Mentor

There are, I’ve learned, 2 ways to learn something:

  1. Learn it by yourself
  2. Have someone teach it to you

I’ve learned, in preparation with a lot of things, one needs to have a combination of both. For a lot of people, having a teacher is probably the best way to learn. A teacher has been where you are currently, so they already have been through some of the obstacles you have faced, and can help you find the ways they’ve discovered in overcoming them.

Months ago, I thought I could handle the monster that is the MCAT, while studying on my own, however, that proved futile as with the resulting score. So when in the midst of dusting myself off and starting back as Square One, I have to think of what I did wrong and how I can improve on my next attempt. So, when just trying to teach myself didn’t work, that means that I have to try a different approach: Someone else has to teach me.

A teacher, a mentor, a Sensei… Well maybe not that, but someone who has authority, if not mastered the subject, and can show me how to walk the path in terms of successfully utilizing the knowledge to my advantage, especially in a test as unique and difficult as this.

It’s interesting to be a student, it’s a humbling experience, because you’re listening to someone who (should, sometimes not always) knows what they’re talking about. But it’s invigorating, because your mind, or at least mine does, is creative in trying to find new paths, and the shortest, creative path to find the right answers, and this always satisfies my curiosity for how the mind works in random situations.

But all in all, to actually learn something, one needs a balance of both, Teacher-based and self-learning in order to truly master a subject, the teacher introduces the subject and the information that must be learned, however the integration into memory is solely dependent on the mind of the One.

It can be difficult though, there are just some things that will not stay in the mind, or will not translate perfectly into the mind, and that’s particular to the individual, but I believe that everyone with enough practice can master any subject, from Biology to Electronics to Philosophy to Poetry. All it takes is a good teacher, whether it’s you or someone else.

Yes, Sensei?

Frustrations

A difference of opinion, a deaf ear, sincere ignorance. It all leads to the same result: Frustration.

‘Lucky’ for me, I have often 2 doses of frustrating people, one within my home and one outside of it. Both are bonded to me by blood, yet both are equally frustrating for their own reasons… Both equally blind.

So in my frustrations, my only consolation is the idea that somewhere along the line, I’m eventually going to run into someone who will, no doubt, remind me of one of them.

Fortunately, when that happens, it won’t require something as grand as obtaining the authority over Medicine, and knowledge of Life and Death, because by then, I would have already have it.

Yet, despite all of this, the potential that lies within, their flaws, and their continuing of empty promises of changing for the better, I’m still ignored, looked down upon, and any advice I’ve given, based on years of observations and data (also known as “My Childhood”), is disregarded.

So what am I to do?

How can I communicate with someone who, quite simply, will not listen?

When faced with a patient who will not hinder my words, what’s a Doctor to do?

Ha ha ha, I don’t know, the patient pays for my advice, so whether or not he takes it is upon him…

Sigh… But that’s not what good doctors do…

Good doctors take an interest, a genuine concern for their patients, they go above and beyond the line of duty for those under his/her care, and sometimes, they don’t take ‘No’ for an answer.

No matter how frustrating, disappointing, unfulfilling, they do what they know is right, because it’s the oath that they’ve taken, that binds them to do the right thing to any and all who seek their help.

Well, in my case, this is easy to do for strangers, even frequent customers, but for siblings who refuse to listen to me? Not so easy. Being the youngest, I bear no older authority; despite my education, I’m only responded with, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”; and despite numerous occasions where I’ve proven my worth, I’m met with someone who’s chosen not to register said occasions in their views of me.

Apathy doesn’t work, because they’re permanent parts of my family, so I can’t just ignore them when they’re here, despite they having the ability to ignore me. I will not resort to Force, because that’ll only cause more problems, and with all of the pent-up frustrations within me, I’m going to instinctively use information of vitals and do something permanent. For years, I’ve simply chalked it off as ‘Nothing’ because I was too young to register it, as my mind was full of sugar and shiny things. I can’t go back to that state of mind, because I’ve matured now. So now, what I do is simply catch myself, not allowing my pride to get caught up in conversations with them, and give short, neutral answers, “Yep.” “OK.” “We’ll see.”

One of them constantly says, “Be careful or you’ll be like me.” and all I can do here is just laugh. There’s no way, no combination or series of events that can lead me to become like him, or like any of my siblings, for that matter. There’s no way, nothing in their lives match my own, other than blood, concern for the well-being of my Mother, and particular family members, but their morals and values are far different than my own, smaller, to speak the truth. They only care about their lives, their possessions, themselves.

I guess, there’s really nothing I can do. Their view of me is based on their opinions and observations and whatever else they’ve decided to base my character on. I can’t change that, I can’t change how they choose to see me, nor should I. It’s simply not up to me, all I can do is just do what I know is the right thing to do. So if they need a ride or help, what else can I say but, “Yes” ? If they want to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about, what else can I say but, “Sure.” ? And in the future, when they come to ask me for advice, only to throw away my time and effort, what else can I say but, “Ok.” ?

