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When I got back to Chicago for the summer it took me awhile to readjust.  I knew that was going to happen so I made sure I didn’t start work for a week.  This was nice because I got to see some of my friends and family that may have been more difficult to see right away if I was working.  Also, Jordon, another pharmacy student in my class, came out to the Midwest to visit.  She stayed with another fellow pharmacy student, Kristyn, in Indiana.  It was a nice transition to see them in my neck of the woods.  We went out to eat and saw some of the city together.  One of my favorite tourist places in Chicago is Navy Pier.  It’s beautiful and free!

I also spent some time with my mother.  My mom, Karen, has two degrees, one in nursing and one in fine arts.  She received her fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and still goes to the museum pretty regularly.  There was an art show at the museum displaying the work of Roy Lichtenstein.  It was nice to spend some time there with her.  It is also refreshing learning about something completely different then science and pharmacy.

That first week I really strived to unpack and get as settled as possible knowing that once the summer really got going I would be super busy.  I found going back and forth from Denver to Chicago can be a bit difficult to readjust to.  However, now that I have one year under my belt, I think the transitions will only get easier.

Going back to work was kind of hard.  I have been at my store for over 9 years.  This was my store, but for the first time, in a long time, I felt new and slow.  It was hard to even stand for an 8 hour shift let alone get back into the old routine.  I would say it took me at least a week to feel somewhat comfortable again.  That was really frustrating.  On a better note, I was very excited to be a part of the intern program with CVS/Caremark.  I have waited for this for years.  My goals at work this summer is to learn more about management and leadership.  I feel that that is critical in pharmacy because no matter where you end up, you will most likely have someone working for you such as a technician.  I think it is also important to learn how to be managed since you will most likely always be working for someone else.  The program established at CVS is pretty well organized.  I find they listen and respect our input but also expect us to put in the time and work hard for our company.  So far, I have been lucky enough to get to do other activities in addition to working behind the bench.  I have been involved with going into other stores and helping organizing them as well as running annual inventory checks.  I also participated in two community events that helped promote CVS/Caremark.

Another part of the CVS intern program is attending meetings every so often.  This is a great way for me to meet other local interns since I am the only one attending school out of the area.  It is also refreshing to further my commitment and knowledge of CVS.

So far, that is what my summer has consisted of, a lot of work with CVS.  However, I do get moments here and there to relax and have fun.  My boyfriend, Mike, has a family cottage about an hour up north near the border of Wisconsin.  We go up there when we can but it can be hard with our crazy schedules.  It is quite peaceful up there and it makes you feel like you are miles away even though it is just an hour drive.

We also got to spend a few days in Milwaukee a few weeks ago.  Mike and I love Milwaukee.  It is very easy to get around, has good food and great entertainment.  We actually went up to see the Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brewers field is newer and very nice!  We were very impressed!

The next day we spent visiting local shops, restaurants and pubs.  We had to stop at the famous cheesemart to pick up some cheese curds and fine cheese.  We even sent some to Denver to my Aunt!  It was a great couple of days and nice for a short getaway.  Mike and I also spent a day at Great America to try out their new ride.  I felt like I haven’t been there in years so it was nice to revisit the park.  For those of you who don’t know, Great America is a giant theme park with amazing roller coasters!  I have been on every ride (except for the giant drop!)

I have also been back at brewing beer at home.  It is a fairly new hobby that I picked up a couple of years ago, but it keeps me busy.  I tried my first batch for 2012 and it was horrible.  It is safe to say that it was the absolute worst one yet!  The next batch called Midnight Summers Dream should be done in a few weeks.  I will be sure to keep you posted on the outcome of that one.

During the summer has been more difficult to write but I will try to keep up.  For all you soon to be Regis pharmacy student’s class of 2016 please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question!

Until next time!

My first year at Regis University School of Pharmacy is officially over!  The last few weeks have been extremely insane so I haven’t had much of a chance to blog.  I think where I left off was before the APhA 2nd annual wine auction.  Our American Pharmacists Association Regis chapter held a wine auction at Bonacquisti Wine Company in Denver to raise money for our organization.  It was so much fun and I know we raised thousands of dollars!  We got free wine tastings while we shopped around looking at the items up for auction.  It was great to see a good amount of students and faculty there socializing and getting involved.  My aunt Pat makes earrings by hand (Earrings Essentials) and she does consignments with a few local businesses.  She was generous enough donating a few pairs to auction off.  They ended up selling very well!  I also ended up winning two auctions (more than I wanted to spend but at least it was for a good cause).  Some of the professors auctioned dinners with them or even things like going to a Rockies game.  I won two dinners with two different professors and I get to bring a few other students too.  I think it will be fun!

