In Which I Start to See the Sun

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The alternate title for this post was, "In Which I Start to Think About Maybe Embracing the Chaos, or at the Very Least, Learn to Coexist in a Semi-Peaceful Manner with It," but that was really long and cumbersome, and honestly, we all know that I will never really embrace the chaos, and I don't like to lie (mainly because I'm really bad at it... also because lying is wrong). Anyway, not only has it not snowed or been ridiculously and unpleasantly cold lately, we have (for the most part), been seeing sunshine. Legit sunshine! Friday was kind of a rainy disaster, but April showers bring May flowers or something, and semi-related, at this point, my Mom-Mom would ask, "What do the May flowers bring?" and the answer, for those who care, is PILGRIMS! (Duh.) Our family loves puns, so at least now you know I come by my own love for terrible puns honestly.

SO, back to the whole sunshine thing. It's nice when it's sunny, and sun means warmer temperatures (which are good), but that means that everything starts blooming... which looks pretty, but makes me want to die, or at the very least, be placed in a medically-induced coma until spring has sprung fully. My allergist's office is so busy that they had to open the practice on Saturdays just to fit everyone in. I feel like every year is an "unprecedented year for allergies" and that "the pollen counts have never been higher!" but this year... man, it is gross out there. Despite all that, I'm glad that we seem to have fully moved into the spring season, and before you know it, it will be 90 degrees every day and I'll be complaining about how I pass out all the time (yay dehydration and orthostatic hypotension!).

So yes, actual, literal, sunshine has been seen, and since things couldn't have gotten much worse in the last two weeks unless I had burst into flames or gotten hit by a bus, it's not surprising that the metaphorical sun is peeking from behind the clouds. My back is almost back to normal, thanks to a Medrol Dosepak and Flexeril, and I haven't encountered any foods that made me violently vomit while driving my car (or otherwise). Also, no one has stolen my identity (that I know of) and no one has assaulted me on a bus and taken my wallet, so I think that I'm definitely on an upswing here. I did find out last week that I was rejected from Florida Atlantic University's MS program, but since I had decided that I would only move to FL (or MD, for that matter) if I didn't get in anywhere up here, I kind of didn't care. Also, the fact that I had an interview for Hopkins, coupled with the invitation I recently received to interview at Penn for their program really made the entire situation of being rejected from a state university more baffling than painful. My Penn interview is next Wednesday from 2-4, so send good vibes if you have a minute!

Also in the "things that make this week better than the previous two weeks" column is that I found out last night that I was accepted into Barry University's accelerated MS program! I don't know why they randomly sent me an email at 8:30 at night on a Monday to tell me this, but it was welcome news all the same. I read the email, didn't believe what I read, read it again, and as Ken and I were sitting on the sofa, eating dinner and watching a DVR'd episode of Chopped, I said, "I just got accepted at Barry..." and continued to reread the email because I wasn't quite sure I was reading it correctly, haha. The weirdest thing about all this is that I'm pretty sure that I never sent them my application fee and that one of my transcripts was missing... but hey, I am not arguing with an acceptance! I should have more information in 2-3 weeks when I get my acceptance packet in the mail, but for now, it just feels great to know that no matter what, I will be back in school this August.

This is great... and also terrifying. My brain is kind of doing this:

When I started this whole process, I honestly wasn't expecting to get in anywhere. I'm not sure why, but I just figured that the admissions adventure was going to repeat itself as it had in the past (spend money and time applying, maybe interview, get a pile of rejections, cry). Now that I actually have somewhere to go, regardless of what happens with any of the rest of my schools, I have to admit that yes, this is happening. I am going to do a post-bac and reapply to med school and (hopefully) go back to med school. In fact, it's so happening that I had to check "get into a post-bac program" off of my life list. Craziness.

This also moderately complicates our already-complicated housing situation. As of May 22nd, we have to tell our apartment complex that we're moving out of our apartment at the end of our lease, which ends July 22nd. We had planned on moving anyway, so that's not really a problem. The problem is that we don't want to move into another complex because for what we're looking for is too expensive in the southern NJ area. We don't even particularly want to stay in NJ, and depending on where I get into school now and for med school, would want to possibly move into the Philly suburbs at some point, but Ken isn't certified anywhere but NY and NJ (he's submitting his stuff to get certified in FL, PA, and MD, haha) and even if he was, it's a little too risky to move into PA when he doesn't know if he has a job there yet. (This wouldn't be a problem if NJ didn't have that pesky law that state employees have to live in the state.) Even if I got into one of the Philadelphia schools that I applied to, we'd probably stay in NJ at least for this year. Anyway, we don't want to move into a complex and so we're looking at privately owned condos, duplexes, houses, etc. The problem with that is that landlords don't want to lease a property to someone in May when they won't be getting their rent and such until July. We're prepared to give our first month and security deposit now, but that's still not enough to sway most landlords. That was stressful enough by itself, since it was looking like we'd be telling our complex that we're leaving before we know where we're going, but at least before Florida was back on the table, I figured we would be able to go out and look at places in late May/early June and know where we were moving. Now we have to wait until I hear back from at least one of the Philly schools, otherwise we might end up leasing something up here and then finding out, oh crap, we're moving to Florida (which would be less than optimal).

