Musicals, macrophages, and (almost) Merry Christmas

In exactly one week I will officially be done with my first semester of dental school and HOME on TEXAS soil. Wow oh wow am I ready. This girl is a weary soul right now. The only things getting me through one more week and two exams are nonstop Coldplay jams (their new album is glorious as usual), all the fun little events interspersed in the midst of study madness, and even more coffee. And more prayers than ever.smile I was texting with my old roomies the other night and the one who’s also a first year dental student at another school finishing up this week asked us for book recommendations for the much anticipated break coming up. To quote her, “I’m gonna sit around and spend time with God all day long and read inspirational books, ’cause oh my gosh I’m done with dental school.” My thoughts too, girlie. It’s crazy how that one extra week plus a few days in December  (compared to my undergrad’s schedule) really makes a big difference.

Today we checked yet another exam off, this time a strange and un-welcomed combination of immunology and a pharmacology introduction. Pharm is actually really cool, and I enjoy studying it! It’s honestly like a big puzzle of understanding what drugs do to the body, how they do it, and why they can be so dangerous. Thinking about having the authority soon to write prescriptions is definitely a big responsibility. I think because it’s so new, different, and relevant to clinical practice, I feel a pressure to really learn the information. I’m sure a lot of people realize an attraction to dentistry over medicine is because we don’t (hopefully) necessarily have to deal with serious conditions/death on a regular basis like medical doctors often do – some OMFS trauma would be an exception maybe. We wouldn’t want anyone in serious trouble after their dentist prescribed adverse drug reactions (warfarin + metranidazole = scary). Also our professor for that…well he’s a character and probably deserves his own post describing all his crazy antics (maybe I’ll interview him!). He’s a fantastic teacher though. That foundational science class was a monster of credits (over 5) so I’m constantly battling between hoping I miraculously squeezed out the grade I wanted and also completely accepting that “grades aren’t everything” – words from a convo tonight with one of my college best friends who happens to be done with said grades for the moment because he’s GRADUATING this Saturday. Shout out to all you December grads at Baylor I know – y’all know I’m so proud and excited to watch your futures that God has for each of you.

mormonWhoever said people in dental/med school can’t have a life outside of studying, I beg to differ. I think about all that I’ve been able to do and experience just this first semester living in such a fun new place. One of those top things would have to be last Thursday going to my first real musical, The Book of Mormon, here at the Forrest Theatre with a few of my favorite classmates who also enjoy the finer things in life like short rib ragu, ricotta gnocchi, and fine arts. Even though some would argue the show we saw wasn’t so “fine,” it was darn hilarious. Admittedly there were moments when the crude factor reached a new high, but I still found myself laughing through the whole thing. The musical/choreo talent was awesome for sure. theaterAnd of course I appreciated the history lessons for those that really don’t understand just how drastically different Mormon theology is from Christianity. Another fun tidbit I’m so looking forward to is tomorrow me and my friend Sarah are going to the Johnnyswim Christmas show at Union Station (pics to come I’m sure) and putting microbiology of plaque-induced disease to the back burner for just one night because I am in serious need of some holiday cheer. It’ll actually be my third time to see that crazy beautiful, insanely talented duo, yet I’ll never get tired of their serenades.

I’ve had several of the prospective class of 2020 Penntists message me and email me, and while I am entirely honest with them with the good and the bad (for instance, it’s OKAY to turn down Penn b/c of the price), I always can’t help but say how much I LOVE Penn Dental and my fam here. They’ll always ask me if I’m happy with my decision overall. It’s funny when you step back and look at the big picture with so much gratitude or why you made the decision they’re currently wrestling with (I do NOT miss that month of roller coaster emotions), the little nuisances of exhaustion and frustrations get overshadowed.

One week til 1/8 D.M.D. river

springtime snapshots

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I know…long time, no blog.

It’s been a dreadfully-too-long 39 days since my last post, and trust me I’ve missed it more than you know. I’m finally on the other side of junior year, and it is officially summer in my book. I promise this summer will be back to the at least two or three meaningful posts a week, because I’ll have plenty to write about and more time to do it. The months of April and beginning of May were filled with endless laughs, struggles, memories, end-of-the-year shindigs, friends, and of course finals.

Since I’m so pressed for space and time on this blog, this will be my quick attempt at highlighting the incredible, challenging, and beyond-rewarding end of this past semester: a mere surface-scratching of the whirlwind that is the end of another college year.

