I Challenge You.

Life is hard. It’s not easy when you are working towards your dream and you put everything you had in it, and it just doesn’t work out. It can be extremely disappointing when you tried your best in your classes, but it just was not good enough. You’re knocked down, and it seems like staying down isn’t a bad alternative. You begin to believe that not doing your best is ok because this way you can always have the excuse, “I obviously could have done it if I did my best”. I know because this was how I felt not too long ago. A lackadaisical lifestyle is a disease. It ruses you into believing that it’s ok for you not to start your essay, that’s due in a week, now. You can just start it the day before and get a mediocre grade. This lifestyle is the reason people quit their dream of becoming a doctor. It is the reason I almost I gave up. I saw the requirements for medical school and the first thing I felt was fear. People are afraid to give it everything they have and find out that it’s too hard; that they just can’t do it. So they give up. I stopped showing up to my classes, I stopped caring about my homework. Unfortunately, there are consequences that come with throwing in the towel. The consequences are that you’ll never know if what you had envisioned for yourself is possible. You’ll live everyday of your life wondering if you made the right decision by picking the less challenging career. Regret ate away at me because I realized the only reason I even thought of quitting was because things got hard.

wallpaper-if-it-doesnt-challenge-you-it-doesnt-change-you-brushstrokes-blue (1)A famous motivational speaker once said, “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory”, meaning that the time and effort you spend working towards your goal will, in the long run, have a much more satisfying feeling, as opposed to giving in to your short term pleasures. If you truly care about people and wish to do something in your life that would better humanity, then go the extra mile. Use your desire to help those that are in need to get you through biology, chemistry, physics, etc. There will always be someone in your life putting you down. They will tell you, “It’s too hard, you can’t do it, your GPA isn’t high enough, do something else”, but you cannot give in. People who can’t do something themselves will tell you you can’t do it either. So in spite of the fact that your GPA isn’t high enough, in spite of the fact you have people telling you, left and right, you don’t have what it takes, I ask that you don’t lose sight of your ambitions.

I ask that you never give up; no matter how bad things may seem. I challenge you to stand back up every single time life knocks you down and fight! Fight for your dreams with every single fiber in your body screaming, “I CAN DO IT!” I challenge you to go against the odds, against the naysayers, against your former self! Show everyone that impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men. Be prepared to dedicate all of your time to mastering your craft. Your goal is to reach the ultimate skill level.  While other people sleep, you are working. While other people eat, you are working. You are aiming to achieve unreasonable results, and in order to do that you must become an unreasonable person. You will endure the long hours of studying and drudgery because they are not as painful as knowing that you let your dreams slip away from you. It will not be easy. If it were easy, everybody would do it. You are not everybody. I challenge you.

Written by: Daniel Shoykhet

Be Thankful This Year

Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful…especially when you’re battling fifty people to get on the 6 train or not sure if you’ll ever see the end of the organic chemistry textbook. But science and common sense tell us that gratitude is the best way to handle all the stress that we get (Brooks 2). A research article published in the journal Cerebral Cortex explains that “gratitude stimulates the hypothalamus (a key part of the brain that regulates stress) and the ventral tegmental area (part of our “reward circuitry” that produces the sensation of pleasure)” (Brooks 2). I mean, when you talk to friend who’s happy to be where he or she is in life, you can tell that he or she is a lot more equipped against all the challenges life throws at us.

Growing up, a lot of people complimented my joyful perspective on the world. I didn’t think twice about it; it was just second nature for me. However, as I started college and the struggles of pre-med track, I gradually began to see that side of me fade. I often found myself complaining more than smiling. I isolated myself to better focus on my studies. Although I was spending more time studying, I was often distracted or too tired. During this past month, I came across Brooks’ article, Choose to Be Grateful. It Will Make You Happier, in the NY Times. I started to reflect on how I was going through my days this semester. My motivation levels were at an all-time low because I had lost an important habit of being thankful and glad. This Thanksgiving break, I spent time at home with my family. I intentionally thought about things that I’m grateful for: education, close friends, family members, my boyfriend, even the ability to comprehend and memorize…Coming back from this break and realization, I find myself rested and invigorated to finish my semester well!

