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Monthly Archives: July 2015

milwaukee river
I’m starting medical school next week. Since I moved away from home (a mere 1.5 months after my sister moved out which essentially leaves an empty nest at home) for the first time and uprooted from all of my networks and friends in Milwaukee, I figure I’d be able to keep you guys up-to-date on my life with my blog. In fact, this is the sort of reason I purposed my blog for way back in ~2004. I’m very anxious and excited to set out on the next few years of my life! But, for sake of the chronicler’s mind, let me give a brief overview of how I got to this point.

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Middle School

I don’t know that middle school amounted much to anything besides video games and sleepovers so that my friends and I could play more video games. In the 6th grade I happened upon a late night showing of Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary concert shows at Madison Square Garden. I became a fan after watching him glide effortlessly during his Billie Jean performance. Thereafter my days after school would be split between searching for Michael Jackson videos (pre-YouTube era, think P2P filesharing networks) and video games.

High School

I started to get a little more serious about playing cello, ran the hurdles in track, started to think more seriously about school, and, of course, played video games. I grew a lot as a cellist having enrolled in private lessons in the latter 2-3 years of school, and I also had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall with my orchestra as a freshman and senior. I grew to love the hurdles, but I think all of us loved our coach even more. These years were also when I started to consider my faith in Christ more seriously. It was a sort of peak in my faith journey. In light of that, I also began to consider my future more seriously. I went to a great high school. I think I barely made the top 50% of the class because… video games.

As much as I considered my future, I didn’t take the college application process very seriously. Marquette University’s application was too easy to skip so I haphazardly applied. I ended up matriculating to Marquette University because it was close to home and I had decided I wanted to study Theology with plans to apply to medical school. God bless my parents for trusting me because I don’t know many parents that would be happy if their child dropped tuition dollars to study Theology.

College

You could characterize me as a tweener in college. I declared a major in Theology, but I ended up shorting myself on the opportunities within the Theology department at the expense of taking more science courses for my application to medical schools. My favorite course was an elective Theology course that explored conceptions of God in the pre-modern, modern, and post-modern epochs. That class challenged me by reading texts and discussing ideas I felt like I had no business reading or discussing; it definitely made me grow as a student and learner. The other class I particularly enjoyed was my independent study in English. I worked with my American Literature professor and capped my semester with her with a short paper titled, “How to Read Southeast Asian American Literature”. Once again, that course made me grow, but it also developed my confidence in approaching a subject and making a scholarly proposition and defending it. Additionally, it served as a sort of foundation for me and my personal process of discovering my ethnic roots.

My college years also matured me. I was a very prideful and arrogant freshman, quickly humbled by my first Chemistry exam. However, it was my faith that convicted me by the end of my freshman year. I remember going on a retreat with InterVarsity at the end of the school year and hearing the exposition on Phillipians. That letter to the church in Philippi was exactly what I needed to hear and I was convicted of my prideful tendencies. If Christ, who was divine, humbled himself to be with humanity as one of us, who am I to think I am worth whatever I valued myself to be? Throughout the rest of my college career, I would become more heavily involved and invested with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and, in turn, my faith continued to develop and mature.

Post-Graduation

I worked as a medical scribe for three years. I spent one year in the ER and quickly adopted a lot of the cynicism that plagues the specialty (which isn’t necessarily misplaced or “wrong”). Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to relocate to a family practice clinic at which I would spend the next two years. I scribed for a fantastic doctor of whom I cannot speak any more highly of. The experiences I had at the clinic with him and the rest of the physicians and staff were immeasurable, and I will certainly carry a lot of his habits and work ethic with me through school and into the field. It was evident he cared about his patients–even to the point of sacrifice, which I admired very much. I hope that I can practice like him.

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Now I’m moved down to the South to start medical school. This is my first time away from home and my first time in the region. I’m nervous since I haven’t studied for the past three years, but I’m looking forward to everything. I anticipate that a lot of my experiences at the clinic will help me keep perspective of the material I learn, and that they will also serve as a source of motivation when I encounter the inevitable valleys of the next four years. I will try to keep you all regularly updated with thoughtful thoughts. For now, I’ll try to prepare for the first week and enjoy the weekend!

Note: I think I’m going to try and go anonymous from now on. An interesting aspect of starting medical school is that I have to consider my professional identity. Whenever I walk around town with my school’s emblem or name, I need to make sure I don’t embarrass the name or myself. The things I write and post on social media are definitely going to change to protect those reputations toward that end. In the era of information, anonymity is a premium to fame–and a grace for physicians. 

I was at my sister’s house a few weeks ago helping her reconfigure her WiFi settings and troubleshooting her home theater sound system. Tinkering with WiFi is a breeze and I could probably change your WiFi password behind your back, but troubleshooting her sound system took a little more effort. After Googling various search terms (Lifehack tips for improving Google searches, but honestly who uses these unless they’re doing a research paper or something) and reading an essentially useless user’s manual, I put 2 + 2 together in a little bad weather and eventually barreled my way through all of her TV settings to suddenly produce sound from her new speakers. Babam! I think we were listening to some obscure song in her multimillion track iTunes, but I wanted to test audio streaming from her TV.

Queue up the video above. We opened up YouTube and scrolled through the featured videos. We sat there and took in the sounds and sights and my mind began to wander. “What show was this at? Why are they singing that song? Why does it seem so romantic? Why do we make such a big deal about going to see people play music? Why couldn’t we just sit in a room together and do nothing? Oo, it’s Taylor Swift. I guess she is dating Calvin Harris. What is she doing?”

Music makes things sound better. I started to think about this around graduation season when two of my very good friends graduated from college. In all likelihood, this thought process was perpetuated by the new track from Wiz Khalifa, See You Again. For whatever reason, the music laid some sort of framework for me to feel about my friends graduating. It felt a little absurd if only because of the uncanny timing of the song during graduation season. On top of that, it felt a little cheesy because I wondered whether I was actually having feelings about the song or feelings about my friends graduating and moving away.

A few weeks prior to all of this, I re-visited campus to listen to one of my very good friends and mentors share a message about the privilege of God having us join in God’s mission. He shared a passage from 2 Kings 3 in which a king sought a prophet to inquire as to God’s plan for an attack on their enemies. My friend took care to emphasize and clarify verse 15 from this chapter:

But now bring me a harpist.

As Elisha, the prophet whom was inquired, began to speak, the harpist began to play and laid the framework for how the Israelite soldiers should have felt. Music makes things sound better. It doesn’t detract from any authentic message or emotion, but it does enhance it. Or maybe I’m wrong. Is what is Right, Good, True, and Beautiful all the more because of music making it more Right, Good, True, and Beautiful? Or is it an extrinsic factor that enhances a separate aesthetic quality?

I’ll end this with something I wrote as an embarrassingly overconfident and prideful incoming college freshman. In our Introduction to Theology course we were to write a short paper documenting our experience at a religious gathering unfamiliar to us. I attended a local Catholic mass near my home and wrote some regrettably sharp words that culminated, in part, at the conclusion with: “It was particularly the music that caught me, but I took the mass, in light of Catholicism, with a grain of salt; good music makes anything better.”

p.s. The only reason I enjoyed the 2005 rendition of Pride and Prejudice was because of the soundtrack. It was positively sublime.