Category Archives: Future
Okay, time for another update on the state of my dental school apps. As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to receive acceptances to all three of the dental schools I interviewed at pre-December: NYU, UCSF, and UoP. I also had my Harvard interview last week, which was my last interview since I decided to cancel my UPenn one. So, so far I’ve applied to 6 schools, got interviews at 5, attended 4, and received acceptances to 3. Not bad!
My Harvard interview went pretty well I think. There were 2 interviews, and mine were with a fourth year student and the director of admissions. Everyone I met at the school was very friendly, and everything was great. Here’s a photo of me in front of the dental building:
However, I’m still not convinced that Harvard is the right school for me. For one, I don’t know if I want to live in Boston for 4 years. It would be nice to be back on the east coast, closer to a lot of my friends, but Boston didn’t seem that exciting to me. A current student told me that everyone at Harvard loved Boston except people from NYC. It’s true that I’d been spoiled to spend 4 years in NYC and nowhere else can really compare. The area around the medical campus has nothing, and even downtown was kind of small. And also I’m not sure if I like HSDM’s program. Dental students take classes with the med students in the first 2 years, and pre-clinic doesn’t even start until third year. I’m not sure if I like that. And it seems like the majority of students there want to specialize, but I’m undecided about that right now. On the other hand, it’s P/F, everyone seemed very happy to be there, and I’m sure that Harvard will provide unlimited opportunities. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself, since I won’t receive a decision until January at the earliest.
Which brings me to the next step, making a decision of where to put down my deposit. Right now I’m deciding between UCSF and UoP since NYU is expensive and I liked the atmosphere the least of the 3 schools. And since my parents just moved down to the Bay Area and Yufei and I are just getting settled here, it’s easier to just stay. But UCSF vs. UoP is proving to be a very difficult choice. I am truly torn! I’ve down pros and cons lists, asked friends’ opinions, consulted the internet… I still need to discuss it more with my parents and think about it in depth some more. But a choice will be made very soon, and I will keep you guys posted!
So it’s been about a month since my last update about my progress on dental school applications, and there have definitely been some exciting new developments!
Last time I wrote, I had just finished my first interview at NYU and anticipating what I thought would be my second interview at UOP. Well, two things have happened since then. Near the end of October, I got a call from Harvard for an interview! Of course I was unbelievably excited about this opportunity, and I scheduled it for December 13. I know it’s after Dec. 3, when the first batch of decisions come out, but apparently Harvard does things very slowly. There was a very long supplemental questionnaire that was only sent to people who are invited for interviews. And they also needed my high school transcript. And there will be two 45-minute faculty interviews. You can already see that things are very much serious at Harvard, as expected haha. Anyway, so I filled out the questionnaire, booked my flights, arranged my stay, and since it was to be after my UOP interview, I put it to the back of my mind.
As I was preparing for my UOP interview the week before it, I received a call from UCSF. Someone had cancelled their interview appointment and a spot had opened up. For the very next day. Of course I couldn’t say no to that! I had given up hope on UCSF at that point and this was a great surprise! I’m pretty sure this was the shortest notice ever for an interview at 18 hours. Thank goodness I live close by. So I spent the night preparing for the interview that I thought would never come. What I thought would be my second interview at UOP suddenly turned into my third one.
So now I’ve interviewed at both UCSF and UOP, let me talk a little bit about both. I really enjoyed my UCSF interview. The admissions staff were super friendly and funny and made the day a lot less stressful. We sat through a couple of presentations in the morning, then went off for a tour of the campus. The facilities were awesome and I really liked the atmosphere of the place. UCSF is situated pretty high up and there are many little spots on campus with amazing views of the city. There is this room in the library that has windows on three sides, with views of the ocean on one side, the Golden Gate Bridge on another, and downtown SF on the third. Everyone on the tour started taking pictures (I only had my crappy phone camera so I won’t share the photos).
After the tour, We had lunch with some dental students, before doing our interviews. There were 2 short interviews, one with a current student and one with a faculty member, and both are to be weighted equally. Another thing that is different about the UCSF interviews is that they’re closed file, which means that neither of my interviewers had read my application. I was a little bit nervous about this, but I really didn’t need to be. I had my student interview first. My interviewer was really really nice and we just had a conversation. I even showed her my art portfolio that I brought to all my interviews but never had the chance to show anyone before this. I think she definitely liked me and hopefully rated me well. My faculty interview also went pretty well. The professor was friendly and we had a nice chat together.