I finally checked off hot yoga from my bucket list, and let me just say I sweat more in that hour than I did in running my half in 95% humidity. Extremely refreshing afterwards – yes. Entirely enjoyable for the whole hour – not so much.IMG_4915

I attended two social dance events for credit in my class, and as much as I was dreading having two weekends of the semester booked for school, those Saturday nights were some of the best I’ve had. These people who started off as strangers have become like family (and future friends long after our days of Fox Trotting), and I wouldn’t have wanted to dance the night away in a ballroom full of people the age of our grandparents with anyone else.IMG_5034

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Baylor ASDA held our end of the year banquet, and we transitioned the officer positions to the new executive board. I’m so excited to pass along my service chair position to a girl I know will do a great job next year, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the team will bring to the table to keep our organization top-notch. I love this group of smart, witty, passionate, and beautiful future dentists so much. Also, we model in all our spare time outside our studies.IMG_5094

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I went home for Easter to spend it with my family (perks of a Christian university is a four day weekend), and it was a beautiful rest before the last stretch of the semester.IMG_5187

The opportunity for so many great concerts the last few weeks were absolutely perfect breaks with friends in my busy schedule. Jillian Edwards and Green River Ordinance put on a fantastic show at Common Grounds, the a cappella group that I am a die-hard fan of, Baylor Virtuoso, brought the house down once again, and I was lucky enough to be a date to the Men’s Choir Banquet and Concert for a second time.IMG_5323

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My last time working as a Supplemental Instructor for freshman biology was definitely a bittersweet night.IMG_5620

F I N A L S. Enough said. Going into it all, I was convinced my med-school level anatomy class would be impossible to pull out with an A in (even though I knew it was still a possibility if I ACED the final lab practical and lecture final), and my world religions professor definitely made it hard to believe that I’d get anything but a B with her unpredictable testing and grading styles.IMG_5525

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Long story short, the streak continues!!! I am so incredibly thankful for God’s faithfulness to provide me with the strength and endurance to press on through the end and trust Him that He always wants the best for me. I know my work in His name is never in vain, and that all the glory is His for allowing me this academic success so far.IMG_5702

Dental school apps opened up for Texas on May 1st, so I’ve been really trying to be diligent with knocking out a few sections each day. Be expecting some updates in the future about getting this thing done and SUBMITTED.IMG_5491

I celebrated another semester down with intense amounts of sleep, a much-needed hour massage, fun nights out with my best guy friends and then the roomies, letter writing to my well-deserving professors, and some trail running in the bipolar Texas weather when we enjoyed a couple days that didn’t get above 70.IMG_5800

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In the words of Ben Rector, “Thank God for the summertime.”

It is finished.

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Those three words were the email subject title of my religion class’s final essays (gotta love Biblical puns – not to make light of the words of Jesus)- my LAST assignment of 2013.  FINALS ARE OVER, and I’ll let you guess how ecstatic I am at the moment.  A few  words to describe my feelings after reaching the end of yet another challenge-filled but rewarding semester of college:

Joy, bliss, freedom, relief, exhaustion, accomplishment, victory, survival, disbelief of how fast they keep on going by (I’m now a senior by hours)…

I don’t even want to get into any of the details of my finals because that’s how done I am with even thinking about school right now, but let’s just say some serious and endless hours were devoted, sleep was lost, workouts and appearance neglected, and now we wait. Final grades won’t be posted until Wednesday or Thursday so I am officially putting it to the back of my brain, and I’m going to enjoy my first full day of break! There is still a possibility I will barely avoid a GPA drop (holla! #perfectionistprobs), but there is one class I’m still pretty nervous about, and more than one of my classes were dependent on how I did on the final exam. It will be OKAY though. Tomorrow I plan on sleeping until who knows when, doing a serious cleaning of my neglected apartment, taking care of important errands I’ve been putting off, and heading to see Frozen with a friend and grub on my favorite pizza in town.

I’m thankful that God showed himself faithful to me yet again by providing me with the strength and peace to persevere through a time that can be very discouraging and keeping my eyes on Him and his plan for using the gifts he’s given me. One semester closer to becoming a Dr.!

As for now, REST. Physical, mental, spiritual REST.

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Do as I say, not as I do

FINALS Survival Guide: What to DO and what NOT to do.

