Friday, September 30, 2005

It's that time of year again!

Let's go YANKEES!!!

The best thing about October is baseball. The best thing about my PA Program...we only have 9 days of school in October (religious private school). Another reason to convert?!?!?!

So you know what that means? Free time to watch the Yanks whip Boston and win the World Series. Actually, I'll just settle for whipping the Red Sox.

Oh wait...I meant to write, ample time to catch up on Biochemistry! While listening to the Yanks on the radio ;)

Coming Attractions: Cadaver Dissection

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Icky Sicky

It's kind of gross to be sitting in microbiology learning about all of these respiratory illnesses and having half of the class sneezing the entire time! And since I already spent a semester looking at these friendly bugs, I can envision them as they make their way into my respiratory system.


I'll bet money that the "sneezing, sniffling, PA student epidemic" is directly related to the stress from Monday's exam. You usually see this during final exam week, but since this was the first exam, I don't think our immune systems were ready for it! I know mine wasn't after a summer of fun!

I've armed myself with Airborne. The vitamin supplement developed by a teacher and made famous by Oprah. If it's good enough for Oprah...then it has to work, right?!?!?! (chuckle, chuckle). I'll let you know...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My boy Chad

I'm so upset about Chad Pennington. :(

He's the reason why I got into football in the first place. I'm a big fan of young men who have goals, ambition and passion...and look good in tight pants?!?!?! haha

Get well, Chad!

the results are in...

After 3 hours of physiology, the professor asked, "are you guys in a rush to get out of here, or do you want to stay to get your exams back?"

"What?" So much for the 2 week reprieve!! I could feel my heart rate go up...and the feeling I got the first time I went on an upside down roller coaster, the "Screamin' Demon"!!!

The professor then called out the names of the people that got A's....only FIVE out of 65 people.
Then he turned to the board and wrote the breakdown of the other grades.

A: 5
B: 16
C: 20
D: 14
F: 10

In order to pass any exam in the program, you need a C...but there is no Bell Curve! Some programs require a B to pass exams, but the Bell Curve does exist there. Those programs usually put you in classes with other health science students (ie. med school, physical therapy, etc.). But, with our program...we sit in one room with the same after day after day after day...... haha Don't worry, we get to see the hottie Physical therapy students in the hallways on breaks!

Ok, back to the terrifying story...

The prof proceeded to call us up to the front of the room, in alphabetical order. Thankfully, my last name is towards the beginning of the alphabet, because my heart was THUMPING. It was terrible. The prof stands on a "stage" that is about a foot above the ground. So, instead of thinking that I was marching towards my death...I imagined I was walking up to the stage to get my diploma! That image kept me from falling over!!

He called my name, THUMP THUMP, THUMP THUMP, and everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I looked up at the professor and made eye contact, and for some reason I felt like no matter what, it was going to be ok. I took a deep breathe, and looked at my grade. I PASSED! I wanted to do cartwheels back to my seat! But, since a considerable number of people failed, I didn't think that would go over well. (and I actually can't do cartwheels!)

I got back to my desk and the rest of my posse felt relieved to see that I was smiling. I was happy that I passed. And even happier when my friends passed too. All of our grades were in the same range...which is pretty cool!

We had to return the exams to the prof after we reviewed them. When I handed him my exam, he asked, "So, Ms. ____ are you happy with your result?"

I hesitated because I wasn't sure if this was another trick question! The exam was loaded with them. But, I looked up at him and gave an emphatic, "Yes!"

He smiled and said, "That's good...cause if you're happy, then I'm happy!" (now, isn't that nice?)

So, I gave myself the night off....went to the gym and watched the Yankees with my family. I'm going to sleep more soundly than the last two nights, that's for sure!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Exam, Skin, Religion...

"So, what did you think of the test?"

"I expected worse", "I think I passed", and "it's one big cruel joke if we didn't pass!"

This is the consensus from the 3 other "sassy lassies" that make up my posse. It's funny how people gravitate towards each other and become friends, or rather, comrades. When the tension reaches an all-time high...all I have to do is look over at one of them and we laugh. We are 3 girls that have taken ourselves seriously our entire lives....and for some reason...this intense environment draws out our suppressed silliness! It's so nice to have that...

