Not for Sale

I sat down to write this entry on Thursday night, anticipating that I’d finish it on Friday afternoon before CPL’s viewing of the Lion King. That is, until three o’clock Friday, when I found myself standing outside Columbia Presbyterian’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) facility. The hallway was my home that day– outside patient rooms, ER wings, lobbies, and CPEP. The hallway left many hours and much space to stand, stare, and think. I watched as patients and scrubs moved down their days. I thought about my friend behind the hallway– and I dreamed of a day where she wouldn’t dream of becoming dust.

When the world strips us of all we thought we knew, its easy to think that there’s nothing left. But as Langston Hughes– someone who had so much taken from him– writes, we still have our dreams. And they are “not for sale.”


Gather out of star-dust
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust
Not for sale.

I’m still a little hazy from the day to write cohesively about my thoughts on this poem, so I decided to write poem of my own instead:


She’s the one who never listens
To the girl with open ears
She’s the one who swears she fine
To the lady who can’t lie
She says –she’s the one who’s waiting to die
To the woman who lives

Lives out here
With her dreams wrapped ‘round
Her shoelaces
That she wants to steal
She’ll share her plastic soaked slice of bread
Unseasoned rice
And chicken with a spoon
She’ll go on dreaming into the lonely lights
Of brick walled basements
And roaming lonely souls

She’s the one dreaming of a day without dreams
Without the splinters of life digging into her hips
Into her wrists
Into the folds of her tired skin
But she’s the one
Too tired of this waking life to say goodnight to her dreams

What’s Next?..

I am a creative writing major. I am also pre-med. I’m often unsure when to add the latter– a necessity around my STEM peers who look at me and ask “then why the hell are you in organic chemistry II?” A fun fact in my English classes where my humanities peers ask, “then why the hell are you an English major?” But a fundamental aspect of my identity as a student. I’ve changed my interests many times. I still have too many hobbies for my own good and too many aspirations for my spare time, but I know I will become a doctor. It’s the path I chose for myself and the one I cannot imagine abandoning. I’d like to write too– maybe about my medical adventures or about the little things in life.

So I study many things– screenwriting, grammar, sociology, physics, organic chemistry, and many more. My semesters always look like this– a hodge-podge of many specialties. I like it better this way. I’m using this time to learn as much as I can about as many things as I can. I hope to be the amateur of many fields and the expert of a select few. I hope to always be kind and curious. That’s what I love about medicine– you never really stop learning.

I will graduate from undergrad in the spring of 2024. That summer, I’ll submit my first ever medical school application and will embark on a gap year who knows where doing who knows what. I have my eye on a medical internship in Seoul– but who really knows where the next 2 years will take me. I look forward to whatever is next. I’m just here to put in the work that gets me there.

Mentors for Mentors

This event came at the perfect time. This winter holiday, as I rewind from the chaos of the fall, I also begin the process of applying to volunteering opportunities, internships, and clinical experiences. I am in my third year, only three semesters away from graduating and applying to medical. As a premedical student, I spend so much of my time thinking about how every grade and every experience I build now will impact my chances of entering medical school. It’s a mindset that’s often draining when combined with the absurdly high standards I set for myself, but one that has led me to where I am now.

At this event, I was encouraged by the student speakers’ experiences in applying to graduate school and other positions. They offered me key advice on seeking mentorship in your education, dedicating time to researching the programs you apply to, applying to any new opportunities in your school, and prioritizing your mental health when faced with rejection.

It’s only been in the past 2 semesters (in person) that I’ve begun building bonds with some of my professors. Just this fall, I began attending biweekly office hours with my organic chemistry professor. He is one of the best and kindest professors at my school and the main reason for this is that he creates a welcoming and engaging environment with his students in and out of the classroom. I spent many hours in his office each week with other students studying, practicing material, asking questions, and getting to know my professor. Now I’ve excelled in the course and probably have those weekly hours to thank for it. In my experience, building relationships with your professors allows you to become more personally engaged in the material and opens up new opportunities for learning and growth. This spring, I will be working as an organic chemistry recitation leader due to my professor’s recommendation. The relationships I’m building now allow me to not only grow as a student but are the foundation of strong recommendation letters when applying to graduate school. My experience with my organic chem professor and others this fall has encouraged me to continue attending office hours, emailing professors, and working with other students and faculty to become the best student I can be.

