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Journey to my white coat


Deku
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I dunno if it was the new diet of superfoods I’m trying out or the fact I finally got a frame for my bed, but today was a pretty good day at work. I do feel that I’m adjusting to Stanford, and the job feels easier each week. I’m also getting to know the people in my lab better, and realizing that they’re a bunch of very cool and fun loving individuals. I’m feeling a little happier to be a part of their team.

There’s some other stuff I’d love to post about (I really think I had a mental breakthrough today), but I have to sleep for now. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning!

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Man I had this wonderful post all thought up, and then today happened. How quickly fortunes can change.

I made a number of really stupid mistakes at work today, the most serious of which involved messing with other another lab member's samples. It was a complete accident and honest mistake, but I know I looked stupid and am already walking on thin ice as a new lab member. I guess I'm a bit careless, and in the rather repetitive and monotonous environment of lab it's a bit easy for me to turn on autopilot mode and make some fuck-ups in the process. Obviously this is something I need to address now, because if I became a doctor this could cause people to undergo some serious suffering or even death. Maybe in the future I'll carry a small notebook or stack of post-its to write reminders in, and double check my work thoroughly to make sure I didn't make any faux pas? I guess it's something worth trying.

I still feel horrible and I don't know how I'm going to face that lab member in the future. But I guess what's done is done, and all I can do at this point is use this experience as an opportunity to improve and humble myself. I don't really know what else to say.

studied on the train streak: 5

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It was a pretty good day today. Didn't have to go into work which was a nice break after the shitshow that was yesterday. Ended up doing some data analysis at home, and ran a few errands as well. Also ran into some very friendly strangers today, one of whom randomly offered a hug after seeing the "Jesus loves you" lanyard on my backpack. Those experiences were definitely the highlight of my day--in a world where so many awful things happen on a daily basis, it's awesome to see that qualities like gregariousness and kindness are still quite common. 

Thank you to @BrassWolf for sharing the article! Spending 15 minutes a day to improve my attention span is well worth it imo, and I will definitely try to incorporate it into every day. Today I got some practice in while running errands, as I tried to pay attention and focus on my walking/driving. My mind was completely and utterly exhausted after getting home, so I guess I must have been doing something right! It's amazing how it's so hard to get the brain to stop working.

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I thought today was going to be a bit uncomfortable, but it was not that bad of a day at all. Knocked out all my experiments in the morning, so I had a pretty chill day just reading papers and doing some FACS analysis. I'm starting to get a lot better at compensation now, but still need to work on my gating. It's something that I think will come with experience.

I took the time to apologize to the lab member I screwed over a few days ago, and although it was quite embarrassing I'm really glad I did it. She was much friendlier and more helpful to me today, which made me a bit uncomfortable because I know I didn't deserve it, and I definitely feel a lot less hated now. But more importantly, I'm glad I made a formal apology because I know I took a step towards becoming a better person in doing so. I'm glad because I know it was the right thing to do.

No work tomorrow, so I'm headed to hospice volunteering in the morning, and I'll be attending a class to get my top rope certification at the school gym in the afternoon. Should be a fun day!

Studied on the the train streak: 6 (I'm almost halfway through the Biology review book now!!)

Focus training streak: 1

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It was a really long and challenging day today. I've started my training in the FACS core at Stanford now, and if successful I'll be able to use the multi-million dollar machines in there without supervision, which would be huge for my project. Unfortunately, that adds 3 hours to each work day now for the next two weeks, and as a result I didn't get home until 9 in the evening today. I suppose that's my karma for having two shortened workweeks in a row. 

Studied on the train streak: 7

Focus training streak: 0

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One of the many competencies that medical schools look for in applicants is resiliency, and I feel like mine is being pushed to the max right now. I've had a couple of very long, very exhausting days at work, and to boot I made yet another big mistake when I could least afford to do so. I'm not sure how it happened--I honestly have been making my very best effort to triple check everything and ask as many questions as possible--but I have to face the consequences now. Maybe these are meant to be wakeup calls that I need to improve myself much more before I can become a physician, where dumb shit like this can literally cost people their lives. Either way at this point, all I can do is learn my lesson, keep my mental from getting tilted to oblivion, and overcome. 

