Blog Posts

Week of October 8th 2018- WIC Rotation (I Don’t Want to Step Into Another WIC Office Ever Again in my Life)

Monday, October 8th- Avoiding People During the Three Day Weekend

It was a three day weekend. Why? Who knows? It’s Puerto Rico. I’m just going with it. It’s good though. I got to laze around Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday. Usually I pull myself together just enough to do my laundry on Sunday and get ready for the next day. I didn’t have to do that this weekend, but on Sunday I did have to finally crawl out of my cave of a room (my roommate was gone for the weekend, so it was glorious). Some other interns wanted to meet up to talk about rotations we’d been to and for general advice. I’d already promised I’d go, so I wrestled on some jeans and a bra and marched over to the little grocery store eating area where this meeting took place.

Really, I’d been essentially in hiding since Friday afternoon. I would sleep early (10 pm-ish) and get up early (7 am-ish), solely to avoid people. …Having my own room would be a disaster. Anyway, my roommate, Axyl, finally came back today, so no more hiding. Today, I did laundry, cleaned my side of the room, and worked on an assignment. Oh, and I brushed my hair. That was nice. Tomorrow begins our individual rotations at WIC. Mine is out in Santurce (the next town over, you could say). Bright and early at 7am. ~Yay.~

Tuesday, October 9th- I was told we’d talk about assignments today, then got berated for not having said assignments done before today. What?!

First day at WIC. I arrive for the preceptor (dietitian supervising me) to berate me for not working on the assignments sooner when she herself had not mentioned them and when I asked her the week before (Friday, I believe) she told me I did not have to complete anything by Tuesday and that we’d talk about that then. UGH.  She could have said, I have no more information for you, have at it, and I would have finished it by the time I arrived today. UGH.

So, I spent the day freezing in the exaggerated A/C and working on assignments. I saw her interview a patient and that was my day. Better than Wednesday where I spent it looking up options if I were to quit this internship. I found a variety of universities with pretty much open admissions to Master’s programs. So, maybe it wasn’t entirely counterproductive….

Wednesday, October 10th- No Motivation, Just Sleep

I went home as usual from the WIC office. A bus ride and train ride. Approximately an hour trip. And I watched You Tube for a bit, until I got sleepy. I decided to take a nap before working on my assignments. My roommate came into our room, made a comment about me being lazy. I decided to prove him right, and slept. 8pm-ish, I slept until the next morning. I didn’t see the point in being awake.

Also, I did not work on my clinical case study or grant both due next friday, or on my clinical binder due this friday, or even on the WIC assignments also due this Friday. Those assignments were: a 15 minute long presentation, a case study, a short article, a facebook post, and a bulletin board. None of it. I worked on none of it. I slept.

Thursday, October 11th- Why can’t people talk right?! Be straightforward!

Dietitian preceptor tells me to focus on the case study, that I have to have that done by today, when I had asked her on Tuesday when I had to turn all of the assignments in and she’d said on Friday. Liar? or Spazzy? I don’t know. She also told me I’d be observing a class led by another WIC dietitian at 9:30am. But! At 9am, she tells me in a failed nonchalant way that well, I was supposed to give the class, but since my powerpoint isn’t finished…

Hold up! She had NOT told me my powerpoint was due today! To make things worse, she’d told me to focus on the case study! But double wait!! I did have my powerpoint done!! Well… a rough version, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I said, “Oh, but I am finished with my powerpoint.” Real nicely… So, she gives me 15 minutes to set up in the conference room, and now I’m supposed to present my presentation to the WIC participants. That’s crazy! But I did it, and she criticized my powerpoint for having too many words on it. UGH.

Friday, October 12th- Got an 83% on my Evaluation for WIC. Failing in my Internship Program is 79%.

Welp. Since I did not get to finish my case study, hadn’t done my clinical binder, or any of the other WIC assignments (the article, Facebook post, or bulletin board) I did them this morning. And I mean this morning. I started 9pm on Thursday and worked straight until 6:30am when I took an Uber to the WIC office. I kept working at the site. I finished everything but the bulletin board by the time I was in the office. So, I focused on that. (Picture featured above)

Yeah, there were a couple grammar errors. Yeah, the dietitian nit picked me on stuff that was directly from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the most official and correct source as far as nutrition goes) then dropped it when I told her where I got the information from. That’s ignorance! Why is it wrong when I say it, but okay when it has the official Academy seal?! It’s the same information!

Anyway, she evaluated me and told me my bulletin board was my best assignment and that it’s understandable since I have a problem with the language. URHROIHSFUSA!!! WHAT?! Excuse me?! They were grammar errors due to a time crunch. Don’t push your judgemental view of foreigners on me! That made me angry. As one of my strengths she did state the fact that I am in control of my emotions and that she could never tell if I was upset. GOOD. Because I was. Constantly!

She also said I lack leadership and confidence because I have a quiet voice and refer to the computer questions a lot during patient evaluations. DUH! I don’t work for WIC!! I don’t know the questions! And so what if I have a quiet voice!! UGHGHHGHGH. That also made me angry.. More strengths she stated is that I was very cooperative and took criticism well. Ugh. I went home and caught up on sleep. 8pm to 12pm on Saturday, I slept.

Saturday, October 13th- Karen. Stop Reading my Blog.

Karen, a fellow intern, whom I told not to read my blog, does read my blog. Sorry I can’t tell you guys about my weekend. If she had respected my wish for her not to read this, I would feel open to sharing. But, I don’t. K, you’ve broken my trust (again), but I won’t sink to your level. You will remain anonymous here. But I’ll never believe you if you say you don’t read this. If you want to know what I say or write about you behind your back, ask me. Because it’s the same things I say to your face. The only thing I haven’t had the heart to tell you to your face is how your terrible spanish grammar makes me cringe. That’s it! Everything else, you know. So stop snooping around and get your own life.

