even the winter

Since I posted last, winter has certainly arrived here in Philadelphia. I’m sure all of you heard about the monster that was Winterstorm Jonas. It dumped a hefty 20+ inches on us, but of course managed to not bless us with a snow day off of school. I stocked up at the grocery store, made a big batch of African peanut sweet potato stew (delish and hearty), and basically hibernated in my pjs all weekend while forcing myself to study angiology. I managed to get out in the midst of it Saturday for a verrrrry windy and cold thirty minute walk around Penn, only for Instagram photo purposes of course. Campus is even prettier buried beneath a thick layer of white.snowy penn

The winter weather does affect my days recently more than I anticipated, though. Can we talk about how the sun sets around 5 o’clock (aka when we finish class most days)? Also, I am sad to admit the lack of gym-going that has occurred since the new semester started. Would you really want to put on 3 layers just to walk to the gym and take them off? Not to mention the sheer volume of our courses already this semester that demand every waking hour of attention to master. This afternoon I did make myself make the measly four-block trek to have a serious leg day session. All that talk in pathology about atrophy, and I’m convinced that’s the sad current state of my former cycling instructor thighs and glutes. I’m also convinced I’m going to start rock climbing again for a fun non-workout workout. I haven’t done it since I left Baylor, and even back then it was very few and far between – and mainly to just say hi to my cool friends who worked The Rock.

This entire past week was a rougghhhh one, my friends. Our Thursday exam was arguably our biggest doozy yet. Let’s just say I’m still recovering mentally and physically, and my main medicine of choice this weekend (per usual) has been pizza and wine. I’ve also relished some sweet early bed times to “catch up” (scientifically not possible, sorry) on my sleep. I am so thankful for all my friends back home who check in on me and support my study marathons with all the emojis, Bitmojis, letters, and maybe some distracting youtube videos every now and then. Speaking of, one of my BEST friends from college is taking non other than THE MCAT this week, and she is seriously the most diligent and resilient person I know so I’m nothing but confident in her. Shout out to YOU Jenna, (future) M.D.

If you know me at all, you know my days too often revolve around a countdown and looking forward to something in the near or far off future (I’m learning more and more to live in the here and now, but I can’t help but get excited about planning fun trips or events). Well in the past few days, I have had a SERIOUS case of #yolo and spontaneity…I never regret it 🙂

  1. I will be in WACOTOWN in 26 short days to watch my first ever Baylor All-University Sing that I won’t be performing in! (If you’re not a Baylor grad, google it. I can’t explain) Also just to see some of my Baylor buds who I love and miss dearly. Oh and Mexican food, duh. And half pitchers at Shorty’s.
  2. For the first part of my spring break (only 5 weeks away – GLORY) I am headed to Washington, D.C. for the first time ever to hang out and explore the city with one of my absolute favorite people who just happens to be temporarily moving there for a few months (140 miles away instead of 1400 = happy me).
  3. You know that little band called Coldplay? They’re performing the Super Bowl halftime show this year in case you didn’t hear. They also just announced their US Stadium Tour dates, and I am FINALLY going to see one of my all time favorite bands LIVE this August! My extensive concert bucket list is pretty much complete now.

I’d say that little list (especially the first two happening so soon) is all the motivation I need for this next stretch of exams.

While I do love looking forward in anticipation of things to come, God is continually teaching me to stop and thank Him for TODAY – just as it comes and as it is. Even in this winter season, even in this waiting season, and even in this weary season. I want to fight to not let my hopeful heart wander too far off in the distance, but to hold on tight to the gift he gives each day, this chapter, right now. After all, what good does it do to jump to the end we’re dreaming up on our own when He is our author, writing way better stories than we ever could?

Even the Winter, by Audrey Assad (one of my favorite artists), pretty much sums this up.

