School? I’d Rather Talk About Cookies.

Hello friends, it seems another semester has started and I am already tired. I am horrifically busy this semester so I had to make a schedule and it’s gross. So to forget my woes I am going to discuss the history of cookies, because cookies are cute and who doesn’t want to know how the cookie came into this world.

Apparently the first “cookies” were little portions of cake batter, which were baked to test the temperature of ovens. These were called “koekje” in Dutch, which translates to “little cake.” Back in the olden days, when sugar was a rare delicacy (7th century), it was traded from it’s originating area in Southeast Asia to 7th century Persia (now Iran). Then it spread to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. By the 14th century you could buy little wafers (so cookies!) in Paris. Of course it was Paris , I expect nothing less from them in aiding to the creation of cookies. Then by 1596 some basic cookie recipes were making their way into cookbooks, one being the Goode Huswife’s Jewel that contained a recipe for “fine cakes.” These fine cakes were essentially a spiced cookie (cloves and mace, which is like nutmeg), that were made richer with egg yolks.

Jump to 1796, and the first cookbook that actually had a recipe for something by the name of “cookie” came into existence. The book was  American Cookery: or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Puff-pastes, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plumb to plain Cake. Catchy name. Really rolls off the tongue. (Literally this kinda offended me, like I assumed the name was gonna just be “Huswife” or something again, why would you include literally everything your book talks about in the title l i k e I’m busy I don’t need to read your novel of a title to figure out it’s a cook book, and t h e n read the actual book to find a recipe. I bet the recipe’s are just as wordy. ‘Take the shelled pre-life of a chicken and smash it against the side of a bowl as if it insulted your mother’ ~ crack an egg. It’s just silly man, but I digress). So, this book has too recipes for cookies, one called “Cookie”, and one called “Christmas Cookey” which I assume if you make on any other occasion that is not Christmas, the author of the book will come to your door and punch you in the face. I’m actually going to include one of the recipes, because this cookbook is supposedly the first one written and published by the United States, and the language is really funny to see written down:

Christmas Cookery – To three pound of flour, fprinkle a tea cup of fine powdered coriander feef, rub in one pound of butter, and one and half pound fugar, diffolve one tea fpoonful of pearlath in a tea cup of milk, kneed all together well, roll three quarter of an inch thick, and cut or ftamp into fhape and fize you pleafe, bake flowly fifteen or twenty minutes; tho’ hard and dry at firft, if put in an earthern pot, and dry cellar, or damp room, they will be finer, fofter and better when fix months old.”

I really like how it seemed they just replaced half of the letters with “f”, most prominently the letter “s.” Gave me a chuckle reading it.

So I guess that’s where I’m ending the history of cookies. Late 1700’s was when the first patented named “cookie” came to be, so that seems like a good place to settle. The main source I used was this website, if you would like to read about the full details. Hope your semester is going well, and if you want to tell me about other fun cookie facts, feel free to comment. I always like cookie facts.peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk-cookies-580x380

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Study Craze

MCAT, MCAT, MCAT, and more MCAT. This is what my schedule looks like. Am I missing something?

Oh yeah, my classes!

In order to keep myself sane and not think about the tricks the MCAT exam throws at you in virtually every question, I decided to make this post more motivational, mainly for myself, but also for my readers, about how to ensure that you stay on top of your coursework and not get overwhelmed by other commitments (that could not be more cliche, could it?)

I remember when I first got to college, this was the scene that initially greeted me through the movies, the TV shows, the books, and the new friends:

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Then where did this come from??

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And as boring as it sounds, I know the bottom one is the better option, for me at least (if you’re better at managing your time and can be more socially outgoing, please alert me of your presence). It’s the one that reminds me why I chose the career I wanted, and how it will get me there through the intense workload and experience. Getting up and studying 3 hours a day for Biochemistry, and 2 hours for MCAT doesn’t sound exciting on the surface, but when I look ahead and see myself and my fellow pre-meds in the white coat, I realize it’s what I really wanted all along.

Most importantly, I know that staying on top of your grades and coursework is the most important, since even if you don’t get the score you want on the MCAT the first time, it can be brought up. Your GPA, however, is like your baby. Always nourish it, feed it, and don’t ever let it get sick, and it will not stay your baby forever. In terms of other commitments, usually arrangements can be made to accommodate for your courses. But I would love to meet a professor who allows me to change the date of an exam because I don’t feel ready.