The next day I was so excited because I got to redeem a Groupon I got to get a flight lesson.  Yes, I said flight lesson! I flew a plane!  It was so cool.  I provided a few pictures for your pleasure.  It was a beautiful day and we stayed in the air for about 30-40 minutes.  The instructor, Tony, let me taxi, land, take off and fly over my house and up north near the flat irons.  It truly was exhilarating.

 

 

 

That same day, our school had a charity event called Cheers for Charity.  This combined the nursing, physical therapy and pharmacy students to get together at the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver to help raise money for various charities.  I decided to take my cousin, Danny, to this event.  He got to meet a few of my professors and fellow students as well as hang out and have a beer or two.  I proceeded to look over what was up for auction this time.  I happened to see another gift certificate for the flight lesson again!  I couldn’t resist so I bid and won that auction.  I think I will redeem that when I return in the fall.

As if I haven’t been having enough fun, a good friend of mine came in from Chicago with her boyfriend for a weekend.  I was so excited to have a friend in from home!  We spent the first evening in Boulder attending yet another charity event called Breweries for the Environment.  This was interesting because over twenty microbreweries were present so we got to taste excellent various local microbreweries from the area.  I dragged Danny out to this event too.  I’m sure one day he is going to say no I am not going, but until then, he is my date most of the time.  The next night, I showed my friend, Melissa, and her boyfriend, James, around downtown Denver.  On her last day, I took them to Red Rocks Amphitheater as well.

Melissa and I on the stage of Red Rocks

Towards the end of the year here in lab, we got to make Calamine lotion.  We learned about the suspensions and solutions.  Lab is one of my favorite classes because I have always been a hand’s on person.  They really let us get involved right away in a lot of interesting projects for the first year.  I must say my lotion turned out pretty good; I am not too sure as to why my aunt and uncle wouldn’t try it out!

Me in lab mixing the Calamine Lotion

The last day of finals felt so good to get through.  It was such a relief!  That whole week was full of coffee, energy drinks, no sleep and tons of studying.  After our last final we had a party in Washington Park in Denver.  It was so nice to relax and celebrate our accomplishment of finishing our first year!  I would also have to say that our class is very unique and special in that most of the class came out for some relaxation, sunshine, friends and food!

Jen, Amy, Me, and Kelly hanging out in the park with our class.

As you can see even though I am extremely busy with school, there is always time to relax and do fun things as long as you manage your time well.  The end of this school year was very busy even without all of the outside events.  We were introduced to ‘bugs and drugs’ which is basically all of the antibiotics available.  It was very tough, but if you put the time in, you should be ok.  This was probably the most difficult final I have had in pharmacy school so far, but I studied hard and did well.  Looking back over the first year, I can say that adjusting was the most difficult for me.  Once I became acquainted with my surroundings and school, I became more and more successful in class.  This second semester was a lot easier for me because I knew the ropes better.  With that said, do not let that first semester discourage you.  It gets better, I promise.  I made a ton of exceptional new friends.  One that I must make a special ode to is Amy Paul.  Along with my adjustment to my new surroundings, I met a great friend along the way.  Since she was in my first group I was blessed enough to meet her right of way.  I was very nervous about relocating, being successful, and getting involved.  Amy helped me be a better student and to not be afraid of diving right in.  I would not be where I am in pharmacy school without her support.  I would not be the best in academics and extracurricular activities that I ever been in my life without her positive influence.  She did not even hesitate when hanging out with Danny or even flinch to look past my eccentricities (there are a few).  With that, I cannot say thank you enough.  I hope that when anyone starts a new chapter in their life that they are lucky enough to find their Amy to help guide them through.  With this last semester being so busy and stressful, it has been a little more difficult to get together but I hope we all can still find time to get together once in while in the future and keep the ‘Lauren and Amy show’ going.

Amy and I in Denver on St. Patrick’s Day

I feel that the end of my first year is bittersweet.  I am excited to go home but at the same time I am sad to see Colorado go for now.  One of my last days with Danny was especially hard.  I spent the whole day with him touring Boulder.  One place we found was so cool and I recommend it for everyone.  It’s called the Sink.  I guess it’s pretty well known since Obama and a few famous chefs visited it.

