When I blog, I try to paint a pretty picture of medical school, or at least a humorous one, but the reality is that it can really wear you down sometimes. I have never encountered such difficult material in my life, I don't enjoy the fact that our learning styles mostly involve memorization and reasoning instead of critical thinking and interpretation, and I feel my creative ability diminishing each day. It's easy for me to wake up in the mornings and wonder, Why am I doing this to myself? And it's exactly in times like this that I need to see an optimistic construction sign in front of the South Lawn Project. I was driving home from the library last night at 1:30 in the morning, and I actually made a U-turn on JPA and got out of my car in order to take this picture. It's a good reminder that in spite of my current circumstances, the alleged light at the end of the tunnel does, in fact, exist.

On a brighter note, Happy Halloween, everybody!

Shop 'til You Drop

I just returned from a seven hour shopping excursion with Nosheen and Angie for this Friday's VMed Halloween party. Having just come out of a budgeting seminar with the Financial Aid Office, Nosheen and I were determined to be as frugal and efficient as possible. Luckily, we had made a shopping list and knew the order in which we could visit the stores and never have to make a left turn.

Anderson Carriage Food House, the Virginia ABC store #1, Kroger #1, The Party Starts Here, Fashion Square Mall, Walmart (only to find that the police had closed it down... what!?), Lowe's Home Improvement, Sam's Club, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree, Kmart, the Virginia ABC store #2, Kroger #2, CVS Pharmacy, Michaels.

Anderson Carriage Food House: $147.27 on beer
Virginia ABC store #1: $84.74 on liquor
The Party Starts Here: $15.72 on decorations
Sam's Club: $40.75 on food and drinks
Dollar Tree: $5.25 on decorations
Kmart: $7.60 on decorations
Virginia ABC store #2: $104.16 on liquor and an alcohol transportation permit
Kroger #2: $38.04 on food and drinks

Memorable Quotes:
Sam: Are the sales consistent or do they vary by store?
Toothless ABC cashier: Yeah, they're consistent by store.

Kroger cashier: [rings up 23 2-liter soda bottles] So are you guys taking advantage of the $1 soda sale?
Sam: Actually, we're having a party this weekend.
Kroger cashier: ...A soda party?

In conclusion, we have spent $443.53 on the party already, and we still have more shopping to do on Friday afternoon. A social chair's work is never done!

Things That Are Sickawesome

We spent five hours in Anatomy lecture and none in Anatomy lab yesterday, so I've kind of been in withdrawal. Luckily, we got to go into the lab today to bisect our cadavers' pelvises. It was kind of weird, and rather anticlimactic, because all we did was prop Blanche on the sawing board and then watch as Dr. Iwanik pulled her towards the blade and split her lower body in half. Sickawesome!

Derek just informed me that the longest English word you can type on an American keyboard with only your left hand is "stewardesses." Sickawesome!

This YouTube video combines the sickness of Louis Armstrong with the awesomeness of Super Mario World. Sickawesome!

I Mean Business

I used to joke with my friends that even though we had graduated from college, we weren't really adults because we didn't have business cards yet. Well, according to that standard, I am now a full-fledged grownup. I had mine made today at Kinko's, a store which never fails to warm my heart. The countless office machines! The endless reams of paper! The 24 hour service! It really is the best store in the United States of America.

I had a very difficult time deciding between Bone coloring with Silian Rail lettering and Egghsell with Romalian type, but in the end I decided on this little Black number with Optima font. I literally cannot wait until tomorrow afternoon, when I get to go pick them up. Next time you see me, don't be surprised if I try to reintroduce myself and slyly slip you my business card. FACT: I'm very important and people need to know how to get in touch with me.

And if you want to see some REALLY cool business cards, check out this and this.

Giggity Giggity Giggity

I'm in a really good mood right now, because I finally got to play a gig! I've been so busy with school that I haven't really had time to play piano, but the Virginia Players hired me as an accompanist today to do some practice auditions with the drama students before next weekend's Virginia Theatre Association auditions. I got paid a ton of money, so I immediately went out and blew four times what I had just earned on a new black suit for Caroline's wedding.

