Category Archives: People
I have always loved reading. But reading for pleasure had become a thing of the past during my 4 years of college. Honestly, the only books I remember having read just for my personal enjoyment was the Hunger Games series, which I read over the summer before senior year. However, since I graduated and have been working only part-time over the past half a year or so, I suddenly found myself with more free time than I have had in years. And what else to do with all this time but read for pleasure?
I really began to read a lot since I found out that I can borrow free Kindle books from the San Francisco Public Library through Overdrive. What an amazing thing! I love my Kindle, but I didn’t always like having to pay to get e-books. I’m also a huge fan of libraries, so I was so happy when I found out that I can borrow e-books from the library. Of course, the library doesn’t have all the books I want to read, or they might not have it in the e-book format, but they have a pretty great collection going! So far I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction (ha, maybe college did change my reading preferences after all), including a lot of Malcom Gladwell and Oliver Sacks. Right now I’m working my way through Susan Cain’s Quiet and really enjoying it so far.
It feels amazing to read for pleasure again. I had forgotten how good it feels to curl up with a good book in bed at night (or all day for that matter). I hope that even when life gets busy again in the near future, I will find time to read. Not for school, not for work, just for myself.
What good books have you read recently? Any recommendations for me?
There’s finally a tiny little break for me! I still have a paper due on Sunday that I need to start, but at least midterms are over for now and I don’t have anything else major before fall break. Phew. I’ve been so burnt out over the last couple of weeks, and I got sick last weekend too so that didn’t help either (still recovering from a cough). But at least I feel like I have enough time to write a blog post, that must mean something, right?
Earlier this month, I went to a little reunion with some friends that I attended a summer program with in 2007 (wow that’s a long time ago). One of them goes to Cornell and another goes to BU, and the other 2 are in town doing co-op programs. Since everyone was in NYC that weekend, we decided to meet up! It was great catching up with them since I haven’t seen most of them since the program ended, which was 4 years ago!
Then later that week, Yufei and I celebrated our three year together by going to dinner at Cafe Boulud. The meal and the service were excellent, I especially loved the olive bread (I think olive is starting to grow on me!) and my dessert, the milk chocolate coffee parfait.
And the company was even better, of course! Thanks to Yufei for such a great evening, and I hope we will celebrate many more years to come!
The weekend after that, I went to Columbia’s homecoming game against U Penn. We didn’t win, but at least we were winning when we left the stadium. And that’s not the most important part anyway, because that title goes to free stuff! By being a senior, I got a free t-shirt and free beer, and by pretending to be an alum, I got a free scarf (for being an “engineering alum”) and a free stuffed lion. And a ton of free food, snacks and drinks! The weather was beautiful that day, and it was so lovely to spend the afternoon with friends bathed in the upsurge of school spirit that only happens about twice a year. Here are my friends Cindy, Ying, Jin, and me!
Photo credit goes to Yufei, with amazing post-processing by Jin.
Then last weekend, I had the chance to meet up with my fellow blogger friend Erin, who is attending NYU. It was so cool to meet someone that you’ve been talking with online for so long! Erin was so nice and awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing her again to do some cool NYC stuff together!
That’s about it for now! There will be lots happening over the next week or so, so if I find time I will definitely write about it here!
After orientation, camp, and moving in, it was finally time to get serious. On Monday I got all my paperwork approved and got my ID badge, and on Tuesday I began my official internship at VUMC!
Basically what I’ve been doing is just shadowing my host doctor, Dr. Langone, a transplant nephrologist, and sometimes other doctors, residents, and fellows. I get to the Vanderbilt Hospital at 8 am every day and go on rounds with Dr. Langone’s team as they check on patients in both nephrology and the surgical ICU. After that, I go to clinic with a doctor or fellow and observe outpatient clinic visits for various reasons such as post-transplant follow-up, pre-operation check-up, kidney donation, etc. Then at around noon almost every day there is some sort of meeting of conference going on so I go to that, which usually includes free lunch (yay).
On the first day I realized that I’d be free after about 1 pm every day, and I wanted to make the most of this internship so I asked one of the fellows to help me make some connections in the neurology department since I’m a neuroscience major and I’m really interested inneurology. This was successful and for the last 2 afternoons I’ve been shadowing on the neurology consult team, which gets called to check on in-patients in various departments who need to be checked for neurological issues. This has been really interesting and I’ve met some current medical students on rotation who have been great to talk to.
I’ve also tried to contact some more doctors in neurology and psychiatry, and hopefully next week I will be able to branch out even more. I think it’d be so cool to go on psych consults. Also I tried to contact a dentist (since I’m also considering dentistry) here but she’s away until next Monday so I’ll have to wait to see if she’ll let me shadow. And I’m in the process of being approved for the OR so I’m hoping to see a surgery soon!
