Thursday, May 22, 2014

time to ortho bend in Texas

Pathology is officially over. I feel like I’ve slain a monster. Yes, I’m exhausted and tired but the happy feeling that this class is finished makes me so giddy.

And I’m going to Dallas tomorrow! A long weekend without any dental stuff!

Not quite- I’m taking all my adjunctive orthodontics things to wire bend. (Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like!!!) Wire bending is actually kind of relaxing…  We’re going to go to coffee shops and Alex is going to study for her boards, I am going to be bending wires. Best weekend ever. I really hope ortho pliers are on TSA’s OK-to-fly list…

Oh and Dave made me this heart. In the center are double half-helices to tie it together! Ortho can be fun.

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When I was little, my aunt and I made an entire bracelet out of wires. It was from one of those DIY craft kits from Michael’s. (Was anyone else obsessed with this store? I swear every Michael’s store smelled the same AND I LOVED THAT SMELL.)

Maybe I’ll pick it up again. These DIY bracelets do look very cute.


I really like wire bending.(Residents tell me that this wire bending isn’t really what everyday orthodontics looks like though.) Well, it can be my hobby… like sitting next to dainty ladies with their knitting and me with my pliers/wires.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

last exam for path. turning 25.

We have one exam left for pathology. And it happens to be on my 25th birthday!!! In conversation, Alex reminded me: “Didn’t you have a 25 before 25 list somewhere?” Yes, I did… Maybe I was a little too ambitious. ;)

As we’re chatting, we’re both very conscious of time. I know I’m glancing at my watch to make sure I don’t go over my allotted break of 15 minutes. Alex has her USMLE Step 1 for med school mid-June and me my final pathology exam aka the last shebang to end the didactic portion of my dental education.

Past two years: studying everywhere. All the time.

Like when Sharon was waiting for her surgery & we were reviewing Perio for our exam until the moment she got wheeled in… (we also watched the Dark Horse music video in the room before going downstairs & it was so bizarre/funny/regal.)

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In a way, finishing up Pathology & turning 25 will be a huge life milestone. I keep joking that I’m turning 30 (“round it up and I’m 30!!”). It hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be twenty-five. My current life is not how I envisioned myself at 25. For one, I genuinely thought I would have two publications in Nature & be teaching an undergraduate cell biology class in heels. Instead I have this:


And I love my life just the way it is. Seeing dear fourth years graduate has been bittersweet but ohmygosh, I’m going to be there one day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

our efforts in an endeavor

My darling friend Enstin (who I’ve featured on this blog) sent me this post from her blog Pigeons & Loquats this week, articulating something we’ve been discussing for a few weeks. In context of life, why do we fixate on grades so much? Why do we judge our entire selves based on this one narrow aspect of our lives? 

Enstin’s made sense of my jumbled thoughts.

- We form an attachment to external rewards for validation.
- If we fail in earning these external rewards, we interpret it as intrinsic failure.
- We do not recognize external rewards have factors that are out of our control.

“Self-blame results when we forget that other factors often play a part in the results and unforeseen life events happen, overhauling carefully laid plans.”



Juliana messaged me this a while back and I’ve since put it on a sticky on my laptop:

“Grad school is rough and there's no sugar coating how difficult it is. You have long hours of work and right now the only thing we have are grades to tell us our worth. We get compared and are made to think our grades matter. It gives us a hard punch in our self esteem.”

And it is precisely because there are external factors at play. You don’t get a report card with an asterisk noting: “ *tried her best but had a family emergency this week.” So stuff happens OUT of your control: You get sick. You skip one class and there are ten questions from that single lecture. There are ten mix-and-match questions and you suck at those. Family emergencies happen.

Looking through the archives, I’ve talked about this before here on the blog: this prayer and what dental school isn’t. When I forget these things, I’m surrounded by people who never fail to remind me. This message from someone made me smile so much.

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Plus a last reminder from Enstin: “Our efforts in an endeavor are worthwhile.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

18 months with braces!

My friend Dave posted this picture on my facebook, writing “This happy snake with braces reminded me of you.” I died looking at this picture. First of all, who makes these things? Second of all, thanks? But Dave looks so handsome in his white coat in his profile picture that I can’t be mad at him.


Today is a BIG day because I’ve had braces for 18 months as of this afternoon. Happy braces anniversary to me!!! We got our orthodontics lab kits last week and I have no idea what these are called. We had to check off a list to confirm we received everything and I was like, “four pliers?….”

ortho time

18 months. It’s double the time it takes to create a child!!! Okay, my mind is in mommy-mode with new puppies, new mothers, and Mother’s day today. Here’s another fun time analogy:


Love this from the Daily Pennsylvanian, by Hannah Rosenfeld.

Friday, May 9, 2014

dental school life pictures

Told you! This painting is everywhere for us dental school folks.2014-05-05 20.22.52

The fourth years are graduating from dental school! They are going to be Penn dentists with DMD’s after their names!!!! (click on the link to find a Penn alum dentist near you!) 2014-05-08 18.02.26

And soon enough..jtmay

You knew that was coming. Even our president approves of this meme.

I’m slowly shaping up my summer! We have the NBDE Boards Part 1. 400 questions, 8 hours at Prometric Testing Center. BRING IT ON.


Loving the weather, loving the beautiful West Philly neighborhood. brunch wl

I’m excited to be sticking around this place next year too. Center City life was tempting, but there are still many places around this block I want to explore.

Off to school! Today we only have one class. Then lunch with my hard-working dentist-cheese.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Broad Street Run 2014.

Is there a better place to live than Philly? This weekend’s Broad Street Run made me fall in LOVE with Philadelphia all over again.


The entire race takes place on Broad Street running North to South. The course passes by residential areas and Philly neighbors came out and sat on their porches to cheer for us. It was so wonderful. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time.



I love that it’s a Philly tradition and that the race takes place in early spring. I absolutely love running in the cold so I enjoyed training through the winter. The weather was cool and breezy day of the race; I didn’t pass out in a pool of sweat on Broad and Lombard. ;)


The race itself was pretty crowded too. I mean, 40,000 runners ran this race. I found someone to chase for a while then somebody else for another bit.

Half-marathons/10-milers are the perfect racing distance for me. The past ten weeks I’ve trained hard and consistently- but doably with my dental school schedule. The day of the race, I kept remembering all those moments I persevered through training: in the rain in Houston running to Rice, running in the snow with pedestrians cheering me on, and getting to the bridge only to find it frozen over. I ran a 1:38. My A-goal was 1:35 which, considering my bathroom break, I am happy with. I am itching to sign up for the next big race- maybe a fun one.

- Did you see this hilarious signs? “Worst parade ever”.
- Definitely learned Rule #5 the hard way: I stayed in my corral for 30 minutes before starting. Then I had to take a detour at mile 3 for a bathroom break for an entire song and a half.

What’s the best “fun” race you’ve ran? I want to do a color run or a zombie run next!

bring on the summer

I know it’s only early May, but can I dream about this summer please? Besides starting clinic & rocking my NBDE Part 1 exam, I want to do the following:


I made most of them Philly-specific. My friends who are graduating have been saying things like, “I’d been meaning to do X… but now I’m graduating next week.”

Had the loveliest conversation with a friend this evening where the theme was “TREAT YO’SELF!”. I’ve been working hard in dental school all year. I think this summer I’ll indulge in sunshine and relaxation.

What are you looking forward to this summer?
What’s something you MUST do in your city before graduating?