Spring semester recap and now onto MCAT

     Well. Its been a while since I updated this blog but I want to get back into it. My book reading has taken a heavy hit as school came along. Usually during the breaks like summer my reading picks back up but now the MCAT is taking up that slot. Anyways before I get too far ahead of myself I should recap the spring semester. I think my last post was right before midterms. Finished up with all A's B). Maybe its just me but spring semesters feel so long towards the end- I think because we didn't have a spring break but also its usually where you continue your fall semester subjects- like Organic Chemistry II and Physics II were this semester. While I enjoy them I definetly wanted to move on. I had a lot of fun with the research projects I had mentioned before and I got the oppurtunity to present them. I presented some research I conducted on ants and necromones. It was honestly really fun and I don't know where the time went. I blinked and suddenly had over 90 hours logged in the project. With this semester over I officially have my first degree- an associates in science- biology. Huge thank you to worwic and the whole stem department who have just been fantastic and helped me so much. I couldn't have re-found my love for science without them.

    So I guess with my sophmore year over, and transferring onto Salisbury University, I am going to have to find a professor to get some more research done with, get some good-looking extracurriculars, get the head start on some sort of  internship or fellowship for next summer and the biggest thing: Doing my  first MCAT. I'll talk about each.

MCAT Studying: So the dreaded MCAT is upon us. I know most people study for it in their junior summer and not their sophmore but I figured the only class I have been yet to take is biochemistry and I am willing  to take the MCAT a second time if I need to improve my score. My current practice testing  score is a 504. I am pretty strong ~98th percentile at the CARS section. I am accurate but slow on the chem/phys, and just bad at psych and biochem sections. So I will practice more chem/phys and CARS sections and do content review on bio/biochem and the psych stuff. I am currently focusing  on  the psych section by using the Khan academy videos, taking notes, then making  anki flash cards for each. I am about 20% done with that but  plan to be finished with it in about a week before I leave for Denmark. My MCAT test date is August 5th and I am hoping  to get done all content review by july 10th so I can just practice from there. Then I have plans in school to either open my  own MCAT club  for leadership experience but also tutor people. And teaching is the best way of learning  in my opinion so whatever score I get in August, I'll get an even better one when they re-open. Honestly I have really been enjoying learning  the psych section, especially the more physiological basis of behavior stuff. It's made me really interested in neurology. Maybe one day I can take a class in it. I will say the toughest component of the MCAT for me has been the mental toll. Not seeing my gf, not  hanging  out with friends, and just constantly studying is a little rough. I feel guilty whenever  just listening to music instead of  listening to MCAT podcasts or videos. Keeping in mind that it's okay to take a moment for myself and remembering the tricks it takes to be happy is hard. I even feel guilty working out. What helps the most is remembering that  happy people do better on tests but thats more of a coping mechanism than an actual solution. Ce'st la vie. 

Research: So I really want to get my hands on research now that I have my  first taste. It was too much fun and I am too interested in biochem with my MCAT studying to stay away. One of the physicians I shadow and work with, Dr. Eng, used her awesome Chief Medical Officer powers to get me introduced to Dr. Bob Joyner who runs the new Henson research department at Tidal Health. After a quick talk we agreed it would be better to meet back up after the MCAT so I could get some hands on some awesome research. They mostly do cardiac stuff which I know somewhat well, and cancer research which  I don't know well at all. I'm looking forward to learning, and Dr. Joyner seems really cool. 
I also emailed Ionatan Kuperwajs of the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network who's doing this awesome program dedicating to aiming scientist (with a partial focus on neuroscience since Kuperwajs is a doctoral student in neuroscience and most of  his colleges/professors are as well) at important social issues. Their work is a bit more piecemeal and when everyone has free time, I joined their mailing  list and hopefully I can get attached and get some important work done. 

Extracurriculars: Honestly I am looking  forward so much to working on my extracurriculars. The reason for this is once my research is done, the only extra curriculars I'll need are FUN ONES!!!! WOOOO!!!! So I am going to be volunteering at a men and women's shelter/kitchen as well as a nursing home or maybe at the hospital? Honestly I wanna see if I can just be a feeder as I know from my clinical hours for getting my CNA that nursing homes need all the help feeding they can get. I honestly really just enjoy feeding patients as silly  as that sounds haha. It's strangley cathartic. I also am hoping for the next summer to get  into a fellowship but I'll talk about that in a future post once I know more. NYU's neuro undergrad programs looks really cool. Somehow I want to turn my love for DND into a cool looking extracurricular aswell. Also I wanna talk to someone about going into a study abroad program to get some non science or medical stuff on my extracurriculars as well. So far if I wanted 14 extracurriculars to list this is about what I have.
1- CNA*
2- Shadowing*
3- horshoe crab lab*
4-STEM honors research*
5- Bob Joyner research?
6- volunteering Halo men/womens shelter 100 hours (guaranteed)
7- volunteering wicomico nursing home 200 hours 
8- internship, hopefully something nuero
9- dungeons and dragons for SOOO many years- look into how to turn this into a cool extracurricular
10- Salisbury university research??
11- write my own book??
12- Ted x Club at school (guaranteed)
13-the blog
14- Maybe a study abroad program?

*already done

That's really about it. I really haven't been living since studying for the MCAT haha but its okay. I am being careful to take care of myself and my  loved ones. Plus its a good taste for whats to  come for med school. Once I take my first MCAT and I have classes going at SU, I'll start taking a serious look at which med schools to apply to and working on my application.


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