Danny and Obama at The Sink

I also decided to take Danny to Boulder Falls which is in the mountains but close to Boulder (hence, the name).

Danny resting as we climbed some stairs to see the waterfall

We had a great time and I cannot wait to see him again in the fall.  He has sincerely changed my perspective and outlook life.  iving here overall has changed me.  I will genuinely miss my time here and look forward to returning in the fall.

My backyard with Riata and Poptart resting.

Mike flew out to make the drive back to Chicago with me.  I surprised him with concert tickets to a Red Rocks concert to see Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent.  I am not a fan, but I knew he was and this way he got to see the unique venue.  He also helped me pack and organize everything to get ready for my return to Chicago.  It was tough packing, but once again, I will adapt.  The drive back was kind of rough.  It took us about 2 to 3 hours longer than it should have.  There was a ton of construction and traffic, but we eventually made it home!

The view from the concert.

 

In addition to my adventures in New Orleans for the APhA National Convention, I signed up for Phi Delta Chi Mountain Regional meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  This was a great opportunity to get to know my brothers better as well as meet others from the mountain region.  It was a two days long instead of four days like the APhA convention, so it was a little easier to do since we were not on spring break.  Two of my friends, Jen and Nate, decided to make the 7 hour drive down with me.  We got to miss class that Friday since we requested it off more than 3 weeks in advance.  I am glad that Regis University allows you to do that since this is educational and school related.  We didn’t get into Albuquerque until late that Friday night but we got to meet up with our fellow brothers and a few others from around the region.  The next day was full of workshops and meetings until dinner time.  We had to get up pretty early on Saturday and we knew it was going to be a long day, but it was worth it.  The workshops were very informational and during the minimal downtime we got to socialize and meet other brothers.  In the evening, all 100+ of us had a huge banquet formal dinner together and then got to hang out the rest of the night.  The next day Nate, Jen and I left pretty early on Sunday since we had an exam on Monday.  I really had a great time and cannot wait until there is another opportunity to get together with my brothers again!

All of the Regis Phi Delta Chi Gamma Rho chapter in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

We also recently had APhA elections for next year’s executive officer’s.  I got historian/publicist so be sure to look for our newsletters and listen on the Regis radio for me on Monday nights!  I also ran for President-Elect for NCPA which I got too!  I am very excited about both positions and cannot wait to get things going next year!

Meanwhile, in class we have been very busy.  The end of this semester is coming to a near and it has been getting more and more hectic.  We are learning topics such as cancer, infectious disease and asthma.  They are pushing us but this is what I expected in graduate school and I know it will not slow down from here on out.  The topics are very interesting though.  I feel I am really able to put things together now and comprehend more and more advanced topics in pharmacy.  In addition to what we are doing in class, the curriculum is correlated to what we do in lab.  We learned all about asthma devices and how they operate the other week.  This past week we got to actually make pills!  Mine did not turn out too well since I added a little too much water and alcohol but nonetheless the experience was great.

The sugar/salt tablets I made in lab.

I also got to participate in Denver’s 9 Health Fair.  This is where a ton of volunteers get together and perform free healthcare screenings.  Various companies donate money and resources in order for this to happen.  It is a huge deal in Denver.  I specifically participated in the 9 Health Fair held at Regis University.  It was a great experience because I got to work with the nurses and physical therapy students from Regis University.  I knew the 9 Health Fair did different screenings but I was very surprised to see how many they actually did.  We had rooms set up for BMI, Diabetes, mammograms, prostate, blood draws, bone density tests and even ask a pharmacist station just to name a few!  It really was amazing.  The students worked under the supervision of various professors and outside professionals, but since we did all of the work we got the unique hands on experience.  I was stationed at the bone density screening room.  At first I took people in and discussed some of their possible risk factors that they may have for osteoporosis.  I got the privilege to meet all kinds of people from the area when I talked to them.  This gave me great confidence in talking with strangers about their healthcare.  After a few hours I got to actually do the screening on the patients.  The machines we had were really state-of-the-art and accurate.  It was so empowering to see how we could provide free preventative healthcare screenings to the public.  Many of these patients did not have insurance or a primary care physician.  I would love to participate in more events like this in order to better myself at communicating with other people and learning more about healthcare.  I would also like to see this type of healthcare provided nationwide.  If Denver can do an event like this once a year then so can other cities.

