Saturday, July 19, 2014

The New Lecture

Achy and Tess
Today I woke up very happy knowing that is Friday and the weekend is here. I got done with my first week of my course and it was a rough week, but I have learned a lot in my class. I have two more weeks to go, but these two weeks coming up is going to be more challenging because it would be more work for me, well that’s what Achy has told the class. As I got up from my bed and got ready for my class, I was thinking what Achy have prepare for today class. When I got done getting ready, I went down to the Dining Hall to go eat breakfast. 
Getting Self Serve
My Lunch
I finished eating breakfast and then I started walking to my class. When I got to class I took my laptop out of my backpack and started typing for my journal. When the hour was over at 10 PM, I emailed Achy my journal because every Friday we need to send it to her; is part of our grade. I thought we were going to work on our workshop of the essays about our opposite, but instead, she gave us a whole different lecture about the elements to build a good. In order for this to work, you need to ignore the first draft. It has to be used after the first draft because then you have to ask question about: who is the POV? Where does it take place? When does it take place? Then the character has to have a desire, but it must be deep and real, something he really wants. When the character has a desire it needs to have an obstacle because if it doesn't have an obstacle the reader won’t have the enthusiasm to keep reading the book. The obstacle has to be realistic and it can’t be any obstacle that you can solve in minutes. It has to be an obstacle that you need a plan to solve the obstacle. It can be a person, society, your health, and addiction or any kind of obstacle that takes time to solve the problem. If the obstacle is easy, than it would not be a real obstacle. It has to explain what the POV character wants and what is in his way. Then, we execute the plan, meaning, what actually happens when the plan is put into action. The tricky thing that blew me off is that the plan always has to fail because then we will know the true colors of the character. After each failure we need to evaluate and repeat the steps over and over again. Achy told us that each failure makes the problem worst. I think this was very helpful because I never knew that a story have to have this. She gave us this lecture because later on in the course we have to write a story about anything we want. Then she let us out of class for the whole day at 11:30, but we need to watch a Star Wars movie because the movie uses this method a lot. Make a plan, execute, fail, and do it all over again. I wish we only needed to watch the movie, but we have to take notes on every scene of the movie and write who are the characters, the plan, the execution, and how did it fail.
Who wants pizza?
Then, I went to the gym with Vicky for the second time. We stayed in the gym from 5 PM to 6:30 PM. I went to work out my legs and Vicky went to go play a scrimmage basketball game with five other guys that go to play basketball every day at 4:30 PM. When we left the gym, we came straight to the Dining Hall to see if it was still open because they supposedly close at 6:30 PM, but when we got there it was still open and letting students go in. Later, Dani and Oyin came in and join us at the table me and Vicky we eating at. Then we were talking about their classes and how late they got out from class. Oyin got out at 5 PM and Dani at 6 PM. Oyin told us that when she got to her room that she went straight to sleep and took a nap. Dani was barely coming out from her class when she came to join us. I was very surprised because I thought they were going to get out early today. Then, I thought to myself that I was really lucky that Achy let us out at 11:30 AM.

Then we were planning to go to see the popular bean in Chicago but it was too late already. The girls wanted to go watch a movie, but we didn't know what was the closes theater at and plus it was getting late, so we ended up staying in the campus. Dani brought her computer and put on a movie on Netflix. Then I started to get hungry, so I order pizza. That’s how we ended up our night a Netflix movie with pizza.

Our HD Plasma TV.

Painting with Fluorescent Proteins

The lecture was so much better today! It was certainly easier to understand Dr. Bhasin now that she has slowed down. Also, after Dr. Bhasin’s talk to us yesterday about asking questions anytime during class, everyone felt more comfortable asking her to clarify certain terms and processes.

