Sunday, October 28, 2007

Biking Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Since my sister and husband were here in town from LA, I decided to ditch my elective class to bike across the GG Bridge. We rented our bikes from the Fisherman's Wharf after having our delicious seafood lunch (clam chowder in a bread bowl, seafood cocktails, and crab cake sandwich) at Tarantino's. The whole trip was about 15 miles long and took us about 2 and 1/2 hours. Biking to the bridge involved going on many uphill portions, which we took the easy way out by pushing our bikes up. However, the 4-mile ride on the bridge was very flat and beautiful. It was exhilarating riding on the side with all the cars whizzing by. The view of the water and the city was also stunning. It's definitely one of those experiences that I will remember for a long time, especially the pain created by the friction from our bike seats! Anyhow, it was a fun experience and worth ditching class for!

Monday, October 22, 2007


How do I know that pharmacy school has finally stressed me out a little too much? When my heart is racing and my mind alert even without the consumption of coffee. I believe a little stress is productive but that level has reached beyond the functional state today, for the first time since school started! In a way, I am glad that I am somehow normal like the rest of my class. I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me for being so calm and kicked back about exams and grades. In another way, I am disappointed at myself for not being able to control my anxiety, which signals that I still can't get over worrying about grades!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Victorian Buildings

Despite the disappointing scores from my first round of midterms, I managed to cheer myself up with some shots of this exciting and lively city. I got some really good architecture pictures of the Victorian houses in the Sunset District at around sunset as I strolled along Irving St. with my husband during his visit from LA this weekend. The soft light and blue sky of that afternoon were perfect for photography! We also managed to hop on the N Judah and made it on time to Ocean Beach for the sunset! It wasn't one of the most spectacular sunsets that I have seen (like the one in Kuai and Bryce National Park), but I enjoyed watching a family of three playing on the beach while admiring the huge orange sinking below the horizon. That is my definition of a quality family time! I was also glad that my husband was there, even though I was more occupied by picture-taking than enjoying the experience with him.

The Dreaded Bell Curve

I am now beginning to question whether I should check the grade distribution after getting my exam results after two depressing times of falling over one standard deviation below the mean! I told myself that grades were not that important and that I was satisfied with a passing grade, but it's still sad to see myself below the second quartile in the score range. It's a different ball game going to class with all the super smart and creative people from different schools in the nation; I feel like crap being the stupid one at times. I told myself that I must be good in SOME ways or I wouldn't have been admitted to the pharmacy program at UCSF, but it's better said than done. Hopefully, I will get over this slump soon and become more productive in my studies and training to become a future pharmacist.

Friday, October 12, 2007

White Coat Ceremony

TL: My husband & I;
BR: Mary Anne Koda-Kimble; School Dean

Confession of a Student Pharmacist

Perhaps it was the rain; perhaps, it was the fire alarm that went off during our long rehearsal at Cole Hall, I grumpily remarked to my classmate during the break before the start of the event: “I am so not digging this White Coat Ceremony!” While my classmates excitedly clustered around to take pictures with friends and family members who had flown in from afar, I excluded myself in an attempt to uplift my spirit with a chocolate and almond Haagendaz ice cream bar at the Moffit-eria.
To my disappointment, the ice cream did not do its magic. I still felt gloomy as I stood in line waiting to enter the auditorium with the white coat on my left arm while asking myself why everyone was so hyped up. I just could not comprehend the justification for spending so much money and wasting so much time on this afternoon.
The White Coat Ceremony began with greetings from Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, whose red highlighted bangs and occasional jokes cheered me up a little. However, my attitude about this over-rated event had not changed even after Mary Anne reasoned that it was a celebration of our academic achievement and other personal qualities that got us into the number one pharmacy school in the nation and it symbolizes our transition from "pharmacy students to student pharmacists." Being a team player, I formally walked up the stage with a group of nine other student pharmacists to be coated by alumni members, while secretly feeling relieved that the long afternoon would soon be over.
My emotions were altered by an inspirational speech made by a 4th year student pharmacist, Troy Drysdale, whose dedication, innovation, and hard work had led him to many leadership positions and to novel paths for others to follow. Through his speech, I felt honored to be part on an institution where change and initiation are encouraged along with the passion for “serving the underserved.” I was also amazed at how much impact one individual can make to his/her university and the community.
Nonetheless, the turning point occurred during the recitation of the “Oath of a Pharmacist,” when Dr. Jennifer Cocohoba, an HIV-specialized ambulatory care pharmacist and faculty member of the School of Pharmacy, asked us to stand and face the audience with our right hands raised while repeating the oath after her. I was initially shocked at this request, but proudly recited the first verse aloud in unison with the other 121 members of the Class of 2011. However, tears began to roll down my eyes, smearing the make-up on my face and muted my voice (and worst yet, the camera man was having a ball taking pictures of me looking silly), after Dr. Cocohoba read the second verse: “I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns.” For the rest of the oath, I was only able to occasionally project my voice as I tried to calm this sudden surge of emotions.
I later found out that I was not the only person moved to tears after confessing the episode to one of my classmates. In response, she commented, “I am so glad you said that because I thought I was the only one who did that.” Why was reciting the “Oath of a Pharmacist” in front of a couple hundreds of spectators such an emotional event?
The purpose of the White Coat Ceremony began to unravel as I ponder over my dramatic reaction during the oath recitation. Similar to other formal events where much effort is put into its organization and implementation and where vows are publicly announced, a sense of permanent commitment is planted in the actors. Willingly taking the “Oath of a Pharmacist” with friends and family members as witnesses has made it officially a part of an ideal I am obligated to strive for. Perhaps, I shed tears for fear that I will not be able to fulfill my duty as a public servant in the future; perhaps, they were tears of elation in knowing that I am privileged to be among the top pharmacy clinicians in the nation and therefore will be adequately trained to serve my future patients.

Oath of a Pharmacist

At this time, I vow to devote my professional life to the service
of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy.

I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of
human suffering my primary concerns.

I will apply my knowledge, experience and skills to the
best of my ability to assure optimal drug therapy
outcomes for the patients I serve.

I will keep abreast of developments and maintain
professional competency in my profession of pharmacy.

I will maintain the highest principles of moral,
ethical and legal conduct.

I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of
pharmacy that improves patient care.

I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of
the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.

Developed by the American Pharmaceutical Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans Task Force on Professionalism, June 1994.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Blue Angels

Every weekend, something exciting always take me away from my books, which I really need to be glued to b/c of upcoming exams (two next week!). However, I always managed to sneak out for a little fun. I just can't resist the exciting sights and sounds of different neighborhoods in SF. After volunteering at the Chinatown Health Fair, I headed to Fisherman's Wharf to watch the Blue Angels in flight for about half an hour. The city was flooded with people excited about the naval pilots' aerobatic tricks.
It was amazing seeing these planes zoomed pass and rumbled close to you, but I totally think tax-payers' money can be better spent on areas that might improve human kind. I wonder how much money the government spends every year in training these pilots specifically to do tricks in the air with their expensive planes while polluting the environment with noise and carbon dioxide! Wouldn't the money better be allocated to improve human health, decrease world poverty, or close the gap in the quality of education between the rich and the poor?