What if the spring comes soon 

and we’re surprised

What if the seasons help us realize

Some things are only proven over time

pieces

Today I had a very rare lecture and lab free morning, so I went to sleep before eleven and sans alarm, naturally waking up around six and falling back asleep until nine. Sleep is a beautiful thing. I figured I’d make my way down to my favorite close by coffee shop and wake up slow, maybe fitting in time enough to review one lecture before our afternoon classes. This usually consists of listening to worship music, journaling or reading and praying, and probably then afterwards spending too much time reading all the sites I follow, catching up on Instagram, and following click bait to see Adele Carpool Karaoke (so worth your 15 minutes).  

One of my favorite songs, Pieces by Amanda Cook, came on my playlist, and this is a song that has meant different things to me over the past several months of knowing it. I feel like over and over again, it has been my heart’s declaration that even when it hurts and when I don’t feel like it’s true, to still know that God will never love us with a fraction or give us half of what we need. This season He has continually reminded me that he gives nothing short of the BEST for us, but often times in order for us to fully experience the fullness and extravagance of what he has for each of us, we have to wait. Wait for him to carry it to completion while he is continuing to refine our hearts in the time of in between. So many of us are in this “awkward” stage of new adult-ing post graduation and desperate to look ahead and jump ahead. Instead of rushing into wanting only pieces of second best and selling God short, let’s be confident that he will always love and give lavishly with his whole heart.green line

one sixteenth a doctor. basically.

It’s pretty much the halfway point of the semester, give or take a few days. We’ve got two whole finished courses, five exams, three tooth wax-ups, and our first time in clinic under our belts. It sounds pretty pathetic in comparison to the gigantic hurdles we have ahead of us for the next four+ years, but at the same time it’s incredible how much we’ve learned and done in just eight weeks of dental school. The fact that we already have real grades on our transcript already is crazy (don’t worry Mom, they’re good ones).
journalMy journal I started mid-summer reached full capacity – I guess you can imagine how much has been on my mind in the past few months and the rambling prayers and dreams that covered those pages – and there’s something so refreshing about opening a crisp new one and writing on that first page. I love how it correlated with the shift of seasons here in Philly, too. Turning over a new leaf and page, literally. This week lows are already in the 30s and 40s and some days the highs only get to the 50s. I don’t miss the still-90-in-October part of Texas, sorry.

Since my last post we had our initiation dinner for the dental fraternity I joined, Psi
galsOmega. It was an excuse to dress up (and let me just say again – all my classmates are dang attractive), enjoy a great dinner, and have a fun Friday night out with my new sistas and bros, both new members and upperclassmen. For people wondering what on earth a dental school fraternity is about (I realize it sounds more geek than Greek), it’s basically another way to make connections with your class and classes above you, network with alumni (shout out to homegirl Dr. Maggio), get involved with more service opportunities, have fun socials to look forward to, and receive academic help along the way. We have three equally great ones here at Penn, and I have friends that joined each of them but there’s also no pressure to join any of them. To a lot of people’s surprise, there are a million things to get involved with during your time in dental school.

Speaking of, I haven’t had the chance to update you guys that I did in fact get offered a board position on our chapter of the American Student Dental Association. I will be a contributing editor this year, and I’m so pumped for all that’s in store for Penn ASDA. My position is basically responsible for writing occasional articles and posts for our newsletter and website as well as just help out in general with publishing those or gathering ads. Being on the board at all gives a lot of options for other ways to get involved, too, and definitely opens up doors for ways to serve in the future. One thing that I am privileged to have the chance to do is travel to Chicago at the end of this month with nine other board members for ASDA’s National Leadership Conference. I’m one of two D1s going, and I can’t wait for a weekend of meeting dental students from around the country, hearing awesome speakers, and learning even more about my role as a leader in ASDA and in my future career in general. I’ve also never actually been to Chicago, so I’m so thankful to have the chance to go finally! I’ll be sure and write some highlights post-NLC. Deep dish pizza better be involved too, just saying. 🙂

