Cooties

My family taught my dog to eat from a spoon like a person and we’re damn proud of it (he also eats corn on the cob with dainty bites and tip-toes though puddles so we basically raised a hunting dog debutante).

We share snacks a lot. I also believe in the 5-second rule, it boosts your immune system.

IMG_1748

he likes coconut water

In a society where pet obesity is as problematic as human obesity I am very careful about what my pets, and I, eat. I fed praying mantids ground hamburger meat, made custom diets for my rats out of cereal, molasses, and tofu (I actually tried it one time cause it smelled awesome… smell is not always correlated to taste), and my dog gets a combination of meat, essential vitamins, and other greens. As with anything, diets are often suggested by a veterinarian  based on a dog’s health and age so I am not saying this is the ideal nutritional profile for any dog. <–Disclaimer :)

IMG_2059

I would never share their food with them, though…  initially my dogs enjoyed a raw diet (intriguing yet gross). I basically had anatomy lab on rabbits, chickens, and turkeys before the age of 12.

Now he’s an old man, though, and we cook him chicken with rice and pumpkin so his stomach doesn’t sound like a little ogre.

stoner dog face

he always looks like a stoner, or like he just had a dose of acepromazine

found in with all the chicken necks...ew

found in with all the chicken necks…ew

Short post today, I have a paper to write on the effects of gender discrimination on maternal health care in urban slums. Be jealous.

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Das Boot

the bitchy tea bag

the bitchy tea bag

I’ve been in genetics hell this past week and therefore haven’t posted in a while. This will continue until next week due to the fact that I need to catch up and all of a sudden midterms are literally raining down from the sky.

Additionally, I hop around all day in my walking boot prison and don’t have extra energy to invent witty posts.

It’s been about six months of injury, one+ month of boot time, and with the recent addition of crutches I am a walking conversation starter.

have to dress up for formal meeting... at least its the same height

have to dress up for formal meeting… at least its the same height

I’ve always been one to start conversations with strangers, be it in the grocery store or on the way to class. Nowadays people seem to only want to talk about my foot and it gets old. However, the questions people ask are akin to the bizarre comments I have received about my veterinary career goal. Here is a sampling:

People assume I have:

  • Kicked my little brother (I don’t have a brother…)
  • Kicked someone (no idea who this metaphorical person is but I’m sorry, whoever you are)
  • Been involved in some tragic skiing accident however “there is not snow” -random math professor
  • Put on the boot to have good conversations -random elevator dude
  • Become their own personal circus oddity they can stare at and comment about with their friends like I don’t speak english.

Or just go ahead and begin talking about it:

  • “What’d ja do to your leg, gimp?!” -Costco woman
  • “Oh damn, bet the other guy’s in the hospital” -Peet’s woman ( who then gave me free caramel)
  • “that must be no fun” -scientist in Li Ka Shing
  • “haha, bar fight, right??”
  • “I’m amazed I’ve never ended up in one of those” (seriously, now?)
  • “TIGER?!” <– probably my favorite thus far

The power of the imagination, and nerve of some people, is incredible and these responses make my day.

sad tendons everywhere

sad tendons everywhere

…Definitely not veterinary related today but I promise that a blog post centered around Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium or insect host/parasite relationships would be sub par.

Have you ever been in a cast/brace/on crutches? Did anyone assume you bungee jumped or kicked a dog?

Posted in College Ramblings, Running Ramblings, Uncategorized, undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I wanted to be a dog

As a child I sometimes crawled around on hands and knees and ate my dinner out of a large bowl on the floor. Before you stop reading and call the psych ward please google this, it’s a common thing. Apparently many mothers on parenting.com have youngins who roll around in the dirt and bark. Single child problems maybe?

Since I didn’t have siblings my dogs were my “puppy sister” and “puppy brother” and I loved them very much.

my first dog, violet

my first dog, violet

At age 8 I tried to like the flavor of dog biscuits. I didn’t. Although I’m someone who now makes quinoa for breakfast and gets weird looks for eating whole carrots during class I prefer my cookies with chocolate or ginger instead of beef flavor, thank you very much.

In elementary school I wanted to run as fast as a cheetah (and believed I could… Ahh the innocence and now I’m in on crutches as fast as a negative snail).

runnin' and stuff

runnin’ and stuff

In college my roommate and I still sometimes dress as animals (It’s probably more acceptable now than when I was 5). Maybe because throwing on cat ears means I don’t need to spend an hour deciding what to wear?… although there are many types of cat ears.

soon to be cat ladies

future cat ladies of America

Have you even wanted to be an animal? Admit it you’ve definitely stuck you head out the car window when you’re driving. Or guiltlessly rolled around in the dirt or trekked through a puddle…. I know you have. If you haven’t you’re really missing out.