Sunday, October 14th- Another Day I won’t Divulge because Karen Reads my Blogs

It was a beautiful weekend and I found hope about staying here. How? I won’t say. Why? Karen. K, butt out of my life. I don’t want you in it.

So what if I’m on my Period? Yeah, I said the P word!

Nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness. Concerning right? Until I tell you it’s due to my period. Which I wouldn’t. Because it’s not professional to talk about such things. So what? I have to do my work as if I’m not a second away from puking all over it?

On my last day of clinical rotations a week before writing this, I got my period. I was gulping down tons of warm saliva, nauseous, and seconds from vomiting. I felt the world shift as I viewed patient files; I rocked back and forth quietly groaning as my uterus shed its lining and I did this all in (literally) bloody tights. (My dietetic internship hospital uniform requires a skirt and skin colored tights.) Oh, and on an empty stomach, since I was so nauseous that I couldn’t get down more than a spoonful of soup and a couple swallows of water.

Even though there’s an explanation for symptoms like nausea and abdominal pain when it’s due to a woman’s period, those symptoms are concerning and important to be addressed! YET! Women are expected to do the same good job she usually does when she’s not in pain and bleeding as when she is. AND, she is not to mention these extra obstacles. Because it’s not professional. It’s too personal. Unwanted information.

But I wanted to mention it this day. I’d had a situation before when I’d told a boss I was on my period (I asked to go home early before I felt obliged to puke on a customer) and she looked horrified I’d brought up such a hush hush topic. So, this day I simply told the preceptor (the dietitian that was supervising and evaluating my work at the hospital) that I had been nauseous and dizzy all day. I told her the nausea was normal. Then she asked if I’d been to a doctor yet. When I said I hadn’t, she suggested my dizziness could be due to the stress of being in this dietetic internship.

(Sarcasm)~Isn’t it great that ailments can be from physical or mental origins? Isn’t that fantastic?! Even better is the fact that society judges mental ailments.~ If I have a “legitimate” reason for being nauseous like, let’s say a stomach virus, then yeah, I’m sick. Stay home. Blah. But if I’m nauseous because I’m nervous (say before a big speech or exam). No mercy. I should get over that. And, of course, not mention it. That would make me seem weak, soft, not put together. Not competent.

And, just as bad, if I’m nauseous because I’m on my period (a physical origin! The uterus shedding its lining!!) in that case I’m not supposed to let anyone know about it either! I’m expected to keep quiet and pretend nothing is wrong when I’m (literally) bleeding!

 

Why?

 

Why does our society value the physical and cast aside mental and women’s physical issues? Why? Those matter too. Those have important implications. They are barriers. Why are physical ailments excused from going to work or school, but mental and women’s physical issues expected to be worked through and not spoken about?

I finished that day at the hospital early. Got all of my patients evaluated. In pain, bleeding, hungry, nauseous, and dizzy, I finished. The preceptor just saw that I finished. That’s all that mattered to her. That’s all that matters to society.

But, remember, that having a mental diagnosis or being on your period are on the same level as a physical illness. Treat it as such. They aren’t anything to be ashamed of. So, talk about them like you would about breaking your arm or getting a cold. Unapologetically, because there is nothing to apologize for. And when you get your usual load of work done, be proud.

Breaking my dominant hand affects my ability to write. Why wouldn’t I be proud of being able to write legibly with my dominant hand being broken? Likewise, being depressed or on my period affects my work (motivation and execution). Why wouldn’t I be proud of being able to get through my usual workload for that day?

Even if society won’t give you that credit, give yourself some credit! You deserve it! Keep fighting anything in your way. I don’t know you, but I’d be proud to know you aren’t letting anything get in your way of your success. 🙂

 

Weeks of August 27th to October 5th 2018- Why I Haven’t Daily Blogged in Over a Month (With Audio)

Above is an audio recording of me reading this post. About 7 minutes. Not perfect, but I hope some of you enjoy it. 🙂

My goodness! It’s been too long! I truly hope everyone is well. So, what have I done for the last …erm… lemme check… month and a half? Nothing much. Except begin rotations in my dietetic internship and question my life, but that last part is normal. I’ve gotten angry, I’ve, recently, made crying a part of my weekly routine, and I’ve felt incredibly worthless and insignificant. I could tell you guys why, but that’d take at least three blog posts. So, I’ll recap in one long post.

 

Rotation 1: Elder’s Center (Community Nutrition)

It was okay. As my first rotation, I was ready for nothing and had no expectations. My internship partner, Gia, and I were told to write up an intake form and then were expected to complete the assessments and evaluate the elderly participants. I’d done this once. With a college student. Very different. We ended up doing the evaluations together (Gia and I) and got upset at each other for it. It was the first time we had to collaborate on something like this and, well, there were kinks.

Later on that week we were also instructed to give a presentation on MyPlate to a different Elder’s Center. After lots of activity/interactive ideas were tossed because the event would be to 100+ people not 30, like we originally thought, Gia and I spent a whole afternoon making a ginormous drawing of a sample MyPlate. It came out really well! And I loved having an excuse to draw. Gia doesn’t share my interest in these creative arts but partook in the merry poster making regardless. 😊

This week was all about learning to work together and hitting some bumps along the way. (Side note: The way home was about 2 and a half hours by bus and train. All but maybe one day we also met up to work on assignments together for the next day, spending a grueling 12+ hours with each other daily. We’re friends, but phew! that was trying!)

