Happy Nowrooz {Persian New Year 2015}!

These next few days are full of things to celebrate for my family! It’s the Persian New Year (Nowrooz = new day in Farsi, aka Persian language), it’s my mom’s birthday, and it’s also the first day of Spring!! So much excitement! Unfortunately, I won’t be home with my family to celebrate with them but I’m sure we’ll have a Skype celebration tomorrow night (yay technology ;) ).

Although I was born and raised in the U.S., my parents (raised in Iran) have shared many stories about their past Nowrooz traditions and celebrations. This holiday is much more elaborately celebrated in Iran than in the U.S. In fact, families begin preparing months in advance by cleaning their homes from top to bottom (Spring-cleaning), and kids have at least 2 weeks off of school, like Christmas break here! The holidays are filled with lavish feasts and extravagant parties emphasizing quality time spent among family and friends. At the center of all this celebration is one very important activity: the haft-seen table. And let me tell you, this is no ordinary table!

In Farsi (Persian language), haft = the number 7 and seen = the letter “s”. What does “7-s table” mean? Well, the haft-seen table is a table covered in a beautiful cloth on which 7 symbolic items beginning with the letter “s” are arranged.  Persian families put a lot of time and effort setting the table up. (In a way it is like the Christmas tradition of setting up the Christmas tree.)

 

My dad texted me this photo of my family's Sofreh Haft-Seen 2015! Wish I was there!

My dad texted me this photo of my family’s Sofreh Haft-Seen 2015! Wish I was there!

I have really come to appreciate the symbolism behind the items decorating the table:

  1. Somagh (sumac, crushed spice) – color of the sunrise
  2. Serkeh (vinegar) – age & patience
  3. Senjed (dried fruit of a lotus tree) – love & affection
  4. Samanoo (sweet pudding) – affluence, fertility, sweetness of life
  5. Sabzeh (sprouts) – rebirth
  6. Sib (apple) – health & beauty
  7. Sir (garlic) – medicine

To add even more meaning to the table other symbolic items are added, including:

  • Mahi (fish) – life
  • Tokhmeh Morgh (egg) – fertility
  • Sham (candle) – enlightenment
  • Shirini (sweets) – sweetness of life
  • Poems about life

The Persian culture is so full of these meaningful traditions and I’m grateful that my parents have made an effort to educate me about my root culture through stories of their own childhood traditions as well as through celebrations/traditions of our own!

If you’ve stuck around for this mini cultural lesson- kuddos to you! And thank you for allowing me to share a little piece of my family’s great weekend of  celebrations!

Again, Happy Nowrooz! Eidet Mobarak!

 

 

Narrative Self vs. Experiential Self

Believe it or not, I’m alive! My initial plans on consistently posting on this blog obviously fell through, but I’m going to give it another go- particularly because I want to share my thoughts on a topic I came upon the other day.

Narrative Self versus Experiential Self- what the heck does that mean, right?? Let me explain.

It’s an important concept in the neuroscience of mindfulness, which is a coping skill that I believe everyone can benefit from and should practice- especially in today’s over-stimulated world. The narrative self can be thought of as our reactive mind while the experiential self is simply awareness in the present moment. A major distinction between these two brain default mechanisms is the judgmental nature of the narrative self as contrasted with the non-judgmental nature of the experiential self.

I began to ask myself which of these mechanisms were more dominant in my own brain. I’m a very analytical person in general, so of course I have an overly dominant narrative self, which is actually the case for the majority of people.

As with most aspects of life, it is beneficial to find balance between the narrative self and the experiential self, so I’ve made that a goal for myself: to soften my reactive narrative self and empower my experiential self. In order to do so I’m going to employ mindfulness training, specifically in the form of Kundalini yoga.

If you want more information about the neuroscience of mindfulness, check out this video, which is where I obtained my information for today’s post! Thanks for stopping by after my long hiatus! I’ll be sure to update you guys on how my Kundalini yoga practice is going and whether it’s enabling me to empower my experiential self.

