Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Personal Statement

One of the requirements for the dental school application is a one-page personal statement. Here is the first draft I wrote this week.
(Positive) Feedback encouraged! Or any feedback actually....

Personal Statement


With a background in psychology, and several biology courses under my belt, I could present a lengthy lecture about the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response when experiencing stress. From personal experience, however, I can tell you that some people are wired for fighting, others more prone to flight. As for me? I’m one of the latter. If I sense fear or failure, I bolt. As a child, if my Monopoly thimble was creeping up on a row of hotels and my bank account was dwindling, my parents still recall the dramatic moments of me throwing the game board onto the floor and running upstairs to cry. I never take personal failure lightly, so I flee at the first sign of it. How does this relate to dental school? Well, physics and chemistry were never my strongest subjects, and my once-flawless plan of attending dental school began to crumble before my eyes when I realized that it wasn’t going to fall into my lap. Better to feign disinterest, pretending that I never wanted to become a dentist, rather than trying and failing. So at the first sign of struggle—Chemistry 101—I decided to flee.
After taking a psychology class and stumbling upon my forte, I decided to switch my major from biology to psychology—the path of least resistance. As a psychology major, I was able to focus on pursuing a degree, and since it required somewhat less mental effort, I allowed myself to pursue numerous other endeavors. After studying abroad in Honduras, I began pouring days, weeks, and then months of time into working with Hope for Honduran Children foundation. I joined a sorority and began working with the philanthropy committee. I took classes of personal interest, such as sculpture, business, and golf. I began investing twenty hours a week to my part-time job, participating in many community outreach programs, volunteering excessively, and taking on leadership roles.
            To anyone on the outside, I was a stellar student with countless extracurriculars, but on the inside, I felt like a failure. When it came time to graduate, I had a B.A. in Psychology and a dying dream of becoming a dentist. Looking back, I felt thankful to have had numerous opportunities to study abroad, participate in community service, and achieve a top-notch liberal arts education, but I was equally disappointed that I had not kept focus on my original plan of going to dental school. Fleeing, in hindsight, had been the wrong move.  
            J.K. Rowling once said “ It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default." Working as a bank teller post-graduation, I was unfulfilled and unsatisfied with where my choices had led me. I began talking to dentists about their profession and began to explore my options. I have worked alongside dentists on medical brigades in the rural, poverty-stricken areas of Honduras, and I have also shadowed in the familiar office setting as well. I have always admired dentists’ commitment to their
patients’ health, the relationships that are formed over the years, and the professional autonomy that working in a private practice offers. Last year, I signed up for ASDA newsletters, so that I could be more informed about dentistry and gain some additional insight. Other dental options interest me as well, such as the career opportunities in research or academics. Dentistry encompasses all of my passions, so I finally decided to put up a fight.
            Leaving my full-time position at the bank, sacrificing my financial stability, and heading back to school to complete my pre-requisites for dentistry was one of the more difficult decisions of my life, yet it was also the most sensible decision I’ve ever made. With age comes wisdom, and I went back to school at UNC-Chapel Hill feeling much more goal-oriented than I did as an undergraduate at Elon. This time around, I was prepared for battle, and surprisingly, I actually enjoyed my chemistry classes. Thankfully, my previous work experiences and my academic studies have equipped me with a well-rounded perspective and a vast array of knowledge that will be invaluable to a future career in dentistry. While I once thought I was choosing the path of least resistance, I’ve come to realize that I’ve actually chosen the path of self-awareness—a much longer, more scenic route indeed. I’m finally facing my fears and following my dream. All caution to the wind.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

10 Things You May Not Have Known About Me

I'm somewhat of a bipolar blogger, as you may have realized. Most bloggers choose a topic (i.e. food) and then focus their blog around said topic. Me? I may have confused you. I am often posting Christianity references and the next day documenting my day at Beerfest. One day I'm referencing my service trips to Honduras and the next day I'm voicing my steadfast Republican views.

I recently began looking at my blog stats and have noticed that I have approximately 500 blog visitors per month. As much as that excites me, at the same time I find it extremely nerve-wracking! How many people am I offending with what I write? How many people am I entertaining? How many people actually know me and how many are complete strangers?

If you read my blog on a semi-regular basis, you are likely aware of the following: I am a Christian. I'm obsessed with my dog. My interests include reading, cooking, politics, and a slew of other things. I want to be a dentist. My boyfriend Brian is my best friend, and he often makes an appearance in my blog posts.

But what don't  you know? It was extremely hard, but I came up with 10 things.

