Gotta Get Down on Friday

I can’t believe this week has flown by so quickly! Lots of things have happened so this post is perfect for updates.

Research Lab

I’ve started working in a research lab in the Pharmacology Department at the UVa med school this week. I’m only in the training period, but I’m really enjoying my time there. There is a lot of down time, but it gives me a chance to work on other things like my secondary essays. Learning about lab techniques is really quite exciting but sometimes really gruesome.

The other day, I observed some of my labmates working on mice, which involved anesthetizing them, crucifying them, perfusing them (which makes them super stiff, making them look like “mouse kebabs” … in the words of a fellow student researcher, Willy), decapitating them, and extracting their brains to see which neurons were activated. I had mixed feelings, just seeing the tiny little heads just sitting on the the table; a part of me was excited to work with live animals, but a part of me felt horrified to see them suffocate in the CO2 chamber. Who knows, I might eventually become desensitized to euthanizing mice in a few weeks.

Mice in their small cage; they were surprisingly cute
Mice in their cage smiling for the camera; they were surprisingly cute!

I’m really excited about working here, and I think the fact that I’m working here during my gap year is what makes me more excited about it. Anyone who knows me can tell that I’m terrible at multi-tasking. So if I had to come to lab while I had school work to worry about, I don’t think I’d be able to give my 100% to research. That’s what happened with EMT, but that’s another post, on another day… The fact that I’d be able to put so much time and energy to focus on my upcoming project invigorates me, making me eager to do my best to get the best results as possible.

New Apartment

I moved into a new apartment with a new roommate here in Charlottesville on Sunday. My room seems so much roomier than last year’s, and having a bathroom to separate our bedrooms helps with the sound barrier so that I don’t have to worry about being too loud.

New bedroom! After hours and hours of unpacking, it's finally organized.
New bedroom! After hours and hours of unpacking, it’s finally organized.
Plastic wrap + scissors + scotch tape = NO BUGS
Plastic wrap + scissors + scotch tape = NO BUGS

Everything was great about this room except for… the stink bugs. The air conditioning that was installed in my window apparently left a gap between the two planes of window where stink bugs found their way in at night. The very first night, I couldn’t sleep very much because they were so loud when they flew, but mostly because I was absolutely terrified of them. That night, I would wake up every hour because of the noise, catch the bug, lie awake for a while, fall asleep, and repeat.

The second night, I was so tired from lab and grocery shopping that I had no energy to seal the gap. Yet another sleepless night.

Now the third night, I knew I couldn’t take it anymore, and thus, the plastic wrap contraption!

Sleep that third night was oh so heavenly and quiet… which meant… victory!!

Simple Joys

Breakfast to go!
Breakfast to go!

Last but not least, I wanted to share with you my newest purchase.

After searching for the right sized container to bring yogurt to lab for lunch, I found the perfect container: yogurt parfait plastic container! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE yogurt with granola. I think it’s one of the best food combinations (1st is yook-ssam-naeng-myun), and boy, was I excited when I saw this haha.

I guess this just shows that it doesn’t take much to make me really happy, and hopefully it stays that way. There’s not enough time in the world for anything else than happiness.

So many other exciting things happened this week: making new friends, catching up with old friends, learning new things, chatting about old things… You know, I’ve dreaded spending my gap year in Charlottesville, but from what I’ve experienced in my first week here as an alumna, I look forward to what I’d be able to accomplish in a year. And I look forward to sharing my adventures with you.


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