Since I’m sitting here in a half-wet bathing suit munching on chocolate, cheese, cereal, yogurt, and a sweet potato with peanut butter (is that a meal? I’m rolling with it), I figured I’d pass some time before my work meeting playing around on the blog. It is Sunday, so for my own amusement, I’m going to try out this week’s Spill it, Sunday….#31, to be exact. Here’s my 5×5:

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Five facts about….your family!

1.) My family is evenly split between the northern and southern U.S. While my mom is from Patetown, N.C., a tiny little town that is essentially a dirt road in the country, my dad is from Detroit, MI, a not so tiny little town that is slightly more populated. If I visit one side of the family, I come back with a midwestern accent, and if I visit the other, I can guarantee I’ll have a slight southern twang.

2.) My little sister is three and a half years younger than me, and she and I have nearly opposite personalities. I’m more quiet, reserved, quirky, sarcastic, low-maintenance, and nerdy, while she is very outgoing, a girly-girl all the way, and “cool” in ways that don’t make sense to me when I’m tripping all over myself as I walk down the street. She’s also a killer runner, and I am…well…not?

3.) My mom has met the band members of Earth, Wind, and Fire. She used to be a concert promoter, and she had the task of directing them to the venue. She didn’t know how to get there, but she winged it and somehow pulled it off.

4.) My grandpa dropped out of school after 8th grade to work on his family farm during the Depression. He ended up being successful nonetheless and founding his own construction company. Somehow, I don’t think that would work in modern times.

5.) My ancestors are French, British, Scots-Irish, and supposedly a tiny bit American Indian.

 

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Five facts about…your childhood!

1.) I grew up in Orlando, FL, not far from all the beloved theme parks. Yes, we had annual passes back in the day before they were $900000, and it was awesome. I loved growing up there.

2.) I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was two years old. I used to drag around a giant leather doctor’s bag that was bigger than I was and offer free check-ups. I also used to bring my anatomy book to pre-school show-and-tell.

3.) I was on the TV show “Ask the Pediatrician” in 1997 thanks to my reading tutor. I said the names of the U.S. Presidents backwards, which sadly I can no longer do. I also had a really cute facial twitch that has been captured forever on video.

4.) I used to play The Sims so much that my parents had me on “Sims Restriction.” I slightly blame them, since whenever they wanted to occupy me as a child, they would buy me a computer game. Honestly, I am totally buying the Sims 4 when it comes out just in time for my 21st birthday…some things never change.

5.) If you asked me what my favorite food was, I would have said “filet mignon and a twice baked potato.” I was such a classy child; I’m not sure what happened. Filet mignon is still my favorite, though :)

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This picture lies. I am not a legit runner. I was alright in 8th grade, but I don’t think I knew what a deadlift was then.

Five facts about…you + school!

1.) I went to the same private school for 13 years, so my friends were pretty much my siblings.

2.) I was between University of Michigan, Columbia University, and University of Florida for college, and I am so happy that I picked UF. I loved Michigan, and Columbia was very impressive, but I feel at home here. Good thing I’m staying for medical school!

3.) I used to get teased a TON growing up in school. It wasn’t fun at the time, but it gave me a great sense of humor.

4.) My original major in college was Applied Physiology and Kinesiology- Exercise Science, but for my medical program, I will graduate with a degree in Biomedical Sciences.

5.) My favorite subjects in college were anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Surprise!

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Five facts about...you + travel!

1.) I’ve been to Italy, Greece, France, Canada, and the Bahamas.

2.) My favorite city in the world is a tie…Florence and Paris.

3.) I want to go on an epic hiking trips in the Alps someday.

4.) I would love to hike across the Grand Canyon as well.

5.) My next big travel event will be a trip to Vegas to celebrate my 21st with my family. CRAPS TABLE HERE I COME!

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Five facts about…your eating style!

1.) Lately I’ve been eating tons of random things together as “meals”…I’ve been getting too hungry by the time I get home to make real lunches/dinners. For instance, the “meal” I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

2.) I eat pretty much anything, but I’ve never had a hot dog. Yes, I am an American. No, I do not hate my country or some crap like that.

3.) I eat A LOT. Right around 3,000 calories a day lately.