So, that's the consensus....rumor has it we won't get our grades back for 2 weeks. I can see the benefit in waiting...I can see people freaking out if they failed the first exam. Geez...I think I'd freak out...I'm going to stop talking about that now since anything is possible. (eek)

As far as the skin physical...I was the only one in my group that followed protocol! I had my shorts and sports bra...while the 3 other girls in my group pledged religion as their excuse. Now, I've done my fair share of world travelling, and consider myself to be culturally sensitive, but this really blew me away! I jokingly said, "Geez...I need to switch religions!" Luckily, they found that to be funny!

I didn't even ask for details at that point. Looking back though, I realize that these girls always wear long sleeved shirts. So, instead of examing their backs/chests....I got an arm to look at!!

So, there I was, a fair-skinned, light haired, sun-worshipping, befreckled (?) caucasian...letting it all hang out...showing off my "beauty" marks and the bumps and bruises from 22 years of playing soccer. I had to laugh...and the 3 girls were laughing too. I'm curious to find out more about their religion. What a fascinating world...

Oh yeah, to top it all off......the guys kept their shirts on!

But, the instructor did thank me for "participating!" ;)

Home away from home...

I have to say that I'm really start to like all of my classmates.

Imagine a room full of somewhat neurotic, Type-A, overachieving students, all of whom have been super-duper competitive up until this point. And then you finally get into the PA program and the directors and instructors start telling you that you no longer have to compete with one another. That you have gotten to where you are because of your own hard work, but the only way you'll make it to you next goal (graduation) is through teamwork.

It makes sense when PA school is likened to "taking a drink of water from a fire hydrant"...but I was skeptical. I've been studying solo for the last year and a half...

But one of my classmates suggested the class join a yahoo group. About half the class has done so and almost everyone is contributing in some way, shape, or form. Students are posting notes (tremendous relief to know there is back up!), study tips (nice to know there is a method to this madness), helpful web site links ( and support (!) (JOKE!). I'm duly impressed and right now the vibe in the class is very positive.

I hope it stays that way!

exam one

It's over. I think I did ok. By ok, I'm pretty sure I passed. I think I knew more than I didn't know. I think that is a good sign.

But, it hurts right now to hopefully my gut feeling prevails!

I'm taking a 20 min power nap and then going back for more.

2 more exams this week: medical terminology and epidemiology (thurs and fri).

Romantic Haze???

Oh well...the timing of today's horoscope is WAY OFF!!! ;)

Romance blossoms for you today and commitment and/or marriage may be just over the horizon. You and your beloved may have recently reached a new understanding of each other that has bonded you more tightly than before. Don't feel silly if you spend the entire day together walking around in a romantic haze. That's perfectly acceptable - it's part of the joy of love, and could well last for a while. Make the most of it!

Perhaps it's my new-found love affair with books?!?!

What's a girl to do...

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Gone are the days when you cram all night for an exam, wake up 20 minutes before class starts, run in and answer the questions and then sprint back to your dorm room to go back into REM. Those days are gone!!!

Instead, I have to sit through 3 hours of class before the exam!

We have physical diagnosis lab tomorrow morning from 10am-1pm. During lab, the students examine each other and take turns at playing PA and patient. Well, tomorrow is the "skin" lab. The girls have to wear sports bras and shorts and the guys get to wear shorts and a t-shirt. Ain't that nice? I mean, what else would I rather do before an exam?!?!?!

All I have to say is, "If I have to sit there in a sports bra...those shirts better be coming off of the guys!" (I'm all about equal rights!)

So, after 3 fun-filled hours of examining each other's skin...we have a 30 minute break before our 3 hour exam. 30 minutes to inhale a sandwich, chug a cup of coffee and review my notes?!?!? And, I'll have to fit in a trip to the ladies room....since we're not allowed to leave the classroom during the exam...but I know I won't have to go until question #25!

And then after that exam...we have 90 minutes to recooperate before 3 more hours of Pharmacology.


My horoscope...SWEET!!

Gotta love it when your horoscope predicts what you need from the day!

Today is a great day for you. Everything seems to be flowing your way as more and more pieces of the puzzle come into place. Your ever-fluctuating emotions are grounded and calm, affording you the luxury of being able to stand back and evaluate your true inner state. Have you been giving yourself the attention you deserve lately? This is your day. Get things done. Pull up your bootstraps and get to work. You can accomplish quite a bit using the sobering astral energy, so hop to it.

But, what in the world is "SOBERING ASTRAL ENERGY!"

Been doing this all weekend...

Exam on Monday. It feels like I'm studying for a comprehensive final actuality, it's only the FIRST exam of the semester. Yikes. I finish one packet of notes and feel pretty confident. Then I go on to another packet of notes and think I understand that pretty well. But, then I go back to the original packet and realize that there is more to know...then concepts start to blur and a vicious cycle begins. Staying confident seems to be the biggest challenge.

