Thursday, April 27, 2017

April Service Hours: 12
Total Service Hours for Semester: 36
Cumulative Total Service Hours: 71 hours

Well, although I may be beating a dead horse here, it is hard to believe that we are now officially done with the Master's of Pharmacology program. Our last Cell Control test was Tuesday, and I am very happy with the results that I had both with the test and throughout the duration of the program. I have learned so much in the short span of a year. I know that all the material from each class is going to help me both in the immediate future, as I am currently prepping for the MCAT, and later in my life as I work to better the health of my future patients. Alongside the classroom work, I am finishing up my time in Dr. Bunnell's lab at the Center of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. I am really grateful that I was able to learn a lot of lab techniques and help out in many different ways.

I really enjoyed my time at Sci High as well. As I have mentioned with each blog post, the time I spent at Sci High benefitted all parties involved, from Mr. Harris to the students and lastly myself. Even though I would go during their 1st period class, I felt that going and tutoring was a great way to wake up and start the day. Hopefully I can help make the connection between Sci High and future Master's students even more beneficial and rewarding, for I know that if someone wants a great way to do their service, I highly recommend Sci High.

Even though my future plans are not fully set in stone yet, I know that I will miss New Orleans. There is just so much that the city offers. From crawfish boils to French Quarter Fest to study breaks to listen to a jazz band on Frenchman St. on a Tuesday night, New Orleans is a great place to live. I know that I will be back one way or another because as the saying goes: You can take the person out of Cajun country, but you can't take the Cajun out of the person (this is a real saying, I promise).

'Til next time.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I know I’ve said this before, but now I mean it: I cannot believe how fast time has gone. We only have 1 more month until we complete our Master’s of Pharmacology program. It seems like yesterday that we were learning about the basics behind pharmacokinetics. I had some of my friends who are starting their T2 year this week tell me that what they were learning about probably seemed remedial to me. Hearing that made me realize how valuable this program has been; I have learned so much in such a short period of time and have gained an appreciation and desire to learn more about pharmacological advances.

Speaking of classwork, March was a fairly busy month due to us taking our Shelf exam. Going over all the material in about a 2-week span seemed daunting at first, but as I kept reviewing, it all came back and everything started to click and connect. I think the test went well, but we have not gotten our scores back yet so I will wait and see. The Shelf exam officially ended Med Pharm, and the only class that we are tested on left is Cell Control. I’ve enjoyed what we have learned thus far, but we only have 1 more test until that is over too. Where is time going?!

I have been able to go to Sci High a lot more often this month, which has been great. I really enjoy my time there, and I know the students that I work with enjoy it as well. When I went this morning, one of the girls I help told me that she got an A on her last test thanks to my help, and as a thank you, she gave me a bag of Sour Patch Kids candy. Although she said the candy was a birthday gift and she gave up candy for lent, I thought it was nice of her to say thank you and made me appreciate the work I have done there.

New Orleans is still thriving (it would be more of a shock if it wasn’t). Due to the Shelf exam, a cell control exam, my work in Dr. Bunnell’s lab, and studying for the MCAT, I didn’t get to do much exploring this month. The weather has been beautiful this month though, so I did take some good study breaks to enjoy the music, weather, and camaraderie the city has to offer.  

‘Til Next Time.

Service Hours Tracker:
March: 10
Total: 24

Monday, February 27, 2017

Well Mardi Gras is about to be over. With the last parades ending tomorrow morning, this was definitely one of my favorite Mardi Gras' that I have been a part of. The past three weekends have been really great in seeing all of the different krewes' floats and dedication to make this season enjoyable for tourists and locals alike. I had a lot of fun explaining some of the traditions to my classmates and friends from both the Pharm program and Vanderbilt that visited over the weekend. But as the saying goes: "With every end comes a new beginning -- crawfish season."

We are completely done with Principles now after our test last week. It is hard to believe that the program is so close to the end. Luckily for us though, we have our shelf exam in a couple of weeks. Now we really get to put our knowledge to the test. Although we have covered so much material, I am actually looking forward to studying and remembering everything. Also, I have been applying a lot of the techniques that we learned about in Molecular Pharmacology last semester in my work in Dr. Bunnell's lab.

Sci High is still going well. Cole and I have been able to tutor the same couple of kids thus far and really form a good relationship to know how to work best. It is comforting to see the improvement in a short time span, as well the gratitude that Mr. Harris shows us at the end of each class period. I look forward to more days at Sci High.

'Til Next Time.

Service Hours Tracker:
February: 6
Total: 14

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mardi Gras has officially taken over the city, which is awesome. Mardi Gras was always one of my favorite parts about growing up in Louisiana. Everyone is so festive and cities just seem to feel more alive. Of course, the best part about Mardi Gras is definitely the King Cake.  If you have never had King Cake, please put it on your bucket list; it's worth it. Sunday was the King Cake Festival in Champion's Square, which gave me a perfect excuse to eat as much King Cake as I wanted for breakfast.

This semester's class schedule has brought a change into the routine Cole and I had at Sci High and Mr. Harris's Algebra II class. We were able to tutor our normal students for the first week when we returned, and it was very comforting to hear that both passed their final test. Unfortunately, we aren't able to work with them this semester due to most of our classes taking place in the afternoon. Instead we have been going during his first period class. Although it seems like teaching Algebra II would not be the best way to wake up in the morning, I don't think it's too bad because it always is a great feeling when you finish the worksheet and homework problems before the bell rings with no confusion. The new group of students that I have worked with have been fun to work with, and I always seem to want to go back to help out.