Understandably, the study craze can, for lack of a better term, drive you crazy. But there is one thing that really drives me in the face of that resistance: the spirit of competition. If it really were impossible to get an A in those courses, how are other people doing it? How can they complain and still emerge on top, whereas I tend to be too straightforward and actually mean what I complain? There is a way to bring yourself up, and I realize that wasting my time saying how hard a course is will only fuel my resistance, while others are finding a way that works for them. As a result, I usually tend to avoid the terms “boring”, “not fun”, and “hard” when I study, telling myself it is what I want and it is only temporary, and it will get me into that white coat (hopefully they have the right size). And when it is done, it does tend to feel much more relaxing and rewarding.

That is all for this New Year’s post. It has been a great 2017, and as always, I aim to make the next year better than the last. It might be hard, but, oh wait, I am not using that term. It is possible and it is what I want. Those of you who feel occasional lapses in motivation, it is part of the process, and do not forget that no matter where you go, your coursework is important. Even if your GPA doesn’t necessarily need to be on top for your career, the courses you take will undoubtedly have an impact on how you view the world.

For me, that world is currently Biochemistry, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Orgo, and Psychology and Sociology all at once, and it just keeps getting better from there…

My One (1) New Year’s Resolution

Maybe it’s because I can never stick to them, but I really only made one (1) New Year’s Resolution this year in the hopes that I could just focus all of my energy into following through. About a month into the year, I’m probably managing it about 30% of the time, but, you know, I’m a work in progress.

Now, before I tell you what my one (1) resolution actually is, I just want to say that I don’t want to come across like one of those cheesy motivational posters that have a picture of a landscape with some cheesy slogan underneath it that just seems empty of everything it’s trying to say. I also don’t want to come across as some sort of sad, Eeyore of a person (No offense to Eeyore. I love Eeyore.)

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One of the good ones

It’s just…unless you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past few years, you know the world has more or less plunged into total chaos – politically, economically, culturally, socially, a dozen other “ly”s that I’m not at all qualified to talk about. It’s exhausting. It’s terrifying. It’s also kind of surreal and baffling.

And maybe we’re feeling the brunt of this uncertainty because we’re in the most uncertain times of our lives. I live in a constant state of not knowing what I’m doing with my life and uncertain of the future in general. Throw in the vague possibility of a nuclear war and you’ve got yourself a recipe for existential terror.  

2016, I think, was the year when everyone realized that the world was falling apart and therefore started to make memes about dying. They were funny, not really all that serious, but they tapped into this weird impulse in people that I can’t really describe, but I’m going to go ahead and try. I guess it was a sort of gallows humor, making light of a seemingly hopeless situation, trying to find laughter in events that really weren’t that funny at all.

There’s nothing wrong with that. As far as coping mechanisms go, laughter is the best medicine for a reason. But, I don’t know, eventually even joking about the terrible things happening got exhausting. (I, personally, turned to wholesome memes for comfort.)

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It died down a little in 2017, but 2017 is also the year we began to truly feel the effects of everything that had happened in 2016 so 2017, I feel, was a year of all of us trying to reorient ourselves to our reality that no one particularly liked, trying to figure out where we stand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the internet, maybe a little bit too much, but the internet has bestowed upon us the ability to consume every bit of terrible news that happens. It got to the point where I wasn’t even really surprised anymore – horrified, yes, but not surprised – and it formed the expectations that bad things were going to happen.

I’ll get to my one (1) resolution soon, but first, a brief anecdote:

I took a class about postmodern literature last semester because I’m an English major and that’s just the kind of thing we do. One of postmodernism’s things is deconstruction, taking things apart and breaking them down and seeing what makes them tick. Towards the end of that class, I asked myself, “So if nothing is definite and everything is subjective, what do we do now?” It’s not like we can change the fact that everything is a construction. And then I thought my own question, “Well, there’s really only one thing we can do.”

My one (1) resolution is to keep going on and think positively while doing it. I’m trying to go into 2018 an optimist and like I said, I’m probably managing it about 30% of the time, but it’s a start. The world is terrifying and confusing and I am terrified and confused, but nothing about that is going to change if I just go through life thinking everything is going to end badly.  