1. I despise Katie Couric. I can respect her, yes, but I don't have to like her.

2. The website I visit most often is dictionary.com.

3. A profound memory/life lesson of morals: When I was in high school, my friend Erin and I were on a beach trip with her family. We had just left the drugstore and were walking to the car when her dad turned around and announced that the clerk had forgotten to charge him for a toothbrush. He went back inside to pay for the toothbrush, and I'm sure he had no idea the impact that his decision had on me. It's an incident I've never forgotten.

4. I'm always worried about something. The person I worry about the most? My boyfriend.
His safety, his health, his happiness, his job, and mostly just his safety.

5. I wrote in my journal practically everyday for two years beginning January 1, 2008. It documented almost every thought, action, and emotion. A few months ago, I threw the journal in the trashcan.

6. My favorite candle is Fresh Cut Roses.

7. I have three stuffed animals that still sit on my bed to this very day--one from Erin, one from Marykathryn, and one from Mollie and Megan. They were birthday presents when I was in fourth grade, and they are still in perfect condition, only Eeyore has lost his tail.

8. I hate change. But maybe you already knew that?

9. I'm taking a couple months off at the end of the summer--August and September. I'm planning to get a lot of "me" time during those weeks.

10. I need to leave for class in ten minutes, yet I'm still in my pajamas drinking coffee. Oh blog, how I love you :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

On My Mind

I finally finished my Power of a Praying Woman Bible study last week. I have been doing the study on a semi-daily basis since March!

A verse I read last week that has stuck with me and been on my mind everyday since:

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5


Gentleness is definitely not one of my strengths, but something I am passionate about working on. Though this may be a surprise to some of you (or not a surprise to many of you), I often struggle with having an arrogant attitude, a harsh tone, and a negative outlook on things. Often, my personality is quite the opposite of a gentle demeanor.

This is something I'm committing myself to working on.
I'm making the conscious effort to be more gentle...for at least 3 weeks out of every month.  :-)

Case of the Mondays

Monday...you've arrived.

I have a feeling this will be a long week, as July Fourth weekend is fast approaching.

Remember last July 4th? I don't think this year will be quite as entertaining, but I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend spent with friends (and an organic chemistry textbook).

My weekend was fairly unproductive, in the best kind of way.

The highs of the weekend:
Spending some quality time with Brian. It had been awhile!
Going to church/Erin's bridal shower
Finishing my Read Between the Wines book for this month

The lows of the weekend:
Getting sunburn on my face!

Best weekend quote:
Engaged after five months of dating, a girl who's blog I follow made the following statement:
"We've been together a whole five months, and during these five months, we have let the love in!"
Let the love in!....hilarious. Sappy romance = best entertainment ever.

I vow to have a productive week. My creative brain cells have had a long break, as have all other brain cells.

Expect a blog post everyday. Expect something to be baked. And expect a personal essay for dental school to be shared.

Stay tuned :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Everything

Last weekend at the pool, our friend Brandon introduced me to his friends as "Strawberry's girlfriend."

The response from his friend: "Is that why your beach towel is covered in strawberries?"

Ok, it's true that I have a strawberry-themed beach towel, but I had this towel before I started dating Brian.

Nobody believed me.

Granted, it's also true that after I started dating Brian, I wanted strawberry everything.

Strawberry clothing. Strawberry coffee mugs. You name it!

I even started keeping a "Strawberry" folder in my IPhoto to store my strawberry finds.

To share a few...

Strawberry wallpaper. Yes, please.


Strawberry cookies. Precious!


Strawberry balloons. I love it.


And the strawberry coffee mug that I want...


Oh, and here's me at age three-- sporting the strawberries.


All for now.
Hope you have a berry good day :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Five Love Languages

Bored one night last week, I picked up a copy of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman from my parents' book shelf. The tag line for this bestseller was "How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to your Mate."

Self-help and psychology-based books always have a way of roping me in.

The Five Love Languages argues that every person "speaks" a primary language of love that often differs from the language of their partner.

  • Quality Time
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
The key to success is recognizing which of these means the most to your partner, and which one means the most to you.

The book is chock full of other interesting things as well....

"Long-range studies on the 'in love' phenomenon have concluded that the average life span of romantic love is two years."

Brian and I have been dating just shy of two years. 

"When the 'in love' phase ends, we become keenly aware of our partner's flaws. We recognize that many of their traits are irritating. The hurt, anger, harsh words, and criticisms skyrocket."

Our "in love" phase must have been extremely short lived. I recognized that Brian was flawed ages ago. 

My advice: If you and your partner are hoping to speed up this "in love" phase and demolish any semblance of romance, I strongly suggest that one of you be in charge of driving while the other be in charge of using the GPS. 