We have been so busy since we returned from break; we are prepping for our second test of the semester - Psychopharmacology block. It has paired nicely with the neurology block we recently completed and were tested on. This information has been very interesting because mental illness is so prevalent in today's society. We have also started all of our elective classes. I have really enjoyed our Endocrine Pharmacology class, as we have had some great discussions about stress and its function in our normal lives. Our Cell Control class has been very informative on the inner workings of gene expression and synthesis. I had never thought about these topics as in depth as I am now, but it definitely makes me appreciate the human body even more.

'Til next time.

Service Hours Tracker
January: 8

Friday, December 16, 2016

We are now officially done with the first semester of our Master's Program. These past 5 months have gone by so quick, but I have learned so much, I barely noticed that time has past. The last test covered the GI system, and it was really interesting to learn about the different receptors in the gut and the various drugs that can be used to combat gastrointestinal issues. Although I definitely want to learn more, it will be nice to have a 2-week break to relax.

Cole and I went to SciHigh a couple more times in December to help Mr. Harris' class as they prepared for their final test of the semester. We went over their study guide with the same students that we have been working with over the past month. I definitely think that we have gotten a good relationship with the students going as we can really see the improvement of the students. It has gotten to the point where they barely need our help anymore. It is rewarding to come back to the classroom after the tutoring session and see a look of gratitude from Mr. Harris. I cannot wait to go back in January and continue tutoring.

This month has been very odd in terms of weather.  One day it will be 75 degrees and beautiful, and then the following day will be 45 degrees with 20 mile per hour winds. I guess that sort of represents New Orleans in a nutshell: you really never know what you are going to get each day but either way, you find a way to make the best of it.

'Til next time.

Service Hours Tracker
December: 4
Total: 35

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

So unfortunately, or fortunately if you do not like cold weather, it has not gotten below 65 degrees here in New Orleans. Although I grew up in Louisiana, it still baffles me that winter in New Orleans, or the Gulf Coast for that matter, does not really bring cold weather, which means that I cannot truly enjoy warm gumbo. Although I miss the cold, I can't complain about the beautiful weather that we have had. Being able to walk through New Orleans and listen to live band after live band without having to worry about snow, heavy winds, cold weather, rain, etc. is a great study break that I think all of us here have really enjoyed.

In regards to school work, November was a really busy month. We completed both the Renal Block and Pulmonary Block. The main focus of both of these blocks was with our Molecular and Cell Pharm course. It is very interesting to dive into the research processes and techniques that allow researchers to discover new drugs and functions in the body. Right now, we are on the last block of the semester: GI. It is truly hard to believe that we are almost halfway done with the program but I am grateful for all of the information that I have gained. Although learning about drugs and research has been enjoyable, it was nice to go back home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.

Volunteering has been going great thus far. Cole and I have set up a good system with Mr. Harris and his class. We have decided to primarily focus on one of his classes and work 1-on-1 with a couple of students. In doing so, we are able to really make sure that they understand the work that they are doing and form a good relationship. After we finish with the lesson, it is nice to tell Mr. Harris that our students were able to understand the lesson and do the work without constant help from us.

'Til next time

Service Hours Tracker
November Service Hours: 8
Total Service Hours: 31

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! Tomorrow is our renal block exam, so unfortunately I will not be able to go out trick-or-treating tonight. 

The fact that we have our 5th block exam tomorrow is surprising because it feels like we just completed the ANS/CV block yesterday. In regards to that block, I performed really well, and I believe that I have mastered my study techniques and methods that will allow me to perform well on the upcoming blocks. This block saw the introduction a new class for the semester: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology. It has been interesting studying topics like microscopy, monoclonal antibodies, and gene therapy because it allows us to gain a more holistic view of medicine in addition to our MedPharm or Principles classes. Speaking of those classes, the kidney is such an interesting organ because it seems so simple at first glance but is one of the most unique organs in our body. It is very interesting to see how big a role the kidney plays in our body. I guess that is why we have two of them!

In terms of volunteering, I was not able to go to Second Harvest due to conflictions with our class schedule, but I am still tutoring Algebra II at SciHigh. Instead of leading a lesson with 5-6 students, I am given a student or two to bring to work individually with. I think this has worked better for the students and me. It is surprising to me how much Algebra II I still remember; I guess that is why I enjoyed the class so much freshman year of high school. One of the coolest things some of us have done this year, in my opinion, was judge the science fair at SciHigh. I was a judge for the Biology students, and it was very enjoyable to see the different projects the students took on.  As I judged, it was rewarding to see and hear the enthusiasm some of the students had as they were presenting their “research” to me. Hopefully, they follow that enthusiasm for STEM projects in the future.

Lastly, it is getting cooler here and that means that my favorite time of the year is approaching: gumbo season. Although it can be served year round, I don’t think anything tastes better than gumbo in the Louisiana “winter.” Aside from that, it has been fun exploring the city and culture as each street has it’s own unique vibe and history to offer.

‘Til next time and sorry for the “obligatory” renal joke.

Service Hours Tracker
October Service Hours: 6
Total Service Hours: 23