Friday, November 20, 2015

Reflections


In just a month and two weeks time I'll be turning twenty nine. Seriously, why does time fly so fast? The end of the year, the start of a new one, and of course my birthday always bring me to reflect about my life and the year that was.

2015 has gone by without so much "fireworks" or major breakthroughs. I am still here, stuck in my plans to pursue graduate studies. Still searching for programs, for schools, for scholarships... I feel like I've already devoted so much time researching programs and universities but I'm still back to square one. Yes, I've already taken the TOEFL and GRE (this I will take again next year) but it's still a long way to go.

Sometimes it can be disappointing and depressing. Other times, I just feel completely exhausted. If there's one thing I learned, it's that looking for a graduate program is not as easy as ABC. Everyday I wake up with grad school application as the first thing in my mind. You'll never know that struggle until you're in that stage where you want so badly to pursue a PhD. Time is also a major factor, because whether I like it or not, I'm not getting any younger.

Another issue is the shift of research interest. All my life, I've been working in plant science but I've always wanted to be in the biomedical arena. If I'm not going to be a doctor (my childhood dream), might as well work in a field closest to it, the biomedical sciences. My ultimate goal is to discover a cure for neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Alzheimer's, and to see that cure change and improve the lives of the people affected with the disease. With the technology that we have, I'm confident that one day that goal will be achieved.

I know the competition is high, there are much more younger people who are more experienced than I am but I am determined to do everything it takes, even if I need to start with another MS degree again, just so I can get into that field.

So much is still going on in my mind right now but I guess I'll have to stop here.


image source here

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Life These Days

In just a few days, it'll be the month of December. I know a lot of people are already excited about it but in my case, it's different. I am silently hoping that time would slow down because December would be the deadline for graduate school applications in the US (for the program that I want to take). I am looking at two universities but the sad thing is that the deadline for both is on the first week of December. I only have almost two weeks left. I really don't know if I can make it. Possibly not. But then again, there can be miracle. But with the situation I'm into right now, things just seem so bleak.

However, here's the good news. Remember the moment I was depressed with my unfortunate TOEFL experience (see post here)? Finally, I was able to take it last October 31. With the encouragement of my mom and with the looming application deadline, I finally took the courage and faced the exam. Results came and I have to say I'm happy with the scores that I got. Really thankful for all the prayers and support of family and friends, and for the sisters/nuns in the church in my hometown who prayed for me. Of course, this success would not have been possible without the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

On November 6, I took the GRE. I have to admit though that I wasn't prepared. I took it because I wanted to catch up with the application deadline. I have to take the risk. Either I will do good or not. But the GRE is not easy. Well, the questions are like high school/early part of college math but the thing is, you have to really refresh your mind with the lessons you had when you were in high school and that proved to be difficult, especially for me who wasn't able to review well. The verbal part is also difficult because some of the words used are like out-of-this-world! I was also kind of confused in the first question of the analytical writing so I probably didn't answer it correctly and completely. In short, I did not do good and it showed in my scores. What's worse is that the percentile rank is also included. Seeing it really makes me cry. Even now, just by writing, I feel like crying.

But yeah, life happens. And you can't always get what you want. You have to work hard for it. And work hard I will do. I am planning to take the GRE again. But this time, I'll definitely review well and refresh my mind with the math lessons, improve my vocabulary, and practice more with writing. Slowly but surely, I'll get that high GRE score and percentile rank.

I may not be able to meet the application deadline but one thing's for sure, I'll see you again GRE! I will see you and I will conquer you!

Monday, November 16, 2015

HCMC Day 1 (Part 2)

Been very busy these past few weeks but now, after such a long time, the continuation post is finally up! Writing this at this very moment brings back all the fond memories I had in Vietnam and helps brighten up an otherwise depressing Monday.

So let's go back that lovely day of 11th of October. Just across the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Central Post Office. You'll never miss it because it's a bright yellow-colored building. Aside from being a famous tourist destination, it still is a functioning post office. You can go there and mail some letters or post cards to your loved ones back home. But of course, me and my friend just took some pictures.


See those intricate carvings?

Inside, you can see the portrait of Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader who became prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Seeing something familiar

One of the best things that I saw inside the building was this lovely couple sitting beside each other. The old lady seemed like writing something while the old man was looking at the interior of the building. The perfect picture of traveling and seeing the world together even though they're old. Hashtag relationship goals!


There are also some shops near inside the building selling a variety of colorful and beautiful souvenir items.


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