The one about sleep.

Dearest Readers,

It is with great bliss and much sorrow that I get to write to you at 8:44 AM on this Thursday morning, the eve before my birthday. Tomorrow will come, just like any other day, but for now I will muse on the happenings of my existence during this intercession of 2016 and partially of next semester. At present, I have only two days of classes and then the rest of the week is essentially “off” if I get all my work finished early; I’m taking human anatomy & physiology and its lab. The lecture is web based so I don’t need to log in every single day in order to complete my work however I do have to go to the lab every Monday and Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM. Let me tell you, the lecture and lab have been grueling ever since the start of intercession! Though, essentially every class during intercession is packed with lots of business; every week there is a major exam because the aims of intercession attempt to squeeze an entire semester into a single month. How does Scranton fit in that much time to let their students take courses on the campus, you ask? Why, dearest readers, I’m so glad you asked! Our Winter break begins two weeks into December and we don’t go back to school until the first Monday of February. Usually when I’m giving tours and then I drop that little fact, the families have one of two reactions; 1. they go “WOW that’s fantastic”, or 2. they say “ehhhh that’s rather long”. The length of our intercession is rather a double-edged sword. On the one hand it gives students plenty of time to rest, relax, and recharge from the Fall semester but at the same time, it also means that Scranton doesn’t get out for a while and that it could potentially interfere with the start dates of internships. It’s a debate that’s up fro discussion with the entire campus.

I did mention that I would briefly speak on my Spring semester; it’s awesome. At present, my earliest class throughout the week will not start until 1:00 PM and I have Fridays off. How the heck did I swing that? I am not too sure. Still, my schedule has 15 credits and ALL of the courses that I’m taking will be science courses – none of them are easy courses that a lazy senior can take. Simply the fact that I get to sleep in until about noon every day is pretty sweet in my point of view. I know that things won’t be that way for too long because when the Summer hits, I’ll have to rise and grind. I’m certain you all will hear about how my semester goes here on this blog in the coming weeks, though hopefully I will have more scintillating blog topics and entires. This one was kind of bland and I do apologize! Nevertheless keep posted.

Your’s Truly,
Chris 😀

Two roads lead to the same spot.

Ever stop and wonder what you could have done differently and how things might have turned out? I think about it all the time. Here near the end of my college career, I’m reflecting on my life at The University of Scranton; it was fraught with great joy and also sadness. I have had some of the best years of my life with good friends and I have also experienced setbacks and losses. All in all though I can’t say I am dying to change the past, though I can look back on it with a stoic eye and a grateful smile.

When I entered The University of Scranton, I was ever so determined to be a medical doctor. After my four years’ time, I would exit undergrad and enter a medical school that accepted me. From there I would continue down the daunting road of education: four years in medical school, four in residency, and then an undisclosed amount of time in fellowship. Things would have been pretty nice – sadly I never applied to medical school. Rather, during my sophomore year I dropped out of the race for medical school. Of course I still stayed in undergrad here at The University but I was no longer aiming to become a medical doctor. There were a lot of difficulties that I had encountered, some that I won’t divulge here, but what I can say is that two roads were put ahead of me at the time right before I made the decision to cease the pursuit for the MD. One road led me down the path of a medical doctor, clad in a white coat, helping the sick, and saving the world ( or so I thought at the time). The other road still held a white coat in store for me. I would see patients in a different facet, I would help them in a different capacity, and medicine would be my sword instead of a suture – this other road led me toward pharmacy. I can safely say that after a long struggle with myself, I have reconciled that I did not give up on a dream but rather I followed another one. My sophomore year held organic chemistry in store for me while senior year taught me biochemistry. Both of these courses were favorites of mine as I look back on my undergrad career. In examining the prerequisites of medical school and pharmacy, both of these fields accept both listed courses in addition to a whole slew of others that I have taken. As I have demonstrated, the fork in the road for sophomore year me was apparent. Being that I chose the path of pharmacy, I struggled with my decision for quite some time and life didn’t seem real anymore. I felt as though I had given up and that I had settled.

