first SNMA meeting next month. Add to that my prep for this year's Komen race, and I've got a lot on my plate which is just me being me! As usual!!






Saturday, August 15, 2015

Naw, I changed my mind!

NOPE, NOT about applying to med school next summer! I've decided to keep blogging here and will also maintain Chemistry with Kimberly too at my new website, http://alkimistdoc.com

Friday, August 14, 2015

Feedback wanted!!

So as I'm preparing to transition to my new website and blog, I've posted my first Biochem post on my Chemistry blog. I'm still in the developing stage and am tossing around different ideas in my head on a dialy basis, so I'm completely open to feedback both positive and not so positive on what you see!

Thanks in advance for taking a look at my Chemistry with Kimberly blog located at my new website, AlkimistDoc.com!!!

http://alkimistdoc.com/

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Back to Komen!



So after a 2 year hiatus, it looks like I'll be returning as a volunteer with a local Komen affiliate. And yeah, I think I've finally accepted the fact that no matter how hard I try to run away from a cancer flavored career, I just keep coming right back to it. The hospital gig would have been nice, but I couldn't get that to work schedule wise. So next week, I'm going to get a refresher on breast cancer Komen style and will begin working with my local community not long after. The only real complaint I have about it is that it's hot as he!! in Texas during August, but I'll be happy to sweat my way through it!

Speaking of research, something else I've been thinking about lately is going solo where my research is concerned, so I'm looking into ways to self publish. I figure that I'd probably wait a lifetime to get on board with a research project that has both a health disparities and cancer flavor and I'm just sick and tired of the rejection I've been getting trying to get on someone else's research team for the last, I don't know how many years. So I've decided to go it alone, having an active blog (on my new website) will certainly help me to get my work "out there" but I'll need to really work on my editing skills, LOL! Luckily, there are a LOT of publicly available data sets I can "play around" with which is exactly what I'm already doing in a MySQL database course I'm working through right now. Another option I have for getting my research out there is publishing through kindle, I don't know much about that one yet but from what I've read so far, a few Researchers are already using that modality to get published.

So as usual, I'm taking the "career lemons" life has tossed me recently and making a big ol' glass of tasty lemonade! Me, myself, and I? Yeah, I CAN do that for as long as I need to!!!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Time for another change!

This will either be my last or next to last post as Doc201X. No, I'm NOT changing my mind about applying to medical school, but I AM finally changing into a serious premed, not the jibber jabber premed I've been in the past.

Why the change? I'd say it's a combination of things, the most important of which is the fact that I'm now VERY comfortable with the idea of pursuing my goals with a family in tow. And what that really translates to is that I'm comfortable that my kid, having excelled in her freshman year as an Engineering major at a major university, is in a very good and happy place!

Now you may be wondering why all the concern about my kid's academic and emotional well being? Honestly, I think my need to go over board in making sure she had the start in life she needed (which led me to delay my goals), comes from the fact that I didn't get much of what I needed growing up, especially from my mother. Plus, I knew based on what I went through studying STEM, how challenging it would be for my daughter. Now, seeing her thrive due to the 1000% support she's received from her parents, it's by far my most proudest moment as a parent!

Movin' on, I've starting a new website which will be tied to both my business and personal/academic goals, that will also include my new blog location as well as my chemistry videos. More to come on that later..........

As far as my med school goals are concerned, I recently joined a local SNMA chapter which stands for the Student National Medical Association. It's an organization of Black premeds and medical students created when the AMA ddin't allow Black members. I'm also working hard on both orgo and biochem review though I've spent FAR more time recently in Orgo than Biochem.

I've also purchased some really cool computer equipment (and books) to add some excitement to my health information technology/data science courses (that require programming). So, here's my new keyboard (that's really a gaming keyboard, LOL!!)


And a new gaming keyboard would be incomplete without a cool new and larger gaming mouse pad:



So I decided to keep along the data science/health information path (on the certificate level only) simply because I've come TOO FAR to place it on the back burner due to a not so great "data gig" experience. But my focus is still on preparing to apply to med school next summer, hence the orgo book in the pic next to the cool new keyboard.





Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shake it off!!


Funny the things you learn when you read someone else's diary......

So it turns out that reading another oldpremeds diary gave me a real "light bulb" moment as it relates to the "difficulty" I'm having in environments outside of learning; i.e. me as either student or teacher. Then I read a blog on OPM (OldPreMeds, if/when I get this blogger's approval to link their inspirational post, I'll add it here at a later date). Suffice it to say that a statement along these lines spoke to me; "Until I'm able to something that results in tangible benefits to others, where my work will also be respected, I'll never be satisfied in ANY job".

Okay, so I'll admit that I'm paraphrasing BIG TIME, but I think you get my point. Working in research these last 5 or so years has been nothing more than an up close and personal view of: 1) How much a$$ people will kiss (literally) to keep their jobs  and 2) How much people will compromise their integrity ie research results, to keep their jobs. Call me naive, but ALL I've wanted to do is produce the best research results possible. But apparently, other folks had/have other agendas.

Moving on, I've recently completed my first test video in Biochem and those whooping 10 seconds are below:

video


Yeah I know I have a LONG way to go, but my first step was to scour the Internet in search of the right resources. While working on that, I'm also trying to come up with at least 5 Biochem questions/day so that when I do "go live", I'll have some info in my archives to post as I continue to build. Along those same lines, my orgo review is moving right along, my plan is to complete the first semester Orgo in no more than 2 months which is a huge task, but because I have secretly always loved Orgo too, I feel up to it!

Finally, I'm reminded of just how blessed I am though I'm still sad that my dream job knowledge and duty wise, turned into a nightmare. Living in the city not far from a homeless shelter provides PLENTY of "visuals" for shaking off ANY negative thoughts or vibes that would cause me loose track of my goals! So shake it off is exactly what I'm going to do!!! ;)



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tools of my “trade”.



So I'm deep into MCAT prep mode and I've made a pact with my #1 mentor, a PhD STEM grad from HowardU, to help me stay on track! Since Orgo is such a high demand subject for tutoring, I've decided to add it to my Biochem review and here are some of the resources I'm using:

1) Orgo “cheat sheet” pictured below.



2) Orgo Chem second edition by Fesseden and Fesseden with study guide and answer booklet, the book I first used for Orgo n 1986, LOL!!).

3) TBR Organic chemistry review (the BEST out there IMHO for general and orgo chem review).

4) And I also added this online free Orgo review from MIT, the site is here:




The lecture notes are pretty good, I just felt I needed something with structure.

Now your question may be, why the overkill in Orgo when it's only ~10% of the new MCAT? Well, like I stated before, Orgo tutoring pays off BIG TIME and I'm also thinking of teaching it at the college level in the Spring of 2016. So I obviously want to be prepared.

As for my Biochem videos, I think I'm going to start with daily Biochem questions on my blog then go from there. Creating a quality video is no joke and I need to take my time developing something I'll be proud of!