Officially a pharmer, but at what cost?

Posted in Circadian Events with tags on 16 September, 10 by MastrN8

Hello, imaginary reader. It has been sometime since I’ve written and much has happened. Following a successful interview and entrance into pharmacy school, I proceeded to take a trip to Cabo in June to attend my cousin’s wedding; I went camping… twice; and I moved back to a familiar city, if not a familiar part of it. In taking stock of the things that have happened to me, not to mention for me, in the last few years, I realized how incredibly lucky, fortunate, and amazing my life is right now.

That being said, as the couple of you readers out there already know, I use this platform as a way to whine, bitch, and complain about said amazing life. Here we go…

Last week I experienced my first week of pharmacy school. By Thursday, my confidence that I could succeed in pharmacy school, broke. The unique program that I am enrolled in requires that I study materials given to me prior to class. At the beginning of a designated class, usually a week later, we are required to take a quiz on the materials immediately upon entering the classroom. A 70% is passing and needed to continue. I had two of these quizzes last week and did not do very well on them. I am beginning to doubt my ability to achieve more than just a passing grad, if I can even achieve that. I keep telling myself that it is VERY early in the semester to start worrying about this, but I can’t help but wonder how indicative these low scores are of the rest of the semester.

Do I have what it takes to survive grad school?

Am I psyching myself out too early? Probably.

I have redoubled my efforts, reassessed my study habits, and poured myself into the material for my next quiz. I really hope that it is enough. I keep thinking of all the disappointed people that I will have to face; I can’t bear it.

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned…

Posted in Circadian Events on 25 May, 10 by MastrN8

It has been nearly nine months since last I’ve written. Much has happened in that time, as you can imagine; I will briefly relate to you, my imaginary readers, what exactly has been going on.

My last post described my total and utter disappointment for an honor society that attempted to turn me into a peddler of baked goods. Not much has changed on that front. After attending one meeting in which I made my objections clear, I left angry and felt duped. Apparently, the whole goal of this organization is to raise enough money to send the president to some national gathering of other people who have also convinced others to sell pastries. When joining the society I was told that they were all about community outreach. In my limited experience I found this to be untrue.

Since then, I have experienced two very challenging semesters of school that have resulted in success. Allow me to elaborate. During the fall semester of 2009 I took four classes, two of which I knew would be challenging. The other two were deceptively difficult. The organic chem class and anatomy and physiology classes that I took were very easy to categorize as challenging. The philosophy and world geography classes however, threw me for a loop. Now the argument can be made that I should have realized that philosophy would require some effort, but I had no clue to what extent. The same can be said for geography I suppose, but again, who would have guessed that it would require more work just memorizing where countries are on a map? I did, however, manage to receive a 4.0 that semester for my efforts. I can now point out Afghanistan on a blank map, which I doubt a fair number of war supporters would be able to do. I can also tell you who Immanuel Kant was and explain the basics of his philosophical theories and why they were important.

After the semester ended, I was eagerly awaiting my family’s annual christmas party. Normally, I am not a fan of christmas. Being a non-religious type, it just doesn’t hold the meaning for me that most people associate with the holiday. This christmas however, was bound to be awesome. Each year, my family, including extended family, gathers to exchange gifts, have an ugly sweater contest, and exchange white elephant gifts. White elephant gifts are those that are silly, useless, sometimes crude but always funny. I just so happened to come up with an idea that I was sure to be the best of them all. Early one morning, while in the shower, I was thinking of something that I could share that was utterly ridiculous. The most ridiculous thing I could think of at the time was the Snuggie. What is more ridiculous than wearing a freaking blanket in public. Not to mention, sleeves? On a blanket? Are you so lazy that the thought of uncovering an arm to take a drink is really that exhausting? Anyhow, with that thought in my head, I wondered how I could parody that concept. That was when it hit me. Why not make it the most hideous thing imaginable. From this was born, The Fugglie. Spending just $5, I was able to purchase the ugliest blanket and sweater that Goodwill had to offer. Using some scissors, a needle and thread, and about twenty minutes, I was able to sew sleeves onto a multi-colored afghan blanket. I also made a box for it which took two weeks and about fifteen dollars. Pictures are posted on my facebook profile for those of you that I have befriended. I will post one picture on this blog for those that aren’t.

The Fugglie Box Panel

I am especially proud of the way the box turned out.

This past semester, which ended just a couple of weeks ago, proved to be my toughest yet. I continued on with my A&P studies, as well as O. Chem. The other two classes I took were microeconomics, and comparative religions. I had learned fro the previous semester that I was not to underestimate these two non-science courses. Good thing too, because I found out that I had more on my plate than just schoolwork.

