Post physiology exam reflection

Next time:

  • Be MUCH faster when writing the exam and don’t waste time writing elaborate answers for the first few questions and be forced to rush through the last 6 questions.  I’m living and learning everything the hard way. Don’t follow my mistakes!!!
  • Repeat: rushing is bad. Rushing is very very bad
  • in summary, I need to work on my test taking time management

Good this time

  • was very prepared knowledge wise
  • had an awesome study buddy (Erica Ma if you’re reading this, thanks girl!) who motivated me to study all throughout reading break
  • high yield learning = active learning. Teach and explain to your study buddy
  • Do ALL the practice questions. ALL of them, even if there are 92 question in one of the problem sets alone


Update Monday March 17: The huge amount of effort Erica and I put into studying for this exam paid off!

March goals

March is going to be a busy month!

Personal goals

  1. Everyday of March, dress presentably unless I’m going to workout before I get home, in which case I can wear gym clothes that day. I don’t care about being a fashionista but I think that putting in the effort to look to put together can help me feel like I’m ready to take on any challenges that the day might throw at me.
  2. Sleep before midnight 5 days a week. I’ve set an alarm on my phone to remind me to get ready for bed.
  3. Work out at least twice a week for at least 20 minutes while other workouts can be under 20 minutes. I’m eyeing Wednesday and Saturday as good days. My old buddies reminded me how I used to be adamant about exercising almost everyday. I prioritized fitness because I wanted to perform my role in my ice hockey team as best I could. I now have new priorities and have to put time in towards those but as I study for my physiology exam, I’m reminded that even if you’re genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes for example, exercising now just a little and often can delay or prevent diabetes. Prevention is better than cure, especially if there isn’t a cure.

Academic goals

  1. Review what I learned for every class. Best if done the day of but if not (say if I have two midterms the next day and need to sleep early), review the next day. The purpose of this goal is keep me on track with all my classes because it’s so easy to fall behind!
  2. Up the intensity of my studying so that I can end my student “workday” at approximately 5 pm every weekday. That means no studying after 5 pm. This is something that I’m going to have to ease myself into. The purpose of this is cut out “pseudo-work” where I’m supposed to study but don’t get much done.
  3. Study more efficiently during the weekend. This week, I reflected on when I waste the most time and realized that I’m SO awful at being efficient on the weekends.

Extracurricular goals

  1. Blindness and Vision Philanthropy got approved and there’s a LOT to do as President but I’m so excited to work with my fellow leaders to share a meaningful mission. Goals: host a informative first general meeting and (SO excited for this) our first philanthropy event. 🙂
  2. Produce 3rd draft of my play. After hours and editing and some drastic edits,  my second draft was finished this Wednesday and this coming week, my mentors and my peer playwrights will be giving me feedback. Armed with this feedback, I’ll be right back to writing.  My play is on how two siblings cope with the loss of their mother. I cried in public while I worked on this, which shows how much I have to engage emotionally when I work on this piece.
  3. Prepare research conference poster with my team. This research is SO cool because I can see the real life benefits of knowing the results of our research questions. I don’t think I can say more but it’s awesome.
  4. Music Outreach Society is getting a website revamp by the talented Michelle Lam. This philanthropy project has been my ongoing passion for five years now (wow time flies!!) and since the summer, I’m so thankful to have Michelle and Alyssa to carry on hosting the concerts. The two are so passionate about this and really pour effort into coordinating other volunteers, arranging with the music therapists, and facilitating interaction with the seniors because an important aspect of MOS’s mission is to build connections between community members via music! I just set up an outreach concert in March at Southview Terrace and I’m a little disappointed that I can’t be there myself. The seniors at Southview were so nice the last time we had an outreach event there, plus I’d like to meet the coordinator I’ve been working with who seems very sweet. (I worked with someone else last time).  We might also have some new faces volunteering that I would love to meet. Alas I have to be in class. 🙁

What are your March goals?