On a lighter note, my cousin Danny’s 26th birthday just passed!  He had a jam-packed weekend like never before.  The day before his birthday I wanted to take him out with a few friends.  I decided to take him downtown to Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant.  It was amazing to see that fourteen other people came from school to help is celebrate his birthday.  It was definitely a sight to see.  Danny was overwhelmed and had a great time with us.  We ate well and laughed much.  That was one of my favorite nights in Colorado all thanks to my classmates.  It’s safe to say that I will never forget it.

Danny and I at Maggiano’s Little Italy opening cards and blowing out candles!

Even though this semester seems to be flying by, spring break was a nice interruption.  I wanted to get a lot of things done but with the nice weather we have been having I ended up going horseback riding a lot.  I also ended up not getting as much as I wanted to done before I went on my trip to New Orleans for the APhA convention.  I worked really hard the first half of the semester so I ended up rationalizing that it was ok and it really was.

I flew to New Orleans on a Wednesday in the middle of spring break.  This was a very exciting trip for me in that I got to see my boyfriend, Mike, and possibly make national connections with other pharmacy professionals.  Also, Amy was competing in the National Counseling Competition so it was nice to be able to cheer her on.  When I arrived in New Orleans I was glad to be in humidity again!  (I was also excited to try their well-known good food!)  The first two days we got to relax and see the city for a bit since the convention technically didn’t start until that following Friday.  When Friday did come, I met with a few other students, including Amy, and registered for the APhA convention.  They have speakers and lectures throughout the whole weekend given by professionals of all kinds from all over the country.  Though this seemed to be geared to a clientele of actual practicing pharmacists and not students, it was still an excellent experience.  We got to spend time in the exposition where various companies set up a booth and promoted their product whether it was a drug company, drug store, fraternity/sorority, or the military.  It was held in a huge hall that we wondered around in for hours.  They gave away all kinds of neat souvenirs and promotional items.  I came across our fraternity’s booth with the grand president, Amy Valdez standing there.  They had a map of the country posted and when a brother from your school came by you got to put a pin on your location.

Amy taking my picture as I put the pin representing Gamma Rho chapter at Regis University

Though I didn’t have too much time since I flew back to Denver that Sunday, Amy and I did make it to a lecture.  It was a hot topic in pharmacy about pharmacy transition management.  We didn’t really know what it was going to be about but we decided to go anyway.  Since the convention was geared toward practicing pharmacists and not necessarily first year students, this lecture was a little over our head.  It consisted mostly of professionals that have been practicing for years and describe what they think is important when patients get relocated to and from hospitals to home or to long term care.  Since Amy stayed longer than I did she got to attend more lectures and events than I, but I still enjoyed my time there.  We also ran into a few of our faculty.  Dr. Leticia Buffet and Dr. Megan Leeds attended the convention as well.

Randy Knutsen, Leticia Buffet, Mary Newell at the Delegates meeting representing Colorado courtesy of Dr. Buffet

It was an amazing experience and I would recommend anyone that is in pharmacy school go at least once to see what it is all about.  I might even go again next year!!

I also had my presentation, Operation Diabetes, recently.  This event included us getting practice talking to patients, checking their blood sugar, and assessing them to see if they possibly had diabetes.  This was sponsored by our Regis University APhA chapter and held at three different locations including my own IPPE site (Safeway).

Corinne and I busy helping patients and checking blood glucose levels

I volunteered my IPPE site because I thought it was a good location and had the extra space for us to set up a booth.  I was kind of nervous about this because even though we learned how to check blood sugar and examine patients that may have diabetes already, I never have done it on an actual patient yet.  Luckily, there were a number of us that volunteered for this event so it made it a little less stressful.  We all got to the site early and began to set up the booth.  Some of the volunteers were designated to make posters and others were required to bring the school supplies.  We set up two tables and decorated it.  We also sent a few people to the front of the store to encourage customers to come to the pharmacy and get screened.  It started out a little slow but then picked up a little.  I thought it was a perfect pace because the first year students weren’t overwhelmed and could spend time with the patients.  Looking back, I think it went really well.  We all took turns checking patient’s sugar, talking to patients, and encouraging them to come back to the pharmacy.  It was a great experience and I am looking forward to doing events like this more often!

All of the Regis pharmacy students that volunteered for Operation Diabetes at Safeway!

It is kind of ironic now because I actually interviewed with Regis about a year ago.  It is amazing to think that I am now attending national conventions, screening patients for diabetes and sailing through school.  Time does fly, but I am having fun!