Rotation 2: General Clinical Dietetics (Clinical Nutrition)

*SIGH* It’s been eternal. I hope to give y’all the short version. First week was general orientation and review. That was nice. I was positive. I didn’t mind having to calculate diets and tube feedings or evaluate case studies. It was kind of nice. Made me feel smart.

Second week. General medicine for me, surgery floor for Gia. First two days the dietitian who we are with (from now on called our Preceptor) is super helpful and goes with us to do the interviews with actual patients. Third day she let’s Gia loose. AKA alone. Good luck doing patient interviews with a whole two days of experience! …that was sarcasm. I was terrified, and the preceptor could tell, so she went with me one more day. After this we were on our own looking at patient files (yes, they do paper filing here) and interviewing patients.

Third week. Oncology floor for me, general medicine for Gia. Our preceptor tells us we should be much faster and, in not as many words, better by now. She asks back any question we ask her and is generally unhelpful. I understand the tough love bit. Haa… do I understand it… But! It wasn’t helpful here. These are people’s lives! I mean, I’m not going to kill anyone by giving them more kale than they need, but you feed someone with diabetes a strict diet of bread and sugar I bet you there’s going to be some health implications! This stuff matters. I don’t want to play with people’s health.

So, I’d ask anyway. Only to hear that the preceptor had told Gia that we should study more and look things up (by this she means on the internet). Why would that ever be my first choice, when I have an experienced dietitian right in front of me who is supposed to be helping me gain clinical knowledge?! I already studied. Or at least that’s what my Bachelor’s degree says. I know, I know, lifelong learning. There is no end to learning and studying, at least not if you want to stay relevant and competent, but my point stands! Our preceptor blocking herself off from being an accessible, trustworthy source only instilled distrust in me.

I will admit that by her asking so much of us, I am much more conscious of every patient file, medical history, lab value, and most minute details (I’m only human), but it also instilled that nagging insecurity and distance from her. Which maybe is for the best, because I guess I can get that experience and clinical knowledge on my own if I work in a hospital for years. (Which, at this point, isn’t likely.)

Moving on, fourth week. Surgery floor for me, oncology for Gia. Preceptor expects us to be, essentially, fully independent. She doesn’t even take Gia to her new area! My heart breaks and I (finally) cry due to the rotations. Arguably, our jobs as dietitians matter in every floor of the hospital. Healthy or not, but especially if not, it matters what we put in our bodies. But in surgery? It could be the direct link between someone developing holes in their intestines or bleeding internally. Serious stuff depending on what surgery or health complication the patient has.

I couldn’t handle it. And that’s why I began writing the Why I’m Not a Doctor series on this blog. I couldn’t handle me, basically a dietitian in training, having to go teach patients what diets they have to follow for the rest of their lives. And you might say, “yeah, yeah, diet shm-iet”, but if someone had a kidney removed, or part of their intestines removed, you better bet it matters what they eat! Teaching them what that should be is crucial!

I don’t feel nearly qualified enough for something that important. But I went in there and taught (read: gave handouts to) several patients with truly life altering surgeries and broke soon after. I wanted to be better for them. I wanted to be as knowledgeable as they deserved and I know I could be in time, but I’m not now and I don’t know when the next time someone who is knowledgeable will help them. It hurts to want to help, but not be able to. At least not to your fullest extent. Plus, one of the patients I’d evaluated the week prior in oncology died this week. So, you know, EMOTIONS.

Now it’s week five. We have to do something called staff relief responsibility. Essentially do the work of a dietitian on the floor we chose for that week. AKA exactly what we’d been doing, but alone. (The preceptor still checking our work and signing off all of our evaluations and diet plans, of course) Soooo, yeah, pretty much the same thing. I chose general medicine (anything to get out of surgery) and Gia, who I think is completely insane for this, chose surgery. Neither of us wanted oncology which happens to be the floor our preceptor is in charge of when she’s not teaching interns.

I’ll miss our little study room reserved for us interns and some of the sweet patients who I hope are doing well in their own homes instead of the hospital I met them in. There are many things I won’t miss. Hopefully the rest of the year (internship) is not as emotionally grueling, but I doubt it.

 

Either way, it’ll make for some interesting stories.

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

P.S. And yes, that was the short version. I warned y’all!

I Missed out on being a Pharmacy Technician because I Didn’t Take the Certification Exam. Then I Enrolled in the Wrong College within my University: Why I’m Not a Doctor Part 2

In the last part of this dreary saga, I recounted my high school days in clinical rotations including my best and worst experiences shadowing doctors with my socially anxious personality. One of the best things of that experience that I didn’t mention was how close I got to eight of the girls who were in clinicals with me. Though each one shadowed a different doctor/area we rode in the same car and had lunch together. It was my first friend group in a long time and it was beautiful. So, when 12th grade came by, though I had already decided to pursue a career as a neurologist and knew I’d benefit most from the EKG and EEG class, I followed my friends to a pharmacy technician class.

Let me clarify that I had absolutely no interest in memorizing medicines or anything that went along with that class. But I had my friends. And that was better for me. Thing is, I have no idea who wanted to take this class. None of us five (the rest either graduated or didn’t take anymore clinical classes) seemed to have great interest in the class. We spent most of it taking dismal notes and goofing off. The class was one of those easy to pass classes that required minimal studying. So, I got through the class and told myself it was okay. I’d just study once I graduated and then take the certification exam during the summer to become a pharmacy technician and get a well paying job while in university.

Well… that’s clearly not what happened, or I wouldn’t be telling this story. Before 12th grade I was an excellent student. Though I procrastinated all throughout high school, I don’t think I turned in a single thing incomplete or late before 12th grade. I always gave myself just enough time to finish assignments well enough to get an A. But, I was going through some stuff.

