Tag Archive | Visual impairment

“You’re Not My Homeland Anymore”

Or “So I’m Leaving Out the Side Door” Part Two

Since this post is a sequel to that one, I’m posting the lyric video again.

In “exile” from folklore, Taylor Swift and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver are singing to and about an ex-lover. For me, the song has taken on a totally different, personal meaning.

It’s held steady as my favorite song on folklore (with many others way, way up there, at this moment the next closest has to be “the lakes”) because the whole concept of exile seems to fit my life right now. Even if it’s (semi) self-imposed.

For me the you of the song isn’t an ex, isn’t a lover, isn’t a person at all.

It’s medical school. It’s medical training as a whole. It’s the medical education industrial complex.

“So I’m leaving out the side door”

I’m leaving medical school.

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – The Basic Tools: The Artist Date

Artist DateIn The Artist’s Way, the seminal book on creativity, author Julia Cameron introduces two Basic Tools, after the introduction and before the week-by-week chapters. These two Basic Tools, she says, are the cornerstone to connecting with creativity.

The first is Morning Pages, discussed in last week’s Artist’s Way Reflections column, the practice of writing three handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind every morning. I’ve wrestled with these pages, but ultimately find them to be helpful, a way to connect to what I’m actually feeling, which isn’t always easy but is in its own way grounding. They’re also a good source of fresh ideas, a way to puzzle through problems and often a place to dump the mental waste before starting the day.

The second Basic Tool is the Artist Date. You’re supposed to go on a “date” with your artist self once a week. Do something fun for an hour and no one else is allowed to come along. Quality time with your creative side.

And I’m going to be real. I get the theory behind it, it all sounds great when Julia Cameron extols the values of an Artist Date. But in actuality, I hate it.

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Med School Application Journey Crisis Point

NOTE: This is not a new post. This post is from April 2018. I was looking to link to it and found I’d taken it down, reverted it to a draft (I also found a bunch more drafts of posts I thought were published in there, oooops). I guess I took it down once I decided to go to medical school, bury the evidence of my ambivalence.

So, yeah, spoiler alert: I went.

Here’s the post from April 2018:

There’s an episode in Season 7 of Gilmore Girls where Lorelai has to write a character reference to Luke. When she tells Rory that she can’t write the letter, they have this exchange:

Rory: Sounds like you’re overthinking this. Maybe if you just put pen to paper.

Lorelai: I tried that, I thought, “I’ll just sit down and write whatever comes – no judgment, no inner critic.” Boy was that a bad idea.

Rory: Really? Why?

Lorelai: Because my brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. “I’m writing a letter, I can’t write a letter, why can’t I write a letter? I’m wearing a green dress, I wish I was wearing my blue dress, my blue dress is at the cleaner’s. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue, ‘Casablanca’ is such a good movie. Casablanca, the White House, Bush. Why don’t I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard. Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants!”

Rory: Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants?

Lately, like for the last month, my brain feels like hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey monkey underpants.

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My Medical School Application Journey (So Far)

pre-medimageI had my first medical school interview a few days ago, and I feel like cataloguing my experiences here, as a way to both share the experience I’m going through in applying to medical school as a non-traditional applicant with a disability, and also as a way to collect some of my impressions in one place.

To back up a little, I applied this summer. After my final final exam as an undergraduate (physical chemistry), later that afternoon I started filling out the application. No rest for the determined. I submitted my application in July, applying to 19 schools. This sounds like a lot (and it is) but I know people who’ve applied to double that many. In September 2016, I sat down with my finances to plan out how much I needed to have saved for each step of the process and had determined that if I met those goals, I could apply to ~18 schools. So pretty much on target.

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MCAT Results

I just realized I never updated my site with the results.

Scores for my test date came out on Oct 27th, a little bit after noon and very soon after I got off of work. I was still at my workplace (a tutoring center) and everyone was busy, so I was just walking around the office, pulling up the scores on my phone.

Here are the results:
IMG_1239Needless to say, I’m over the moon about my score. And hugely relieved that I don’t need to tackle this beast of a test ever again.