After the interview, there was the dreaded writing sample. We were given 30 minutes to write a page about a quote. I think I did okay on it, who knows. After that there was a financial aid presentation (which doesn’t really affect me since as an international student, my only option is provate loans) and we were done. My overall impression of UCSF was very positive. I liked the school much more than I had expected. Some things I really like about it: P/F grading, friendly environment, small class size (88), lots of opportunities for everything, great facilities, and it just seemed like a very balanced school in every way. I hope I get good news from them come Dec. 3!
My UOP interview was earlier this week. One of the good things about it was that it started much later at 10:30! It was a pretty small interview group, only around 10 people, which was nice. We sat through some presentations and then half the group went to do their interviews and the other half did the tour of the school. I had my tour first, but I would have preferred to have my interviews first so I can relax after. The tour group was only 4 people, which was great because I got to ask a lot of questions to our tour guide, a second year student. After the tour, we had lunch in the cafeteria with some current students, and then it was interview time.
There was also 2 interviews, one short student interview and one longer faculty interview. My student interview was very casual and relaxed. In fact, most of the time my interviewer talked and asked me if I had any questions about the school. It was more of an opportunity for me to learn more about the school rather than for her to learn about me, which was fine with me. Then my faculty interview was a lot more intense and serious, which I had not expected. I got some pretty difficult questions! But I think I did okay in the end and my interviewer did say that he would love to see me at UOP in July.
The exciting thing about UOP is that the school will be moving to a new building in the summer of 2014. So if I end up there, I will spend 1 year in the old building in Pacific Heights and 2 years in the new one downtown. I got to see some floor plans and artist’s renderings of the new building and it looks beautiful. It would be really nice to use the new clinics and everything. So again, hope I get good news on Dec. 3!
I started this post a couple of days ago, and believe it or not, since then there has been one more new development. This afternoon I received a large envelope from U Penn inviting me for an interview! I haven’t called yet to schedule but it will probably be in January, if I go. It makes it a little tricky since it’ll be after I hear back from NYU, UCSF, and UOP. Anyway, I feel very blessed to get an invite from Penn. That leaves only my home institution of Columbia that hasn’t sent me an invite yet… no love from the Alma Mater!
Anyway, I can’t believe it’s just over 2 weeks until I hear back from the schools I’ve interviewed at. It’s been a long process and I can’t wait for it to be over. Will keep you guys updated!
I had underestimated how painfully long the wait is after you submit your application for dental school. I got my AADSAS application and supplementals all in before the end of August, which is not super early but still reasonable. Then I heard back pretty quickly from NYU with an interview invite – yay! I scheduled it for Oct. 10, hoping that I would hear back from more east coast schools so I can make one trip, but alas, no such luck. There was no communication at all during the whole month of September. It got pretty depressing. But then on Oct. 4, I got a call from the University of the Pacific! I was ecstatic about my invite from them. Since then, still no news from the other schools, and I know that pre-December interview spots are probably all filled up by this point. But I have to say that I am very satisfied with my 2 interview invites (out of 6 schools applied to) and I would love to go to either NYU or UOP.
So I had my interview at NYU last Wednesday. I was very excited about my first trip back to New York since graduation. My friend Jin was kind enough to let me stay with her in her room in an apartment in Stuy Town, which is conveniently located near NYU. I had a very nice interview day; the interview itself was very relaxed and not stressful at all, everyone I met was friendly, and the students all seemed to like the school a lot.
The location of NYU is definitely a plus, and I would definitely be okay with living in New York for another 4 years. It’s strange, but as soon as I arrived in the city, it felt as if I never left at all. Taking the air train, the subways, walking on the streets, it all felt so familiar. I even surprised myself at how I just felt right at home, so much so that I got to my friend’a apartment a whole hour before I anticipated. But on the other hand, when I got back to San Francisco, I had a similar feeling of homecoming. I can only attribute this to my constant moving and my lack of a place I can call my hometown. Only the truly rootless can feel at home everywhere.