Stuff too lengthy to get into right now. 9th grade to 11th I coped by making my life about my school work and grades. I didn’t have friends. Not a single friend in 9th grade. I sat alone every day at lunch. It was miserable. Then in 10th grade, I joined AVID (the class that helps students apply to university) and I gained a social circle of sorts (I personally didn’t have a friend, but I had a group of people I felt safe with). 11th grade I clicked with (as I call them) my clinical sisters. 12th grade I was still struggling, but I had friends: my clinical sisters and a friend from AVID. I tried something I’d never considered before. I stopped making my grades a priority. I wanted to do poorly.

So, naturally I learned nothing in my pharmacy course and became a mediocre student. I failed my first exam that year. Got my first C, I think in all my years of school. This whole change began in 11th grade (same time I began writing poetry) but it really exploded in 12th grade. It dropped my GPA noticeably. I still graduated with something around a 3.5, but haa. I hate emotions. Okay, so now you guys know, I screwed up my GPA if I had any hopes of being accepted into a medical school like Johns Hopkins or an Ivy League like Harvard. (I’ve got a story on that for later…) And on top of that, by not taking the Pharmacy Tech exam, I also screwed myself out of an entry level job that would have paid me between $12 to $15 an hour. That’s really good coming out of high school where the minimum wage is $7.25!

***

Without the money to afford an out of state school, I was left with public schools in my home state (Texas). (Or an all girl’s school in Pennsylvannia… but that is also another story…) I ended up going to the university my AVID teacher, Ms. Dar, went to. She’d taught me so much and I trusted her, so it seemed like a safe place by proxy.

But, I made a mistake when applying. I was the first person to go to university in my immediate family and while I could have asked Ms. Dar who would have, very willingly, helped me, I didn’t ask for help. Understatement of the year: not asking for help when I clearly need it is a theme in my life. By not asking for help, I cluelessly chose the wrong college at my university. Majors are divided among different colleges at universities. I didn’t know that at the time. I applied considering studying to be a neurologist. But… that wasn’t the question I was asked when I enrolled.

I was asked what college I was enrolling to. I skimmed the little drop down list momentarily debating if medicine would be under the arts and sciences college or the human sciences college. Well, medicine is the study of human anatomy and physiology, so I deduced I must be applying to the college of human sciences. I am a procrastinator. I must have been rushed. Or maybe I was too lazy to look it up. Or maybe I did look it up to no avail. I didn’t know how to navigate my university’s website at the time (I think I still don’t 100%).

Thing is, I made an educated guess and it was wrong. I ended up with the soft sciences that have something to do with humans like addiction and recovery, nutrition and dietetics, human development and family studies, and assorted human related careers like personal financial planning, restaurant, hotel, and institutional management, and family and consumer sciences education.

OOPS. That wrong click changed my life. And it’s why I’m here in Puerto Rico as part of a dietetic internship instead of in med school.

 

~*~*~

 

Well, that was a long part 2, but I’d forgotten how life changing that last year of high school was for me. I hope you enjoyed reading about my teenage blunders and I hope you come back for part three. I may write it for next weekend, or the one after that. Depends if I get inspired by something else. Let me know if there’s a particular topic you’d like me to write about or if you’ve ever been through a similar experience in the comments below. I can’t be the only one who has gone through all of the educational portion of a career or certificate and just thrown it away by not taking the exam. …right?

Either way, I’d love to hear your stories and ideas for future blog posts from me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet!

 

Best and Worst Experiences during Clinical Rotations in High School: Why I’m Not a Doctor Part 1

I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, but I gave it up because I didn’t want to lose my humanity. In high school I, essentially, took a year long, intensive, crash course in anatomy and (more so) physiology. I was a sponge. I absorbed everything. (Except vitamins and minerals. Those were not interesting to me at all.) It’s amazing how knowledgeable I became from that one year. I remember sketching anatomically correct hearts and coloring them for fun.

I also remember going into clinical rotations the following year (11th grade) and feeling incredibly awkward about it. I was wicked book smart, but catastrophically inept when it came to people skills. (Still not great at it…) Which means 90% of my clinical rotations went like this:

 

Dr.:

“…and that’s what we do in [insert area of hospital here].”

Catastrophically Inept at Social Skills 17 Year Old Me:

*nods*

Both of us:

*AWKWARD SILENCE*

 

It was almost worst if the medical professional I was shadowing tried to converse with me. Most of my answers were short and direct. Example:

Dr.: 

“…and that’s what we do in [insert area of hospital here]. What area do you want to go into or what are you interested in besides medicine?”

Me:

I’m not sure yet. Um, I like to read.

Dr.:

Oh, that’s okay. It takes time to figure that out. What kind of books do you like to read?

Me:

Uh, really anything as long as it’s fiction.

Dr.*Sees I am most definitely not the conversational type*:

…that’s nice. Yeah, when I was younger [insert personal story here to fill up my silence]

 

The worst example is when I made a conscious attempt to be more conversational because I had read somewhere that it’s good to take interest and ask questions. That gets people talking according to some self help text I read. So, I mustered up some anxiety ridden courage and asked the cardiologist I was with that day a question (who, to make things worse, happened to be the father of one of the girls in my clinicals class). It went like this:

 

Dr.:

So, we evaluate patients using a stress test.

Me.: *Thinking: Don’t let the silence hang. Say something! Ask a question! Show him you are interested in the topic and want to know more!*

So… what does a stress test consist of? (…yes… I actually spoke this very formal way back then. Even around friends. It was sometime this year that I began simplifying [read: dumbing down] my speech.)

Dr.: *Stares at me for a second* *Responds in a this is completely obvious, I don’t know why you asked that question tone*

It’s a stress test. We put the patient on a treadmill and stress the patient.

