Political Correctness

Greetings and salutations readers-faithful and welcome back to another exciting and strange rant by your’s truly! For any of you who read my last blog and recalled that I said I would speak on something rather interesting, unfortunately you must wait one more week for that topic (which I am being horribly discreet about) as I found another topic that is equally as interesting. I wished to share my thoughts on a change that apparently happened last year to The University community in regards to freshmen first-year students. That is correct, the new politically correct term for students who have started their first academic year is “first-year” students as opposed to the traditional freshmen brand. Now why, one might ask, did this change occur? Take a look at the word and notice how overbearingly intimidating it is: freshMAN, and as opposed to amending the terminology to “freshmen and freshwomen”, it would appear that calling the whole lot “first-year” students is more simplistic and politically correct. I have no qualms with the decision to use the term “first-year” as opposed to “freshmen and freshwomen” but let’s talk about how this in any way gives leverage to either of the sexes. With no doubt in my mind there are people who feel that this is the more sexually sensitive course of action as far as inclusivity is concerned, but let me ask how this in any way puts women one step closer onto an equal playing field as men. DISCLAIMER: I am not against feminism and I encourage women to be independently, incredible individuals. However in order to launch women into a state of gender equality in the same regard as men, it does not begin with semantics. It begins with leadership that sets actions in motion that are inclusive to both sexes. Changing the term from “freshmen” to “first-years” is not an action on the basis that in no such way does it benefit or lend support to women.

“But Chris! You are only complaining and you’re not helping the problem if you don’t know what it is that should be done to support women!”

Well then annoying voice in my head, let me propose one action that I believe is more beneficial to women here at The University of Scranton! Women play a very integral part of The University’s culture; over half of the undergraduate population is female, the Jane Kopas Women’s Center (JKWC) does a fantastic job of promoting feminism and holding educational programs that empower women, and there are some pretty awesome women in roles of leadership who are currently serving the community that they love. I propose that there be more funding given to JKWC such that they can host more grand events, especially during the month of March, women’s history month. Speaking of March, what if every week JKWC were to hold one event that celebrated famous women in history with the chance for female students to win a scholarship? I think that would be something worth promoting, at least much more than the political correctness agenda.

I have some gripes about political correctness in the current day; not many people can make jokes anymore. Sure, a joke would be initially intended to be funny but somewhere along the line some hardcore left wing/right wing/gender identity group will nitpick the joke apart and find some fault with it where we, the people as a nation, are TOOOOOO sensitive to laugh at ourselves. I’m not talking about hateful people who spew rubbish that is intended to insult others, but rather the others who mean absolutely no disrespect to their target audience.

Well, that’s really all I’ve got for you. If you were to have some takeaways from this blurb, it should be that women are awesome, women don’t need to be coddled in changing the term from “freshman” to “first-year” because they are a lot tougher than getting upset about terminology, political correctness is a joke, and it’s ok to question what is being thrown at you. Seriously, I disagree with the change that Scranton made but it doesn’t mean I refute all of the teachings that it has given to me! Questioning is every bit alright, as long as it is not destructive or violent. By the way I would love for this blog to be challenged as destructive; I promise you I hold no ill will in any capacity throughout my ramblings here.