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Life continues, and it honestly feels more stressful than ever. I've come to the full realization that this really is my last chance at going to med school, and it's really doing a number on my anxiety levels. I'm still eating well and sleeping a good amount, but I do get very panicked if I'm not actively working on something, like my personal statement or studying for the MCAT. My current plan is to finish my personal statement by 8/20, send it off to my recommenders, and work on it with my school's career center while I shift fire to the MCAT. I have plans to climb Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48, with my mom on the 24th, and after that...it's all MCAT and research until the summer of next year, when I hopefully will have enough to apply.

That's the plan. The light at the end of the tunnel is there. It's so faint, but it's there.

I finished the 3rd out of 4 classes for my FACS training. My last class is tomorrow, and my certification test will be on Thursday. My lab shelled out several thousand dollars to get me the certification and I actually do feel pretty good about the content, so fingers crossed I can pull through here.

I have a date tomorrow night. It'll be my first date since leaving the cult, and it's with one of the prettiest girls I've ever asked out in my life. Oddly enough I'm not super excited for it though. All I can really think about is the night that will be wasted on getting dessert with someone, when it should be used on wrapping up that personal statement. ._."

Studied on the train streak: 12

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7 hours ago, Deku said:

All I can really think about is the night that will be wasted on getting dessert with someone, when it should be used on wrapping up that personal statement.

In other words, your stress levels are so high, it's encroaching on your quality of life. You might need to either take it down a notch and be kind to yourself, or keep it up but find a better or more frequent way to recover your lost energy.

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Yesterday was a really good day at work. FACS training was actually a breeze for once—the multi-million dollar machines definitely didn’t feel as scary and confusing during session 4 as they did during session 1. The certification is tomorrow morning, and although I’m nervous I definitely know that I have the skills necessary to pass!

I did end up going on that date, and it was actually a lot of fun. We had a wonderful conversation over the most revolting looking Asian dessert ever (grass jelly noodles with taro shaved ice and three flavors of bean). I doubt it’ll lead to anything (turns out she’s headed to Hong Kong for six months in a couple weeks) but it’s always nice to be able to get some private time with a cool person. She did text me to thank me for a great time, so maybe we’ll go out again before she leaves.

Day off from work today (thank god) so I’m going to hospice volunteering this morning. Should be a good change of pace!

@Phoenixking I think you’re absolutely right that I’m a little too stressed right now, and if I’m being honest it is affecting my ability to enjoy life. I can’t really drop weight right now though so I guess I’d have to find some other activities to keep myself more or less centered. I’ll definitely do some soul searching to see if there’s anything fun I can incorporate into my life. Thanks!

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Passed my FACS certification!! I now have free reign over all the million-dollar machines in the Stanford FACS core.

Its an amazing feeling because I was a masters student in a PhD/Postdoc level class. The course was taught at a really fast pace and I was confused and stressed out only all the time. But somehow it all worked out in the end!

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A year ago, having just spent an entire weekend cooped up inside my room gaming, I decided that the time had come to create a journal and start living my life seriously.

Since then all kinds of crazy things have happened. I finished my grad classes with a 3.97 gpa, got a research job at Stanford University, did hospice volunteering for 8 months (and counting!), went on a few dates, joined a cult, and climbed a fat mountain! Among other things.

Ironically I did spend all of this weekend cooped inside my room, but thankfully it wasn’t due to gaming, or even the internet. I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of my med school personal statement!!!! It’s still hot garbage, but I’ll have until June to continue to work at it and make it better. I have to admit that I’m tearing up a little as I type this because I never really thought I’d get this far. 

I could use all the help I can get, so if anyone would like to proofread personal statement alpha please don’t hesitate to let me know! 

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11 hours ago, Deku said:

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of my med school personal statement!!!!

Congratulations man! That's awesome to hear and how far you have come in one year! Here is to continuing on to the next year and all the hard work with It! You got this!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey it's been a long while, guess it's time for a rather overdue update. 