We then had our discussion about our latest reading material—The Alternative Genome. We talked about how alternative splicing increases diversity, how alternative splicing evolved, the genetic modifications that come from splicing regulation, and more. We learned how corn has 40,000 genes, yet humans have less than 25,000. Some people had positive views on this—they believed it showed how developed we are as human beings. However, other people had more of a bleak outlook on this. They talked about how slightly degrading it is to have less genes than a plant.
Another picture of our lab

We discussed alternative splicing and its benefits, RNA therapy, introns, exons, and spliceosomes. I found the discussion interesting, as well as the discoveries scientists are making in alternative splicing that could improve our lives.

We then moved on to our lab protocol quiz, which was difficult (as the quizzes sadly usually are). Barely anyone knew the answers to any of the questions, despite having studied for a large amount of time. However, Danny went over the answers after the quiz, which helped us in the lab afterwards.

Our lab today involved transforming E. coli with rainbow fluorescent proteins. Because most of the lab steps required waiting while incubating our proteins, the class had time to watch funny science-related videos. Danny and Ciara (her name is spelled this way and I didn’t know until today!) showed us the video last session’s Biotech class made, a parody of “Single Ladies” (titled “Single Threads, Put a Base on It”). We watched a parody of “Let It Go” by a group of students going through their residency and videos made in the 80’s about PCR.
Maria and Alex, our benchmates

Danny and Ciara told us how we’d get extra credit if we all film a video like last session’s “Single Threads, Put a Base on It.” Our class all agreed that we’d do something like that (the words “extra credit” are good motivation). Though the tense atmosphere in our class has lessened, most of us still don’t know each other and this would be a great way to become friends (which is most likely the point of it).
Our lab station

The lab was really relaxed. People talked and laughed with each other over the music someone played on their phone. I’m glad I don’t find lab stressful anymore.

After transforming our proteins, we took LB/Amp plates (which acted as our canvases) and painted on them using purple, yellow, pink, and blue fluorescent proteins. I painted a jellyfish, but I’m not sure how they’ll come out after I accidentally punctured the agar.
An example of what our plates might look like

At the end of the lab, our class stayed to attend the exam review Danny and Ciara held. The candy (which they passed out if you answered a question), relaxed atmosphere, and easy to follow information made the extra two hours after class more than worthwhile. Though I was tired by the end of the day, that exam review gave me hope that I can do well on the exam. I feel insanely better prepared now.

The moment I’ve been waiting for this whole week—the weekend! Though I still have to study and do homework, I’m definitely going to take advantage of these two days to socialize, do laundry, and relax.

Our First Friday

Because my cohort had such long night last night, we began our homework and blogging at ten after the alumni dinner; I woke up earlier than usual. I woke up giving myself just enough time to get dressed and grab breakfast. Instead of going to the dining halls, Oyin, Victoria, and I went to the campus bookstore to grab a coffee and a quick snack before heading to class.

 Today in class we learned about the relationship between an infant and a caregiver. Children can form attachments with their primary caregivers in many different ways. The type of relationship that has been formed can be shown in an experiment called the Strange Situation. In Strange Situation, a child is shown an unfamiliar room with a caregiver, and then the caregiver goes away, and later comes back. One of the most common forms of attachments seen is a secure attachment. This is seen in a little above 60% of the children who were in the Strange Situation studies, and it is characterized by the child feeling safe to explore the room if they are with their caregiver. Once this caregiver figure leaves the room, the infant will react very negatively, but will be soothed quickly when the caregiver returns to the room. Another main category children are placed into based off of their reactions, is the insecure attachment. This can be subcategorized into insecure/ambivalent, and insecure/avoidant. These are not worse than secure attachments because they usually just lead to differences in personality traits later in life and relationships later in life. An insecure/ambivalent attachment is characterized by a child’s indifference when the primary caregiver leaves and their lack of reaction when the caregiver returns. An insecure/avoidance attachment can be seen when a caregiver returns after having left, and the infant turns away from the caregiver and may avoid them. There is one last category. This category is called the disorganized reaction. In this case, when the parent re-enters the room, the child will stop what it is doing, or seem to be taking an unusually long time deciding how they will react. This reaction is common in kids who have been treated badly by the caregiver, or whose caregiver is afraid of them. This reaction can be seen in maltreated children or the children of teenage parents. 