This semester is very exciting in that we get to start our IPPE rotations!  This is one of the many reasons I chose Regis when deciding where to go.  In my experience I have witnessed many grad interns that are on their last year advanced rotations and they have never even step foot in a pharmacy prior to that experience.  I think this can be detrimental for you in that it is already your last year and you are just now seeing what it is like in a pharmacy firsthand.  I also do not think that is enough time to begin to prepare you for the real world of pharmacy no matter what setting or discipline you choose.  What accreditation council for pharmacy education (ACPE) decided to do was to add to the curriculum the IPPE rotations.  This is really only seen in newer schools since it is a big alteration of the education experience.  IPPE stands for Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience whereas the last year rotations are termed Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE).  These IPPE rotations allows student as early as first year (P1’s) to enter into hands-on experiences in an actual pharmacy at various locations.  At Regis we start them the second semester of our first year.  Usually they are community/retail semesters and hospital semesters.  This semester we got to choose whether we wanted our first experience at a hospital or a retail location.  Once we choose our site then we have to contact our preceptor and begin communicating with him/her.  We are required to go to our site twice a week for 3 hours each time logging our hours as we go.  We also have a workbook to go along with our site.  This allows us to complete various projects and further our learning while at the site.  For my first IPPE rotation I chose to do it at a community site, Safeway pharmacy.  I was a little nervous about jumping into a hospital right of way since I never worked or really even seen a hospital pharmacy.  I figured that this way I could get used to how IPPE’s work while being in a somewhat familiar location.  Even though I have quite a few years of experience in retail (10+), this is still turning out to be a great learning experience.  I have only worked for two companies my whole life, one pharmacy was an independent and the other is CVS/Caremark.  In short, it is interesting to see how another company operates and to get to know their philosophy.  So far it has been a great experience and I cannot wait to see other pharmacies, even maybe a hospital.

During this semester, Regis School of Pharmacy, requires that you start a portfolio as well.  You may think that it is a little early to begin a curriculum vitae, resume and philosophy of care but it isn’t.  Looking back on all that I did during my first semester so far, I feel like I am already forgetting what I accomplished.  Therefore, starting to work on this now is very important.  When you apply to pharmacy school you should already have a resume made and ready to go.  This is actually your first step in keeping track of all of your accomplishments and credentials.  From there, adding information that occurred once you get in pharmacy school is vital.  The market keeps getting more and more competitive and anything that you can do to make yourself stand out will help you tremendously when looking for a job.  Regis is great in making you start this now so when you come to your fourth and last year of pharmacy school you are pretty much ready to go!

On a lighter note, our Phi Delta Chi colony got initiated and became an official chapter!  This was a great moment in history.  The fraternity is a great club to get involved with in that I met a lot of upperclassmen and other contacts that came in handy.  It is a great way to network and get to know people especially during your first year.  It was a very proud moment when we established this fraternity as an official chapter!  We are Phi Delta Chi!!

This is all of the P1’s right after initiation for PDC. We were celebrating with a nice dinner!

In addition to getting initiated, coming up is our regional meeting.  At the end of March, the mountain region of Phi Delta Chi is holding a regionals convention in Albuquerque New Mexico.  We decided to all drive down there via carpool and are splitting rooms to save money.  If you want to become an officer in any club, you need to be involved as much as possible which includes attending the regional and national meetings if you can.  American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is also having their annual convention and exposition during spring break.  A few of us are going to that as well, especially since it is in New Orleans this year.  My boyfriend, Mike, is going to fly down and meet me there so I am super excited to go!

We also got a snow day a little while back.  That was a pleasant surprise!  It was nice to have a chance to catch up on a few things and relax a little too.  I really am having a hard time finding the downside of living in Colorado!

Danny and I went sledding the day after our snow day with a few friends.

I came back to Colorado a day before classes began.  I don’t think I will ever do that again.  To get everything set up again for school took me a little while and I should have known better to allow more time for that.  The first day back we had a RAT (readiness assessment test) on dyslipidemia.  I was not prepared at all.  This semester they seemed to pick up right where they left off without blinking.  This is to be expected but I was not at all ready.  The first week I tried my best to study and to get organized at the same time.  The good thing was that we bought all of our required books for year in the fall so at least that wasn’t a concern.  We also got new groups this semester.  We change every semester so we learn how to work with various people and as a team (hence, team-based learning).  My last semester group was going to be hard to beat since we had such a great team.  I found out my new team the day before classes began and I was very happy with the outcome!  It has been hard readjusting to the new team dynamics, but I think we will do very well.  Everything is starting to pick up, even the clubs and organizations.  We already had our first CPS (Colorado Pharmacists Society) meeting as well as our Phi Delta Chi meeting.  In addition to that, in lab we are preparing IV mixtures again but we are getting tested on it now.  This first week has been difficult to get back into the rhythm of school but now I know what I need to do in the future to prevent this from happening.