Lessons learned from midterms


Lessons learned:
– Don’t nap right before a math exam. You need to be quick and alert. I should have warmed up my responses instead. Seriously, don’t nap.
– I really need to work on my response speed when doing math questions. When preparing for the next midterm, I should do practice tests under timed conditions.
– I should also do any practice questions in general under 8 minutes.
– Learn shortcuts to do math with.
– Save time to check my work during math exam!!
– Specifically I had trouble identifying the pattern when given a series of numbers. I only found the pattern when I wrote out the series in full.

– On my next bacteria and virology, details details details. What if ___ or if this disease___ were common questions.
-If I ever take a class with Dr. Kion, I’ll fine comb through slides. Her slides contained all the  minutiae details that were tested. I don’t know if this will apply to bac/vir because we have different professors for bac and vir

– Next time I only have 3 and half hours, I should just stay on campus instead leaving. I did a 45 min light run at home but if I wore runners and non-jeans, I could work out at school instead before my exam. In addition, I would have enjoyed reading a book for my English class before my exam

Did you notice?

Tuesday night 6: 15 PM Did you notice happiness? Did you notice the janitor playing basketball by himself? Did you notice one or both or neither? He was a wiry man whose head of hair was almost completely silver gray. His bucket of cleaning supplies just off to the side of the basketball hoop in front of Ladha. Aquamarine tight-fitting gloves on both hands, he was shooting a basketball into the hoop repeatedly, tirelessly, and gracefully. Yes, gracefully. Like just any other student in a rush to get to the bus to a meeting, I was speed-walking with my hands stuffed into my jacket pockets. I had a sheet of notes to scrutinize but I had fortunately kept that stuffed into my pockets until the bus. So, when I rushed out from Ladha, I witnessed the elegance of the man playing basketball. I’d seen him before. He normally had a stern expression but as he put the ball hoop after hoop, he had a light smile brightening his face. He looked so happy.

Happy, that doesn’t seem as showy a word as ecstatic or thrilled. Happy, a calm, satisfied happy that was beautiful to witness. A happy that induced a calm happy in me.

So, did you notice neither, one or both?

If neither, you probably were on your phone, maybe studying, maybe texting, or very focused on getting the next destination, or thinking deeply about things. I don’t blame you. I do all of these all the time. You were probably doing something good. But for fun, the next time you walk out and about, stuff your phone into your pocket and take in the evening view.

Maybe you just noticed the man playing basketball but missed the details. Once you choose to be aware, you’ll start noticing everything.

We’re not the only ones observing. The man also paused, scored another basket, and made a brief moment of eye contact. Then, he smiled with just a tiny extra burst of energy and tipped his head as if to say, “This is great.” I nodded back. And then he returned to his basketball. Who knows what else there is this story? What else do basketball mean to him?  I didn’t know. I’ll probably never know because I was only meant to witness that beauty of that moment before picking my pace back up and continuing on my way, on my own journey of life.

You never know what you’ll notice if you look.

Lies about first year

My fellow first year Blog Squad bloggers have been writing about how first term of first year was so I figured I’ll throw in my two cents too. Check out the original post on Annie’s blog that inspired this post.

Basically, my point is that everyone’s first year experience is going to be different and there are a lot of lies about first year. Be skeptical when people swear that “everyone ….” . You choose how you want your university experience to be. Live how you want to.

I’ve been told by Imagine Day leaders, high school teachers and staff, older students, family members, and others that every first year will feel like a worthless loser. In retrospect, the idea is absolutely ridiculous but as a wide-eyed yet-to-be university student, I really believed my university experience would be unpleasantly rough. So I’m here to tell you: Look forward to your university and don’t be intimidated by the false things people tell you!

Time Management

  • Don’t feel forced to have a instagram worthy Google calendar/iCal or colour coded Kate Spade planner. I thought I would be all fancy with trying Google docs and try colour coding but in the end, I went back to my very UNinstagram-worthy paper planner and used whatever pen/pencil I had on had. My planner is frighteningly messing but it works well.
  • Don’t feel pressured to be on student council/go to MUN conference/partying every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday/ study every waking hour/do club activities every waking hour. You get constantly told to be more involved in the social scene and/or  join a million clubs but having time free of commitments is actually okay!