Whenever I disappear like this it's safe to say that I relapsed, and this is exactly what happened to me this time, yet again. I've made all kinds of excuses about why this happened and why I've been gaming on and off for the past three weeks, but the truth is that I guess I'm just not as mentally strong as I thought. Work is brutal, and going to the library afterwards to work on my personal statement or study for the MCAT only adds to my stress and exhaustion. When I get home I'm super burnt out, and all I really have to look forward to is another day where I get up at 6, go to work, and do the whole thing all over again. And so one day I somehow talked myself into playing one stupid game of League of Legends, and here I am 3 weeks later. It's crazy how similar gaming addictions can be to smoking or drinking. All it does is take one really rough patch to push me over the edge, and in the blink of an eye weeks have gone by, and I'm left with nothing but a messy room and the realization that I've lost countless hours that could have been spent on sleep, work, or literally anything else.

This relapse has really shown me that I need to find some kind of creative outlet in my life to allow me to relax on a somewhat regular basis. I guess that will be a priority for me to think about in the next few days.

The silver lining here (if there is any) is that I've still managed to have some semblance of productivity, despite the games. I haven't missed a day at work yet, and MCAT studying is going slowly but steadily. Personal statement alpha got ripped a new one, and rewriting it is taking a lot longer than I thought it would, but it's getting there. To those of you that were kind enough to volunteer to read for me, I will be sending those out to you shortly.

Oh, and I did make it to the top of Mount Whitney, but I clearly didn't prepare well for the climb and it showed. I don't consider it a victory at all, but to those who are curious what the view looked like from the top of the continental United States, here's a picture.

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This is the fourth relapse since this journal started. The fourth relapse since I made a promise to myself to purge that disgusting addiction that ruined my life.

It was scary to write that thought and come to terms with the realization. It makes me wonder if my addiction is something that can ever be overcome. It makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to truly work hard and become the best possible version of myself.

I guess all I can really do is learn my lesson from this one and hope that there's no relapse number 5.

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Holy shit. For somebody who relapsed, you still accomplish a lot of crazy shit! ? And yes, you CAN get over the addiction. But it's kind of like losing a loved one. I once read a great metaphor for losing a partner or close loved one and it reminds me of overcoming addiction. You see, it's like getting shipwrecked. In the beginning, you're safe and sound on a big, nice, comfortable boat. But suddenly the storm sets in, the waves turn into huge fluid mountains that come crashing down and suddenly, the nice ship is torn in two, the pieces get torn asunder, dragged to the bottom of the ocean and every shred of what used to be a semblance of your life is turned to splinters. And there you are, in the middle of it. In the icy, cold, dark night, trying to stay afloat, clinging onto a piece of driftwood, trying not to go under. And it takes time. You have to hang on. The waves will come crashing into you systematically, over and over again. The storm doesn't let up soon. But you have to keep fighting. Maybe you'll let go and get swept away. Hopefully you find another piece of driftwood, maybe a bigger one this time, or a helping hand. And maybe this second or even if it's a third time around you learn to hang on better, and you keep fighting the waves, the darkness and the storm. And it will take a while, but after the 100th wave has hit, you notice it didn't hit as hard as the 99th one. And the 200th wave that tries to beat you off is even less. You might slip off again, you're only human and everything is wet and cold. It's still a struggle. But after wave 900 you notice that it's not so dark anymore and the water has dropped in level. After a gajillion waves, you'll be able to stand in the water, and it will still hit you, every so often. But after all that time it's only a couple of splashes on your knees or shins. You've had worse.

So what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't really stop. But the way you deal with it and how strong you are and how much help you accept. That is something you have influence over.

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11 hours ago, Deku said:

And so one day I somehow talked myself into playing one stupid game of League of Legends, and here I am 3 weeks later. It's crazy how similar gaming addictions can be to smoking or drinking. All it does is take one really rough patch to push me over the edge, and in the blink of an eye weeks have gone by, and I'm left with nothing but a messy room and the realization that I've lost countless hours that could have been spent on sleep, work, or literally anything else.

Can definitely relate to this. It's a slow cooking process, you think you have it under control at first.. So you might as well push it a little, right? Suddenly you're back to a pack a day a couple hours a day or even worse, not even noticing how most of your thoughts are relating more and more to video games.