If you put Brian and I in a car with a TomTom, my GPS incompetence suddenly becomes my biggest flaw. Trying to type in a street name on that keyboard is close to impossible, and when you need to delete a letter and hit "BACK," suddenly your BACK to square one and it's asking you to select a State/Country. Regardless that we may have 100 miles to go before our next turn, suddenly it is of dire urgency to Brian that I enter the address into the TomTom at lightening speed. Brian becomes frustrated at my inabilities and therefore I become infuriated. 
Often when driving, Brian seems to be more angry at me for not knowing when to turn than at the fact that the GPS is saying "In 200 yards, turn right." How am I supposed to know how far 200 yards is?! In my opinion, the GPS is the one of the world's best romance quenchers. 

Other interesting things to note...

"Many people get married because they feel 'in love.' When the feelings fade (which they will), people often begin to harbor resentment towards their spouse and live miserable lives, or they chose a 'better' option: divorce." 

40% of first marriages end in divorce. 
60% of second marriages end in divorce. 
75% of third marriages end in divorce.

The prospect of a happier marriage the second and third time around is not substantial. It's against the odds. 

You may not choose to fall in love, but you must choose to stay in love. 

Love involves "an act of the will and requires discipline." True love is making the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person. It does not require the euphoria of "love" and, in fact, it does not begin until the "in love" experience has run its course. 

Perhaps there is some truth in the argument that relationships will benefit by learning your partner's love language and trying to speak their language when demonstrating your love towards them. 
Maybe, maybe not. 
But either way, it's a good read and I would recommend this book for anyone. Although, I pretty much just summed the whole thing up.

Personally, I would argue that the high rate of failed marriages has a lot to do with the fact that people often get married with unrealistic expectations. Also, more importantly, society has completely abandoned the biblical standards for what a marriage should look like. 

Maybe I'll write my own book about marriage and relationships.

I swear, you'd think I could solve all the world's problems.
Single-handed.  ;-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yummy Yummy Pork Tacos

Going along with the food theme of this week, I thought I'd share with you my recipe for yummy pork....



Which can then be made into yummy tacos....


Yummy Yummy Pork Tacos.

For the pork: I placed a 2 lb. pork shoulder in the slow cooker with a few basil leaves and a cinnamon stick. Using a recipe adapted from Food Network, I added one can of sliced chilies (I used a mix of jalapenos and ancho chilies), four chipotles in adobo sauce, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 spoonful minced garlic, and 1/2 white onion (roughly chopped) to a blender to make the sauce. After blending, I cooked the sauce on the stove top for a few minutes, and then added one can of chicken broth. I kept the sauce on the stove for about ten minutes, before pouring it over the pork. 
The pork stayed in the slow-cooker on LOW for approximately 8 hours. 

For the tacos: Drain the meat, warm your tortillas, and choose your toppings.

I used cheese, salsa, and avocado to garnish the tacos


Next comes the best part....
devouring tacos. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob

I may not be a gourmet chef, but last summer I was able to master corn on the cob. Now that summer has rolled back around, I broke out my no-fail method last night, and Brian and I enjoyed corn on the cob with our pork tacos.

I'm convinced that this method results in corn on the cob that is better than anything boiled on the stove or cooked on the grill.

Step 1: Tear the husk and strings off the cob.


Step 2: Melt butter. If your me, a lot of butter. I use approximately 1 tbsp/2 cobs.

Step 3: Set up your station. Place each corn cob on an aluminum foil square. Drizzle butter onto each cob. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and any seasoning that you prefer. I usually use garlic salt/powder. Last night, to accompany the taco theme, I used cajun seasoning. 




Step 4: Once the corn is seasoned, massage the seasonings and butter onto the whole cob to cover it. Your hands will be a buttery mess!

Step 5: Wrap in the foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour on 375 degrees.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Holy Canolli

Or maybe Holy Coffee would be more accurate?

When I came across a post from The Pioneer Woman yesterday that involved pouring sweetened condensed milk into a glass of ice coffee, I almost died.

Brilliant, this woman.

Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

Lately, my blog reading has taken a backseat to my organic chemistry class. Actually, everything has taken a backseat to my organic chemistry class. I was thrilled yesterday to get back into my blog reading frenzy and more thrilled to see that The Pioneer Woman had written this post:

Perfect Iced Coffee

I spent about one minute trying to decide if she was using the word "perfect" as an adjective or a verb. It's different, ya know, the pronunciation of the two. So I quietly pondered this great mystery, and then I moved on.

The reason I was so excited to see this post is because I knew that The Pioneer Woman, who does everything at home, must be having the same difficulty I have when it comes to good homemade iced coffee. When you pour hot coffee into a glass of ice, you end up with a watered down drink. Not good.

While I've always preferred hot coffee, with the exception of those new Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccinos, Brian always requests iced coffee instead. I've even tried placing a cup of coffee in the freezer to cool it down for a half hour so that it won't melt the ice, which is my best effort so far.

