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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Man of the Hour

For a moment don’t even think
I am doing this because of
You.
The earth is dry,
But these cracks shall congeal
Into furious disgorges, into the
Muck they conceal.
The terrestrial world does it
So well, like everyone else,
And I have never adapted
To this kind of living.
These mouths spew flames
At me,
Eyes squeezed out, leering at
The sin, the sin.
How I wish you were here, or at least
Your cold hands,
For they would congratulate me.
I wonder why these people don’t
Clap or scream.
Is this not a celebration?
Instead lumps of air shriek in their
Throats like reluctant hinges
Squeaking rust after rust.
The mouth is door to the soul,
Not the eyes.
The eyes are the windows.
They can only say and let in so much.
I didn’t fall in love with your
Eyes actually; your words
Were so much better.
You misered on them as if they would
Sting if let feral.
They’re just words.
We have the whole thesaurus to squander
And the whole world to bribe.
They’re here now.
I can hear the big metal doors unlatch
Now. I have on my right the face
Of heavens and on my left a blank stare.
Disquieted looks, queasy eyeballs:
I am being appalled by this scene.
I dreamed they would throw
Hats at me, or roses, or coins.
But I am seeing this.
Gray, cobbled path leading me
To my couch of blackness,
This gait, pompous and proud,
My arms spread to thank
This flesh for its miracle of making me
Home for years.
This is my moment.
The world has finally blessed me with this.
The days have been long,
And my eyelids are laboring.
In a minute I shall sleep
Like I was ever born of this
World.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Ever-Exciting NMAT Season

First of all, why? Why did I bother to write this?

Part (i.e., 10%) of my performance in the NMAT, I thank my memory (which is not so impressive), my analytical skills (I have two-minute attention span), and the universe conspiring in exact, infallible perfection (let’s be theistically sensitive). The other 90% I earnestly thank the tips I had read in blogs I religiously follow. Thankfully, I realized before taking the test that one could only study so much in few weeks. The day after the test was administered, we had two long exams to prepare for, a paper presentation to rehearse, a poster whose existence one could only magically conjure up, and practically everything a sadistic professor could think of. A diligent student as I always am *coughs* could only be lulled to submission, as though this was not even expected beforehand. Thenceforth, upon knowing my unfortunate fate, I tried my best to juggle the purely academic and, let’s say, my future: my stark-white medical career dangling on my walls as memo pads of chemical formulas and circuit relationships. I knew then that my medical journey started there. That’s why, not having the capacity to swill all broth of that simmering bowl of knowledge, I tried to look for blogs that give tips on what the test is all about. You know, part of winning the game is knowing the game itself. You can look for those blogs. They are very visible online. I have to admit they were very helpful, so this is, in a way, a form of gratitude. These are the things I don’t see in those tips:

The NMAT (National Medical Admission Test) is administered twice a year: during March/April and November/December. There are fewer students who opt to take it during March, hence the fewer testing centers (actually it’s much more sound to say it’s the other way around). The test is scored in percentile, so it doesn’t matter how many correct answers you have, as long as you are safely far from the norm group. Thus saying, your test result depends on the performance of your co-takers. And thus saying, when you have few competitors, the probability of getting a high percentile is low compared to, let’s say, when you have thrice as many. I’m not discouraging you from taking it in March/April. There are actually advantages in taking it early. 1.) You get to have a chance to re-take it and still not jeopardize your eligibility for entrance. Be careful, though, as some schools require their applicants’ previous NMAT scores. 2.) You will have much time to decide which medical schools to apply. 3.) You don’t have to rush your admission requirements since CEM (the agency that administers the test) is quite millennial in releasing copies of the results. And hmm. . . I can’t think of any more reasons why you should take it early. I think it depends on your priority and how confident you are with yourself.

You have to remember that the exam is half skill and half memory work. As far as I know, they put equal weights on every area, so it doesn’t do so much when you know taxonomy or genetics by heart and have little patience in Math or abstract reasoning. Remember that the scores are ranked, so you have to do well on every aspect of the test. It’s better to have mediocre scores in all areas (which is my case actually) than getting a perfect score (i.e., 800) in Biology yet an abysmal performance in Chemistry. Speaking of which, study Chemistry and Physics very well. Many of your competitors will not probably fare well in these areas. Everything that comes out in the exam is covered in your General Chemistry course, so most likely you won’t need free-radical substitution and all those alien stuff you learn in organic chemistry. If you still have time, which is not perhaps the case at the time of posting, you can check out MSA reviewers. They explain Chemistry and Physics quite substantially, although there could be much, much faster ways of attacking those problems. Don’t settle on those methods. Find a much faster one, or if your repertoire permits, make your own. Apart from those sweaty and haggard faces sandwiching and intimidating you in that small room, the one shrewd opponent is there clinging on your wrist: Time.

Honestly, my problems at first were the Perceptual Acuity and Inductive Reasoning parts. But these parts can be tamed with practice. In the PA, make use of your pencils. Compare the figures all at once in terms of quadrants. This is made possible by slowly moving your pencil from top to bottom and looking for possible differences among the figures. Answer by elimination then. For the IR, be familiar with the patterns. At least the frustration of who-the-fuck-could-possibly-guess-that-pattern feeling wouldn’t strike you on the day of the test because you can guess it. But only if you’re familiar with it.

You are not required to take the test in the manner of how it is arranged in the booklet. Take advantage of this opportunity. Answer first those areas that require focus. In the morning: IR or PA. In the afternoon: Physics or Chemistry. Be careful of what columns you shade because even when you consider this tip but failed to put your Math answers in where they should be, then your medical journey is done. Right then and there.

Which brings me to my last words: sleep adequately. You need focus the next day or at least that sensitivity to that occurrence of a major event in your life. Take the NMAT seriously. But not so seriously. Remember you have to graduate on time. And that’s a much more urgent goal I guess.

Good luck!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

On the name change

This is in assumption that this event matters to anyone other than myself. . .

Apparently, I am considering it a major life decision: changing my blog title. The old name actually came up many, many years ago, even before I understood what blogging really is and the substance therein. It occurred quite randomly, without so much thinking, although this is, in no way, to imply that blog title decisions are supposed to be taken seriously. Depends on the person's sentimentality after all.

Many things have happened thereafter. My plans on leaving Blogger (then Blogspot) altogether had resurfaced several times. I entertained the possibility of entirely writing on private, the benefits of which have amounted only to a certain extent (i.e., being able to banish the name-dropping reluctance, sounding grossly desperate when it's what the situation calls for). But being a recluse gets suffocating sometimes.

The 'Weird Black Cell' thing has been a tradition—I'm not sure if it's true to anyone, but it is to me. Definitely. I am neither close nor, in any way, gravitating toward my standard of maturity, but at least this does the job somehow. Thanks for entertaining this waste of webspace!

*Oprah tears*