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Happy Holidays!

Hi Everyone! It’s finals week for the non-medical school campus – I am currently in between my two final exams (just finished my Chinese exam) and will then be free for the holidays! I’m not going far, but I’m happy to have the chance to sleep in a bit more.

Sadly, my holidays won’t be quite as work-free as I had originally hoped (I have far too much that needs to be done on my prelims paper and for my research), but I’m looking forward to being able to work without rushing off to the next activity (and sneak in a Christmas cookie or two).

The weather lately has been quite nice – we’ve barely been below freezing since the 15-inch snowfall the week before Thanksgiving (don’t worry – Ann Arbor only got 8 inches and it soon melted). Galens Tag Days have come and gone – us med students definitely appreciated the slightly warmer temps. After all, the hand warmers stood a chance (my first year it was so cold the hand warmers wouldn’t activate)!

Most of all, the holiday season is a chance to reflect on the past year, look at how far we’ve come, and realize that, while there’s still a mountain of work yet to be done, there’s plenty of hope for a sunny future. Happy Holidays everyone!

Football Saturdays

Judging by the fact that this is being posted in the hours leading up to Michigan’s (hopefully) victory over Northwestern, I am not in the Big House right now. I love Michigan football, but unfortunately I came to the conclusion many years ago that I am far too short to enjoy a game in the stadium.

I can never see the field over the heads of the six-foot-something people who are inevitably standing in front of me and instead spend the whole game staring at the jumbotron. So instead, I sit on my couch at home, perfectly comfortable with my air conditioning/heater set as desired, with easily accessible food and a bathroom that does not have a line of 50 people out the door. And then I can enjoy the game.

I love fall in Michigan, when the leaves are turning, the temperature is cooler than in the throes of summer (my perfect temperature is about 65) but still warm enough for flip flops. I love flip flops. Not being able to wear them may be the saddest part of winter for me. But I also love football Saturdays, where everyone is having a great time cheering for our team. And we finally have something to cheer about. My senior year of high school was Lloyd Carr’s last year, so my undergrad experience was mostly Rich Rod. Yeah… I’m thrilled Harbaugh is here too.

One of my favorite things about Harbaugh (outside of, you know, building a better football team) is his mantra of “liv[ing] each day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” It helps to remind me of why I always seem to overbook myself – because I love what I do and therefore I want to do it to the best of my ability.

For example, my Chinese homework (especially memorizing all the characters) takes up more time than I’d like, but you couldn’t convince me to drop the class. I love learning Chinese and hope to keep taking classes well into my PhD.

Another idea Harbaugh has mentioned is the notion of getting 1% better every day. I love this idea because it means that the true goal is just to improve a little bit over time. And eventually that 1% will lead to something great. I’m noticing this with my attempts at becoming ambidextrous – my stats professor talks more slowly than I’d like (I really miss the ability to 2x lectures) so to keep myself from getting bored I practice writing the alphabet with my left hand. I’m still paying attention and my mind isn’t wandering, so win-win all-around. And, my left hand is getting better at it. I might even try learning cursive soon.

My Learn-To-Row classmates and instructor

Although the 1% notion can be applied to anything, I’m also noticing it in rowing. I’m now in the Technical Row program with the Ann Arbor Rowing Club, since I graduated from Learn-To-Row. I love it and it’s great to feel my strokes slowly getting better over time. Sadly, we only row through the end of October, so I’ll have to content myself with the erg (rowing machine) until April.

Well, guess it’s time to go enjoy my football Saturday. Go Blue!

Back to School

Well, I just finished my first week of this school year. I feel a bit like an undergrad again, especially since the medical school academic year began over a month ago.  To be taking classes on Central Campus (not Medical Campus) and rushing between buildings (outside, not through interconnected hallways) is something that I haven’t experienced for a few years.

And, when I realized that the freshmen who form the majority of the Chinese class I’m taking for fun were in elementary school when I graduated from high school, well, I felt old.

I’m not old, really. I’m used to being the youngest person in my class, not the oldest. People routinely guess my age as 12 (I’m not joking), and my four-years-younger brother is thought to be the older of us two.

I have definitely grown and matured since I was a freshman at UM. And never has this been so absolutely clear to me as when I’m sitting next to a group of them. They’re awesome, and I look forward to getting to know them better. But it’s still amusing to hear them complain about the exorbitant price of textbooks and their Great Books class. The best moment, though, was definitely when I said that I was not a freshman but a third-year MD/PhD student and one person’s response was “Isn’t that a lot of hard work?”

Yep. It definitely is. But so worth it.

I’ve settled into my lab, and my research is merrily chunking along. Between research, homework, rowing (my favorite new sport!), and certain medical-school extracurriculars (ahem, first Smoker meeting is next week), I feel like I’m being pulled in multiple directions simultaneously. But as long as I stay present in my current activity and plan out what needs to get done ahead of time, habits will form and everything will be accomplished.

But, in the meantime, I still have memories of my family’s recent trip to Mackinac Island… and the FUDGE to prove it!