The guy at the store tried to get me to buy a new sport coat as well, and I almost gave in until I realized that (1) I'm living on student loans, (2) I have never needed to wear a sport coat in my entire life, and (3) I'm not 40 years old. But it did look very nice. And I am the world's best consumer. So I will probably go back and buy it. Plus, wouldn't that be helping our economy? STOP JUDGING ME!

Building Character

For my Social Issues in Medicine class, I have visited several people in Section 8 housing in order to better understand the needs of the impoverished in Charlottesville. Sadly, many of these subsidized houses are nicer than the one I live in. I'm currently sitting in my living room listening to our CTS lectures online, accompanied by the drip, drip, drip of water leaking through the floor of our second floor bathroom and into the bowls I've set up on our coffee table.

And as if that's not enough, Dylan saw a mouse in our house last week. (Perhaps we should get a cat in a hat to take care of it? Ba-dum, chi!) And it wasn't just any mouse. It was an especially large mouse that, at first glance, appeared like it had very large teats, but at second glance, actually had five baby mice suckling on it while it scurried across Dylan's bedroom floor. So now my house is rodent-infested AND it has a plumbing problem. I'm basically living the American dream!

If I Haven't Convinced You Already

Maybe it's because we spend too much time together, maybe it's because we were actually separated at birth, or maybe it's because it's THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH, but last night, Nosheen and I came to the same conclusion: our new CTS professor, Dr. Guilford, is Professor Lupin's doppleganger. I don't even have any wisecracks to make about it, because I'm so jaded at this point. Eventually, Dean DeKosky will have to admit that they have begun hiring the teaching faculty based solely on how much they resemble the professors from Hogwarts. Then he'll rip off his face mask and voice modulator, and we'll realize that our new dean is actually J.K. Rowling. Happy Halloween!

A Hypothetical Situation

If I were to go out on a Wednesday night, I imagine that I would feel kind of groggy the next morning, especially if I had to set an alarm for 7:30 in the morning to make it to a Biochemistry small group discussion at 8:10. I would most likely hit the snooze button a few times and not actually get out of bed until 7:50. It would probably also suck to forget where I put my glasses before I went to bed and spend five minutes feeling around my room looking for them with my hands. Things might not be much better after I put my glasses on, because I could potentially find my room in a mess, with all of my clothes from last night flung across the floor. It's possible that I would have to skip my morning shower and run to the kitchen to pack the lunch that I neglected to pack the night before. I would also probably have to run to class just to make sure that I made it in time to get that 1% of my final grade.

Good thing this is only a hypothetical situation. Whew!

Michael Phelps Facts

I know the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are long gone, but as the people at Rosetta Stone would have you know, Michael Phelps is around for good. Which brings me to a website I came across today called Michael Phelps Facts. It's kind of like Chuck Norris Facts (okay, so it's exactly like it), but I think it's funny anyway. Some of my top picks:

- There is no need to save the whales; Michael Phelps has saved them all.

- The Loch Ness Monster has never been found because it is hiding from Michael Phelps.

- Water left Mars to come to earth so it could be closer to Michael Phelps.

- It only rains when Michael Phelps needs a drink.

- If you are ever asked who would win in a fight between a killer whale and a great white shark, the answer is always Michael Phelps.

- Jesus walked on water, but Michael Phelps swims through land.

Ba-dum, chi!


If you knew me in high school, you would know that 99.9% of the jokes I made between the ages of 14 and 17 were related to poop. Since then, it has gone down to a meager 73.8%. Clearly, today's anatomy lab was absurdly hilarious to me at all times. Okay, sure, so I didn't particularly LOVE poking around the digestive organs in the body, but it did make for some pretty good laughs.

Dr. Ferguson: So she's had her appendix taken out, but if you feel right here, that's where the appendix stump usually--oh, wait, no, that's just feces.