Claiming my [cheese]steak

Hello readers-faithful! It’s been quite a while since I have written to you all but have no fear, I have returned with a mildly sassy blog that I will leave up to you to decide. Before the proposed section, I wish everybody a heavily belated Hoppy Easter and that it was spent with ones who are loved. The University of Scranton just got off of their spring break. While many of the students were flying to exotic places bought with others’ money, I chilled at home, sweet home in New Jersey and caught up with some dear friends. The first day back at home, myself and three other friends Bob, Ric, and Will all went on a grand expedition to Philadelphia. This journey had the sole purpose of finding the best cheesesteaks in mind with five different stops planned out on our route. We unanimously decided we would buy a single cheesesteak that was split four ways so that none of us would feel full during the travel time between each stop. Each steak would also be judged on certain criteria such as bread, meat moisture, meat seasoning, cheese, and onions. The very first stop was on the outskirts of Philly at a hopping place called Max’s and while we payed half an arm to purchase the cheesesteak, I gotta say that it was worth the price because this steak was THREE FEET LONG. Needless to say it was a decent start to our tour even though the cheese was virtually nonexistent. Followed by Max’s were Chubby’s, Dalessandro’s, and Tony Luke’s. Let’s start with Chubby’s; their steak had a moderate portion and cheese was decent, however the onions left much to be desired as they were rather on the raw side. It was then during that crucial moment that my friends and I all made the executive decision to purchase a beer to supplement this blow to our palates. If you must know, this beer was a regular Blue Moon garnished with a single slice of orange and it was divine. Moving on in our tour we came to the pinnacle of the trip right across the street at Dalessandro’s where the joint was hopping because the line extended all the way out of the door. When our cheesesteak finally came it was delicious; the onions were piled high, the meat was very moist and there was distinctly clear evidence of the grease oozing out of the cheesesteak as we tore it open. The grease complimented the vibrant flavor of the meat to combine into a mouthful of awesome. The next two stops at Tony Luke’s and some place that escapes my memory (which shows how much of an impression the cheesesteak made) were good descending action to the climax of the journey. Tony Luke’s was an undiscovered diamond in the rough because when we first arrived at the place, we all thought it would be terrible. The service was quick due to a dire lack of patrons and the decor of the dive was very lacking and dull. However, I was so glad to have been proven wrong in my suspicions that the food would be subpar because in actuality the cheesesteak was phenomenal. To give you all some perspective, we rated each stop on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being “I WILL DEFINITELY MAKE THE HOUR AND A HALF DRIVE BACK HERE TO EAT”. Dalessandro’s scored the perfect 10 but Tony Luke’s scored a 9.5 in my book. The meat on these sandwiches was seriously moist and that it was seasoned the best of all the stops of that day. In addition the onions were very well done and the bread was fresh and fluffy. The last stop of the tour is not worthy of being remembered, nor will I try to remember it. I will merely say that it left much to be desired, worse than Chubby’s on the basis of taste and texture. The meat, as Will accurately described, tasted more on the consistency of roast beef which normally would not have been a fault but because of the nature of our journey from New Jersey to Philadelphia, this resonated poorly with us. In my opinion the cheesesteak felt very fast-foodish, if I can even use that to describe the taste; if felt as if these cheesesteaks were produced in mass quantity with very quick succession. There was no love in this cheesesteak – no signature flavor or quality that made it stand out from all the other cheesesteaks, unless you count its lack of character as a distinguishing characteristic. On a side note and side dish, we got a side of fries that were pretty freaking good. Unfortunately we ended the cheesesteak tour on a sour note of fried goodness. Otherwise in conclusion, I would highly recommend anybody finding themselves in the area of Dalessandro’s to stop on by if the line isn’t too murderous, or you can also go to the secret gem at Tony Luke’s. In typing this entry I have decided to save my mildly sassy portion as aforementioned for next week’s entry so stay tuned for talk on destabilizing the central administration and hippy talk, and I use “hippy talk” in a very liberal sense.

Liberals and Conservatives

Good evening faithful readers and hopefully some new ones! I did not blog last week, to my deepest regret, as I have been super packed lately with tons to do on my schedule, but I am very glad to be writing even the tiniest shred of literature for all of your personal enjoyments either to laugh at or with me! Last week was a week-long study session for a practical that went over rather anticlimactically. Now in this week, I am studying for yet another test but this time it’s in microeconomics. Let’s segue into a very relevant topic currently running around the media in response to republican and democratic debates, and hopefully I will get to flex my first amendment rights as far as having the right to free speech goes. True, there are limitations that can be placed on the first amendment, such as the indecency of a prankster to shout words or phrases that could incite massive panic in a crowded area, but I will not be writing about any awful deeds. Rather, I wish to speak in an opinionated manner that does not warrant the censorship of the higher bodies that be, and the “higher bodies that be” full well know who they are. In the text that will follow, I do not criticize anybody’s political views or political party affiliations. I simply wish to raise awareness of the current situation in the republican and democratic races for their respective party nominations. I will divulge that I personally identify as a democrat but I also ask that for any readers who even take offense to the mere fact of my party affiliation as an affront to their being, please read with an open mind. Otherwise if you cannot comply with my simple request, please leave this blog and never come back. Our nation can’t grow with close-minded bigotry and- Hey! Let’s talk about that!