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Studying: An evolution of hunching over tables

I’ve been type A for as long as I remember. I became used to juggling many assignments in relatively little time ever since I attended a college-prep high school and middle school. After coming to Berkeley I discovered the beauty that is the library cubicle. Small, claustrophobic, and scented vaguely of eraser shavings and fear, the library cubicle is the undergraduate student’s best friend. I have spent long hours in them, once deciding that I should begin preparing two days before a final. I sat down at my cubicle when there was still sunshine and didn’t move for 10 hours.

just the usual inspirational text... my friends know me too well

just the usual inspirational text… my friends know me too well

I have smuggled into the library everything from protein bars, bananas and coffee to cucumbers and hummus. There’s nothing worse than being on a memorization/note color-coding roll and having to leave cause your stomach refuses to be silenced.

I have found that sometimes sitting in a cubicle and blocking out the world with some Wilderness of Manitoba and rain noises are critical. This is the case for classes like Organic Chemistry, Physics, or when you need to memorize an idiotic number of plants. Full, undivided attention. On the other hand, when working through biology it helps me to work with people. I remember a vivid semester of Physics 8a and Bio 1a/L where I’d retreat to the basement of Moffitt Library (where dreams go to die) with some friends and survive on espresso, bananas, and flourescent lighting for 48 hours. I quickly learned that group work is best in more social atmospheres: this is when coffee shops come in handy. Sipping an iced cappuccino and people watching lessens the anxiety of comparing colored diagrams of female reproductive hormones the day before a midterm. After sophomore year I no longer studied in libraries. I needed more socialization and the mental breaks that come from people talking in the background or the sound of a coffee machine. Basically I have completely transitioned from libraries to cafes. Part of the fun of studying now is trying out a new, excitingly-hipster cafe!

if I drink wine that has o chem on it I will understand all the reactions, right?

if I drink wine that has O Chem on it I will understand all the reactions, right?

Last year I tried to study for Biochemistry with a standing desk (aka I stacked bankers boxes on top of each other and then put my laptop on top). Honestly it helped my lower back a lot since it reduced the 10 hours+ per day spent sitting on my ass staring at something academic and hoping for it to magically absorb through my glazed-over eyes into my overstuffed brain.

I now try to spend less time crouched over my computer or, at least, attempt to counteract this posture by doing yoga.

What do you do to de-stress? Have you tried a standing desk? Treadmill desk? Recumbent bicycle desk (yes, these exist, I saw one in outside magazine)?

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Caffeine Addiction: A blessing and a curse

sometimes I make coffee milkshakes and then compeletely cover them with chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut...

sometimes I make coffee milkshakes and then completely cover them with chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut…

This semester I have come to realize that coffee is better than oxygen. Well, maybe not but it is extremely close. Do they make caffeinated oxygen?

A combination of things have all lead to the addition of iced lattes to my daily routine. These include Peet’s Coffee and Tea now offering almond milk, my purchase of a plastic to-go coffee cup (have a medium-sized cup, order a small, they still give you a medium… and free caramel if you’re in a walking boot!!), and having friends who work at coffee shops or are already addicted.

Philz coffee, also delicious

Philz coffee, also delicious

Iced coffee makes lectures more exciting, and this is not only because of the satisfying, albeit condescending, crinkling sound the ice makes when swirled. It’s a cold burst of energy and joy.

Anyway, if you have not experienced the beauty that is the iced, almond milk, vanilla latte then I must insist that you do. My treat. Except I’ve had one already today and I physically start to shake and get really excited about everything shiny after more than 2 cups of coffee so maybe tomorrow?

Coffee drinking is also a social event. Getting a coffee is time to get to know someone, laugh about the girl in front of you who demands exactly an inch of soy foam, or just enjoy a beautiful day. Honestly, I came to UC Berkeley for good conversations, and over a cup of coffee I have experienced some of the best and most insightful (toss in a gluten-free, vegan muffin and BAM instant friends).

I have the best friends

I have the best friends

I also would like to send a quick thank you to everyone who has reached out to me lately, be it via text, kombucha, or just an exuberant wave hello. I really have the best friends (other than coffee) and am extremely thankful for them. :)

Also, does anyone else eat their apples like this or am I insane… It kinda looks like a heart??

all this caffeine and genetics reading is getting to me....

all this caffeine and genetics reading is getting to me….