It might be hard to see things to be grateful for amidst all the schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but what about why you decided to stick with pre-med in the first place? Be grateful for all the awesome science-y things you learn everyday and how cool the human body is! Give thanks for your support system during all of this pressure! Be thankful about your passion and perseverance to help others! Biochemistry might be a different language right now, but don’t forget why you’re studying it. The hardest aspect of gratitude is doing it when you don’t feel like it. But that’s when we need it the most. So the next time you’re ready to give up on memorizing the steps of the Citric Acid Cycle, take a breather and think about what you’re grateful for.

Written by: Sharon Pang

Getting the Jitters?

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably part of the 54 percent of adults who drink coffee in the U.S. Why do we drink coffee? For most of us it is out of necessity to keep us awake and alert. We drink it on a daily basis and splurge an endless amount of money each year on this beverage. It’s only suitable for us to know what’s in coffee and how it affects us.

Caffeine, as we all know, is the prime ingredient of coffee. It assumes the role of a stimulant and provides a boost in alertness. Caffeine has demonstrated its efficacy whenever we wake up from little sleep, work overnight shifts, or suffer from our post-lunch laziness. There are studies that have shown that coffee does in fact improve performance when it comes to doing tedious, repetitive tasks. Caution must be taken however that too much caffeine can result in a decrease in performance.

In terms of sleep, extra care should be taken if you’re going to consume caffeine. Generally, caffeine can interfere with sleep if drank by occasional drinkers, whose bodies are not accustomed to breaking down caffeine without much expenditure of energy. The stimulant might prove to be a bit too much in this population and can easily keep this group awake. Of course, for regular coffee drinkers, the effects are not as pronounced as their bodies have adapted to absorbing caffeine. No matter how frequent of a drinker you are, some ground rules should be followed for the sake of your sleeping patterns. Firstly, everyone has their limits on how much caffeine they can tolerate without overstimulation taking place. Know your limit and try not to surpass it. Second. It is not a good idea to drink coffee in the evening since you run the risk of going to sleep right around the time the caffeine kicks in.

Despite the negative portrayals of caffeine in regards to our dependence on it,  there are some bright sides to it. Regular coffee drinking can slow down age-related cognitive decline. Along with that, coffee has been shown to ward off the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 20 percent. The same correlations apply between the risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease and intake of caffeine consumption. And yes, there are other possible components of caffeine that give it a neuroprotective, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Does this mean it is completely fine to ignore the criticisms of caffeine consumption and go on enjoying that Starbucks latte? Of course not. Moderation is key to anything we do and what benefits we obtain from it. Drinking coffee at responsible intervals and amounts won’t pose significant harm to your body, and at the same time, abstaining from caffeinated beverages altogether is perfectly fine too.

Written by: Ubayed Muhith

HIV, the End is Near

_79427583_c0200994-hiv,_artwork-spl.jpgAfter four years of secretly battling the devastating virus known as HIV, Charlie Sheen has publicly admitted that he is infected with the often fatal disease. The recent public shock brings back daunting memories of a virus that until recent years was subject of controversy. Flash forward to today, in 2015, as possible cures are not out of reach.

HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus is unlike most other viruses the body can fight off. Instead, the virus lives on our body for the remainder of life targeting T cells which are critical in help fighting illnesses as simple as the flu or cold. Overtime, as the immune system is damaged by the virus, HIV becomes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). However, with medication, HIV can be prevented from becoming AIDS. One can become infected with HIV through direct contact with bodily fluids – possibly through sexual contact with an infected person, the sharing of syringes or other exchanges of bodily fluid.

Charlie Sheen isn’t the only public figure who is known to have been diagnosed with the disease. Arthur Ashe, world-renowned tennis player of the 90’s was also diagnosed with the disease after receiving a blood transfusion from a contaminated needle, unfortunately passing shortly after his diagnosis. However, not all diagnoses of HIV result in death or AIDS; Magic Johnson has been living with HIV for 20+ years.

From the past 30 years we have learned a lot about the virus, and stigmas of the disease are no longer valid. According to Global Citizen, the stigma of HIV being a “gay disease” for example, is inaccurate. During the 70’s and 80’s, HIV largely affected men who were gay, however, medical advances found no direct link between homosexuality and the likeliness of acquiring this disease. Additionally, over the years, diagnoses like that of Arthur Ashe and Magic Johnson, a former basketball player, made the global community realize it is more than just a “gay disease”.

