June 29, 2011

Outwardly, I’m calm.  Mostly.  Collected, for the most part.

Inside, I’m a wreck.  And there aren’t many simple solutions to that.



May 24, 2011

Fact: I have ADHD.

Fact: I didn’t find out until late Fall/early Winter quarter.

Fact: I didn’t get treated at all until about a month ago, and nothing effective until a week ago.  Not because of me, but because of the processes and red tape involved in an adult diagnosis.

It didn’t just “pop up”, either.  I’ve dealt with it all of my life, but I always chalked up my symptoms as personality traits.  Or I assumed that what I was going through was normal.  I wasn’t really having problems in school, and any problems I had, either in school or socially, I didn’t link to anything.  Losing attention in a one-on-one conversation?  Must happen to everyone, no big deal.  Unable to focus in lecture?  It’s just me, or the class is boring.  Serial and problematic procrastination?  Everyone procrastinates.  Can’t plan anything, forget important things, no impulse control, etc? Wait, those are problems?

Well, yeah, they are.  And they killed me this year.  OChem raped me the first quarter, even though I studied as much as anyone else, if not more.  Other intense classes (like physics, calculus, etc) gave me similar problems.  I still had no idea why.  I stressed, I worried, I assumed that I just wasn’t cut out for school, biology, medicine, science… you get the picture.

It’s funny how you don’t put two and two together until you learn that two and two might be related, or that they may have a singular cause.

And there’s not much else to tell, honestly.  It’s been a struggle to even be diagnosed, much less to be taken seriously by most doctors.  And it’s very difficult to communicate the feeling I get when I take my medicine to other people.  It’s both satisfying and literally amazing to actually have the motivation to work for once.  To want to work, and to be able to do work when I want to do work.  And I came here to say that; life isn’t suddenly perfect, but it’s better.  And it’s easier to get through my day-to-day and my work.

Best of all, I have some confidence back.  And I needed that, desperately.

Red Panda

January 27, 2011

It’s that time again.  The doldrums, or whatever you want to call them.  You know, that period of time in which I can’t stop analyzing and over-analyzing and thinking and whatnot.  In a nutshell, I’m not as happy as I could be right now.  But that’s more or less my own doing, and I’ll have to deal with that and see if I learned from last quarter.  Nothing like a good academic crotch punch to really put you in your place.  Anywho.

I was in Bio lecture yesterday, and this guy gets up to talk to the class before the professor starts.  Older gentleman, well-dressed, very professor-y (white hair, thinning, kind face, tweed jacket, elbow pads, etc).  He’s there to tell us about this program over the summer for academic credit.  Students can go to South Africa (he leads with this), Big Sur, Alaska, Australia… and China.  Why China?  Well, there’s this animal in China that’s endangered.  Very endangered.  Maybe you’ve heard of it: The Giant Panda?  Yep.  10-12 weeks in China, working with Giant Panda’s, helping with conservation efforts, learning about their ecology and behavior, all of that.  Cool, right?  Well, I said to myself “It’s too bad they aren’t working with Red Pandas; I’d be all over that.” After class I go up to get the information, because it is something to do for the summer, and who knows, maybe there’s something in there that I could do.  I’m not too keen on going to China for Panda research, or to South Africa to work with Elephants, but Big Sur is cool.  So I grab the brochure, or whatever it can be called.  It’s more like an informational magazine on the different programs.  Anyways, I grab it and start walking out of the lecture hall.  As soon as I get outside I open it so that I can peruse it on my sojourn to Starbucks to work.  I open to page 2, and what do I see smiling back at me?  A Red Panda.  A very very CUTE Red Panda, mind you.  Where? Where is this Red Panda? I can work with Red Panda’s?  I look to the top of the Page.  China.  Panda Conservation.  10-12 weeks.  Giant Panda AND Red Panda.  WHY DIDN’T THEY MENTION THIS IN CLASS?!?! That’s the selling point! All of this flys through my head.  Wait, maybe I’m mistaken.  They’re just including it because it’s endangered and in the area.  Nope, Red Panda’s too.  Red Panda’s too.  Since I started here I’ve often thought about and considered taking a quarter in Washington DC to hopefully try to work at the National Zoo.  I would love to work with Red Pandas.  Outside of my field, but that’s besides the point.  They’re Red Pandas!

