Week 14 is here and finals have started! On one side, library
rooms are fully booked and students are studying till late in the
night. Everywhere you see students practicing on each other or
discussing the material with their tutor. Anatomy lab is crowded
and noisy. But on the other hand, we are thinking about winter
break (we already have snow!), holidays, making travel plans,
seeing our families, having fun in the city, and decorating for
There is a decorating contest between departments and it's so
fun seeing all these Christmas decorations all around school!
I'm happy to be done with another trimester and even happier to
be back in the clinic next tri. I will be in the clinic four
mornings each week and I am looking forward to helping as many
people as I can. It's been a more difficult trimester with me
working full time, but I am grateful for teachers like Dr. Stretch
and Dr. Cai
and for their vast experience.
Do I feel prepared to work on patients? I actually do! I don't
feel scared. I know my points and even if my diagnosis won't be
perfect, this is a learning process, and I can always consult with
My plans for winter break and next tri?
I'm excited that next tri I get to take Materia Medica 3,
Imaging class, and some Japanese acupuncture trainings. My
homeopathy training is going great and I have started to practice
the things that I learned, so next trainings can only teach me
more. This coming weekend I'm attending my first Apex seminar in
Functional Medicine with a focus on thyroid health.
Winter break will be a time to rest, regroup, and recharge. I
have planned each day so I make sure I'll have a balance between
work and fun. Farmer's market and some shows are on my list. Also,
I've planned time with friends, books, and then come the serious
things like working on my business plan, website, and finishing
Three weeks seem like a long time now, but I know breaks go very
fast no matter how long they are, so we just have to take advantage
of every moment we have.
I wish you Happy Holidays! May you have peace and love in your
souls and your days be merry and bright!
Thanksgiving was the perfect excuse to take a break and relax
I celebrated Thanksgiving with friends on campus and we had the
coziest dinner ever! It was so nice to spend some time together,
eat good food, meet new students, have a good laugh, and just enjoy
each other's company.
Christkindle market in Chicago
I stayed away from all the craziness on Black Friday, but
Saturday morning weather was warm and sunny and just perfect for a
Christkindle Market visit. I've never been to Daley Plaza before
and I was quite excited to get out of suburbs and enjoy downtown
Chicago for a couple of hours.
Krampus at Christkindle market
Market was packed. Everybody was drinking mulled wine, hot
cocoa, and eating organic pastries from the St. Roger Abbey. The
later it got, the busier the market, so we took off and stopped for
lunch at Heaven on Seven (Cajun food was another first time for
me!) and coffee and macaroons at Toni Café.
Weekend ended with some shopping and trying two new food places
in Schaumburg close to my home.
It was the perfect long weekend before studying for finals,
preparing for clinic and all the other things that I already
planned for this winter break.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and good luck with
With my background in management and political science, I'm
always trying to improve my business skills. I know that school
will go fast and when I'm done with it I don't want to worry about
my next steps.
I already decided what I'm going to focus on in my practice so I
just need to work on business planning and marketing.
One of the things that I plan to do is add a blog on my website
and also write for different health and wellness websites for
visibility. Some of these websites are even paying their authors,
but even if you don't get paid, it is a good marketing tool and it
can position you as an expert in the field.
With that in mind, I was happy to find one email with an
invitation to a writing seminar in downtown Chicago. I was looking
forward to some rest time this weekend but instead I decided to
keep myself busy and went to this training. Training was three
packed days. First day was about understanding why everybody should
be involved in writing and how writing could help us no matter our
I was surprised to see a lot of journalists attended this
training. I was expecting to see more people that wouldn't have any
education or training in writing but this wasn't the case. Some of
them had their own column in different magazines and in the
beginning I felt a bit intimidated. I realized that even people who
are journalists might not excel in selling themselves or their
writing so everybody was there to learn and do better in the
Writing is a passion and some people are very talented, but in
the end, who's going to know or read you if nobody knows how good
We worked on mindsets, on writing, how to self-publish, how to
sell it, and so much more.
