Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What I Learned This Week

Sometimes school is supremely boring. Other times too many things are happening at once and it's impossible to really soak it all in. Regardless of what kind of week it is, I do feel like I am learning a lot this semester. My expectations for what being a graduate student studying Occupational Therapy would be like are finally starting to match up with reality. My classes are more concrete, and require more effort, but I am starting to see how and why I might actually use this information in real life.

Here are just a few things I learned this week, both school related and not.

1. Regina George's doctor fails at correctly applying a halo appliance.

No vest? This halo brace is basically useless :P

2. The NBCOT Exam is going to be very, very hard.

I had 3 tests in the span on 36 hours, but nothing could have prepared me for the test in my Occupational Performance in Children class. My professor supposedly models her exams after the style of the NBCOT exam, the major test I will have to pass to get officially certified/licensed as an Occupational Therapist. Out of any of the classes I've taken so far I felt most prepared for this one because all of my prior experience is with children.... but wow that test was hard!!

3. Human hands are amazing, but also kind of gross sometimes.

Think of all the different things you to with your hands. There are probably hundreds of combinations of movement, position, grip etc. that get you through your day. This unit in my Human Structure and Function class we've been going into an extreme amount of detail about all of the muscles, tendons, nerves, and bones that make up the hand, and all of the things that can go wrong with it. I've watched a video of someone get tendon surgery in their hand (probably the most traumatizing thing I've seen in a school setting) and seen more deformed/broken/lacerated/bent fingers than I care to remember. There's a lot material to memorize, but these lectures have been incredibly relevant because I have been placed at a hand therapy clinic for four weeks during the summer!

4. Elementary schools and the students in them are quite awesome. 

This morning I volunteered at an elementary school with some people from my church. We did a lot of inventorying, organizing, and general tidying up. Even though the kids weren't there, I could tell this school has some spunk and is really good at what they do! We were given the opportunity to explore different classrooms and here are some of the gems I found. On the left, the robot-looking guy has written on it "I am proud to be crippled", the Obama sign was found inside one of the 4th grade classrooms, and on the bottom right is a collection of rocks that children named. I was especially impressed by the cleverness of the kid who named his "rock and roll"!

5. Accent nails are fun

I've tried this before with different colors and didn't really like the result, but I've decided this is my new favorite way to paint my nails :)

6. The Harlem Shake is a thing, and it's hilarious. 

I am apparently not tech savvy enough to embed videos... so go here to see what I'm talking about.

we are hoping for a potential OT school version soon :)

What have you learned this week?

Post inspired by From Inmates to Playdates

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jack of All Trades, Master of... Very Few.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Today I am linking up with Mama Kat's writer's workshop :)

Tell the story of trying to learn a new talent or hobby that you only pursued briefly.

I often consider myself a Jack of all trades, master of none. I really enjoy diving into new hobbies, but as soon as I stop seeing the potential for me to be good at them I become discouraged and would rather try something else new instead. Here are just a few of my special but short-lived talents:

1. This one time in middle school I was an actress. I spent 2 semesters enrolled in theater classes, and was part of two productions. In one I was Snow White, and in the other I was a girl in a summer camp who flirted with a boy named Aaron Winklestein by seductively sliding my hand up his canteen strap (yes that is all I remember about that experience because it was terrifying). I guess my brain forgot that I am actually the most introverted, stage-fright-prone person ever so I gave up.

2. I was in ice-skating lessons for quite a while as a younger child. I really enjoyed them because my local rink was set up where you collected patches for each level of instruction you successfully completed. There were 8 levels total with 2 additional levels after for people who were really serious about skating. I worked my way up through the 7th level and proudly displayed my patches on my ice skating bag, but when I went to take the test that woud allow me to graduate to the level 8 class, I failed. Frustrated, I repeated the level 7 class. When I didn't pass a second time, I decided that the universe was telling me ice skating wasn't my calling in life and moved on.

3. In high school I went out on a limb and joined the track and cross country team to fulfill my physical education requirement. I don't know if I can even list this experience as a talent, because I was AWFUL. I was consistently battling just not to be the last person to finish from my team. One race I sprained both of my ankles. Track season was a little better because I at least was somewhat conditioned by then. Still slow, but not totally dying during every race. There's this idea that tall thin girls should theoretically be good at a number of sports -- I am often asked if I play basketball, volleyball etc. My coach thought I would make the perfect hurdle jumper for this reason. Big mistake. While I did improve over the course of a few weeks, there is something innately terrifying about running as fast as you can head on into a hard metal object and resisting the urge to jump until the last possible second (or to run around it and avoid it altogether, like a normal human being). Luckily my coach took mercy on me and I never actually competed in hurdles!