Dr. Ferguson: I'm just going to slice this part away.
George: But you're using the scalpel so close to the colon!
Dr. Ferguson: But you can trust me. I'm a surgeon.
George: Okay.

Note: This is the first time I've actually heard someone use the phrase, "Trust me, I'm a doctor." And it worked!


Soiree - an evening party or social gathering, especially one held for a particular purpose. I attended my first soiree last night, and it was an absolutely bizarre experience. I went to turn pages for Mimi Tung (my piano teacher) and Max Rabinovitsj (the violinist), who played the Schubert Sonata in D Major and Beethoven's Sonata in C Minor for the evening's entertainment. Many of the people there were musicians themselves, but there were also those people who were just pretending to enjoy classical music. It goes without saying that everyone there was white and over the age of 55.

Oddly, some of the sponsors fell asleep during the 45 minute concert, which is awkward when it's being held in a living room where the performers can see exactly who you are. Nevertheless, the event went over very well, and the Wednesday Music Club raised over $4000 for local music scholarships. The food was amazing, which explains why I went back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Anyway! I also saw Dr. Ferguson (perhaps my only anatomy professor who doesn't look like a fictional wizard) and his wife at the soiree. Huzzah!

In conclusion, when I'm a doctor, I too will have a 1917 Steinway piano in my living room. Even if I have to build a time machine to get it. Guhhh...

Go Hoos Go!

I absolutely love college. Yesterday, I go to be the typical college student again--tailgating all day, watching the UNC game on the Hill, rushing the field after the overtime win. I hung out with Nick, Ashley, Bobby, and company pretty much the whole day, which is how I met Mrs. Downer, one of Ashley's family friends. Mrs. Downer's name does not accurately portray her personality. I have never been around a tailgating mom that intense in my life. She was so aggressively talkative that she made me look like Bashful from Snow White, which, if you know me, is saying a lot. I don't know how she did it, but she managed to corner us in an open parking lot. She then forced us to partake of her ham sandwiches and deviled eggs (mmm).

The most exciting part of the game, aside from being on the field, took place before the kickoff. We found this grill that looked like a spaceship full of tiny aliens about to blast off into space. Beam me up, Scotty Stadium!

Harry Potter Mania

So is it just me, or are we actually attending a less magical, more medical version of Hogwarts? Our new anatomy professor, Dr. Herr, bears an uncanny resemblance to the great wizard Dumbledore. This picture of him was taken a few years back, so the Dr. Herr I know actually has more white hair and a significantly longer beard. The similarities are frightening. Coincidentally, when I was talking to him about Blanche today, he told me, "Do not pity the dead, Sam. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." What a weirdo.

Oh, hey, you know what else is frightening? Examining a dissected scrotum. [Shivers].

Hit List

Matt must die. "But why?" you ask. "He's never done anything to hurt you! He's such a funny guy, and he's so easy to get along with! Let's not forget that he laughs at all of your jokes, Sam... and considering how horribly cheesy you are, you shouldn't take that for granted. Plus, I thought you guys were really good friends!"

Ah, yes, but this was all before he purchased the new MacBook. The one with a precision aluminum unibody enclosure, ultrathin 13.3-inch LED-backlit display, and smooth glass multi-touch trackpad. I feel so inadequate, so powerless, so obsolete. Which brings me back to my original point: Matt must die, and I must have his laptop for my own. MY PRECIOUSSS...

Random Thoughts

Riel showed me this article on McSweeney's yesterday. I hate to continue making jokes about the state of our economy, but let's face it: what's funnier than hundreds of thousands of baby boomers losing their jobs and potentially their retirement savings?

While Practicing the HEENT Exam
Sam: [probes Jon's ear with the otoscope]
Jon: OW!
Sam: Sorry, did I hurt you?
Jon: Well you weren't hurting me, but the tip was definitely very far in.
Sam: That's what she said.