What I really want to talk about this time is the white coat ceremony.  Ours took place the weekend right after the first week of school on January 21.  Typically, the White Coat Ceremony is before you start your first year of school in the fall.  Regis did ours in January because begin our IPPE rotations this semester.  In order to do your rotations you need your white coat!  We were all super excited and proud to show our families what we have accomplished.  They requested that some of the students help in given speeches.  I willingly volunteered to read the professional oath of pharmacy.  Since there were a number of students who also wanted to participate, they decided to split up some of the speeches.  I read my section with Jamie and Kristyn.

Kristyn, Jamie and I reading the Professional Oath to our fellow students.

The white coat ceremony was held in the chapel on campus.  We were so lucky to have an unusually warm and clear day for January.  Everyone’s family came from near and far, including mine.  My mother came in for the weekend!  In addition to that, my aunt, uncle, Danny, Julie and her daughter, Olivia were able to attend too.  I was a little nervous especially knowing I was going to give a speech.  I decided not to tell them and let that part be a surprise.  We lined up outside of the chapel and patiently waited for our time to walk in.  Once we entered we took our seats and eagerly listened to our interim dean, Dr. McCollum speak.  There were a few others speakers as well including the Academic Dean of Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professional (RHCHP), Dr. Houser and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Luckey.  The best part was when we had two of the students give a speech of their own.  They were both outstanding and inspirational.  Will gave an entertaining, humorous and spontaneous speech whereas Chau gave a more serious, emotional and thought-provoking speech.  We then received our white coats! We were called up by name and the Dr. McCollum announced a few facts about each student while our advisors put our coat on.  I was very nervous for this because I did not want to mess it up.  They called name and I went up to my advisor to receive my coat.  I turned very red but I could not express in words how proud and emotional I was during this moment.  It was one of the best moments of my life.  I could only imagine what my mother was thinking.  We sat back down and then it was time for Kristyn, Jamie and I to give the professional oath.  After the ceremony we all went to the Arvada Center to attend the reception.  My family and I had a few snacks and then left because it was so nice out we wanted to hang out in the backyard and ride Riata.  It was a great weekend.

Amy and I after the ceremony.

Aunt Pat riding Riata after the ceremony and reception.

 

I am headed back to Denver now after a long winter break.  I spent the whole month back home in Chicago and had a great time.  Working forty hours every week was quite an adjustment from not working at all.  It was great to see all of my old co-workers and customers after being gone for about four months.  It was a little difficult getting readjusted but after the first couple of days it all came back to me pretty quick.  Getting back to work felt good, especially now that I am an intern which allows me to do more in the pharmacy.

I also got to see my friends and family a lot.  Getting reacquainted was refreshing and comforting.  Just hanging out and catching up was really relaxing.  During Christmas I cooked dinner, which I love doing, and also spent part of it with my friend, Cait.  I usually go by her house on Christmas Eve to celebrate and open gifts.  This year was a lot of fun.  The gift Cait got me was too funny, so much that I had to show you a picture.

News Years came just as fast as Christmas.  I always enjoy this holiday because it gives you a feeling of being able to start over for the year.  I had one New Year’s resolution.  It was to work out and get into shape.  Hopefully something along those lines will be accomplished this year.

Mike, my boyfriend, and I got to spend some time together and do some things around town.  We went to a Bull’s game the last week I was home.  We also went to Brookfield Zoo, which is one of my personal favorites.  There were a ton of restaurants we went to which was great, because we all know how good Chicago food is!

The last week home was a little crazy.  Everything was kind of crammed in and loose ends were attempting to be tied up.  We had a work party the last night I was in.  We were celebrating all kinds of things, including Christmas.  It was a great night.  We never get a chance to get together too often so this night was exceptionally special.

This is me, Kanu and Vainy at our work party at Giordano’s Pizzeria

Overall, I didn’t get as much relaxation as I hoped, but I think as time goes on that becomes harder to come by.  I am going to keep this entry short.  Once school gets back rolling so will this blog.  Oh and by the way, I won that scholarship I applied for in December!  No matter what school you go to or what degree you are in; always try to apply for free money.  Every little bit helps!!

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