Overall I'm glad I had these experiences and enjoyed the activities at the time. But it really took me a while to find hobbies that I enjoy AND am good at. What activities have you attempted but not stuck with for too long?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liebster Award

Julie from Just Julie very sweetly nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thanks for thinking of me and giving this new-ish blogger something new to write about :) 

The Rules

1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate.
5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

11 facts about me

1. I was born in Illinois, grew up in North Carolina, and spent high school and beyond in Texas. Now that I'm pursuing grad school in Illinois, my parents and sister are some of the only few members of my extended family that don't live in Illinois.
2. I hate not being good at things. I usually shy away from activities that I'm not sure I'll excel at. Joining color guard without any prior experience and actually sticking with it is something I'm really proud of. It was very challenging and I had a lot of help along the way, but my experience at TCU would not have been the same without it! 
3. I wish more people in the world knew what occupational therapy is because sometimes even I have a difficult time explaining all the reasons why my future career is awesome.
4. Even though I think they're gorgeous, I feel like (and maybe also look like?) a baby giraffe when I walk in heels 
5. My guilty pleasures in life are girly tv shows like Grey's Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, and Gossip Girl. That and Netflix in general. 
6. I have a purple octopus on my keychain that involved an adventure through a crowded anime convention with my sister to find. I always think of her when I see it!
7. I would be hopelessly lost in life without having Google Maps on my phone. For those of you who have ever traveled with me, you know I am the worst at directions no matter how many times I've been somewhere before.  
8. I have never had soda and I stopped drinking juice at a young age. Everyone always tries to get me to try them, but I just really enjoy drinking water. And if I give in and drink them now, I won't have that fun fact to share anymore! 
9. I have been blessed with the ability to be a really good learner/ test taker. I often feel like I don't have to try very hard at all to do well in school. This sometimes infuriates the people around me and I often feel bored and understimulated in most classes, but I try to be humble about it and grateful that school comes easily to me! 
10. I spend a lot of time thinking about my future and the things I want in life
11. Even though I'm really glad I took the leap and came to UIC for graduate school and am thankful for all of the experiences I've had here so far, it has been really hard for me being so far away from my friends and family, and also TCU. After I graduate next year I think I imagine myself working at one of the hospitals in downtown Fort Worth :)

My Questions from Julie

1. Describe your dream job. 
I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. If I can help it, I'd really like to work with kids as an occupational therapist in an inpatient hospital setting or outpatient clinic associated with a hospital. I have my eye on Cook Children's because they are well known for being extremely good at what they do, but I'd be happy anywhere I think!
2. Morning person or night owl?
I am definitely a night owl! I feel like no matter how much time I have, how tired I am, or how early I get my work done, I have to stay up until at least midnight. This has been rough this semester now that all my classes started at 8am or 8:30am, but I still can't get to bed earlier!
3. What would you choose to eat for your last meal? 
Hmmm this is a tough one. Bruschetta for an appetizer, Probably a steak filet, some homemade mashed potatoes and fruit salad. And brownies. Or chocolate lava cake. And Funfetti cookies. I really like dessert :P
4. Who is your celebrity crush?
I have many. Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Penn Dayton Badgley (as long as he acts as adorably awkward as Dan Humphrey in real life!)  and these three very attractive hilarious men from Supernatural:  

I'm also a huge fan of Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Zooey Deschanel. They can be my girl-crushes haha. 
5. What's the best book you've ever read?
I will always love the Harry Potter series. I've enjoyed other books in my life, but none have even begun to come close to these amazing books. It doesn't matter how old I get or how many times I've read them, they are my favorite! 
6. Any trips planned for 2013?
Right now the only trip on my radar is spending some time in Texas over spring break in March. I'm really looking forward to it! Also, there has been discussion of a potential New York trip in the summer, and maybe a visit from my sister here in Chicago, but we'll see.
7. Who do you admire most?
Kind of cliche, but I do admire my parents very much. My mom always goes out of her way to make other people feel loved and appreciated. And my dad is smart, he can build/fix/do pretty much anything or figure out how to do so very quickly. Both set goals and get after them, they are the epitome of sarcasm, ambition, love, and and general ridiculousness in the best way :)
8.  If you could go back and re-live any part of your life, would you do it?  When would it be?
I'm not sure if I would actually do it or not, but if I had to pick I really wouldn't mind reliving my time at TCU! 
9. If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?
Someone fictional from Supernatural or Harry Potter or Dr. Who. Just to change things up and keep life interesting
10. Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or neither?
Dog person all the way! I am allergic to cats, but even if I wasn't I still don't think I'd like them as much. Dogs are warm, loyal, loving, playful.... and cats just look like they are plotting evil things all the time haha. 
11. Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
I write about what I know. Usually just about things I do day-to-day to help keep my friends and family in the loop. Occasionally I try fun things on Pinterest :) 


I don't know a whole lot of bloggers, so I'm going to pick on a few people I've seen pop up in my facebook news feed lately, even though we're not close I'd love to get more involved with other bloggers and include them in this fun post :) 

Mari at Things and Such
Chloe at Walk By Faith

I get between 100-200 page views on each post I write... so if you are lurking and have a blog, you should come out of hiding, follow me and consider yourself nominated for the Liebster Award!

