Thursday, June 13, 2013


Hello there!

This is an important announcement if you are interested in reading new material that I post :)

I've decided to move to a new host. The main reason was because I've been trying to upload my YouTube videos to a new page on this blog, but it has not been working.

I have also divided my blog into 3 different blogs based on content. I found myself wanting to write, but felt overwhelmed because I had so many ideas, and didn't know which topic to write about. So instead, I'd write nothing.

If you are interested, the new "FanoflifeND" blog along with the other two blogs are listed below:

FanoflifeND - ( - posts regarding my thoughts alongside my training of becoming an ND

LocdND - ( - posts regarding my thoughts in continuing my natural hair journey

SeekingExistence - ( - posts regarding life in general, such as reflections and personal goals

*I also have a YouTube channel "fanoflifeND" where I post vlogs about being an ND student, along with loc updates*

Please enjoy, and thank you for reading/watching :)


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Hair - Honeymoon stage, I Don't Think So

We've made it through the 12 month mark and I'm excited to be moving forward with you 
I've been loc'd for a year now and excited to continue this process

Although some weeks have been trying, I am still committed to making this work 
I understand that the teenager stage has been difficult at times to get through, and it is still taking place. Rather than view this time before maturity as a suffering period, I'm going to keep trying to be patient and each day we will get closer to what we've been waiting for since the beginning

Since getting together over 5 years ago, we've endured many ups and downs with me wanting something else and wondering if you were right for me - where would this go? 
At first, I was doubtful about my transition to natural hair. I didn't know if it would suit me, and was constantly annoyed with it's growth not catering to my liking and hopes. I often wondered if I should go back to the chemical lifestyle

I feel the more time we spend together, and learn about our unity throughout our conflicts, we're getting to understand each other in a way like never before. It feels as though we're journeying down a path that brings out the best in both of us, and I can really see the rest of my life being with you 
You're teaching me to be more patient, and be aware that there is more to life than hair. Be open to life. You're going to grow at your own pace, and I have to accept that, or this union is going to be harder to be apart of than necessary. With this decision to loc my hair, at this moment I feel I want to be a dreadhead for the rest of my life.

I only hope you feel the same and can see a future with me as well - I promise I'll treat you right 
I will continue to take care of my hair based on what I've learned and know to be best. With that, I hope it will continue to stay healthy, grow, and happily loc.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Aliyo 1 : McDonalds 0

Dear McDonalds,

Today I was working on an assignment, and it was taking much longer than it should've been. You know when you're in a time crunch and spending way too much time on something that doesn't deserve that proportion of your functionality? And you know that you should be speeding up the efficiency, but that actually just slows you down? Yeah, that happened to me today, and I was getting frustrated with myself and just wanted to enter your haven and get a McChicken with an Oreo McFlurry (with a side of those fries which will never rot and instead slow down the passage through my intestines).

But guess what - I won this time. Yeah honey, beat that, I controlled myself, ha!

Instead I...
  • listened to some empowering songs such as my favourite song since my childhood - Des'ree: You Gotta Be, and my favourite song to jam to as I imagine how long my locs will be in 5 years - Willow Smith: Whip My Hair
  • danced in front of my mirror like I was a musical sensation performing a sold out's Aliyo b***h
  • taught a Zumba routine I used to teach as I visualized the memories of my participants who enjoyed themselves so much
  • My body felt awesome as I moved to the music, and felt the rhythms and every beat of these amazing fusions of creativity. It felt so good to stop looking at that computer screen for awhile and get my molecules of living jiving!
And after all of that activity, I decided to whip up up a snack - cucumbers,  grape tomatoes, green peppers, and dip. It was so refreshing, not just because of the water, vitamins and minerals they supplied me with, but also because I know the roughage will regulate my bowel movements, rather than give me diarrhea or painful constipation!

As I ate my Christmas-coloured snack, I wondered why I even wanted to jump into your arms and shove you in my mouth. Turns out, you and I have a long history, so it's hard for me to resist you when you creep up on me.  In my childhood (back when your toys were actually good), "treat night" meant you, and I would get excited for your delicious treat 1-2x a week. Then, when I moved to the city where I lived for 13 years and grew up in, you always  had a location within walking distance. Your first one was literally across from my complex, but then got burned down. However, shortly after a  revamped one popped up in the exact same plaza.

