I guess my foremost thought right now is that I could see myself perforating my eardrum with a toothpick if I had to hear Palin's voice for the next 4 years. But that's probably because they are playing feed of the Ohio rally she is speaking at. Speaking of Palin though, I read a concerning article yesterday about how she has billed the state of Alaska for $21,000 for her kids' airfare to accompany her to events. I guess that is a drop in a state's budget, but it makes me feel her straight talk about cutting spending disingenuous (you know, when she talks about how she tried to sell the governor's jet on ebay but then ended up selling it for a loss). Anyway, I think I am going to vote today. That will be fun.
So today is my birthday. And I'm not quite sure what is wrong with me but it seems as though other people remember that more than me. In fact, yesterday I was reminded twice that today was my birthday (I had really forgotten). Then today I forgot it once. I dunno why, but it just seems semi-arbitrary that one day out of the year that happens to be an exact multiple of the day that you were born is somehow more meaningful than the rest. I mean, I'm fine with it. Maybe I wish it meant more to me. But seriously, 24? I feel old.
I returned from my little tour of Pennsylvania. I left last Wednesday and flew into Philly. Then I interviewed Thursday at Temple University and Friday at University of Pennsylvania. On Saturday I flew to Pittsburgh and stayed with my good friends Sharon and Anthony Quinn. I interviewed at University of Pittsburgh on Monday and flew back that evening to Utah.
It was really good to see Sharon and Anthony. In fact, I'm sure they were a factor in why I liked Pittsburgh so much, especially compared to Philadelphia. I was surprised in how much actually visiting a school changes your previous opinions. Temple, which I had originally thought of as a kind of backup school, actually impressed me. The kids there seemed really happy and pleased with the school. The students I stayed with seemed really nice, and there is also a good LDS population at that school. It is amazing how much of a difference that makes. I went into Temple and Pitt not really knowing too many people. But once I found out that another dental student was LDS and they found out that I was as well, there was an immediate bond. Benny, one of the students at Temple, said that was nice. Mormons kinda look out for each other. In a way it seems like a fraternity. In fact, I've realized this year how much it means to feel like you belong to a group, or to someone. I'm not sure how people do it without the church.
Penn, which I had originally pegged as one of my top choices, didn't really impress me. The students didn't seem that happy. There were only like 1-5 Mormons in each class. The work load seemed a little excessive. Overall though, I wasn't that impressed with Philly. I am not a huge city person. I think I try to convince myself that I am, because that is the hip thing to do as a young professional. But in all actuality, the trash, smell, and poverty of Philly wore on me a little. It's also rather dangerous. Temple is actually located in the ghetto, partially on purpose so that they can serve that underserved area.
I loved Pittsburgh though. The city was manageable, clean, and close to suburbs tucked away in the trees. The school was great. There are 16 LDS students out of the first year class of 80. They have one of two anesthesiology programs for dental schools that you take as an elective. They also have an implant clinic that you can get training in if you take the elective. Those two things are really attractive. The students seemed to have a manageable workload, with some students saying it wasn't really any different than undergrad. The students were really friendly. The school is completely digital with their charts and x-rays. Anyway, I really liked it. It is now definitely one of my top picks.
While I was gone I got an invite to interview at OHSU. So that is it. Hopefully I will be done with interviews by Dec 1 and know where I am going to be next fall by Christmas break. I'm still pretty excited to head up to Portland and see how I like OHSU.
Other than school (and actually more than school) the most exciting thing in my life is that I've started dating someone. She's really nice, very intelligent, and quite pretty. I like her :-).
I was telling Patrick last night that before every interview this last week, I had stayed up till about 2AM and then had to be at the schools around 8:30. He laughed and commented that I'm not that focused on school. It's true, as evident by this blogpost when I should be doing something studious. But somehow I am managing still. I do have a case of senioritis though. I just took an anatomy midterm this morning at 6:55AM that I didn't study for until noon yesterday, and I think I did well. And there is something about living life like this that is rewarding. Living life so that everything just fits perfectly with no room to spare, is kinda exhilarating. In a way it feels as though I am a performer in a highly coordinated and precisely choreographed dance. I think it can get old after a while. But as for now, I'm still plugging away. So, I'm off to Computational Biology class!