Maybe you’re already an optimist and I’m just saying things that are obvious to you and I sound like a robot who’s learning what love is for the first time.

But if you’re anything like me, who tries not to hope too hard so she won’t be disappointed, maybe a little positivity will make a big difference.

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So if you’re going through life asking yourself:

“What do we do now?”

Keep your head high and believe that good things will happen if you try to make them happen.

(I almost made my one (1) 2018 resolution “Get my life together”, but I’m trying to be optimistic, not unrealistic).

An Alternative Winter Break

This winter break, I participated in a Rutgers Alternative Break trip, where my group and I volunteered at the GMHC, a “New York City–based non-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based AIDS service organization” (Wikipedia). 💪

Throughout the week, as we interacted with clients, heard stories, learned about HIV/AIDS and activism, participated in meal service, and helped with departmental projects, I kept thinking about courage, time, and youth.

I thought about how quickly young people with their whole lives ahead of them passed away at the start of the epidemic. I thought about how hard activists like Larry Kramer and members of ACT UP had to fight to spur drug development. I thought about how brave people were at confronting an unknown disease while losing friends, lovers, and family.

I also thought about how much our knowledge of HIV/AIDS has advanced due to the combined efforts of strangers who care. Now, with antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV/AIDS can not only live a normal lifespan, but also can suppress levels of the virus to the point where they cannot transmit the disease (CDC).


Although I learned about HIV/AIDS before in context of biology, this service trip helped me better understand HIV/AIDS from the perspective of social justice, history, and public health. From sorting files for the legal department, where I encountered last wills and testaments as well as bank, immigration, and eviction notices, to participating in meal service and learning about activism and safe sex, I was reminded of why I chose to study biology. While it may be difficult to memorize cell signaling mechanisms and pathways, ultimately, overcoming challenges like this is worth it for the people I someday may help.

One story in particular that left an impression on me was given by a member of ACT UP, ” international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS… to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies” (Wikipedia), who told us about his experience with HIV/AIDS.

At one point, when he told us about a protest he participated in that resulted in negotiations for affordable life-saving medication, it seemed to me almost as if he was reliving the past. The way he told the story, with his voice excited and gestures uncharacteristically animated, made it seem like I was with him, planning the protest (which could never have happened today due to security), entering the elevator the day of, speaking to the secretary, and holding the phone with a reporter on the other end…

As I watched this person seemingly relive such a meaningful moment in his life, I could not help but think back to a BTS song called Young Forever, in which the lyrics speak to the singers’ realization and acceptance at how one day, a new chapter in their lives will begin as the old one ends. 📖

The lyrics state something along the lines of:

“The thundering applause, I can’t own it forever
I tell myself, so shameless
Raise your voice higher
Even if the attention isn’t forever,
I’ll keep singing
I want to stay this way for life
I want to stay young forever…

Forever we are young
Even when I fall and hurt myself
I keep running toward my dream”

Hearing the speaker share the bitter and the sweet moments of his life, I was reminded of Young Forever, and its message of how even though nothing lasts forever, we can keep striving for our dreams. His story, along with the other stories I heard, inspire me to value the time I have, and to use it to help others while pursuing something I love.


This Alternative Break trip helped me gain a new appreciation for the importance of finding, joining, and creating communities whose members support each other, as well as the necessity of overcoming the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, safe sex, and HIV testing to decrease infection rates. Although it will take time to normalize topics like these, from this service learning trip I learned more about not only prevention efforts, but also about public health.

Overall, I had an amazing week volunteering at the GMHC, learning about HIV/AIDS and bonding with the other members of the trip. ❤️ The group reflections led by the site leaders and staff partner helped me get more out of this experience, whether by listening to others’ opinions or by sharing my thoughts with the group.

Whether through a service learning trip, or through weekly volunteering, I hope you readers take the time to become involved in an area of service you’re passionate about!  🤓

A GPA-boosting Semester!

Hey guys! Happy New Year! Wow! It is already 2018! I thought I would share with you some tips and tricks to make this semester a GPA booster. Enjoy and be sure to leave any other tips you have down below!

