All Posts By

Anna Saarinen

GOOD NEWS

Howdy! I haven’t been keeping my post a week- resolution too well, but I am here again! And this time instead of only stress-related topics (also those actually), I’m also sharing here some great news!

As I think I wrote on my last post, for as long as I remember, I’ve had one dream – to become a doctor. And as known rather widely, it can be a rather difficult dream to pursue. I also had another dream for just as long, which was to study abroad. (Fun fact, my original dream was to study in the med school in Hawaii, but that’s literally the only thing ever that I’ve given up on since I saw the 70 000$ yearly tuitions for foreigners eh.. But thankfully it was one of many, many options) And now, to my biggest surprise, I’ve actually fulfilled both of those!! Well I mean, it will obviously take me at least 6 years to become an actual doctor, but I am on the path. And I’m so happy, I think I cried happy tears almost the whole day when I found out!  I will be starting my studies in the international track of medicine (ITM) at the University of Maastricht (UM) next fall, and I couldn’t be more excited.

 

Many have asked me, why there? And I gladly explain, but to prevent myself from repeating the same things all over here’s a very frank list:

  • I personally like the study structure of UM
  • I always preferred to study abroad. I love my homeland, but it was never really quite the place for me to stay in. I might come back yes, but now this was calling me much more.
  • I fully believe in the application process of the medical track of UM, which makes me believe in their values
  • Studying on an international track of medicine is the best possible gateway for me to reach my further goal of eventually working for Doctors without Borders
  • Graduating abroad in another language will open me many doors to work in various countries (including Finland), and is significantly easier than trying to leave to work abroad after studying in Finland
  • The university itself is located in a beautiful medieval town in the center of Europe (I’ll be a train ride away from some amazing countries and cities!! For someone who’s born and raised in a country as isolated as Finland that is a gift haha!)
  • And as for studying abroad, UM was a great choice because of its internationality and also because it’s still rather close to home, so visiting will be much easier than from some of my other options like Malaysia or Chile (even though I’m sure those would’ve also been just as great!)
  • Also, the tuition fees do obviously play a role as do binding study advice (the system of dropping out students at the end of each year), and since UM’s tuition fees are extremely reasonable and there is not binding study advice, it was a great choice

the last night before the exam I spent decorating the hostel room

aand the morning of the exam day we found this perfect stress – relief breakfast place called Livin Room, definitely recommended!

Another thing I’ve been asked plenty of times is how the application process works. So again, to not repeat myself, here’s the process in a nutshell.

  • First you send the school your previous grades
  • You full a portfolio asking all kinds of questions about motivation, previous experience in working life, extra activities and so on
  • You need to take an official language exam (such as IELTS or TOEFL) unless you full other criteria like having graduated from an IB high school
  • This year was the first and probably not the last where there were also additional exercises that took about 60h
  • Then, after the first application round (all above) you will or will not get invited for the application exam, which takes place in Maastricht itself (that was the first time I got to the city! We did a weekend trip together with my boyfriend, and the city was definitely love at first sight. That trip is also where these photos are from, taken by the very same boyfriend)
  • After the application exam UM processes the applications and you’ll find out if you belong to the 60 students accepted to the ITM at uM (or the ~250 students accepted in the Dutch track of medicine)

 

 

 

And as for Maastricht, I will definitely be telling more about the city when I actually get there! Right now I’m searching for an apartment and trying to get all my papers and so on in order (well actually right right now I’m sitting on the bus heading towards my home in Jyväskylä after spending a week of holiday in Helsinki visiting friends – after being on a study evacuation until the results came – and at my parents organizing all my toys and memories that I’ve in my old room) , and mentally preparing myself for selling all my furniture and getting rid of the things I’m not planning to take with me. It’s a long process eh, but it’s progressing. Today I’ll just go dancing, visit my grandparents and have a candlelight dinner on the balcony by myself since my roommate is sadly away tonight, tomorrow I have my last work gig (lollipops coming!) coaching the little ice skaters I’ve been coaching the whole spring while studying, a long-awaited visit to the gym and then I’m again heading back to Helsinki to celebrate Labor day (”Vappu”) together with my friends from high school. In other words, I’m making the most out of this surprise holiday! I’ve been weirdly stressed because I think it just now stroke me that I’ll be actually moving abroad until further notice. But above that, I’m excited. And as always, I’m sure things will work out just fine. Oh and to explain the term ’surprise holiday’, as most know I was indeed also going to apply to the Finnish med schools so after the exam in Maastricht I’ve been studying for the Finnish entrance exam, but since I already got the happy news from UM which was my first choice, my studying ended there – for the time being that is, there’ll be plenty of that in the future eh! I do plan on studying some English medical terms to make the beginning a bit easier for myself, and also studying for a head start in Dutch. And in a bit over two weeks I’ll already be starting my summer job, so there’s more than enough planned. Happy things! I hope you’re having lots of happy things in your life too. And for all those fellow students who are still preparing for their exams, I wish you all the luck from the bottom of my heart!!

