Settlers of the Lounge

Hello Everyone,

Boy, does it feel good to be on spring break in one day.  Tomorrow night, I am heading off to sunny California for the APha conference, and could not be more excited.

This post was meant to go out a few weeks ago and I have been working on it little by little, but this little thing called school got in the way of that.  Anyways, my inspiration for this post is two-fold: a) the extreme amount of time I spend at school everyday, mainly in the lounge studying if not in class b) the amount of time my friends reference the board game “Settlers of Catan” in a given day.  If you aren’t familiar with Catan, none of this will make any sense and you better find a friend who has the game so you know what i’m talking about.  You should be warned though, I am not responsible for any lost friendships over Catan.  It gets a bit intense.  Because I don’t have the time to play Catan nearly as much as I would like, I had to compensate by pretending my enitire life is Catan.  So here we have it: Settlers of the Lounge. I shall Explain.

Settlers of Catan is a game of Resources.  Five resources Sheep, Wood, Brick, Wheat and Ore, are scattered around Catan.  The goal of the game is to get victory points.  Victory points are awarded in several ways: building settlements (wheat,1 sheep, 1 brick and 1 wood) gives you one point, building cities (3 ore and 2 wheat) gives you two points, having the longest road (1 brick and 1 wood) or largest army gives you two points, or some development cards (1 sheep, 1 ore and 1 wheat) are victory points in themselves.  Sometimes resources are blocked off due to the presence of a knight on a certain square. Basically, it is a race to get the most victory points.  All is fair in Catan.  You can bargain with other players to get the resources you need. 

In the same sense, the lounge is a place of resources.  The pharmacy lounge is basically my second home; scratch that, it is my home.  I spend more time at lounge than I do at my house.  The lounge has pretty much all the necessary components needed for survival… a fridge, a power supply, a printer,couches and even people (most of the time) to get your daily dose of social interaction. In order for stay at the lounge for extended periods of time and actually get work done during this time, it is necessary to have all of these components in place.

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First things first: Brick+Wood

Brick=Power supply

My life is on my computer/iPad.  Basically everything I ever need to do, such as studying for quizzes and tests, doing my prelab, or writing a care plan, is either on my iPad or laptop. So imagine a time when you are in pharmacy beast-mode, and you experience that terrible moment when you notice that your laptop is at 4% and your iPad, which is being charged by your laptop is also at 4%.  Heck, we are going to make this even more drastic as say your iPhone is also at 4%.  But it’s ok, because you can just charge all of them using your multitude of Apple chargers.  OH WAIT.  There are way too many people in the lounge, and those precious outlets are all being used to charge other people’s productivity.  There are even a few people who are monopolizing one outlet, plugging in their phone, iPad and computer. THE HORROR!

Likewise, bricks are crucial for moving forward in Catan.  Without bricks, you can’t build roads, which means you can’t make settlements, which means you can’t make cities.  So basically you are screwed.  Just like you can maybe bargain with one of those monopolizers of the outlets (“hey, i’ll give you some of my BunMi fries if you unplug your laptop”) you can maybe trade something like sheep with someone who has a brick monopoly……if you are lucky.




Imagine this; You have lab at 10:10 and you get off the train at 9:53, just the perfect amount of time to go to the computer lab and print off your pre-lab that is required to turn in at the lab. You get on the computer, pull out your document, and hit print.  You sit there, twiddling your thumbs for a few moments, and realize your document has not printed.  You get up to look at the printer “please follow the steps of screen to unjam printer”.  As a side note, I always think it is funny when printers have fancy interactive displays explaining how to unjam them; like, why don’t they spend more time actually making the printers better so they don’t jam in the first place rather than designing super seemingly user friendly (but not) instructions on how to unjam the printer! But back to our situation; a wave of panic strikes you because you know this elaborate process to unjam the printer is not going to happen in the next ten minutes. Your only hope is that the lab printers are working… otherwise S- for you!

Likewise, in Catan, wood is crucial for both building roads and settlements, which are crucial to ultimately getting cities.  Without wood, your only hope is to either trade multiple of your cards in for one measly wood (an analogous situation to paying 10 cents for a printed sheet at the BioMed library when you could get free prints in the lounge) or trade with someone else for some of their wood (aka, convincing your friend to let you use their printer to print something out).   Neither of which are anywhere near as fruitful as utilizing your 600 free prints in the weave. It even staples for you!



