chasing my calling

First job.

Well, yes: it has been a long time since I updated this blog. It is not that I forgot about it–I just had nothing, really, to say.

My externship has been over for a month now, and I was pinned (our version of graduating) a week later. The day after that, I had two interviews; one at the office where I did my externship, and one at an office a few streets away. Truth be told, I was hoping slightly more for the second office. The second office has two MAs for every LVN, whereas I would be the only MA at the first. It is not that the nurses are mean or clique-y, really; I just do no like the thought of being the only one of anything, anywhere. Also, I like the idea of “starting over” in a new office–this office has seen me freak out over small mistakes (or nothing at all), and for some reason I wanted to be somewhere where I am known as the MA, not the student. Not to mention this other office seems to allow more for uniforms (not coordinated daily, allows nail polish).

This is not to say, however, I am unhappy that I got the job at the first office. I am thankful just to be employed, let alone with a great company such as this clinic, not to mention already being familiar with the office and everyone in it. It is very near a gym I could frequent, as well as two or three (!!!) grocery stores at which I could shop, so it all works out rather perfectly, in the end. The story of how I found out is funny, in a way. My phone died, and the second I plugged it back in and turned it back on, the HR department for the hospital was calling…!

I take the certification exam on September 12th. I have been studying here and there, but now I should make a real effort, and start taking practice exams.

Earlier tonight, I re-read a piece of writing I wrote many years ago. I was bored and sat down to write something random to a now-ex of mine. It has become one of my favourite pieces. I am amazed at what I created. I am even more amazed that I wrote it with no forethought–something so amazing came out in one shot, with no real trying. I used to write a story a day. I really should start this again. Maybe not write that much, but writing with regular frequency.

I really love when I feel so optimistic about the future.

Halfway through the externship.

I have settled into a routine of sorts over the past couple of weeks. I am in school half of a (work)day, leave to drive to my externship site, eat lunch while reading, then work for the rest of the day. At the externship I am a floater, rooming patients and cleaning rooms for all providers working in the clinic that day (the other clinical staff are normally assigned to one provider). I know some time soon I will be trained on giving injections, which is a new thing for the clinic, but I do not know when that will be.

I did have one day in the lab, watching as the lab tech gathered blood and other bodily fluids for screenings and diagnostic tests. This was the most interesting day for me, perhaps forever cementing the idea that I will always miss doing ‘lab’ things. Being in the lab for a day also proved one of my major complaints at the site: it feels like I am working on an assembly line. I rarely see the providers during the day–I think if I were not wearing a badge and patch with my name, declaring me a student, they would have no clue who I was. When I worked in the lab I saw the nurses that comprise the clinical staff only in passing; when I work with the nurses I only see the lab tech if she has nothing to do and hangs out in the nurses’ bay. The entire clinic seemed like a different place that day, and I only moved around the corner. I know I work in a large, busy clinic and such compartmentalisation makes sense, but it is blanking, so to speak. I feel more like a part of a machine, rather than part of a team, and I have yet to feel like I am doing anything for the patients. Was I expecting too much? Or am I too impatient to move on?

To counteract that, however, I have also noticed parents/caregivers coming in with cards and gifts for specific employees for being there for their children. If I fail to first introduce myself as a student, parents and patients alike get upset, thinking their favourite nurse has left or has the day off. Providers and clinical staff are often still talking to patients and their family about everything under the sun long after their appointments are over. Is it possible I just need experience–to “grow up” with these families?

I cannot tell if and how well I am fitting in at the clinic. I get the feeling that I am “just” the student to them. They have said they get a lot of externs, so perhaps I am. I want to be hired there, so it gives me pause. Perhaps I just do not fit in. Surprisingly, I would be able to work there just fine even if I never really fit in. I do not get any hostility or active disliking, just the feeling that I am not ‘one of them’.

I am about a month shy of being done. I am happy that I got through. I am happy that I am able to do this work.

First week of externship.

Well, I tried to make this post on Friday, but WordPress, for some reason, decided to publish it instead of saving it as a draft like I instructed. Boo!

Anyway, Friday did wrap up my first week at the externship site. It is a busy practice, though I am told that it has been slow because two of the providers are on vacation. I still cannot get over that. We run around for hours straight and that is considered slow.

