Hi there, everyone! I’m sorry that it’s been a whopping three weeks since I last posted a blog entry! Just to explain what’s been going on, I first spent the beginning of this month navigating several assignment deadlines. I finally was about to work on posting a blog entry–only to get diagnosed with the H1N1 last week.
(On a side note, you may have noted from a blog entry of JHU_Jackie, a blog entry of JHU_Wafa, and even the Hopkins Interactive online forum topic on the H1N1 that I was far from the only Hopkins student to have some form of the influenza [whether it's a regular strain or the H1N1 virus]. It goes without saying that I’m pretty grateful that my professors have been understanding when it came to making arrangements as far as making up written assignments, presentations, and quizzes.)
I ended up spending last week sleeping and self-quarantining myself in my apartment. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I practically scurried around the Homewood campus because I had to make a lot of errands regarding matters such as appointments with professors about making up assignments and asking questions about classes I’ve missed (as well as asking about potential classes for next semester, because it’s that time of the semester to register for Spring 2010), picking up and depositing paychecks from my part-time jobs, and so on. Meanwhile, I spent Wednesday of this week traveling, yesterday celebrating Thanksgiving with my family at home, and today avoiding the madness of “Black Friday” by sleeping in and trying to get homework done.
With my lengthy explanation of my lengthy hiatus from blogging aside, I will say that I haven’t spent all of November lying sick in bed or working on catching up on assignments! (Really!) Here’s a summary of some of the things that I did outside of classes pre-H1N1 this month:
RESEARCH: As I’ve been doing since halfway through my sophomore year, I’m still working as an undergraduate research assistant at the Ryugo Lab of the medical school. Unlike previous semesters, though, I’m not doing research for credit, but I’m being paid as a part-time student employee. Because of that fact and also because of the fact that I’ve been a member of the research lab for almost two years now, the expectations as to how much and how well I should work are even higher than they already were in previous semesters. Both the Ph.D. who’s the lab’s P.I. (“primary investigator”) and the postdoctoral fellow of the lab have been acting as my research supervisors, and both of them have been telling me that there’s a possibility that I could be a co-author of a paper before I graduate in the spring–provided that I put in the requisite work, of course! Currently, I’m doing a lot of data analysis related to analyzing and comparing synapses of globular bushy cells in the auditory nerves of congenitally deaf kittens, congenitally deaf kittens who have received cochlear implants, and normal-hearing kittens.
WORK: Besides working part-time at the Ryugo Lab, I’ve also been working part-time as a teaching assistant at the Village Learning Place (which is a non-profit community library that’s located a few blocks from the Homewood campus and has an after-school program for elementary school children), a monthly e-newsletter editor for the Center for Social Concern, and a house manager for the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra (a job that entails supervising numerous volunteer ushers, setting up a post-concert reception, and so on–basically, I have to act like a “hostess of the evening,” including placating angry orchestra patrons). Three additional part-time jobs sounds like a handful, and it can be at times–however, the latter two jobs are mostly once-a-month engagements that don’t take up much time overall in a given month. Still, the additional income helps!
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: I originally was planning on going straight to graduate school after my graduation in May to pursue a master’s degree before applying to medical school. However, after re-thinking the matter and discussing it with the Office of Pre-Professional Advising and my parents, I’m now leaning towards working for a year as a research assistant (whether I’ll continue with my current research lab or join another lab is something into which I’ll need to look) following my graduation in May before I proceed to additional schooling.
DANCE: Because of the four aforementioned endeavors, I haven’t been dancing as much as I have in previous semesters. Still, everyone needs to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle (plus I love to dance), so I haven’t completely abandoned it! I still try to squeeze in weekly ballet classes with the JHU Classical Ballet Company, and I’ve even been able to join rehearsals for a small number of student-choreographed pieces. Similarly, I’ve decreased my involvement with the OLÉ Dance Group and with the Filipino Students Association’s dance team, but I’ve still attended some dance practices and learned new choreography with both groups as well–including a Filipino folk dance that involves balancing candles on one’s head!
OTHER CONCERNS: The five categories above sum up most of what I’ve been doing over the past month (and, now that I think about it, the past semester), but it’s not everything. I’ve also been working with officers of the Filipino Students Association and the Taiwanese American Students Association to organize fundraisers for typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines and Taiwan. I’ve also been participating in numerous church-related activities, primarily acting as a church choir pianist. And, of course, I’ve been working on keeping in touch with my family and trying to stay in touch with my friends–after all, my family and friends are very important to me, so I need (and want) to maintain my relationships with them!
With all of that said, I’ll return to my homework and enjoying my mom’s cooking from last night’s Thanksgiving dinner!
N.B. I found the images that illustrate this blog entry through Google Image Search.