While having the printer broken or having no outlets are both extremely unfortunate situations (especially if you have neither of them), another huge limiting factor of the amount of time that one can stay in the lounge studying is food.  If it is 7 pm, you have been at school all day studying all day, and you get hungry, let’s face it; you are not going to motivated to stay there studying to 11 PM like you planned. In Catan,  bricks and wood  are all you need for roads, the most basic level of building, but without wheat, you can’t build settlements, cities or buy development cards.  So basically, you have no chance of winning without wheat.  You also have no chance of winning studying without food.  Thankfully, we are equipped with a fridge, a microwave, a toaster, and a whole street of fantastic restaurants down Washington.  Even so, things become a problem when 1) it is -40 outside and even the though of a  brief walk to BunMi is a reason to not go 2) the fridge is cleaned out and all of your food is gone 3) you forget your wallet 4) you forget your lunch or you are banking on a free lunch that doesn’t quite pan out (aka, other health professions that get out 5 min earlier than we do and eat all of the food).  All of these causes of famine are all reasons for unproductivity.



Sheep= Couches(aka a place to sleep)

Some may argue that sheep are the most useless resource in all of Catan.  I would agree with this for the most part, but I actually recently witnessed someone become the best in all of Catan  off a sheep monopoly.  So the jury is still out on this one.  Just like how the jury is still out on how critical sleep is to pharmacy school success.  Throughout pharmacy school, I have run the gambit of the entire sleep spectrum.  From my many data points, ranging from one all nighter, to accidentally sleeping from 10pm to 12 pm the next day, I have realized that the 6-7 hr range is the sweet spot for maximum productivity.   Any less than that, I throw in the towel the next day at 10PM because I just don’t have it in me to keep at the lounge studying.

The couches in the lounge are one way to quickly relieve your exhaustion, so they can be useful. I can think of one night in particular that a quick 10 min rest on the couch resuscitated me and gave me the will to keep going for a few more hours for pharmacology and immunology.  That was a little bit different because I had a sense of urgency since I had two tests the next day; fear, I have learned, is  a powerful force.   In most cases, I am worthless with less than 6 hours of sleep. On the other hand, if i’m getting 9 or more hours of sleep….. well, chances are I wouldn’t be at the lounge in the first place because I would be in my bed.  All in all, it is pretty close to the whole sheep situation in Catan; under most circumstances, playing little-boe-peep usually won’t get you the win, just like being too well-rested means you probably aren’t doing your homework.  But really, if you are counting enough sheep, it’s hard to be a loser.

Ore= social interaction

Now imagine this;   it’s 6 pm on a Sunday night and I walked into the lounge, ready for a nice, fruitful night of studying after work. No one was there; perfect, I had all the outlets to myself.  I even had food AND the printer is working.  So far, all the pieces are inline for a successful evening of watching immunology videos, studying for tomorrow’s TBL, doing my pre-discussion assignment and writing a paper (note: this is a “light’ weekend for us). I open the assignment and start working.  But then……………………………………. everything goes black.

No, I didn’t just pass out.  The lights just went out.  You see, the lounge has motion-sensing lights.  During the day, when the lounge is full of bumbling student pharmacists, the lights stay on.  But when you are the only person in the lounge, you might as well just be dead, since the lights not so conveniently turn off every 5 minutes.  That means you ever have to stand up, wave your arms around, chuck random personal belongings across the room, or work in the dark.  All damper your workflow. Thankfully, within the next half our, other living beings entered the lounge.   I finally saw the light…… literally .

Really, though, you really can’t win Catan without cities or development cards,all which require ore.  Just like you really can’t win, or even survive pharmacy school (or  stay in the lounge for a long period of time) without the support of your wonderful Pharmily.  Morale of this whole story: don’t be like the people of Catan who don’t share resources.  There is only one winner when that happens.  Instead, let’s all be winners.


My Kappa Psi family at our wonderful dinner meeting!