For the first six weeks of my externship, I am supposed to work from 1330 until whenever they let me go on Monday through Thursday. Fridays I am supposed to work from 0800 until they let me go. I should be averaging twenty hours a week, but I do not think this will happen.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday shadowing LVNs. There are no medical assistants in this facility, which I was told was purely coincidence, but makes me nervous nonetheless. My professor warned me that she thought I am too slow for facilities like this, and I spent Tuesday convinced she was right. I could keep up with the pace of the supervisor I was following (which everyone jokes about, because she pretty much runs everywhere), but was completely lost in everything she was doing. But by Wednesday I everything made sense.

Thursday I was tasked with calling patients to the back and getting some vital signs. I felt so clumsy and forgetful. For some reason I was having issues with the pediatric blood pressure cuff, which popped off the patient’s arm every time I had to use it. I felt like I was doing an awful job, but the nurses seemed pleased.

Friday I was responsible for calling all the patients, rooming most of them, getting their vital signs, and cleaning some of the rooms between visits. I was left alone to do this about half the time. I was better with the pediatric blood pressure cuff, though I managed to mess up one patient’s height and weight. Luckily this happened right before the last patient of the day, or else I might have slowed up too much trying to ensure I do not do it again. I also interacted with patients and their families more, something I did not feel comfortable doing. I need to work on instructing children; for example, if I tell them to get off the scale and turn their back to the wall so I can get their height, they try to do it in one step instead of two. I also had to get head circumference and length for babies, and I was so slow in doing that because I was so scared to maneuver babies’ bodies around.

A couple people in the office do not seem to like me there at all. This makes me incredibly nervous because it makes me wonder who is only pretending to like me, and if I am doing a good job, or if I am annoying people,or if they just dislike me because I am a student/brand new to the office. I try to make sure I talk softly enough and stay out of everyone’s way, which makes me even more awkward. Surprisingly, this is the only thing that makes me nervous about going in tomorrow. Obviously, this is something I will have to get used to if I want to stay in healthcare.

The most striking thing is that I have hardly any interaction with the providers, and minimal interaction with the front office staff. I have seen all of the providers walking in the hallways, but none have asked me who I am or introduced themselves. What each department of the clinic does could be done independently of one another, to the point that most of the time representatives see each other only incidentally and could be identified not by face and personal knowledge of each person, but by uniform. When I think about it, it seems as though this is normal operating procedure and I just had not noticed it before. It strikes me as a little cold, however, especially hearing stories of smaller clinics where my classmates are offered to sit in or participate in procedures by their providers, or have become a fixture of the office within the week. I could be gone tomorrow and only a few people of the office would know who I was, why I was there, and that I did not show up. Again, it is obvious that I will have to get used to this if I want to achieve my goals.

It seems as though this externship will fly by. I feel like I have picked up plenty of information in my first week, so I am looking forward to seeing what else I will learn and perfect in the next two months.

End of semester 2.

I wanted to update before now, but I forced myself to wait for this day. This morning I took the last final of the semester. While we do have a meeting tomorrow to discuss our externships, I consider the semester officially over.

I doubt I will make all As this semester like I did last semester and plan to do with our summer classes. I feel disturbingly disappointed about this. Part of it has to do with how unhappy I was with the program this semester, as if I am owed good grades for getting through. Part has to do with the thought that if I cannot do this, then I cannot move on. Actually, I just checked my grades and I made all As! My confidence is intact and I do not feel the semester has been a miserable failure! Yay!

I managed to get an externship at a local pediatric clinic, which is where I have always wanted to go. My professor commented once that I would not survive there because I was too slow (which cannot be further from the truth), but I think I will be happy there. Over the break I have to go to some mystery place to be trained on the computer system the clinic uses, but otherwise I plan for my break to be spent cleaning–my room has gotten downright embarrassing over the semester–and reading.

I feel like this blog needs a bit more focus. I already know I will not do reviews, because I suck at those. I consider myself always at the ready to discuss matters dealing with politics or anything remotely social, but for some reason I have not come across anything worth writing a blog over. Quick opinions?

1. Obama says he supports same-sex marriage. This makes me happy, naturally. I could not care less that it “took him four years”. Since when does it matter how long it took someone to come around to such opinions? He did not believe in same sex marriage four years ago and does now. That is what matters. I would have been more dismayed to know that after four years of thinking his opinion hadn’t changed at all, or that his opinion had gotten more regressive.
1a. Obama has always been a centrist. I do not understand why people act like he is some failed liberal. Do you want to meet a failed liberal presidential candidate? Talk to Romney. And sometimes I cannot tell if liberal-minded distrust of Obama is any different than the conservative-minded.
2. Thirty-nine percent of voters in North Carolina voted against Amendment One. While it is nowhere near a majority, that group is not ignorable. The backlash against the south given the voting in one state makes no sense and it ignores how hard liberals in these areas work. It ignores, also, the bigotry that exists outside of the south. It is not like I am trying to say that, in terms of equality, the middle of the country is as progressive as the edges. But I am saying it is shitty to paint an entire population of people with such broad strokes while ignoring that one’s own groups have the same issues. Just pretend I said it more eloquently.