Me:

*feels stupid* *silent for the rest of the day*

 

…But I digress.

Before the flood of vile flashbacks, I planned to recount my best rotation. For that, let’s backtrack a bit. In high school, I didn’t study. I just learned in class. And retained all of the information. When it came time for a test I simply reviewed (read: quickly read through) my notes from class and presto! high A’s. Here’s the best rotation I had:

 

Nuclear Medicine Dr.:

See here?

*points to a patient scan with some mass or other abnormality*

This patient had [insert some diagnosis that I’ve long since forgotten]. Do you know what [insert some medical term related to the patient’s case] is?

Me: *Enthused this isn’t a personal question and is something I can answer with much more ease*

Yeah, that’s [insert correct answer].

Dr.: *Intrigued I got it right*

Right!

*Continues discussing case* *Brings up new scan*

Now this patient had [insert some other diagnosis that I’ve long since forgotten]. Do you know what [insert some medical term related to the patient’s case] is?

Me: *Glad for another question I can answer*

Yeah, that’s [insert correct answer].

Dr.: *Very intrigued now*

What’s [some medical thing]?

Me: 

[insert correct answer]

Dr.: 

What’s [some medical thing]?

Me: 

[insert correct answer]

He was rapid fire quizzing me now and I was gaining confidence with every correct answer. A couple questions later:

Dr.:

Where are the thyroid glands?

Me: *Nervous because thyroid glands were only briefly mentioned in class. Once.*

*Hesitates then uses both index fingers to point to my throat on a fuzzy educated guess*

Dr.: *Satisfied at last, asks with genuine interest*

What area do you want to go into?

Me: *Still buzzing because I got the last question right* *Confidently answers*

I want to be a nurse.

Dr.:

A NURSE?! You have to aim higher! It’s better to struggle at something difficult than to excel at something easy. Don’t you think?

Me: *Thinking about doing very well in my regular level classes and just well in my AP and IB classes, but learning things on a much deeper level*

*Thinking about the fact that I took those higher level courses because I truly believe it’s better to challenge yourself and do okay than not to and breeze by.*

*Tentatively* Yeah, I think you’re right.

Dr.: *Gives me an encouraging look and a hint of a smile*

Don’t conform with being a nurse. Be a doctor.

 

Then he gave me his business card and urged me to contact him if I ever had any questions. I assure you no other doctor gave me their business card. Nor did I ever impress another doctor. Not surprising, since I probably said as many words to the Nuclear Medicine doctor as to all the other doctors the rest of the year combined. And no, I am not omitting his name for privacy reasons. (I’d give him a pseudo name, if that was the case.)

I actually lost his card sometime after that school year. I was not able to remember his name, let alone call him when I began doubting the whole doctor thing when I began university. Not that I would have called him anyway, because… you know… severe anxiety. I did go over to the nuclear medicine department at that hospital sometime before going off to university though. I had hoped to run into him, but I didn’t see him and I didn’t even know his name to leave a message. :/

 

If you’ve read the My Life Now section of my blog, you know that I’m here in Puerto Rico as part of a dietetic internship instead of in med school.

I’m sorry, Nuclear Medicine Doctor, high school clinicals teacher Ms. Dee, all of my clinicals classmates who expected medical greatness of me, all of my teachers that swore up and down I’d go on to excel as a doctor, my AVID teacher Ms. Dar, my parents, and myself. I’m sorry.

~*~*~

My next deterrent from medical school wasn’t the crushing fear of losing my humanity. (Though that was always present.) It was a wrong click when I enrolled to university. Come back for part two next week to read about fateful click!

Note:

Picture is of my physiology class material sophomore year in university.

 

 

 

Equality and Justice: Some oversights in the American University Grant System and How I Paid/Am Still Paying for University

Originally Written in April 2018

I’ve been working since I began university. I was so fortunate in my high school days to have two parents that cared for me as well as they did. They fed me every day. My father did not let me stay up past midnight. While my peers were slaving away at our tower of homework assignments, I rushed to finish them before the bell tolled. I underestimated everything my parents did for me.

When it came time to go to college and I was trying to figure out how loans worked, I asked my mother whose name I should put them under. She responded that they were my loans for my education. She essentially set me free by telling me that it was my life and my responsibilities. I took this idea and ran.

I had my fun, for almost two semesters. I hung out with my new group of friends and delved deep into my classes. But one day, I finally did something I had talked about for months. I got a job. I knew my student loans were far off in the future, but I decided then was the time to start saving for them.

The only reason I was able to even apply to university was because of a scholarship (or some other award money, I don’t quite remember) I got in high school. My parents said they did not have the $400 for application fees for my dorm and university. I had about $450. So, I applied. Thanks to fee waivers for universities and SATs (entrance exams) and just enough award money for extra fees, I was able to attend university.

Now, I receive grants and scholarships in addition to loans (money I have to pay back). I am fortunate, but I am also, in a sense, on my own. I reiterate, that I had everything I could think to ask for while I lived with my parents. They aren’t perfect people, but they were good parents. I could ask for their help now, but it’s my turn to provide for myself.

So, I got that job. Then a month or two later I got another job. The summer after my freshman year in college I took full time classes and full time hours at work. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you might know that this summer job is more than I can handle. It’s very people oriented and I was not. Read the older blogs for details on that.

Either way, I’ve been working myself to my brink for about three years. I am a spoiled child for thinking this is too much, since adults with families and more dangerous jobs are suffering much more than I am. I understand that. Not fully, because I only come close to understanding my situation, but I do my best to sympathize.