  • I don’t remember eating lunch alone ever. If you want to eat with people, you’ll always find people. I run into people everywhere. University doesn’t have to be a lonely experience.
  • On the other hand, you don’t have to eat with a large crowd of friends if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly acceptable to grab a seat in the nest and gaze out the window while you enjoy your lunch alone. This is not high school so don’t worry about displaying social status while you eat lunch. No one really cares.
  • I often resisted the urge to buy food on campus and starving out a few hours until I got home. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS. I didn’t go broke first term but I did damage to my body.  I now wish that I just spent the extra hundred dollar(s) on food when I was hungry. Eat when you need to.  So this term, I buy food when I’m very hungry. I still try to avoid spending money if I only feel a craving for a snack but when my stomach sends signals that it’s not okay to hold out, I eat. Your health is  more important than saving money in these situations.


  • You might be smarter than you think. Seriously, everyone will tell you that your grades should be dropping 30% and that you might fail out. Tune out the negativity. You’re going to do just fine. Have faith in yourself.
  • Some of the coolest people you’ll meet are your professors! What?? you ask. Yes, your profs. Out of my professors this term, I highly recommend
    • Dr. Kion  – ask her about HIV, live vaccines, tuberculosis bacteria. She jokes about infecting the class to find a vaccine for HIV with a straight face.
    • Dr. Baxter   – she  relates Romantic poetry to modern movies, TV shows, King Arthur and more, and sends our class into giggles with her interpretation of plums.
    • Lauren, our English TA, is also super nice and willing to help students.
    • Dr. Schulte – She will tell you which Youtube videos to watch about animals doing crazy things, especially snakes eating things.
    • Dr. Tortelle – plankton, ocean expeditions, the spinning door analogy (you will laugh at how ridiculous that analogy is until you realize that you now understand symporters and antiporters. Genius.
    • Dr. Perkins – Because I’m not a math genius like some of you, a math teacher who I can understand during class  is brilliant. TAKE MATH WITH HIM!
    • Dr. Sammis – Students are willing to literally sit on the floor to attend his lectures. Enough said.
    • Well, looks like I put every professor I’ve had this term on this list. 🙂

Actually, there is a lot more lies you will hear about first year. What are some things you’ve been told about first year?

1st step when feeling behind on schoolwork

One hectic weekend that prevents enough schoolwork from getting done and I feel like I’m running after a bus that has already left. Commuters, you understand how soul-crushed I feel.

Ah yes, this morning the rain was pouring buckets as I headed to the bus stop. Lo and behold, I can see the bus as I’m still 2.5 blocks away from the bus stop. No matter how desperately I sprinted, the bus took off and left me in the rain. It was one of those bus stops that provided no shelter from the rain.  I was gloomy. Miraculously, after ten minutes of just standing in the rain thinking about the mysteries of life, my friend texts me that she’s on her way to school and asks if I want to a ride. She generously pick me up from the bus stop and we have a fun chat on the way to school. She is the best. 🙂

So I’ll admit that like chasing after a bus, you still can’t catch up to the bus sometimes no matter how hard you run. Just think that there are other ways for you to get to the destination you want to get to. You’ll get there eventually. A lot of us feel like we suddenly fall behind despite our best efforts to stay on track and ahead. So don’t beat yourself up about being behind.  The first step is let yourself accept the fact you’re behind and then doing one small thing to start you towards getting up to speed. If you feel behind on every subject, just do one thing first. Do just one problem, take notes on just one lecture, finish that proposal that’s been weighing down your to-do list.

If you feel behind, I’m right here feeling the same thing as me.  Since I feel behind on chemistry, I’m going to run through a couple chemistry problems before I head to sleep.

