Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reflections on 109

At the beginning of this semester, I wasn't overly excited about any of my classes (aside from my Senegalese drumming class, because that's cool). From what I had heard about 109, I was expecting it to be a lot of hours spent pipetting and completing busy work. Now that I've actually completed the course, I have to say it was my favorite class by a landslide. While there were a lot of smaller weekly assignments, each one always clearly pertained to the overall goal of the module and was helpful for understanding the big picture.

Even journal club, which I was originally terrified for (as described in a previous blog post), ended up being a fantastic learning experience. My ability to read and understand a scientific paper grew tremendously once the pressure was on to present it to other people, and the actual act of presenting was less daunting since I actually understood what I was talking about. Preparing for our final research proposal was made easier by the feedback we were given from our journal club presentations, and I was only minimally nervous when it was time for us to present.

And of course, my scientific writing has improved over the past few months. I spent the summer after my freshman year working on a paper at the NIH, which took me over a month to complete, so I was wasn't sure how I'd be able to finish the writing assignments in 109 in time. Luckily we had fantastic instructors who made sure I understood the point of each module and helped me make a story out of our research. I'm ending the semester with a new confidence in my ability to approach and understand problems from a biological standpoint, and it's a pretty awesome feeling. 

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