That is why I say I’ve been working myself to MY brink. I can only speak for myself. If you have a different situation that is your situation. I can’t speak for that. What I am saying is that I have worked to the point where it impacts, not just my school, but my vision of myself. I’ve left that grocery job in tears. I’ve had panic attacks while bagging a person’s tomatoes. I’ve confronted people in my job as a student manager with a shaky voice. It hurts. Maybe I am weak. Maybe the problem is me.

But no one is giving me free money and I am not asking for it.

So how upset can I really be when others get as much money as I earn from December to May seemingly from the sky? (Background: My roommate, Mariah, just got a school refund for $3,000 out of the blue.)  Their money and my money are different things. Who cares if I had to bleed, sweat, and cry for it? (All things that have happened due to work.) Who cares if they sat on their asses and were given it? I’ve been given money. I wasn’t complaining then. It helped me get to the point where I am working myself dry to not have to ask for it again. Maybe, hopefully, this will be the case with others. Not the bleeding themselves dry. But the providing for themselves part.

 

Equality is inequality. This thought doesn’t seem to make sense until it happens to you. It’s not jealousy. It’s not even anger. It’s a sense of injustice. Because it is what we want and don’t have that seems unjust. I am not terribly broken up about having electricity, or a roof over my head. I have that. I have had that as long as I can remember. But not everyone does. Why does that not upset me? It’s a fleeting thought.

The thing is, life has no great equalizer. (Maybe in death, but nothing in life.) Life is simply chaos. Things are not distributed in an intelligent manner. They are given or worked for. They are random. Nothing is guaranteed. I need to stop wanting and waiting. I need to stop being affected when others are given what I either do not have or have suffered for. It’s not easy.

 

~*~*~

Gosh, I was in a stressful place then. I wrote the above in the middle of my senior year in university. Looking back on it now (three months after graduating), I see it this way:

Essentially, I felt an injustice had occured because my roommate, Mariah, had received $3,000 dollars as an unexpected school refund. (The refunds for that academic year had already been doled out earlier in the year, so this was an extra, unexpected help.) I hadn’t received one. I realized it would take one semester of my on campus job plus one month of my seasonal job to earn as much money as she was just given. It seemed unfair. But that’s the thing. The organizations that give out grants and other seemingly free money do their best to help out students who need it. How? Many base their decision on the student’s parent’s income. Snag here? The assumption that all parents are helping pay for their child’s university fees. 

Mariah’s parents (according to the fact that she got more refunds than I did) had less than mine, but they were helping her more than my parents were helping me. My dad gave me a credit card I shared with him. But I didn’t use it often. Sometimes I’d use it to buy groceries once a month. Or a pizza a couple times per semester, but nothing close to what I myself was paying or taking out loans for my education. Mariah, with the help of her family and government grants/refunds graduated without loans or debt. I owe about $24,000.  

The system doesn’t take into account that sometimes those with less help more than those with more. I’m not villainizing my parents. I know they would have helped more if I’d asked them. But I didn’t. I decided to take charge of my life and that included my tuition. I listened to my mom who said it was my education and my loans. My responsibility. So I didn’t ask. 

And that’s okay. Those who give grants and scholarships help. They do their best to equalize things, even though their best can’t account for every factor. It’s a perk. And it should be seen as such. I stand by my decisions. I think it’s nice when either these organizations or parents offer their help, but I would not sit there and wait for it. If I hadn’t had that scholarship money and application fee waivers to attend university and my parents had refused to pay for SAT tests and all that, I would have gotten a job and attended community college before transferring into university. I wouldn’t have sat at home waiting for a solution. I urge you guys to have a similar attitude.

Don’t wait for help from the sky. If you receive it, great. Use it. But don’t expect it. Expect to work for what you have. Build your own airplane whether your building materials came from your parents, an organization, or your own blood, sweat, and tears. In the end, what matters is that you made it amongst the clouds. Happy flying, friends.

 

 

 

What I’ve Lost and What I Should Not Find… Yet Or Maybe Ever.

Originally Published February 26, 2018

It’s hard to live life missing something, but it’s almost impossible and tangibly painful when you are aware of what it is you are missing. What I am struggling with is common. Boys. Ick! I never really cared for them in a romantic sense. They were my buddies growing up. I associated girls with drama and guys were so much more chill. It was easy hanging out with them. Sometimes, yeah, I’ll admit often times, I’d flirt. In my last year of middle school I discovered the joys of flirting. It flustered guys and that made me feel good. It made me feel powerful. Influential. Important. Though, I did not date in my school years, I flirted. Still today, I’m a big flirt.

It was like a game to me. How to make the opposite sex blush. Because that’s often how it would go with the boys in my league. They were shy and quiet types. Often intellectuals. On one of these occasions I got an offer I’d never gotten before. A next step, if you will. By this time, I was 20 years old. I’d gone on one, I repeat, one (there was no second!) date. And now I was offered a relationship request. The last time I had been asked to be someone’s girlfriend was in fifth grade. I ran off the playground and left that kid standing there with his heart in his hands! So you can bet, I considered this request.

In the end, I accepted. This changed my life in too many ways to count. The one change I’m struggling with now is simple. I, for the first time in a romantic sense, got love and affection and attention. Up to this point, I lived my life solitary. It was my normal. It wasn’t a problem. It was just my life. I didn’t know another way… until my first relationship. Yes, my first relationship was at 20 years old. Actually, a month before turning 21! I just barely committed to someone before having my first shot. Also, yes, I did wait until I was 21 to drink. This tells you even more about the type of person I was… maybe still am.

My long winded point being that by experiencing a relationship I got to experience all the wonders that come along with it. For the first time in my life, I had a person. My person. Someone I trusted with all of my secrets. I trusted him with my whole being. I never felt judged. This was HUGE for me. As you lovely readers may have picked up on, I’m wary of people. I don’t open up easily. I have a twinge of paranoia about everyone and everything. I surprised myself with him. I gave myself totally and, arguably, gave more than I had to give.