On feeling guilty because I waste time

I felt really guilty today because even though there is so much pile-up is on my to-do list, the awesome AL commented that I seem have all this time. Upon reflection, I realized that I have a lot of time because my personal life doesn’t much time commitment:   I don’t have a highly demanding part-time job like one of our other friends; I’m very blessed that I don’t have to worry about making ends meet or keeping a roof over my head;  I don’t spend time with a significant other everyday; I don’t have a 2 hour commute to school; I don’t have a baby sibling or sickly grandparent to care for. I felt guilty because I’m so fortunate to have free time so  I should be making more of a difference to the world and my community with my time.  This means I need to examine how I’m using my time and cut out waste and make an earnest effort to do meaningful things 🙂

Enough is okay

I don’t usually like to stop at enough. If possible, I often try to go beyond what is just enough, to do more than is asked for because hey, why not?

However, I think student culture nowadays can sometimes be too extreme. There never seems to be an enough, which can harm us mentally and physically. It can difficult to decide when is enough and when you should keep going.

Today this is my enough:

  • I’ve attempted this crazy chem online assignment three times. I just keep getting only 1 question wrong so I tried again because how hard could it be to do it just one more time. But of course, it’s a whole new set of questions so my total time spent on this assignment has been five hours. Five hours is absolutely ridiculous. So I still have one wrong but I’m not going to do it again. I’ve learned the skills of solving questions related to acid and bases so that’s enough. I’m done.
  •  I’m bitter about how inefficient my time has been spent. Only one task accomplished this whole evening? Ridiculous.  One thing better than nothing so that’s enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll do better.
  • I haven’t been working out or eating as healthy as I would like because I haven’t been feeling very well. But I did achieve a goal of waking up earlier and including protein (yay chicken!) in my breakfast. Something is better than nothing.
  • After I went to an office hour where I learned so much math (Prof Ed Perkins is an awesome Math 103 prof. Take his class!),  I met up with Alyssa, Kevin and Andy to study but I realized that I just couldn’t get much done. So I said that’s enough of forcing myself to study here. I packed up my bags and headed to the bus.
  • I originally planned a solid few hours of studying down at the Vancouver Public Library on Saturday morning because I had a accessibility training session across from VPL. However, my dentist appointment ran longer than expected, my sweet mother wanted me to eat a decent lunch (because I neglect lunch hehe) and stocked up on groceries at a Chinese supermarket. Despite how quickly my lemon grass chicken rice came and was eaten by me and some rapid grocery shopping, I only made it to my training half a hour early. I initially pulled out my slides for a flash study sess but then put it away and took the opportunity to talk to and socialize with the other people at the training session.
  • If someone named Elena Diamond messages you about wanting to buy your textbooks and then asks you a slew of very personal questions and tells you strange things, do not talk to him or her. Block him/her. I gave her/him the benefit of the doubt because I thought “Elena” was that proficient in English and maybe didn’t know that it was inappropriate to ask such questions. To be fair, “Elena” did ask about the textbooks and appeared to want to negotiate the price, and I ignored the warning bells in my head because I really wanted to sell all three of those textbooks. Do not ignore your instinct that something is very very wrong! Anyways, I had definitely had enough of tolerating that.
  • Right now I have more moments of that’s enough to write about but for now, I’ve had enough. I think you guys get what I’m trying to so I’ll stop here.

Two things to say to yourself: this is enough. And if necessary, tomorrow I’ll do better.


On an unrelated note, life:

  • Study night with Juliet and Veena. Juliet made us fabulous instant noodles because #cravings.
  • Listening to Chanon and her many thoughts on Friday afternoon 🙂
  • New stationary: pen that smells like mango. and 100 page memo pad from the dollar store
  • Apink concert
  • Loving my classes!
  • The usual trying to stay on track in classes and balancing social life and the bazillion things that I have on my to-do list. 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Winter Break week 1