It's 8:30 on Saturday night and I'm already sleepy.


And now it's 1am and I'm still at it....leftover birthday cake and a cup of tea helped me overcome the desire to sleep....and now nerves have taken over! I could bore you by telling you everything you never wanted to know about nerves...misery does love company afterall....instead, I'll just let you know that human physiology is incredibly complex, extremely challenging to fully grasp; but it's fascinating enough for me to turn the page and study on.

Sleep well, my friends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

surrender all control

Yesterday was my actual birthday so after biochem and physio, I treated myself to an hour at the gym followed by cake and presents with my family. My guests left around 9:30pm so I studied until 1am.

We had a 9am class this morning. We were supposed to only have 2 classes today. 11am, they interrupted our microbio class to let us know that we were expected to stay after our physio class (ends at 4:30) and attend another class from 5-8pm.

No if's, and's, or but's about it.

Of course, I wasn't thrilled by the news. But then I looked over at the single moms in the program and realized that I didn't have much to complain about. And realized how liberating it felt to not have to call anyone to let them know that my schedule had changed. It's quite nice to only have to worry about getting myself to and from school in one piece. I can't imagine having to take care of others in that capacity right now...I'm having a hard enough time making sure I eat breakfast before class!

So, to those thinking about PA have to be willing and ABLE (emphasis on ABLE) to surrender all control of life as you once knew it. For those that are entering programs straight out of college, it probably won't seem like a big difference. But, for those of us who have been in the "real" world for a takes some getting used to.

Monday, September 19, 2005

What classes?

We've entered the point of no return. We've had a touch of all 7 classes that we are taking this semester. 7 classes worth 20 credits.

Yes, 20 credits.

I will rank them in order of difficulty (of course, this is subjective!):

Physical Diagnosis (PD)

We had PD, Physio and Pharmacology today. I'm beat. We started at 10am, finished at around 8pm, the entire class got the giggles. At that point, I felt like I had the same teacher as Charlie Brown..."wah, wah, wah, wah".

I need to sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Test anxiety

The first exam of this whole process is coming up quick...9/26. We were informed by the director of the program (who loves to remind us that the worst is yet to come) that the physiology exams are so difficult that the majority of us will fail.

Nice. Welcome to PA school.

I recognize that he's using his power to provoke fear in order to motivate us...but that doesn't work for me. Since I have some experience teaching...I know that fear doesn't necessarily work for everyone. Encouraging people to focus on their own intrinsic motivation is more my style. But, with 65 people in our program...that would be too time consuming.

So, fear it is...let the test anxiety begin!


My sisters treated me to dinner Saturday night in celebration of my 29th birthday! The three of us drove to Brooklyn to eat at Bogota Latin Bistro. The owner of Bogota is one of my closest friends. We met in biology class during out senior year in high school. He went to NYU and I went to SUNY Albany. We both studied abroad, I chose Australia and he chose Semester at Sea. He visited 11 different countries during his experience, while I explored the mysterious world under the sea! We both returned to NY and realized that we both had the same plan post-college graduation. We both wanted to go to Japan to teach English. Both of us were introduced to the JET program during our time abroad. As fate would have it...we were both accepted into the program and sat next to each other on the plane to Tokyo!

Although we lived several hours apart, we saw each other often and traveled to Thailand to celebrate our first Christmas abroad. George completed his one year contract with the JET program and returned to NYC. I decided to stay in Japan for two years.

George's long time dream was to open his own restaurant. And I knew it was only a matter of time before that happened. Three years ago, he and his partner, Omar, started to turn their dreams into a reality. They opened their restaurant two months ago in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and it has been successful on all levels.

So, it was an absolute delight to celebrate my 29th birthday in the company of my sisters and friends. I waitressed throughout the summer and became very friendly with the staff. There is one particular staff member that I have become quite fond of...his sweet smile makes me smile...and who doesn't like it when that happens! Too bad he's 8 years younger....or perhaps I need to start thinking like Demi Moore! tee hee hee So it was a treat to spend my b-day surrounded by my favorite people.

So, the next time I get stressed over this "becoming a PA thing"...tell me to go to Brooklyn! click on weblog!

Friday, September 16, 2005


Thank God it's Friday!