In return, I got love. Love so deep and beautiful that I had never experienced before. People have loved me before. My parents, friends, and family members, of course. But never an other. Never someone completely distant. Never a stranger who owed me nothing. Never someone who I could not explain away his care for me. Because before we were in a relationship we were strangers. He had no reason to love me. But he did. We clicked. We understood each other. That was one of the biggest things for me. No one had ever tried to understand me. Not my friends, or even my parents. He not only tried to understand me, but I sincerely believe that he did.

Aside from understanding, and genuine love, I got something I had never experienced with anyone before: physical affection. Since I had gone on one date in my life prior to this relationship, I had not done so much as sit next to a boy before him. With him, I learned the beauty of holding someone’s hand and crying in someone’s arms. I was so jittery in the beginning. I could not sit still. I didn’t know how. He taught me it’s okay to just lay with someone. Just lay together and enjoy each other’s presence.

I don’t have that anymore.

It was okay before I ever had it, because I did not know what I was missing. Since I didn’t know, I did not feel like I was missing anything. Back then, love and hugs were like a fairy tale to me. They were this mythical creature that I’d run into in the future. Not a concern of the present. Even after breaking up, I wasn’t too torn up about this. I went a bit extreme. That, “I swear off boys” phase. I really was done. No hugs, no love? I really did not care. I did not want it. I had it and it hurt me. It was not worth it.

But now…

If no one had poked my bubble. I would have done fine on my own. I was adjusting well back into singledom. But someone popped my bubble. Now I crave. I want. I need. But I don’t have. And it’s killing me.

I know I let him pop my bubble. It’s just so hard to say no when I have seen life outside this wretched bubble. But it is not time. This is not my hand to hold. I need to remember, and accept, that my life is meant to be alone. I need to be my own best friend. My own support. My own care giver. Then, and only then, can I think of a partner.

Please, wish me luck.

Slipping off the Mountain of Progress

Originally Published February 23, 2018

My mind is like a switch. It can go steadily up. Reaching higher and higher heights. Doing things I never thought I would then one comment and I’m at sea level again. This used to frustrate the hell out of my ex. I can see why. It frustrates me too.

I have struggled with negative thoughts for years. Before I understood my pattern, I saw my behavior as signs of being a failure. Now I see it as me being an almost hopeless failure. I don’t know where I get all of this hope from. Let’s not dive into that today. Instead here’s an example of the pattern I was talking about.

I love learning new things. I will get obsessed about a new project or skill and will spend hours learning it. A couple of weeks later though, I’m over it. When I was in high school, and even now in college, my peers or teachers would praise me for it. Just the other day, one of my classmates said “Oh Lizzie, you have the most interesting hobbies”. I told her I was translating lyrics and was hoping to translate them in a way that they could be sung to the music in the other language. Those lyrics have been sitting on my desktop screen untouched almost since she gave me that comment. I spent a good four or five hours straight working on them. Some syllables were too long others did not make sense. I remember my roommate wanted to do something, but I was so focused on the task at hand that I made her wait.

Now, I want to buy a keyboard. I want a good one because I think I may like it and dedicate my time to becoming a master pianist. I know from experience that the more likely thing is that I will obsess about piano for a few weeks at most then drop it like a hot potato. I just am not built to stick to things. Things or people. I am other. Yeah, yeah, doom and gloom. I know I’m not special. I know others of y’all feel this same way. Yet, there is something isolating about it, isn’t there? I want to be alone so much. I feel the paranoia gnawing at my face. Yet every time I see or hear my roommates I run to them. I run to the people close to me.

I’ve always had someone. In fact, I have a blog draft dedicated to this topic. It’s dedicated to the fact that I’ve always had someone despite the fact that I’ve never sought anyone out. It’s such a big theme in my life that it is the only draft I have not outright deleted or taken the time to perfect. That’s another of my problems: perfectionism.

Now, this blog post is rambly and long. I aim to only bombard y’all with one of those nuisances, so I apologize. I do that a lot. Apologize. There are just so many things I wish I was better at. So many things I’ve tried and let go of. So many people I’ve done the same with. I’m afraid of good things. I’m afraid because I don’t believe I deserve them. I know that is subjective. I know it doesn’t really matter because the world does not take care to keep things fair. Yet, I care.

All of this to say that one wrong step, one little comment, takes me from climbing the mountain of self improvement to tumbling down the ravine of self pity.

***

That was another post from my old blog when I was a senior in university. Whenever I read things like what you just did I get the strongest urge to give past me a huge, tight hug. But, I can’t. I can’t change the past, only my future. So, while I still feel like I wrote sometimes and I still have that pattern, I choose to work on improving myself and my habits rather than dwell on them. I will keep climbing the mountain of progress regardless despite of how often or how badly I slip. 

I Will Be Nice to Whomever I Want To

In lieu of August 13th’s Weekly Blog…

I won’t deny that part of the reason I haven’t been motivated to write is due to my own laziness, but there is another reason. I often struggle with how much detail to write. I know this is my blog and I’m allowed to have my opinion on my life, yet… some things seem invasive. I know everyone has pseudo names, yet… They know who they are. And if they wanted to they could read what I write about them. I’m not saying I want to speak ill of them; I’m saying I don’t know how much is too much information to share. I don’t know what each individual’s limit is. Even with the pseudo names…

But here it is. It’s my blog. My feelings. My thoughts. I’m not trying to make anyone look bad or anything like that. I’m hoping to express myself and put something out there that is real. My life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, so I’m not going to write like it is and gloss over all the less than pleasant.