Today, I will be trying this new method for making iced coffee concoctions. And while it definitely involves a lot more work (over eight hours of coffee steeping), I think the end result will be well worth it.

Side note-
When reading the iced coffee post, I had a bout of Drink Dispenser envy.
If you've never suffered from Drink Dispenser envy (which I'll admit I haven't until yesterday), stay away from this site: Potter Barn Drink Dispensers.

Cutest things ever. Definitely something The Hostess with the Mostess has plenty of.
Just thought I'd share :-)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Noddin' My Head Like Yeah

Wrapped up my Organic Chemistry class this morning.

Not my best showing ever, but I've never had any aspirations to be an organic chemist. Life goes on.
Right on to Organic Chemistry II...starting Thursday. Yuck.

To say that the past five weeks have been the most stressful weeks of my life may or may not be an accurate statement. But either way, it's been friggin' hard.

And while I have a mile long to-do list that involves filling out application materials, contacting and shadowing dentists, requesting transcipts, and reviewing for the DAT...

I think I'm gonna relax for a day (or two).

Maybe cook...read....paint my nails...take long walks with Colby...and perhaps have a Miley Cyrus jam sesh in my car with the windows rolled down.

Then, back to reality.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"There's always gonna be another mountain. I'm always gonna wanna make it move."
-Miley Cyrus

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
-Jesus (Matthew 17:20-21)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Words from the Wise

Who do you go to for good advice?

For me, I usually go to my boyfriend, my parents, or my sister.

My boyfriend, in my eyes, can solve all the world's problems.
My parents can help me solve all my boyfriend problems.
And my sister will always offer to listen to my boyfriend/parent problems.

It's nice having them around.

This past week has been eye-opening for me in seeing the torment that teenagers often put their parents through. And eye-opening that, in no time at all, these once-teenagers will be parents themselves and will be repeating the wisdom of their parents to their own children.
Full circle.

I thought today I would share some of my favorite words of wisdom with you here on the blog. Feel free to comment and share some of your own personal favorites!

"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it."
"Avoid complaining about your significant other to your friends."
"Only live within your means."
"Pick your battles."
"Don't waste your time dating someone you wouldn't marry."
"Live your life in a way that, if watched on tape, you wouldn't be ashamed."
"Dress classy, not trashy."
"You'll never please everyone. Accept it and move on."
"Never be ashamed to walk away from a situation that makes you uncomfortable."
"When you get to the end of your life, the only thing that will matter to you is your family."


And my own personal piece of advice....
Never eat at Golden Corral. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon

After getting home from class, I let Colby out into the yard for a while to meander. 

When I returned later to retrieve her off the porch, her nose and mouth were covered in dirt.

Our conversation went something as follows:


 Me: Colby, why is there dirt all over your face?


 Colby: Dirt on my face?


Me: (Upon seeing the huge hole in the backyard) COLBY!!!


Colby: I didn't do it.

Colby: It wasn't me, I swear. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Little Fishes, Big Responsibility

I've always had eyes bigger than my stomach. Ideas bigger than reality. And a mouth bigger than my ears.

I just can't help it.

I remember, years ago, telling my sister that when I am older and living in my dream house

<--------------(this house here)
I was going to have a fish tank in my kitchen.

Not just any fish tank. 
I was going to have a custom tank built into the wall between the counter top and the cabinets. You know that strip of wall I'm talking about? Yep. All tank. Going the entire length of the kitchen counter on two walls. 

Of course, at the time of this brilliant idea, I had a sole beta fish living in a bowl upstairs that I would feed a few fish flakes before going to bed at night, if I remembered.

That's all you have to do to take care of fish, right?

Just ask my boyfriend. 
Or better yet, ask him about his new device that sends him text messages about the temperature, pH, and conditions of his tank on a regular basis. 
Ask about the hours he spends changing the water and testing the water. 
Or about building a screen top so that one of the fish doesn't take a suicidal leap out of the tank.
Or about the research that goes into buying fish that are compatible with each other.
Or about the time and money you put into a fish, only for it to often die a few days later.

Sheesh

Lucky for me I have a boyfriend who will do all this work, while I sit and "ooo" and "ahhh" over the little fishes. And whenever I sense that I'm about to be recruited for helping, I make a quiet exit out of the room. 

So about my really awesome fish tank idea: it's still a go. 
Only now I'm need an another ingenious idea: how to convince Brian to make it happen. 


Brian's Other Love

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Goals

My primary goal for June is that I can make it through the month without having a complete mental breakdown and losing another ten pounds. I've been sick to my stomach for two weeks due to stress. Ew.

June already? Geez.

Here goes it...

Goals for June
- Survive Organic Chemistry
-Finish all of the dental application possible
-Decide on what my Plan B will be when Plan A (dental school) is shot to hell.

And that's all folks...