This week after our tough chunk of exams that were pretty close together, I’ve definitely enjoyed some down time and getting caught up on life-things instead of school-things: the ever-growing stack of letters that need responding to, buying my first real winter coat, that thing called laundry, stocking up on fall baking supplies (pumpkin errthing happening soon), Saturday morning FaceTime coffee catchup dates, oh yeah and sleep. I also spontaneously traveled outside the city on Wednesday after a long day of clinic (our first time assisting!) and lab to hang with my Philly fam away from home, the Clarks. The fall harvest dinner spread was worth the trip alone. Butternut squash soup, smashed sweet and purple potatoes, seasonal salad, roasted rosemary salmon, a creamy bourbon maple cocktail, and did I mention apple crumble?! Geez so much better than my normal weeknight concoctions. We actually didn’t have lecture until three on Thursday, so I even made a sleepover out of it. I’m so thankful to have such a fun and supportive family right up the road from me, and I will definitely keep them in the back of my mind when I need a city/school escape. clarksIt’s one of those really cool full circle stories how we’re connected again. Ian and Susan were my parents’ best friends back in the early 90s, and even though I didn’t really remember them much, I always knew how much they meant to my family from the way Mom or Dad would talk about the Clarks. The last time I saw them I think I was two years old, and since then they’ve moved frequently all over the East Coast. When I finally decided to come to Penn, Mom and Dad realized that they were going to be only 10 miles away from me, along with their daughter and son in law, Hannah and Greg! I just can’t help but thank God for crossing our paths once again. He knew I’d need some times of good foodie meals, laughing, and family music time with every one on a different instrument – much like my old times back home with Mom, Dad, and Megan in the window-lined music room.

These days, I feel like God is teaching me more and more about rest, contentment, and that whatever I have in my head about what the future might hold will never compare to the good he actually has for me. I love looking back and seeing how He works in the big and small and in ways that we were so blind to at the time. I’m constantly asking for clarity for things that confuse, distract, or overwhelm me (there’s plenty currently) and peace and strength for the days at hand. your love

I’m leaving you with the lyrics that have been playing again and again through my headphones since Amanda Cook’s new album was released a few weeks ago. This one is called The Voyage, and I feel like it relates entirely too well for me as well as several of my friends in this season of graduating/post-grad/20-something adventure that we find ourselves on. I find it ironic that I titled this post before I rambled up to this point, and now it really seems to actually relate to this very song in a way. We get so caught up in exactly how much further we have until that next thing is checked off – grad school, a serious relationship, big move, that dream job…when in the end, the pressure’s off and God is continually with us. I don’t think He’s really one for destinations. He wants us to walk beside Him in the journey.

Speak, even if your voice is trembling
Please, you’ve been quiet for so long
Believe, it’ll be worth the risk you’re taking

You’re afraid, but you can hear adventure calling
There’s a rush of adrenaline to your bones
What you make of this moment changes everything

What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes a home
The wind is high, but the pressure’s off
I’ll send the rain wherever we end up
Wherever we end up

Set your sights, sailing far beyond familiar
In the rising tide, you’ll find the rhythm of your heart
And lift your head, now the wind and waves don’t matter

What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes a home
The wind is high, but the pressure’s off
I’ll send the rain wherever we end up
Wherever we end up

I am the wind in your sails

[brought to you by post-exam jello brain]

We are definitely reaching the thick of the semester, and time for blogging sadly got put on the back burner this past week. Today we had a monstrous Foundational Sciences exam. I won’t dare tell you how many pages my typed study guide ended up being or how many Spotify playlists I burned through in the past 5 days. Oh joy, we’ve got another one coming right back at us for Biological Systems on Monday. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of just seeing the mundane of studying and going to lecture and lab day in and day out, and I’m still really trying to maintain healthy balance and perspective constantly.