So what’s the issue?  It’s China.  It’s Summer.  It’s 10-12 weeks.  I have to pay a little over 3 grand to do it.  It’s worth 18 units, sure, but still.  I would love to do it.  It’s a great opportunity.  But I’m really not sure about it right now.  The worst part is that I have to apply soon or not get it at all.  I’m already staring down the possibility that I might not be doing anything this summer yet again, much to my chagrin, and not for lack of trying.  I have bio professors who won’t even email me back about a meeting for a letter of rec, and one letter is one short of what I need for just one summer program.  Jobs aren’t looking good for me at the moment, what with not having enough lab experience or a 3.5.  I need something where I’ll get paid even just a little bit so that I can stay in my apartment over the summer and cover bills and, you know, eat.  I’ve considered applying to be an ER tech at UCDMC, or even looking into an ambulance shift or two, if it comes down to it.  But the point is, I have no idea what I’m doing right now.  I don’t know what I’m doing with myself, I don’t know where I’m headed, I just don’t know.  And most people here would say “But you’re in college, no one knows what they want to do!” No.  I’m almost 23.  I’m a sophomore.  I want to be a doctor.  But I may have screwed myself out of that, at least for the time being.  I mean, there’s still my backup plan, which may just become my plan, assuming I can manage to bring my GPA up from out of the depths of hell (bear in mind, this is pre-med GPA hell, so just a hair below a 3.0).  But really, where am I going?  Moreso, if I can’t get into these research programs over the summer because of my GPA, or even, apparently, because of where I go to school (Thank you, Stanford HCOP, for giving preference in a 25 person class to people from Bay Area schools), how am I supposed to get research, which roughly translates into shiny bullet points on Grad/Med School apps that show that even though I may have had a bad quarter, I’m a good student and suited for their school?  And because I love to think ahead, what if I just get burnt out trying?  I feel like I’ve struggled just to get where I am now.  I don’t think I’ve had anything handed to me.  What if halfway through Grad School I just say “Fuck this, I’m tired and I want to be done already”.  I’m not sure if I want to be a professor, much less a researcher, for the rest of my life.  I want to be a doctor.  But can I put up with that much more school, stress, and bullshit?  I think it comes down to can I deal with knowing that I’ll never be what I want to be and that I had to settle over can I put up with stress, school, and bullshit.

At this point I really have no idea. And as this goes on, I’ve slowly come to the realization that I’m in a persistent outgroup.  I don’t really hang out with anyone besides people I’m in a club with, or friends of Lucy or friends of friends.  What the hell happened to me being social and always having close friends?  And why do I insist on being “best friends” with someone who can’t even reciprocate.  I’m not really sure if it was ever smart for me to go down that road.  And so instead of dumping this all on a close friend and being able to talk it out over coffee, I’m left with writing it out as my only means of true outlet.  Because anyone else I tell really doesn’t know what to say.  It’s either “You’ll be ok”, or “Oh, Pshaw”, or silence.  And I think I prefer the silence of my blog on my computer screen to the silence of someone I actually know.

One step closer to just saying Fuck It and becoming an introverted and anti-social English major.  Then at least I’ll have a good excuse to write and read novels, and maybe I won’t care so much about what happens in the future.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

January 18, 2011

*Give credit where credit is due.  This small flash of inspiration and the subsequent writing was inspired by On The Road, my good friend Seth, and the Grateful Dead.

I doubt this will get polished.  It probably won’t even be that good.  But it’s the first thing I’ve been able to write in a few months.  That’s all I need. *

I carelessly threw my bag into the backseat and slammed the door, keeping my eye on Neil.  It had been a long time since we had even been around each other for more than 5 minutes.  He set his backpack down carefully and closed the door, hopping into the front seat with effortless grace.

