Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hello, Stranger!

Reading the blogs of complete strangers has never interested me...there's a strange disconnect when you don't understand the author's background or I'm going to formally introduce myself and if you're still unsatisifed, feel free to leave me comments and questions about my life, UCSF medical school, or the medical application process in general. Seriously.

As the brightest among you may have surmised from my cryptic blog title, my name is Stephanie and I am a first-year medical student at the University of California, San Francsico (UCSF). This blog is an experimental offshoot of the legendary "UCSF Synapse," quite possibly the greatest and most influential weekly medical school publication in the history of...the world.

If you like this blog or just me, personally, feel free to send some love to

Okay, enough dilly-dallying! Here's some more information about me: I am a 22-year-old Taiwanese female who grew up in Arcadia, California. For the few of you who happen to be unfamiliar with this flyspeck town in Southern California...I found out that we have an entry on everything MUST be true...,_California

Seriously, though, I love are some interesting facts:

1) Arcadia is located 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles and is bordered by Pasadena (home of the Tournament of Roses Parade every New Year's). Okay, I lied, that was not interesting.

2) Arcadia is home of the Santa Anita Racetrack, which was the home of Seabiscuit the racehorse. Again, BORING unless you like gambling on the ponies. Dead famous ponies.

3) Much of the 2003 movie, "Seabiscuit," was filmed at Santa Anita. Since there is only one public high school in Arcadia (again, creatively named "Arcadia High School") with close to 4,000 students, our school administration decided to hold our high school graduation at...the Santa Anita Racetrack. The smell of fresh air and the squawk of the loudspeakers will always take me back to my high school days.

4) Ironically, Santa Anita Racetrack has an interesting historical footnote as the largest Asian-American detainment center during the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

5) I graduated from Arcadia High School in 2002.

Enough poetical waxing on my humble origins, let's move on to the rest of my background. After graduating from high school, I spent three exciting years as an undergraduate at Harvard University. As a proud resident of Adams House, I want my loyal readers to know that Harvard alumni have a super-secret code question that they ask each other upon introduction: "What House did you live in?" It's equivalent to tapping our noses or a secret handshake. If a Harvard alumni answers "Adams House," then the other alumni has to bow down on the floor. It's important -- Harvard undergraduates spend 2-3 years living in the same house and building a strong student community. We don't have parties or any Greek life...but who needs beer when you've got Seamus Heaney? That was also an unintentional secret code word. Harvard graduates are infuriating, aren't they? That's why you should choose UCSF.

After graduating from Harvard in 2005 with a degree in English and American Literature and Language, a citation in Spanish Language, and a reflexive desire to say "Yale sucks" and "Go Sox," I took a year-long hiatus from school to work as a clinical research assistant at Stanford University. It was quite possibly the best year of my pathetic existence thus far. Working with pancreatic cancer patients changed my perspective of medicine and instilled in me a passion for the field of oncology. Since you'll probably hear me talking about medicine for the rest of this year, I will refrain from raving about cancer and medicine in this entry.

Let's see, what else? I am the oldest of four children in my family (Samantha is graduating from the University of Chicago after two-ish years of undergraduate work...she's an amazing art history major with a passion for graffiti art; Matthew is a junior at Arcadia High School who just got his driver's license...yikes; and Jeremy is a fifth grader at Hugo Reid Elementary School who likes to read "Lord of the Rings."). My grandmother is a sweet lady who lives with our family; she practically raised me. She has certain mysterious habits, such as her penchant for dripping magenta nail polish upon various articles of clothing "so that we can tell them from other people's clothing" and cursing at us in Cantonese when she's annoyed.

My apologies for the long entry...hopefully you didn't go narcoleptic on me or switch over to the Postsecret blog. Trust me, enough secrets about medical school will be spilled on this one, and maybe some pretty pictures too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lessons on the Heart

After sweating bullets for the Organs Carviovascular exam this morning, I feel refreshed and ready to turn over a new leaf. Next time, I'm going to try to finish reading the syllabus. :)

"Whenever I start thinking that I am not living up to my potential, I remind myself of the old farmer and his fight to the death with the insane pig. It's an exciting story, and it takes my mind off all this "potential" business."