Anyway. I am not sure what changes I want to make with this blog. There is not yet much to write about, being a homebody still in a vocational program in the most boring suburbs ever and no time or money to go do big-city things in the nearest big city. (Speaking of, the race distribution maps from the 2010 census have been made and posted! The sociologist in me is squealing with delight.) I know I want to keep it, but I am not sure how to make it better right now.

Sticks and buckets.

We are sticking one another every day now. In the lab class, we are practicing venipuncture. I am good for everything with standard venipuncture except switching tubes, where I pull up on the needle and make it come out–along with a giant spurt of blood. I have not been as successful trying with a butterfly needle and the thought of taking blood by syringe scares me. I am, unfortunately, not a good patient. I cannot recall why, but I used to have to have blood taken from me regularly. I have deep, weak veins, I am always cold and dehydrated, and I was terrified of the needle, so both my arms have too much scar tissue to be used for drawing blood. I feel bad for my classmates who get stuck with me (that seems like a bit of a pun) because I doubt anyone will be successful. I do volunteer for people to practice their butterfly technique with me, because I am used to it.

In this same lab class we have to do between two and four capillary punctures every Monday (in addition to venipuncture). I have gotten really good at minimising the pain of the lancet and also getting an adequate amount of blood for whatever tests we are running.

In our pharmacology class, we are practicing injecting water into our bodies. I have a knack for this, apparently. I have not been nervous wielding these needles (whereas I get so nervous I feel a little nauseated and dizzy when it comes to drawing blood) and I have yet to make anyone yelp or cry from pain. In fact, my partners only realise I am done when they see me pushing the safety device on the needle. Next week we are going to be practicing intradermal injections, which is what one gets when they are being tested for TB. I have fears I will massively fuck it up.

I do not like all the needlework we are having to do. My fingers, hands, and left arm (as I absolutely refuse to let anyone try in my right arm) are covered in bruises, sore spots, and puncture marks. They are not healing as quickly as they used to, but that may be due to my anemia. One girl has a big bruise from another student making a mistake. We practiced on an inanimate object for injections, but not for venipuncture, something I disagree with wholeheartedly. The main thing is I feel it is too much to expect of our bodies, somehow. I wish we had done one of these classes last semester–pharmacology, perhaps, switched with the administrative class. If we had learned how to use needles last semester then we would be more confident this semester with venipuncture, and then we would not spend a month being stuck multiple times a day. As it is, we are all big balls of nervous energy.

April is usually a bad month for me, due to some memories. But since those things happened, ten years ago, worse things have happened and lately Aprils have not been terribly bad. My mood is not as chipper as before, but I have not been sad, per se. That must be progress. I am happy to report that I am not the same person at twenty-eight that I was at eighteen, and I like feeling like I am capable of letting go of something that drags me down.

The good thing is, despite the dip in mood, I am still creative. I have not sat down to actually write a story, but I have been diligently taking notes on stories I would like to write. I carry around a journal just for this purpose. I feel as silly as I thought I would feel doing this, becoming the sort of person who suddenly has an idea and scrambles to write it down, but I would rather that than to forget my ideas as soon as I have them. I had a big writing-shaped hole in my life. I am creative in other ways, too, but nothing makes me feel like me more than when I get to write.

Yesterday, I decided I need to come up with a bucket list. I doubt it would be unique–fly first class (I am not even sure why this appeals to me), visit x countries, learn y languages, do an assignment with MSF, et cetera. I believe this is the first time ever I felt truly alive and could have a future and do ‘cool’ things, and having the list would help me organise my life so that I could continue feeling alive and actually do ‘cool’ things. So far, I have:

  • learn to style my hair in different ways
  • learn to walk in stilettos
  • take up running again, especially as part of anti-zombie-horde training
  • American travel: the coasts, Alaska, and Hawai’i
  • non-American travel: where would I even begin? Anywhere. Everywhere.
  • learn more ASL, re-learn Spanish and Russian, plus pick up at least two new languages
  • be published
  • read one completed story in front of strangers
  • become a mid-level practitioner
  • do at least one assignment with MSF

Odd how that went in reverse order of importance to me. I hope I can look back on this in a few years, loving all that I accomplished and all that I will add to it.