Sigh… I know it isn’t the best option, but in my current situation, it’s my only one. I can’t leave, just yet, and I can’t explain to them what their problems are, nor give them solutions to said problems, it’s just going to fall on deaf ears, so what can I do? Nothing, sometimes the best move is to be still. Let them talk, let them think their thoughts, let them see me how they want to, all I can do is just show them who I am, if they’re surprized, shocked, amazed, or disgusted about it, then who am I to care! They can’t do anything about it. and I can’t do anything about what they think, so…. Meh.

It’ll be frustrating, because they’re setting their limitations upon me, but meh, my own limitations far exceed whatever limitations they put on me, so what am I losing?

I will not be restricted to the limitations of others.

Shield and Sword

Last Sunday, I was initiated into the Knights of Columbus, for particular reasons, I cannot disclose exactly how the ceremony went and what not, but I thought it was pretty cool! And the other Knights, who were older men, were glad that I joined their ranks. In the end, I got a Pin and a Rosary, heh, a fifth Rosary. But What they told me was rather interesting, they said, if I remembered correctly, that the Rosary is our Shield and the Prayers are our Sword, against Evil.
Shield and Sword… Hmmm…

Shield… Defense, Defend, Structure, Support, Pillar, Strength, Fortitude, Security, Secure, Home, Castle, Family.

Sword… Attack, Advance, Forward, Formation, Form, Skill, Discipline, Master, Teacher, Friend, Honor, Brother,  Brotherhood.

Shield and Sword. An object of defense, and an object of offense, or rather, protection and advancement, To protect yourself against the evils of this world, while advancing in it all the while. This reminds me of the passage, “Be not overcome of Evil but overcome Evil with Good” Romans 12:21, I’m reminded of this because I think it reflects it, but not exactly perfectly, the Shield and Sword, at least not without some sort of explanation.

To not “be overcame with Evil”, one must protect oneself externally and internally: Externally, by staying fit, eating right, not smoking or drinking, excessively, and so on; maintaining the body in it’s optimum state and all of the actions tied to it, therein. Internally, is where the Mind and the Soul lie. Watching the thoughts and emotions, trying to make sure that there is a good sense of morality and ethics, of solid belief, be they religious or otherwise. This is how you defend yourself, how you shield yourself from being overcome by Evil. By making sure your Shield: what you stand for, what makes you happy, smile, feel safe, stay strong and focused, is ready to withstand everything that’s going to make you question your beliefs, second-guess yourself, hurt or alter your bonds with those that you care about, all the while, staying flexible enough to adapt to new situations.

To “overcome Evil with Good” is far harder to accomplish. Because the Evils of this world have begun their barrage against you, the moment you’re aware of it, and most definitely when you’re not. To fight back is to make particular decisions in circumstances of varying degrees of difficulty from, “Pfft, this is easy.” to “So what do I cut off first? My arm or my leg?” To fight back the Evils, there are several Swords to use…. errr, methods:

1) Mirror Sword: By being the example for others to see, using your actions and words as a means of reflecting yourself against the Evils, also like a Spiked Shield, what you stand for and represent, is shown by your personal choices.

2) Soldier Sword: By joining a cause, or an organization, becoming a part of it, and using their morals and beliefs to do good in this world. Often times, those who excel at this, are recognized and often times honored, and their personal beliefs reflect that of the cause/organization, but it’s ultimately who they represent that is benefited from their actions.

3) Crusader Sword: Much like a Mirror Sword, one is using personal stances to advance in this world, but the wielder of the Crusader Sword, goes further and above and beyond than what is asked of him/her. The wielder can be anyone from the mother who raises 2 kids to become successful in life, all without being able to read to someone who has done the world a great service by finding the cure for an illness that plagues the world.

This is all I can come up with at the moment, but still, each of us uses one or more of these swords and methods to ward off Evil. However it’s sad to say, that most times people just find balance between just enough Evil and just enough Good in their lives, “A little evil to do some good” so to speak. And I often think that such a thing would wind up leaving regrets, because the ‘good’ is no longer pure, it’s tainted, acquired through less-than-reputable means, and this will eventually lead to the kind of ‘good’ that’s represented in ‘Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing.’

So now all that’s left is to decide and answer how strong is my Shield and what Sword am I using to advance with? Am I even advancing at all against the Evils of this world? Evil comes in many forms and has many weapons at it’s disposal, some of them can even look like a good thing to this world, but as I have learned long ago, the Devil’s greatest form isn’t red with horns, no, it’s the form of the most beautiful angel, with a voice like silk.

