Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of Classes and a Food Fail

Classes have started again.  It feels kind of crazy to be going to class somewhere other than my undergraduate institution since I’ve been there for five years but overall, it was refreshing.

I woke up and made lunch to take with me then tackled breakfast.  I made ‘egg-in-a-hole’ with some 10-grain bread and Brummel and Brown.








To use up the cut out portion of bread I spread some Stonewall Fig & Ginger Jam.  As you can see, I also spent my morning with my computer checking e-mails and such.

I walked out of the apartment at 8:15 and walked the 1.5ish miles to campus with Egyptian Licorice tea in hand.  I walk at a pretty brisk pace when I’m rocking out to music and walking in time with the sun rising.  I made it to my class in a half hour so I was 15 minutes early and the first one there.  It gave me a few minutes to talk to the professor about some personal things, like my accident, before everyone else arrived.

My first class was Communication Techniques.  It focuses on how genetic counselors communicate with patients.  Things like empathy, attending, dealing with conflict and grief, and making patients comfortable will be discussed and a major portion of the class consists of role plays.  Honestly, these make me nervous, like whoa.  We have to sit and do a session, or parts of a session, with a simulated patient (actors who have been coached to act a certain way and convey certain emotions given a scripted situation) in front of EVERYONE.  Our classmates, professor, and other genetic counselors then critique us so that we can grow as students and counselors.  Only saving grace at this point: role plays are mostly graded based on improvement and effort not expertise and innate ability.

*deep breath*

After our first class ended we headed to the student room to pick our desks.  Welcome to mine!


We share them with second years and apparently mine is notoriously absent because they’re super busy so it appears I will have the place to myself most days.  I’m down with that.  Today I did crosswords.  They are a real comfort for me so naturally the fact that we get the NYTimes and USA Today for free at the department rocks my world.


I did the USA Today puzzle page while eating my packed lunch at about 11:30.  I was really pleased with how full breakfast kept me.


I had a sandwich of turkey, provolone, and Sweet Hot Mister Mustard (fantastic mustard by the way) on 10-grain bread with a side of pretzels and plantain crunchers.

Before we knew it, it was time for Clinical Management and Genetics of Metabolic Disorders.  We share this class with the second years as it’s only offered every odd year.  First off, the prof talks super, super duper fast.  Thankfully he gave us paper handouts and kept saying that most of this wouldn’t be tested so note-taking wasn’t terribly overwhelming today.  However, I’m not sure how the rest of this is class is going to go when we start getting into complex pathways and stuff.  We shall see.  For the meantime, we don’t have class for the next two weeks because on day is Labor Day and the next week he’ll be on vacation.  Seems weird to me for a class that is only once a week but hey, I’m not going to argue.

When Metabolic finished, we first years had a another back-to-back class.  Human Genetics was next on the list.  We arrived a bit early so I whipped out the NYTimes crossword to kill some time.  When class did start, the syllabus made it appear that the genetic counseling students are going to have it fairly easy.  We know probably 70% of the material being presented and today’s “Introduction to Genetics” lecture was mildly boring and remarkably repetitive in the wake of our previous genetics training from undergraduate and masters degrees.  Oh well, again, I’m not going to complain.

With our last class of the day finished, I headed out with a few second years and one of my first years to go find a cupcake food truck.  It was said to be on campus but when we got to its supposed location, it had left about ten minutes before.  Oh well, another day!

I walked another 1.5ish miles home and consumed a Mojo Trail Mix bar that went unphotographed because I was hitting my stride.  Can you believe I get to pass this gorgeousness every day?


When I arrived home, I promptly finished the NYTimes crossword and the KenKens next to it.  If you have never tackled a KenKen, you should.  They are pretty intense at times but provide a whole new challenge to those of us who are addicted to sudoku.  *raises hand*


While I was working on things, my daddy decided to call me just to see how my first day went.  It was a wonderful surprise.  He rarely calls me and most of the times I talk on the phone with him are occasions where mom passes the phone off to him during a mother-daughter conversation.  I was really happy to talk to him and tell him about classes.  He then filled me in on the used car search.  It’s not going super well at the moment but I have faith we’ll find something.

After finishing my newspaper love, I was getting hungry so I decided to jump into making dinner.  I had this great idea to make buckwheat soba and combine it with onions, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.  I then was going to toss it in the same sauce from the Chinese Broccoli I made the other day.  First problem: I have never cooked buckwheat before.  It cooks totally different than other pasta so not only did I overcook it, I then promptly accidently spilled it down the drain while trying to drain it.  Ugh, I started that over.  Second problem: In all the commotion I had left my sesame oil and garlic to sit too long on too high a heat level and it burned.  Blah, I threw that out and started over.

Despite everything, I ended up with what I originally intended but I was an unhappy camper overall.  The final product had semi-soggy noodles (I think I cooked them too long the second time even though I am fairly sure I followed the directions to a tee) and the artichokes had an Italian taste that really didn’t mesh with the sesame, Chinese flavor of the rest of the dish.


Oh well, the orange bowl and orange chopsticks made up for it…

At this point, I realized I should really get busy on my homework.  Yes, I had homework after the first day.


The first part consisted of reading (yes all that highlighting is me, can’t you tell by the orange?) then the last bit was an exercise at the end of one of the chapters to work on emotional identification and empathic responses.  I was having a lot of trouble so I did what I could (about 2/3 of the whole assignment) and decided to talk to the professor tomorrow to get some guidance on the part I was stumbling on.

When I had finished my valiant effort on the reading and written homework, I figured a reward was the perfect thing.  Ice cream fit the bill for sure.


I combined a crumbled graham cracker sheet with some Mackinac Fudge ice cream and chocolate syrup.  The grahams were the perfect addition to this dairy treat.  Their sweetness complimented the saltiness of the fudge wonderously.  Don’t laugh, I did eat my dessert while working more on homework…

As a second reward, I used the dishwasher to do everything so I could take this time to blog before bed.  Certainly my idea of a nice night.

Questions: Has anyone cooked soba?  What’s the secret?  What is your favorite way to reward yourself for finishing your homework?


  1. Try the "shock" method for soba...see here: Seems to help with the chewiness.

  2. @Leslie Thank you so much for the advice. I'll give it a try!


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