Something like senioritis.

I realised the post from a week before last was a week too early shortly after publishing it. Oh, well. I was a little too excited, I suppose.

To counteract that jumping of the gun, now I am dragging my feet. I have papers to write, normal homework to do, and things to turn in. Feh, bleh, and sheh! I cannot get motivated to do anything.

That is okay this week, because we are on spring break. It ended, technically, yesterday, so I need to whip myself back into shape. I have no clue where my scrubs are and should find them and wash them if needed. My books and supplies are strewn about the house; I should remedy that, least of all to do homework and most of all so I will not be up at one in the morning Monday trying to put everything together. I have to take serious stock of groceries to make sure I actually have enough for lunch next week.

But I don’t wanna do any of that. The only thing that can hold my attention lately are books and the couple of stories I am trying (and very well succeeding, thanks) to write. It is rare for me, but I wish I did not have this obligation, just so I could have all the free time I want to sleep all day and be up all night, reading and writing and thinking and plotting. I usually hate having nothing to do and no real structure to my day. I think I have something like senioritis.

Next week will be our tenth week in school, which means only six left before the semester is over. Only six left before I have an idea of where I will be doing my externship. Even though we will have a couple of short classes in the summer, I consider the end of this semester to be the end of the program. I thought I would feel more anxiety about this, but for now I am excited. Surviving for six weeks is absolutely nothing, so to speak. The icing on the cake is that we get out early two days a week because the EKG class is over and done with.

What am I looking forward to most with graduating, hopefully working? Well, yes, money is always the answer. Besides that, though, I am looking forward to the free time. I will not have a job I have to bring home, or even think about outside of my shift. I will have time to do the things I want, and it will not be taken from me until I go to nursing school. I think this is amazing.

In my thinking about the future, I realised that I wanted to rush through everything. I do not think I do, anymore. I think I want to wait before going to grad school. I though about travel nursing, but I am not sure I want to wait until I am eligible to be a travel nurse, then doing the actual travel nursing, then going to grad school. I need time to slow down and, well, have my free time. There isn’t anything I have to put off until I am done, either–if I want to spend my free time being married or a mother, I can do all that, too. I cannot recall the last time I felt so excited about life.

Halfway through semester 2.

As the title says, today begins the eighth week of my second semester of CMA school. One of our classes, the EKG class, is over this Thursday (yippee! No more disrobing twice a week!). It marks quite a sense of running downhill for me.

The year is going by very fast, and I am grateful for it. The sooner we get to finals this semester, the sooner the summer semester starts, the sooner I start my externship, the sooner I graduate, the sooner, hopefully, I get a job. Each day seems so long, but we look up and two months, eight weekshalf the semester, have gone.

What frustrations we felt with our professor last semester seem amplified this semester. My biggest annoyance is her teaching style. She does not make up the Powerpoint presentations that she reads, word for word, in class–the textbook company does. She wastes our time trying to find videos relevant to the material–and many times fails to do so–or we are stuck watching the same videos over and over. She does not make up our exams–the textbook company does–which leaves me perplexed on why our exams are so short. They are often fewer than twenty questions long, which means each question carries close to ten points apiece, and since the wording is often unclear or there are many questions covering material we have not covered in class, it is far too easy to fail an exam. Even while doing procedures, she refers us to our books or supplemental material when we have questions. I would rather do some sort of apprenticeship, if my program is going to be self-taught to this degree. I am still passing, still making good grades, so I should be grateful, I guess.

That is not all, but it is all I feel like divulging about the program at this point.

We are at least doing somewhat interesting topics in class. Although it weirded me out having to pee in a cup and hand it to a classmate, urinalysis was pretty interesting. I would love to say I have completely healthy urine, but our dipsticks expired anywhere from two months to five years ago–so not the most accurate measure. I liked using the urinometer just because I got to spin the weighted stick. Easily amused, no? We have moved on to throat swabs, and I found out I am perfectly fine with the actual swabbing, but my gag reflex is really sensitive to the tongue depressor. Many of my classmates have very sensitive gag reflexes, so this portion will not be as fun; the thought of standing near someone making retching noises makes me a little nauseated.

