Today, I lean in…. (#leanin)

It has been sooooooooo long! What have I been up to? Catching up on House of Cards, of course! Did ANYONE watch episode 1 of Season 2?!?!??! Let me just say. Wow. What else has been happening? I suppose just work, bonding with my friends that I have made over the previous 1.5+ years of living in the metropolitan area of the capital of USA, continuing to keep in touch with the lovely -arkies (what would I ever do without them?). Oh yeah, and I’ve enrolled myself into a linear algebra course at the community college near me.

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE BACK IN A CLASS… with my textbook, my notebooks, writing utensils, backpack, and my brain. Hahaha, the things you thought you’d never miss like homework, quizzes, exams, annoying classmates (just kidding). It has made two of my otherwise Netflix/Breadcrumbs-in-bed-on-pj’s-weeknights a little more eventful. My experience over the past 3 or 4 weeks has reminded me of Sheryl Sandberg‘s Lean In (check out Charkie‘s Booktalk #3).

I remember sitting through a couple of classes with a classmate next to me continuously commenting how how to solve the example problems that the professor was going through. In my mind, I was pretty sure that he was wrong, but was unsure about how much “pretty” that entailed. I found that more than a couple of times, I just shrugged and said maybe or “ummm… I’m not sure.” I also found that if I did solve something with MATLAB or in my line-filled notebook paper, he’d be quick to jump to the conclusion that I was wrong. I also also found than more often than not (let’s say 99.99999% of the times), he was wrong and I was actually right.

I came back and discussed this with my friends and had that deja vu sensation. No wonder! I’d read about similar tales in Sandberg’s book! I’m fully capable of learning the material taught in class, however, why was I lacking the confidence that my classmate of mine had so readily stored in him? Interesting – I have indeed been holding myself back

Last night, my professor made a mistake on the board. I scanned through his calculations again to check again. I found myself starting to address this quietly to the classmate next to me. However, I realized that I’d never #leanin fully, so instead of leaning in towards my classmate, I leaned towards the front of the classroom and spoke with as much confidence I could muster. I was indeed right. My professor thanked me politely.

I know this is a small small event that does not directly address larger gender gap issues…So what if he got the sign wrong? However, for us to fully achieve our full potential, we’ve got to dig deeper into those inner layers of the onion. I realized that I had been holding myself back. Have you ever had such a moment? What are you #leanin thoughts? Let’s, as Sandberg calls for us to do, change the conversation from what women can’t do to what we can do. 🙂

And now I #leanin to my spicy buffalo chicken sandwich....

And now I #leanin to my spicy buffalo chicken sandwich at work….

Enhanced by Zemanta

Today (or yesterday), I begin mini-medical school!

I learned all about the female pelvis last night. EXCITING STUFF, right?! I was filled with excitement at the thought of going to class. Those first class nerves and anxiety appeared. What if I get lost trying to find the classroom? (Let me remind you that it’s just downstairs from where I work.) Luckily, a co-worker and I are attending the class together and so I did not get lost. +1!

Light refreshments and drinks were provided and then we began the first lecture: ANATOMY. The takeaway from the night is that there are so many things that could go wrong with pregnancy. I’m a bit worried. And I started seeing random structures everywhere. Doesn’t this look like an evil bat?


After lecture, we were taken to the anatomy lab for a hands-on experience. Despite my initial (a couple of seconds) disgust at the beef jerky’s and pork ribs on the table, I later found my curiosity and excitement to be able to explore the human body that I was the first one at the table for the gloves. And here I was… poking and prodding at everything (someone’s hip bone? someone’s armpit?), holding hearts and lungs and just engrossed in the aesthetics of the human body.

Have you ever worked with a cadaver? Have you been out of school for a long time? Do you yearn to take classes again? Or are you in school and yearn to be a free-spirited professional? 🙂 Happy hump day!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Today, I wake up early and think.

