Monday, May 30, 2016

Preparing for hades, otherwise know as summer in Texas

So with my academic summer plans set, I prepare for what is supposed to be the hottest summer on record here in Texas. And to all who don't believe global warming is real, I say spend a summer in Texas, you'll quickly think otherwise, LOL!!

Update: Some of my readers may be wondering how things worked out with the student from hell I had last semester. In the interest of professionalism and privacy, all I'll say is that she flunked the ACS (American Chemistry Society) created final exam. And with that, nothing more needs to be said.

Movin' on, one of the classes I'm taking this summer for my HIT certification is medical terminology and this class is definitely NOT the same as the one I took in the early 90's. Based on what I've seen in the book so far, it's more like anatomy/physiology "lite". And that's good since I'll be taking A&P I/II next Fall and Spring (in retrospect, I'm glad to not be taking these classes this summer as I originally wanted before the classes were cancelled). I'm also taking advanced courses Health Data Science as needed/required for my research and for my PhD. Most exciting for me, is that I finally get to learn EPIC in detail, one of the most popular electronic health records systems used in US medical facilities.

Yeah, this summer is going to be GREAT!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Done and DONE!!!

Last week, I submitted my final grades for the chemistry class I taught this past spring semester and let me say that I've NEVER in my ENTIRE life been so happy to be done with a teaching assignment! And with that said, I'm just gonna move on but suffice it to say, I'm so looking forward to a summer of NOT teaching!

Movin' on, my schedule for the summer is a somewhat moving target as I'm waiting to hear back from my PhD adviser about whether or not additional sections of a course I'd planned to take this summer will be opened. I'm good either way but can admit that I could definitely use that time in MCAT prep. Speaking of the MCAT, my course schedule for my HIT certification did get changed to require I repeat A&P I & II( that's anatomy and physiology 1 and 2) for this Fall and next Spring. And that could be a blessing in disguise since that would by default include some MCAT subject material too. But that would also mean that my exam date would get pushed back until May 2017 at the earliest which really isn't that big of a deal since I'm not planning to apply to med school until 2018/matriculate in the Fall of 2019, after I finish my PhD.

As for my abstracts, while I certainly have been able to generate some promising results in the 3 short months I've been on this research gig, we just don't have the statistical power to publish anything substantial just yet. But I've been given permission to attend the two meetings I was submitting abstract for anyway, one of which is the Ryan White 2016 HIV/AIDS meeting being held in August of this year in DC. So this will be a trip back home for me and since I haven't been back since we relocated to Texas in 2013, it's a welcome opportunity to visit one of my favorite cities in America, Washington DC!!

Finally, I know I blogged a lot about how frustrating my teaching experience was for me this past Spring, but I think I'll be able to get my "mojo" back over the summer and teach again this Fall. I'll just be doubly sure to teach only 2 classes and NOT 4!! :)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Looking forward to the hot (a**) summer in Texas!!

So with the semester coming to an end I'm now thinking about my VERY busy upcoming summer! And I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!! Between getting feedback from my THREE abstracts, to my classes in healthdatabases, advanced medical terminology, and health informatics, to studying for what is going to be my LAST MCAT, to trips planned to Austin, DC, and San Antonio, to FINALLY getting up to par with the HIV database called CAREWare, I don't have words to say how GREAT I'm feeling about how so VERY BLESSED I am! :)

But after getting the following reading the day after my meeting last week with the Dean of the department where I teach, I realized that there are some SERIOUS lifestyle changes I need to make NOW.

Now for clarity, my diet, exercise habits, and weight are ALL in check. But my ability to deal with unnecessary bullcrap stress like I had last week, needs some work. So this week I started meditating again, I walked longer than I usually do to the point where my shins started to hurt, and now I'm back down to where I need to be:

And here is where I plan to STAY.

Moving on, I got some new specs after 10 years of wearing the same style frame:

The fam (family) is calling me Dr. X, since these are the same style frames worn by Malcolm X. I got them in a royal blue color to flash a little personality with my "reading glasses" style, LOL!!! I also got some new everyday glasses in a larger, more cat eye style, but I won't have those until next week!

So with summer right around the corner, I'm channeling this 90's jam BIG TIME!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The devil is a liar

So this Wednesday, I have a meeting with the Dean of the STEM department. And while I'd LOVE to say it was about the exceeding performance standards eval I got a couple weeks ago, it's unfortunately due to a student complaining that "I don't like them or treat them fairly" with 2 weeks left in the semester. And not just any student, a female student. And not just any female student, but a BLACK female student. Uh huh.

Apparently, some of the students in this generation are HIGHLY entitled and think they deserve good grades with inconsistent effort, as opposed to having to earn them like all the other top students in my class do. And when you won't give them what they asked for, they go to your Supervisor, a situation I had heard other faculty at my school complain about earlier in the semester. And if after that meeting they're still not satisfied, they go to the Dean hence my meeting this coming Wednesday.

Now besides the enormous amount of disappointment I feel about this situation given my demonstrated goal of increasing minority representation in STEM especially women, I also recognized that there are some people that have other agendas. All I can do is show my Dean this student's progress in my class along with the email she sent me complaining about "not getting the grade she deserves". The fact that I had to ask her and 2 other students to leave my class for ignoring my repeated (since early March) requests to stop talking during lecture, is just the icing on the proverbial cake as far as her character is concerned. Added to that is the fact that 2 of the 3 students I asked to leave my class that day have apologized for their behavior, but not this student. And that says FAR more about her as a person and her intentions, than anything else IMHO.

What I do know is that with an MCAT coming up this summer, 3 abstracts due in the next 2 weeks, summer classes toward my HIT (Health Information Technology) certificate, and a PhD course, I realize that my decision to not teach this summer was a damn good one. But this "hiatus" from teaching will likely extend FAR into the future as I simply don't have time for bull*hit like this. Not. At. ALL! I'm also reminded that of the 20 or so Black female PhD's I know, only 2 of them teach at the collegiate too. Put another way, the weight of double standards that Black faculty often feel is one thing when it's something you can control to a certain degree, like your research. But teaching is a subjective in nature, and a LOT of what others think about what you do is completely OUT of your hands. At age 39, I may have had the motivation to "gut it out" anyway. But at 49, ANYTHING that isn't positive and moving me in the direction of medical school, can go straight to he**!

With that said, I'll have to figure out another way to reach underrepresented students interested in STEM. I'm tossing around a couple ideas now, but won't follow through officially until after I take the MCAT later this summer.