Gage, 2 nights in

I cannot resist but to share with the world my first 17th floor sunset.

These were taken last night. I then went to have MacDonald’s and finished a cup of coffee at 11pm. I stayed up till 2:30am to finish the first draft of my autobiography. Couldn’t fall asleep for the longest time.

And got up at 6:30am to find this.

My first 17th floor morning.

It’s nice and all that my room has the best sunset in the city, but this also means my room is in direct sunlight for 5 hours before sunset.

Like this:

And until today, the alternative to glaucoma and skin cancer is darkness (because the curtains were as thick as carpet):

But with inginuity and a side-way window sheer, I made myself a detachable sun block:

So I got my brother over for a celebratory dinner – the famous beef noodles in rez are back.

Want sunset with it?

A quick note, one of my floormates is a varsity bball player, and he brought the entire team over for beer tonight. Drunk, buff, tall guys with their hot girlfriends. It’s going to be more than a fun year.

Advertisements

I. Live. In. The. Sky. (or close to it… 17th Gage!!!)

Guys, guys, check this out.

Yeah?

YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!

Now check this one out.

Yeah?
YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Now ask me where this is. Go ahead. Ask me.

“Where did you take these pictures?”
IN MY ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM MMM!!!!!!!!!

In this picture you can see Straight of Georgia, the English building, part of my favorite library IKB, and of course, my messy desk which is already scatterred with my cellphone, the hat that I drew at Shad, my speakers lying strategically side ways so that they don’t block my million-dollar view, and so on.

Ok, ok. Let’s take an aerial tour of UBC.

In the distance is West Van and I think the Cypress Mountain, seperated from us by the Burrard Inlet.

(And now let’s turn out amazed gaze to the left a bit)

You can see the round building that is Chan Center, adjacent to a few trees that surround the Rose Garden. WHICH MEANS, this is where you will see the SUNSET, if you were me.

(Ok, turn again)

Directly below us is the North Parkade. I think we can play soccer on the roof at night. Did I mention Gage is closest rez to a parkade, the bus loop, the Student Rec Center, the SUB, the IKB, and the Aquatic center?

Please also note the continuous ocean view.

You can now see a good view of the IKB, and in the distance, the Marine Drive residence, which isn’t as nice as Gage cuz it’s in the middle of nowhere except drunken 1st years.

Ok, I cheated. The surround view was taken at our balcony, not in my room. And the balcony was pretty scary even though I’m not especially afraid of height. But if you are tall and the railing only goes up to your waist, you do feel a bit shaky.

To summarize:

17th floor Gage tower, which is the top floor, directly looking north west, which is where the sun sets.

My floor now open for over-night guest registration.

又來了! 在開學前夕的淨心心得

距離我上次寫有關淨心舍內部運作的文章已經過了5個月。這五個月來我從GM, 到David生日, 到精采絕倫的泛舟露營, 到爬Grouse Grind, 看煙火, 漸漸和淨心打成一片。到了最後,我連考完MCAT以後也是和淨心的朋友慶祝的。 (我完全破費幫大家買啤酒啊!!! 差點破產, 下次不敢了 XD)

我也趁這個暑假, 從淨心的觀眾變成淨心的推手之一, 看事情的角度變了, 體會也不同了。在我應該要來寫申請醫學院的自傳卻又不知如何動筆的此時, 來囉嗦一下好了。

照顧幹部

開會時間

我認為管理階層照顧幹部是很基本的態度, 而我們做得很好。從五月到現在, 開過五次全體幹部的會議, 每一次的長度都訂為兩小時, 每一次都準時散會。這不是小事; 這是對幹部們時間的尊重、會議規畫的完善、和討論事情的效率。開會的時候我們也都有說有笑 (還會拿沒到的幹部來調侃XD), 但是該說甚麼、該說多久在事先都有會議召集人 (通常是舍長大衛) 擬定agenda, 一項一項討論過去,不需要在會議上談的就指派幹部私下討論, 離題了也都有人善意提醒。這麼專業的會議是我始料未及的, 也是我每次開會都充滿期待的原因。

活動出力

這一屆的台灣文化節淨心舍率眾搶「攤」成功, 包辦了小吃攤和淨心攤。動員了十幾二十個義工, 其中幹部、會員、非會員都有, 實著浩大。而我很慶幸我上次提出的以下幾點建議都有被考慮到:

1.1 動機/誘因

[…] 如果人手不夠,或是要吸引更多助理來積極參與社務,這幾點大誘因應該多加宣傳,甚至提供一些實質獎勵(像是事後的慶功宴、園遊會的彩券等等)。在活動當天,如果高層幹部能更照顧助理,像是發送果汁之類的,相信助理一定會在感激之虞,更為社團賣命。

舍團藉著台灣文化節的資源提供了: 入場門票、演唱會門票、免費午餐/午餐費、t-shirt等優惠, 順利找足人手。

1.2 助理工作內容可以更清楚

這是我的疏失,但是我並不知道當助理要花多少時間(所以我得知我應該要待8小時的時候,表情應該是(([[囧]]))。我也不知道我set up的時候要做什麼,哪些東西需要我負責等等。這也許是因為我當時沒時間去助理的meeting,但是如果meeting之後有會議記錄可以瀏覽的話,我 在活動當天也許可以更積極而有效的幫忙。

在SCI Team,活動負責人會把每一個人的負責項目照著時間排好,當天印出來發放,人手一張簡單明瞭、又personalized的指示。當然,很多突發狀況是無法預知的,每個人也都有彈性的準備。但是每個項目都有人負責,臨時有事要支援、要交替等等,一目了然。

[…]

幾點集合、幾點解散都在一開始就講清楚了, 登記要擔任義工的人都很清楚自己要工作多久, 減少很多confusion. 後面這項personalized指示在文化節比較不適用 (大家準時到攤位就好了), 不過在 RC icebreaker由於職位眾多 (小隊長, 副隊長, 主持人, 關主, 機動…), 每個職位的工作都有個人化的指示, 想必會讓活動更順暢。

1.4 分批

種田都要讓土休息了,用助理也該讓人輕鬆一下。最好的方法,也許是將活動分配成幾個時段,讓助理忙一段,休息一段。例如說,園遊會可以很清楚的分成 set up (10am-1pm)、event (1-4pm)、和clean up (4-6pm)。助理可以選擇時段報名,而非一次就投入8小時。這麼長的時間連幹部都會喊累了,要拉額外幫手只會更困難。

文化節淨心舍的攤位是彈性登記的, 每個幹部都可以登記自己要幾點到、要幾點走, 而非強行規定每人一定要待一整天。效果? 每個時段都至少有2個人, 而大多數時段都有3人以上。如果規定每個人都要待整天的話, 能幫忙的人會少很多。

以上是管理階層看得到的用心,大家拍拍手!

幹部心態

拼命的動機

接下來要談的是在表面上比較看不見的, 幹部們的心態。每次開會2小時, 幹部事前事後都要準備一堆東西, 要從台灣定東西、要聯絡商家廠商贊助機構、要計畫活動訂正講稿、要做道具做海報做刊物做網站… 花的時間一個幹部比一個幹部多, 為什麼要大家要花那麼多時間呢?

我們很多人是有書要讀、有錢要賺、有男女朋友要陪的啊!

舍長大衛想過這個問題, 而這是他的答案:

[…] 幹部體制的整合,和自己想要體驗一下管理社團的經驗.社團跟以前所參加的領袖活動相差很多.領袖活動裡的大部分人都是領袖,所以合作做事起來特別容易.社團的人只有少數是領袖,所以跟以後出社會的情況比較接近.

管理社團所遇到的挫折、獲得的成功、體會出來的心得等等, 的確是難能可貴的經驗。不過出了社會以後的環境和社團是否接近, 可能要看是哪個圈子。可以確定的是舍長這個位子需要對一個大團體負責, 需要照顧及督促手下的幹部, 需要危機處理隨機應變,是鍛鍊領導能力的極好機會。(這個機會值不值得用如此龐大的心血、時間換取, 就要等到明年再問大衛了)

不過這是舍長的動機, 其他幹部呢?

擔任領袖角色的, 多多少少也跟舍長一樣有訓練領導能力的機會。其他幹部也都有練習計畫活動、跟陌生人談公事、帶動團體氣氛、處理人際關係等等練習soft skills的可能。

而每個幹部為社團盡心盡力還有另一個很大的因素, 是因為大家已經變成很好的朋友了 (我不知道是誰說的, UBC “RC” 其實是 “Real Close” friends的意思 XD)。朋友有事情需要幫忙, 大家當然就盡量幫忙囉。

每個人的動機都有些不同, 鍛鍊能力、跟朋友一起玩、或認識新朋友等, 每項動機對每個人的重要性也都不一樣。而每個幹部願意付出的心力自然也都有所出入。這就有可能造成衝突了。

動機不夠強, 怎麼辦?

