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!