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A Day in My Summer Life by Hamsika C. '13

Starts at 5 AM, ends at 10:30 PM, and go-go-go in between.

My typical summer weekday runs as follows:

5 AM: Beep-beep-beep-beep – my alarm goes off, I look out my window, and I realize that once again, I’m awake before the sun has risen fully:

I’m living at UPenn this summer, along with 50 or so fellow Merck interns (or “Merckterns” – though I don’t much care for this nickname, lol…). I have three suitemates, and since all of us are used to showering in the morning instead of at night, my mornings tend to (1) start early, and (2) be a little hectic :(

5:30 AM: Done showering, dressing, throwing my hair into some kind of order. Time to make lunch! Salad + fruit + almonds + a roll orrr PB&J sandwich orrrr I decide I’m too lazy to make my lunch and that I’ll just buy something at the Merck cafeteria (the latter happens way too often, sigh – one of my summer goals was to improve my culinary habits, but I am currently failing miserably).

p.s. I’ve been spending way too much time on the ‘Food’ section of Pinterest lately. Might make the following this week :)

6:00 AM: I grab my bag and head out the door to make the 20-minute walk to the train station to catch the 6:30 train to Pennbrook, the closest station to Merck’s West Point location.

6:30 AM – 7:30 AM: pass out on the train and hope that I wake up to my 7:20 alarm.

7:30 AM: Finally at Merck! I can’t actually talk about my specific project, but just as a general overview, I’m working in Merck’s vaccine division this summer. I’ve learned so much!! Though I’m pre-med and am pretty set on becoming a doctor, I wanted to get a little insight into the pharma aspect of medicine. Working at Merck and meeting people who have worked on high-profile vaccines like Gardasil (for HPV) and Zostavax (for shingles) has been both humbling and amazing. I found out that it takes 20 years, on average, for a vaccine to go from R&D to clinical trials and approval. The people at Merck are so passionate about helping people.

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM: I leave Merck for the day and start my 1.5- hour-long trip home. And this is where my day gets a little variety. I generally do one or more of the following:

(1) Med School Apps = O.O NEVER. ENDING. Seriously. There are multiple stages in the process: primary apps, secondary apps, interviews, then acceptances/rejections. I’m only done with the first step (primaries) – 25% done with the apps, woohoo!

(2) Planning for Camp Kesem 2012 – we have 95 kids and 50 counselors coming together for CK 2012 (CK = a summer camp for kids of cancer patients, with chapters all over the U.S.) this August. It’s going to be awesome!! But there’s also a tonnn of planning involved: fundraising, planning daily activities, coordinating with counselors/campers/camper families, checking in with CK National, and more.

(3) TV Show Marathons: I LOVE SUITSSS.

(4) Arts and Crafts :) – There are a lot of things I haven’t had as much time for during college, including reading for fun, dancing as much as I used to in high school, and drawing. I took some time these past few weeks to catch up my novice artistic side:

10:30 PM: Lights out! And then repeat the above all over again.

More soon (read: later this week) about weekends/fun stuff that has happened this summer. Peace!