So ultimately…

“Each Man stands in the Light of his own Sword, ready to do what a Hero can.” – Elizabeth Barret Browning.

Choose Your Weapon

I’m in Trouble

We have just been informed that the MCAT is going to be altered starting 2013, instead of a Writing Response section (a Section I did wonderfully at), they’re going to put an optional section involving various subjects like Psychology, Biochemistry, Sociology, and so on.

With new additions comes new problems, and to make sure that there isn’t a lot of problems to process, the seats will be limited for the tests. So… what this means for me, is that there are no places anywhere NEAR me to take the test. Which now has me freaking out, slightly, because the Princeton Review classes end the 8th of January, there are 2 days marked for the MCAT, the 24th and the 26th, following that is MARCH 2-Freakin’-3rd!!

I mean there’s nothing in February for us! We have to pick either the End of January or the End of March?! This is ridiculous!

Even in the span between the 8th and the end of Jan. I have no idea what I’m going to do in terms of trying not to forget everything.

January 24th at 0800 hours, in San Francisco, I will take my test. Damn, I missed my chance to get Fresno, which would’ve been MUCH more ideal.

Well I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

This is going to be interesting…

Looking Promising

So it’s been a week since my Princeton Review classes have started, and I must say, heh, this is interesting.

On one hand, the style of teaching is FAR more in terms of preparing me for the MCAT than anything I’ve been through before, which means, those 6 months previously spent trying to study, were… pretty much… wasted… Also, as they’re teaching me, I’m learning all sorts of interesting things, I’ve finally MASTERED Electron Configuration. Man, I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. Also, they’re helping me see the questions in manners that I couldn’t possibly discover on my own terms.

On the other hand, It’s freakin’ hard! In our Chemistry sections, We’d do examples from one of the books provided the In-Class Compendium, or ICC,  we’re given a passage and 6-7 questions to answer and so far I’ve only gotten 1-2 questions out of each passage, granted we’re learning this, so it’s just progress, but we’re taught what to look for and expect before we do the example and so far it seems like I’m not getting it at times. It’s not like the questions are complex equations with a plethora of constants and formulas, it’s just… twisted. They throw subtle changes, and it feels like those weird little word games, when they tell you to say/read: “Roast”, then “Boast” and then they ask you, “What do you put in a Toaster?” Toast?! WRONG! It’s Bread! And the reason why you  thought ‘Toast’ is because you thought too quickly, and on the MCAT, not only is the pressure on you, but you have about 1 minute and 20 seconds roughly to answer each question of varying difficulty, all to take a test that, quite literally, no one has previously prepared you for.

… Sigh… OK, Rant over. I just have to do it, that’s all, if the questions are trickier then I have to think trickier, if the questions are worded differently then I have to think smarter and read the questions more closely. I can’t just sit there and complain that this is hard! I have to just do it!

The world will always be full of curve balls and smokes and mirrors, because they’re looking for someone who can see through all that, who can face the darkness and all of the illusions within it, and see the truth. Is it hard? Yes, that’s just true, but change has always been a difficult game, and the best parts of life are often times the hardest to fight for.

Needless to say, this is one uphill battle for me. But I can’t give up now, I have come to far to give up now. I got a fortune cookie that said, “Men do not fail… They only give up trying.” So far, I’ve thought of it as a “Keep trying” sort of fortune, but I now realize that, it’s much deeper than that, it’s “Pick yourself up when you fall, Stand and Fight!” Which is essentially the same thing, but, I guess I needed to discover that more in depth definition.

This is going to be interesting, that’s for certain. I’m looking forward to how I can meet the challenge of this Beast once more. I guess I’m going to have to keep fighting… Ha ha, What other choice do I have?!
Here… We… Go!

Sacrifices

My brother was telling me that we need to have a talk, and as I raised my eyebrow, concerned at what he needed to talk to me about, he said that it pertaining to my required 4th degree to join the Knights of Columbus. He mentioned that I’m going to be needing to make some sacrifices in order to do so, other than time, apparently.

So this got me thinking, I’m curious as to what sort of sacrifices I will have to make in order to be successful in medical school, obviously time and a social life, heh, if I had one. But now I’m curious as to what else I might be expected to give up…

I can see myself giving up sleep, that’s just given, I’m going to have to try to implement some sort of short hours of sleep tied with naps throughout some breaks… or I could completely forget to do this, and sleep at random hours in the middle of the night, and completely obliterate my circadian rhythm… I think I’ll probably wind up with the latter…

But what else? I don’t think I’ll be forced to sacrifice any personal morals, my own opinions on controversial topics, unless it’s required of the grade, but even then, they’ll ask for both sides, and I can argue for a side I don’t agree with, easily enough, but I don’t think that they’ll ever convince me to give up entirely…

Well if I’m forced to go anywhere from out of the city to out of the Country to get to med school, then, I’m obviously giving up the security and sanctity of Home, and the voices and good times that come with my family. But that’s alright with me as well as with my family, sure, they’ll be sad to see me go, but I’ll come back to them, and they’ll deny that they weren’t sad, but proud.