And when I was working multiple jobs and cared more about saving my money than my health (lack of sleep included), you were faithfully nearby, sometimes in the building I worked in, so that I'd never have to worry about starving (well, at least psychologically, because you didn't provide me with nutrition, that's for sure..thanks for that by the way). And now, you're less than a 10 minute walk from where I'm studying to become a Naturopathic Doctor. And you have to be all up in my space, situating yourself right outside of my gym, tempting me as I walk to the subway, knowing that I'm not too excited to eat that homemade meal in my fridge that I've already eaten 3 days in a row.

But guess what: today, I chose myself, I chose to preserve my health. And I'm very well aware you beat me over a hundred times in the past (and may catch a few in the future), but all it takes is one day to begin a change. Get that ball rolling down the mountain. And believe me, once my ball gains momentum, you will miss receiving all of the hard-earned money you lured from me, and you will be devastated when I finally get rid of your toxicity laying deep in my fat deposits which refuse to leave (grrr). And worst of all, you'll be heart-broken from the mental hold you'll cease to have upon me.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Round 2 - What'd Ya Learn?

     It's been 3 weeks since I've completed my second set of midterms, and I think I've finally recovered (ie. caught up on sleep, come to term with my marks, and stopped being in denial that I have finals next month, along with 2 - or maybe 3 - more years of midterms)

     Yet again I'm going to be making adjustments to my study methods. I didn't review every lecture within 72 hours, nor did I utilize one day of each weekend to prep for the following week and review material that I missed the week before, and I found myself estimating course objectives instead of checking them off while studying. But it's okay, I definitely believe that (I'm telling myself that especially since I need some consoling from the whooping I experienced from anatomy, whoo!)

     I attended all of my lectures, I really tried to be present for the most part, I even had complete faith in the importance of  attending lectures and not skipping, and although I still believe that, I feel my habits outside of the classroom are why I only passed (without flying colours). Now I realize that attending lecture will ensure that you hear the material once, have an idea of what will be important and testable (unless the professor is misleading and creates discrepancies on the exam), and as long as the lecture material is understood superfically through a few review sessions, a passing mark is likely.

     However, I've also realized that just attending and superficially understanding lecture is NOT enough if I want to do well enough on midterms that I can relax a bit when studying for finals. As mentioned before, lecture provides the main ideas (which may take extra studying time to truly understand), a sense of the types of questions that will be asked on the exams along with how questions may be asked, and for me, peace of mind that I lose if I skip a class. I've also found attending class to be valuable in that listening to how professors get their ideas across provides insight about what they look for in assignments. Just like reading improves one's vocabulary overtime without them noticing, it makes sense that hearing well-spoken instructors articulate their thoughts through teaching will positively influence my explaining abilities in the future. For example, my professor for nutrition includes examples of studies during lecture which are especially important  for prescribing supplements and misunderstandings patients may come across in their own research, in terms of sneaky tricks supplement companies may use to make their products seem more supreme than they actually are. Also, anatomy is the heaviest course, but I could not imagine having any other professor for that particular course because it requires a great ability to explanation skills in order to facilitate understanding, transitional skills to keep lecture flowing, along with life experience to provide interesting real-life examples.

     Overall, I think that the study methods I used would have yielded way better results if I gave myself more TIME. That way, I wouldn't have mixed up concepts on the exams which relied upon one another, and I would've been able to easily differentiate between concepts which were very similar to each other instead of quadruple-guessing myself.

That being said, here's what I plan to do differently for the rest of the term:

Be in charge of my learning

  • If lectures and/or practicals aren't helping me learn to the best of my ability, make it work. Anatomy is a great example for me because even though the cadaver lab is a cool place to be, it is a 170 minute commitment every week (40 minute commute to lab + 90 minutes in lab + 40 minute commute from lab). For the first few weeks of lab, I didn't find it very conducive to my learning because there's not enough guidance given the very uneven ratio of students vs. TA's, but since attendance is necessary, I'm trying to learn by studying from a textbook which has photos of the human body cadaver-style. That way, in lab I can confirm body parts of the textbook photos with the cadavers in front of me, and if the space becomes too busy, I can refer to the book instead of the cadaver. I also found it very helpful to study from my atlas (which has animated drawings of the human body) when learning lecture material, as there are so many body parts which are connected to one another, and it's easier to match the words with the pictures from the get-go.
  • Previewing notes will help me have an idea of where the lecture is going, and put me in the state of mind for that course - especially when I've already had two lectures that day and need to think a different way. And although I am not a fan of reviewing within 72 hours of a lecture, I'll just need to take the pressure off of myself to learn everything during that review session. If anything, I'll remember the bigger picture, which will make it easier to fill in the tiny details when studying for the actual exam. I'd much rather do that than have to learn the bigger picture of each lecture, in addition to the tiny details of each lecture, and put it into the bigger picture of the entire course, while doing the same thing for other courses at the same time. High potential for brain mix-up. 
Do it my way