Anyways, so now I’m looking forward to my UoP interview in less than a month. I had visited the school last summer when I was staying with Yufei, after I first decided to go into dentistry. I really liked the school back then, and I’m even more excited about it now that I’m actually living in SF. I will do another update after my interview there!
It’s been such a long time since my last post! But currently I am writing this in Yufei’s and my new apartment in San Francisco! After a couple of weeks, we finally have all of our furniture (almost entirely from IKEA), appliances, and other stuff. We were lucky to secure this apartment the first day I arrived in the city. It’s on a beautiful quiet little street in the Lower Haight neighbourhood:
We live in a small townhouse with only 7 units, and our apartment is bright and airy with lots of light from the south-facing bay windows in the bedroom:
The living room:
And the view from the other side (you can see the fireplace and the French doors separating it from the bedroom):
And I finally have my own kitchen!
Some more details… the walls in the living room conveniently have this shelf built into it, which is perfect for displaying photos…
…and Yufei’s every growing shot glass collection:
In keeping with the green and neutrals color scheme and to make use of a badly super glued broken bowl, I made this centerpiece for the coffee table with a candle and some seashells I have:
And there you have it, our first apartment! But before we moved into it, we spent a week in a hotel in North Beach, and the weather was amazingly beautiful and summery, so unlike the typical chilly San Francisco summer. We took the opportunity to explore some more of SF.
On the way to Coit Tower:
Our adventure time was cut short last week because Yufei has started working at Twitter. They’ve moved to a new office in Mid-Market and I had the change to visit a couple of times. It’s in a beautiful Art Deco style building:
(Speaking of Art Deco, I am so so excited for the release of the Great Gatsby film later this year. It’s one of my favourite books ever and the trailer looks amazing. Cannot wait til December when it comes out! I will also probably want to host a Gatsby party then too!)
Back to Twitter. They also have this lovely rooftop garden:
And that’s where we had lunch one day. The cafeteria is AMAZING. Check out my lunch:
Chicken and waffle, salad from a great salad bar, grilled veggies, roasted swardfish, and tofu. Everything is all organic and gourmet and there are a ton of choices. We also had breakfast where I had a ton of frsh fruit, scrambled eggs with cream cheese, potatoes, 2 kinds of sausages, and freshly made banana pancakes (needless to say, I was stuffed that day). Twitter really spoils their employees.
Anyways, although I’ve been loving this beautiful city so far, it doesn’t seem to love me back quite as much, as it seems to refuse to give me a job. Sigh. This is the only thing that’s been putting a damper on my time here right now. Let’s hope things will turn around soon… come on, show me a little love and mercy, San Francisco!
Since my last post, I have made it through graduation alive and relatively sane. Although all the worries and doubts from before were still there, I tried my best to focus on graduation for what it was: a celebration of the achievements of me and my peers over the past 4 years. It was a hectic and frenzied 3 days, but sitting among the sea of light blue in my own matching cap and gown, I was happy and proud to be graduating from such an amazing university and share the occasion with my family and friends.
I don’t think the fact that I won’t be returning to Columbia in the fall has quite sunk in yet, but hints of nostalgia are already beginning to peak above the surface from time to time. But with so much change on the horizon I’m forced to look forward and not back. Right now I’m back home for a bit, before moving to San Francisco on June 9. So I’m busy looking for jobs and apartments and procrastinating on my dental school applications. I know I’ve said this for just about everything this past year, but I’m both scared yet excited about all this change. Look forward to more posts about starting this new chapter in my life soon! But not before a post about Yufei and my post-graduation vacation to the US Virgin Islands!
It’s a little more than 2 weeks away from graduation, and I’ve been feeling like I’m at the lowest point in my life ever. Isn’t this supposed to be the best time of my life? Then why do I feel like I’m going to have a mental meltdown every other day? Am I the only one who’s feeling this way?
Let me back up a little. I have had an absolutely incredible time at Columbia, met some amazing people, and I’m truly excited about graduating. But I’m also more anxious and uncertain than I’ve ever been. Over the past few months, I have seen my peers get into fantastic graduate schools, get great awards and scholarships, accept jobs and fellowships, get engaged and married. They all seems to have it TOGETHER and have life FIGURED OUT.
