Fearfully made [and why I’m a biology major]

With something like sixty college credit hours of science classes under my belt, I guess I’ve gained my fair share of knowledge about how the world (and everything in it) works. Every single class obviously brings its challenges (gluconeogenesis or sympathetics anyone?), but I couldn’t imagine studying anything else but the intricate and incredible functioning of living things, especially when it comes to the human body. Last semester I took an intense histology course, I’m now in microbiology, and I’m still leading sections as a TA for the upper level human anatomy lab I took last year. I’ve felt a renewed sense of awe with our God the Creator with every lecture and lab session as a science major. I will never understand how so many people make science and faith contradicting aspects of life. I could have a friendly [heated] discussion about that for days with anyone, and I don’t have any personal political or religious agendas – simply infinite wonder rooted in a scientific, finite mind. Sure there are days when I seriously question why I chose to take this narrow, long, and many times uphill road.  There are more days,  though, when the more I study the more my fascination grows. I am certain that I found my passion of what I truly love.

  • The miraculous architecture of the bones of the skull that form foramina allowing vessels and nerves to reach and leave the brain.skull
  • Microscopically perfect arrangements of microtubules to form cilia, giving cells movement and filtration.microtubule
  • The insanely consistent physiology of action potentials and nerve synapses behind every single thought and motion.action potential
  • The unbelievable characteristics and design of bone tissue that make processes like osseointegration possible – which I’ll get to witness every day in my career.implant
  • A perfectly synchronized enzyme orchestra in glycolysis to fuel literally everything our bodies are doing at this very second.gly

I am confident that dental school will bring immensely more of these moments when my brain says “WOW.”

May we never lose our wonder.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

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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A [crazy] week in the life…

Just since my last post a week ago, here are a few things I’ve learned…

1. Sometimes seemingly lame Saturdays spent entirely (yes, ALL day) on schoolwork can be actually enjoyable if cozied up at the best study spot in the local coffee shop (my second home), watching a storm roll in, sipping great coffee (aka brain power), taking frequent breaks to chat with an encouraging friend, and finally leaving with a real sense of accomplishment.

2. My business minor classes are a great confidence booster when I can ace my first accounting test after studying for it about 5% as much as I did for my biochemistry/cell physiology test that was the next day, which leads me to…

3. No matter how many hours (days) I study for an exam and think I have a very good understanding, it is still definitely possible to walk out of a biochem test feeling like I maybe knew 1/4 of the right answers.  Tricky wording in questions, near identical answer choices, and the always doubt-inducing “None of the above” and “A and B/A and C,” will never cease to kick my butt. Then I remind myself, WHO CARES? It’s one test – God still has called me to be a dentist, and my GPA can withstand a little mediocrity.

4. A peppy, funny, and well-done Legally Blonde: The Musical performance can put a smile on anyone’s face after such a test, and I need to go to more Baylor theatre shows.

5.Bed bugs are a big inconvenience, and mosquito bites can sometimes be mistaken for them (ahem, roomies C and A) 😉

6. Washing machines like to suddenly leak and cause massive puddles throughout our apartment ten minutes before my roommate and I have to leave for class.  Now, when everyone is frantically washing all of their bedding (see above #5), all towels have been used to sop it up, and I’m trying to be considerate and wash my sheets for when my mom comes to stay with me, we now are scared to use the washer (it’s actually fine now).

7. Getting about 700 words (out of 2500) written for my rough draft of my big biblical research paper is a great source of momentum and determination to keep pushing along, even though I’m still hoping everyday for that additional week extension.

8. Biochem class in the biggest lecture hall on a late Thursday afternoon requires extreme focus to stay engaged, but if you do, you might learn something like the mind-blowing ways hemoglobin is so perfectly controlled by allosteric regulation and cooperativity.

9. Pigksin practice (for any reader that isn’t familiar with Baylor traditions, you just wouldn’t understand…) until midnight still always gives me unheard of energy to do things like stay up and write new blog posts.

10. Nothing makes Friday sweeter than anticipating a visit from my mom and going to a live concert of PHIL WICKHAM at my favorite coffee shop (see above #1).  Coming full circle to yet another Saturday study session, the cycle repeats and another week full of unknown adventures begins again.