Posted in College Ramblings, Uncategorized, undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Working Hard or Hardly Working

As a second semester college senior who has already been accepted into grad school, the intense pressure to get straight A’s and suffer to juggle internships, tedious work, and extracurriculars has dwindled down to a low simmer.

BURNT OUT

BURNT OUT

I have a handful of classes this semester and only one is required, genetics, while the rest are filling my time and upper division science requirements. In the past I have struggled with working hard in classes I hate or don’t feel are applicable to my life, however since this is the last semester at the end of long road of working hard I feel like I owe it to myself to work at least a little.

found in a cubicle of the library....

found in a cubicle of the library….

This can prove itself difficult when I must sit through lectures I have seen three or four times, such as presentations about vitamin A deficiency and blindness. I respect the problem and the researchers trying to stop it on a global scale but I swear to god if I have to look at 90 minutes of slides on the matter one more time I will get up and leave (seriously there are only so many pictures of aging eyeballs and carrots a person can take during one lecture).

I just can’t wait to begin studying things I love. I have worked hard to get to this point, studying chemistry and biology and physics, etc… and it’s about time I get to have fun :)

oocyte development: awesome. photosynthesis: not so awesome

oocyte development: awesome. photosynthesis: not so awesome

Memorizing anatomy or disease pathways are much clearer to me when applied to something I deal with regularly, like an animal. Also cool slides and microscopes help (see picture above from Bio 1AL).

Professors I can relate to (like veterinarians and their colleagues) are much easier to listen to and learn from. Not sociology professors who flaunt their gold sequined high tops in class and ramble about how they are blessed with more insightful ideas about inequality than anyone else. Stop it. Stop it now. Nobody here wants to hear you rant and most of them are playing iPhone games or thinking about their next meal anyway (the travesty of undergraduate education).

I finish this post early since the lecture today in public health is about viruses and those are awesome. See, even I have standards ;)

Have you ever hated a class? Do you find that it’s hard to focus on uninteresting classes?

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Part IV: Personal Statement

Words. Lots of words. ABOUT MYSELF. Actually my worst nightmare.

I’ve never been a fan of writing about myself be it cover letters, personal statements or in class assignments (blogging is different since sarcasm is commonplace). I jumped into writing my personal statement by brainstorm writing. A.K.A. I just let myself ramble on for five minutes or so about my goals/exciting things in my life/vet med and see what comes from it. Basically unedited blogging (dear god imagine all the typos).

really? Popcorn doesn't help the writing process?

really? Popcorn doesn’t help the writing process?

I ended up writing about my experiences with sight singing and how my ability to sight-read music applied to sight-reading people and situations in the veterinary field. This is my absolute favorite part of vet med; using horizontal thinking and puzzle solving (like O Chem but more concrete) to find the underlying cause for problems. My intern clinic refers to this as an iceberg approach where you see the top 10% of the problem as side effects, but just treating these and not helping the underlying 90% is a waste of time and doesn’t help the animal in many cases (<— sorry for the ramble off to tangent land). As a bio major/music minor this topic applied easily to me and was easy to write about. As someone who has dreamt of publishing a book in the past, writing fluffy things with lots of adjectives comes very naturally to me. However this is NOT appropriate for a personal statement.

In short, a personal statement should make you stand out as a dedicated, determined, and   appealing (I picked this word since it didn’t start with a “d”) applicant. Include a situation where you show some qualities that make you special or show how you will be a good vet student and a good future vet. A problem you solved, challenge you overtook, a passion you followed, etc.

Hopefully that helps get your brain moving. The hardest part is starting and then it’s just about a million edits away from completion! And don’t feel poorly throughout the process. My drafts had so much red pen over them and I restarted from scratch a couple of times, too, despite how awful it felt to begin from square one.

Good luck and feel free to contact me if you have questions or want an editor!

Check out my earlier posts about the Pre-Vet Checklist:

I: Experience

II: Extracurriculars and School

III: GRE Test-Taking

Posted in College Ramblings, Pre-Vet Checklist, Pre-Vet Tips, Uncategorized, undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctor Cookies

Do I have homework? Yes? Do I use my time instead to hand-pipe stethoscopes and lab coats on gingerbread cookies? OF COURSE

I’m about 80% sure the only reason I am asked to return to my internship is that I bake them goodies. (I also follow them around and clean tables as soon as they are dirty/abandoned to the degree that I was once deemed “the stalker.” Type A problems… If I’m not doing something constantly I go crazy, like a little hamster on a wheel.)

