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September 4, 2007

First Day of School!

Hey! It's the first day of school! This semester I'm looking forward to 4 hopefully great classes:

SAS Procedures & Data Analysis
Epidemiologic Methods III
Epidemiologic Methods IV
Decision Analysis for Healthcare

I looking forward to lots of application based instructuion which I am anticipating getting in the SAS procedures class, epi methods 4, and the decision analysis class. Hopefully this semester will mark alot of progress towards feeling like I will be ready for the work force come May.

I've got my big Dialogue for Action working meeting coming up next week, so I'm looking forward to that and the ideas that will come out of the meeting. Next wednesday I get to present the questionnaire I was working on the the Minnesota Department of Health to the CDC site visit team, so I'm looking forward to that as well.

Pretty much it's going to be a busy first two weeks of school, but busy in a good way.

This summer was pretty awesome. In the midst of taking 11 credits, working 20 hours a week, and doing my field experience 10 hours a week, I did manage to squeeze in a ton of fun activities. A few trips home to see Adam and my mom definitely made the summer go by quickly. My mom just finished her last dose of chemotherapy last week, so she's recovering from that. In a few weeks she'll get her port out and then probably start radiation therapy a few weeks after that. She's doing pretty well, though the side effects are pretty major and we're really excited that the end is in sight.

In other news, my comptuer got fried by one of the lightning storms a few weeks ago (yes I had a surge protector!, though obviously I need a new one). I've been spending alot of time lately trying to identify the broken hardware and get new hardware ordered and installed. Moral of the story... make sure you have a decent surge protector and unplug your computer during lightning storms!

May 14, 2007

Done with finals!

Well, I'm done with finals! Hooray!

I think they went quite well overall, though I haven't seen grades for the two big classes yet (epi and biostats). I thought the tests overall were quite fair, there were a few tricky parts, but nothing that was unreasonably tricky.

This past weekend has been FULL of commencement parties! It was a really fun weekend. Friday I went to a BBQ at Thuy's house and there was a ton of Karaoke (I'm more into the watching than the singing). Then on Saturday we had a party at the Radisson. It was very fun, there was great food, a photo booth and frame-making table, and a band, and a locked treasure chest with two round trip airfare tickets in it (or rather a certificate saying that's what the prize would be). It was an action-packed prize giveaway-- Each student at the party was given a raffle ticket which they then turned in for a key. The key was for the lock on the treasure chest, and whichever key opend the lock won the tickets! The absolutely freakishly awesome thing that happened though is that it was the absolute LAST key tried that opened the chest. Made those who planned the treasure chest even a tad bit nervous when none of the keys had opened the chest so far. Good times. Then yesterday we had a picnic at como park. It was very relaxed, people just sat around or played lawn games, and enjoyed each others company and the nice weather. Overall, really great last weekend.

This afternoon is SPH commencement. I'm really excited that Laurie Garrett is the speaker; she is one of my favorite authors so I really look forward to hearing what she has to say. Her favorite book of mine is "Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health" It's pretty gigantic, but tells a good story.

This week I'll be working quite a bit at my job to get a bunch of work done before I'm gone for 3 weeks to Seattle/Spokane, so I better get started!

January 11, 2007

Back to School

This week I've been taking the 1 credit SAS class called Data Processing with PC-SAS. The class is only a week long, but I think it has been extremely helpful in terms of getting comfortable trying things within SAS and feeling more comfortable with manipulating datasets. The class is taught by Michael Oakes and I think he does a really great job of explaining concepts in a way that I at least have a very easy time understanding. There are probably about 30 people (I think) in the class, but I think everyone feels very comfortable asking questions. The class is structured such that you spend 2 hours in lecture in the morning (9-11) and two hours in lab after lunch. The lab section is really nice because it has !3! TA’s which makes getting individual help very easy.

I was a little hesitant to take this class because I didn’t want to come home a week early from winter break, but I think it has been a nice transition for me from vacation back to school.

I had SO much fun over the break. After spending a week at my mom’s house for Christmas, I went and spent two weeks at Adam’s house with him and his family. On New Years we went up to Seattle to spend the evening with a bunch of friends from college. It was so great to see everyone.

When the weather first started turning cold here in Minneapolis, I noticed that many people had a pea coat for their warmer winter jacket. I’ve always kind of wanted a pea coat so I asked for one for Christmas. Adam got me one and I’ve been enjoying it’s wolly warmness a lot this week ?