Hopkins should be getting back to me by the end of this month, and my interview for Penn is next Wednesday. When I applied at Penn, I had submitted my application for the Summer I start, which is apparently May 20th (which I didn't know when I applied). That is way too soon for me, as I'd like to work at least through June and hopefully July. Fortunately, I can defer my admission to another term. Summer II starts July 1st, which is better, and the Fall term start is August 28th. I was leaning towards at least starting in Summer II, but Pam told me that the courses offered for the program are both 12 weeks, which means I'd have to start Summer I, or defer to the fall... which is annoying. I would just go ahead and start in Summer I, but that's kind of like... TOMORROW, and annoyingly, I'm not eligible for CHOP to reimburse my tuition until July 23rd (a year from my start date). Who knows? All that to say, since Penn is operating on the assumption that I want to start on 5/20, they should probably tell me pretty quickly after my interview whether I've been accepted. If I get accepted at Penn, then Florida is off the table because again, we'd rather not move this year and potentially (probably) have to move again the following year for med school. Penn is my second choice program, as I'd rather go to Temple, but Temple doesn't start interviewing until May... schedules are complicated and they stress me out. I guess this is the point where I should say, "but I'm trying to embrace that chaos!" but really, I'd like to put the chaos on a bus and send it away to Abu Dhabi, and then possibly hide from it under my kitchen table. (Note: I didn't know Abu Dhabi was a real place until like, 3 years ago. That's kind of embarrassing but also wildly funny to me.)

So that's the up-to-the-minute on the school adventure. Work is going pretty well, and I am getting lots of positive feedback. It does make me sad that I'll be leaving here in August, but I know that it's the right choice. I feel kind of bad because lots of people have been telling me how great it is to have me here. Twice this week, I've been told, "Alison, you just get stuff done!" Hopefully someday, I'll back at CHOP, but I'll be a med student or maybe even a resident... or an attending?! A girl can dream, right? Right. We'll go with that.

In other news, I went to a book signing last night for Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. I had seen Andrew Solomon interviewed on some evening news show, like 20/20 or Dateline or something, and I knew that I wanted to read his book. It seriously did not disappoint, although my one piece of advice is to definitely read it on an e-reader of some kind because the book is MASSIVE. It's just over 900 pages (although the last 200 or so are sources and such), and it's only in hardcover currently. Carrying it in my Kindle was much easier than hauling the actual book around, although I did acquire a copy of the book for the signing. The book is fascinating, and is the culmination of 10 years of research about families dealing with exceptional children who are vastly different from themselves. It includes chapters on autism, deafness, dwarfism, schizophrenia, transgendered individuals, prodigies, and more. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, joyous, and absolutely changed the way I look at my own upbringing, my parents, and how I might want to parent my own potential children one day. I would basically recommend this book to anyone who has parents, haha. It earned a place on my Top 20 Books of All Time list, which I admit, started out as a Top 10 list, and then had to grow... and I suspect it will continue to grow forever. I just bought another book by the same author, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, and I can't wait to start it. I should probably also finish the other three books I'm reading but... what can you do?

That's about all of the exciting news from here. I am very ready for the weekend, even though it is going to be busy. Tonight I actually have no plans, which is glorious. Tomorrow, I have a stupid training from 10-12, and some random meetings, and then I'm (finally) getting my hair colored and my bangs trimmed at 5:30, after which I am meeting Lindsey for pizza. Saturday is going to be a flurry of activity in the morning, including cleaning and picking Victoria's dog up from the kennel and dropping her off at their house (they're coming back from a cruise, but not until late and didn't want to pay for another day, which makes sense). In the afternoon, Colleen is coming over to hang out and watch Downton Abbey, and then that night, I'm having a bunch of girls over for a Slumber Party party (like... a Tupperware party but way sexier, haha). Ken is being expelled from the apartment for the evening, but he's going to hang out with Levi, so I don't feel too bad, haha. Then Sunday... more cleaning/laundry/errands, and then dinner at The Pop Shop with some friends. Whew.

And on that note... I'm out. Keep looking for the sunshine, all.

- A

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