Monday, May 11, 2015

Stephanie March: Superhero (and My Studying Woes)

Stephanie March as herself 
Stephanie March as Alex Cabot

I'm deadly tired after studying independently  from 5:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. class, studying through lunch break, rushing of to an orthopedic surgeon's appointment, studying in the waiting room before being called back to an exam room, studying until the orthopedist made her appearance in the exam room, and then rushing off to a group study session which lasted until 10:50:. My brain feels as though it is in danger of imploding, but I have two midterms this week, and both are high-stakes exams on which I must do well. 

The problem with a pass/fail system is that one knows that he or she passed (unless one is among the unlucky minority) but one never really knows if he or she really scored high enough. This non-ranking for underclassmen at my school in many ways makes the ranking all the more insidious. Non-ranking is b.s. Everyone knows we're ranked.. It's not official, but everyone keeps track, and God help anyone who finds himself or herself in the bottom third of the heap;. Maintenance of rankings or not, we ALL ("we" meaning students and professors alike) now exactly where we fall on concrete test scoring before, on, and after each exam. No one is fooling anyone. The non-ranking system is an exercise in futility. All it accomplishes is to keep achievers such as myself from ever knowing if we;ve studied enough. Much  of the problem lies in the rankings that exist in professors' minds. These are every bit as real as test scores. 

If rankings were official, open,  and based on tangible criteria, worrying about what is going on in the minds of professors wouldn't be a legitimate issue. Yes, we all desire to be thought highly of by them, but the bottom line would be the rankings. With there being no such things as rankings in our  flimsy pass/fail system. what is happening in the minds of those professors is terribly important. I can hope that professors' impressions are heavily based on test scores, lecture participation, Practice of Medicine performance (in addition to tests) and other  definitive and perceptible measures, but it's entirely too arbitrary as it stands. If I'd had it to do over, I might have chosen to attend a school without a pass/fail and a non-ranking system for the first two years, but i am here   and instead to stick it out.

I've ranted enough, however, about my plight. i'm lucky enough to have been admitted to a prestigious medical school, and I'm fortunate enough, at least as appearances would seem to indicate, to be thriving if not at least succeeding at said institution. It is time to speak of more pressing matters. I wish to write at this time about actress and activist Stephanie March, and the positive impact her career and inspiration have had on my own life.. Ms. March,  a talented actress who portrayed (and still portrays, I think,  although I rarely have time to watch) an ADA and/or bureau chief  on Law and Order SVU,  She has also worked on Broadway and in movies. She's a major philanthropist, if that is a correct reference for someone who devotes massive amounts of her time and anot insificant amoutn of personal funds  both for the raising of money and for good works to benefit those less fortunate than herself and than most of us, and who often don't have much of a voice in the world. Ms. March's acts are so truly selfless that if I could someday find a way to devote a fraction of the time that she does to improve the quality of the lives of others, I would consider that I had just cause to feel very proud of what i had done and/or was doing.

I became acquainted with Ms. March's career through watching Law and Order SVU at an age probably younger than i should have been allowed to watch the program. The program reportedly first aired in September of 1999. I wasn't quite five years old yet, so even with my parents' somewhat lax standards,  I was not watching the program at that point, although I occasionally caught a glimpse through the banister rails if I had reason to get up after my parents had put us to bed and were watching their post-kiddie nighttime TV faire. I probably caught it on the sly, such as when someone had DVRed the program and wasn't noticing if I watched snippets of the recordings on the sly when I was maybe eight. I was precocious and could handle most of what I saw. There was enough material in my actual life to fuel nightmares that the L &O sVU content did little or nothing to add to my state of paranoia. If anything, it only made me wary of things of which I should have been wary. When I was involved in a potential online predator situation, it was content that I'd seen on Law & Order SVU that alerted me to the danger of my own situation and gave me the knowledge that it was time to inform a responsible adult of my predicament.

My first impressions of Ms. March as ADA Alexandra Cabot were somewhat neutral. She was most certainly a kick-@$$ ADA, and I liked that about her, as well as the brains the writers gave the character. Screenwriters are not miracle workers, and presumably cannot endow an idiot with faux intelligence and have it actually play as credible. I would presume that Ms. March must possess considerable intelligence to have played and continue to play a character of such intelligence and depth. What was most noticeable to me at first about Ms. March (as Alexandra Cabot) 's physical appearance was her rather imposing glasses. it took awhile to see, beyond the glasses, just how beautiful she was and is.

It was at this point that I acquired the ambition to become the  next real-life ADA Alex Cabot. I watched every repeat episode i could DVD and watch, working hard to get around my parents' weekday one-hour  (and weekend two-hour) TV-time limit in order to catch up on as much Judge Alex cases and L&O SVU  reruns. When I was sick or injured and had access to additional TV time, i also watched a bit of Judge Judy and The People's Court with Judge Marilyn Milian, but both of those programs were a distinct second-place to Judge Alex and Alex Cabot.

At some point during this part of my life, my aunt entered law school. I spent summers with her and had access to her law school textbooks, which I read voraciously. i memorized case law right along with some of ADA Cabot's more memorable lines. One of my all-time favorites was, "You've offered a provocative theory. What it lacks in substance, it makes up for in pretty colors," along with "He wouldn't be a single parent if he hadn't killed his wife," and "Petrovsky acted like I just killed her dog." My peers probably found me a bit strange in citing case law and quoting Alex Cabot, but they were so busy quoting Justin Timberlake's and the Bieb's lyrics that they had little room to criticize me. My parents, i'm sure, thought it was a phase through I would eventually emerge.