Another aspect of the mother child relationship is how much emotional care and attention children really need. Of course to survive, children need food, so the fact that their mother provides them with food covers that need. But mothers also can provide children with a sense of security and social interaction, and it is possible that babies cannot develop in a healthy manner fully without that aspect of care giving. We also learned about emotion in infants, which were mainly frustration and anger, sadness, and shame and guilt, which appear much later in a child’s development. It has been suggested that the smiling in infants, a social smile that appears a few months after birth, has a very biological purpose. If the infant smiles at the mother, or other primary caregiver, the caregiver will feel special to the infant and therefore want to continue caring and providing for the infant, which is necessary for the infant to survive.

 After lunch, we came back to the class room and worked on our papers by searching for research papers that could support our reasons for choosing the experiment that we did. At this point, the class was having a sort of self-dismissal. If students felt they had gotten enough done in class, they would leave. I made a substantial amount of progress on finding research papers we, my group, could cite in our own papers, so I left and went to the gym for a while. Later I met my cohort for an early dinner in the dining hall. Later we watched some movies and hung out in the dorm lounges. It was nice to be able to spend time doing activities without having to worry about getting up early the next day or having to work on homework for the next day. 

Ratner Athletic Facility

Tomorrow we are all planning to go downtown and spend some time in the city while we have the opportunity to do so.

The Amazing Beach Experiment

My day in class was very interesting and educational at the same time. This morning I got a caramel Frappuccino and was on my way to class. I actually ran into Dani and Kaitlyn while going into our building. For class we had an hour lecture and then we were on our way to get samples from Lake Michigan. It wasn’t a very long walk but I think we took the long way there because the way it was described was that it’s close to the dorms. At the beach we took samples of the water so that we could extract the bacteria out of the water. But first the lecture talked about the biology of viruses and the characteristics they have. I learned that they are non-cellular, they have particles called virons, and sometimes classified as non-living. Viruses have no genes for respiration and protein synthesis. Viruses must infect host cell to replicate/ make copies. I also learned that viral proteins carry the information for the synthesis of a number of viral proteins. So back to the beach, we all walked into the water and got our water samples from the lake using 50 mL tubes. Our professor let us stay at the beach for the rest of the time remaining before lunch. I chose to go back to the dorms and eat while everyone else ate at The Med restaurant. At lunch I bought some subway and then walked back to my class building where I waited for everyone to get back because I was the only one at class on time. Class didn’t start until 1:30 because everyone else was coming from The Med restaurant.

In the lab today, as I said before, we extracted the bacteria from the samples by using a funnel apparatus and a filter pad took all of the bacteria out of the water. Then we put m-ColiBlue24 into a plate before we put the filter pad on top of the plate with m-ColiBlue24. After, we got bacteria from anywhere by choice and put it on a TSA plate and waited. My partner Sophia and I chose to get bacteria from someone’s table they were currently using, a bathroom doorknob, and a dead fish. We used saline to mix all of the bacteria before putting it on the TSA plate. The purpose of this lab was to identify coliform in the water.

After class Jimmy and I met Alexa at the gym to work out at 4:45 PM. We split off into different places. I went the basketball gym to play against some people there, Jimmy went to go lift weights, and Alexa did some running and biking. At the basketball gym I meet new people every time. Today I met Noah, Sani, and Veroon. They actually are taking college courses as well but unfortunately Sani is leaving so I didn’t get to hang out with him while he was here. After playing a basketball game with them I went to the weight room to lift weights with Jimmy again. Luckily we finished in time to get dinner. We later saw Oyin, Dani, and Alexa. For dinner I had fruit and a beef quesadilla. Later we departed for a short time so that we could hang out in the west lounge to watch some movies and eat pizza around 10 PM. Then we all had gone to Alexa’s room to finish up some work and then go to bed in our rooms.