Question of the day:   Is your narrative self dominating your experiential self? Have you ever tried mindfulness training? Let me know in the comments below! :)

Weekend Recap {1/10}

Happy Monday friends!

I’m excited to share the highlights from my wonderful girls weekend with my mom and my sister, Sonia. They made the 4-hour drive to Tulsa super early on Saturday morning to spend a weekend of fun girly activities. This is actually the very first time my mom and Sonia have been in Tulsa with me at the same time and the three of us always have a blast together!

On Saturday when they arrived we relaxed at the apartment and chatted for a bit. Sonia is actually Nigel’s favorite person in the whole world so he was ecstatic about cuddling with her and smothering her in puppy kisses.

Then our activities began taking a short drive to my future school. There wasn’t much to see since the actual building for medical students is still under construction but I took the opportunity to show them the area. Next stop was the mall! My sister wanted to get her eyebrows threaded, and our mom also treated us to shellac manicures. She’s the best. :)

While we were getting our nails done she went off to Macy’s to find a pair of winter gloves for my dad. He lost his own pair a couple months ago and has been wearing a pair of my mom’s gloves ever since. Either my mom is worried about my dad being caught wearing feminine winter gloves or she wants her gloves back… ;)

By the time we were done at the mall, we were all ready for lunch, and I knew exactly where I wanted to take us: Zoe’s Kitchen. I’ve been to this little mediterranean place before and loved it! While I normally enjoy making my own meals at home, I had been looking forward to a special occasion to go back to Zoe’s because the food there was amazingly fresh, colorful, and plain delicious- not to mention how fun and vibrant the environment is! My mom, Sonia, and I were all immediately attracted to the pita sandwiches on the menu. Sonia and I each got a Grilled Chicken Greek Pita while my mom got the the Grilled Chicken with Slaw Pita. All of us opted for a fresh side of roasted vegetables.

Fun at Zoe's Kitchen! :)

Fun at Zoe’s Kitchen! :)

The food was just as fabulous as I had remembered and both Sonia and my mom were equally impressed! The chicken was grilled to perfection- tender and tastefully seasoned! We all agreed we would be back to Zoe’s soon!

With our tummies full and our taste buds still singing, we headed back to my apartment to make some hot tea and relax a bit. Soon later, I asked my sister to accompany me to Micheal’s to pick up some more yarn for my current knitting project. Micheal’s is located right beside Target and neither of us can pass that store without a quick visit, so after our Micheal’s run off to Target we went. By then we were both feeling a little snacky so we picked out a couple several treats- Riesen caramel chocolates (first time trying them and they are SO SO good), Reece’s mini PB cups (addicting), Pepperidge Farm Chessman Butter cookies, and snack bag of Snyders cheddar cheese pretzel sandwiches (a little salty to balance a lot of sweet). So ya, as you can see we’re remarkably indecisive so we got a little of everything! I will say that these types of foods aren’t staples in my diet but I do allow myself treats when I’m simply enjoying my time with family and friends. Balance is key!

When Sonia and I arrived back at the apartment, we spent the rest of the evening until dinner time chatting with our mom and playing with Nigel. Since none of us were too excited about heading back out in the cold for dinner, we prepared a random dinner with whatever I had in my kitchen; the final product: lamb kabob wraps with a side of Alexia brand crinkle cut french fries (I forgot to snap a picture. Sad day.) Finally we ended the night watching a movie on my laptop, since I have yet to invest in a TV.