Who knows what I will discover or get myself into even tomorrow?

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Saturday Studies

Sometimes I find myself resenting those college kids who literally never have to do any studying or homework between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.  Many weekends simply can be translated to “Oh good, no class Saturday or Sunday, so I actually have time to get all (or maybe just part of) my work done.”  It’s times like these that I sometimes question my choice of study when I’m posted up in the library doing research for my religion paper and studying the chymotrypsin mechanism while everyone on social media is posting annoying football acronyms and pictures of alcoholic or Greek-life celebrations.

I have to quickly snap out of my temporary pity-party and stop to take the time to be grateful to find myself in this situation of my life right now.  I’ve been given the privilege to attend a world-class university surrounded by supportive, intelligent, and similarly loaded-down-with-schoolwork friends as well as professors who genuinely care and always have an open office door.

As much as I wish I maybe had a little more free time on the weekends for sleeping late, spontaneous road trips, or just mindless TV watching, my time spent learning and studying is investing in my education.  These are the only four (now with just two to go) years that I will have the chance to explore all my interests and take classes like “Jesus and the Gospels” while every additional science course I take is one step closer to becoming a highly trained and knowledgable doctor.

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My research paper for my religion class has already been a source of unwanted stress this semester.  I had to plow my way through about twenty different ideas I had for topics until I could focus it enough in order to get my professor to approve. I finally decided to head in the direction of looking deeper into the implications of the Messianic secrecy theme seen in the gospel of Mark.  Sounds totally legit, right? I honestly feel like I’m in seminary with all this new critical/theological/biblical vocabulary and having to go so far beyond what I think I already know about the text.

My professor (who before he did anything on the first day, prayed over our class) is one of the most sincere teachers I’ve ever had at Baylor, and I’ve already spent about an hour in his office discussing the paper as well as just life in general.  He was generous enough to lend me his book including his contributions to the subject matter that he himself finds fascinating.  My first thought was, “Bonus points for quoting the professor?” followed by, “Wait, I’m in trouble if he’s such an expert on this.” This assignment has already been pretty eye-opening to me,  and it’s caused me to really look deeper into the gospels and how Jesus is actually represented in a way I’ve never thought about before.

I’m mainly writing this to bring my focus back to why I’m doing all this in the bigger picture.  I’m taking upper-level religion classes voluntarily with the end result ultimately being to graduate with an additional minor.  Having said that, I’m choosing to spend my Saturdays doing research instead of partying because it challenges me intellectually and allows me to discover more about what I believe as well as new things I never would be exposed to otherwise. Looking at the Bible academically some would say takes away from their faith, but I’d argue that it does just the opposite.

Confessions of a Distracted Blogger

I just wanted to give a quick update on all the exciting, hectic, nerve-racking, stress-inducing, beautiful chaos happening in my life right now (hence the lack of new posts). I’ll make this short because tomorrow is a little thing I like to call “First day of school! First day of school!” I’ve been in study mode all summer so it shouldn’t be a problem to just keep on keeping on.  What I’ve been up to the past couple weeks that has kept me a little too busy to explore new recipes and has sadly left this blog a little neglected:

  • Miraculously rocked my summer school finals (no more foreign language or English classes!!!)
  • Explored the incredible city of Seattle for a short mother-daughter trip (Trip review and favorite RESTAURANTS post coming soon)
  • Still currently hitting the last stretch of DAT studying HARD: a.k.a doing the same amount of work in a WEEK I did in my first MONTH of studying.  Countdown is 4 DAYS! Yeah, I don’t want to talk about it right now. Moving on…
  • Catching up with friends I haven’t seen all summer in my loads of free time
  • Braving the crowds and checking out the brand new HEB in town (now the biggest in TX) and spending too much money
  • Training for my new job as a Biology Supplemental Instructor so I can change the world, one little panicked “bio/pre-med” freshman at a time.
  • Meetings with ASDA leadership and trying to get details for the year lined up (guess who wishes she would have had time to work more diligently on that over the summer)
  • Getting organized and trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I start my junior year of undergrad tomorrow.

Here’s to another new, challenging, fun, exhausting, rewarding, and EXCITING new chapter!

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