scrubs

We finally got our classy navy scrubs in (am I a chief surgical resident on Grey’s yet??), so that’s at least one step closer in the “Dr. Price” direction. Let’s be real, I’m so glad I chose a career where professional pjs are the norm everyday. GRD lab is also off and running at a quick pace and we’ve already finished our central incisor and canine wax-ups, and now we’re working on the premolar. For those of you that don’t know what that means, it’s basically where we build an entire tooth out of nothing but wax and have to create all the details of the anatomy of that specific tooth. It’s feels very archaic with our Bunsen burners flaming as we heat our waxing instruments, melt and pick up a drop of wax, and try oh try to place and “flow” it where we want to build that marginal ridge or distal contact point before it solidifies. Fun? Surprisingly, sort of. Frustrating at times? Definitely. Hilarious b/c of the people I sit around and what we talk about for four hours? You know it, Novin, Ash, and Marisa 🙂 The faculty are pretty helpful with constructive criticism along the way, but when it comes time for grading our finished product, a non-dental person wouldn’t believe how many details go into what makes a #12 a #12 aesthetically, how it articulates in occlusion, where the height of contour is placed, how it’s aligned in the arch, and every other thing they can take off points for. wax

The morning temps are dropping (glory glory #fallelujah), the Bean boots have made their debut, and I’m getting more and more excited to experience my first real fall living on the East Coast. Jenna, one of my BEST friends from Baylor got to come visit last Thursday through Sunday and we had an absolute blast together. Even though it was dreary, windy, and rainy all weekend due to the hurricane, we loved it and enjoyed adventuring around Philly with plenty of studying and coffee shops thrown in, just like old times together. She’s at Boston U for a Master’s in Public Health, so she definitely understands the grad school grind and how weekends unfortunately can’t always be all play and no work. The main reason she came was to go see our boy Ben Rector in concert with me, and we later realized when we saw him in Waco last was an exact year ago so of course we had to take another pic with yet another Ben T shirt together. It was such a refreshing time getting to catch up on East Coast life that we’re both new to, church, school, family, and relationships with Jenna. jennaben

I definitely wish sometimes that I had more time in the day for things like my latest Don Miller read, Scary Close, experimenting with seasonal dishes in the kitchen, lifting more weights, writing more letters (the stack for correspondence in my metal envelope hung on the wall is growing quickly…), but at the same time I’m learning to cherish the small moments here and there, even if it’s in the midst of the business. Things like lunchtime Bible study with classmates, walks through the gorgeous Penn campus, solid heart to heart text novels/convos (during collagen synthesis lecture oops) with friends back home, a conversation with the barista, attending a local “black church” last Sunday with my church-hopping buds and having a sweet time of worship, and the never-ending Spotify music sharing and discovery with friends here and home. philly

Sometimes I walk down the street or through campus, and I think to myself, “Do I really live here? Am I actually in grad/dental school?” Oftentimes we get so caught up in the negative – i.e. “all of the above except” exam questions, if we got an 8 or a 9 on our tooth waxing, how many hours of sleep we’ll get tonight – when there is so so much around us to be grateful for. I pray that I never take for granted the opportunity I’ve been given to be here and to be learning so much every day to one day be able to use these gifts and this knowledge to really make a difference in peoples’ lives.

A verse that I’ve always hung onto for a long time and especially in times of transition is Habakkuk 1:5 – “…be utterly amazed. For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” God always has some crazy exciting things up his sleeve, and I am constantly asking for an increase in patience and trust that His ways are higher than mine. Let us be filled with expectancy and hope, always. Those things you’re believing for? Keep believing.

Until next time, I’m studying epithelium and the thrills of saliva, adding pumpkin pie spice to my coffee grounds, biking and running more in the cool of the day, and falling more in love with my favorite season.

[Untitled]

Sometimes life gives you more than you can write about. Now is a season full of just that. I know it’s been almost two and a half months since I sat to write, and it’s ironic because more has happened in these last few weeks than probably anyone should have to deal with at once.

