Thursday, August 25, 2011

If I Weren't Here

In the three months that I've been in med school, it was impossible not to think of other options that I could be doing right now instead of studying the thoracic wall and mediastinum.

Sell shoes
I’ve always been a great fan of shoes which I guess led me to become very meticulous about the shoes I buy. I can’t express how magical shoes really are; they have a different effect to me that new clothes or new gadgets can never give. Maybe like a good kind of high? I don’t know, it’s just really different when I get to buy a new pair of shoes and get so excited when and where I’ll wear my new babies. And the happiness actually is different every time. Sometimes, it can be that finally-after-so-long kind of happiness or the amazing-discovery kind of kilig.

My love for shoes has taken me to actually studying the differences between oxfords and brogues and to constantly checking websites for new releases. I buy cheap shoes most of the time and expensive shoes whenever my mom would allow for it. I think it’s a cool idea to design shoes I really want and to actually have them made. I envy those brave girls who have enough resources and talent to actually design shoes and sell them on Facebook or even Multiply. It’s been a dream for a really long time. I don’t draw very well, but I have some ideas on what can possibly look good on my feet, at least. This would usually include a lot of suede, tassels, gum soles, moccasins, canvass, and laces. Yeah, I think I like shoelaces.

Check out Hebe Manila for pretty shoes and bags. I've been wanting to buy these Manhattan flats for the longest time, but I promised I'll wait until the end of August before I buy my own pair. Photo from Hebe Manila on Facebook.

Do research
I don’t mind sitting all day, just looking for stuff then put them all together into one really long report. It’s a boring job but I guess my psych background can be of help here. Research sounds really boring, but it won’t feel as boring compared to a desk job. I don’t really know anything about this corporate world that I am secretly scared of. In my head, corporate = black slacks, same boring blouses, and a desk with maybe a desktop computer.

Sell chicken at Mercato
I'd like to believe that my mom's chicken recipe can beat Manang's chicken anytime. Haha! Manang's is fast becoming everyone's favorite chicken thanks to its sweet oriental taste of the chicken wings. I was excited when I finally had the chance to try their chicken at the newly opened branch in Ortigas Center, but when I tasted the chicken, parang uhh, luto ng nanay ko? I swear, it tastes exactly the same as my mom's cooking! Except for the addition of sesame seeds which I didn't really feel. I'm not saying Manang's sells bad chicken; it's good chicken! If I wasn't so used to the taste, I'd think it was yummy too. But thank God for one of my mom's very few good dishes, I wouldn't have to spend 75 pesos on one piece of chicken. I just think Manang's tends to charge a lot for their chicken.

So if I do get tired of med school and decide to open a business, I'd consider putting up a chicken stall in the likes of Mercato. I still have to think of a catchy name for my chicken business. I'd tell you my mom's recipe, but then that would lessen my chances of opening my chicken business, right?

Become a preschool teacher
This is something that I’ve actually wanted, next to becoming a doctor. If only my parents were a bit more encouraging about this option, I would've taken it more seriously. (But I think I'm quite done with that drama)

In the last few months of college, I felt like I was having a crisis. I realized that I’m not particularly good at anything. Maybe I was pretty good at studying for long hours, and I think this made me want to go to med school even more. But aside from that, I wasn’t good at Public Relations, Counseling, Human Resources or to anything that’s supposed to be related to working in the “real world”. The only thing I had left and was comfortable with was being a preschool teacher. If luck pushes me, maybe grade school? I love love love kids (especially the pinkish, chinito and chubby little boys) and I love being with them most of the time, just goofing around and having the perfect excuse to be silly because well, kids love silly people. And I don’t think I can last in those corporate uniforms, pretending I’m this serious adult who likes to discuss the stock market and the booming business of health care.

And don't think that preschool is an escape, or an easy way out. I hear stories from friends-turned-preschool teachers that it’s just as stressful as any regular office job. What sets preschool teachers apart from other professions is the rewards the teachers get – unlimited hugs and smooches from their babies. I want that too!

But I'm here and I'm planning to stay until I get to wear that long white coat.

Random video, because I've been updating my iPod lately. Well, updating = listening to songs I never got to listen to before.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Happened Over the Weekend

I was gonna write a really long and sentimental post on how much I love my dad and how much I have learned the importance of family, but then I realize, I think I write too much of that stuff. And well, I feel like I’m turning this blog into one mushy dump of emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad and my family (God knows how much I’ve said this the past weekend), but yeah, that’s not how I roll these days. (My med school classmates think I’m the chill kind of person. I laugh at this remark.)

