Gilgamesh and The Spartans: Why WE Are Heroes, Too

 

Dear Readers,

I have come back to my homely blogosphere after many weeks of being labeled MIA to deliver glad tidings to you all, after many weeks of disappearing into the abyss of the unknown. Today, dear Readers, I have come to you with my hands bearing a sweet gift; I come to you to deliver a message from the Higher Power, a revelation that I had just merely 72 hours ago while my mind ached with pain as I suffered from Writers Block illness, while my fingers were too weak to type even a letter on my Fujitsu as I travelled home via the Amtrak for the Labor Day weekend. Today, I have come to convey a very important fact to you all as the idea of a ninth month school year finally kicks into your brain, as you prepare to say goodbye to the cold weather that is doomed upon us. And before we know it, finals week will soon head on over. And that’s when all anxiety and nightmares are unleashed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Anyhow, as the title suggests, it has been revealed to me during my virtual hibernation that our species Homosapian-Eutectus is not merely equivalent to a miniscule human as we had always assumed about ourselves. In fact, we must give ourselves more credit and pride knowing that we are indeed more gifted than that. We have the potential mental capacity to rule the world; the potential to be recognized as heroes. That’s right, heroes.

You see, the years we spend here is not merely a journey as we struggle and strive to earn a Pharm D. Rather, it is a quest in which we must battle the obstacles that not only come our way that inevitably exist to put us down; obstacles in the form of ferocious beasts and enemies that we formally know as exams and even worse: final exams. It is only when we battle these demons and dragons that we earn the respectable title and the bragging points that consequently follow;  it is when we ultimately end one chapter of our lives and hopefully move onto the next. This quest that each of us have chosen to take on (surely one of many that we will take on in a lifetime), when finally achieved, will not only mark a milestone, but an epic as we take on the title of a true hero; a warrior who fought till the last beast was conquered and put to rest in its place. Because who said that the only heroes were Odysseus from Homer’s The Oddysey, who said that it was only characters from The Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, and Gilgamesh himself who could be given the title of a hero and/or a warrior?

If you do not cease to disbelieve me, here’s a few points about mythical heroes and epics. And here’s why we fit the description completely… (as taken from my Cultural Notes)

Patterns Of Ancient Western Myths (STLCOP Style)

1. Gods and Heroes die and come back to life.

2. Destruction of the world and then the world is reborn.

There is nothing godly about being a STLCOP student. It is notable that while we possess the strength, the courage, and the power of will to take on the curriculum, we are indeed still under the rule of our “Godly” superiors (hint: the person whom your grade depends on, the person who will affect your GPA forever and beyond) who ultimately use their power to grant us our title. But one thing is for certain, coming and leaving STLCOP is like the cycle of life. Weeks before heading onto a long weekend, we exhaust our brains enough to resemble apocalyptic zombies. It is only when we go home or take a break, even, and come home to continue on our quest that we are recharged and reborn, ready to conquer that Pharm D. once and for all.

3. The world was created by supernatural forces.

Many, many years ago around the time that the Epic of Gilgamesh was finally discovered, a group of supernatural beings came together and decided that the academic world was in need of an institution with both prestige and pride. This institution, these supernatural forces thought, would bear both a curse and a blessing. Simply having one over the other wouldn’t do, they noted as they took a rather gigantic pot and stirred both sugar and spice together, made brick walls and built a building that they would proudly call STLCOP. This building would be a blessing to the world, an opportunity for students to get their Pharm D. right out of high school, a great place to add to one’s resume, a great place to mention at a family reunion when you want to impress your relatives whom you haven’t seen in ages, or when you want to put down that one cousin that got into every Ivy League school simply because she was able to discover the existence of unicorns on Pluto. However, every good in the world comes with a price, and that price was that students would have to exchange their soul for the next couple of years if a Pharm D. is what they indeed wished for. It is only when they would graduate that they would be able to live again, when they would find something human in themselves, when they would finally be free.

And so, dear Readers, I must leave you with this. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are indeed a hero. Look at your strength, your courage, and your optimism (whatever is left of it that is). Look into the empty part of your heart that once contained your soul which you will soon see again on graduation day. Look at the loans you will have to pay off, the pile of work that sits on your desk, and your phone that doesn’t hesitate to send you a million alerts from Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Turn your phone off. Sit on your desk, and get to work because the study break is over.

 

Until my next post,

-AZ

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