I realize this is a personal blog where I usually write about really anything that’s going on in my mind at the time. Still, I don’t have nearly the space or time (except I probably do since this summer will be the most event-less/least busy time of my life sans retirement) to write through all the emotion about everything that’s happened. For those of you that know me on Facebook or Instagram you know what I’m talking about. For the rest of my readers, I’ll sadly tell you that my father of a very young but extremely full 64 years suddenly and shockingly passed away on the night of April 24th at our vacation home in Montana. He went peacefully and with no one surrounding him but the northwest forest and Canadian rockies that he loved second only to God and his family. We are extremely saddened, and our family and town sense a very real and very large hole because of his absence. Even amidst the deep sorrow that comes given that none of humanity was ever meant to grasp the concept of death, we find peace, hope, and comfort in the fact that he is now experiencing the very thing for which we were created – the fullness of joy, absolute awe, and too-glorious-for-words state of being overcome by the glory of God and seeing Jesus face to face. I know this journey of grief will look differently for my mom, my sister, and anyone else that was touched deeply by my dad. I’m praying for grace daily to know how to walk through this individually and alongside my family. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support by everyone in Waco, back home, and even my future community at Penn Dental.

To add to the extreme dichotomy of emotions I’m living in, let’s remember I  just graduated from Baylor on May 15 and said far too many “See you later’s” than I ever want to. I’ve never been sadder to say goodbye to a season than that morning I drove away for the last time. I made a nostalgic “Waco Love” driving playlist, and let’s just say I cried almost all the way to Tyler. I am overcome with gratitude for God bringing me to that glorious place 4 very short years ago, and I will never be able to articulate just how much Baylor and every single person that was a part of my home team truly mean to me. Even through this past month of grieving, I experienced some of the sweetest times with some of my favorite people my last few weeks living as a college student in the city that won my heart. I won’t even go into detail on how gracious (most) of my professors were with working things out for me to finish with excellence and graduate just as I would have had this never happened. Long story short, I did get my first B(+) – not even in an upper level science class but a personal finance class, lol jokes – but still managed to finish the journey and reach my long-time goal of graduating Summa Cum Laude.

I’m home for the summer for the strangest few months of my life. This is nothing against my home, my family, or the people of my hometown, but honestly it’s just weird. These few months are the definition of limbo: I’m completely finished with the past season but the next one isn’t here until August. I’ve never known zero work, zero school, and zero of my people back in Waco that know me better than anyone. I really have never known how to rest, so that’s exactly what I need to learn to do this summer. I’ve got a lofty book list (a mix of theology, medicine, philosophy, and everything in between), am playing music more than ever, have some concerts and visits to see other TX friends lined up, but other than that, I am really the most available I’ll ever be in my life. I am making space for quiet and stillness – things I know I’ll be desperate for in a few months.

I have way more I wish I could fill in and update but I had to just start somewhere, and this is the jumpstart to my goal of more consistent blogging during this season when I have plenty of more time to do so. I want to write more about the books I’m reading, the letters I’m writing and receiving (my new favorite thing), the songs I’m playing, the meals I’m cooking, and the memories I’m making before all-out school mode begins again. Oh yeah, I’m only living in Texas for about nine more weeks, WHAT? I’m still definitely getting more excited every day for my next adventure of being an actual student doctor and navigating a new city life, without a car and without all things familiar. Crazy, but it’s happening.

Until next time, I’m researching road bikes, dreaming of writing a song, digging deep in the Word, sleeping and eating better than I have for a very long time, getting my butt kicked in boot camp workouts, and contently living in this time of in-between.

All things new – embracing each season

425ca6210f45ba18989eb3c0f97f0dbfThere are some people that are perfectly content with settling into a familiarity of life and going through the motions day in and day out.  I, on the other hand, absolutely love change and the new-ness of things: homes, months, seasons, classes, friends.  Sitting here in my adorable new apartment, endless thoughts fill my mind about everything that is happening now and in the near future.  In the words of Switchfoot, “Life was just happening.”