Everyone I’ve met here – doctors, residents, fellows, medical students – have been really nice and receptive so far, and it’s great. I was a little nervous at the beginning that since I’m only an undergrad, people wouldn’t even bother with me or would be too busy to make time for me; after all, they’ve all got very important jobs to do. But everybody have been amazing at taking my questions, explaining things to me, and just being generally supportive. I was pleasantly surprised and this has definitely been a big part of me enjoying this experience.
In other exciting news, I got my lab coat today! Now I will feel much more legit walking around the hospital :D
Can’t wait for week 2!
So I’ve been home for a few days now, and it’s been pretty good so far. For starters, I did way better in my classes this semester than I expected, especially orgo II; I’m pretty proud of my comeback after the disaster that was orgo I last semester (worst grade ever at Columbia… shame). But yay! I’m very happy about my grades. And now I’m officially a senior! Oh wait… I’m a senior now?! This idea brings complicated feelings which I am not ready to deal with at the moment, so let’s just forget about it for now.
So I got back home Thursday night, and on Friday I just chilled here in the ‘burbs, fed some fish, saw some ducks, you know. Then Saturday I went to Richmond with my parents, where we got a ton of stuff at Chinese supermarkets and had delicious dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace. And then after lunch I made my way to Vancouver to meet up with some high school friends, chatted a bit at UBC (I’d forgotten how pretty the school is, but a very different kind of pretty than Columbia), and had a lovely night at Milestones downtown. Sunday: gym, pool, watch hockey (I can watch hockey again!). And today… stuck at home and I broke our cable, so it was rather boring. So I went and took some pictures of our flowers that my dad is so proud of, some of which I have showcased below:
Wow, exciting life I’ve got there, I know. And can I just take a minute to complain about the weather? It SUCKS. We had to turn on the fireplace and it’s May. Not cool (actually, too cool).
Aight, new topic! How I Met Your Mother season 6 finale tonight… how do I feel about this? Nervous and excited at the same time. See, this is the reason I don’t watch TV much: I get way too obsessed and I get really involved emotionally that it can’t possibly be healthy for me. But it’s too late for this show. Aiyaiyai.
So. I’m really happy about the Erikson baby! So happy that something’s finally going right for Marshall, it’s true that the guy’s has a tough year. Not much happened with Ted, though good riddance that Zoe is finally gone for good. Barney and Robin. How much do I love these two together? The scene in the cab… oh my goodness. Then that scene when they’re on the sidewalk with Ted, it was so heartbreaking. And that last look from Robin… I do desperately hope that in the end, in the very end, Barney and Robin end up together. Yes, they were a mess, as they admitted themselves, but also as they admitted, they really did (and perhaps still do) love each other. So it was a beautiful mess. Obligatory Jason Mraz song insertion:
The song is actually kind of perfect for them. Sigh… I do so much want them together. So do I think that the wedding is Barney and Robin’s? I want to believe that, but only if goes well, since there are rumours that the wedding doesn’t go great and it will be the end of someone’s love story and such. So I don’t know. I don’t want to put too much faith into anything right now because again, it would just make me sad if it doesn’t turn out the way I want. But really, after 6 years, I really can’t get too invested in a new character like Nora, and certainly not to the point where I’d see her marrying Barney. So… yeah.
While we’re on the topic of TV shows, I know I just said that I can’t watch too much TV but I came across this trailer for Fox’s new show New Girl and I’m really excited!
Because it looks hilarious, and because the amazing and lovely Zooey Deschanel stars in it. Excited!Ok it’s late now and I’m tired and I know this post was just all over the place, but whatever. Sleep time!
A lot of people probably reach a point in their lives where they feel like everyone around them is getting engaged or married except for them. It’s probably normal. If you’re like 30 years old. This is happening to me now. AND I’M ONLY FRICKIN’ 21. What on earth?!
Starting only a few months after graduating high school (and even before), little hearts started to pop up occasionally on my Facebook feed, notifying me that such-and-such acquaintance is getting engaged. At first I was like, okay, I know a lot of people, there are bound to be some that are starting to get there. But then in this past year it’s just been crazy. Two days in a row now someone has gotten engaged. And let me just day that these are all people who are younger than me or within 4 years older than me. I can’t even count the number of people my age who are either engaged or married on both hands anymore.
