Reasons I am thankful (aka reasons my bucket is full this week)

Hello everyone! I hope this nice long thanksgiving weekend has been treating everyone splendidly

So I was going to write about my lovely Friendsgiving I had this past week, but then I realized that friendsgiving (or PHriendsgiving for us PHarmacy students) has already been covered on the godogblog fairly extensively.  So instead, I will bore everyone with my cliche “reasons to be thankful” as a pharmacy student post.  So here are the random feelings of thankfulness (or #blessed-ness for those who speak Twitter …..or bucketfull-ness for all my PD1 classmate who speak PHAR 7310) I have had in the past week or so.

Just to clarify, in pharmacy speak, having a full bucket means that you are at your maximum level of happiness and life-satisfaction….but  you always have to be careful of those sinister individuals that try to take drops (or ladles) of water out of your bucket. On the contrary, make sure to spend as much time as possible with those people who can add drops to your bucket (or a constant stream of water with a fire-hose, if you are lucky).

Sorry to get sidetracked: here we go. Reasons to be thankful:

1. Having a wonderful family who traveled all the way up to Minnesota from California to visit me, trading in a 65 degree Thanksgiving for one that featured some negative temperatures.  Not only did we enjoy visiting some relatives in Wisconsin for a delicious Thanksgiving meal, but we also saw the Christmas Carol at Guthrie theater, hit up plenty of pre-black friday deals to get me some real winter clothes and visited Minnehaha falls, shown below. This also goes very closely with #2:

2. Living in a place with beautiful waterfalls that can be enjoyed all year round!  I am constantly astounded by the natural and man-made beauty of Minneapolis!


Photo Nov 26, 2 08 47 PM

3. Having a wonderful group of phriends to spend phriendsgiving with last week.  We were also celebrating a birthday, so we had a delicious meal complete with pumpkin-pie cake (aka Swetha-cake named after the b-day girl), tater tot hot dish (a Minnesota classic), beer cheese soup, taco dip, chicken that may or may not have been a store-bought rotisserie chicken, Three Buck Chuck and cookie butter.  So basically a traditional thanksgiving meal, right?


on to the less photogenic moments of thanks:

4.  Having lots of  extracurricular events to look forward to this week such as a “Cooks with Kids” tonight where Kappa Psi is going to prepare a meal for children at the local Ronald MacDonald house, a presentation to a local high school through the Kappa Psi STI-talk program on Tuesday and inter-fraternal bowling on Wednesday.  Moral of the story for those prospective students… join a fraternity! I should have some good pics next week!

5.  Having my disguised dispenser (not so disguised any more- thanks Angela!) absolutely spoil me with candy, window stickers and a stuffed penguin this past week .  I unfortunately devoured everything too quickly to have any sound photographic evidence.

6.NOT having a Biochem test tomorrow.  Today marks the first day in over a month I have had neither work nor a giant test to study for, so it is so nice to lay around, casually working on some light homework and watching TV.  Which leads into….

7.Netflix free 30 day trial so even poor students like myself can join the Breaking Bad Bandwagon (a while late, I know).  There goes productivity.

8. getting done with finals on Tuesday rather than a Friday! In just two weeks and two days, we will be done with the fall semester, giving us a 3.5 week long, very needed break…. I will soon return back to the golden state full of sunshine, frozen yogurt and surfing (ok, maybe not that last one)

9.  Being able to watch lectures in double time.  I am so grateful for modern technology that allows downloaded videos to be watched in double-speed.  Many times it is necessary to re-watch a lecture for clarification/review or watch one for the first time (due to having to occasionally… or not so occasionally depending on who you are…miss class). Being able to take half the normal time  to do this greatly helps out us busy pharmacy students. Actually, I am thankful all our lectures are recorded in the first place.  Thanks to our ITV-guy Steve! (and his trusty sidekicks Nick, Cameron and Briana!)

10.  I feel the need to have some really significant one for my last one, but the pressure is getting to me since I can’t really think of anything groundbreaking… So I will just say how thankful I am to attend such an amazing pharmacy school and for the amount of excitement I have towards my future as a pharmacist.


Friendsgiving from Multidisciplinary Fields

The long-waited thanksgiving break has begun (and now is almost over..alas I am well-rested). After the big pharmacology exam that was 40% of our entire grade was over last Tuesday, it was time to gather our culinary talents (just in case there needs to be a career switch :)) to have a little friendsgiving.


To the left: spinach salad, steamed broccoli, cucumber salad, kimchi friend rice, and potstickers

IMG_5620Norwegian traditional lefsa: potato-flour pancake eaten with sugar and sprinkles of cinnamon


Pineapple cakes from Taiwan 🙂


This group of friends, I keep in touch from participating in the Global Health Competition last year. One of the good things I gained from this experience, not only from increased clinical and business knowledge, is the ever lasting relationship with friends from medical school, math department, and pharmacy school, of course).