Dearest friends bought me a livingsocial deal to make my own skincare products tonight (this shall be documented, of course), so I decided to take public transportation to work (I’ll omit the details). It really isn’t too terrible of a commute–about a little more than an hour of a trip. I hadn’t taken the metro in so long that I actually enjoyed it. The idea “distance makes the heart grown fonder” has appeared once again. 🙂 What is your commute to work/school/life like? What do you enjoy doing during that time? 

I recently received an email from a dear friend who is teaching in Indonesia and was impressed that she was able to wake up an extra hour early to be able to have some quiet thinking & reading time. While I do not have the ability to wake up that early, the hour-long commute gave me a moment and an excuse to have that alone time, to read or catch up on the morning news. Loved every second of it!

Waiting for the lovely, free circulator to carry me to the metro.

Exiting the duPont Circle Metro, long escalators scare me.

Waiting in line for the shuttle bus. It looks like a school-bus. I feel like a student, once again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Tips For College Students


Last night, I reflected about how I started college and my adult life over five years ago! I have learned so much about higher education, the economy, and life since then, so I decided to blog five tips for college kids. In case any of our readers out there are about to start college or are in college right now, here they are:

1. Major in something that really holds your interest. For those of you who are planning on going to medical school or law school, you can still major in whatever you want and get that MD or JD. Not only do admissions committees at professional schools value diversity and life experience in the pool of applicants, college may be your last opportunity to take classes simply for the acquisition of knowledge. You are living amongst distinguished scholars in one field after the next, and it is their privilege and purpose to impart their knowledge onto you. This is your chance to make leaps and bounds intellectually and to refine your worldview.

2. Steve Jobs was right. Forget about the well-worn path, and do what you truly believe is great work. Kara Dioguardi, a judge on American Idol, went to Duke. In her memoir, she wrote about spending much of her time trying to fit into the pre-law crowd and developing an eating disorder. However, she had a critical moment at Duke that changed the trajectory of her life. One day, when she was in Duke’s student center, she watched a man start vomiting blood and collapse while his infant son shrieked beside him. That man died right there in front of McDonald’s while unconcerned Duke students pushed past. Dioguardi wrote that she wanted to yell, “Doesn’t anybody in this place care about a tragedy?” That day, she made the decision to forget about law and focus on music. Dioguardi ended up becoming a Grammy-nominated songwriter whose songs have appeared in over 159 million albums worldwide (Wikipedia).

3. It’s not too soon. It’s too late. When I was 18 and unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, people told me I had plenty of time. I now know that those people were wrong. No one should feel bad for struggling to figure out their interests, skills, and goals, but I advise everyone to approach the task with a sense of urgency (but not panic!). College is quite a short period of time when you consider that in four years, you are supposed to figure out your identity as an adult, develop all the basic skills you need to exist on your own, and launch a career in a new city by yourself. Wherever you are in college, the time to get started has already passed.

4. Don’t get stuck in a clique. When I was in college, the president of the university sent the student body an email warning students not to get sucked into what he called “myDuke.” At the time, I read it and pondered it, but ironically, following the advice got pushed to the end of a to-do list that involved a routine of classes, work, and hanging out with a tight-knit, familiar group of friends (including the girls on this blog!) – now, I’m connected to most people in my graduating class only through a Facebook news feed. It’s possible but more difficult to establish relationships after graduating, and there are so many interesting people I wish I had gotten to know better when I had the chance. I don’t regret spending a lot of time with the same people because I established close relationships, but I wish I explored more groups and created an even more diverse set of friends. So, lose the security blanket! Take risks in making new friends.

5. If you don’t like college, that’s okay. It only lasts four years, and the so-called “real world” lasts for the rest of your life. Many of my college friends didn’t like the school we attended or didn’t like the world of academia. They drove themselves crazy wondering what was wrong with them if college didn’t turn out to be “the best four years of life.”  I loved college, and in my case, it did end up being the most fulfilling experience I’ve had so far. However, I believe the real glory days are still ahead of me. Even if you end up disliking college, remember that you have the rest of your life to have the time of your life. Do you really want it all behind you when you are 22?

Enhanced by Zemanta