It very nearly ending up not being a passing phase. I enrolled in university at 16-and-a-half as an English major with pre-law emphasis. It was only after speaking with several unemployed bar-member attorneys and several public defenders and assistant district attorneys who were living paycheck to paycheck (my undergraduate university was in a high cost-of-living community) that I began to consider what my father said about my English major being perhaps a waste of mathematical and scientific aptitude,  I switched gears to a biochemistry major, having fortunately taken several AP courses in high school that would apply, and having taken some pertinent electives in my first year as well. I tacked a violin performance major onto my exiting piano performance major and biochem major because an counselor told me such would be an ace-in-the-hole in terms of medical school admission as long as GPA and MCAT scores were high.

It's now clear that I will not emulate Alex Cabot professionally. I will still strive, however, to someday be a fraction of the human being Stephanie March is. It will have to wait for the completion of medical school, internship, residency, and fellowships. Still, it's a goal for which I can strive.

Stephanie March is going through what would appear to be a most difficult time in her personal life. Her personal life is absolutely none of my business, but still, I hope she weathers the storm and comes out at least as strong as she was before if not stronger. She deserves everything kind that life has to offer.

While both celebrities and real-life people we all know possess the same foibles and fight the same battles the rest of us do, heroes and heroines exist in real life. Stephanie March is one of them. Consult Wikipedia or any number of other available online sites to learn of ms. March's specific charitable causes and how you, too, can help if you so desire.


  1. I can (somewhat) understand your pain. We did not know our English grade until final grades came out at the end of last semester, and it drove me crazy (it didn't help that my professor was some sort of sadist who told us that the average grade for course was a C, either). I would be clawing out of my skin if I were you right now.

    Additionally (and I am just throwing this out) maybe there is some sort of implicit meaning related to the pass/fail grading. Perhaps the mindset is supposed to weed out those with natural skill from those who are struggling? Maybe it is the difference between street smarts and book smarts. Maybe not at this juncture yet...

    No doubt this a testament of your strength.

  2. You never know. Years from now, you might decide to go back to school for that law degree. You have your whole life ahead of you to decide.

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  4. I believe that the pass/fail system was designed to reduce the suffering of a student. They figured that there was too much worry about why students cannot score as high as the 20 year old Alexis does. I am not saying that they are right, but I believe that was the goal. Like someone scores a 92 but they are upset that they scored less than the short, skinny, pale cutthroat bitch.

    I am using the above words from your blog in humor but I do not think of you as short, skinny, pale or as a female dog (bitch). My description of you would be ideal or perfect. Maybe someday you can suggest a system that does not have the competitiveness that they are trying to avoid but lets people have an idea of how well they are doing.

    By the way I did look up Stephanie March to see what she is going through like with her divorce, an operation and helping her mother with cancer and what causes she is involved with. For people who do not know, SVU stands for suburban urban vehicle. Wait that is an SUV. SVU stands for special victim's unit.

    The internet says that these are the benefits of pass/fail-- less stress (Students in a traditional grading system often feel stress to do exceptionally well on tests, papers and other assignments. When they receive only a pass or fail grade, they do not have to worry about a grade point average, which causes less perceived stress, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.), improved mood, group cohesion, more academic risks and fairness.

    1. Stephanie March and her friends used to jokingly refer to the show as L&O SUV.

    2. Stephanie March and her friends used to jokingly refer to the show as L&O SUV.

  5. My next post did not work so this is a test.

  6. I had this idea about you Alexis, before I saw this post but this post confirms that it is a good idea. Maybe in your past life you were a rabbi. Your father is right that you want an occupation where you can actually be employed so that is why you become a doctor-- for money, not love.

    The bible has an abrupt change when Jesus comes on scene and says not to judge or punish people. That is what judges do-- judge. When studying to be a rabbi, most of your reading is not the Torah (old testament). Most of your reading is the Talmud. "The Talmud is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism." Actually rabbis got together and discussed and argued what people should be allowed to do in modern times as long as it did not hurt others.

    This is now known as law or our legal system that was designed to constantly evolve. This is something that you love. We have already discussed Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and what JFK said about Jefferson.

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  8. So my idea for you is to graduate medical school and become a part time doctor for just a few years as you go to law school part-time and become a lawyer. I am just saying that it is something to consider since you love the law. Also I do not want you to just be a doctor like all of your relative when you can become more than that.

    This is from the U,S, News: "Many individuals hold both medical and law degrees; in fact, there are several renowned schools that offer an MD/JD dual degree (Yale University, for example). It can certainly be useful to obtain both degrees as law and medicine are intertwined in myriad ways, from medical malpractice to intellectual property issues related to medical research and technologies.

    As for specific positions in which you could apply a medical and legal education, there are very few jobs that require an individual to hold an MD and a JD. Most people who hold both law and medical degrees do not practice both professions, but instead benefit from having these different perspectives while focusing primarily in one field or the other. A couple examples of careers particularly well-suited for those with law and medical degrees include healthcare, public policy, and hospital administration."

    1. I've considered law school after an internship, and it's not out of the question. what I will probably do instead is pick up a surgery board certification in addition to pathology or radiology (whichever I choose as a primary specialty) so in cas I get tired of looking through a microscope or looking at X-rays, I can do a few on-call surgical rotations on weekends. It's all just in the thought process, and i may find that my plate is more than full enough with a single specialty. I haven't permanently ruled out law school, though. The guy who removed my tonsils and adenoids a few years ago is both an ENT and attorney, and he has something like seven children. He doesn't actually practice law, but he's never been successfully sued and usually manages not even to settle.