Whew! What a great day! Now moving on to Sunday! Saturday night we all slept on the floor, sleepover style (yes, even my mom). Nigel woke us all up around 7 am to go out for a potty break and shortly after we all moseyed out of our beds off the floor and made breakfast. After fueling up with some egg sandwiches and coffee, we headed back to the mall. (Believe it or not, I actually HATE the mall and I’m not so much of a shopaholic. The only reason this weekend was packed with trips to the mall and shopping was because when I need to shop I’d way rather do it in good company rather than on my own! My mission for this shopping day was to find a new purse because the buckle on my previous one had broken off. I was almost positive I would find one that I liked at the mall but no such luck. Four stores later (Ross, another Ross, DSW, and Nordstrom Rack), I finally found one. I bought the Celia Satchel by Vince Camuto for only $70! 

While I was on my search for a purse, Sonia and my mom did some shopping of their own. Sonia was super excited to find some work pants and these super cute Sperry’s. We returned home from our Sunday adventures at 4:30 pm, and we were all exhausted and a little sad that the weekend was almost over. We sat on my couch delaying the inevitable: the fact that Sonia and my mom had to head back home to Missouri. :( We finally said our goodbyes (so so hard) and they were off. Nigel sat at the door mourning the loss of his auntie Sonia and I tried to drown out my own blues by burying by nose in a book (be on the lookout for my book review of The Power of Habits soon!).

And that’s a wrap! Wow, that post turned into a novel and I don’t blame anyone for not making it this far! Kuddos to you if you did! I must work on making these posts shorter!

 

 

 

 

Triaging This ER Called Life

My life is an emergency room and my goals are my patients. Let’s get triaging folks! (If that wasn’t the cheesiest intro ever, I don’t know what is!)

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m prepared to reintroduce that thing called productivity into my life. I’m hardly exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve been lounging around my apartment doing a lot of nothing since mid-December. As I promised, I’m going to share my list of prioritized goals to accomplish before med school starts in August.

(Listed in order of priority)

  1. Find a medical volunteer position- Volunteering in the medical field allows me to keep myself focused on my ultimate goal of becoming an exceptional physician even when I’m just a newly accepted med student-to-be.
  2. Establish daily yoga practice- Since completing my yoga teacher training, my practice has suffered to say the least. I need to get back at it! Yoga allows me to maintain my mental clarity and physical strength.
  3. Finish Rosetta Stone Spanish Program/Improve medical Spanish skills- I can say that I have yet to miss a day of practicing my Spanish since purchasing the program! Success!
  4. Move into small house/condo- Moving is such a hassle but I’m over apartment life and Nigel would love a full privacy fence to play in the backyard! I would also love to move closer to the med campus.
  5. Finish book list (including all of Atul Gawande’s books)- I don’t think this one will be difficult to stick to.
  6. Finish knitting project- I want to remember the blanket I’m knitting as a symbol of preparing for med school (nerd status alert). Maybe it’ll even survive with me all throughout med school!

Well, there you have it! I am committing to doing my very best at completing these goals in the next six or so months. I could easily come up with more but I’m trying to be realistic and I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I’ll keep you guys updated with my progress as time passes and feel free to share some of your own goals in the comments section below!

 

Be Careful What You Wish For…

I’m sure you’ve all heard this warning at some point or another in your lives, right? Well, I was just thinking the other night about how different my current daily schedule is right now compared to this time last year.

This time last year I was just returning to school to begin my final semester as an undergrad after spending a lazy month relaxing for winter break. I had gotten comfortable spending my days in my PJs lounging on my couch with Nigel snuggled in my blanket. Ath the moment, nothing about being thrown back into the whirlwind of classes, homework, quizzes, and exams sounded appealing. Not to mention, my senoritis was intensifying by the day. Oh how I wished I could spend another month snuggling with Nigel on the couch with nothing to do!

Now fast forward to today… Let me preface this by saying that I have done a decent(ish) job keeping busy since graduating in May 2014. I spent the summer in the library studying my butt off for the MCAT, then I spent every waking hour perfecting my med school apps, I spent the fall semester as an adjunct professor teaching introductory biology lab courses to college students, I attended med school interviews, and I completed my yoga teacher training. All of this lasted me until mid-December, which is also around the time I received my acceptance to med school. But since then, I have to admit… I’ve done a lot of lounging on the couch in my PJs and snuggling with Nigel. Sure, I spend a couple hours reading, studying my Rosetta Stone Spanish course, and knitting, but the majority of my time has been spent on that couch. And you know what? I’m  kind of really over it! I need more structure for my last several months of freedom before I step into the daunting world of med school!