Donald Trump believes that the United States’ foreign policy in regards to trade is far too soft and that other countries are trampling us when it comes to the importation of their goods. I agree with this but – BAM!!! Faster than Kelly, Baier, and Wallace can keep the debate on track, the republican candidates break out into bickering and childish name calling. Little Marco? Big Trump? Yoga??? Please tell me some of you caught those snide remarks on March 3rd during the debate in Detroit, Michigan. This was not even the first time that such antics were used. Rubio and Trump have a bit of history with going at each others’ throats with remarks about sweaty composure and also of hand/finger sizes. I won’t repeat any of the manual, lewd comments but rather I will leave that up to you to Google. Has the presidential race really become a reality television series where the candidate who draws the most public attention will receive the most support? I believe that it should be focused on the hard-pressed issues that face America such as the creation of American jobs (that Trump is very adamant about fixing in his solution of “the wall”), racial inequality, and national health and safety issues, most pointedly the Flint, Michigan water crisis. 

Now I know I’ve thrown a lot of flack at the republican candidates but the democratic candidates are not without fault. In the recent debate on March 6th, Clinton and Sanders went neck and neck with each other. The discussion was very centered on political issues and they both spoke very well for themselves in regards to keeping slanderous rhetoric to a minimum. However when the debate was over, I saw a very peculiar thing; there were multiple articles calling Bernie Sanders a sexist! These allegations referenced Bernie speaking over Hilary to continue talking on a point he was making. I do recall the incident because I remember distinctly that Hilary objected to Bernie voting against bailing out Wall Street when the stock market crashed. In reaction to Hilary’s outburst, Bernie said “Excuse me, I’m still speaking.” This was the incident that caused many people to accuse him of sexism. My opinion (for those who aren’t offended yet): Bernie wished to finish his point uninterrupted and that he did not intend to be sexist. The Young Turks did a segment about this incident and they also arrived at the same conclusion. They went further to say that for the feminists to call Bernie out on sexism is putting the “sexism” card at a grave disinclination to be taken seriously in future cases. Put simply, it’s like crying wolf. Let me be clear, I do NOT disdain feminism. In fact, I believe it to be a vehicle of fantastic change for women’s rights. However, for ultra feminists (and I use that “prefix”, ultra, in relation to any group that takes extremist views on topics) to call Bernie a sexist is a far cry from the true meaning. Trump’s comments toward Megyn Kelly in relation to normal physiological processes is sexist.

With that being said, I bid you a good night! I do encourage any responses or feedback and I hope that the “higher bodies that be” don’t come after me for this opinionated blog 🙂 It was written not to offend but rather as my thoughts on how the candidacy is unfolding.

America Runs on Coffee…

Good morning people of the AM! I honestly don’t think I have ever been awake and functioning this early this semester. Today is sort of a slow and long day; I woke up this early to begin dehydration of samples for histology, and later during the day I must go to Student Government where we will debate a VERY VERY VERY important smoking bill (did I accentuate my sarcasm in all caps?). For my research in histology I must begin a three and a half hour long process that essentially dehydrates whatever samples that I am interested in. Under the supervision of Janice Voltzow, I will place the samples in a plastic-like substance and section these samples by cutting them into slices that are on the order of a few micrometers thin. That way I can later stain them in order to visualize the cellular structure of the samples; this is a super condensed and simplified explanation of the art of histology. It is something that I still have much to learn from Janice but slowly I’m getting there; in her words, histology and research in general sometimes requires a little black magic to produce the desired data! At present I am dehydrating the samples of dissected-out snail gills [left and right] of Diodora aspera. This species of snail is better known as a keyhole limpet, and I am conducting histological research because when compared to Haliotis rufescens, better known as abalone, the abalone gills exhibit a strange “cross linkage” between the individual leaflets that make up the gills. Whereas in keyhole limpets the phenomenon was not observed. Original footage captured by Janice when she examined abalone with an endoscope showed that the gills, for lack of a better phrase, looked like waffle fries.