Furthermore, the disease is no longer the “death sentence” it was years ago. Medical advancements have found preventative measures one can take to lower the risk of transmission and treatment that stabilizes and someone who has HIV. Efforts to raise awareness for the disease have been impressive in recent years. Both President George Bush and Barack Obama expressed their support for HIV/AIDS awareness and both have taken measures towards taking the first steps in treatment and cure research.

In recent years, conversations about an HIV cure are is becoming reality. Just in 2013, a toddler born with the disease was treated with an antiviral drug that successfully eradicated the disease from the baby who was given the drug just thirty hours after birth according to a report by CNN.  

According to a CBS report, the major challenge of eradicating the disease is finding a cure that, long after treatment, reduces the amount of HIV to an untraceable level. While this treatment still needs work, a relatively new method of curing called “shock” given to the infected individual that “shocks” the virus. In a sense, it removes the virus from the body through shock therapy.

As a global community, we have come a long way towards understanding the disease and finally having a hopeful future for those with the virus.

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Written by: Amina Rana

Social Media Etiquette

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Once students start applying for graduate school, they begin to worry about the content they have shared over social media during their undergraduate career. However, as a freshman with extremely high hopes of getting into medical school, I was advised to embellish a “filter” for my Facebook.

The first question that came to mind when I was warned about this issue was, “should I just delete my Facebook to begin with?” However, I was worried about how I would communicate with my study groups, how to stay up-to-date with the various clubs and how to share necessary data with my classmates. Being involved in studies and the student community are imperative in a student’s application.

However, the pros of having a facebook do not necessarily outweigh the cons. A single inappropriate post and/or picture can negatively alter your application, no matter how hard you worked on making it pristine. So, what is it exactly that you should stay away from doing? Imagine someone, such as a family member, an employer, or even an admissions representative scrolling through your Facebook page: what wouldn’t you want them seeing? Those are the specific things that you should refrain from sharing, posts that would put you in a bad light. It is completely up to you about the image you wish to portray, just remember, everything on social media is open for judgment!

Also be wary of pictures and posts others might tag you in! Imagine this. You spend the weekend at home, studying diligently for the exam that you’ll be taking on Monday. However, your best friend calls, begging you to log onto Facebook and look at a link she sent you. After logging on, you notice that your old friend posted a group picture of you and a few friends from high school at a place you just would not want the admissions committee to see. You have been tagged in this picture for two days now, and you didn’t know about it because you were avoiding all distractions. At this point, anyone could have seen it already! For reasons such as these, you should make sure to never forget to control who can tag you in posts and whether they can be uploaded to your page without your approval.

With this advice stored somewhere in the dusty files of your brain, you should remember to always be cautious with your social media posts, not only on Facebook! They should be filled with meaning, just as your books are with notes.  Even the most responsible of students may slip up on social media networks, however, with just a bit of caution and insight, you too can tackle the graduate school application process without worrying of being denied over something as benign as a single Facebook post!

Make sure to post prudently, and good luck to all! 9i4e7ebkT

Written by: Angelica Rozenfeld

The Museum of Feelings

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Located in Battery City Park, the Museum of Feelings is an interactive exhibit that enables you to connect with all of your senses. As you are waiting to enter the exhibit, the exterior of the museum changes color to represent the mood of New York City, determined by chatter on social media and reports by the local news. You become more in touch with your senses as you move through rooms that are meant to mimic various emotions. Optimism, exhilaration, joy, and serenity all activated by different scents emitted in each room along with altering hues and tones; each room, encouraging you to engage with feelings through sensory stimulation. The unique combination of emotions make the experience truly one of a kind – in one moment, each person feels something different. At the end of the exhibit, you are invited to take a selfie through specialized software called the MoodLens, altering your picture to fit your current mood. It does so by3053990-slide-s-5-indulge-in-your-feels-at-the-museum-of-feelings taking your voice, body movements, pulse rate, social sentiment, and the weather into consideration when determining the overall “feeling” of your selfie and transforms it into a dynamic work of art. Writing about this experience does not do it much justice. Next time you are in desperate need of a study break from finals, stop by the Museum of Feelings, relax on a cloud of lavender in the Calmness Room and return to studying with a refreshed state of mind. It is also free for everyone!

What more can a college student ask for?

Written by: Elina Ashirova