We have gone on to actual dosage calculations in pharmacology. I suppose I am not the most excited about anatomy & physiology, but that is because it is barely more in depth than med terminology last semester. Then again, when I have to take it again to get into nursing school, where it will be more in depth, I am not sure I would find it fascinating, either. One of my hopefuls, though, does not require A&P because they want you to take their classes, which includes a gross anatomy lab! Everyone I know who has had to attend gross anatomy says it is actually pretty boring, but the thought still excites me.

We are going over microbiology and autoimmune diseases/the immune system in lab class. We go over these topics a lot, understandably, and I am still reminded of my wish to go back and pursue one of them, chiefly immunology. I can still recall sitting in my virology class and being fascinated by the acquired immune response to infection–the role of killer T-cells and MHC molecules and whatnot. I tend to say now that I thought I was interested in disease, and I am, but I realise now I am much more interested in the immune response to disease. I wonder if I would have been happier had I pursued that track more than my more humanitarian goals now.

The one downside to the year flying by is that I am very far behind on my reading. I am reading a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, but my goal of reading 700 pages a week is far from realised. And writing? Ha! I have not written anything creative in perhaps half a year, though I may be remembering this incorrectly. I need to sit and restructure my days so that they include everything I want to get done: school, homework, gym, reading, writing, and a little time left over to watch whatever series I am into at the moment (right now it is Doctor Who). I know I can squeeze all this into my days with some willpower and great time management skills. If I do not learn them now, I certainly will not survive nursing or grad school!

Getting into the swing of the second semester.

February is already around the corner. We started school on the seventeenth, and it feels like we are just reviewing a lot of stuff we learned last semester, which is frustrating. On top of, our A&P class seems to be a barely more in-depth med terminology class–which either means the A&P sucks or the med term was too in-depth, which makes me feel like we wasted money on taking med term. There is quite a bit of material this semester I already covered while I was studying microbiology, so that helps.

I know I am being whiny. For Mike’s sake, we started on microscopy today in lab procedures. Tomorrow we are starting with doing EKGs on one another. We are doing things!

It is dawning on me now that I have one more full semester and a short summer session to go; we will also be starting our externship during the summer semester and will be…externing? full-time by the end of the summer. After that, we are done. I can take the exam and become certified, and then I will be loosed on the world. Some of my classmates have jobs or have been guaranteed jobs already, because their family own a practice or because they know quite a few doctors who own practices. I feel like I need to be doing networking of my own, somehow, but I am not sure how. My first thought is to wait until it is closer to graduation and start schmoozing, no matter how awkward that feels. My second thought is to beg my classmates to drop my name to their employers.

There are some things I am not looking forward to this semester. In the lab procedures class, we have to do at least sixteen capillary punctures, eight Vacutainer punctures, four syringe punctures, and four butterfly punctures. I am fine with taking others’ blood; I am not looking forward to others taking mine. People can rarely get blood from me, enough that I panic a little when I see a needle meant to take my blood. Injections and piercings are fine, so I am not worried about us having to inject one another. My professor said I could be “practice” for hard sticks, but no. Oh HELL no. I set my foot down that two people can try and if it is not coming, it is not coming and no one else can touch me for the day.

I am also not particularly looking forward to the various lab exams, such as checking for strep throat or a UTI, or the glucose tolerance test. I am more terrified that I will be embarrassed because something is wrong and I didn’t know. But hell–I do not have insurance. Having free diagnostic testing should make me relieved, not scared.

I am also not looking forward to having EKGs performed on me, because it requires that I take off my scrub top. The girls will still be in sports bras, and we do get hospital gowns and drape sheets, but still, parts of my body I never let anyone see will be exposed. At least it is motivation to keep going to the gym…

This is all part of the glamourous life of living with anxiety.

What was I saying about too much review and not enough work? Tell that to the mountain of homework I must get started on. Until next time!

Did I make the right decision?

I am done with my first semester of medical assisting school. As I plan out 2012, I have begun to think about where I will be in a year, where I could have been, and how what I will do in 2012 will impact what I do in 2013 and beyond.

I know I should not dwell on how long it has taken me to get where I am, and how long it will take to get where I want to be. Yes, I am twenty-eight now, and I will be far into my thirties before I am done with school. Yes, I should have realised long before now what I want to do. Yes, it is unhealthy to dwell on these things. To be truthful, however, it is hard not to. Most people who want alternate careers have already had a career, or taken time off to be married and/or raise children. I have none of that. At this point in my life, I want to be married and have children, but I am not sure how that will be possible. I want to get an education, work overseas, get married, and make sure I am established enough before I consider children. By then, in reality, I may be too old. I do not want to be the age I will be before I start school.