  • Seeing as this is still first year, it's extremely helpful and consoling to seek the advice of upper years who have successfully endured this experience, along with checking in to see if other first years are feeling the same. Yet, I've become too comfortable with hearing my peers say that they're too tired after class to do any work, pulling all-nighters during exam week is completely fine, and if you study every night you are too studious and are not living life to the fullest. I agree to an extent about all of the above, but there comes a point where balance comes into question. For some, balance means sleeping in everyday, and not sleeping much during exams. For others, balance means working out during the beginning of the semester, but then stopping for the rest of the term, and then making a resolution at the beginning of the next term to not let that happen again. For me, I want balance to be studying a bit every evening (even if only 2 hours, including weekends), so that I can keep my sleep schedule, exercise schedule, eating schedule, and stress levels as steady as possible. I want to do well enough on my midterms so that I won't spend the rest of the term stressing about what if I don't do well on my finals. I may be called a keener in the process, but everyone has an opinion - the beauty of the world is that you are entitled to it. Others can judge, but I am in charged of myself, my decisions, and my goals.

Do it for me & my future patients

  • Having a similar ring to my point above, except this time I want to be able to want to do well on my exams for myself and my future patients...not to impress my professors and gain their approval.  I'm sure all instructors have their thoughts about certain students based on who speaks up the most, who doesn't do so well on examinations, and who may make seemingly common-sense mistakes in practicals. I've let the pressure of trying to make myself not look bad get to me to the point that I'm scared to even try. I'm a student, I'm not perfect. Neither are my classmates, no matter how perfect and competent some of them seem. I must accept that when an instructor is given a set of students, they cannot help but make a few comparisons. I just can't let that pressure consume me or hold me back.

     In all, I'm happy to be here and have wanted to study this program since 2008. If I wasn't here, I'd be working idly, or wishing that I was here. And even though there are improvements that could be made to make this a better experience, this is where I need to be in order to gain the knowledge for who I'd like to become after I graduate. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dear [ ] - Honeymoon Stage?

We've made it through the 9 month mark and I'm excited to be moving forward with you 

Although some weeks have been trying, I am still committed to making this work 

Since getting together almost 5 years ago, we've endured many ups and downs with me wanting something else and wondering if you were right for me - where would this go? 

I feel the more time we spend together, and learn about our unity throughout our conflicts, we're getting to understand each other in a way like never before. It feels as though we're journeying down a path that brings out the best in both of us, and I can really see the rest of my life being with you 

I only hope you feel the same and can see a future with me as well - I promise I'll treat you right 


Monday, January 14, 2013

Second Semester of Naturopathic Medical School: Plan of Action

For some reason I still cannot fathom that it's 2013. I totally remember starting 2012, and now over 365 days have passed, wow.

I was planning to post my mistakes of my first semester of Naturopathic Medical school before writing this post, but I was more excited to write this one, so please excuse the order.

I've met many brilliant people in life so far, and a gift they commonly have is a photographic memory, or they seem to understand and remember things effortlessly. I used to be slightly jealous when I'd put in endless hours while their brilliancy carried them through all tides, but I accept that we all have our own gifts. Along with our natural strengths come our weaknesses to balance us out, and I've learned throughout university where my weaknesses lie. School has encouraged me to fine tune those weaknesses if I want to enjoy my education, and my prime 20's. So, I'll share my plan with you!

Plans for Year 1 Semester 2:

Review after every class within 72 hours
  • During my undergrad I volunteered as a Study Skills Peer Educator, and it was honestly one of my favourite experiences. One of the key things I remember learning and sharing with likely all of my students was that if you review your lecture material within 24-72 hours after hearing it, you will be able to recall that information much easier, and it will be easier to store within your long-term memory upon review. Of course the effect is stronger the sooner you are able to review, but I've given myself leeway of 3 days as I try to re-establish this routine
Use one day each weekend to do (absolutely) required readings for the next week
  • I find that all I need is one full day off on the weekend to not do schoolwork, and the other day I don't mind allocating a few hours of my brain time to school. So I feel this will work for me especially since during the evenings of our long days (Monday to Thursday), I'd really just like to focus on getting through the day, and preparing for the next day
  • The reason absolutely is bracketed is because some of my courses this term will require preparation - for example, Asian Medicine Point Location and Hydrotherapy. There are some courses that I may just want to take a look at what will be covered so that it doesn't feel as though I'm in the middle of a tornado during lecture (ie. Anatomy)
  • I should also add that in case I fall behind on my weekly review (ie. there are many assignments), I will also use this day to catch up on the reviews I didn't get to do. That way, rather than feeling I have to catch up on the backlog of reviewing during the week, I can focus on each day, and remind myself that on my weekend day, I have those extra hours for that purpose. 

Have a plan of action for each class
  • I had planned to have a plan of action, but didn't sit down and put pen to paper to make it official. A huge issue I noticed during midterm AND final exam time was that I didn't become efficient until it was crunch time. Each time I thought to myself - if only I had started using this strategy earlier. So, this time around, I will have a plan of action for how I intend to do well in a realistic manner for each of my courses.

Implement Study Methods of Another Successful Medical School Student - Alex (Medical School Success)
  • Shortly after receiving my acceptance to CCNM, I was trumped by the question of how I would be able to handle the workload. So I did some research on other medical students who accept that life is a constant work in progress, and were continually trying to improve themselves. That's when I came across Alex's website, and have been a devoted follower since, as through his website, he provides practical advice about how to be successful in med school (in addition to the application process), and is humourous. So when he released his first e-book, I was supportive because he has been so generous with his advice, and I knew the tips in his e-book would be helpful. Although Naturopathic Medicine is a huge component of my life and is a field I've grown passionate about, I don't want my academic work to consume 100% of my brain power because there is more to life and education
  • There are several strategies I've learned from his e-book that I intend to implement this term:
    • Use a laptop instead of printing notes: If you could see the piles of paper I recycled after exams, you'd feel guilty even though it wasn't you who printed them. I'd like to go paperless because I'd like to reduce the footprint I leave on our home, beautiful Mother Earth. I'd also like to paperless because commuting with binders/folders and textbooks, and flipping through notes became a huge hassle. One of the huge selling points of Alex's method for me was that I'd be able to modify my computer files as I would in real life. The only thing I'll be missing is papercuts.

    • Cater studying to course objectives: This approach was stimulated by Alex as he strongly encourages studying practice questions in order to be successful for applying and knowing whether you understand the relevant course material. Each course comes with a syllabus/outline, which entails the main concepts you are expected to know for that subject. When you think about it, an exam is a compilation of questions from multiple topics, some of which test your surface knowledge, whereas others test your ability to apply that knowledge. So I've decided that for each course (on my weekend study day), I will answer the course objectives for the week that I learn them.

Why Didn't I Do These Things Last Semester?

That is indeed such a great question, I ask myself that a lot. But alas, we can't live in the past, so we'll learn from it instead.

  • I didn't have a plan of action for each class until it was exam time, when I had to be efficient with my time and buckle down. That is why I am going to make a plan of action at the beginning of this term, which will guide what I spend my time on and why
  • My mind was scattered because I wasn't confident in my ability to handle the workload. It was just something I had to experience so I would learn that it is possible for me, and tweak my learning process as necessary based on my mistakes
  • There was a lot of class time, and many assignments - not leaving much room to waste time. To add, I wasn't completely comfortable with skipping class to get my work done, because if I'm paying a high tuition, I want to be learning within every moment I've paid to be in class
  • I had a difficult time balancing my self-care, and sometimes prioritized the wrong things. For example, I worked out 2-3 times a week, and sometimes I would have an assignment due the next day following a workout. Although I became better with starting assignments before the due date, I still underestimated how long it would take to complete the assignment, and would consequentially lose sleep, and eat junk food because it was late and my adrenaline would be pumping - which would put me back at square one

It is my hope that you've read some strategies here that you might want to give a try, and maybe you've had the same experience as me - we can improve our habits together. Overall, I hope that I will be able to relax and focus more in class as a result of feeling more organized. Also, I hope that when exam time comes, this system will allow me to review rather than be catching up. Who knows, maybe I'll even get fewer to no migraines!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

YT: Welcome 2013

Hello again!

Here is a heads up that I've posted another You Tube video! In this video I mention about some of the topics I'd like to talk about this year, and distinguish between what will be mentioned on my blog versus my You Tube channel.

Check it out here!