 

Ironically, I have a lot of things I want (and need) to do. My problem is deciding where to start! So I’ve devised a game plan. I’m going to make a list of all the tasks I would like to accomplish before school starts and then rank them according to priority. Who said you shouldn’t triage your life goals?!

My goal is to have this completed and prioritized this list by the end of today. Then I’ll post it here to the blog for some accountability!

Has anyone else been in a similar situation- having a lot of spare time with a long list of things you’ve been wanting to do but you are so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start?!

 

My Summary of 2014

Well this is about 6 days late… but I stumbled upon a series of 50 questions that another blogger (Paging Dr. Allie- another med student blogger) used to best summarize her last year and plan for the upcoming year and I thought I would answer these questions on my blog as well! Not only is this a good review of my past year, but it is also a great way to allow you guys (my readers) to get to know me better!

Your 2014

1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

This is the year your old granny graduated from college with a degree in biology and was accepted to medical school. (Although, they would probably have to be a certain age before appreciating the significance of such events.)

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?

Endings. Uncertainty. Beginnings.

3. What new things did you discover about yourself?

That I greatly appreciate living independently, but also need to focus on making stronger connections with the people who I love. That I am able to persevere through situations (such as test anxiety) that I thought would prevent me from pursuing my goals.

4. What single achievement are you most proud of?

Conquering the MCAT. Growing up with my father as a pediatrician, I found a passion for medicine at a young age. I also learned about the daunting steps required to develop a career in medicine, including the MCAT. That being said, I had been fearing the exam since middle school. I even delayed the exam until the summer after I completed my undergraduate courses. At one point I felt certain that the MCAT would be what kept me from pursuing med school. When I finally overcame my anxieties and took the exam, it was a pretty big deal for me!

5. What was the best news you received?

My acceptance to medical school. There were times I really believed I’d have to reapply and was NOT looking forward to going through the horrendous process again.

6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2014?

My sister’s apartment in Kansas City! It was the first time I’d visited her at her place and also the first time I met her kitty, Fritzy!

First time meeting Fritzy boy!

First time meeting Fritzy boy!

7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

Most definitely my determination (and stubbornness ;) ). The process of applying to medical school is one of the most tedious and detail-oriented processes I have ever gone through, especially after attending multiple universities and taking a gap year. I spent endless weeks requesting (politely demanding) official transcripts from each of the institutions I have attended as well as letters of recommendation from crazy-busy professors/physicians. I plowed through my memory and records to compile every last detail of my random extracurricular activities and work experiences for my primary application. I spent hours upon hours of reflection and proof-reading before finalizing my personal statement at the exact required word count. All throughout this process,  I found many shortcomings of my application and made lists in my head of possible reasons I wouldn’t be successful in this medical application cycle. Still I was determined. I’m not always the most optimistic person, but I’m also not one to give up on a goal I have set even if it’s likely that I’ll fail. So, yes, my determination has been helpful this year.

8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?

Sonia. Not only is she my twins sister, she is my very best friend and our connection goes further than I can even describe. If twin telepathy exists, we have it for sure!

9.Which new skills did you learn?

I learned many standardized testing techniques (I swear studying for a standardized test is like training for some type of mental sport- it goes far beyond learning the content being tested!) I earned my yoga teaching certification so I now know how to lead people through an ashtanga yoga practice. I  learned a lot about formal interviews while practicing for my med school interviews. Finally, I’ve really improved my skills in the kitchen- both baking and cooking!

10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?

