Monday, July 21, 2014

Exam 1 and a Field Trip

The morning of an exam, I usually take a shower to clear my head and get my blood circulation going. Of course, as my luck would have it, the bathroom on the first floor was busy today! However, I was still able to get ready, grab breakfast, and make it to class on time, thankfully.

Everyone in the Biotech class was worried about the exam! Finally, at 9 AM, we all took our seats and got to work on the exams. The test was 70 questions in one and a half hours, which isn’t too bad. I managed my time wisely and was able to have around 20 minutes to go over my answers. However, there were a couple questions I wasn’t sure about, and some I just barely recognized from Dr. Bhasin’s slides. Overall, the exam wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it definitely wasn’t easy.

I talked to the other students about it afterward, and I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who felt unsure about certain questions.

Fifteen minutes after the exam, our class made a three-minute walk to the Comprehensive Cancer Center, DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Facility on the UChicago campus. They showed us their PCR machines (we’ll start working with those tomorrow in lab), sequencing equipment, and capillary arrays. It was interesting to learn about biotechnology in action (besides in lab) instead of theoretically.

I went to lunch afterwards, where we saw a group of students ranging from 8 to 17 years old in the Dining Hall. They have to sing songs during each of their meals and when they clean up after meals, which I had the privilege of listening to. It’s strange to see little kids at UChicago—living on my own truly feels like college living, so seeing younger kids walking around surprises me. I wonder if college students think that about high school students taking classes here.

After that, I attempted to take a nap in my dorm (it didn’t work out well). I went to lab, where we calculated the transformation efficiency and transformation frequency of the transformed cells. Out of the class, three pairs resulted in good cultures. April and I were one of those pairs! I’d say we’ve grown a lot since the beginning of the class (was that only a week ago?), when we were totally clueless on how to change pipette tips or work the microscope.
My jellyfish. The purple and blue barely glow!

We went directly to our dorms after lab—we were so tired! I hung out in my room with Kaitlyn, talking about Wicked songs and how great our TAs, Danny and Ciara, are. We left the room at 6:30 PM to eat and socialize. The kids from the other program were also in the Dining Hall (I was able to hear their songs again; at this rate I’ll have the songs memorized by tomorrow night).

Afterwards, I edited my essay and read a couple pages’ worth of reading material before walking to the library with Kaitlyn. Though there’s a printer in South Campus, it only lets students put in $20 for printing (not anything less or more), so we chose to walk to the library and save $19.

UChicago at around 8 PM is so pretty! I wished I had my camera with me when walking out tonight. The sky was a dusky purple-black color, and the various light poles every ten steps (if not less) and emergency blue light poles (with police officers standing near once it got too dark out) made me feel totally safe. I’m pretty sure by the end of this program, I’ll be able to confidently say I’ve never once felt unsafe on campus.

After posting this blog, finishing just a bit more of the assigned reading material, and getting ready for bed, I’ll hit the sack. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m happy to say that this experience, though slightly stressful, is full of fun as well. Most of the fun, I think, comes from being around the cohort and Biotech classmates (we’re all growing closer). It goes to show that what every single person at every single dinner has said—college really gives you a sense of community. It’s a great feeling.

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