Questions for my Nominees

1. What was the best part of your weekend?
2. Name one thing you learned this week (about yourself or otherwise)
3. Describe your dream vacation
4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
5. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
6. What is your favorite quote, verse, or mantra that inspires you?
7. Name something on your bucket list. Do you have plans to do this in the near future?
8. Do you have any special hobbies or talents? 
9. If you could spend time in the world of a movie or TV show, which would you pick?
10. Do you have a favorite website or blog you check regularly?
11. Which would you rather be able to do: see the future, or read people's minds?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Activities of Daily Living

One of the main buzzwords that gets thrown around, studied, and discussed here in OT school are Activities of Daily Living or "ADL's". ADLs refer to basic self-care activities that people do every day, like being able to dress ourselves, bathe, groom, go to work, take care of our living area, and engage in leisure activities. Normally when we're talking about ADLs in class, we are talking about how we can help someone with a disability be able to do all of these things as independently as possible.

This week though, my schedule was quite chaotic! By Wednesday I was drowning in laundry and barely had time to eat breakfast. On Thursday I had class, office hours, and TA responsibilities that kept me occupied until I was able to rush home and change clothes for my date. I may or may not have eaten only pop-tarts for lunch on Friday due to lack of groceries. All three days combined involved less than 13 hours of sleep total. Clearly, my own ADLs were not being taken care of.

So, the first part of my weekend was officially dedicated to getting my life together. When I finally left cadaver lab on Friday afternoon, the first thing I did was grocery shop. I picked up a movie and went to bed super early. Saturday morning was for doing dishes, vacuuming for the first time since I returned here in January, completing homework assignments, and studying for an upcoming hellish week of exams. I even cleaned out two junk drawers and re-folded the entire content of clothing in my dresser, and caught up completely on the episodes of Walking Dead that I missed. Today after church I went skating at Millenium Park -- yay for checking things off my Chicago bucket list left and right! There are still a few things left on my to-do list for this weekend, but I feel so much more relaxed now that my apartment is somewhat in order, I've eaten real meals and had time to just sleep and do absolutely nothing. Usually lounging around too much on the weekends makes me feel lazy and bad about myself, but this down time was so needed! I hope you all are having relaxing and productive weekends too!

Be My Valentine?

I love Valentines day. Not everyone does. I can kind of understand why -- If you're single there's this intense angst towards the holiday that forces people to acknowledge they they are in fact not in a relationship and that that somehow makes you inadequate. If you aren't single, there's still plenty of pressure to find the right gift or plan a date of some sort that "tops" all of your friends and their significant others. But for me, I just like that we have a day specifically to let everyone know how much you care about and appreciate them. And usually this involves candy and other sweet things... so of course I'm on board!

Regardless of where you fall, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's day :)

An assortment of pics of gifts for both my sister and my "secret Valentine"

Although I've had relationships in the past, somehow the span of these relationships always conveniently avoided the holiday. The closest I'd come to having a date for Valentine's was in high school when a friend brought me a stuffed animal and chocolate to school. I unfortunately did not have feelings for this person and my awkward self spent most of my day trying to avoid him (sorry Sean!). At TCU my friends and I always used the holiday as an excuse to make yummy baked goods, get dressed up and go to dinner and a movie, or to get up on a stage and yell/laugh/cry/educate people about issues relating to vaginas in the "Vagina Monoluges". I send packages to my sister, and hand out old-school carboard valentines. I really love to make other people feel loved.

My secret valentine was very clever in incorporating Occupational Therapy terms  into my gift :) I brought the pretzels on the lower right to the bake sale.

This year I felt extravagently loved by my friends and family. In grad school we've been having a "secret Valentine" exchange (like secret santa where you draw names and shower somebody with anonymous gifts). I'm also participating in a bake sale which will raise money for Illi-SOTA, the Illinois Student Occupational Therapy Association that can be put toward conferences and stuff. Quite a few of us went old-school and exchaged 1990s style carboard valentines + candy. And.... I even had a date :) Pretty ballsy move to ask a girl out and set the first date for valentines day, but I can respect that and I had a fun time. I also sent an awesome package to my sister that I am quite proud of. It was extremely fun to put together, and great minds think alike because I received a package of many similar Target finds. The best part was that I made her Skype me while she opened it, so we got to chat a little and I got to watch her crack up at all my goofy internet meme Valentines!

And here is my gift to Emily. Pretty amazing if I do say so myself. 

If I didn't get a chance to say it already, I love you all dearly on February 14th and every other day of the year :)

Monday, February 11, 2013


I've been getting some requests for pictures of the snow... and I'm sorry I have not delivered sooner. It's just weird that I live in a place that has substantial snow in the forecast pretty much weekly! These are some pictures from some pretty snowfall we had recently!

Aside from one long chilly wait for the 157 bus, I'm hanging in there and actually doing quite well! It's amazing how fast my body has adjusted to temperature. When it's in the 30's now it feels warm enough to go sun bathing or something haha.

The top right has become a typical wardrobe for me on the way to class. Top left is a picture of the sidewalk I walk down to get to class each morning. Bottom left to right shows this awkward ice formation that grew ouside near the laundry room under a leaky pipe, my awesome peace sign boots (yes I promise I'm in grad school), and a high rise disappearing into some really thick low fog. Never a dull moment here in Chicago :)