#DrZeeLearns: About This Coding Business…

Dear Readers,

What is coding? And what’s all the fuss about? It’s all I have ever heard about in my newsfeed. All these hash tags, all these campaigns. But still…I wondered: what is coding anyway?

As someone who was never really much of a computer person to begin with, I took out some time and did some digging on this coding business. Here’s what I found.

Coding helps us make websites. Basically any sort of software. From what I understand, building software requires a special language. This is done by coding.

Coding basically helps us tell a computer what to do. But it’s not all that easy. It requires lots of numbers…and time.

To learn more about coding, visit KhanAcademy.com to learn how to code! There are also many other interactive tools in the internet to help you learn! I’m also hoping to go to some coding events over the summer. It seems handy to learn. I hope I can learn and use it in pharmacy practice someday!

Until my next blog post,

AZ :)

Being a Storyteller

Dear Readers,

Anyone can easily say that we are far too old to listen to stories. That we are far too old to turn the pages of children’s books and enjoy every pop-up, every picture bursting with vibrant colors, and every word that leads us to the two words we hate “The End.”

But I’ve realized just recently that I, to this day, am one who enjoys a good story despite reaching my peak at 20 years old. But I don’t consider myself alone. I like to argue that every one of us enjoy stories, some in the form of E-news and TMZ. Others like their stories in a thick, encyclopedia sized and therefore, picture-less book with words that take them to an imaginary bliss as they are immersed in a novel. I have always been a bookworm at heart, but nothing compares to having someone tell me a good story before bed every night as a child. And that person was my aunt.

Growing up as a child, my summers that were initially spent in Chicago were cut short because of my family’s annual summer road trips to Georgia where my aunt had lived.  For at least 5 weeks every year, I had experienced the classic weather of Georgia, warm temperatures with unforgiving humidity that made my already thick and curly hair resemble a bush made of a million thorns.

In those summers, my family and I would always enjoy the attractions that Georgia had to offer. Seeing Stony Mountain and enjoying Dip n’ Dots (far before they made their way to the Midwest) never got old. After a long day of site seeing and exploring the city we had seen more times any anyone else, there was nothing better than having my aunt tell my siblings and I a good story before we went to sleep.

As we got tucked in, the giggles and fighting between my siblings and I would slowly cease as my aunt hushed us and began to speak. As I closed my eyes, I would vividly imagine the story she told us, practically seeing princesses fiercely fighting dragons to save their kingdom and before I knew it, I was asleep dreaming about dragon-fighting princesses more or less.

It had amazed me how my aunt was able to craft perfectly-plotted stories in a whim. How she was able to weave every detail together with effortless perfection. I knew I could never come up with anything. But none-the-less, one day I asked her if I could try it myself.

My siblings protested, and urged my aunt to tell a story instead. But she saw the hope in my eyes and warmly smiled and let me tell a story. I was nervous, not expecting to be given an opportunity to tell a story that night. With uncertainty, my mind raced with ideas as I uttered the magical words: “Once upon a time..” and I stopped short. Because I was stuck. Would I talk about a princess? Too cliché. But then again, I already started my story with the most historically cliché line. I hadn’t even began my story and I was already a failure. But I had to go on. I couldn’t take back those words now.

“Well, once upon a time, there was a girl who lived on a hill.” I thought I’d build suspense. My siblings quieted down and began to be interested. “And every day, she would up the hill…”

“To fetch a pail of water? Really? I don’t want to hear it anymore.” my older sister began to get bored.

“Let her finish.” my aunt interrupted.

“And she went up the hill to the well which she used to take herself to an underworld.” I began. Ideas started coming easily to me. Who cares where this story goes, I was on a roll, I thought. “But one day, as she went up the hill to go the well, she saw another woman. A woman she had never seen before. This women wore a hood that covered her fact. In fact, this woman was a witch.” It went on for a while and somehow involved space ships and panthers. But it didn’t matter because I was finally able to tell a story. No matter how much sense it didn’t make.

I went to sleep that night with a renewed sense of hope. With the hopes of writing even more stories. With the hope that I was capable of doing more than I ever thought I could.

The End.

 

Until my next blog post,

AZ :)

 

2nd Semester Challenges: Handling Stress

Dear Readers,

It’s often to ask each other “so, how’s second semester going?” And the answer is usually “stressful.”

Like anyone else in college, I’ve always found the second semester to be even more difficult, anxiety inducing, and ridiculously stressful.

While it’s easy to pout your way through this semester among the infinitely elevated workload, here’s a few ways I’ve found to be helpful in relieving stress.

*Lay on your bed and just don’t think. Ever wonder what the difference between good sleep and bad sleep is? Relaxation. Think about those people who’ve been hypnotized. Even though they were technically awake, people who have been hypnotized feel as if they went to sleep. Why? Because they were relaxed. As someone who has tried this technique, just spending 15 minutes in silence has made a huge change in my mood.