  1. Try to make at least one friend in each of your class.

This may seem a bit crazy, but trust me, with all those due dates and imminent exams, you will be glad you have a friend to contact. I found this was very helpful because instead of emailing professors or TA’s once a day about assignments or exam formats because I was too busy zoning out in class, I could just text that friend and ask him or her.

2. Keep the syllabus and due dates handy.

This is a really important one because when you have a million things due, small assignment dates can easily be overlooked. Even for procrastinators, if you suddenly realize a three-page paper is due tomorrow at 12pm, it might be a bit late. I find it helpful to print out syllabi for all the classes, and the real trick is to keep them all in one place (e.g in the same folder). This way, you have a lower chance of misplacing them, and it will be much easier to just peruse through all your classes beginning of the week and see what is due when.

3. Before buying all the textbooks, see if they are actually needed.

Every professor, or at least most of them, are obligated to encourage students to get a textbook as part of the course material for their classes. However, this does not necessarily mean that you need the textbook. There are plenty of classes in which the professors’ lecture notes alone will suffice and are actually much more coherent with the material that will be on the exams. Most likely, if you do the required assignments and attend the lectures, you may just get around not buying the textbook. I usually think of textbooks as supplementary material; if I find particular topics rather abstruse, then I turn to the textbook.

4. If you don’t want to fall asleep, sit up close.

There is nothing wrong with sitting up front. It will coerce you to pay attention a bit more, and prevent you from going on your phone every 20 minutes, or chit-chatting with your friend next to you.

5. Try to print readings out.

This may seem a little cumbersome at first, but come on, you have $30 to use up in printing, and we all know it is not that easy of a task to do that when it is the last day of the semester, so why not start using that money to print those pdf readings? By reading it on paper, and physically making notes and highlighting key points, you glean much more from the readings.

6. Keep course notes organized from now.

Still not done taking notes

Now, the beginning of classes is the BEST time to start to take notes in an organized manner, so that in the last week of finals, you won’t be scouring your fat notes-folder of five different subjects for that one particular chart of useful equations. When taking notes on the laptop or on paper, try to have separate folders for the classes or at least limit a folder to maximum two subjects. This goes for taking notes in composition notebooks too.

Thank you! Have a GPA-boosting semester! Good luck!

MCATs and other Standardized Tests

Ask any pre-med what they believe is the hardest part in becoming a doctor. Some might say maintaining a high GPA. Others might say conducting an excellent interview. But I think the one thing that every pre-med fears the most is the MCAT!!

The MCAT, also known as the Medical College Admission Test, is a required examination for any student pursuing medical school (or related graduate schools: apparently podiatry schools also requires MCATS). It is an 8 hour exam that covers biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology, and much more!!! After months of preparation, I finally took my MCAT this month and am so glad to be over with it!!

Now you might be wondering why I might be writing about an examination that only really pertains to pre-medical students. The truth is I am not really going to be talking about the MCAT particularly (also because AMCAS forbids I discuss about the content of my exam with anyone else). The MCAT is one of the many types of exams that so many students take near the end of their college careers. To name a few, students find themselves takings PCAT, DAT, GRE, LSAT, and OAT just to name a few (feel free to look up those exams and see why would one need to take them. In this blog post I wanted to talk about the general preparation and training one should take in order to successfully face these standard examinations.

  1. Reserve the time! The thing about these exams is that they require large amounts of time to study for. Since they usually contain large quantities of information tested, it is of utmost importance that you plan the upcoming months/semester so that you can maximize the time spent preparing for such exams. Personally, I decided to take a relatively lighter Fall semester so I could concentrate my time on the MCAT instead of school work. 
  2. Make some sacrifices. You are going to realize real quickly that you are going to have a little-to-none social life. That means you probably will have to skip out from parties and social events. But that’s the thing about time management. You need to rank your responsibilities and duties and figure out what requires the most of your time.
  3. Figure out a study schedule! Now while it may be simple to say that you are going to study for the MCAT for the next 3 months, it’s important to figure out how you plan to study. Now for some people, a class or lecture is the best way for them to learn. Today they are many well-known test preparation companies out there to help you. However, if you learn best by yourself, that’s also fine! But make sure to stay focused since no one will be holding you hand or pushing you forward if you self study.
  4. Find resources. Thanks to the World Wide Web (and Reddit lol), there are so many free resources just a click away. A lot of these resources have helped tons of students before and it may as well help you.
  5. Stay healthy! Studying for an important exam isn’t just study study study all day long lol! You need to keep yourself active as well. Proper nutrition also goes a long way. Studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle can play a major role in preparing for standard examinations. You have higher stamina and greater endurance for hour long sections. 
  6. Practice Practice Practice! A lot of testing companies as well as private test preparation companies have plenty of practice exams or old real exams available for you to use. Utilize these in order to keep track of how you are doing.