當一個幹部放棄看電視、吃飯、睡覺、做功課的時間來拼社團, 他如果看到別的幹部把社團放在後面順位, 先要把書讀好、工作做好、再和女朋友看完電影才要碰社團的事, 他可能會很不滿。他可能會認為那個幹部不夠負責, 不夠用心, 太過自私, 或是不夠熱愛這個社團。

但事實上, 可能只是兩人玩社團的動機有誤差。

由於幹部都是基於自願, 只要是他們沒答應的事情, 他們其實並沒有義務要做。不像工作: 老闆錢都付了, 員工當然是收錢做事。所以需要幹部做的事情不能用指派的, 只能用邀請的, 甚至拜託的。比方說: 一個會議我們不能要求幹部一定要參加, 我們只能希望幹部們能夠儘量出席。再比方說: 我們不能指定一個幹部在下禮拜之前完成一個任務, 我們只能問他能不能在下禮拜之前將這個任務完成。

因為做與不做, 決定權在幹部。

所以說要邀請幹部之前, 最好能訂下這個職位所需付出的時間。如果幹部答應了一個禮拜3小時, 那一個禮拜裡3小時之外的事情就是要拜託幹部多做的部分。

而做不出來的事情是在所難免的。這也是玩社團的特色之一: 有的deadline趕不上, 有的作品做不完, 有的人經驗不夠, 有的人時間不夠… 狀況永遠都有。

這個時候, 除了鼓勵能做的幹部多做, 關心失常的幹部遇到的困難, 就只能抱持著彈性, 把事情在可能的範圍裡做到最好, 然後別因為達不到當初的目標而灰心。只要大家都盡了他們能盡的力,這就是一個值得鼓勵的團隊。

漏掉的心得

沒力寫 「評國籍\種族導向的社團」、「為什麼你應該加入淨心舍」、和「淨心幹部八卦秘辛究極大爆料」等等題目了, 而且就算寫下去恐怕也會因為文章太長沒人會看。以後再說吧。

向日葵茶壺墊

這是考MCAT的前一天晚上的作品。素材是一個木製的茶壺墊。

顏料用很兇…

其實這次選素材之前就選好顏色了: 藍色和黃色。為什麼? 因為我有很多藍色和黃色的顏料。

由於時間過得有點久了 (剛好一個禮拜) 所以中間的製作心路歷程全部跳過, 直接放成品 (上圖)。

這次還蠻用心做細節的。

用到的顏色:

真的是超級爆窮的調色盤:

就降。獻給愛泡茶的家人。

Random Shad thought: Playlist.com

When I cleaned up the storage room (where we kept rec equipment, first aid stuff, and the stuff we feed them Shads) with Steve, he was playing music on his laptop.

“What do you want to listen to next?” he asked me when a song ended.

“I don’t expect you do have Jay Chou?” I asked. I used the code name “Jay Chou Lava” on our hike and established my reputation.

“Just a sec,” he said. A few seconds later, he started playing Jay Chou!

I took an amazed look, and realized he was listening to music on Playlist.com, where you can search pretty much any song and play it on live stream. Cool!

Oh, and it’s better than finding music on YouTube in one way (that I found out right away): you can play songs in a playlist, so you don’t have to look for the next song whenever a song finishes.

A few days before MCAT

I feel good about it. From the practice exams on AAMC (yup, practice tests from the agency that writes these MCAT exams itself), I’ve written 4 full length exams.

And I did well.

To be more specific, I don’t know how I did on the essays, but the other three sections (physical sciences, verbal reasoning, and biological sciences) were marked out of a percentage, then a standardized scale score out of 15 is estimated for these practice tests. “Standardized scale score” means they have a fixed mean and standard deviation (which means if you happen to write the exam at the time when thousands of crazy keeners, you will probably end up with a low mark).

And what scale score is considered good on MCAT?

Here’s some data. I couldn’t find what the score on this website is (maximum? minimum? mean? median?), but I think it’s the mean of MCAT scores of the entering class

For the Canadian schools, MCAT scores rank from Queen’s @ 33 -> McGill’s & UT @ 32 ->  and UBC comes in at a humble 29.

And the American schools (deng deng deng!): Washington University @ a staggering 38, followed by Duke’s @ 36, and across the board, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and most Ivy leagues come in at 35. Some Ivies trail slightly behind @ 34.

I don’t know what is up with Washington University; a MCAT score of 38 is probably something like 13:13:12 (physical:biological:verbal).