This summer has certainly been one of transition for me.  It’s been the first summer that I haven’t moved back home for the few months of so-called “freedom” from normal (stressful) college life August to May.  I stayed here to take nine credit hours to finish up my degree’s core (but actually random) requirements, spend some more time exploring the field of dentistry, work a little here and there, and most recently, to decide to take and study for the DAT. My summer has been a complex mixture of emotions, as I’m finding myself at a pivotal season of being smack dab in the middle of my undergraduate years. I’ve had plenty of time to myself to just reflect on my first half here at school and anticipate what in the world the next two years will look like.

boxes boxes boxes

boxes boxes boxes

Love our dining area

Love our dining area

cozy living room

cozy living room

the place I hopefully will spend enough time in

the place I hopefully will spend enough time in

The past couple days were spent boxing, hauling up and down stairs, and unpacking my life from one apartment to another.  I have no idea how it all actually happened because packing has been the last thing on my mind all summer with everything else going on.  Shout out to my amazing parents for helping me so much! I could not have been more excited for the move, though.  I absolutely love my new bedroom (complete with my first non-twin bed ever!), and I already felt completely at home after getting [most] of my things situated, a great night’s sleep, and of course an inaugural cup of coffee sitting at our table my first morning here. My two roommates for the upcoming year(s), Audrey and Chelsea, are encouraging, hilarious, and full of life.  We share a passion for food, decorating (Chels is an interior design major responsible for a majority of our place’s ridiculously cute style), exercising, excelling in our schoolwork, and above all, Jesus.  I know this year will be one of lots of laughs, dinner parties, and supporting each other on this crazy journey.

Another reason my future seems so close and tangible is that I’m studying to take the most important test of my life thus far. Also, I’ve started to really research in-depth the possibilities of dental schools, but I’ll save that for another post. All that to say, THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING. DAT prep has been anywhere from confidence-boosting to downright discouraging. I feel very up and down as far as how ready I think I am/will be by August 29th (less than a month!). All I can do is depend on God’s grace, and stay strong and motivated to simply do my best.
oral_surgeryMy time I’ve spent shadowing an oral surgeon has been such a blessing.  It’s crazy to think that I just happened to run into and meet him at a local dentist’s office I was shadowing the first week of summer, and now I really feel like we’ve steadily built a great mentor-student relationship that will hopefully last throughout my years of applying and getting into dental school. Every day I go, I learn even more about this potential career route for me, and I always leave with a fresh perspective about why I’m even doing all this in the first place. I’m so thankful God has given me this opportunity and am even a little sad knowing next week will be my last Friday there for now.

In just a few short weeks, the fall semester will be off and rolling ahead at full speed.  Like I said, though, I’m a fan of the new and exciting season of different class schedules and new professors.  I am taking a wide variety of classes this semester for my major (bio) and two minors (business admin, religion) that are sure to be challenging and demanding but still interesting and hopefully enjoyable.  Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Genetics and lab, Cell Physiology/BioChem, and Jesus and the Gospels.  I’m really pumped about that last one because I heard the professor is so great, and who wouldn’t want to read the Bible and learn more about the life of Jesus for a class?

My new job I have as a supplemental instructor for the biology department is something that I honestly haven’t thought about much over the summer, and now that it’s getting closer, I’m excited about it but also a little unsure exactly what all it will entail.  It’s basically like a cross between a teaching assistant and a tutor for the large introductory courses. I know this position will challenge me to expand my leadership abilities, and it will give me a chance to share my passion for science and hopefully have an impact on nervous and overwhelmed college freshmen.

Thinking about my last two years at college is a crazy thing to even fathom.  Who knows what God has planned for me as He continues to grow me into the woman I’m to become?

What will I learn and what grades will I make?

What new friends will I have?

What old friends will drift away?

Will I go on any dates (wherever you are, manly men of God who will purely pursue a girl) or even possibly be in a relationship?

Will I finish my second half marathon?

Will I ace my DAT?

Will I travel to a new exciting place?

It’s natural to wonder about the future, but it can be draining and hindering us on what we could be experiencing in the HERE and NOW. I’m preaching to myself mostly when I say let’s challenge ourselves to sometimes simply BE.