Monday, June 18, 2012

Making Progress

The MCAT looms close, and as it gets closer I get more worried.  Lately I have been averaging a 30 on the practice exams.  This is a very solid score, but it is still not at my goal score of 35+.  Strangely the difference between a 30 and a 35 isn't that much.  Missing just 2 or 3 difficult questions is all it takes.  My biggest concern is coming in under the average on actual test day.  This happened to me last year, and in a big way.  I came in 4 points below the average that I was marking on the practice exams.  Even though last year I wasn't ready, and I took the test more to see how it would turn out, it is still a major concern.

As for my physical training I have stopped completely to focus on my studies.  This has been a trying decision, but I know it is the correct one.  Although I am very interested in maintaining my overall health, I believe that this short time sacrifice is necessary in order to secure a very real long term benefit.  Medical School represents and entire shift in my life.  I will be throwing everything I have been doing for the last ten years away, and starting a completely new adventure.  I am not interested in broken, failed, or half-fulfilled dreams so it makes sense to me to go all out while I still can.

My No-Dig bed with Tobacco plants
I am very interested in horticulture.  In my very limited free time I managed to put together a no-dig garden bend and plant some tobacco plants.  This may seem counter-intuitive to many of you, especially after having read my fitness and life goals, but hear me out.  For some reason I have a love affair with exotic and strange plants.  Tobacco falls into that category, especially since it just isn't grown out in my part of the country.  I decided to see if I could actually do it, and if I am successful I have several friends that just might appreciate a home-grown cigar.

I decided to make a small investment in a company called Synacor Inc. on the recommendation of a friend.  He forwarded me to the website of a company called National Inflation Association who have provided analysis on this company.  After reading their analysis I decided to take some of my "throw away" money and give it a try.  What is "throw away" money you ask?  This is a certain amount of money that I am willing to risk and if I never see it again I won't be upset.  Since I am no investment guru, and i have heard the horror stories of people dumping their life saving on a "tip from a friend" I decided on a cautious approach.  I initially invested at $12.50 and in two days the price of the stock has already gone up to $13.42.  What does this tell me?  Nothing really, because I intend to see how the stock behaves over several months.  The natural human impulse, when seeing such a magnificent increase is to drop more money in, but my rule for investing is "be not emotional", so I will stick with my "throw away" investment.  I'll provide an update on this in the near future.  At that point I may look like a total fool or a remarkable genius :)

Finally I have been stricken by an odd interest in luthiery.  What is that you may ask?  It is the construction of stringed instruments.  I have loved and played classical guitar since I was about 15 years old, but I have never owned a proper classical guitar.  I don't want to drop the serious money required for a quality instrument so I have toyed around with the idea of building one for several years.  The first time I approached it was probably 10 years ago while I was in college.  At that point in time I could not find the resources to instruct myself so I abandoned the idea.  Now the interwebs has come through in a big way and I see that this is a very doable hobby.  Immediately after the MCAT I will be diving into this and seeing what I can come up with.  I will post pictures, rants and advice accordingly.  Having spent the last year pouring MCAT related information into my brain, a monotonous non-thought provoking hobby sounds like a dream right now.

As always thanks for reading