I’m also really, really grateful to all the people who helped with this, and all the events that fell into place, like winning a prep course I never could’ve afforded, my boss letting me basically take the month before the test completely off, the people who helped me get accommodations, all the people who helped me understand physics better, all the people who were understanding when I wasn’t all that available this summer and early fall, the people who knew exactly when a much-needed break was mandatory and invited me out to do things, all the encouragement and support that people around me offered (via text, long phone calls, emails, conversations), all the professors that gave me a solid background in the sciences, and whatever luck allowed me to get a verbal score that was better than my practice tests.

When I got my score, I was in shock. I won’t lie, I expected to get a good score, I knew I had solid understanding of the subjects (tutoring a lot of them was a major help), but there seemed to be so many factors in all of the sections that I really was preparing myself to get a lower score than predicted, and had told myself I would not retake anything over a 510. So  to get a score that high, I was kind of in shock. I still remember after I first checked it, trying to write my first text to tell someone and my hands shaking so much I couldn’t get the text out right away.

This past weekend, I celebrated with a karaoke party, which was a total blast!

Who knows what will be next?

~EJ

History of My Battle for Accommodations – MCAT 2015

accommodationsIn my last post, about registering to take the MCAT this September, I mentioned that I was originally going to take it two years ago but was denied the accommodations I requested. It’s a much longer story than that, and it’s a battle I need to gear up for once again.

And that’s a topic I want to tackle a bit here. People who know me in real life know that I hardly ever use any sort of accommodations on tests. I want to be treated like everyone else, take the tests in the class with everyone else. And if I could have done that with the MCAT, I would’ve.

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Finally Tackling the Beast – MCAT 2015

mcatA few days ago, I brought back this post from 2010 about my interest in medicine. There was a reason for bringing back that particular post. It relates to something I want to post about now.

Earlier this week, I registered for the MCAT. I’ll be taking it on September 23, 2015.

Trying to insert a Countdown Clock but it’s not working. Just one more reason I might switch over to WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com.

I was thinking that, among other topics, I might post about the whole ordeal of preparing for the test and then taking it. I figured it’s sort of a unique situation–you don’t get a ton of blind and visually-impaired people taking that test–so hopefully it’ll be interesting to people. I can only hope.

A little background:

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Screenwriting as Love Drug Mania Part 3 – Return to Normalcy

Tranquility____Collab___by_freelancahHere it is, the final installment in this trilogy of posts about a recent crazy creative journey (Read Part 1 – The High and Part 2 – Coming Down here) of writing a crazy screenplay called (for now anyway) Sweet Acid. Not that the journey of writing this screenplay is over–I still have tons of editing to do, and then need to figure out what I want to do with it–but that the crazy emotional creativity roller coaster has subsided.

And as for what got me back to normal? It’s nothing shocking. I think just about every working writer or artist or creative person in any field has said this. The cure for all that insane intensity–the good, the bad, the swinging between the extremes–is to keep doing the work.

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Screenwriting as Love Drug Mania Part 2 – Coming Down

stage frightimagesThe creative process can be a mindfuck at times. Last time, I wrote about the ecstatic high of being so madly inspired on a screenwriting project that I was all out of whack. Even though I knew better, I kinda thought that feeling would last a really long time.

And in a certain way, it’s still there. I’m still excited about the project and had a great time talking about it yesterday with the friend who my character Lenne is based on. But I also experienced the other side of the creative process, the doubt and self-loathing, the coming down off the drug-like high of creating.

The crash came along with writing the end of the first draft of the screenplay. Maybe it was just the fact that the initial mad dash creative side of the project was over. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel excited about this project so much as terrified.

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Blind Job Interview – Blind Alien Nation 3

Another installment from my bitchy essay about blindness. It should be noted that this incident I’m describing, and the writing about the incident, took place before I took organic chemistry and discovered that it was my academic subject soulmate.

Blindness_blogIt affects everything. As a blind person, you quickly learn all the coded ways that potential employers dress up, “I won’t hire you because you’re blind,” or the coded way potential dates dress up, “I don’t want to go out with you because you’re blind.” It often doesn’t matter how well you present yourself, how positive and open you are about discussing your blindness and showing that you do and feel and are the same things as other humans. There are still countless ways that people deny your full human dignity.

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