“Let’s do this!” he growled as I sat down and pulled my door shut.  I looked at him as his eyes locked on mine.

“Man, I missed you.” I said as I moved my eyes back to the steering wheel, the dash, the keys, to what I was doing.  “It’s been too long.”

“I know, I know.  I’ve been busy.” he said, drumming his hands on his lap.  But who hasn’t been busy?  Everyone has been busy, but it hasn’t been work to see them, to talk to them.  I had reached the point of not caring and had somehow bounced back to caring more than I should.  Fuck.  The engine turns, sputters, and then roars to life.

“Where we goin’?” I ask, hoping to get the conversation rolling.  It’s been months since it’s been just the two of us around each other, but it doesn’t feel awkward.  No response.  I throw the gear down into drive and the car lurches forward and we’re going, gone, on our way back.  But I don’t want to go back just yet.  I want to talk.  I want to tell him how I hated him, how I disowned him, how in my mind we weren’t friends.  I want to tell him that he’s being a dick, that his friends have been pissed, that he isn’t the Neil that I got close to.  The Neil I knew would put his friends before himself, would give himself up to make them happy.  I get my speech in my mind, I take my eyes off the road to look at him, to give him a piece of my mind, to do what I had been saying for months that I was going to do.  “Just as soon as I get the chance,” I say.  “I haven’t had time where it’s just us.  As soon as I get the chance, I’m talking to him.”

Neil is sitting in my passenger seat, his only-looks-shy-if-you-don’t-know-him closed-mouth smile on his face, his eyes alive and glowing.  He’s happy, and he’s here.  He’s my friend, and he’s riding with me.

“It’s been too long, man.  Too long.  I really missed you.”

Death Toll

December 10, 2010

This past week I was preparing for finals, and as I’ve related to a few people, I definitely consumed enough caffeine to induce hallucinations.  I probably wasn’t at the LD50 for caffeine, but I had to have been close.  Maybe I’ll do the math and figure it out.  Anyways, this is the body count for finals preparation:

4 large black coffees

5 5 hour energy extra strength

10 Arizona Herbal Energy Tonics

20 Monster Imports (both low cal and regular)

15 (at least) Nos Energy (in the 22 oz bottles)

2 liters of Mountain Dew

1.5 liters of Coca Cola

My Sanity


And when I say hallucinations, I mean hallucinations.  I have a poster of The Dude in my room, and his forehead became a window.  During my Calculus final the floor started moving and patterns appeared in colors.  OChem?  The pages had rainbow edges.  I’m now going to lay off caffeine for…. three weeks.  But at least I’m done.

Everyone is Golden

November 30, 2010

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything, which is ironic given that I’m supposed to be writing an article on finding time to write while in school.  At first I was just gathering my thoughts, and then it turned into me not even following my own advice on how to write while in school.  Go figure.  But I, as substrate, have encountered the catalyst and have begun to react.  Slowly, given the presence of a catalyst, but reacting slowly is better than not reacting at all.

I had an idea for a story today.  And it might be a long one. You know a story is going to be good when it starts with a Zippo.  But more on that as it comes along.

This quarter has been killing me.  But I finally sucked it up and went to CAPS for help, which I desperately needed.  And what do you know, it helped.  Hopefully it’s a resource that I’ll be able to continue using.  It’s done a lot of good for me.  But let’s see if I make it through this quarter with my grades and soul still intact.

So much to talk about, and I’ll save it all for later.  I’m just happy that I’m actually updating this blog.  It’s a huge step forward for me.


September 14, 2010

Totally unappropriate, perhaps, but I still love it.


These comics are genius. And so many puns and history references!  The T-Shirts even more genius.  I mean, “Death Camp For Cutie”? ” I ❤ Juice”? “Heilvetica”?

I’m gonna continue to enjoy these.  Feel free to do the same.