And also, even if a bit in advance, hyvää Vappua!

Love, Anna

All the photos taken by Jeroen Coessens <3

 

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”HOW’S STUDYING GOING?”

I hate that question. I hate it! I don’t mind people asking it, but there definitely is a right and a wrong way to ask. I know it’s just a friendly question for an update, and also a very reasonable one since I’m dedicating the whole spring semester just for studying. But I don’t like answering it, because even thought I’m very proud of my process, I still have a little trouble with not feeling quity about not living up to expectations. In a nutshell – I’m studying for the entrance exam of Medical School in Finland, and the process is extremely difficult and stressfull. The average time of tries (you can only apply once a year) is 3.8, there are about 8000 applicants each year and only about 600 spots in the whole country. Doesn’t sound too good in numbers, does it?

But, it is what I want to do. Study medicine that is. Finland isn’t actually my first choice as a country, but there are many reasons why it would be great to study here. And every year about 600 people get in, and no one can say that out of all those people one couldn’t be me.

But the process is really, really wearing. There’s people who are more chill about it and people who have a better base for acquiring all the needed knowlodge. And then there’s people like me last year, who are emotional wrecks, who’s minds are messier than a bachelor’s apartment, and because of all the other things they’ve been doing, do not have a sufficient base of knowledge.

Last year I graduated from high school with rather good grades, and definitely way too much work behind me. No one forced me to choose that high amount of work( in fact, they actually told me not to) and I definitely wouldn’t do it again, but I also don’t regret it. I don’t regret almost anything in general, but I definitely would have wanted to keep a different mind set last year. After having done all my 9 matriculation exams while spending the nights at a prep course for med school, I had a few days off and then got to the real process of the med school entrance exam. And it was just too much. My body and my brain were completely out of energy, and trying to do a process that often takes 9 months in just one full month was just too much. About two weeks before the exam I finally saved myself from an utter burnout and decided that I quit studying for the entrance exam and will try again next year. It was a great call – I was much closer to an utter collapsing than even the people close to me know.

It took me over 6 months to fully recover from that. I was depressed, anxious and incredibly dissapointed in myself because I couldn’t live up to my and everyone else’s expectations – especially because I hadn’t gotten the perfect grade at any of my matriculation exams either, where even the second best felt like a failure.

But now, I turned my life around, moved on my own, started a full time job, and after Christmas started the same studying process again. I was really afraid – I was scared that I’d just bring myself to the same situation again. But instead of that happening, I realized that I did actually learn from my mistakes and now I’m studying on my own terms, no one elses. I’m consciously trying to avoid people who put pressure on me, and I’m consciously avoiding the feeling that I’d have to succeed perfectly this year. And surprise surprise, I’ve learned my subjects 10 times better than I did last year. And I’m super proud of myself.

I might still run out of time, but this time I know it won’t take me 6 months to be able to open the books again. If I don’t succeed this year, I’ll start trying again. Because I know my limits, I know how to handle my stress, and I know I’m only doing this for myself. That’s what gives me comfort – because I’ve already been to such a low place twice actually (also the year before when I was also doing too much and didn’t really take a long enough break after that), I don’t want to ever get there again, so I’ve slowly but surely been building up my calmth and I know I’ll always carry that in me and will eventually become a great doctor. It might take a while, but I’ll also make the while count so that’s okay.

I like to be open about my issues, because I know I’m not the only one with similar thoughts and I want to spread the importance of taking care of one’s self and also the joy of the better that can come after even an utter exhaustion. I am aware that to some this seems like pure exaggeration, complaints and other negative things, but that isn’t really my problem – that’s the problem of the reader who decides not to have empathy. You can never know the pain another person is feeling, so you should never pretend that you know it better than that person. You can only give support, cautious help and joyful things for that person to help them help themselves. I had a lot of those people, and I’ll for ever be grateful to them. I hope that if you’re in need of some, you’ll find them too.

Have a lovely week and take care of yourselves, we can do anything but we can not pass the limits each of us have in certain situations. They are called limits for a reason.

Love, Anna xx

WHAT I DO FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

 

 

  • DESTROY IT BY FLYING AROUND, USING A CAR FOR SHORT DISTANCES (THANKFULLY I DON’T OWN ONE NOW SO THIS HAS REDUCED), BUY TOO MUCH STUFF, ORDER ONLINE AND PRODUCE TOO MUCH WASTE, TAKE A BIT TOO LONG SHOWERS AND ENJOY A REASONABLE HEAT INSIDE THE HOME AND OVERALL USE TOO MUCH ELECTRICITY.