The moment you exit your exam realizing that you don’t have to worry about it anymore is such an amazing feeling (I am literally so relieved I don’t have to study 8 hours a day for MCATs lol). And even if it might have not went so well, there is always a chance for surprising good news when you get your results back. But worst case scenario, don’t give up if things don’t work out. If your passion for the field/profession is strong, there is always hope that you can do it!!

NEW YEAR – OLD ME vs “NEW ME”

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As the new year came around, so did the time-worn tradition of New Year Resolutions. People around the world promising themselves and others that changes would happen and  better version of themselves would emerge. But the resolution is as much a curse as it is a tradition. It puts on pressure to do a complete behavioral or personality change which, in my opinion, is completely unrealistic because a new year is just a new minute on the clock – the movement from midnight to 12:01. For so many years, I was victim to the unrealistic resolution and maybe for the first week or two it would work, but as January would progress I would slowly revert to my old habits and would feel like a failure for the rest of the year.

I decided to do something different in 2018, I consciously made an effort to not make any new resolutions that involved me changing a part of me. Instead, as the clock struck a minute past midnight on the 1st of January, I made a promise to just be better. To improve on what I was already during, to put more effort into it. For example, I replaced resolving to start a new diet or exercise regime with just telling myself to commit to the one I had used in 2017. I resolved to appreciate my self , my mind and my body more to nourish and love them instead of hating and trying to change them. For all my efforts, I have to say I have gone through the past few days of 2018 with a more positive outlook and a renewed commitment to myself.

So as I wrap this post up I enjoin every reader to give my motto a try – BE BETTER.  Happy New Year everyone and I wish you the best of luck and happiness this year and this semester.

Making Goals and Sticking with Them

It’s 2018, and although some of us are sick of hearing it, many of us believe in a “New Year, New Me”. We all have goals to achieve or things that we want to change in our lives, and the new year is the perfect time to be inspired to do something different. But most of the time, we have a surge of inspiration at the beginning of the year, and then that quickly dies down and we fall into the same habits that we had the previous year. I am personally tired of watching my years go by without making changes in my life, so I am trying a new method to achieving my goals this year.

This year, one of my goals is to consistently bullet journal. Last year, when I started bullet journaling, I made too much of an effort to make it fancy, and I quickly grew exhausted and dreaded making spreads. So this year, I am going with simple but colorful spreads that do not require too much effort, and get the job done. Bullet journaling helps me keep track of what I do each day, and helps me make sure that I am keeping on top of my goals. One of the tools that I use to keep track of what I do each day is a habit tracker.

march habit tracker

Here is a gorgeous example of a habit tracker!

This is an example of someone else’s tracker that I used as a reference for my own. In my January habit tracker, I have activities like: exercise, drink green tea, read, draw/color, and Bible reading. Each night, I reflect on my day, and color in the little box that corresponds to what activity I did that day. Of course, each day I do not accomplish every goal/activity, so there are some gaps in my spread, but nobody’s perfect! Making a habit tracker, whether in a journal, or on a loose-leaf sheet of paper, is helpful, because it helps me to keep in mind what my resolutions are, and then I don’t forget about them.

Another way that I am keeping track of my goals, is by using my phone/laptop reminders. I am one of those people who cannot survive without reminders. I use reminders for due dates, for events, for homework, anything and everything you can think of! I have also started using my reminders to help me with daily activities. For example, I have a reminder that pops up every day and tells me to take my vitamins  (I always forget about them!). You can also set a reminder in the night to tell you to floss, or you can set one in the morning to remind you to do yoga before you officially start your day. These are really helpful, because although it is possible to forget about a journal, our phones are constantly with us. So why not use them in a way that will help us achieve our goals!

This year, we can all be successful in achieving goals. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you can’t keep on top of every goal. Even keeping up with one resolution will make a change in your life, and that’s a huge accomplishment!