As it turned out, last november I found out that the pharmacy college admissions test (PCAT) was to be held on January 23, 2010. Because this date would be my last chance to take it before pharmacy school apps were due, I needed to get my butt in gear. Let me just say that applying to grad school is a full time job. Luckily for me though, there is an organization called PharmCAS that streamlines the application process. PharmCAS combines all of the materials that are required for applications and disburses them to the student designated schools. This was a real time-saver and I am thankful that I did not have to contact every school individually. Now, after having taken the PCAT, I had until March 1st to get all of my transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essay together in order to apply to pharm school. Unfortunately for me however, I did not have enough credits for most universities; in fact, there was only one choice that would allow me to apply. Although completion of a pharmacy program garners a doctoral degree, most programs do not require a prior degree. This is my case. However, most programs require around 90 credits in order to apply; I had around 80. This, of course, limited my options. I took the plunge however, and rolled the dice. At the eleventh hour, February 28th, I submitted my application to Regis University. On March 15th I was offered a chance to interview and on March 29th I was offered one of 75 positions in the program.

I was elated, to say the least. My gamble had paid off.

My acceptance to pharmacy school proved to be both a blessing and curse as far as the rest of the semester went. I had mentally checked out; no longer was my GPA such a big deal. For the most part, all I really needed to do was pass. My grades began to reflect that work ethic and I finished the semester with a measly 3.42. I had scraped a couple of B’s from my science courses and a couple of A’s from econ and religions. Oh well, I now have a light at the end of my tunnel and it is only four years away.

For now, I guess that pretty much catches everyone up on my school career. I may post something later about what is going on in the family but for now I leave you. This time I pray it won’t be for nine months.

P.S. Long way down…

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , on 21 September, 09 by MastrN8

I wish to relate one last thing before I wrap it up for the week. If your reading this post and have yet to read “Ahh…the sweet, sweet sting of relative failure,” my previous post, I strongly recommend that you read that one first. This post is just an addendum to that one.

So, a few months ago I joined an honor society at my community college, the notable Phi Theta Kappa. For those few imaginary people who read this drivel regularly, you may recall my post in which I relayed the inner struggle I faced when deciding if I should join the society. I weighed the pros and cons of the decision carefully and after much struggle, I decided that the words Phi Theta Kappa would look better on my transcripts than nothing at all, so I joined. The biggest con I encountered when devising the list however, was that I did not want to join an organization that would turn me into a girl scout. In other words, I did not want to join an organization that was so hard desperate for funding that it resorted to peddling baked goods to the general public. Alas, I’m sure you have realized by now that my worst fear has come true. Crap. On 23 Sept 2009, drop by for a slice of dignity as those participating in this disgusting ritual will be serving theirs up for the low, low price of who gives a crap! What a huge price to pay for an honorable mention at graduation.

Ahh…the sweet, sweet sting of relative failure.

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , on 21 September, 09 by MastrN8

This semester has definitely gotten off to a slow start. I just can’t seem to find the motivation to crack my books and focus on my studies. My mind wan to wander and explore a myriad of subjects rather than be  penned down to the rigid schedule of assigned readings that I need to complete. Although I currently love the subjects that I am enrolled in, save Philosophy which only achieves a moderately likes status, I find myself wanting to study other subjects.

Currently, I am in school trying to finish my pre-reqs for pharmacy school. For the past two years I have been enrolled in a community college to achieve this end. My ultimate goal of course is to get accepted at a Pharm school in state and become a pharmacist. Although I still desire to achieve this goal, I am finding that I wish to study many other things than just biology and chemistry. I have found that I have an interest in everything from history to the japanese language. I am impatient to get through pharmacy school, not because that is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but so I can focus my energies on studying mythology or the soviet occupation of Afghanistan or the theory of Pangea or the rings of Neptune…the list is endless. I am finding out that I would rather have an extensively broad knowledge base rather than a deep understanding of anything in particular. And yet, I know that in order to achieve my goal of being a doctor, I must focus and power through, blah, blah, blah.

The above two paragraphs reflect how I’ve been feeling for the past month or two. That all changed last Wednesday.

On Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009, I received the results of my first Organic Chemistry exam; it was a 76% C. Crap. I think the above two paragraphs will give you some insight into the reason why I scored so low. I know I really need to step it up if I ever wish to achieve the grades needed to get into Pharm school. I need to stop jacking around with topics that I have no business studying during the semester. There just isn’t enough time to take on subjects beyond those that I am enrolled in. To add insult to injury, I found out about an hour ago that the admissions test for Pharm school (PCAT) is scheduled for January. I must take the test at this time in order to apply for school next fall! After January’s test date, the soonest I would be able to take the test is in June, I’m pretty sure that it will be too late for fall registration. As I sit here typing this, as the words appear on my screen in black and white, the reality if the situation is really starting to hit home. I need to take this relative failure in O chem and use it to my advantage. I need to take the feelings of guilt and inadequacy and direct them into a positive direction. A direction that will light the proverbial fire under my ass so that I can finish what I’ve started…successfully.