Later on in the day I will have the pleasure of attending a Student Government meeting and debating the smoking bill that has come to the table for deliberation. I think this debate may take a good chunk of time because when I was reading over its contents, a lot of the findings seemed rather redundant to the current smoking policy on campus. Let me backtrack a little bit because I feel as though for any readers who may have just started reading my ramblings, it might seem a little confusing. I am a senior senator on Student Government and as such, the senate votes on the passage or lack thereof of bills and resolutions of virtually any matter. This matter in particular tackles the hot topic of smoking on college campuses. At present, there are many college campuses that have banned smoking however our’s is up for debate. On the one hand, it would be a healthier course of action but at the same time, would it be just in violating the rights of those who do smoke to enjoy at their leisure? The world may never know.

Health

To read something hopefully inspiring, skip to the last paragraph and watch the Facebook link. The whole body of this post is about my tips for fitness.

Today started out very interestingly; due to all the snow late last evening and subsequent sleet that turned the snow into ice during the early morning, Scranton had a compressed schedule and opened at 10:00AM in order for the grounds crews to clear as much of the ice away from the sidewalks. Might I add they did a fantastic job as well! Anywho, I got out of class rather early due to the compressed schedule and figured, heck why not? I should just head on over to the gym and get my workout finished early on in the day so that I have a huge chunk of time in the evening to study and goof off (but mostly goof off). When I got to the gym there were so many people there and all the benches/powerlifting stations were full. Usually I would groan to myself because of the inconvenience but for some reason, I didn’t do that today. Instead I thought about all the work that these people were putting into the betterment of their physical health. It’s true; instead of sitting around doing a whole lot of nothing, these people were at the gym working their butts off and making their health all the better for their grind. I applaud you dearly.

This brings me to my next point and rant that I would love to articulate: schedules. Currently, I’m working on a five day schedule: first day is chest and back, second day I do legs and abs, third day marks the shoulders/traps fun, the fourth day is dedicated to arms, and the fifth day is the day of rest. For me, it is important that I stick to this schedule religiously otherwise I won’t see any improvement with my body. It is so crucially important to have an established schedule that one abides strictly by if their goal is to improve their body.

Next point: what would you like your body to do? The type of workout really depends on what direction a person would like to go as far as how they want their condition or physical appearance to be. Some may wish to put on some mass and therefore they would have a workout regiment that prescribes heavy weight with low repetitions supplemented by a high macronutrients diet. Conversely, others may want to lose weight, like myself. I need to enter a cutting season really soon and since it takes me a couple decades to get my lazy butt to do anything, I might as well start now. My workout regiment consists of high repetition with low weight; the more repetitions in each exercise theoretically leads to a greater cardiovascular strain. It also doesn’t hurt to throw in some running and high intensity cardio/ab circuits in order to help get the sweat flowing. The diet of a cardio-centric workout should have moderate protein with minimal carbohydrates and minimal fat. The carbs simply add a lot of water weight and won’t help much when you try to lose body weight.