I am so so thankful for my wonderful supportive parents. Goodness, I wouldn’t have survived this past year of uncertainty without them. I have no idea how they tolerated  my  anxious, moody self or my weekly melt-downs and bouts of depression while I pondered what I would do with my life if I didn’t get into medical school (yes, I can be quite the drama queen).

11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?

It would have to be a drama with a roller coaster of highs and lows, beginning with the lows of being a senior desperate to finish my final semester of undergraduate while maintaining my GPA, then the highs of graduating with a BS in Biology and celebrating my birthday with Sonia for the first time in a long time, to the lows of studying for the MCAT in isolation, waiting for MCAT scores while completing my AMCAS, and then waiting for secondaries and interviews, and finally the high of getting accepted into a medical school! There were tears, nervous breakdowns, celebrations, more tears, lazy days glued to my couch, then more celebration and some relief followed by more lazy days on the couch! A lot of drama indeed (I will repeat, I can be a drama queen).

12.What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?

The key to living an enjoyable, successful, and happy life is to live in the moment. I spent a lot of this year waiting and anticipating- waiting to graduate, anticipating my final GPA, waiting for MCAT scores, anticipating my interview invites, waiting for med school decisions. What I failed to do during that time is LIVE. Had I allowed myself to let go of my fears and anxieties and instead live in the present moment, I believe I would have been able to enjoy life a lot more, focusing on relationships and activities that I love.

13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?

Oh geez, I think the majority of 2014 was a mental block for me… Most of the time, my mind was in “What if…? mode, if that makes sense. I spent a lot of time worrying about what to do in worst case scenarios- no bueno.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?

Sonia, Mommy, Daddy, Tori, and Shelby.

Shelby and I on my graduation day! :)

Tori and I being ridiculous after finishing our final exams of our undergraduate career!

15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?

Hmm… I guess I’ve always had a worry in the back of my mind that the only reason I wanted to pursue medicine is because of my dad’s own career in medicine. It’s always been clear that he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and I’ve always wanted to make him proud. BUT, I know that there would be no way that I would survive med school with that as my only motivation (wanting to please my dad). Fortunately, while I was applying (writing my personal statement and secondary app responses) I was able to really solidify the true reasons I wanted to become a physician. Those motivations were always there; I guess it just really clicked when I processed through them and wrote them out clearly in front of me. This was definitely an “ah-ha” moment for me in my very early stages of training for my future career.

16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?

I feel that the older I get, I more I see my parents as true friends, rather than just parents. For example, my mom and I have both found a passion for reading inspirational/self-improvement books. I love chatting with her about the current book we’re reading or sharing book recommendations with one another! We can spend hours just talking about everything and nothing. My dad has always been adventurous and fun! I love spending time with him exploring bike trails in Tulsa, talking about medicine, and him sharing his wisdom. He is incredibly intelligent and I feel so lucky to be able to pick his brain about all of my curiosities. The more I learn about my dad throughout the years, I more determined I am to be just like him “when I grow up”. I want his hunger and passion for knowledge, his drive to become the best cyclist he can be, and his dedication to treating others with nothing but compassion. My dad is a teddy bear and each year I find myself loving him more and more. Finally, my relationship with Sonia- boy oh boy, has that been an evolution. I’ll save the whole story for the future some time- it’s a LONG one. But let’s just say, through all of our years she has never stopped being my favorite person in the world. This past year, I would say our relationship has evolved to be better and stronger than ever and I am so so grateful for that!! I love my twinkie poo <3.

18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?