I know I just rambled for quite some time about only one aspect of this meeting–seeking mentorship–but that was my greatest takeaway from this excellent meeting. I plan on keeping these ideas and experiences in mind as I move forward with applying to future programs and medical school. Happy New Year!

Open mic- Mother by Violet Doolittle


Smiling with her broken spine as

we skipped along the cracks of 

suburban cement sidewalks.

Her sunlit knuckles and craters

down the sides of her hips.

“Where we once collided,”

She whispered into our three

soft rosy ears. “Took three chunks 

of my flesh, bones, my eyes.”

We glued her googly eyes to 

preschool posters on crispy blue 

construction paper. They sung 

With each of our steps. Danced

circles around our juvenile delirium.

We hung them on the fridge with

bottle cap magnets and alphabet soup.

But jam coated pinkie fingers

reaching for bottles of thick milk

knocked three spinning googly eyes

from their crispy blue construction paper.

They fell to the floorboards,

catching sight of thirty toes, dancing

to the world beyond what is known

in the craters of our mother’s hips. 

Who will I be?

I’m a girl who’s had too many hobbies for her own good. I’d like to think my next best obsessions are the reason why I’ve changed my mind so many times about “what I want to be,” but I suppose that’s also just a part of growing up. I wanted to be an artist, a fashion designer, a writer, a teacher, a clinical psychologist, a physician’s assistant, and my latest and longest obsession: a doctor. Growing up, I heard the opposite of what you might expect from most parents: “don’t go to medical school.” From a young age, my dad drilled into my mind that medicine was a terrible route to follow– a waste of your time and money. Of course, that was only the case for him. He graduated with a degree in religion studies, only to earn his medical degree, finish a residency in pathology, and a fellowship/masters in biomedical engineering. Guess what he does today? He’s a computer programmer who runs a business that stores boat licensing information. He dedicated years and years of his life to medicine, only to discover along the way that he didn’t like it much at all. And now, he couldn’t be happier with his career. Life takes us to unexpected places, but I can only hope that wherever it takes me, I’m happy and I am kind. I would hope medical school is the right path for me, considering I’ve dedicated so much of myself to it in undergrad alone, but regardless, I’m just happy to be pursuing something that excites my curiosity.

Recap: “The New College Classroom”

At this event, Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis discussed their book, “The New College Classroom–What the latest science of learning tells us about inspiring, effective, and inclusive teaching at the college level.” CUNY Grad Center Provost, Steve Everett, describes their book as “a step-by-step how-to for transformation” fostering students who serve as “the primary active agents of their own growth.” The responsibility for creating active learners not only lies in the students themselves but in the pedagogy of our classrooms and the work of our teachers.

But why is this important? Cathy and Christina discuss how we must reevaluate a dated educational system that was designed to produce passive laborers, not active participants of a functioning society. In March of 2020, our entire educational system changed radically in the course of ten days when the nation shifted to virtual learning. We are in a different world, filled with different students, and faced with new, innovative research in the field of education. Their argument is clear: we must change the way we shape our classrooms if we are to change a broken world. A key pillar of their philosophy is creating an environment for metacognition– thinking about how you think. In an educational system defined by standardized testing and numerical metrics, students are not encouraged to reflect upon and learn from their mistakes; they are not encouraged to raise their hand even when they do not know the answer; they are not encouraged to assess their own progress in a course. The classroom should incite active participation and curiosity. Curiosity is at the core of our nature. Professor Davidson and Dr. Katopodis utilize the latest research and practices to develop a classroom that fosters this nature.

I loved this talk. As a student, I have worked, and continue to work, throughout the course of my college education to become a more efficient, active, and enthusiastic learner. I have dedicated time outside of the classroom to develop a deeper understanding of the science of learning and the best methods for studying. To see these ideas being discussed with the leading administrators and faculty of CUNY is exciting, to say the least.