For some reason, a lot of people think I have it all together and am super type A when it comes to studying. For the most part, sure, I like to be very organized when it comes to exam time and I’m  obsessed with list-making.  That doesn’t mean it always goes according to my little perfect plan for test domination. If it comes across like I do have it all together and have all the secrets to smart studying, then I’m doing a good job of hiding my occasional procrastination, mini-mental-freak-outs mid study sesh, 15 minute turned hour social media time-wasting break, late-night snacking, and sans-coffee desperation. I thought I’d put together a little list (there’s that type A in me) of some of the things I’ve learned over the past 2 and half years of conquering the week of *f-words* and not having it end up the other way around.

  1. DO write up a detailed schedule of what you plan on studying each day and for how long.  DON’T get discouraged when you’re already behind your ideal plan after day one (ahem, me last night).
  2. DO organize all your notes/papers/outlines/powerpoints by chapter and unit test so it’s in manageable chunks. DON’T do the math and realize you’re responsible for over 2000 slides of detailed information (yay biochem).
  3. DO make time for exercising to keep your sanity and get some feel-good endorphins flowing. DON’T sit for more than a couple of hours without at least taking a lap around the library to remember your brain is attached to a body and that body needs to move.
  4. DO plan ahead with ample healthy snacks and on-the-go meals. DON’T waste your time at the library arguing with your “study” group over what pizza to have delivered after you’ve realized you haven’t eaten a real meal all day.
  5. DO take the time to calculate what grade you need to make on each of your finals to earn the grade you want; this will help you know how to prioritize which classes deserve more of your time. DON’T spend more time doing this than actually studying.
  6. DO take occasional breaks after every hour or two to do fun things like listen to your favorite song you can’t help dancing to, looking at pretty/funny/motivational things on Pinterest, or reading a passage from your Bible.  DON’T let this turn into all out motivation loss and precious hours down the drain.
  7. DO try to get maybe at least 6 hours of sleep each night.  No, it’s not the ideal 8 or 9, but does that even happen in real college life??? DON’T pull all-nighters. Period.
  8. DO have maybe one or two fun events to look forward to in the midst of finals. For example, tonight my Jesus and the Gospels professor has invited our class over for dinner at his house tonight to be together one last time as a class. I’ve also been known to host a small dinner party during finals for a much-needed break (last year was soup sampling with butternut squash and broccoli cheese soup – comfort food at its finest). DON’T treat dead days as an excuse to go party and get drunk like a lot of students do, thinking you’ll have enough time to study before your finals. Nope.
  9. DO prioritize studying over your appearance/getting ready time. DON’T forget to regularly shower and please try to refrain from pjs and pillows in the library.
  10. DO be confident that you will do well if you’ve worked hard all semester to learn the material. God honors our diligence in our studies for His glory, and He is faithful to keep His promises. If you know He has called you to become a doctor or lawyer, trust in His plan for your future. It might end up looking differently than what you’re envisioning, but don’t lose hope because of the challenges of school.  DON’T let your GPA define you.

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“Favorable conditions never come…”

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.  My lack of posts recently is directly related to the never-ending demands of the final stretch of the semester.  Group projects put off until the last month, presentations, annihilating exams, apartment leasing, preparing my S.I. biology students for their last test and final, holiday parties, personal statement writing, and trying to not blow all my hard work this semester simply because my motivation tank’s running on empty. I don’t really have time right now to update you all on my whirlwind adventures, but I’m sure throughout dead days and exams I’ll take occasional blogging study breaks. This article I read was worthy of a post in and of itself.  It really hit home for me, and it’s such a good reminder that we all need I’m sure.

“Finals Week, first things, and unfavorable times”

The quote from C.S. Lewis, “Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future,” is so applicable to me as a single college student seeking a long but rewarding career path.  I’ve always been future and goal-oriented, and much of my college has been centered on my ambition to become a dentist or even possibly an oral surgeon, and doing everything it takes to get me there. “Just if I can make it through these finals, this week, this semester, this year…” There’s also the sense of anticipation of my future spouse and what my life might look like down the road. I need to appreciate every day, focus on what really matters, and choose joy and contentment now.  There’s no use waiting until that day when all my challenging schooling is finally over or when I’ll own my private practice and come home to the Godly husband I’m praying for.  Who knows how much time and opportunities we could be wasting always thinking that the next phase of our life will somehow surpass the current one we’re in? What could God be wanting to reveal to us right now that we are missing out on because we assure ourselves we’ll have time to grow deeper in our relationship with Him tomorrow, next week, next month…Life is never really going to get any easier, so why not “prioritize the health of your soul now?”

Time will always bring new challenges, and “favorable conditions never come.

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