Tomorrow I'm training a couple of clients. I have a handful of amazing people that want to continue training with me. Fitness is such an important component in everyone's lives...and it's such an honor to be in the position to motivate, encourage, and teach others about something that I am so passionate about. I have worked with clients that have turned their lives around and they attribute it to their newfound love of exercise. I'm not talking about clients that work out to get 6-pack abs, but the clients who are thrilled that they can now walk up and down stairs without holding the railing. Clients that are thrilled their body fat % is now in the healthy bracket. Clients who can reach their hands behind their back for the first time in 7 years.

I love my work as a trainer...and I'm excited about bringing my experience as a trainer into medicine. I want to be able to help people in other areas, as well as fitness. And that is why I am where I am right now.

The personal training certification course is what made me realize that I had the ability to conquer anatomy as well as the desire to learn as much about the body as I possibly could. It was that training that lit the "fire".

I never saw it coming...I'm glad I kept my options open!

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I'm finishing up week #2 of PA school. Only 102 more weeks until graduation!?!?!

Seriously, I still haven't fully grasped what I'm doing right now. I absolutely LOVE learning. And I can feel the subtle shift within my brain already, but when I think about what's coming up around the corner...and I stop to realize all of the work that needs to get done this weekend...I want to run and hide.

What in the world am I doing? Why am I doing this? What is this all for? And how in the world did I get myself into this situation?

And then I have to stop and laugh and think about the big picture. The problem though, is that I don't have a clear shot of what the big picture is. I can imagine me in the white coat and a stethoscope...and I can envision myself prepping for surgery...and I can envision myself examining people of all ages, races, and color and helping people feel better. But, I can't imagine where I will be working. I can't imagine if I'll stay in NY or go a hospital, walk-in office, specialty or and HIV-clinic in Africa.

I guess it all depends on the characters that I meet over the next couple of years.

Like I said, it's incredibly exciting. Incredibly frightening. And it's not even about taking it day by's more like taking it "minute by minute!"

But, really is incredible!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Volunteers Needed!

The wise MD also advised us to begin practicing histories and physicals ASAP. We start our rotations one year from now and we need to master the "art" (his word) of physical diagnosis. So, after I'm done torturing my family and friends...I'll be looking for volunteers!

Single, eligible bachelors would be greatly appreciated! (tee hee hee)


We started Physical Diagnosis today and our teacher is an MD. He very bluntly told us to master anatomy, physiology and biochemistry because we need to be able to explain to patients as well as physicians and other health care clinicians...the who, what, when, where, and WHY. It's the WHY component that keeps people from graduating. He also sternly reminded us that writing the wrong word on a chart could kill a patient.


The entire room was silenced. Nobody made a noise and nobody (not even THAT guy) asked a question.

It was the reality check that we all needed.

I have to go study physiology now. So, I can tell you...WHY.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Night Owl

Why is it that I get 8 hours of sleep, yet drag throughout the day, but once the sun goes down, I feel renewed, energized and hit my prime study time at 11pm??? It drives me insane...but that seems to be the way of my circadian rhythm. But, then a vicious cycle is set up...b/c I won't be getting 8 hours of sleep tonight and I have three 3-hour classes tomorrow. Oh, the drama...

So, I didn't go to the gym tonight. We had two 3-hour classes and it was a frustrating day. The material was doable...but there is a student in our class that incessantly asks inane questions! This is only our second week of class and I'm starting to feel for his safety! People moan out loud everytime he puts his hand up!

So the day started out pretty pleasant. I got to school 10 minutes early and enjoyed my Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee (my addiction) in the parking lot. But within an hour of our biochem class, the entire mood of the class changed. The material got tougher and the students were getting antsy. By the time 4:30pm rolled around...people were rushing to get out of the class.

Something's gotta give...

Let me regress to the...not getting to the gym part. I came home and tried to download the lectures from my handy-dandy, "supposed to make my life easier", digital recorder. Well, it took me over 2 hours to figure it out. I had to download the software onto my new computer and for some unknown just wouldn't work. I had to walk away from the computer a few times b/c I thought I was going to lose my mind. I got cranky with my sister and she told me to walk away. I did. I came back and it still didn't work! So, I gave it one last try...and it miraculously worked. But, I wasted over 2 hours of precious time.

So much for making my life easier.

Ok, time to review some biochem and try to sleep. I have to change this sleep/wake cycle. When I was going through the Personal Trainer certification process, I envisioned myself waking up early and training clients at 5am and then having boundless energy throughout the day. WELL, I gave that a try until one of my 6am clients jokingly asked, "Isn't the trainer supposed to be perkier than the client?" So, that's when I knew I was better off working nights! Luckily, this client changed her schedule to work with me! Too funny.