Mail Goggles: They saved my social life; they could save yours too!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Back when I was applying to medical school, I remember receiving a letter from UVA outlining exactly what they needed in order to complete my file. This list included a passport-size photo, which I assumed would be used by the Admissions Office in order to put a face to all of the applicants' names. Instead, I found out that these photos were all uploaded to the online Student Directory, where they could be accessed by every student and faculty member. Naturally, the majority of these pictures were absolutely absurd. My really pale skin and huge, cheesy grin made me look like a clown; Riel's beard made him look like a terrorist; and Matt's over-the-shoulder stare made him look like a glamor model.

I just checked the Student Directory for the first time in several weeks, and I was shocked to learn that the Powers That Be had switched out our awful photos and replaced them with the photos on our Health Sciences ID badges. Our class is beautiful again!

Speaking of bad photos, I just stumbled across Mug Shot du Jour. I've already bookmarked the website, and for good reason.

Freecycle, Part 2

There are more weirdos out there than I ever suspected. I've been subscribing to Freecycle C-ville for over two months now, and I have yet to use it. And, with posts like the one below, it doesn't seem like I ever will.

Offer - Older breast pump
Posted by: "saracs80"
An older Pump In Style without accessories (basically just the motor and tubing in the black bag). I received this from another freecycler when I thought my pump was on its last leg, but mine held out. I never used this pump (I haven't even hooked it up, but was told it worked when was used last).

So let me get this right: you're offering me a used breast pump? And the first word that comes to mind when you describe it is "older"?? And you build it up by telling me that it's "basically just the motor and tubing"??? And you can't even tell me if it WORKS or not!?!? YOU'VE GOT YOURSELF A DEAL! :D

Bad News Bears

Dr. Schorling, aka Debbie Downer, gave the Practice of Medicine lecture today. He basically provided us with a sweeping psychoanalysis of doctors in America. Apparently most of us come from troubled families and possess numerous compulsive personality traits, in particular feelings of self-doubt and guilt along with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Does this sound like you? Maybe you should apply to medical school!

And for further encouragement, he informed us that 50% of medical students suffer from burnout at some point during their four years in school. Symptoms include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of low personal accomplishment. It doesn't help that most doctors have difficulty expressing weakness and asking for help. Instead of opening up to others, we tell ourselves, "If I only work harder, I will be loved."

Moral of the story: Next time you see a medical student, give him or her a big hug. And cash. Lots and lots of cash. Because I heard somewhere that money buys happiness.

The More You Know

Our medical school class went apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard yesterday, and I kept thinking of Johnny Appleseed while we were there. I remember being obsessed with him when I was a kid, so I decided to read up on his Wikipedia article when I got home. It turns out that unlike my other childhood hero Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed was a real person who introduced apples to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

Now that I know his real story, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not very impressed. Forget Johnny Appleseed; I think I prefer the guy who was delivered to his parents by five storks, used wagon wheels for buttons, ate 50 pancakes in one minute, owned a blue ox and a purple cow, and trained giant ants that weighed 2,000 pounds to do logging work in the winter.

It's Tearin' Up My Heart

Another day in the life of a medical school student, another ridiculously awesome dissection lab. Today we removed Blanche's heart, after Sherin tried and failed to perform open-chest CPR. We quickly realized that at some point, Blanche had undergone an aortic valve replacement, because she had a mechanical valve in place of where hers would have been. Matt suggested that we resell it, an idea that the rest of the group quickly scrapped. Although if the economy keeps getting worse, I might reconsider...

Just as we ripped (okay, carefully sliced) out Blanche's heart today, I felt my own heart being torn out of my pleural cavity when I heard that next Tuesday, Apple will be announcing its new MacBook. I hate to say it, but I'm a complete techno geek, and I hate not having the newest version of everything I own. Today my laptop is the coolest one in the library, but within a matter of weeks, I know that I will find myself looking across the room and setting my eyes upon one of the new MacBooks. I will inevitably be filled with amazement, followed by jealousy, followed by pure outrage. And trust me, you don't want to see me when I'm angry. HULK SMASH!