Keep your eyes out for upcoming pictures from Winter Break!

November 6, 2006

Busy Bee

School has definately kicked into high gear this week. I've got two tests on Thursday (biostats and pathophys) along with two homework assignments due thursday also. Then next week on Tuesday there is an Epi test. I'm going to be taking that test as a makeup exam though because I get to go to a colorectal cancer meeting in Bemidji MN (near Duluth). People keep asking me how school is going and I've been answering "hard! which is good, because I wouldn't want to be spending $$$ per year to hear things I already know!" The rest of the semester also seems like it is going to seriously fly by. After this next round of exams, I'm headed home for Thanksgiving on the 21st. When I get back from Thanksgiving there will only be about 3 weeks left until winter vacation. In those final weeks I'll be working on tons of papers, projects, and studying. I have been genuinely surprised how quickly the semester has gone by. My undergraduate school was on the quarter system, and quarters definately pass quickly. I figured having semesters would make the term feel alot longer, but it feels pretty much the same.

I think I'd like to take the SAS class I've heard is offered during the last week of winter vacation, but I haven't been able to find out more about it, like dates and how to register for it. So one of my things to do this week is find out about that so I can decide if I'm buying plane tickets to come back to MN in time to take this class in January. If you know the details about this class, you should totally post a comment telling me where to find it :-)

So the possible job I was talking about earlier looks like it is going to work out to be a 50% RA position. I'll be working on a totally new grant which is aimed at evaluating the feasability of taking mobile colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy to Native American Reservations around Minnesota. I officially start work in January, but next week I'll be going with the group to their planning meeting in Bemidji. I think this project is going to be great because I'm getting involved on the ground level, which will allow me to be very familiar with every stage of the project. In previous research positions I've held, I have joined up with the project mid way through it's duration and by then most of the kinks have been worked out. I'm a big fan of working smarter, not harder so I look forward to coming up with awesome ways to make this project successful. The first step is this meeting next week where we will open a dialogue with representatives from many tribes about how they see colon cancer affecting their tribes, and possible steps for the future.

I went and got a flu shot today. The U sponsors free flu vaccine for students which is pretty great. I think it's the school of pharmacy that is manning the vaccination stations. The effort even has a logo-- it's a cow with text around it that says " I did it for the herd- Free walk-in flu clinics." I think that's a pretty cool logo. If you're ever looking for a hefty book to read, look up "Betrayal of Trust" by Laurie Garrett, it's a great public health read. One of the chapters in the book is about the collapse of public health infrastructure in the former Soviet Union and their loss of herd immunity for things like measles, mumps, and rubella.

October 12, 2006

Exam Frenzy!

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. I've got plans to go apple picking on Saturday with Jooyeon and a group of people from her church. Friday I plan to spend a hefty amount of time relaxing and playing video games. At some point I need to do my biostats homework.

This journal's purpose is to provide some insight for prospective U of M School of Public Students on what it's like to be a student here. I've been thinking about different ways to go about sharing my experiences. If anyone reads this and has something they are curious about, please drop me a comment and I'll try to share my ideas on whatever your question is! Without input, I'll just talk about what I think is interesting!

Wow, what a tiring week! Along with many other SPH students, I have had 3 exams in the past week. Last Thursday was the first biostatistics exam, it went fairly well and I was pretty pleased with how I did, except for the tomato problem! Tuesday of this week we had our first Epidemiology exam, I thought I was fairly well prepared for it after 4 or 5 days of studying, but I was totally wrong! That test kicked my butt... but luckily, I think it kicked alot of other peoples butts too :-) The professor said not to worry because the exam was going to be graded on a good curve. So then between the test Tuesday evening and Thursday morning (today) I studied like crazy for my pathophysiology exam. It was a very fair exam in my opinion, I would have done better if I had started studying earlier, but at that point I was still studying for my epi test. I'm just glad I made it through this barrage of tests and can now start getting ready for the next batch :-) Not to mention catch up on my laundry and dishes.

Well, it seems to me like fall is starting to turn into winter. We had snow flurries yesterday and when I looked out the window about an hour ago it was snowing again. I need to dig out my warmer clothes, I got pretty cold walking to school today. I also need to buy boots eventually! I haven't had to buy boots since I lived in Eastern Washington, and had similar winters to what Minneapolis has.