I research ways to make the journey shorter, but none of them work out in a way I find comfortable. The risk I would not find a job is too great, or it only shaves perhaps half a year off my plans, or perhaps it does not properly train me for what I want to do.

I think about dropping the nursing component and going for “just” the MPH, but now public health jobs plainly do not excite me as much as public health nursing or advanced practice nursing does.

I think about being in medical assisting school, and how perhaps I could have tried instead for a two-year nursing degree, or an allied health certificate that might lead to a higher salary, such as billing and coding. But, again, for various reasons these do not strike me as being the best decision to make. (I think the education I am receiving will help me with nursing school. I wanted to wait the least amount of time possible before being able to work, and it would have been three years for the two-year RN (due to pre-requisites), assuming I got in on my first try…)

So it would seem that I have the best plan for me all mapped out. Why, then, does it seem so wrong? Because of how much time I wasted getting here? Because no one around me seems to understand why I don’t “just go to medical school”? Because I always second- and third- and fourth-guess myself?

As I go into 2012, and as I further and further realise my goals, I am most obsessed with convincing myself that I am making the right decisions.

First semester wrap-up.

My first semester in the medical assisting program is wrapping up. This year is beginning to wrap up, too, so it is only fitting that I am wistfully pondering the nature of things.

Well, that, and the fact I fucked up my back last Thursday (Thanksgiving, for Mike’s sake!!) and have been on four different medications that all make me drowsy since.

I never realised how different it is to be in a vocational program versus a purely academic program. They are both challenging, but in separate ways. But, also, I felt like I had too much free time at the university; here I rarely have any. I was lucky to be in an academic program at school that challenged my “common sense” and personal philosophies all the time, but I also consider myself lucky to be in an environment that is not so cerebral. This is not to say there is no grass-is-greener feeling going on; I hated feeling stupid by talking about more concrete things while at the university, and I hate feeling weird and/or boring here, where I mostly gossip about other students (something I thought I would never do, how’s that for proof of society’s influence on the individual!) and talk about boyyyys.

I get along with my classmates, which is great. People around me say I am much happier in this program.  I attribute this to being far separated from the things that made me sad all the time–ex-friends and exes–but also that I feel really accepted by this group. It has been an exercise in keeping my mouth shut most of the time; they have average opinions or knowledge about most things, which means their assumptions and opinions come from an erroneous place. Things like believing people choose to be homosexual or that there is something inherently wrong with a single-mother household. I am waiting for someone to post something about keeping Christ in Christmas on Facebook. I, bitterly, will never forget an exchange between two where the first was describing being in jail for a night, and said, “…and then these four black girls walked in” and the other responded, “oooh, I would be so scared!” It did not shock me because she said it, it shocked me because she would say it in front of me–essentially saying she finds people like me scary, and/or I am not “that kind” of black woman. Wrong, hurtful, and offensive either way.

But I shall not get too much into the crap I witness with regards to race or gender.

All we talk about is school or classmates, which I take as an indication that we would not really keep in touch after graduating. A couple of years ago this would have upset me, but I am fine with that. I am finally coming into my own, finally comfortable with being my own company, finally becoming whole onto myself. I think this is another reason I seem happier lately.

All I know for sure right now is that having a few weeks off in between semesters is definitely not enough of a break.

Next semester is intimidating to me right now. I will be taking a course about laboratory procedures for medical assistants, a course about electrocardiography, pharmacology (for MAs; doubtful it is as intensive as it would be, say, for research, physicians, or nurses), anatomy & physiology, and medical insurance. I think the didactic portions will be much more of a challenge for me. I hope the lab course will be cool, in that I think it might excite the parts of me that gets excited by science…even though I am not looking forward to doing fecal occult tests. But if I survive that, everything after will feel like a breeze. I would not worry until it is time to find a job.

As I think about the next year, I also think about how I want to change myself besides being in school. I dislike new year’s resolutions, probably because it is one of the few ways I can feel so much cooler than everyone else. I guess I am starting early and calling it “necessary changes” rather than using that R-word.

I want to eat healthier and go to the gym more, like just about everyone else out there. I need to get back into reading for pleasure. I should get back into writing. I want to clear my skin up and whiten my teeth.

I want to learn how to be assertive without coming across as being selfish or bossy. I want to either take up making jewelry again, or I want to take up crocheting or knitting. I want to organise myself and stay organised. I want to meditate often.

I want to keep the dream of spending a month overseas. I want to find a white wine and a couple of beers I enjoy.

I want to end the year feeling awesome and accomplished.

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