Well, that got a lot deeper than I was intending. Anyways, next post I will promise not to bore you with describing probably the most boring aspect of pharmacy school; studying.  Instead, I will have wonderful pictures of CALIFORNIA.  It’s hard to believe that one day I woke up with snow everywhere and the next I will be somewhere where it is 80 degrees, but I am not complaining!

Until next time!


Brother Bonding and Green Beer!

One of the great things about pharmacy school is the unique opportunities that you wouldn’t normally have otherwise, opportunities like Phi Delta Chi’s Midwest Fun Fest 2015! What’s that you ask? A fantastic weekend of brother bonding in the great city of Chicago! We got to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a green river and a super fun scavenger hunt while meeting and networking with Phi Delta Chi brothers from all over the Midwest region. The people were so much fun to hang out with, the weather was great, and I couldn’t help but spend the weekend thinking how much I want to move to Chicago (as I do with most places I go to for a vacation). I really wish I would have taken more of these opportunities to attend regional and national events. I say this to prospective students and I know the class of 2018 has heard me say it a million times: GET INVOLVED! These are unique opportunities to get out and see the world and have fun doing it with people we become so close to in the short amount of time that we’re together. Whether it’s Midwest Fun Fest, PDX regional or national meetings, Kappa Psi Conclave, MRM, APhA Annual, just sign up and do it! Get out there, meet people, make memories, and build bonds that will last a lifetime!

I think these pictures will sum up how fun this weekend really was!

Minnesota at MWFFMinnesota Brothers- Beta Psi (Duluth) and Theta (Twin Cities)

IMG_0156Brothers at the Bean!

IMG_0144“Star gazing” at the Adler Planetarium

IMG_0137Because why not?  IMG_0127

IMG_0117Beta Psi! 

IMG_0092Waiting for the river to turn green

IMG_0101It’s a green river!!!

St. Patrick’s Day in Minnesota

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!


I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!  While the celebrations in MN are certainly not on the same scale as celebrations in Chicago or Boston; there is still lots of fun to be had!  In Duluth, one of the traditions is a fundraiser Ceili for the Loaves and Fishes community.  I was finally able to go this year and it was a blast!  Having learned a few basics when I studied abroad in Ireland, it was exciting to learn a few more things and be able to help others master some of the basics.  And as always, it was nice to take a break from homework for a few hours!


Walking on Ice

First things first, as a Minnesotan, I would like to discuss the weather with you! This is the forecast for this weekend:

weather report

It’s hard to believe that less than 2 weeks ago, the temperature was below freezing, with the windchill hovering below zero degrees!

In fact, the weather was cold enough to create 13+ inches of ice on Lake Superior, which meant that the Apostle Island Sea/Ice Caves were able to open! This year, there was a lack of snow on the ice, so we decided to strap on ice skates for the mile long journey from the shore to caves.  While this made the trip out to the caves a lot faster, it also meant lots of bruises, as I had forgotten how hard it is to skate on lake ice (cracks, bumps, and broken ice piles to add to the normal challenge of keeping your balance).

So decieving...

So decieving…

Some of the obstacles we faced on the way to the ice caves (this is a close up).

Some of the obstacles we faced on the way to the ice caves (this is a close up).

All the tumbles were worth it though…the ice caves were spectacular!

We loved that this ice formation looked like vertebra!

We loved that this ice formation looked like vertebra!


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DSC_0047          IMG_9417           DSC_0042

While out on the lake, we could also hear the ice popping, which was a completely new experience for me!  For those of you who did not know before that ice could “pop,” check out this youtube video to hear it for yourselves.

ATC qd (aka, Pharmacy school is busy)

Hello Blog Readers!

Well, I think I have had my longest hiatus of posting.  What happened to me being that dedicated blogger who updated once a week? Pharmacy school happened.  With multiple quizzes, tests, assignments due each week, along with work and student and student organizations I have comittments to, one could say I am a tad busy.

