Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Email That I Would Write Were I Cheekier

Dear [Professional Skills Class Instructor/Head of My Department],

Attached is the schedule whereupon I outline how I will be spending every minute of my next two weeks.  I hope to now address some of the questions and concerns you may have upon reading it.
  1. This schedule is not an accurate representation of my social life.  This is a complete anomaly.  I have literally never been so socially in-demand in my whole life.  It's as if the end of neuroscience was a supra-threshold depolarization and activities are rushing into my life like little sodium ions.*  In about two weeks (coincidentally, the time after which you no longer care how I'm spending every minute of my days), things will repolarize and I will go back to sitting around in my pajamas surrounded by books like the proper student you assumed I was when you admitted me to this program.
  2. Yes, I actually do get into my pajamas and go to bed that early.  I'm not sure if you really wanted to know what time I put on my pajamas, but I was hoping to be thorough.
  3. The pie I mentioned baking will be a cinnamon pie.  It is delicious and I can certainly bring one in should that make a difference in my grade in this course.
I hope this clears things up.  I am actually grateful for this assignment because it means I might actually go to the gym all of those times I said I was going to go to the gym.


[My name, which most of you already know, but I don't want it to be super-searchable]

*This analogy should demonstrate to you that I actually am a huge nerd with no social life and it's totally weird that I'm going to all of these parties and dinners and brunches and concerts and stuff.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perspective, or, "A Survivor's Tale," or "Post-Neuroscience Buffy .gif Overload"

A little over a year and a half ago, I broke up with my first "serious" boyfriend.  That was really hard.

Then, a little over a week after that happened, I moved to Hawaii for a year, a place where I felt the most isolated (both emotionally and geographically) I've ever felt.  That was also really, really hard.

However, something happened yesterday that made those two experiences feel like squishy little kittens of nothingness.

I finished Medical Neuroscience.

Oh, you don't think that's impressive?  Well, read on.
What is Medical Neuroscience, you ask?  Well, let's take a semester-long course wherein you learn about the entire nervous system and all of its functions and physiology and whatnot.  Sounds pretty hard?  Well, then you take that semester-long course and you cram it all into five weeks.

It was a really cool class; the material was wicked interesting and I learned a crap-ton about the brain.*  It's all so fascinating and brilliant, the way the nervous system works, and it gave me so much insight about the way my mind works.  However, I have never studied that hard for anything in my whole life.  I looked in the mirror one day and my butt was no longer there because I worked the entirety of it off.**  I clocked a ridiculous amount of time in the grad student study lounge, shutting myself away from all other humans (save my study group and two random Medical Sciences students who also lived up there) while I absorbed an entire textbook's worth of material.

I wish studying worked like this.
It was probably good that I stayed away from everyone though, because for those five weeks, grooming and all appropriate social demeanor just went completely out the window.***

This would have been right after the vestibular system lecture, I think. 
But seriously, it was so hard.  There were times when the whole thing felt incredibly overwhelming and I just wanted to die.

Sums up my feelings about the cerebellum pretty well.
But then there would be times when I felt like I understood the material really well and it was awesome.  At any rate, the final exam yesterday was a killer.  It was hard, but it definitely could have been harder which meant one of two things:  either 1) the test was just easy, or 2) all of my studying actually did something.  I'd like to think it was a little of both.  Regardless, it's over now.  I can't believe that it's over.  As I was leaving the test I thought, holy crap, I'm done with neuroscience; that was the hardest thing I've ever done.  So hard.  Of all of the things I was looking forward to about this program, this course was not one of them.  I'm a bone person, not a brain person.  I knew this class was going to be a killer, but guess what?  It didn't kill me.  I survived.

Of course, we didn't get our grades yet, so I very well could be jumping the gun with my very confident-sounding survivor's tale here.

*The fact that I now regularly use words like "medial lemniscus," "cholinergic basal forebrain," and "ventral-amygdalo-fugal tract" means that I have to balance myself out by using the words like "crap-ton."
**That's not true.  My butt is still there, and it looks quite cute in skinny jeans.  Probably because the stress of neuroscience cut my calorie intake down by a third while upping my metabolism by 15%.
***My current occupation is "post-neuroscience makeover."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Should I Call Neuro Lab?

When people who aren't in our lab group are in our lab...

I want to be like,
But change "she" to "he"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ideas for 2014

I don't like the idea of New Year's Resolutions.  I can commit to being a better person for three-to-four weeks without the influence of a major holiday.  Instead, I'm just making a list (because I love me some lists) of things that I am (probably) going to do in the year 2014.
  1. Go to my ten-year high school reunion (provided it doesn't conflict with school).  I do this to honor all of the nerds/social outcasts who got hotter in their twenties who came before me.
  2. Quit Facebook.  Honestly, I'm only still on Facebook because that's how former senior class president is going to get in touch with everyone about the aforementioned class reunion.  Other than that, it's just gotten depressing, what with everyone getting married and having babies and checking in on Foursquare when they're all hanging out without me.  So after I find out the where and the when of the big shindig, I'm out, at least for a little while.  The drawback to this is that I'll have to find another way to share my blog posts.
  3. Go to California.  I've never been, but I really want to.  I want to see celebrities and eat weird food and check out the ocean and big trees and whatever else they have there (probably nothing Disney-related, though, because I'm still poor).
  4. Go on (at least) twelve dates.  I decided for no rational reason that I want to go on one date a month.  Of course, in a society where it's still considered taboo for women to take control of their own romantic pursuits (come on, seriously, it's 2014), this might be tricky.  But if I'm ever going to develop normal human social skills,* I should practice dating.  I put my roommate Judy in charge of making sure I don't talk myself out of this
  5. Stop drinking Diet Coke.  This is the closest thing I have to a New Year's resolution because in exactly three weeks I am going to say "screw it" and drown my sorrows in that sweet, sweet, caramel-colored aspartame.
  6. Have four fancy dinner parties.  I did this in 2013 for Hanukkah and it was a success.  It was also exhausting, which is why I'm only going to do one every three months in 2014.  But when I say "fancy," I mean fancy.  I might even use cloth napkins.
I feel like I should promise a quarterly report or something on these.  I will say that I will much appreciate encouragement in the form of comments!

*And not have my next-door neighbors call the cops because they haven't heard from me in a while and now there's a weird smell coming from my apartment and the cops show up and find twelve cats (eleven of them mine, the other one climbed through the window because it had the hots for the blind one--did you ever notice how whenever a lady has several cats, one of them is always blind?) eating my decomposing corpse while a Dance Moms marathon plays in the background.