I found my defense mechanism. I am an escapist. On the day my dad was frantically transferred from Batangas City to Global City, I was comfortably watching Steve Carrell’s latest movie at SM Manila and playing hooky instead of attending three of my classes that day. Just so you know, I’m not usually like this. I really am responsible; as much as possible, I never cut my classes in college. But I don’t know, I just wasn’t ready to go to school last Friday. I didn’t want to go through retelling my friends why I cut classes the day before and how my dad was doing. And aside from that, I was secretly scared I’d just break down in front of my classmates.

And while everyone else was inside the ER, waiting and watching as the nurses try to stabilize my dad’s condition, I tried to stay as far as possible from that scene. I can’t stand seeing my dad like that because I know very well that that image will haunt me for a really long time. So I went out into the lobby, pretended to check Facebook and Gmail, did anything to distract myself.

I’ve always known myself as someone who tries to stay away when things get tough. When I feel like something’s getting heavy or at least too heavy for me to handle, it’s time to step back and just leave it. Awful strategy to think of I know, but I think I never really had the patience to try and push myself to lessen the baggage. It’s like when you buy a meal, let’s say bangus sisig from Gerry’s Grill. After a few servings, you realize it doesn’t taste good (it really doesn’t taste good in case you’re interested). You can either do two things: suck it up and finish the food because you don’t want it to get wasted or you leave it and I don’t know, get something else probably. I always, always go for the latter. I probably wouldn’t order another meal, but I’d most likely just let the sisig get cold.

My point is, defense mechanisms exist not because they’re supposed to help us feel better, maybe just as a form of a very very fragile shield. As far as I can remember, there isn’t really any good kind of defense mechanisms. I mean, you can’t actually categorize these psychological things as good or bad because we all know psychology equates to gray areas. These mechanisms exist primarily because we can’t face the immediate problem and so resort to something that’s actually kind of silly. Think throwing things around like a sick baby when you find out you lost a bet or something. They’re like your oh-no-I’m-caught-off-guard reactions. And defense mechanisms are not supposed to be arbitrary. Again, I’m not sure if I’m saying the right things. You can check for yourself; when someone says something that takes you aback or at least surprises you, how do you react? And from there, you can actually tell that more often than not, people would have similar spontaneous defenses.

I said more than what I intended to, and so maybe I'll put the rest of my thoughts to some downtime. And just to make myself clear, I really am thankful that my dad's gotten better since the last sad post I wrote. I wouldn't have this tone of writing if things weren't going okay. I'm thankful, very very grateful.

The doctors still have to figure out what the infection is because leptospirosis also came out negative and because his platelet count is continuously going down with a high grade fever on the side. Please continue to pray for him and maybe a little for my family too? We're in dire need of peace of mind.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


So guess what, my dad’s in the hospital right now. He’s really really sick; he’s staying in the ICU for about 24 hours just so he won’t get any worse than he already is. I’ve known people who entered the ICU but never got to come out of it feeling, well, better. I’m scared shit right now, if you’re wondering how I’m feeling. Trying to maintain every bit of hope that I can possibly grapple. Incidentally, I just finished my first shift in med school today. I survived the first three months of school, and that my friend was supposed to be a big achievement already! But I can’t bring myself to this state of celebration and euphoria when I know I have a sick father lying in a hospital bed. Fuck, I can’t even imagine him wearing hospital gowns or having tubes inserted everywhere in his face. You see, my dad was not supposed to be that kind of guy. He never had that image in my head – weak, intubated, crashing (I refuse to use the word dying).

I went to school today to take my shifting exam, trying to pull off a happy face. I think I did pretty well. I laughed a little, hung out for a while with my friends, and broke the news of me not going to Saturday’s party because my dad’s sick, said with not even a hint of fear or anxiety. Then I come home and had the urge to talk to someone, to tell someone that I’m just really really scared for the future, for what’s to come after this. I keep on having these thoughts about my life in the event that you know... Will I have to drop out and get a high-paying job? Do I have to stay in Batangas to be with my mom? I know, it’s sick that I’m talking about these things and posting them online, but shit, I’m just really scared. I don’t want to have these thoughts, I don’t want anything really bad to happen, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be unprepared. Unprepared seems like the right word to describe everything about me right now.

I don’t know, I just felt like telling you. But I hope you don’t take this as me trying to get something out of you. I’m not writing this to be pitied or to be confided. I just really had to let someone know and to not be judged for these things.

I just want to go home, see my family and wake up from this awful, awful dream.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. Hope all is well for you, and please continue praying for my dad.