I am on a role for perfect segues. Dieting is key for any kind of workout. I don’t even want to hear about those kinds of extreme diets that tell you to cut out virtually everything from your daily intake except a cracker. That is absolutely absurd and a perfect recipe for causing physical harm to yourself down the road. Your body needs nutrients to function! Do yourself a favor and don’t take extreme methods just to lose weight. DO NOT get me started on dieting pills. All you need to do is eat right and eat lean. When considering protein options, try the less fatty/greasy option. Both chicken and turkey are perfectly lean sources of protein that don’t have hundreds of thousands of calories associated with them; that is, grilled chicken or grilled turkey, not a freaking chicken nugget Happy Meal from McDonalds. That isn’t even real chicken meat… And in the off chance that it is real meat, I can almost guarantee you that it is processed the heck out of and cannot give you much nutrient benefit. Long eating rant short, cooking your own food is an outstanding option as opposed to grabbing fast food because you, yourself, are putting the ingredients into the food and you know exactly what you’re eating. Along the lines of nutrients, counting calories is not a bad idea either. I use the app MyFitnessPal in order to manually enter each food item that I eat. It does take some time to individually input all the food you consume but I promise it will pay off if you are on a diet that adheres to a calorie count.

That is only a small fraction of what is on my mind in regards to fitness. Let me recap all the stuff I just said:
1. What would you like to do with your body image? What are your goals?
2. Have a schedule. Stick to it.
3. Diet lean and well. I DO NOT commend extreme dieting programs. AT ALL.
4. Count em up! Make the calories your friends and not your foes.
5. For the love of all things good, don’t cheat.

Let me clear up my fifth point. Cheating includes working out at the gym for any period of time and then eating/drinking something unhealthy later on only to think it’s justified because you worked out, or if you skip gym days because blah blah blah. It is never justified to consume unhealthy food simply because you worked hard if you are actually serious about improving your image. It is all a matter of how bad you want it! How bad do you want to look like fire in a couple of months? How good do you want to feel about yourself because of all the work that you have dedicated into improving your physical health? Trust me, the celebrations will come but you must be patient. Once you have reached that goal that you have set for yourself, whether it is losing X amount of pounds or getting chiseled abs, then you can treat yourself. However, if you are hyper consistent and conscious about your workout and what you eat, it is very possible by the time you reach your goal that you will have lost a taste for whatever “cheat” you probably wanted when you first started the grind.

This whole process is completely doable and I have every faith in YOU that YOU can make this change if you want it to be. Let me share something with you: a decade ago I was grossly overweight. I couldn’t do much physical activity for long before I got winded and my body would scream in pain for doing so. How dare I get up off my bum? How DARE I want something more than a sedentary lifestyle? But I did. I dared to challenge myself to be a better me than a day before; I did this every single day until I started to notice the change. Let me tell you the change is addictive. You are gifted a higher level of energy to tackle the day and you have a better outlook on life as a whole. I knew that if I continued to do nothing about my health that it would spell trouble for me later down the road, possibly in the form of heart disease. That was my “why”; it was the reason why I decided to make the change so that I can live longer and appreciate life fuller. If you embark on your own journey for self-betterment, remember that your biggest opponent is staring right back at you in the mirror, that’s it. Believe in yourself that you can make a change. Each repetition makes you stronger – each stride you run makes you better. With each workout that you stick to in your schedule, you are better than the person you were yesterday. Just know these things because YOU have what it takes.

I’m just going to leave this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNQhuFL6CWg

Look at all this jazz!

Greetings and salutations dearest readers, mine. I hope all was well over this past weekend and that not too many people were upset by the Superbowl turnout! I personally enjoyed myself. At Pilarz apartment 402W, I had a small party for the occasion on Sunday with plentiful food, great company, and a refrigerator armed to the teeth with….beverages. I wanted the Broncos to win and I felt the good mojo coming all game long. It all started at the coin toss; I had called tails-Panthers and sure enough luck would have it that I was right. From then on out the entire game was smoothish sailing for the Broncos. Somewhere in-between the interceptions and mounting frustration on Cam Newton’s face, my roommate Bob, his girlfriend Kim, and myself cooked up a mountain of food for us to inhale alongside the…beverages… that we so heartily enjoyed! This massive feast included endless mozzarella sticks, numerous wings, and a big old pile of fried rice. Oh, just a wee bit of background, I am very much Chinese and yes, rice is a staple for every freaking meal; the carbs are glorious. Of course, the University of Scranton Programming Board also hosted their own Superbowl watching event that also had wings and mozz. sticks, but did they have ANY beverages? I don’t think so. Therefore, my party > their party; too bad, sorry not sorry 🙂 I’m writing for my readers, and I’m sure it’s quite entertaining to read about my strange ranting on various things from my [seemingly harmless] poking fun at USPB to my endless schedule that seems like David taking on Goliath.