And here I am, this close to walking across the stage, and I feel like everything around me is falling apart. In a few weeks, I will be thrown out of my dorm and I have nowhere to sleep for a few days in New York City. Then I have to move across the country to a city where I know no one and start living together with my boyfriend. And I will have a super expensive and hard earned degree but still no job (and trust me, it’s not because I haven’t tried). And now parents tell me that my dad might switch jobs in the next few months and they might have to move again. Everything is changing and shifting and the future has never been foggier.
While I’m happy for all the successes of my peers, they are a constant reminder of the things I don’t have. Why don’t I have those things? Don’t I deserve them too? Shouldn’t I have something to show for at the end of my 4 years at an Ivy League school? Why can’t my life be at the point where everyone else’s seems to be in? I wish I, too, had good and exciting news to share with my friends and family when they ask about my post-graduation plans, instead of just a forced smile and admitting that I’m “still trying to figure it out.” I just feel lost and stuck. Stuck at the edge of a great precipice, forced to move forward with no paths to follow. At this point, I don’t even feel the need to “have it all” anymore. I just want ONE THING to go right, to be certain, to hold on to.
I have no conclusion to this post. I wish I did, I really do. Just like I wish I had the answers to the next chapter in my life.
Happy New Year’s Eve!! I guess I just can’t stay away from this blog after all, haha. 2011 sure went by fast, didn’t it? How did it go for everybody? It was a pretty big year year for me: I traveled to many new places, celebrated 3 years together with Yufei, turned old enough to feel old at Forever 21, and perhaps most importantly, finally worked out a rough post-gradation plan! But 2012 is going to be even more monumental, with graduation and all that stuff. I have lots of hopes and dreams as well as worries and concerns for 2012, but most of all I’m really EXCITED to be moving on to the next stage in my life. So, new year’s resolutions? Why yes of course, I’ve got quite a few:
1. To lose weight and stay healthy. Ha, probably the most cliched of all resolutions, but it has to be made. I was super busy and stressed out last semester, and as a result didn’t work out very much and didn’t eat very well, and so as a result I gained a few pounds. My favorite pair of jeans are feeling a little too tight! This is definitely a sign that I need to lose a few. So, in the new year, I will eat healthier and exercise more. I’m taking Pilates next semester, so hopefully that’ll help!
2. To take control of my finances. Well, what little finances I have anyways. The first step is to find a new part-time job, since my current job is ending next month. And a sub-point to this resolutions:
2.a. To spend less money shopping. This is going to be really hard for me, because I love shopping and clothes and shoes and makeup and… sigh. But it’s getting to the point where it’s becoming a problem. So I’m going to give myself only $30 a month on shopping, and if I want to buy something more expensive one month, I’m going to have to give up the next month. Hopefully this is going to make me think twice about impulse buys (so guilty of this). And I’m going to purge my closet again when I get back to NYC, as well as take some of my existing clothes and shoes to the tailor/cobbler, to get more life out of them. I think it’s going to be a fun challenge to get more creative with the clothes I already have!
3. To make an effort to dress up nicely everyday. I’m already moving towards that direction, so this won’t be too hard. But I still have my off-days; I felt so yucky when I wore my sweatpants out during finals last semester that it just threw off my whole day. I feel so much more confident and productive when I look nice, even when I’m not going anywhere.
4. To make the most out of my last semester in college. Finally for one semester, all my classes genuinely interest me, and my schedule’s not too tight that I can still have fun! I’m going to enjoy my last few months at Columbia (and NYC) as much as possible.
5. To keep a positive outlook, no matter where life takes me. There’s going to be a lot of big changes in 2012, and I know that I’m going to be stressed out and worried and upset over some of them, but I want to keep in mind that no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay, life is wonderful, and I’m so lucky to be alive and surrounded by amazing family and friends.
So there you go! My resolutions for 2012! What are yours? I’ve love to hearing them!
I leave you with this lovely song from two of the most adorable and perfect human beings ever, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Here’s to a happy, healthy, wonderful new year!