For anyone who is interested in learning more about this world-problem-solving multidisciplinary global health competition, please check out this short video from last year:


Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.50.06 PMIt’s never too early to start stuffing yourself! 🙂
Had a great time with my phamily this weekend!

It’s Snow Big Deal

Hello everyone!

This past weekend has been a somewhat “relaxed”  relative to many others, which gave me a good chance to catch up on some sleep and all those “optional” homework assignments that have been pushed to the back-burner.  This weekend I also tried to brave the cold and go running outside while it was snowing.  While dodging extremely hardcore tailgating gopher fans by the football stadium, I managed to only slip once and did not experience any hair or eyelash freezing… I would call that a win. Though I’m not quite sure if my wardrobe  of  2 bottom layers, 2 top layers and a jacket is a  sustainable practice for the sake of how much laundry I will have to do. But really, even being coddled in sunshine and warmth in California, I am surviving just fine in the snow… it’s snow big deal.

This week I had a fun event for my fraternity, Kappa Psi, at a delicious Greek restaurant called Gardens of Solinica.  For us starving students, having an amazing 5 course meal (ok, maybe not 5 but close), was an absolutely wonderful thing to accompany brotherly bonding.  There was also a speaker, Stuart Remus from Cub Pharmacy, who talked about what Kappa Psi was like back in the day and about all the great memories he has from his experience.


This week also marked the last lab of the semester: now on to practicals! My lab this week was awesome for three reasons.  1) it was the last one (so no more prelabs!) 2) we got to make what is essentially Icy Hot, which smells like Christmas 3) It was EUTECTICS! (capitalized for emphasis)- for those who don’t know, a eutectic mixture arrises when two solids melt into a liquid when combined . Camphor and menthol, the two active ingredients of our final product, allowed us to see EUTECTICS in action.    My friends and I have coined the twitter handle #EUTECTICS; considering some of the things in our world that get a hashtag, EUTECTICS just deserves one. Our eutectic mixture was not nearly as cool as the one in this video below, but it was still pretty neat.

The third part of this week that made it so great was my class’s “Disguised Dispensing”.  Everyone who signed up was randomly assigned someone to be their “Disguised Dispenser”.  This entails secretly giving gifts to your dispensee throughout the next few weeks.  Every time I go over to the mailbox area, there are at least a few boxes with candy, gift cards or delicious baked goods! I was pretty jealous of everyone who got gifts earlier in the week, but it definitely made my day on Thursday when I came to my mailbox and had a big chocolate bar.  While it is just a small gesture, disguised dispensers have definitely been brightening the days of their dispensees left and right! I would be down to have this be an ongoing thing;  next we should do Secret Santa, then Camouflaged Cupid, then Elusive Easter Bunny, and so on.

That is all I have for now, but I hope everyone stays warm!

Go Class of 2018!

Remember, Remember, the 10th of November

Hello everyone! I’m going to keep this short and sweet today but I miraculously woke up early and decided I couldn’t not update my blog:

So November 5th was pretty unremarkable if I remember correctly (I can’t even remember- case in point).  But today, November 10th is a whole different animal. Here is what I am up against today:

2014-11-10 06.03.57


WINTER IS HERE! For those who don’t know, that white fluffy stuff is snow.  I will never forgot the moment of waking up and having the parking lot be transformed into a winter wonderland.  While snow is all good and dandy from the comfort of my room (from which this picture was taken), the four minute walk to the light rail is going to set the tone about my attitude for winter…..potentially forever.  Monumental stuff.

Here is the second thing I am up against today:


Effat S. Emamian, AKT/GSK3 signaling pathway and schizophrenia, frontier molecular neuroscience

Today we have an exam on cell biology, which means we need to be able to articulate the importance of (thankfully not memorize!) this slide above and about 100 other just as scary.  In short, this one  says:  all roads lead to AKT.  Let’s just hope those roads aren’t snow-covered madness and chaos like they are going to be here today.

I’m still holding out for a snow day (so I wouldn’t have to brave the snow OR cell biology), but since I’m doubtful about that, I will just think of day as character-building.

I should probably start bundling up for my first MinneSNOWta experience! Until next time!


Let’s Dance!

Planning for the 5th Annual Talent Show is under way in Duluth. During the first year, I joined forces with Meena to choreograph a Bollywood dance that won us 1st place in the show! We had such an amazing time dancing, rehearsing, and performing. This year, we’re back and ready to roll!!! (We miss you 4th years! But we’re also glad to welcome some new dancers!)