A summer to remember.

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , on 8 September, 09 by MastrN8

As I headed back through the front doors of school a couple of weeks ago, I felt, for the first time since high school, a twinge of reluctance and melancholy. Summer was jam packed with joys and triumphs and stress and sadness. I was lucky enough to become quite close to a family member only to have them leave my life forever. I got to hang out with old friends to experience new things and rekindled old friendships to engage in new conversations. All in all, I must say that the summer of ’09 was one of the best/worst/ best again summers to date.

As most of you read in my previous post, three months ago, sorry about that, I had just started a summer class. Let me just say that should anyone tell you that they are taking Calculus during a ten-week summer course, do them a favor and slap the idea right out of their head. Yes, I am glad that it is over with. Yes, I am glad that I am not taking it whilst taking my current load of courses. No, I would never in a million years do that again. I almost feel that it would have been mor beneficial if I would have taken two to three gen. ed. courses like philosophy and econ. over the summer than just the one math course. Oh well, I got through it with a B and that is all that matters. God willing, that is the last math course I ever take. Don’t get me wrong however, I did enjoy it and I learned loads, but I worked my butt off for that B! I think if I had taken it during a regular semester I would have done much better.

Back in June I related to you an anecdote that happened to me at a ballgame. I was with my wife’s grandmother and grabbed me a foul ball. ‘Member? You ‘member! Anyhow, I am sorry to say that Grandma Espinoza passed away on July 24. I was very fortunate to have gotten to know her in the last five or six months of her life. The funeral was nice, but unfortunately it didn’t exactly go off as Grandma wished it to. Family politics can sometimes muddy the waters a bit and make us lose sight of what is really important. I feel however, that everyone was able to say their goodbyes in a respectful manner and mourn in their own way. A great many people will miss you Tortilla Grandma.

To lighten things up a bit I wish to share my experiences in the pit. Mayhemfest came to town on July 19th! Of the many, many bands present I got mere feet away from Cannibal Corpse, All That Remains, Bullet for My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, Slayer, and Marilyn Manson! It was quite a rush, one I haven’t felt in about a decade when I would go to a concert every week, or so it seemed. The pit passes were pricey but well worth it. In the past decade I somehow forgot the rush from jumping in the mosh pit and throwing punches and violently shoving people while head-pounding metal riffs threaten to burst your eardrums. At one point, when the pit was especially dangerous, I jumped in and got cold-cocked right in the side of the head. It hurt, I won’t lie; it made me stumble to the inside edge of the circle where someone shoved me back into the center of the pit. I lost my balance and as I was going down I swung a fist right into the face of the guy that hit me. We both went down and landed hard, but you know, about five or six hands reached out to help us up. No one holds a grudge in the pit but no one holds back either, to me that is freaking beautiful. Those that don’t appreciate the Metal music genre will ever understand that. Sure you may jump into the pit and get knocked out, bashed and bruised a little, but no one is really out to hurt anyone, it’s just a way to have fun and let go of some stress.

This summer went by a little too fast for my tastes and I’m really finding it hard to concentrate on my studies. Currently I am taking Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry,Philosophy, and World Geography. I really meant to get a lot of studying packed into this long Labor Day weekend but I found myself slacking off. I really don’t feel much like cracking a book right now. I know I’ll be stressed this week, Thank God it’s a short one, but at this point I am not sweating it, I’m just going to take it easy and worry about it tomorrow.

I know this post was a little disjointed, sorry, I’ll work on that. I had a lot to report and want to really start writing more consistently in the future. Hopefully, I’ll talk to you next week.

Let’s give it up for month number 5!

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , , , on 4 June, 09 by MastrN8

Here I sit typing away. It’s just past midnight and I am wondering why I am not sleeping right now. Not much going on lately. That’s the problem. Gotta tell you though, my imaginary friends, May was a freaking awesome month! Filled with finals, celebrations, and baseball! Not to mention new and old friends and concerts. God damn it was great times!

May began with finals, as you can read for yourself in the previous post. I did pretty well, I must say, on three of my four finals. Leading into my last final, my math final, I had three A’s. I didn’t know what I needed on the final to ensure an A, but my teacher made it very clear that I had the highest grade in the class. This meant two things: I would be setting the curve for the rest of the class, and as long as I didn’t completely bomb the test, I would be fine. Well, guess what happened boys and girls? That’s right, I choked! Still, it took two weeks of torture until my A was posted. Another 4-0 semester baby! Woo!