Over the summer, I went to my hometown (Sedalia, MO) to shadow a family physician. The majority of his patients were low-income individuals with considerably unhealthy lifestyles. Needless to say, I observed a lot of patients being treated for hypertension, diabetes, and smoking-related diseases. When I asked the physician why he wasn’t suggesting/counseling his patients on lifestyle changes (simply out of curiosity) he told me that he had in the past and it was useless. In a way I understood where he was coming from because old habits die hard and maybe he also didn’t want to overstep his boundaries. But at the same time, I believe the patients are coming to him for treatments/cures for their illnesses and I’m no physician (yet) but I’m pretty sure the majority of those patients symptoms could eventually be relieved by simple (not easy) lifestyle changes. The physician had given me permission to speak with the patients so while I was visiting with an older woman who had come for an inhaler refill (she had been smoking for years and her lungs were suffering), I asked her if she had ever considered giving up the cigarettes. She said yes and that she had failed many many times and was certain she could not do it. I simply told her she has the power to make the decision to change and I believe in her. She half-smiled after  I said that. I like to think that I gave her a boost of courage, but who knows. As she left the exam room, she took a hold of my arm and said, “You’re going to make a good physician one day, young lady.” Here I was trying to empower this patient to quit smoking… yet, I left the room feeling more empowered myself. That patient gave me more hope fore my future as a physician than anything yet in my life- by far my favorite compliment!

19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?

Morning puppy snuggles with Nigel! Every morning when I wake up he’s snuggled as close to me as possible and I take a few moments to give him a massage before we wake up for the day (I know how ridiculous am I- massaging my dog?!?). In general, I love the little things about my mornings: the sun coming up, the coffee brewing, and the sense of peace I have during the fresh start of a day. Unfortunately, I’m exactly the opposite about night time. I dislike it with a passion.

20. What cool things did you create this year?

For my mom’s birthday, I decorated a treasure chest and then filled it with 365 little cards with inspiring quotes, memories, sweet reminders on them (all handwritten). I wanted to give her a gift that would last an entire year, and I was proud of the final product! Also this blog was technically created in 2014. It may have only just been born but hey, I think it’s pretty cool already! ;)

21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?

I feel like I answered this question already- ANXIOUS!!!

22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?

Yes! A lot of firsts! I graduated from college, I taught biology to college students, I applied to medical school, I became a certified yoga instructor… there are more but I’ll stop there.

23. What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?

Sadly enough I can count the number of times I’ve hung out with my friends outside of school on one hand. :( My favorite moment spent with my friends was during my Hooding Ceremony for graduation. During the school year, I wouldn’t allow myself to hang out with friends because I felt like I should always be studying. During the summer I was locked away studying for the MCAT and then filling out med school applications, and by now I’ve turned down so many friends because I felt obligated to study/be productive that no one asks me anymore! Goal for 2015: put more effort into creating lasting friendships!

24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?

Becoming a doctor!

25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

My worries about not getting into med school (obviously the theme for 2014 was getting into med school- gosh I’m starting to sound like a broken record!)

26. What experience would you love to do all over again?

Spending my birthday with Sonia! It felt like we were little kids again! Oh the joys of childhood when life was so simple!

27. What was the best gift you received?

I guess this makes me sound super materialistic which I actually am not… but I’m super thankful for my new car (Pearly Shirley, Lexus NX) because she’s 4 wheel drive and much roomier!

28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve?

My yoga teacher training really helped me learn the importance of staying present and in the moment. I guess I’ve come to accept my life as it is in this very moment rather than obsessing about how I would like it to be in the future. Of course this is still a struggle for me but I have definitely improved in this sense over the past year.

29. What was the biggest problem you solved?

My test anxiety. I can’t really say I solved it per say but I definitely dealt with it as best as I could and got it out of my way for taking the MCAT.

30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?

Well this is really random but I was sitting at a booth at my school’s deli and I went to stand up and promptly tripped on a power cord and face-planted in front of everyone. My friend, Tori, busted out laughing, as did I and I can’t think of the situation without bringing myself back to laughter.

31. What idea turned out to be the best decision ever?

Completing yoga teacher training! It was such a great experience!

32. What one thing would you do differently and why?

I would have spent less time stressing over my grades and more time spending time with friends during my last semester as a undergrad. I also had many opportunities to travel but stupidly chose not to. Struggles of being a home-body.