Background, feel free to skip

Sure, I miss my family, and we’ve gotten so much work and assignments pending that I feel like I’m drowning. (<– Reference of a song by Two Feet by the same name), but that’s not what’s been affecting me as much. Recently two of my roommates got into a screaming match. Background: I’m doing a dietetic internship in Puerto Rico. I live with three other Americans who are also in the internship. Their (pseudo) names are Robin, Axyl, and Karen. Also, in our apartment complex are two other interns: Gia and Uuie.

We are currently in orientations for the internship, which means that all (ten total) interns go to the same place from 8am to 4pm every Monday through Friday since the first of August. Plus, you know, four of us also live together. That’s a long time to spend with the same people. Also, people are…unique. It is our nature that we won’t get along. But enough of my philosophical musings. Here are the facts:

The Screaming Match

One day, I had to go with Karen after the internship to find out about health insurance or something, so we left for our apartment to get some papers as soon as we were dismissed that day. This meant Robin and Axyl were just getting home ten or fifteen minutes after we did. I’m sitting on the couch for a second before grabbing our papers and heading to the insurance building when Robin walks in with an odd, concerned look on his face. I’m about to ask him if he’s okay, when I hear Axyl bellow, “Ms. Karen, we need to talk!”.

He sounded serious. And while, I know they haven’t been on the best of terms for the past few days (or weeks at this point?), I did not anticipate what happened next. Karen, casually, and with an overly peppy voice, replied, “yeah?”. Axyl tells her to come out of her room to the living room. Where I am sitting on the couch, mind you! He then proceeds to yell at Karen for a comment she made to another intern about his Spanish speaking abilities. While she begins attempting to explain her side of the story, Axyl just gets angrier and screams louder about how disrespectful it is to talk about people behind their back and (as it tends to happen) things get personal. Axyl begins to scream how Karen has no right to feel bad about anyone’s Spanish speaking abilities since her Spanish is even worse than his.

Sooo I Ran Away

At this point I’ve had enough. I can tell you that I didn’t think this would escalate further (which I really didn’t since I’d never experienced something like this), but the truth is I was simply afraid. I didn’t want to be in the middle of this. People were yelling. (Karen, at this point was trying to talk over Axyl to put her two cents in.) I don’t like yelling. I can’t deal with it. I don’t like to deal with it. So I fled. I fled. Cowardly, I fled.

I tried to gather my papers in my room while the screaming escalated in the living room. It’s almost painful to hear someone yell with so much emotion in their voice. Axyl was hurt. It was obvious. But he was also yelling. Eventually things got to: Axyl: “you aren’t getting the last word!” pause. Karen: “Fuck you.” And some more assorted yelling. Eventually I heard Robin return from his room (which he had retreated to upon entering the apartment) and tell the two to separate. I admire him for that. I’ve said this before, but Robin’s good in an emergency.

Aftermath Recap

So, both Karen and Axyl went inside their rooms. Thing is, I share a room with Axyl. He comes in wanting to talk about what just happened. I’m low key scared of him. (He didn’t strike me as the type to yell like he just had so, I was on edge). Luckily, Karen and I were going to be late to go to the insurance building. Karen asked me if I was ready, so we skedaddled! But, of course, Karen also wanted to talk about what had just happened.

I let her talk and gave my input as I saw fit. I’m sure it seemed like I was taking Axyl’s “side”. When Axyl talked about Karen after this incident he’s accused me of defending Karen. No, I’m not on anyone’s side! I just try for people to see the other point of view. I told Karen, there may be more going on. A person does not just explode like that. I wasn’t making excuses for his behavior; I was encouraging her to talk to him. I told Axyl that it didn’t seem like Karen had attempted to hurt him with her comment. I told him, we all talk about other people at some time or another and we all perceive things differently. Another push for communication.

Fractured Life Now

To no avail. They are not talking. And, Karen is pulling away. She’s spending more time out of the apartment. Gia is upset that Axyl told (yelled at) Karen because she told him the comment Karen had told her. Axyl has declared Gia a sworn enemy. I can’t be nice to or even wait for Karen or Gia to go to the train without hearing about it from Axyl. To be honest, I don’t click with Karen. Or maybe I do, but I don’t have a desire to hang out with her. There’s no friendship spark there. I haven’t hung out with Gia in weeks, though it seems she and Karen are spending a lot of time together.

It really is like third grade all over again. My friend (Gia) found a new friend (Karen) plus all of the other drama. But, like I concluded in third grade, that’s okay. If my friend finds someone else she’d rather hang out with (a better friend even) that’s good. She deserves the best, even if that isn’t me. Now, I’m not saying it’s that drastic. Gia and I still get along, we just aren’t spending as much time together.

I Will Be Nice to Whomever I Want To

As far as the Axyl Karen thing… I don’t know. I’m tired of hearing smack talk. I’m tired of feeling the negative energy in our apartment. But it’s not my problem to fix. If they don’t want to ever talk to each other again, that’s on them. Yeah, it affects me, but I can’t force people to get along. All I can do, is keep being me. Just like I waited on Karen and Gia at the tailor’s yesterday while Robin and Axyl walked to the train station without us, I’ll keep being polite like my parents taught me. I’ll keep talking to everyone when I want to. I will not let someone else’s life and relationships affect mine more than necessary.

*~*~*

P.S. Guess who turned out to be my Internship Partner for the next 10 months? The person I will be going to rotations with Monday to Friday for the next 40+ weeks? The person I will be presenting case studies and working on assignments with from week to week? Gia! …This should be interesting. But you’ll hear more about all of our interesting adventures throughout the following months. 🙂 As of right now, I’m happy with the partner I got appointed.