  • Work. I’ve learned that I really enjoy teaching. Work, however, consists of many other responsibilities that are not teaching but are required to keep everything running.
  • Working on writing with Alyssa to get through my writer’s block.
  • Bought some textbooks with Alyssa and Kevin
  • Kevin and the prank gift packaging
  • Great to see Silvia again. Once we were talking, time passed by so quickly.
  • Spent lots of time with another friend who I missed very much. To me, bliss is spending time with those I care about very much.
  •  I highly recommend the horror movie, “Good night mother”.
  • Dining in the dark at Dark Table was an interesting experience.
  • Made matcha mochiko which my cousin love due to its chewy texture. I think the ingredients were 1 pound mochiko, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 3 eggs, and 3 tablespoons of matcha powder. Relatively healthy compared to pound cakes made with butter.
  • Baked with my mom <3
  • After hours and hours of preparation, Christmas dinner turned out well. So happy to see my older cousins who I missed while they were gone and my cute little cousins. I was also happy to spend time with the rest of my family, especially my adorable grandparents.
  • The limits to my Chinese speaking abilities have really been tested lately.
  • Hockey hosted by Kevin’s family (thanks Auntie Holly and Uncle Peter for hosting such a fun event!).Racing about the ice and chasing the puck again reminded me of how energizing playing hockey is. In the new year, I would like to get on the ice rink more often.
  • Finally started on a project idea. Score.

One more week left:

  • Goal: Finish a draft.
  • Would like to spend time playing Wii with my Minis. Andy has suggested Super Smash Bros.
  • Sleep? Meh. Maybe another time.

You miss all the shots that you don’t take. In 2016, I’m going to push myself to work harder and obtain new experiences.

Hope you all have been having a great Winter break so far!

My friend is now recovering :)


One of my best friends was finally released from the hospital. It’s been rough for her but she’s incredibly resilient. I was torn between studying for an exam that I had Friday and finding how she’s doing. There are times in life where studying comes second in life. When you’ve been concerned if your best friend might DIE, this is definitely a time where you choose the person you care about over everything else.

She is recovering now and doing well!!!!! So happy that she’s fine and glad that everything went alright. Health is number 1!!! If your health goes downhill, nothing else matters. So if you’re concerned about your health, go see a doctor, dentist, pharmacist (depends on your concern) and get help! Taking care of your health should never be something that you put off. THANK YOU AWESOME DOCTORS AND SURGEONS AND NURSES AND TECHS AND OTHER HOSPITAL STAFF who saved my friend.

Speaking of health, UBC Student Health Services is fantastic. I’ve been a couple times and have been referring my friends to seek care there. (One of my friends is actually going. Success in converting at least one other person to seek professional care when he/she is worried about his/her health. Professions know their stuff. Go. Go. Go!!!!)

That said, the people you care about also care about you. As much I would have loved to, I couldn’t spent the entire night talking to her so after the really important part of listening to her talk about all the craziness that has happened to her, I gently let her know that I had a final tomorrow but let’s schedule time to keep talking tomorrow right after my exam.


My friend actually stood me up but later, it turned out that she slept in. I figured that she must have been exhausted so I wasn’t too surprised.  She’s one tough cookie who totally deserved a break so I left a message about rescheduling.

Veena and I treated ourselves to delicious and inexpensive pizza for dinner. Veena ordered cheesy bread, which was (in my opinion) a better version of cheese pizza. Food makes us happy.

We admired the set-up of Nordstrom. It felt like a half-way between the Bay and Holt Renfrew but was closer to Holt Renfrew. I like admiring beautiful places, even if I’ll probably never ever buy anything (haha).

We hunted for Christmas gifts for our friends. One of our friends always paints her nails for good luck before exams so we bought her a set of little polishes in many different colours so she has a colour for every mood and exam. We searched quite the number of places before we found this set so we really hope she’ll like it.

I’ve put together a hilarious prank gift for Kevin. Well, the outside is a prank gift but inside, there’s a gift that I scratched my head a long time to come up with.  It wasn’t expensive but I think it will have a lot of meaning to him.

Veena and other friends have been trying to convince me to pierce my ears for years now so she went with me to Claire’s where I finally got my ears pierced. Susan Tran at Claire’s was very meticulous and cared a lot because she “wanted to make [me] look good” and make my first piercing experience a good memory. If you ever want to get your ears pierced, go find Susan at the Claire’s on Granville.