However, one big weight that has been lifted off my shoulders as of yesterday was the completeion of the CLARION competition, an interprofessional case competition that I naivly signed up to participate in, having NO idea of tremednous amount of time and emotional energy myself and my  fellow teammates, a medical student and a masters of health administration student, would invest, toiling over potential solutions to improve stroke care in the fictious South Tree Health Network (STNH….no, SHTH….wait, STHN…. this was the struggle of our lives).  Being someone who usually prefers learning the nitty-gritty science details  over administration or social science topics, I would never have imagined myself spending hours scouring the internet for articles on bundled payment systems, care delivery models or electronic health record standardization.  Being someone who also usually avoids procrastination on big assignments or projects, I nor would have pegged myself as someone who would stay up all night finishing our presentation to submit, 8 minutes before it was due. But both happened.  I guess we could call CLARION a transforming experience for me.

In all honesty, while I may sound like I am just trying to be a University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Poster-Child by saying this,  CLARION was one of the most educational experiences I could ever have imagined; I have such a deepened understaning about the healthcare system, have learned so much about working with others and have gained quite a bit of confidence in my public speaking skills.  As a bonus, my team walked away with 3rd place, with a cash prize that ensures I was getting at least minimum wage for every hour I spent working on our case…… all I could ask for and more.

While I was busy being all interprofessional this past week, I also was trying to study for our multiple tests and quizzes. While most of our classes are too conceptual to just have flashcards, I did revert to flashcards when studying the 225 abbreviations I needed to know for my calculations test.  My classmates and I found some amusement out of  some of these abbreviations, so we are going to play a little game.  I am going to post some “instructions” written in pharmacy-speak and see how many you can get.  Answers will be on the bottom.

1) Appy top LCD ATC e.m.p. NPO (**hint; nothing to do with LCD xmas lights)

2)  Disp. PPI c. Pb for SZ

3) Take 12 oz. SVR. PO w.a p.c PRN s.os. MR3x.  DC c. SOB 

 Ready for the answers? I am going to post a random picture (actually not too random, this was my fraterninty having dinner with the Dean last month) so you can scroll down to the bottom to see the answers.


1) Appy  LCD top ATC e.m.p. NPO= Apply Coal Tar Solution topically around the clock as directed.  Not for oral consumption.

2)  Disp. PPI c. Pb for SZ= Dispense Patient Package Insert with Phenobarbital for seizures

3) Take 12 oz. SVR. PO w.a p.c s.o.s. MR.  DC c. SOB= Take 12 oz. Alcohol by mouth while awake after food if there is a need.  May repeat.  Discontinue with Shortness of breath.

These were all pretty obvious, right?

Just kidding, these are all medication errors waiting to happen….which is why we needed to learn them.

Anyways, I should go back to studying now.  Happy March! (winter is over, right?)

Taking the Plunge

Hello readers! Sorry for the long time between posts.  The last month (where did the time go?) has been busy with the daily grind of class, homework/studying, work, applications for summer internships, etc.  As such, I haven’t been up to anything too exciting. However, my classmate, Sara, had the bravery to take a plunge into Lake Superior, and was willing to write about the experience for the blog.  So if you’ve ever wondered why so many of us in the northern regions of the U.S. feel the desire to hold Polar Plunges….

The water may look freezing, but it has been warmed by the hearts of hundreds. On February 21st the city of Duluth turned up to see people all do something crazy…. Jumping into a frozen Lake Superior. Over 1000 people plunged into a rectangle cut out of the ice in Lake Superior. Why were they jumping you ask? Were they crazy? Dared to? No, the participants were jumping to raise money for the Special Olympics. The participants raised over $160,000 for such a special cause. Teams from colleges, businesses, fraternities and groups of friends dressed up into costumes and plunged into the lake. Pharmacy students participated in teams made up two of the fraternities.

The excitement that is felt around the event is one that is contagious. Spectators lined up on the ice to cheer the participants on. Participants started the exciting event getting ready to jump. The atmosphere in the participant tent was one of excitement, nervous energy and craziness. Participants were funneled out of the tent to the hole in the ice. Group costumes ranged from princesses and princes to The Lone Rider and High Ho silver to dominos. The water was a beautiful temperature and the volunteers got participants into a warming house right away. After the event participants proudly supported event t-shirts and sweatshirts. All around the town there was support for the Special Olympics. The Polar Plunge is an excellent way to get involved in a cause that will help many people.