That Was Confusing

At the beginning of each Biochemistry unit, we get a several hundred page course packet that contains all of the notes for the upcoming lectures. The binding on my first packet barely lasted a month before it fell apart, and I was forced to scrap the whole thing, hole punch the sheets, and keep them in a three ring binder.

We just got our new course packet yesterday, so I went to Staples to purchase a new binder. I decided to hole punch the notes at the copy center instead of doing it at home, but what I didn't realize was that I was standing behind a counter wearing a red polo and khakis. Suddenly, customers started coming up to me and asking questions about purchasing printer ink and recycling used cartridges and faxing services and I don't even know what else. In typical Sam fashion, I blacked out within seconds and resorted to my usual mechanism of defense: deny, deny, deny! Thank goodness an actual employee was nearby and fielded the questions before I started screaming at the top of my lungs like a little girl.

Liquid Assets

This has been popping up all over my Facebook News Feed, so I figured it must be both important AND accurate. Obvi!

If you purchased $1,000 of Delta Airlines stock 1 year ago, you would have $49.00 today. If you purchased $1,000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $33.00 today. If you purchased $1,000 of Lehman Brothers stock 1 year ago, you would have $0.00 today.

But, if you purchased $1,000 worth of beer 1 year ago, drank all the beer, and returned the aluminum cans for a recycling refund, you would have $214.00. Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily and recycle. This is called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon!

Makes you proud to be an American!

Fall Break

I just got back from New York City, where I managed to forget everything I had learned in the last seven weeks. Perhaps the highlight of my trip was seeing Spamalot on Broadway with Will and Erin. It was quite possibly the funniest show ever written in the history of the universe. I crashed with Cal, Jim, and Kevin, so I also got to see what it's really like to be a New York investment banker. It was like everything I had seen in American Psycho, except they didn't live in the American Gardens Building, we didn't score any coke while we were out, and none of them could even get us a freaking reservation at Dorsia.

The most absurd part of the trip was, without a doubt, riding the Chinatown Bus. The bus to New York left Richmond at 1am, so I tried to sleep on the way up. This ended up being a lot harder than I had imagined, since the girl sitting in front of me decided to listen to music on her laptop without her headphones, subjecting me to awful songs like "Don't Cha" at 2:30 in the morning. The guy with extremely long legs sitting behind me didn't help either, because I couldn't lean my seat back at all. White people: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em! To top it all off, I couldn't get into Jim's apartment when I got to the city, so I ended up brushing my teeth and shaving next to a homeless guy doing the same thing in the public restroom of Grand Central Station. I know, I'm almost TOO classy.


This past summer I worked as an accompanist for the Heritage Theatre Festival, and for some odd reason, I was housed with the Techies instead of the Cast. To add to the insanity, I roomed in a triple with two hardcore gamers, thus exposing me to the World of Warcraft. While I griped about their nerdiness to all of my friends, I secretly loved listening in on their conversations and writing down the more ridiculous quotes. Here are a few particularly delightful gems:

- “Engineering can be taken on by anybody, because they’re all cloths, so there are no class benefits.”
- “Man, there are so many merlocks on this coast. It’s probably all merlocks! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!”
- “I’m fighting a druid and a paladin on top of their base. I’m effed.”
- “Is my blue griffin in here? I don’t see my griffin.”
- “We should go with divine favor so that we get a crit heal every two minutes.”

Suddenly I love my own life just a little bit more.

A Personal Low

I needed to maximize my studying before the Biochemistry exam (as in spending more time on my notes and less time on Facebook), so I decided that instead of going home last night and getting distracted before going to bed, I would spend the night in the library. I came home to shower, packed my toothbrush and pillow, and hauled my bare necessities back to Claude Moore. I studied until 4am, made a bed out of sofas and chairs, and slept like a baby until 9:30am. I must say that it was rather disconcerting to wake up to a library full of people who must have thought I was some crazy medical student who had stayed up all night to cram for an exam. HAHA!! Oh, wait...

I'm never sleeping in the library again.