33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for?

Graduating from college with honors!

34. What activities made you lose track of time?

reading good novels, binge watching horrible (but wonderful) reality TV shows, spending time with my family

35. What did you think about more than anything else?

med school (no doubt)

36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?

Strangely enough, healthcare policies… I was told that I should be familiar with the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare policies for med school interviews so I tried to learn about them and  I was quite intrigued! On the other hand, I was asked only one very basic question about them during interviews. Fail.

37.What new habits did you cultivate?

Gosh, I’ve tried really hard in the last year to cultivate some good ones and for some reason I just wasn’t successful… hopefully this year will be different. Oh, I though of one! My skin care routine for my face! I’ve finally made it a habit and cannot go to bed or begin my day without my routine (that habit was 23 years in the making). Ironically, I’m actually reading the book The Power of Habits- it’s AMAZING and I think everyone would benefit from reading it.

38.What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could)?

Slow down and live in the moment. Stop worrying about your future and instead focus on making the most of your current situation. I would remind myself that I am right where I am meant to be.

39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?

I began 2013 with the intentions to give up my medical school dreams to instead settle for PA school (despite knowing in the back of my mind that I was not cut out for this role). I had convinced myself that my testing anxiety would prevent me from excelling on the MCAT, which was an important component of getting into med school. Then, by January 2014 I had decided that I was going to give the MCAT my best shot over the summer, then possible reconsider medical school. Boy oh boy, am I glad for that 180 in my decision! I let that darn MCAT unnecessarily intimidate me for waaaayy too long (actually I’m still a bit terrified of it even though it’s done and over with)!

40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?

Although received it a couple of weeks ago, my acceptance to medical school has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders! Yes, I am totally aware that the hardest parts of the journey are still ahead of me (the Steps, rotations, etc.) but at least now I have a chance!

Your 2015

41.What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?

Balance- in my lifestyle (diet, workouts, studies), my schoolwork, and, most importantly, my relationships!

42.What do you want to see, discover, explore?

I really really want to go on a medical missions trip to a Spanish-speaking country so that I can practice my medical Spanish while I’m taking the Rosetta Stone course! I would love to learn about a new culture and explore Latin America or even Spain! I’d also love to visit the condo my family owns in Colorado! I’m the only one of us who has yet to see it and my dad keeps telling me how cool it is!

43.Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?

Friends- both old ones and new ones. I will prioritize my friendships this year, even when school gets busy and hectic!

44.What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?

Any and all the skills required to be a successful medical student- specifically my attention span and ability to focus. I want to master my note-taking skills and my study methods. I also want to continue improving my yoga practice (this is a lifelong goal of mine) and improve my medical Spanish-speaking skills!

45.Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

My loyalty/commitment to friends. I want to spend more time giving back to others and less time focused on myself and my own success.

46.What do you want your everyday life to be like?

Again, filled with BALANCE and living in the present moment. I want to feel confident and happy in my own skin and in my own environment no matter how busy or stressed I become.

47.Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

I want to make a habit out of waking up earlier and getting my butt to the gym. A morning workout sets my whole day in a positive direction and I never regret going once I get there! I desperately want to stop skin-picking (I know, ew, gross).

48.What do you want to achieve career-wise?

- Start my first med school semester strong

- Pre-read for all lectures

-Volunteer 1X per week

- Get involved in at least one club/activity

49. How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

 I want to look back at the year and be proud of the woman I was- my actions, my character, my beliefs, my accomplishments, and my relationships. I want to remember this year as a year of acceptance and growth.

50.What is your number one goal for 2015?

I be successful in my first semester of medical school (while maintaining a balanced lifestyle and cultivating self-acceptance).