It’s madness!

And even Sparta will think it’s madness!

In the wake of this madness, I humbly compiled a list of realizations that may prove boring for some, and more boring for others.

If you are at UBC and you want to go to med school, what courses should you take?

A solid background in 1st year physics and 1st and 2nd year chemistry (take chem 205 if you are at UBC and you want to go to med school, boys and girls) will put you at around 12-13 in the physical sciences section.

A solid background in o-chem (chem 233 at UBC), physiology (phyl 301 helped big time), biology (cellular bio would be most important, followed by really basic genetics. biol 200, biol 201, bioc 303 and the like) will put you around 12-13 in the biological sciences section too. On a lucky day, maybe 14. On a bad day, 10.

And verbal? You are on your own. Maybe if you read 100+ passages religiously under the intense supervision of a MCAT reading coach (if there is such a person), you can improve your score on this section. Maybe. But no matter what I did, I always hover between 10 and 11.

Disclaimer: having a solid background is awesome and all, but you still need to spend a good chunk of time reviewing your stuff. This raises another question:

When should I write the MCAT?

Many people write it after they finish 2nd year university, when o-chem and other 1st year sciences are still hot and fresh in their young heads. This way they can also start applying to Med school in 3rd year and get the experience when they get rejected. They can come back stronger and more prepared than most in 4th year.

But taking 3rd year courses like physiology and biochemistry really helps with MCAT preparation. It’s fair to say that I’m really glad I held off MCAT until I have a solid grasp on the different systems in the human body. If I took the test last summer, I would have needed to take a MCAT prep course for 2 months and a half, and cram the heck out of myself because of the inadequate time to properly digest this knowledge.

The down side of taking the MCAT after 3rd year is you start to feel old and your time’s running out; if you do badly on your MCAT, you would have left school when the next application cycle comes around. By then, your mind is probably not set on school (assuming you started working or feeling like a full time bum at home).

A quick solution: stay in school longer XD I’m taking 5 years with my undergrad, and I don’t feel some of the pressure my friends who are graduating feel.

What else should I do to prepare for my med school application?

Find your passions, devote time to them, and back them up with references!

It is no good to say: “I like cycling”. It’s pretty awesome to say: “I started a cycling club/I was the captain of this cycling team which competed in this race/I spent 100 hours on the track with this coach”.

It’s pretty frustrating to be unable to show yourself off because of a lack of reference; not every activity has a reference. But you gotta keep an eye out and collect contacts wherever possible if you are serious about med school. Unlike a job interview, where experience and passion in a particular field would suffice, the med schools seem to look for super-human well-roundedness — and they want this peer reviewed.

Oh, spending 150+ hours on a blog doesn’t count as a referenceable activity unless your blog wins some kind of blog award or such? Oops me.

That’s it for today. Wish me luck.

憂鬱的盒子

最近這幾天天氣蠻差的,陰雨綿綿,夏天的尾巴真的要過得著麼傷感嗎?啊?

所以整個人都稍微憂鬱了起來。憂鬱的時候就會想要畫東西,就算還不知道要畫甚麼、要畫給誰。

隨手抓出這個盒子:

本來想用重重的深藍色再蓋子的周圍畫一圈就好,後來又想弄個藍色和白色的漸層。

結果發現兩色漸層超難畫的… 尤其如果你的調色盤是用過3, 4次的免洗碗… 白色塗過去藍色就被蓋掉,藍色塗回來白色也一樣的下場。

這個蓋子大概用了我1小時的時間(畫圖的時候沒計時,所以我也不知道到底亂搞了多久)

然後看起來還是很不自然… orz

盒子的底座我就學乖了,不再玩這個漸層的遊戲。

天空的部份我是用寬的色筆沾水以後,一邊用藍色,一邊用白色,很容易搞定效果也不錯。

水浪的部份我調整壓克力和水的比例,實驗的結果還蠻有趣的。wikipedia沒騙人:壓克力稀釋 = 水彩, 不稀釋 = 油彩。

大概就降。2D的相片不太能表現出這個盒子的特色,大家有機會來我家玩的時候再拿出來獻寶。

啊?喔,對。既然這個作品沒有預定的主人,by default就是送給家人啦!

老媽已經在裡面放好糖果, 準備請客人了 XD

差點忘了簽名:

最後再來展示一下被我收拾過的書桌~! 比較不亂了!

不像前幾篇… 畫面裡面leMook, 書籤, 文具甚麼都有。