How do I feel about this? I’m not sure. Just to be clear, I am not judging these people for getting married so young. On the contrary, I’m quite glad that they’ve found their happiness so early in life, and it gives me hope in love. But on the other hand, I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t freaking me out just a little bit. And I’m not even sure why. I mean, I have a wonderful boyfriend of 2 and a half years, so it’s not like I’m feeling desperate in my love life. And I have no intention of getting married before I’m at least 25. I don’t even have a degree yet! Heck, I haven’t even finished the Core! How are these people who aren’t even legal to drink in the States ready to get married?! It sometimes boggles my mind. All these people make me feel like at this point in life, I SHOULD be ready for this huge thing in life. But I’m not. It feels so so far away and foreign. And to think that these people that I went to high school with just a few years earlier are already there is just… such a strange feeling.
I know it’s ridiculous to feel this… pressure or whatever it is that I’m feeling, but I can’t help it. And it makes no sense because I neither want nor am ready for what they have right now. Maybe it just adds to my overall panic about my future in general. Maybe because I know I want to have some sense of where my career is going before I get married, and since I have no clue of the former at the moment, people who already have the latter figured out make me feel years behind. (Ugh. My parents just called me down to have the “what are you planning to do after graduation?” conversation. Which is not helping anything. Seriously people, it’s freaking me out.) Yeah, that sounds about right.
So… I don’t really have a conclusion to this post. I just had to write it down to let go of some of the frustration and it actually helped me come to a reasonable explanation to why I was feeling the way I was (I HATE feeling crappy and not know why). So… yay? Anyway. A happier post shall follow tomorrow.
“Because when I was growing up, I thought I would be a lot happier if I was famous and successful and if I had money. And I think that’s because we live in a culture that celebrates fame and commerce and consumerism and money, so that if you don’t have those things, you feel like you’re not enough. And I think we live in a culture that makes you feel “oh I’m a little too fat” or “I’m too thin” or “I’m not right” and “I don’t fit in.” And I think that increasingly I’ve realized as I’ve tried to change and tried to adapt and amend and pursue these ambitions, that ultimately, everybody has a beauty within themselves. And if you can find it and accept it, you will be happy, regardless of external attributes or material things.”
- Russell Brand, on Ellen
The past 2 weeks have just been a blur. I traveled to 2 new countries, finished my summer research project, gave my first ever presentation at a scientific symposium, won a prize at said symposium, flew back to New York, moved into my new dorm, and started classes for my junior year at Columbia. Whoa. That’s a lot. I know.. so let’s go through it bit by bit :)
The very night Yufei came to Vienna, we left on a night train for Munich. From then on, it was just a whirlwind of train rides jumping from city to city in Germany and Switzerland. So I think the best way to do this is just through the photos. Here goes!
Klein Scheidegg, Switzerland (yes, that is snow on the ground):
These were the main places we visited besides some minor excursions by train or boat and some other places we didn’t get to explore at all due to bad scheduling (sorry Zurich!). In any case, I had an excellent time on the trip and was reluctant to return to Vienna and work (albeit for only 2 more days by then).
After wrapping up my research project and final presentation, it was time to present the fruits of my labours for the past 2 months to my fellow summer students, various other scientists at the Vienna Biocenter, and a panel of judges, including my own PI. I’ve only ever practiced my presentation once in front of some people from my lab, and 2 more times by myself, but I decided to not sweat it and employed my usual tactic of telling myself that it’s too early to panic until the very last moment, by when it is already too late to panic anyway. It didn’t quite work so well this particular time, and I was really very nervous before I went up to the podium. Thankfully, I was in the first group to go, so that after I finished I can breathe and relax for the rest of the day. I barely remembered anything while I was up there doing my presentation and had no idea how I did, until at the closing ceremony, where I was both shocked and honored to find out that I was awarded one of 4 prizes for the best project/presentation. I genuinely thought that everyone did a really awesome job on their presentations, so it was really a nice surprise to end my research project on this high note.
To celebrate our accomplishments and bid farewell to each other, the summer school had organized a lovely dinner for us at the uber-posh restaurant Palmenhaus, which is actually inside a greenhouse that’s part of the imperial palace. The ambiance was great in the glass and steel structure, a strange melange of modern and historical.
The food was excellent as well. For starter, I had the beef carpaccio, which was delicious.
And for the main course, I chose the salmon which was served with pumpkin. A rather odd pairing to me, but I think it worked well.
I very badly wanted to stay for dessert, but my flight was at 7:00 am the next morning and my bags were still very much not packed, so I had to bid everyone an early goodbye as I left dinner early. What a group of wonderful people who made my summer memorable. I miss them already.
Life was calling on the other side of the ocean, and less than 24 hours later, I was in New York again. Even though I’ve been here in the city for the past 2 years, I always have this strange sensation returning to it after having been away for a while. The new school year began before I can even take another breath, and now the first week of classes is already over.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts since I got back, but perhaps those would be better shared another day. I think this post has gone on for long enough already.