You've realized it, though. And not only that, you've started to tackle the addiction again! You seem to have a good attitude about you, if you keep all your efforts up I am sure you'll overcome the addiction once and for all eventually. It'll be a difficult path, you know that, but every path inevitably leads to a destination.

What I'm trying to say is, you got this.

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Hey @Deku ! It' been long since I saw you.

On 9/10/2019 at 10:08 AM, Deku said:

Whenever I disappear like this it's safe to say that I relapsed, and this is exactly what happened to me this time, yet again. I've made all kinds of excuses about why this happened and why I've been gaming on and off for the past three weeks, but the truth is that I guess I'm just not as mentally strong as I thought.

I also relapsed as well since my exams (in May) were over. I am currently playing games in moderation, but sometimes, my playtime can go overboard. In some days, it is not a struggle, but in others, it is.

On 9/10/2019 at 10:08 AM, Deku said:

This relapse has really shown me that I need to find some kind of creative outlet in my life to allow me to relax on a somewhat regular basis. I guess that will be a priority for me to think about in the next few days.

I agree with this. Even until now, I feel like I want to get creative and doing activities like writing, drawing, and dancing. However, gaming can be one of the causes of why I don't do those hobbies that often, describing them as "writer's block" or "artist's block." I don't know if you actually like doing the activities I mentioned before, but if you don't know where to start, this can be a great starting place. You can add your own hobbies (other than gaming) from this.

I hope that you succeed in overcoming your addiction. ?

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Day 1 and 2: 

People at work have been treating me super well recently and it makes me feel weird, because I know I haven't really done anything to deserve the treatment that I've been getting. I haven't made a colossal mistake in almost a month now, but I feel like that's less a product of my own merit than a result of people (especially my mentor) just not trusting me with anything major anymore. The original plan when I got picked up was for me to independently work on my mentor's project when she went on maternity leave at the end of September, but to my understanding the plan has shifted so that I'll be doing rather menial work under very close supervision from the other lab members instead. It's gonna be a boring four months once she hits maternity leave.

It's all good though, because I know I wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility, and this leaves me more time to studying for the MCAT--which is in reality the biggest priority anyways. Even if I do horribly in this internship it doesn't have much impact on the big picture of my med school applications, because I can always find research experience elsewhere. But screwing up my MCAT would have catastrophic implications on my ability to get into med school, especially with my crappy undergrad grades. So while I'm disappointed that research at Stanford isn't going well, I'm thankful that it's allowing me to focus on what matters a lot more.

Fortunately MCAT studying has been going really well. Days at the lab have been really chill now that my responsibility has been nerfed to the ground, and that means that I've probably spent 8 hours a day the past week studying for the MCAT, if not more. The amount of content I need to know is straight-up staggering but I've discovered that flashcards can really cut down on the amount of notetaking I have to do while simultaneously increasing retention of information. Meaning that I don't feel as burnt out while studying, but at the same time find that I can remember more information at the end of the day.

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Days 3-9:

I haven't relapsed I swear!! My family had its biannual get-together last week, and because of all the relations asking me to spend time with them over the past week I've gotten fuck all done. But again, fortunately, no relapse!

Something exciting happened yesterday. My mentor and I had a meeting with the PI of my lab, and somehow not only did she say that she would love to have me back last year (given our ability to secure funding), she also offered to write me a letter of rec for med school!! That's 3 letters of rec now, and just 2 more that I'd like to get before applying. 

My mentor is due for maternity leave next week, so I got her a little present (A gift card to a baby store...LOL). I thought it was kinda lame, but I think she loved it! At least enough to write me a message saying she thinks I've been a big help and that she hopes I'll get into med school. I guess it's the thought that counts, as they all say.

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20 hours ago, Deku said:

My mentor is due for maternity leave next week, so I got her a little present (A gift card to a baby store...LOL). I thought it was kinda lame, but I think she loved it!

Gift cards are never lame for baby stuff. As someone who has had friends have babies as well as going to be attempting soon to have a kid of their own baby stuff is expensive! The worst part is once the baby grows out of it, well, either donate it or save it for the next kid. While getting knocked down is tough you always get stronger on the way back up you got this and I can't wait to see what your future holds!

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