Specifically nerdy cookies, such as those seen below. Besides vet cookies I have also made EKG heartsIMG_1852 (inspired by this lovely blog post, however I made them according to past cases in the clinic), neurons, kidney cake pops, paw prints, fleas, little poops (I’m so classy) and sometimes I even make normal cookies…but that’s really rare.

cookie caricatures

cookie caricatures

My boss always wears a blue coat so I made a special one just for him. He also has a token sea turtle surgery cap and I used turtle sprinkles to make one of those but before I got a picture of it someone ate it. Guess that’s a good thing?

Before I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian I was greatly interested in pastry/culinary arts and pondered opening a cupcake shop or becoming a dessert chef for a while. However icing placement and fondant smoothness OCD would most likely drive me insane. I’ll stick to it as a hobby, for now. Plus you can’t play with dogs at work as a pastry chef; obviously that rules it out.

Now go make some cookies!

Do you bake? For yourself/your dog?

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I scare away friends: Why I play with bugs

My major in molecular and environmental biology, however I almost completed a major concentration in Entomology because I enjoyed learning about invertebrates so much. That is, until I decided I wanted to get more animal experience with creatures that could be walked on leashes (I dare you to attempt to collar a ladybug… what would you even use? please send pictures). I have always loved playing with creepy crawlies and collected/observed them to my heart’s content.

Most of my childhood pictures involve some sort of little friend perched on my nose (dragonflies are a particular favorite).

dragonfly on my nose

dragonfly on my nose

And this habit did not stop when I reached adulthood.  When a spider is lose and threatening the livelihood of my sorority I am 100% the person they rely upon. I was once called in the middle of one of my classes by a girl who needed to know if she “should be worried if [the spider above her bed] would fall on her face as she was sleeping” because he “looks intimidating.” I laughed, told her what type of spider it was and that I would remove it upon my return that evening. I decided it would be best to not tell her that Cheiracanthium inclusumm, the yellow sac spider, is one of the more aggressive spiders and is often the reason for spider bites at home. Ignorance is bliss. ;)

my game-day date

making friends at the football game

As a child I would raise praying mantids and tarantulas, once adopted a wood grub (and mentioned it in my personal statement), and once brought home a stink beetle in my pocket because I thought he was really cool. While my mom didn’t appreciate doing laundry after the latter, my menagerie kept life exciting.

I’d like to credit my comfort with exotic creatures to my childhood riddled with animal adventures. It definitely shaped my interest in vet med and will likely not change anytime soon :).

Posted in Animal Stories, undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Part III: GRE test taking

I took it twice. It was a blast (<–THIS IS A LIE). The photo below is after taking it the second time: the first socialization in months aka cocktails with my favorite parents.

never taking it again. EVER

never taking it again. EVER

The first time I took it after studying for a month (over winter break) and wasn’t adequately prepared. I also was a little shell-shocked at the intensity of the testing center; picture airport-esque security protocols. The second time was at the end of the worst summer ever. In addition to studying for the GRE, I was working at a vet clinic, taking statistics, volunteering at the rehab center, working at a jumping spider research lab, and writing my personal statement. I was over scheduled, but I work well under pressure so it is what it is.

all the knowledge... it's LEAKING OUT MY EARS

all the knowledge… it’s LEAKING OUT MY EARS

Anyway, I took the Kaplan program and used my “score guarantee” when I took it a second time (this feature was so awesome because I got to focus on harder topics the second time around). I decided to spend the money on this because it was really worth it to me to understand how the test worked. I like feeling extra ready for important situations (except for maybe today when I forgot a fork and must eat my salad with a spoon. Great planning, Tiana). The instructors were super helpful and definitely took extra time to help me on subjects that I struggled with.. aka statistics. Concurrent enrollment in the GRE study group and Statistics at UC Berkeley’s summer session (required for UC Davis) greatly helped boost my math scores.

I’m very glad I decided to take it twice, even though I was initially torn.  Getting into vet school is difficult and having a higher percentile, especially for Davis, is important for getting the school’s attention. Vet schools would only discover my appealing nerdy sass during the interview/assessment phase so I had to score well to get that chance… Lucky them.

If you have any questions about how I studied for the test or tips on taking it, please feel free to contact me! Best of luck to you all :)

Also, check out my earlier posts about the Pre-Vet Checklist:

I: Experience

II: Extracurriculars and School

Posted in College Ramblings, Pre-Vet Checklist, Pre-Vet Tips, Uncategorized, undergrad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments