Introducing “Dear Freshman”: A Fall Blog Post Series Coming Soon Near You

Dear Readers,

As if I haven’t started my summer blog posts with this beginning line enough, I hope that every one of you who decided to click on this blog post have had an amazing summer and are excited to return to campus this Fall. In case some of us had magically fallen off the face of the earth and drifted to another planet by accident and just found ourselves back to Earth from the generosity of friendly aliens, it is my responsibility to announce that there have been a few changes to STLCOP that everyone should hypothetically be aware of by now.

To correct any future mistakes, this year, we will not have first years, but rather freshman. Yup, it’s back to the bottom to those who once called themselves seniors in high school. Therefore, STLCOP has announced that it will have a seven year program instead of one that is six years long. A change like this will not only affect the freshman but also those of us who are higher up the STLCOP hierarchy.

Given this drastic change, I am more than thrilled to announce that in honor of my pre-Fall Writer’s Block and my new-found title as a second year, I’ve decided to dedicate a few blog posts here and there to those who will be new to the STLCOP world and will therefore be clueless about what they will expect.

By doing this, I do not want to toot my horn and consider myself to be one to have a PhD in college life. After all, it was only a few months ago that I, along with two hundred other something students were still considered “first years.” Because of this, I still consider myself fairly new to campus, and therefore, am still adjusting to STLCOP life and have accustomed myself to utilize the hashtag #STLCOPprobs at any chance I get. However, I still believe that throughout the 2013-2014 school year, I have come to possess at least some worldly knowledge about college life which I am obliged to share to those who are adamant in making their first year nothing short of successful, and let’s be honest-fun.

Anyhow, out of empathy to the little ones who will be joining us this Fall and beyond, I’d like to lovingly name these blog posts “Dear Freshman.” Here on this blog, I hope to pass on and share my knowledge about the do’s and do not’s of campus, the perks and the not-so-perks of STLCOP, itself. The first year of college is full of many eventful firsts which I hope to convey in these following posts not out of any criticism or harshness, by any means, but by means that will allow me to still make my point with a pinch of humor.

I ask that every one who reads these posts feel free to comment, like, and even share them. I am more than welcome to any sort of feedback (both good and bad) and would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts.

Until my next blog post,

-AZ

In My Professional Opinion

We’ve all been in this place before. Awaiting our fate as we merely hang onto life at the edge of the cliff, seeing our doom many feet or even miles below. Somehow wondering with our emotions all over the place-anxious, confused, nervous, even more anxious, sometimes even sad because right now all you want more than anything else is to curl up on your couch with a comfy fleece blanket and rewatch all the episodes of Friends rather than be where you are right now, but taking on this feat is indeed, a must. Today, you are on an adventure in the world of professionalism. In Charles Darwin’s terms, you are proving that you are the fittest and definitely can survive. Because today, on a weekend or weekday at hours that are completely inconvenient for you (maybe even way too early for you to usually get up), you are at a job interview. *Insert a dramatic violin tune*

We all know that the world we live in is nothing short of competitive. Social Darwinism is not merely a theory, but a fact. Having experienced interviews for varying job positions in the last few years of my life as well as recently, there have always been rules (both important and some that I find tedious) that must be followed if one is to prove themselves fittest and therefore, the best for a job. In other words, when you sit across that table, you are on a mission to convince the person in the big chair across from you that you’re not only a good potential worker, but worthy of signing a check for every pay day.

Therefore, doing so may or may not take drastic measures. Besides going out of your way to pin up stray ends of hair and polish yourself to professional perfection, it’s also been important to have your way with your words. Translation: say what your potential boss wants to hear, not what you really and truly want. Furthermore, do not by all means follow your id, but rather your superego.

What You Have To Say Versus What You Want To Say:

1. “So, tell me about yourself.”

Id: My name is [insert name] and I need a job because there’s no other reason I’d be here right now.

Superego: My name is [ insert name] and [insert your achievements, even all the certificates you have  received for simply participating. Mention all your aspirations (at least the ones that will impress them) in life and why you are nothing short of amazing and therefore, employable.]

2. “Why do you want to work here?”

Id: I saw that your company was hiring and my bank account isn’t getting any bigger. Need I say more? (refer to question number one)

Superego: I definitely want to gain a lot of experience and I feel that working here will allow me to do that. [ Insert your lifelong dreams and aspirations and how this job will lead you to getting a Nobel Peace Prize. And maybe even an Oscar.]

3. “What separates you from other candidates? In other words, why should I hire you?”

Id: You should hire me because I’ve managed to look somewhat presentable and therefore, need a job more than anything else. Need I say more?

Superego: [insert what makes you special and therefore the best for the job.]

4. “Tell me about your strengths.”

Id: Didn’t I already just tell you why I should be hired?

Superego: [insert your strengths and abilities. Mention past experiences you've had.]

5. What are your weaknesses?

Id: I have none. I’m practically a superhero, dude.

Superego: My current weaknesses would include {…} but I’ve definitely been improving on it…etc.

6. “Do you have any questions for me?”

Id: Am I hired?

Superego: [Ask any questions you may have about the job/company etc.]

 

-AZ

 

14 days of Summer…

Dear Readers,

Greetings from yours truly while we all salvage all that’s left of summer break and have no choice but to resume to our usual STLCOP-esque schedule. *insert semi-sad violin tune*

In all honesty, though I usually have quite a witty title to my posts (forgive me if you do not agree by all means), there really wasn’t any other title I could think of to describe the randomness that’s been occurring in my life so far. And so…without further ado….here is a list of the randomness that’s been occurring in my life so far. *insert semi-happy violin tune that you would hear for an Olympics commercial*

1. Say Hello To Doctor Zee Junior…

It was only few days ago that the weather had taken a dismal turn. Dark gray clouds had covered the sky that night, and the thunder only boomed louder and louder. Under the impression that it was only just another dark and stormy night,  I remained cuddled in a fleece blanket on my respectable bean chair and adamant in finishing yet another episode of Sherlock on Netflix when I heard a knock on my door. Nervous as to who it was on such a late night like this, I hesitated to open it, unknowing of who or in my case of being someone who has a fetish for watching scary movies and regretting it later, what, was behind the door, possibly eager to eat my flesh and bones. Alas, I managed to gather my courage and firmly opened the door. I was shocked at what I had seen. It was my younger sister, looking nervous with her eyes that were strangely red and asked if she could come into my room to have a talk. I undoubtedly said yes and allowed her to take a seat on my bean chair, making sure that she didn’t crush my laptop which I had placed on the floor nearby. It was then that she confessed her deepest and darkest secret to me. Recently *shedding a tear of happiness* my younger sister claimed with tears streaming down her cheeks, that she had decided to follow my footsteps and had come to start her own blog and hoped that she could have my blessing. Being as flattered as I was, I placed the Holy Laptop in her two small hands and ordered her to blog immediately and if she had already prepared a blog post, then press publish with the click of a mouse, for the Creator’s sake!

http://theoutsideandinside.wordpress.com/

2. So I Actually Got Something Done. Seriously.

In an earlier post that I had published way back when, I hadn’t given the best advice when it comes to losing weight in college and avoiding the Freshman Fifteen. Afterall, after publishing my blog post, I had only seen a few join me in the Quads for Quads routine afterward. Therefore, I decided to go back and reflect upon what I could have possibly written wrong. Little did I know that unlike my methods of weight loss that I had proposed earlier in the school year back in ‘ole 2013 were very far from realistic and well, do-able. And so, I have started to eat healthier and make better choices and in all honesty, it has all paid off.

3. I’ve Made Some Major Decisions….

(Refer to #2) I decided very early on this summer that I want to do a marathon in the near future after achieving some of my fitness goals that I assumed would never happen. Later on did I then realize that one must not chew more than one is able to swallow and decided to start with baby steps and changed my intentions to participating in my local 5K either in late Fall or early spring in 2015.

4. My TV Marathon Schedule via Netflix And Beyond

Some of my favorite TV shows that I’ve been raving about all summer are as follows:

-Sherlock: set in the UK, this mystery and somewhat of a thriller is good for those who like a classic with a modern twist. Though the way that shows are filmed and produced is significantly different than that of the US (shocker), it’s a guarantee that you will have a better command of the English accent after watching the first season. Warning: episodes are 90 minutes long.

-House of Cards: Enter the world of corruption and politics not in the Oval Office but in the House of Representatives.

-Scandal: Enter the world of corruption, politics, and scandal in D.C. Warning: Kerry Washington is super amazing and knows how to storm into the White House like a boss.

-Say Yes To The Dress: If you’re like me and not getting married anytime soon and too broke to buy yourself a ten thousand dollar dress, but love to invest your time in TLC drama, bridezillas, and what have you not, SYTTD is your show.

-Castle: Unlike its other mystery counterparts ahem—Law and Order, Castle gives audiences a little humor while both Castle and Detective Beckett take on crime in NYC. (Warning: Castle is not on Netflix *sad face*)

-The Office: Confession—Dwight is my favorite

 

5. I have run out of anything else to put in this list ;)

 

Happy 14 something days of summer! Enjoy it while it lasts and hope to see you all in the Fall! :)

 

-AZ

Getting BookSmart With Dr. Zee with a Review of The Fault In Our Stars

 

Dear Readers,

It has come to my understanding that each and every one of you, (well, those who are not in summer school) have been enjoying your summer to the fullest, occupying yourselves with good company, occasional barbeques, days in the sun, and of course, Netflix. Needless to say, it’s best said that I advise that you all enjoy these moments while you can before the end of August, when post-summer depression will hit you harder than a football thrown at you at full speed, aimed at the center of your face.

But regardless, some of us who are not currently occupied with work or anything to distract us from the heatwaves of the summer season are suffering from a condition called boredom and have nothing else to do at the moment. And as much as I hate to say this, I would be included in this category, despite my workaholic attitude. But until fate turns in my favor, read on.

And because of this, I’ve had the time to finally get my hands on a copy of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and because I have no other ideas to blog about, I thought I’d take a change and dedicate this blog post to a review on the book itself.

Something I’d like to say because I think it’s necessary:

For anything that I’ve been recommended to read, try, watch from others, I’ve noticed that my expectations seem to skyrocket, almost making me believe that whatever I’ve been recommended to (I know this is redundant0 read, try, watch from others, etc) is absolutely perfect and free of flaws. I like to think that if someone recommends something to me, it’ something beyond this world and will make me want to recommend it to someone else as well. Unfortunately, I keep learning that reality does not work that way. Each of us is bound to differ in opinion (hello, human race) and therefore, while someone may recommend something to you to try, it may turn out that you will or will not see it the same way as the recomendee (I hope I used that word right).

Therefore, it’s important for me to point out that my taste is beyond different from anyone else’s. The books I read and what I think of them will be significantly different from what someone else may have in their bookshelf. Having said that, I’ve always been more interested in historical fiction and the most interesting novels to me that I’ve read in my lifetime that I’ve never been able to put down are the following:

1. The Help -Kathryn Stockett

2. Water for Elephants -Sara Gruen

3. A Thousand Splendid Suns -Khaled Hosseini

4. The Kite Runner -Khaled Hosseini

5. Still Alice -Lisa Genova

 

Having never read any books by John Green before, I decided to actually accomplish one of my New Year’s Resolutions and take a literary risk. And so, I picked up a copy of The Fault In Our Stars.

TFIOS (Thank God there’s an acronym for it considering how much of a mouthful it is to type out #BloggerProbs) follows the romance Hazel Grace, a girl with terminal cancer, and Augustus Waters, a boy she meets who is in remission. (Basically the same line you have probably read on Google before reading this blog post from yours truly. Sigh.)

Being a teen romance novel, there’s many cute moments (that really brought out the inner chick-lit-loving-girl in me and believe it or not, made me blush) and lines here and there that I wouldn’t mind quoting in a tweet or status any time soon (Just a heads up.)

Regardless of my expectations, I’m glad that I took the time out of my life to finally read a book by an author that I had never read any books from  and because I wish not to give any spoiler alerts, (and I understand some of you may not be thrilled to have me mention this because everyone who reviews a book says this but…) the ending is just…something you will only find out if you read the book.

I know, I stink at writing book reviews….so…

Overall, I think that if you’re the type of kid that’s into contemp stuff, I say go for it. If you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan and found yourself almost finishing an entire box of Kleenex by yourself when you read (not just watched) The Notebook, I would say that this book is definitely for you.

And if you’re an old soul like myself, with the mental mindset of a person who’s been there done that, you might find yourself flipping a few pages just to finish it.

But don’t rely on my thoughts too much ( I know, defeats the purpose of a blog post that is meant to be a book review…) because you could always be the rare exception (refer to the first couple paragraphs).

But to get to the point…

Something I would definitely recommend is doing some post-reading research on the novel as well. What I found to help me understand and therefore appreciate the novel more was to understand the thought process behind the book itself. The copy of the book which I read contained an actual Q&A section with John Green himself, where people on Tumblr asked him questions about the title, and the overall playout of the characters. Reading the significance behind the title and the meaning behind the entire work of literature that he crafted has made me realize a couple of things.

1. Writing is like a marriage. You will find yourself hating it one minute, only to come back to it and force yourself to work on your writing skills to make it better.

2. There is a reason behind everything. Thought that the curtains were blue because J.K. Rowling didn’t have any other color in mind? Not so much. Authors think about all the details, even when they’re subtle and practically unnoticeable.

3. It takes a lot of time to make something ready to be published

4. Being an author is easy. Being a good author is pretty darn hard.

5. It’s never just you. Unfortunately, as our individualistic culture (Hello, Psychology reference) likes to dictate, you aren’t the only one who deserves credit for writing a novel/essay/story book. You gotta have a crew. People to back you up, tell you what needs to be fixed, what you did right on point. That’s what the credit pages are for. The people who helped you along the way.

6. It is really rare that something comes right off the top of your head (warning: I may sound like I’m repeating 2). All of the characters, events, plot in a novel are formed from past memories that the author may have experienced.

Hope you’re all having a book-tastic summer,

-AZ

 

 

Artifacts of The Past

May  28th marked one year since I had graduated from my past and moved onto better things at St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

Similarly, today I had the pleasure of driving nearly 4 miles out of my comfortable radius called home and ventured to the place that held every artifact of my past life. It was something that I had no choice to do, given the fact that my duty to play chauffer was calling me along with the many other errands I was doomed to run in the last few hours. It’s the dreadful place that I swore I would never see again, let alone step foot on ever again. Not out of hatred, but as a goal to move forward with my life and for goodness sake, to move on to greater things. I begged and pleaded my soul. Was there anything else I could possibly to do avoid this, I asked. I hoped there was mercy at the end of the tunnel, but my orders were clear. Drop off your sibling and stay there till she is done. Nothing more, nothing less. I almost wanted to cry.

Today, I revisited a part of my life infamously known as high school.

*insert dramatic symphony music that matches my emotions which cannot even be sustained with background music*

Perhaps I seem a little too smug to feel such a way about a place that was my academic shelter for the past four years pre-STLCOP. After all, it was my progress, the opportunities in high school that brought me to STLCOP to begin with. It was the place that had led me to my career choice, actually. Need I say more?

It could be a possibility that I’m being dramatic (as always) for saying that I’m too cool for high school having only experienced my first year of college. I still consider myself a newbie in this new experience. But there’s no denying that for every person that has ever lived on Earth, high school was a time when it’s all the more acceptable to dye your hair hot red without having any fear of what people will think-scratch that-you’re self conscious of what others think because it’s what causes you to immediately dye it back to its original color leading you crazy piercings instead. In other words, we were all completely different people in high school.

In my case, Dr. Zee sure as heck did not exist, nor was it ever dreamed of by yours truly.

And POOF! You’re off to college, and your past identity is nowhere to be seen except in photos framed by your mother in her free time as she grieves over your presence.

As I drove into the parking lot, memories of a year ago already flooded my head. I could already feel the aura of self conscious, cliques, conformity, fear of rejection, and extremely strong Hollister perfume just as I dropped off my siblings to the front and proceeded to park my car. The ghost of my past self was here to haunt me. Here to taunt me of what had occurred four years prior to college.

I slowly walked the pathway that led me to the front door. I could already see tiny prepubescent kids notoriously classified as freshman waiting for their parents to pick them up. The poor souls had not even tasted true independence yet, let alone even had their permit. Seeing this, I walked forward with a more confident stride in my step, willing and confident that I would survive this moment. I was not about to give up.

While waiting for my sibling, I was able to walk the halls once again after swearing that I would never do so, not out of hatred, but the fact that life does indeed get better after high school. There’ s more beyond the athletic field; your diploma is the ticket to seeing life beyond the phase in your life called “High School.”

As I waited there for a while, I came to see this place not as a place full of horrible memories and times of despair caused by none other than the stress of AP classes and other acronymed standardized tests, but as an experience that I will cherish as an artifact of my past. While most would argue that moving towards the future cannot be done when looking back at the past, I will disagree to that statement because sometimes it doesn’t hurt to look at what you’ve endured before to combat the hardships of the future.

-AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just when you thought…

After months of being at STLCOP and watching time pass as quickly as sand escaping the palms of one’s hands, I’ve realized how much of a blessing and privilege it is to have a summer break. Because for STLCOP students, (maybe even others in the world who have a life like us) if you’re not studying and utilizing an entire box of Kleenex every week just to keep yourself sane as you fly through hoops and rings of fire just to save your grades from falling to their doom of 2.75….you’re probably on summer vacation. That is, unless you’re taking summer classes which are another story. But for those of you like myself who have gone home and are currently enjoying a home cooked meal, you know what I mean.

However, there are probably other matters that are on your mind at the moment. Like why I’m still writing a blog post even though school is well beyond over…

Because just when you thought I would abandon all of my wonderful and loyal readers and selfishly disappear off the face of the Earth, just when you thought I was gone for the summer, just when you thought the constant reminders on social media about Dr. Zee in 19 would temporarily cease for the next few months (or 80 something days for those of you who are mathematically logical), the truth is…I will be present among the blogosphere with my presence forever and always.

In other words, for those of you who are not a very big fan of me beating around the bush, what I’m trying to say is that I, Dr. Zee in 19 will  be here 24/7 and 365 in the sense that I will still be able to blog at my own ease this summer with at least 10 tons of stress lifted from my shoulders. That’s right, while my STLCOP self will currently be recharging her academic battery, Dr. Zee will be here to stay, here to update you on her summer adventures, even when she’s not in the good ol’ STL. Or should I rather say that I will be here to update you on my summer adventures even when I’m not in St. Louis. And so yet another dramatic post begins with this…

At approximately 9:04 am on May 14, 2014 (nearly who knows how many hours ago from this point), I took a deep breath (knowing my attachment issues when it comes to test taking) turned in my last final, and after a few smiles and yet another rendition of wishing my professor a wonderful summer (which I had politely done after every final), I slowly walked down the stairs of Jones while dramatic and inspiring music by the talented Ludovico Einadi (Divenire, which is my favorite piece, to be exact) played in my head, while I took small steps towards the path of that marked my temporary but none-the-less freedom from the 9 month academic prison that shackled me almost every weekend and demanded that I sit down and study while the rest of the world was outside and able to enjoy a privilege called fun. It was at this moment that I was almost unable to believe that this was it. Let me type this again for you to read just again to emphasize how dramatic this seemingly not-so-dramatic moment was. This was it.This seemingly tedious-to-mention yet ridiculously dramatic moment in my eyes was hard to imagine, and ultimately marked a milestone in history.

I was now done with my first year of pharmacy school.

At last.

It was a thought that echoed though every space in my soul for seconds that almost stopped time itself (because that correlates with fundamental and universal logic so well), as just the mere thought of what just happened, what I had just accomplished at that moment, made my eyes fill with tears of joy, as I suddenly felt more powerful than I ever could, and felt as light as a feather with no care in the world. In fact, I was almost convinced I could fly-

-that was, until I realized that as much joy as I had just experienced in the moments that had just marked that I finished one out of the six years I would spend in pharmacy school, there were other joys in life that demanded the same amount of happiness and enthusiasm. Such as the 7 giant suitcases and infinite amount of cardboard boxes worth of luggage and unnecessary goods that the Res Hall had requested that I pack and  painstakingly haul away in my van almost five hours and 240 miles away from state lines despite the hardship that it took just to bring it to St. Louis to begin with. Not all moments were meant to last, I figured. And so I pulled up my sleeves and began to pack away-more like throw everything I owned  in a box or suitcase so would know that if I didn’t see it in a drawer/dresser/closet, at least I would find it packed somewhere when I got home. I like to formally call this the Careless Packing Technique for those of you whom have possibly employed your packing in the same manner.

Unlike most of my other peers whose finals had briefly and if I may add-luckily ended on Monday, I still found myself fatefully and therefore reluctantly dragging my backpack and my extremely reluctant self to the library right after my Anatomy final so I could hopefully ace my Psychology final, which meant I had used as an excuse to not even start packing until the day of. A perfect choice for all of you like myself to make, especially if you love to push all necessary tasks till the last minute, and never seem to learn from past mistakes. Sigh.

Before I knew it, I had no choice but to part with my keys whom I had under the protection of my five wonderful penguin key chains in the last five months, said some tearful goodbye to friends, and I was already passing the arch and well on my way back to the Land of Lincoln.

While most would assume that home would provide comfort from a rigorous environment that I was used to back in St. Louis, I would argue that being home did the opposite. The first night was one of many firsts, indeed. Unpacking everything that I had packed that day was already a chore. But having nothing else to do afterward except relax and eat a home-cooked meal to my liking was a whole new story that only made me feel lifeless and so unaccomplished.

Waking up the next day to my first day of summer gave me many things to accomplish. I resorted to a hobby that I had abandoned months ago and relearned my knitting skills at last, even perfecting them. I actually had the nerve to open a book that wasn’t a textbook and got to hang with the current love of my life, or the “bae” as some would address a loved one….my man Steinbeck in fact, who is notoriously known for his literary work called East of Eden which I am currently reading and surprisingly enjoying as well. I decided to be social and actually retie relationships that I had lost by none other than texting back. I got started on a writing piece that I would not have been able to finish had the semester been extended the whole summer. I filled out job applications for potential employers in my hometown. While my soul longed to procrastinate as I had promised myself I would do once school was over only weeks ago while finding motivation to study for finals, the mental effect of second semester was still making me want to be…well, productive.

While this would seem to be a good thing for a college student like myself, it turned out to be something others would take advantage of, preferably those in my South Asian household who found every reason to keep a dusting or other sort of cleaning mechanism in my hand when I wasn’t sleeping or chauffeuring the young ones.

And so dear readers, while I may not be on campus, whether I may be dusting ancient Indian plates, knitting myself a textbook-warmer of some sort (seeing how my knitting skills are going), crying myself to sleep from boredom since I’m not sure how to live with myself given the fact that there is no homework to complete, no quizzes to cram for, no exams to be anxious about, or mentally preparing myself for Orgo which as far as I know is nothing short of getting ambushed by a million dementors at once…

stay tuned for some more outrageous and ridiculous posts and adventures from yours truly right on this blog (hopefully) every Wednesday and Sunday.

See you soon! :)

-AZ