4.) I am quite literally addicted to cheese, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and cereal. I try to throw some vegetables in with these staples in my diet…key word being try.

5.) Thankfully, I also have a strange affinity for tomatoes. I will eat them like apples.

 

Aaaaand that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy!

Thanks, Arman, for hosting!

 

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The only sound I hear is the gentle whirring of the air conditioning. In a few hours, this cancer research lab will be buzzing with researchers and discoveries in the making, but for now, it’s just me and the AC. I enjoy the quiet of the morning, but as I sit here waiting for my proteins to mingle with lysis buffer, I find myself fighting boredom. Sure, I could be writing my thesis, checking my e-mail, or analyzing data for said thesis, but why be productive when you can be bored?

To alleviate some of my self-induced boredom, I start scrolling through the plethora of apps on my iPhone. I’m a secret hoarder at heart (you should see my magazine collection), so this keeps me occupied. In my scrolling, I stumble across WordPress. WordPress? The blogging website? Why do I have that? Do I have a blog??

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Upon opening this intriguing application, I discover that I do, in fact, have a blog. Appropriately, the title of this blog, hungrygatorgirl, still remains relevant to my life. I am 20 (going on 21) instead of 17, but I am still hungry, a Gator, and last time I checked, a girl. Perhaps “young woman” is more fitting, but I’m wearing a Superman tank top, so I’ll stick with girl. Reading over my old posts, I can’t help but smile and laugh, both out of nostalgia and amusement. I can’t quite get over the crappy oatmeal picture or the pathetic excuse for an ice cream sundae I decided to post. Beyond the horrible photography, I also can’t get over how quickly time has passed and how much my life has changed.

In the past year, I have re-discovered my love for writing. When I write, I feel truly connected with myself. It is one of my few outlets where I feel both relaxed and renewed by the time I’m done. Sure, reading a book or going on a Netflix bender may distract me, but writing keeps me present. I struggle to make the time to write, and I have no idea what kind of writing I like best. I tend to just write random musings and essays on topics that are on my mind. I’ve lightly dabbled in fiction writing and attempts at poetry, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. When I happened upon this old blog, it hit me: I can blog as a way to write more often and organize my random thoughts.

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Who knows if I’ll actually blog consistently, but let’s pretend that I will for the sake of a re-introduction. Hi, my name is still Shannon, and I just finished my undergraduate education at the University of Florida in three years. Last year, I gained acceptance into a program which allows me to start medical school early at the University of Florida. I start medical school in a month (KA;JDSLKFJDS) and will be here for another four glorious years. It still hasn’t hit me that my life’s dream came true. I’m going to be a DOCTOR! Well, assuming I finish my undergraduate thesis by July 18, I at least have a spot in medical school. I’m typing this from the lab right now instead of my thesis (whoops), but to be fair, I’m killing time in between experiment steps. My thesis is on DNA repair mechanisms in colon cancer, and I’ll leave it at that.

Beyond my educational background, I am an actual human being with interests and hobbies. I am not some science research study-tron robot, surprisingly. College had its ups and downs, but I came out of it a stronger, more confident person with all sorts of new discoveries about who I am and what matters to me. As I mentioned, I love to write, and there’s nothing quite like losing myself in a great book. Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Lamott, John Green, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are some of my favorite authors as of late. I have a quirky obsession with superheroes, and I may or may not own a Superman onesie. With a cape. I lovelovelove to lift weights, and until I got mononucleosis earlier this summer (bleh), I was following Juggernaut 2.0 to get stronger and finally break 200 pounds on my deadlift. I’m just getting back into lifting after my mono hiatus, but 200 will happen in 2014. I work at my school’s recreation center, and I kinda love my job. Mostly, I love my co-workers and the fact that my job allows me to be around them. I enjoy yoga, hiking, running, and bootcamp style workouts as well, but my favorite form of exercise besides lifting is probably skiing. Whether its cross-country or downhill, I feel best in my body and most content in my soul when I’m gliding across snow on a pair of skiis. Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t have a huge ski scene, but I try to get in one downhill and one cross-country trip per year. I love to craft unique, often healthy, concoctions in my kitchen, but I also really love to pour a nice glass of red wine, cut off half a block of New Zealand Sharp Cheddar, and a big hunk of 88% dark chocolate and call it dinner. I can do work on a nice filet mignon, and if presented with German Chocolate cake, all bets are off. Balance, right?

