Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Capstone Project

All second year pharmacy students at UCSF have to complete a pharmacokinetics assignment called the Capstone Project. Working in groups of 4-6 members, we were responsible for asking an interesting and clinically relevant question related to pharmacokinetics, finding the answer to the question, validating the answer with calculations, graphs and charts, organizing the information professionally on a tri-fold poster board and presenting them to our classmates, TAs, professors and faculty members.

After spending many hours in research, discussions, writing and revisions, we finally finished the poster one day before our oral presentions. Our hard work and team effort culminated in a very professional poster and many skills and lessons learned.

I learned that although group work is extremely difficult (especially when everyone is so busy), when a team finds ways to work together and draw on the strengths of each member, excellent results can be achieved. I don't think any one of my group members alone could have produced such an amazing poster. Each one of us contributed to the project in different ways to make the project a success (although I must confess that I initially thought that I did not have much to contribute).

Without this project, I would not have learned so much about the treatments for patent ductus arteriosus, a condition in which the hole between the aortic arch and pulmonary artery does not close after birth. During the poster session/presentation, one classmate also told me a very interesting fact: adults with partially open ductus arteriosus should not dive because the high pressure can cause the duct to open, which can lead to death.

The process of completing the Capstone Project was slow and painful, but I see the value in it and feel grateful for my professor, who spent many hours beyond her call of duty to lead all of us into the right directions.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Late winter/early spring is one of my favorite times of the year in San Francisco! The side walks are filled with the soft pink colors of cherry blossoms. Although I was supposed to study for my midterms, I decided to capture the images of these fragile lives at the peak of their beauty. Here's one that I sort of like but wish I could get better images with the limited amount of time that I had to spare.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Yesterday morning, when I opened the door just less than 10 minutes before the physiology lecture, my first class of the day, I could hear the thunderous sound of the rain and see it pouring down heavily. I hesitated for a few seconds, thinking to myself: "Should I wait for the rain to die down before leaving the house?" With a lot of courage and the determination to be on time, I decided to brave the rain with my little bright blue umbrella.

Just as I walked down the steps, I saw droplets of pearls falling from the sky and immediately felt extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. This was only the third time in my WHOLE LIFE that I have seen hail! I took in every moment of it as I walked up the 45-degree incline of 3rd Avenue, while minding every step in fear of letting those tiny balls of ice roll me down the slippery slope. The sound of those heavenly gems hitting my umbrella and the sight of the green field covered with white balls of ice definitely were the highlights of my day! Ah, how Mother Nature has the power to bring joy through small wonders.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


It's been hard to enjoy learning lately. All I do is studying for exams (we had two midterms last week and three this week). I feel like I'm not going to retain much of the things that I try to cram into my head in order to pass the exams. I wish I had more time to digest the materials and make studying a means for meaningful learning. Lately, it's been mostly about passing exams. When am I going to have time to learn?

Class of 2013

I had a chance to chat with the interviewees for the pharmacy class of 2013 today. I, along with other classmates, volunteered to accompany the afternoon group for one hour, with the intention of calming their nerves before the interviews. Their anxiety and eagerness reminded me of how I was two years ago, when I was in the same position. Although I no longer wish to go through the same kind of anxiety, I do admire their passion and enthusiasm.