We started rehearsing today and I’m confident that this could be another winning year. It’s so much fun to get a group of us together, throw on some music and just have fun! It’s a great way to release some stress and get some exercise! And as Alyssa mentioned today, how many adults get to say that they’re doing something fun and unique like this?!

I’m excited about our dance, but equally excited to see the great competition from the rest of the students (both current and former) and the faculty and staff! If you’re on the fence about signing up, JUST DO IT! When else will you have an opportunity like this? Singing, dancing, playing an instrument.. I can’t wait to see all of it in January!

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made,
What’s a sundial in the shade?”
― Benjamin Franklin

Bollywood Dance
^A shot from the 3rd Annual Talent Show. January 2013.

St. Raphael’s Guild

“Hi, are you Pam?, I’m Dan.  Nice to meet you.” Thus began a night of enjoying Mass, dinner and discussion at my first St. Raphael’s Guild meeting!

Even though I have lived in Duluth for four years already, I had not heard about this group until three weeks ago, when an announcement was made at Sunday Mass about a White Mass for all health care professionals being held later in October. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to go (it fell on mid-semester break), my curiosity got the better of me and I found myself going on the website listed in the bulletin to find out more, as I had never before heard of a White Mass (What is a White Mass?). Hence, my discovery of St. Raphael’s Guild, a group of Catholic health care professionals from the Duluth area.


Fr. Knobloch

At this meeting, Fr. Tom Knoblach from St. Cloud talked about the process of making ethical decisions with us and discussed a few different case studies with us.  As a first year pharmacy student, it was nice to delve beyond learning chemistry and how to write up case reports for a few hours and discuss situations that health professionals face when it comes to ethical decision making.  My two favorite things that I learned from Fr. Knoblach was two of his many thought processes on how to make a decision where ethics are involved;  the first was asking if the intervention was ordinary vs. extraordinary, the second was using the acronym PREHAB. PREHAB stands for:

P-Patient Preferences-what does the patient want? (healthcare over the last several years has been increasingly moving toward patient autonomy)

R-Risks-what are the risks involved if we intervene?

E-Expenses-while this shouldn’t be an important factor in the decision, it is still a factor.

H-Hope-what do we hope to achieve by intervening.

A-Availability-is the treatment/intervention available at your site/hospital/in your country? (i.e. the option to have a feeding tube is not necessarily an option in poorer countries)

B-Benefit vs. Burden-Is the emotional burden worth it?  How important is the benefit (i.e. in a patient who wants to live to see their grandson’s baptism, the benefit of living those few extra months is greater than a patient who does not have the same goal)




“Tell ‘em what they’ve won….NERDS!”

Hello Everyone- long time no write! These last few weeks I have been darn busy with stuff like….

Volunteering at a Health Fair! Below is Operation Diabetes at the Little Earth Strong Health Fair:

Photo Oct 30, 6 17 27 PMBaking treats for my wonderful roommate’s birthday (flashback to my food blog days!)

Photo Oct 30, 11 38 40 PMAnd doing undisclosed activities for my Kappa Psi informal initiation.  Where am I?

Photo Nov 01, 7 04 48 PM


One of the main skills we learn in pharmacy school is resourcefulness. We might not be able to learn about all that many drugs in our first year, but boy do we know how to find out the information if we need it! thank you Micromedex! The same goes for me right now: I am a bit too drained from this weekend to write a whole poem or an entire witty, punny post that chronicles my past few weeks, but good thing I know where to look to find someone who wants to have a moment of internet fame! Here is the first of potentially many (depending on how many hits this gets… pressure is on Keith) guest blog posts.  If you don’t remember Keith, he also had a starring role in my poem “Twas the night before biochem“:

My name is Keith Behrend and I was able to somehow sequester (definitely a buzz word for the upcoming Biochem exam) a guest blog spot from Hilary, so let’s see how this goes.  I am a first year pharmacy student on the Twin Cities campus and am originally from Madison in the greatest state ever, Wisconsin.  I went to UW-Madison where I earned my degree in Biochemistry in 2013 then took a year off to work a full time job as an assistant scientist in a university-run cancer research lab. Having been from the Midwest, I will hopefully be able to have a different outlook on certain aspects of living in Minneapolis that my blog counterpart, having been coddled by sunshine and warmth all these years in California, might not.

unnamed1I’ll first talk about what everyone in Minnesota can discuss from hours on end: the weather.  The weather in the Midwest is forever unpredictable and this week was no exception.  The week started being fairly warm in the mid 60s and slowly migrated to being 37 by Friday.