Now, I’m not sure of what faith any who read this may reside in but I’ll just put it like this: perhaps the actions that we perform and choices that we make are intended to happen the way that they do. Perhaps our fate is scripted and everything that does come to being is exactly according to “plan”. I’m aware that some people may not like the notion of fate and that they would insist on being in control of their own destinies; some who read this may even perform some action now just to “validate” that they chose that action and that they are in control. But how is one so sure that that action wasn’t already predetermined? How can one see into the future?

What I’m getting at is that my choice to pursue pharmacy may have been what I am meant to do, or it could be that my own free will will dictate my destiny. Whichever it is, the version of myself during sophomore year felt crushed. There was great pressure to achieve, excel, and triumph – even now I can feel those pressures. The key is really to take these stresses and turn them into motivations; I did this and it helped me to see that choosing pharmacy wasn’t selling out but simply a new challenge. In doing pharmacy I would still enjoy organic chemistry and biochemistry, and perhaps in an even greater focus on those subjects as opposed to medical school. Furthermore, I had some help from ancient aspirations; I wanted to buy my own car, own my own house, support a family, and very near and dear to my heart, own a dog. to do all these things I’m surely going to need a job so what better way to get there than to ensure that I get through pharmacy. Both pharmacy and being a medical doctor were vehicles to get to all those aspirations I listed, it’s just that now I am taking a different route from medical doctor to get there. Maybe the way I explained it is beat but it was very touching when I had these realizations! A very special thanks goes to Amanda Jacobs and Jolene Ranek, I really don’t know where my life would be without their guidance and companionship.

The one about coffee.

As I walked groggily to The Estate for my shift on this cold and crisp morning, pangs of anxiety ached in my heart with each step I took. Did I forget to submit an assignment for the online course that I’m taking? Was I late for my shift? No, I couldn’t possibly be late; I checked right before I left the apartment and I had at least fifteen minutes to spare. Did I forget something? Instinctively I grabbed at the outside of my left coat pocket for my phone and slapped at my right jeans pocket for my keys. Turned out they were both there. I can be such a creature of habit. I brushed off this feeling of alarm and trudged on through the morning air and shifted my attention elsewhere. I watched each breathe that I exhaled as the heated air instantly vaporized into smoke and was reminded of the biting cold at my lungs.

Soon enough I arrive at The Estate and felt the relief of the warm front of heating that passed over me. I began my habitual ritual: unpacking, getting my work uniform, bringing my books out to the front table and making myself a coffee. Grabbed an empty large cup, tore open three packets of “Office Snax” sugar, let the creamer richly flow, and filled the empty vessel with piping hot coffee. This practice of making coffee at the start of my shifts has turned into a sort of witchcraft or sorcery. It’s as if I’m assembling another living person. First you select the size of this new creature. Once you are satisfied with its shape, you give it its defining characteristics and charms that range from the sweetness of flavor swirls to the sharp edges of espresso shots. After your coffee’s personality is complete, fill it with its soul by pouring the coffee. The poured coffee brings the entire drink together and makes it come alive with excitement or melancholy, depending on how you have constructed your little angel or abomination (truly, some people experimenting with coffee can make the weirdest little creations!). Some witches and wizards give birth to the blackest of souls – literally dark roast coffee or coffee without any sugar or creamers. I like mine with a little balance of this and that.

So, my journal entry started out with a sort of first person narrative about my daily happenings of intercession but it kind of devolved into my musings about coffee. Can you tell that I sort of really like coffee? Oh well, it was worth a shot. Maybe I’ll attempt a more organized and complete narrative next week when I write next. As for the present though, just to give some perspective, happy holidays to all! I came back to campus this past Sunday in order to start my intercession course. I’m taking Anatomy & Physiology as a prerequisite to pharmacy school. Thankfully for me this course is an entry-level biology course and I have been drilled with biology for three and a half years as part of my major and college career. I will be writing to all of you during this intercession time, as well as into the start of the Spring semester when the first Monday of February hits. Until next time!