The day after finals my father-in-law took his mother and I to a professional baseball game. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. My team lost but I managed to nab a foul ball! It was sweet! The thing is this though, I pushed a little old lady out of the way in order to get it… let me explain. So my grandmother-in-law is not at the peak of freshness, so to speak. This is a double-edged sword though because her condition allowed us better seats… Holy crap now I’m exploiting little old ladies, see you in hell!
Anyhow, here we are in these awesome seats behind home plate but up high enough to be in the shade. Grandma has the aisle seat, her oxygen has seat two, and yours truly is sitting in seat tres. All of the sudden, in the fifth inning, a foul ball is hit toward us and lands a section over. Nobody was paying attention however and the ball rolled straight towards us… one row down. That’s when I employ  the mad ninja skills, GENTLY place my hand on grandma’s shoulder to lean over the seat in front over her and grab the ball as it rolled by. AWESOME! So what if I sound like an asshole, she wasn’t going to dive for it.

Anyway, that day was about a week after my birthday. My birthday was uneventful because I was in the midst of finals week. No big deal. That’s what I thought! On May 16th, my incredible wife threw me an incredible surprise party! I had friends there from four cities and three states! It was much more than I deserved and will go down as one of my favorite memories of all time. There were about forty of my closest friends and family there, I didn’t realize I knew that many people, let alone knew that that many people cared for me. I am truly lucky. Thanks, everybody!

I also caught up with a few friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time in May. Right before my B-day, a buddy was in town from Portland. I love this guy. We met a few years back when we worked together. We eventually went our separate ways but have kept in touch. I hadn’t seen him in three years but we picked up our conversation right where it left off. We had lunch and parted again but I know we will always be pretty close.

About a week ago I had a friend in town from New York. Incidentally, he was moving to the same Portland that the above friend lives in; unfortunately, they do not know each other. They would become fast friends. Anyhow, I met this guy on the job as well. He is probably as big, if not a bigger movie buff than I am. I feel that I will always have seen more movies though because I don’t let politics ruin my movie experience. If my buddy doesn’t agree with a certain comment a star makes or a stance they take on an issue, he won’t see any movie that they star in, regardless of how bad he wants to see the movie. I applaud him for his conviction but feel that I would miss a lot of cool things personally if I felt the same way. It is always great to see him though. He had never been here so I got to be a tour guide all day for he and his lovely wife.

Finally, another friend of mine and I went to an awesome concert at the end of May. One of our favorite bands, The Street Dogs played; The Offspring headlined. The concert was freaking incredible! We go to this concert every year and this year was probably the best! I felt that the two aforementioned bands did not play near enough songs but there were also three other bands, oh well. We also met some great concert buddies! You know those people you sit next to at a concert and end up never talking to again? I’m hoping that isn’t the case this time. We had a great time and were able to find a lot in common. I’m hoping a good friendship can blossom.

Anyhow, what a month! One of the best thus far. I began my summer class last week and let’s just say that as of right now, it looks like a really, really, really long summer. I pray that June will turn out better than May, I don’t see how that’s possible though.

Kamikaze run up to finals

Posted in Circadian Events with tags , on 3 May, 09 by MastrN8

I have been slacking off this whole semester. Not only my blog writing, but everything in general. I have struggled with apathy this entire semester and I can’t understand why. It isn’t that I don’t like school or don’t want to finish, it’s just that my sense of urgency has not been there. I’m so close to the end and all  I want to do is lounge about watching movies. I really need to change my ways and get out of this funk.

I miss having a job. Maybe that’s the problem. When I worked and went to school, I knew that I had to finish my work by a certain time and beyond that I would fail. Now that I don’t work, I procrastinate and don’t stay focused. If not a job, I need to come up with something that forces me to get my work done. Don’t misunderstand me though, I am maintaining my grades, but this time around it is coming down to the wire. In all of my classes I am at the precipice between a B and an A. Normally, I have enough of a buffer so that if I blow the final I can still scrape a low A, this is not the case this semester.

This past friday I was inspired and forced to reevaluate my study schedule. I my cousin Julie’s doctoral hooding ceremony. She is now a doctor of Physical Therapy. First doctor in the family and I couldn’t be happier! It made me reflect on my own educational path and whether I am going in the right direction. The question as to whether I can accomplish this goal of mine or not has never entered my mind. I am capable of making the grades and learning the material but my discipline has come into question as of late. There always seems to be  a more pressing priority that comes up when I sit down to study. I know not what to do.

I keep thinking to myself that if I can just make it through this semester, it will get better and I’ll start to buckle down. That may be but I need to consciously make the effort to do just that. Until I can admit to myself that I can no longer put off certain tasks then nothing will change. The bright side is that the first step toward correcting this behavior has been taken. I know that there is a problem, now I just need to find the answer.

Wish me luck my imaginary reader, I must start my kamikaze run into finals week.