Having been from Madison, WI I have a vast experience with this crazy Midwest weather and really feel for my blog counterpart and everyone in our class who has never experienced temperatures sub 40 degrees.  I say that because when I arrive to class in just a sweatshirt, I see others bundled up in winter coats, hats, gloves etc.  Boy, are they going to be in for a surprise in a few weeks when the temperature gets closer to 0.

We also celebrated some Halloween festivities this week with the rest of our pharmacy class.  A group of friends and I went as contestants from the ever-popular, and ever-amazing, game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple”.


 These costumes really brought me back to my childhood of when Nickelodeon and Disney channel shows were actually good, not the Hannah Montana stuff that is on nowadays.  The thrill of having a chance to win a trip to space camp was ever real on this night, as was the dismal memory of the last place prizes.  Upon further research (YouTube videos of old episodes of the show) I can’t imagine the horror of some of those parents who traveled all the way to Universal studios so their children could compete, only to see their darling purple parrots come away with nothing but a box of Nerds or a container of Nesquick.  I mean just check out the clip, “Tell ‘em what they’ve won….NERDS!”

Seriously, nothing more demoralizing than that.

I,of course, went as a Silver Snake.  This stems from our teams that we have for some of our classes this semester.  The teams are separated into tables (13 in the Twin Cities and 7 in Duluth) where we work together to solve drug therapy problems, among other things.  These teams were put together “randomly” based on a survey everyone had to fill out about their strengths; but,in all honesty, I have no idea how it could have been random because  my team is clearly winning the non-existent competition of which team would be the greatest interprofessional (another Buzzword perhaps?) unit.  Anyways, every team was able to pick their own names.  Some of them are clever to include pharmacy puns or references such as GriPHARMdor, RhinoceRX and PharmD^3 (Shout-out to Amanda from Duluth, you rock). Anyways, our team decided on “Silver Snakes” for our team name and we even have our own hand signal to promote solidarity among our members.  How could I not represent them both inside and outside of class ?

A little background on the Silver Snakes from the show though: It is often said that all the kids who were part of the Silver Snakes back in the day  went on to be Division 1 athletes at some point.  If this were the Hunger Games, you could say that they would be from District 1 or 2.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Aaron Rodgers or LeBron was a silver snake back in the day, just sayin’.  Enough about my team pride though- it was just a great chance to get together with everyone and relax from the hectic weeks that we had just had.

There were a few friendly competitions amongst the teams as well.  Hildawg and I were paired together and I think that everyone lost confidence when they found out they would be playing what is now known as team “Killary”, which strikes fear into everyone.  We swept the competition obviously, holding up the high expectations from LeBron and A Rodge who have just been confirmed as Silver Snakes back in the day (Source: Micromedex).

On another front, I have continued my streak of joining every intramural team available and started basketball and 6v6 volleyball this week.  I am proud to say the Hemoglobin Trotters started off on the right foot as we won our first basketball game.  What we lacked in our conditioning, we made up for in overall height, which is what really matters in basketball anyways.  Inhalers will be brought for next week as a preemptive measure because let’s be honest, none of us are going to be conditioning for our game next week.  In 6v6 volleyball, we went on to 2-0.  Now, volleyball is much more along my current conditioning level,  as the only movement really is the rotation from position to position.  I like to sometimes make it a brisk walk to help myself feel like I am accomplishing something.  All this just shows that with a little time management, modulation (killin’ it with the buzz words) and focus, the schoolwork is never too much to hinder us from having some fun outside of class.
I’m really taking up a lot of space on this GoDogBlog but what a great opportunity it has been and hopefully the second half of the semester is just as great as the first half!

Small World

Since day one of pharmacy school, our professors keep telling us about how  small the world of pharmacy is. However, I had forgotten that Minnesota itself is also a small world until yesterday that is…

Yesterday marked the second to last Health Fair of the semester, held in Braham, MN. The health fair itself was held in their community center; which was a LOT nicer than I was expecting for a town as small as Braham.


While this health fair was not as busy as some of the other ones’ I’ve been to, the slower pace was nice because it really allowed us to take the time to talk to the people coming in.  So much time that as I was talking to one of our preceptors towards the end that we had time to discover that she had just received an invitation from my friend to her grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary! Of course this resulted in a “how is she doing/what is she up to?” conversation. As we continued talking we then discovered that last year one of my classmates from high school had done an internship in Braham and had stayed with them! And just when I thought that was it, I mentioned that my Dad had played here with his band a couple of months ago and it turned out she had actually talked to him that night!

After receiving such a nice reminder of how small the world of MN is, I guess it is time I start taking our professor’s more seriously/actually believe them when they they tell us that Pharmacy is a small world.