Happy New Year! 2015

Happy New Year everyone! Today marks the first day of a fresh start for many of us, and I’m excited to make 2015 a good one! Lucky for me I got to ring in the new year with my dad in town. I spent Christmas on my own this year so it was nice to have some company for NYE! Although my dad and I didn’t do anything special to celebrate, spending time with him in general was celebration enough for me! Plus we were both long gone asleep before midnight (oops). In fact I posted the following picture to my Facebook to document my New Years Eve celebration “granny-style”. ;)

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New Years Eve 2014 “granny-style” because I’m cool like that.

Yes, I spent my evening catching up with my dad and Nigel while enjoying some homemade chocolate truffles and knitting.

As for today, the very first day of January (and a VERY cold one at that), my dad and I have knocked out quite a few errands! We began the day cooking up a batch of pancakes to enjoy before heading out to do some grocery shopping for my apartment. My grocery shopping always requires stopping at two stores: Sprouts for all the fresh meat and produce, then Walmart for everything else. Since the stores aren’t all that close to one another and my apartment was pretty bare food-wise, the whole ordeal took up the entire morning! By the time we unloaded and put away the groceries, it was time to prepare lunch!

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Garlic Herb Tilapia, Spaghetti squash, and steamed veggies

After lunch and some down time reading on the couch, my dad and I prepared to head out into the cold for the last of our errands. Our first stop for the afternoon took us to Barnes and Noble to pick up the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg for my mom. That’s the book I’m currently reading and I keep telling my mom how amazing it is so now she said I’m obligated to buy her a copy… me and my big mouth, haha! I also bought a couple more books for myself but I’ll tell you more about those another day. ;)

After B & N we headed across the street to the mall because my sister had asked us to pick her up some pants for work. I was more than happy to do this favor for her because you will quickly learn she is my absolute best friend in the world. She lives in Missouri so unfortunately we don’t get to spend as much time together as we would like. Lucky for me I also found a couple cute sweaters and a pair of booties to wear around my apartment while we were shopping for my sister- score!

We made two more super quick stops before heading back home. First we went to Sun & Ski to buy a “sweat-net” for my dad’s road bike. I didn’t even know those things existed… but basically its a piece of fabric that catches your sweat so that the sodium chloride doesn’t destroy the paint on the bike or something? I do cycle but nowhere near as hard-core as my dad! Finally we went to the Middle East Market to pick up some Iranian Lavash bread for my dad to take home (my mom loves that stuff).

Promptly after completing our errands we arrived back at my apartment, made ourselves a little snack, and plopped ourselves on the couch. I’m currently going through the Rosetta Stone program for Spanish, so I leisurely studied some Spanish while relaxing. Shopping is energy-draining! Oye!

My dad managed to doze off while on the couch so I got up and started meal prepping! I steamed some turnips, made a chicken stew, and baked up a protein cheesecake- all within my dad’s 1-hour nap! By the time he was up I had dinner all ready for us. I didn’t follow any recipe for the stew but it turned out DELICIOUS!! My dad and Nigel really enjoyed it too! :)

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Chicken Stew with side salad and lavash bread

We just recently finished dinner and made some hot tea to sip while we spend the rest of our evening being lazy around the apartment. My dad is leaving tomorrow afternoon so we’re trying to enjoy as much together-time possible! On the agenda for the rest of the night is some knitting, reading, and a night-snack before I hit the hay!

Good night folks! :)

 

My first post- a long time coming!

Hello, hello!

I am finally sitting down to write my very own first blog post! I’ve been reading blogs daily for the past several years and have finally taken the leap to begin my own. You can head over to the “About me” tab to get to know me a little better and also to learn more about the motivation behind my blog and what to expect in my posts!

To sum things up, I’ll basically be telling the story of a yoga-loving girl (me) on her journey through medical school and life’s other adventures! I don’t actually begin medical school until Fall 2015, so until then you’ll get a lot about my preparation- including many book reviews, puppy pictures (you’ll quickly realize my obsession with my fur-baby, Nigel), and daily recaps. Stick around for some fun! :)