As usual, Veena is awesome.

A thorough cleaning and reorganization of my room took a long time (I mean a LONG time) but was worth the effort! Having such an organized room makes me happy. I’ve been complaining about my desk so I finally changed it to a smaller, rectangle-shaped desk. Having a smaller desk means that I have to be diligent about keeping the surface clutter free but so far I’m happy.


**Highlights of my day were spending time with my family today!!! I feel like I haven’t spent time with the whole family like this in a long time. Something as simple as taking my little brother to the dentist and going out for lunch might be  something that someone else does often but everyone in my family is so busy that going out for lunch as family is extremely rare.

When I talked to my brother on Friday, I promised him that I would take him to the library because he loves to read. I made him promise that he would finish a piece of writing by the end of his winter break. My brother also got a Raspberry Pi set that would be fun to help him build. As a result, after lunch, dropped my brother off at the library, ran errands, went to library to get him and borrowed some books for myself.

I wrote a couple Christmas cards.

Long awaited lengthy chat with my best friend who had surgery. She is required to walk on the treadmill a lot to reflate part of one of her lungs so to keep her company while she walked, I also walked. Memorable line from our conversation: “You’re one who just had surgery and you’ve not breaking a sweat. I’ve been normal and …”  (points to sweaty red face and panting). We multi-tasked like pros: getting our catch-up and exercise in at the same time. Missed her soooooo much. And she knows that she is obligated to try to visit me soon! I will try to video chat with her again so when Misaki and Rachel are done exams and can join me.

After I publish this blog post, I’m going to work on my literature review on lidocaine and send in hours that I’m available to work for the next two weeks.

Sunday (Tomorrow)

For breakfast, I’m meeting with the smart and kind-hearted Silvia who’s been out at UCLA .

Really really need to get working on my play

Really really need to work on a philanthropy project that I’ve cooking in the back of my mind for some time now

In general: I’ve been crossing off lots of minor to-dos but tomorrow, I need to do deep work.

I also want to work on blemish banishing my brother because his face is very teen boy.

Dinner at Yue Shan Society. Goal: to make my grandfather proud.

My reading list: 

  •  Chi Sweet Home  (French version of volume 11) because I have a strange penchant for Japanese manga translated into French because they help me maintain my French.
  • Dracula  by Bram Stoker
  • Richard III by Shakespeare
  • The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks – I’m so excited about this book. I’ve wanted to read writing by Oliver Sacks for a while.
  • The Mind’s Own Physician. – meditation, the mind, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy.
  • HTML5   –  Haven’t decided if I really want to learn HTML5 yet or not. I like designing but to be honest, I’m reluctant to learn a programming language.

Comparing yourself to others

You were feeling on top of the world after you strutted out of your second to last final examination. You had the right to be happy because you’ve only got one more to go. Happy, your friends grab you and you all felt confident and prepared about the exam you just finished.

Fast forward to night time. You’ve just gotten home after a 14 hour day: at school, at various appointments and commitments, and a huge chunk of time with your blessing/curse public transit. You log onto your calculus class’ discussion board and discover that you may be very very behind your classmates in studying for your last exam.

Perhaps some thoughts that pop up in your head:

  • I am going to fail.
  • I’ll be at the bottom of the curve.
  • I’ll never catch up.

Squash these negative thoughts.

Instead tell yourself:

  • I’ve come really far.
  • I can rock this if I work hard starting now.
  • This is the best that I can give.  – Cut yourself some slack if you’ve writing a whole bunch of exams in a short period of time.  You weren’t able to prepare too much for this last one but hey, you’ve been busy!
  • I don’t need to compare myself to others. Maybe they don’t have an exam until the 21st. You had your first exam two full weeks before they did. Everyone’s situation is different so don’t compare.
  • I’m going to do MY best and my best is different from someone else’s best. My best may be worse than someone else’s best or better.
  • Everything is going to be alright.

Best wishes to you all!

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