Hmm… but what else?

I’d imagine I would have to leave a number of personal belongings behind, like my Warhammer models, or my Wing-less Charizard who now serves as my paperweight, or even my white boards… Man, I’m going to miss those…

Huh, now that I think about it, I have very little possessions to actually call my own…

I wonder if I have to learn to suck up to other doctors in order to get ahead, sigh… that’s really degrading, I didn’t come to med school just to kiss someone else’s butt, I came to help people, sick people, people who cannot help themselves, not get on someone’s good side. Medicine to me, is to do whatever it takes to help people, good or bad, doesn’t matter, all that matters to me is who can help and who needs help.

Oh well, I’ve always been a Trial-by-Fire kinda guy, so I guess I’ll cross these bridges when I come to them, still, it’s always something interesting to ponder about when I’ve got the time…

Hm… Sacrifices… I suppose I should think, “What am I willing to sacrifice for this?” Now there’s an interesting idea…

All the Help I can get

One week from today, I will be going to a class at 8:30 PM at UCR, It’s a class that helps you by teaching you about the MCAT, and preparing for it. From the Princeton Review company, I will attend their class from Monday to Thursday, for the next several weeks.

The class costs $2099, and how was I able to come up with the money? I asked for help.

At the intervention of my sister, I was reminded by her and by my Mother, that it’s ok to ask for help, especially for things that will assist me on my path to Medical school. The money is no problem, but for me, I’m hesitant, extremely hesitant in asking for help, particularly in asking for money.

Heh, to speak the truth, it’s irrational, completely irrational, but let me try to reason it out.

I have this fear that if I asked for money/a Favor, and I don’t keep up my end of the bargain, ie. I fail the class or I can’t pay them back at the agreed time, then they get disappointed, people who trust me, get disappointed in me, I feel as if I’ve violated their trust, regardless of the fact that it’s something over something trivial or not.

I think it goes back to high school, with an old friend of mine, who I can honestly say I was in love with at the time. We lived close together, so we hung out a lot, we were really close as friends, and for the life of me, I have no idea why I didn’t ask her out. Meh, that’s for another time.

Well, when we were in the middle of hanging out, I had to cut it short because of my curfew, and needless to say, she didn’t like it. Although she would let me go home, she often expressed her distaste of my having to leave. And I think, that is where I got this irrationality from, because well, since I liked her so much, I didn’t want her to be disappointed in me. So, my mind has tried to prevent this, altogether by avoid situations that bear the possibility of failure, when someone has placed trust in me.

Now the irrational part: It’s purely ridiculous to have this state of mind, when my dreams and ideals are to be the one that people depend on in serious, life-or-death situations! I want to be the one who’s the man for the job when trying to save lives, and I know that I won’t be able to save them all, so there will be dark times when people will look to me for answers that I don’t have. And they’ll be disappointed in my ability to save their loved ones, disappointed in me.

So in the end, I’ll be faced with this situation anyways! But I think that, it’ll be easier in the later scenario because in the end, I will have walled up my heart so that I can continue working, and trying to help others. But with family and friends, people close to me, people that I will see everyday, to disappoint them, is far worse because they don’t disappear at the end of the day, they’ll forever have that memory associated with me, that I’ve failed them, in one way or another.

“You’re human, let it go.” comes to mind, but, I know that I’m meant to be better than this, it’s not like I’m trying to deny my humanity, but I cannot let myself mess up like this, especially over trivial things. It’s not the compulsiveness of a perfectionist, nor is it ideals of obtaining a perfect track record, but it’s the idea that I HATE disappointing people. And so I find myself doing things that I don’t want to do, hanging out in study groups, when I study best on my own, refusing to hang out when I really want to, and so on.

I’m getting better at it though, I’m starting to accept the fact that I cannot do everything on my own, and that I will need help from time to time. Especially since my assistance will come from other doctors, nurses, PA’s, Anesthesiologists, Hospice, Lawyers, RT’s, EMT’s and even janitors and volunteers, people that I will have to learn to get along with, learn to depend on, and they will depend on me.

We will learn to work together, especially when the moment comes when someone’s life hangs in the balance. I will need their help, and there will come a time, when they will come to me for help. Sure, it takes one person to start a revolution, but that revolution requires the movement of the people of the world.

And that’s what I’ll need to remember, that I am not alone in this fight in trying to become a doctor, there are others who want me to be also, and they’ll help me in my endeavors when I need them.

There’s always a helping hand when one really looks for it.