One of the things that I loved was a challenge where you get to
write down your heart's desire every day for 90 days. Some of you
might not believe in this motivational "stuff" but it can switch
your subconscious. It's just a matter of consistency and keeping
your conscious thoughts positive.
I ended up not resting and not cleaning the house, but who
cares? I passed the Intern Entrance Exam, I have one more year and
nine months till I graduate, and I'll use every moment I can to
build my practice!
Intern Entrance Exam is done, stress rapidly decreased, and
everybody is already thinking about Thanksgiving, a long weekend,
time with friends, family and food!
Not being born and raised here, I don't really celebrate
Thanksgiving. I sometimes go to parties, eat some turkey, but it's
not the biggest holiday of the year for me. I still love Christmas,
trees, snow, and some Romanian cabbage rolls that are never
supposed to involve turkey meat. (Hope I'm not losing all my vegans
readers at this point! :)
I know turkeys are supposed to be the best thing ever and
everybody's waiting for them the whole year. For everybody else
that doesn't go crazy about turkeys or got bored, I thought maybe
you'd like some cooking ideas.
No, it's not going to be Chinese cooking because I'm not really
good at that, and no, it's not going to be vegan, paleo, gluten
free, etc. Even if it would be, I'm just tired of labeling every
single item we eat.
If you still want to cook with turkey, but you need to be more
economical and you don't want to buy the whole turkey, go for
stuffed red bell peppers.
You can try the same recipe with any kind of meat, quinoa
instead of rice, zucchinis or onions instead of bell peppers. The
possibilities are endless and you can have all the fun you want in
If you're done with the turkey and just dream about dessert, I'm
not the one to say no but we can definitely find healthier
Here's one of my last cakes.
You can add a chocolate frosting if you want to make it even
fancier. I was busy and just put it the freezer for an hour or two
before serving it.
Week 10 is here and this means Intern Entrance, Senior, or Exit
exams. The last couple of days I took time off so I can study
(Intern Entrance Exam in my case) but not everything went according
to the plan. I wish I could have studied more, but at this point, I
learned that I should also listen to my body and get some rest. I
studied and I also took naps, went outside, enjoyed the sun, walked
my dog, cooked some healthy food, and just stretched my body
whenever I felt like. I did my best to study more and every time I
was pushing myself, my eyes got blurry and I had to stop.
I was happy to see I still remembered a lot from some of my
oriental classes and this made it easier. I didn't expect to
remember some things but when I started doing online tests, my
results were quite OK and this gave me more confidence. What I
observed was that the classes I loved stayed with me and I could
remember everything so much faster. Every time a teacher took the
time to explain everything, I left the class not feeling confused
and all the material sunk into my brain.
I am sure each student feels unprepared at some level and
worries about different parts of this exam. Some of us are more
scared of the practical part, some of the written parts. Some
people choose to wait and take the exam even later so they have
more time for study. I'm more about getting things done, so even if
I might not know everything I decided to take the exam and see what
Today is the last part of the exam -- Biomed. It is not my
favorite part, but I'm happy I'm already done with the first two
If you're looking for tips on how to do better on the exam, I
can only say it's not as bad as we make it in our minds. You do
need to study and it might be better to start earlier and not just
a couple days before like I did.
Points Location seemed to be the easiest one for me. I knew most
of the points (Thank you, Dr. Fan!) and I just needed a quick review.
Clinic observations helped with learning points, too, because you
get to see interns needling some points all the time and there's no
way you won't remember them.
Foundations exam felt a bit more difficult. I was expecting more
questions from diagnosis, energetics, and differential diagnosis.
We actually got questions from everything so I might have
overlooked some things and I just had to make an "educated
Everybody looked stressed and tired before the practical exam.
From what I hear, each of us managed to finish on time and did all
our tests. Just remember, no one is set on making you look bad.
Patients were nice and one of them even wished me luck. First
station I might have felt a bit stressed, but third station felt so
natural. I knew everything I had to ask my patient, and I was done
exactly when I heard: "Move to the next station." If you are
worried that you won't have enough time, just make sure you move
fast at the third station, because all of the vitals are going to
take the longest to finish.
Good luck to all of us taking exams this week, and see you in
the clinic next tri!
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