Perfect segue!

Speaking of biblical stuffs, today was Ash Wednesday! Of course, me being the perfect angel and free of sin, I had accidentally slept in this morning and missed the mass to get my ashes. Lord knows I will utter so hard a prayer of forgiveness, quite literally! I have decided that for lent, I will give up all cheese. Now, I know what some of the readers may be thinking: that task is too hard. I say nay (as I often do during my  Student Government meetings when voting on bills, though I assure you I identify as more liberal)! Giving up cheese won’t be hard as long as I still have my two staples in life: 1. Rice, enough said, and 2…beverages… It won’t be that hard. On a different yet still biblical note, the analogy to the biblical tale of David and Goliath references my taking on the teaching assistant role and my role in research. You see, it’s true I’m only taking 16 credits this semester but all my free time has been filled with to-do lists that contain a lot of homework that I’m doing my best to stay on top of, as well as miscellaneous tasks that are loosely involved in research.

I don’t quite recall if I explained this in my last post but I am back working with Dr. Voltzow on snail histology. Basically, I will be looking at two different species of marine snails: Haliotis rufescens and Diodora aspera. They are commonly known as abalone and keyhole limpets, respectively. I will look at both of their gills. While the keyhole limpets’ gills look like two axes with leaflets extending off of the main axes, the abalones’ gills have the same setup except that the leaflets appear to be interconnected. Dr. Voltzow has looked into this phenomenon previously but not in close detail; she had only looked at the morphology rather than the cellular makeup. That’s where I come in. With my thirty plus decades of experience doing histology, I shall skillfully slice the snails gills up and mount them on slide, staining them with a Milligan trichrome stain to see the different types of cells that are present within the gills. Did I mention I’m only 22, to refute my “thirty plus years of experience”? Unfortunately that’s all I’ve got for you oh readers, mine. Remember: stay hungry [for knowledge], my friends. Until next time!

The one about TA and Judo

Hey all,

It has been a great start to the last semester! In recent news, I have picked up a teaching assistant (TA) position for comparative biomechanics, a course that I took two years ago. Things are a little rusty at this present time, and unfortunately in my infinite wisdom I threw away my old comparative biomechanics notebook so brushing up on it is impossible, but I think it will all come streaming back to me. Today was my second day TAing the course and I have been diligently taking notes in the back of the class so that I will have a complete set of notes to reference if I should have a need in the future. Truly, I forgot how fun this course was! Another recent happening occurred on Sunday right before I was supposed to start classes. I got an email from a department of which the name currently escapes me and it reminded me that I was still missing one credit of three gym courses that are mandatory for my graduation. Now, I know what some prospective students reading this are saying in their minds, “Forget that, I don’t want to have mandatory gym in my curriculum!” Nay I say to you! Be still your aching hearts and bellowing thoughts! Do not fear because my class, the class of 2016, was the last to have mandatory gym credits for graduation. However that does not mean gyms are no longer offered. It’s quite the contrary because gyms are still offered and they are incredibly fun. In my haste when I read this email, I signed up for the first available gym course that fit my schedule which happened to be judo. This course meets once a week on Monday from 5-7pm. I went to the first class and it was a really interesting and strangely humbling experience! At the start of every class, every student must bow when they greet the sensei. The sensei instructed us on proper etiquette and proper ways to sit. Seating is not so much part of formalities as bowing is, but it is rather for one’s own safety. For instance, if two people are sparring and one is thrown directly at seated person, the seated person could either have a bad bruise of a blown off leg, depending on whether or not they observed a safe seated position. I can’t wait for the next course!

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!