  • TRY TO SHOP LESS, AND PREFER TO BUY SECOND HAND OR GIVE A HOME TO SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE IS THROWING AWAY

  • RECYCLE EVERYTHING I CAN –(Organic, plastic, paper, cardboards, glass, metal, clothes (stores like H&M collect even broken clothes). Sometimes you have to walk a while to find these recycling spots, but they do exist at least in Finland, at very reasonable distances. Perfect for evening walks!)

  • AVOID PLASTIC PACKAGES OR ANY KIND OF MATERIALS THAT AREN’T BIODEGRADABLE

  • AVOID BUYING ANYTHING THAT IS MADE OUT OF PLASTIC (So when I do need to go shopping for example for a lunch box, I try to find one that’s made out of glass/wood/metal, and replace things like plastic wrap with foil or better yet, reusable containers.

  • REUSE EVERYTHING I CAN  (This has always been the best tip when it comes to crafts, since crafts equipment are quite expensive and you can make beautiful birthday cards from the carboard and package – ribbons that you were about to throw away. The same goes for many other things like shoe boxes (perfect for storing), glass jars (beautiful for candles) and many other things.

  • USE AS LITTLE ELECTRICITY AS POSSIBLE – CLOSE THE FRIDGE DOOR EARLY, USE THE SAME HEAT OF THE STOVE FOR COOKING A FEW ITEMS, TURN OFF LIGHTS WHENEVER I CAN AND TRY TO KEEP ROOM TEMPERATURE AS LOW AS I CAN PERSONALLY HAVE

  • TRY TO AVOID EXTRA DRIVING BY USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, A BIKE OR MY OWN FEET INSTEAD

  • AVOID EVER THROWING FOOD AWAY (This would be easy if I one day finally successfully remembered what I have in the fridge)

  • ONLY EAT VEGETARIAN FOOD AND AVOID ANY ANIMAL PRODUCTS – I really don’t want to shame anyone for their eating apart from myself, but I really hope everyone has at least an idea of how much greenhouse gass is produced for meat- and milk industries

  • READ/WATCH DOCUMENTARIES TO FIND NEW WAYS TO HELP. For example this week I learned that cotton should not be bought because it needs so much water while growing.

  • WRITE HERE IN THE HOPE THAT SOMEONE WOULD GIVE ME MORE WAYS I CAN HELP, EVERY TIP IS APPRECIATED! After all, they really are the little things and choices made by ordinary people that matter.

 

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STORING JEWELRY

First things first, I’ve got way too much jewelry, and I don’t even know why. And the worst thing is, that I haven’t been using 90% of it cause it’s been so poorly stored. Yesterday I was getting one of my anxiety attacks (a mild one), and I was out of chocolate so I decided to do something that weirdly really calms me down – do konmari. I went through every piece of jewelry that I have, put away those that I knew I’ll never use again, and stored nicely the rest. Yes there’s still way too much, but for now this is already a lot better.

All you jewelry owners must know how annoying it is when everything just gets tangled and unusable, or just lost. I found the best ways that work for me, but I’ll gladly listen to any other ideas too!

I have this tiny jewelry box where I used to store my earrings until they piled up, and I also had a bunch of watches that are always a bit too far for me to go through the effort of putting them on (as you can see from the stopped clock faces), so I decided to put those in that box.

Earrings are best stored in the earring clips where they’re sold, so they’re easily visible and next to their pairs – especially if you happen to have as many earrings as I do. I also have a piercing at the top of my ear, so I put pairless earrings in a half of a tiny earring box, and below it extra locks of earrings (I tend to lose them since too many of my earrings are poor quality and they just fall off) in a similar box. Bigger earrings I stuck into the ”pillow” of a jewellery box and into a small round box.

Bracelets I stored around a pillow that was in one of those watch – boxes.

Then my pride; my necklaces. I kept on wondering how should I store these, cause I’ve sadly put away all their cases.. So I got inventive and took out this fabric from a watch case, and cut tiny cuts on one side next to each other, and it turned out as the perfect showcase for my necklaces, which actually keeps them untangled and let’s me sed what I’ve got!

The rings, ribbons and such I put in a tiny box, inside which is now also the box of hanging earrings. My big necklace is just on top of this all, and my pearls I put in a separate little bag which I also put on top of the others. All this I stored in a box, that I keep on my self next to other boxes so it’s easy to take out fully but also neatly stored, since I don’t change the jewelry I’m using so often. The watch-box has it’s own place closer to me so I can get to those even easier.

Voilà! This together with an evening run is what brought me study motivation yesterday, hope you’ve also found your daily motivation today too xx Have a lovely day!

Love,Anna

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