*Start a blog. :)

*One hour workout said who? Small and short workouts between the small bits of time you had are the way to go. You can easily fit in workouts in the week that are less than 20 minutes…even as little as 10 minutes if you’re that busy. It’s all about consistency.

*Find a hobby. Some people knit. Some like to stress-bake. Some just like to sleep.

*Talk to someone, a friend or a family member for at least 10 minutes a day. Taking the time to talk to someone you care about can have a big impact on your attitude.

 

Hope these tips help!

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ ;)

 

#DrZeeLife: Making a Difference One Meal At a Time

Dear Readers,

Today, I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock, not with the intention of walking myself over to the library or local café as I usually do on a Saturday morning, but with the intention of making a small difference in the world. I wasn’t alone.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I had an epiphany regarding our life choices. While there are always complaints of how much time is spent on school, studying, and work, we had reluctantly come to the terms that we had ultimately lost ourselves in the last 3 years among the rollercoaster of balancing academia and work in our schedules. We had realized this when we  the only fun fact we could think about ourselves was what pharmacy we worked at. To think of a fun fact about ourselves that didn’t fall under school/work/pharmacy took some time to think about. And that’s when we realized that we needed to find ourselves again. We needed new interests, hobbies, whatever we could think of. And we needed it more than ever.

Don’t get me wrong. Pharmacy is important. It’s vital to every community. However, as future healthcare professionals, it’s important to not only dedicate our time to studying in school, but it’s also important to utilize our time towards something other than scoring an A on an exam. That’s when my friends and I decided that we would look for opportunities to volunteer in the St. Louis area.

We were recommended to check out Project Downtown STL.

This morning, my friend accompanied me as we headed out to a local center to help those in need. Project Downtown St. Louis consists of a group of people who hope to feed those in need, one meal at a time. Every Saturday from 10am-1pm, people volunteer to make meals and distribute them to locals in the area. In an area that could use some change, these individuals strive to make a small change that will have a big impact.

Walking into the center, I saw a kitchen where the meals were prepared. Some days, I’ve been told,  it’s sloppy Joe and hot dogs. Other days like today, it’s chicken wraps (which are really good :P).

It’s easy to turn away from volunteering opportunities because a) you already got into college…no need to show anyone volunteer hours and b) you have a million hours of studying to do. You couldn’t possibly afford to take out 3 hours on a Saturday to not study.  It’s relatively easy to use this reasoning to get more study time and cut off the world altogether in hopes that you will get good grades.

However, one of the things I have learned in regards to time management is that being move involved has surprisingly made me a better studier (not sure if that’s how I’m supposed to spell it.) It has given me a chance to concentrate better and has allowed me to meet new people outside the Central West End bubble. Not only that, but it has been an overall rewarding experience.

Like other organizations in the community, Project Downtown strives to make a good change. The people who volunteer every week come from many cultural and occupational backgrounds. Every Saturday morning, they come to the center with a positive attitude and are dedicated in their efforts in working towards a good cause. With surrounding positive vibes like that, I see myself volunteering more and hope that I can regularly make it there to give some of my time.

While studying is paramount in doing well in pharmacy school, it doesn’t hurt to take a break every now and then and give some time to others. It’s amazing what it does not only for you, but the community in the long run.

For anyone interested in Project Downtown, please visit:

http://pdstl.org/

Until my next blog post,

AZ :)

My First Pharmaceutics Lab

Dear Readers,

This semester, my fellow P1 students and I are taking Pharmaceutics. And that means making cool stuff in a lab. This week, we got down to the basics. But I’ve realized that it’s a lot more intense than one would think.

  1. Using that balance is not as easy as you think. I struggled for hours to get that scale to balance out. It took a lot of persistence, but I finally managed to master the art of working a torsion balance.
  2. I’ve never realized how crucial it is to use a calculator. Making calculation mistakes is pretty easy. Never have I spent so much time making sure all my numbers checked out fine.
  3. It’s nice to get dressed up. But it takes a while to get used to. Especially for a bum like myself. But I’m learning to branch out of sweatpants and sweatshirts.
  4. Typing up labels is a rather difficult task. One typo and you’re back to Square 1.
  5. Pay attention to your teacher. Everything he/she says will be relatively important.
  6. Always have a buddy with you in a lab. The buddy system is effective for a couple of things. A) You will be less stressed if you have someone you know and trust with you and B) It helps to have someone help you out if you have any questions without being too intimidated to ask anyone else that you don’t know.
  7. You’re on your own. Anything that you turn in is an individual effort.
  8. Get good sleep because you’re gonna have to put in a lot of concentration for this lab.
  9. When choosing between watching the Bachelor and watching a video that you have to watch for Pharmaceutics lab, it’s best to watch the video for class instead. The Bachelor can wait.
  10. I have yet to learn more from the experience. More updates on the cool stuff I plan on making soon!

Until my next blog post,

 

AZ :)