This is the longer version of a message I sent to a friend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Please Heavenly Father, walk through my home and take away all my worries and any illnesses. Please watch over and HEAL my family and friends. Bless my home, family and friends with Peace, Love and Joy In Jesus Name. Amen.

At a time like this, it just feels right to let His will be done.

I'm not the best person to talk to when it comes to religion or faith. I'd like to think of myself who's religious in my own way. I know the priests have been telling us that we're not suppose to go to church only when we need something, but I catch myself doing just so. Praying a little harder during exams week. Praying even harder and completing novenas during finals week. And now, praying as often as I can because of the situation I am in. I don't wish to elaborate, but dear friends, please pray for me and my family.

It's so easy to give up and just fall apart, but I'm giving all the effort that I have to be optimistic and to let go and let God.

So help me Lord.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Samplex Mentality

We just finished the first leg of our two weeks-long shifting exams, hence the lack of posts.

Shifting exams are like midterms although a lot harder (which I guess is already a given). My friend and I realized that part of the reason why we’re having such a hard time getting used to this school is because the students here also have a different way of studying. Another friend of mine introduced me to what may seem like a lifesaver for some med students – Samplex (Sample Exams).

Sample exams are the test questionnaires used by upper batches back when they were in our current position as freshmen. It takes some skills to actually get to hold of these pockets of sunshine, especially for us who don’t really know anyone from the upper batches. And the idea is, the more samplexes you have, the better. The logic behind sample exams is pretty simple; the questions they give in the sample exams are more or less similar to the questions the professors will ask in the actual exam. And if you’re lucky, some subjects actually use the SAME question they used one or two years ago. I realize it’s hard to explain further what sample exams are because well, sample exams are sample exams.

But my issue here is not really the sample exams, but the kind of mentality that med students are so prone to have, something that I simply call the samplex mentality.

For a whole week, it has been my constant dilemma whether or not I should read the actual lecture notes or simply rely on the sample exams. A bajillion pages on origin, insertion and action of muscles or five pages of samplex? The answer seems so easy, especially when you only have less than a day to study for two months-worth of lecture. I’m usually the type who likes to read the book twice then review through my notes. This was back in college, by the way, when time seemed to go by so slowly when it’s study time.

But in med school, studying doesn’t involve just reading the book because there’s really not enough time to read the book. I guess UST students are (un)lucky because our professors provide us with handout prior to the lecture that most students don’t even bother to listen more so write notes during the lecture. I, too, have become one of these students. What sucks though is realizing that lecture writing really iz ze way to understanding, but I digress.

What I’m trying to say is that samplex mentality is this tendency to take the easier and somehow more risky path. Easier because we all know it’s a lot less difficult to read five pages of a questionnaire than a hundred or so pages of Gray’s Anatomy. Risky also since there are subjects which are supposed to be samplex-based but turns out to be a lie, and this therefore makes it really sucky for someone who relied so much on sample exams.

I admit falling prey to this samplex mentality when I’ve given up studying for Biochemistry, and my God, you don’t wanna know what happened there. So yeah, sometimes it works, and sometimes it sucks to be me when samplex questions never come out.

But on a deeper level (HAHA I feel like I’m pushing it), this samplex mentality isn’t really limited to taking exams. I can give you situations when I’ve chosen what seemed like an easier and maybe a little risky path, and well, what seemed easy at first is no easy shit at all. I mean, when faced with a situation when we can choose between a short cut with a bit of a rocky road and a long and winding path, isn’t it human instinct to choose the former? Because gets, bakit mo papahirapan sarili mo di ba? I hate saying that, “don’t be so hard on yourself”. It seems like the perfect excuse to be lazy and complacent about things, but at the same time, I hate telling myself those words just to give myself some artificial comfort.

Where was I?

Easier path… Ssamplex mentality… Longer path… My trail of thought got screwed up somewhere along the way, but what I want to say really is, shit’s not easy and I realize med school or life if you want to sound poetic is really not about taking the easier “path”. I think it’s about pushing yourself to the longer path, throwing yourself into that mob with nothing but your own self to guard you, and choosing to be hard on yourself because girl, life’s no tea parties and Mickey mouse shaped waffles. But again, take this with a grain of salt, because I’m the kind who likes to be hard on herself most of the time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Like Hello From Pino

Because we love you very much Joyce Ruiz! Enjoy :) yung hindi marunong maglagay ng background music? :-s Sorry guys, promise, I'll do better next time! For now, the vlog queen gets to keep her position.