So as a PA in training...I have no delusions of suddenly becoming a perky, morning person.

Ok, gotta hit the books... if I fall asleep right now...I'd get 8 hours. My goal is at least 6!

Monday, September 12, 2005


I totally forgot to let you know that Michael never came back to class!!! I guess it wasn't meant to be (sigh!). So, here's my advice to single men looking for beautiful, intelligent, driven women...GO TO PA SCHOOL! Our class is about 75% female and 25% male. The director of our program is short. And the majority of the guys in our class are short. Now, I have nothing against short guys...quite the contrary. I'm just seeing some favoritism towards shorties in our program!

I hope being 5'7" doesn't work against me! LOL


Physiology ain't easy! But, at least our prof is entertaining. He's cheerful and witty...makes the 3 hours somewhat tolerable. He is extremely precise and wants us to be able to explain these concepts to our grandmothers with ease. Um...that ain't happening right now!

Biochem is another doozy. I felt really overwhelmed the first class. Again, all of our classes are 3 hours long. My internal panic button was close to being pushed...but I started my yogic breathing and reminded myself that one year ago I felt the exact same way in organic chemistry. So, perhaps...this too shall pass.

Passing grade is a 70. Of course, I want to do better than a 70...but chemistry has never been a favorite challenges every piece of my brain!

As far as challenges are concerned...staying satiated through class is an issue. During Physical Diagnosis this morning, my stomach started growling and the girl next to me started laughing. I had eaten 2 waffles with peanut butter...and 2 hours later, my stomach was screaming! Luckily, the prof gave us a 5 minute break, so I ran to the hallway and downed a handful of almonds. We're not allowed to eat or drink in class...unless it's water. Also, the cafeteria DOESN'T sell food! There are a couple of vending machines, so in order to get food you have to leave campus and go across the street. It's not that far, but when you only have 30 minutes between 3 hour's too far! And a concern once the weather changes.

So, that means I should go make lunch now for tomorrow!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Death and Dying

So, it's the night before classes begin. I did go away for Labor Day weekend. I went down to DC to visit my best friend from college. I always have a great time down there...good people, good food and most importantly...good drinks!

Unfortunately, my Great Aunt died over the weekend. She was only 75 years old and suffered from emphysema for as long as I've known her. She had a terrible winter but everytime we thought her time was near...she'd recover. But, this time was different.

Fortunately, I was able to see her again before she passed away. I was awestruck by her elevated spirits and mental acuity. She asked me about PA school and told me how excited she was for me..."You're going to have to work REALLY hard, my dear. But, I know you can do it!" I beamed from ear to ear and fought back the tears.

So, I experienced a lot of death this past summer. My 18 year old cat died during final exams in May. She had diabetes and I treated her with insulin shots everyday for 5 months. Although I knew her time was coming, it was extremely upsetting to me to lose her. I miss her unconditional love. She spoiled ME for 18 years.

6 weeks later, my 49 year old Godfather died suddenly from a heart attack. He was an apparently healthy guy and his death shocked everyone. I think I'm still in shock.

8 weeks later, my great aunt has passed. Although, I am sad about her passing, I know she is not suffering. It is those that are left behind that are suffering...and that is the curious thing about death. We know it's the only thing we're ALL guaranteed in life....yet, the sadness and hearbreak are inevitable.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


The most shocking thing about orientation was when we were told that we had to dress professionally during the clinical AND didactic year! I actually, "gasped!" I thought for sure I could get away with wearing jeans and gym gear for another year.

On second was actually scary when I realized that a lot of people were wearing jeans to orientation.

There are about 65 people in my class. It's a very diverse class and we all had to introduce ourselves. One boy caught my eye...his name was Michael. Whenever I meet a Michael, I pause and think...."could this be my future husband?"

What?!?! Well, when I spent a month wandering aimlessly in India, a psychic crossed my path and informed me that I was going to marry a man named Michael. I laughed at him then...and that was 5 years ago. I haven't dated anyone named Michael, yet. Nor have I dated anyone with the middle name, Michael!! bet I ask my suitors what their middle names are!!! :) Anyway, I'll have to move my seat closer to Michael to scope things out...c'mon....what's a single gal to do?

So, classes start Tuesday, Sept 6th. I have one final weekend left without having to worry about studying...I think I should go out of town...