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In case you wanted to see a visual representation of balance…I can also balance on my head.

At this phase in my life, I’m recognizing the importance of staying honest with myself. I’m about to start medical school, and it will be way too easy to lose myself in my studies. Writing keeps me honest, so perhaps I’ll blog and write more on my own to preserve myself amidst all the stress and my hectic schedule. I lost myself for a while in college trying to be absolutely perfect, but now, I rather like the flawed, quirky, unique Shannon. I think I’ll keep her around, and maybe I’ll share her on this blog.

Yesterday was a pretty serious national holiday. Obviously I celebrated :)

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Despite the fact that I’m three years removed from my organized basketball days, I’m briefly “coming out of retirement” to help my sister’s team out. I was their fifth player tonight…I forgot how tiring it was to play an entire basketball game with no subs! I am NOT in basketball shape…the sprinting ability + endurance needed require a little more cardio work than what I’ve been putting in. I’ve really been focusing on my strength training and yoga lately, but after feeling like a grandma during these basketball games (had a game last night too), I’m planning on upping my cardio again soon. It was great to play after so long though, and by the grace of God I managed ten rebounds and four points (my shot is a leeeetle rusty) today. I had a ton of fun playing with my little sister too. Playing against her can be dangerous (last one on one game=me crashing down flat backed on the pavement), but playing with her and hitting her for open shots is a lot of fun. It’s been great to watch her develop as a player over the years…kinda makes me nostalgic for my bball days.

Basketball game without subs=sweaty mess Shannon

 

I used to play year-round, pretty much nonstop minus a week in between seasons, maybe. I started playing in my church league at age 5, and I started playing competitively when I was 11. For five years I played club ball year round in addition to school basketball and random tournaments. I remember at one point, I was playing games with 4 different teams in a matter of about 10 days! I played A LOT of basketball in my day, and I can’t count how many hours I spent dribbling around traffic cones in my driveway and practicing my shot in the blazing FL sunshine. I played with my best friends for 11 years. I have so many wonderful basketball memories, but in the end, I made a tough decision. Although I enjoyed playing basketball, something always mentally blocked me from being a “great” player. I was solid defensively, could rebound against girls bigger than me, and made it my tradition to block a shot nearly every game (I’ve kept that tradition up this weekend :)). Still, I was never a strong offensive player. I could pass and hit the open man pretty well, and I could handle the ball decently for a “post,” but I was always timid when it came to driving to the basket and my shot in games never reflected all of the hard work I put into it in between games. Some seasons were better than others, but it got to the point where I sort of felt stuck. I wanted to be better, but something was stopping me, and I was trying to balance basketball with my budding involvement in scientific research through a school program. After frustration and a lot of deep thinking, I realized that my real PASSION was in cancer research, so I gave up my sport for a total commitment to working in a lab. Although it makes me sad that I didn’t finish out my basketball career, devoting myself to research was the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far…but that’s another story :)

 

Three words: Britney Spears concert.

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See this horrible iPhone pic? This is what happens when you eat breakfast out of your lap while driving…smart, I know. Yep, I’m wearing scrubs beneath that bowl of nasty looking (but yummy tasting) banana oats/oatbran with chia seeds. I love to start my day with a bowl of oats, especially when I know I have a long day ahead…I’m currently doing some shadowing down at the hospital, so the staying power was much appreciated while I was in the OR! Props to Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt as well…protein is important too!

Since I’m not working this summer, Ive been doing random things like volunteering, shadowing, getting ready for next year, and seeing movies. I can’t WAIT to go to college, but I’ve enjoyed the time off to relax and prepare for the craziness of freshman year. I’ve also been pushing myself to be less “routine” and try new things. Today, this meant a beginner hip hop class at a local dance studio. I can’t dance to save my LIFE, but I went, tried, laughed, and had a good time. If Nicki Minaj needs a back up dancer…I have a long way to go, let’s just put it that way. I lack this thing called “rhythm” and I get so focused on one step that I mess up the rest. I think I’m going to stick with the classes though, maybe I’ll look like less of a fool at Zumba…hopefully…fingers crossed!

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