Tuesday, May 12, 2015

20.109 An Overview of my experience

20.109 teaches you a lot more than you thought. There are five main assignments in this class: the mod 1 report, the journal club, the mod 2 report, the mod 3 report, and the research proposal. Between these you learn a variety of skills.

In mod 1, most of us are just learning what being in a bioengineering lab is like. Learning all the methods and techniques. This mod teaches us several techniques like DNA extraction, PCR, primer designing, and cloning, to mention a few. Besides this we also learn, while writing the mod 1 report, how to analyze data and write in a scientific manner along with how to write an abstract. Throughout the class, on multiple occasions we had to read research papers. This got us acquainted with what research papers was like and how it felt to read one and analyze what was being studied, why, and its implications. In the case of the journal club, we also learned how we would present the data we found and how to remake data to keep all the information, but make it easy to understand. 

Then there was mod 2 where in addition to learning even more biological lab techniques like cell culturing we (whether we liked it or not) got to feel what it was like to write a full fledged research paper from the abstract to the discussion. In mod 3 we learned how biology can be used in ways where we wouldn't normal expect to see it. We also got to experience writing a timed essay analysis, which ended up being much more stressful than I think it was intended to be. Finally we learned how to create a presentation research proposal which will almost certainly be useful for us in the future as we are looking for people to fund all the amazing science we do. This is not to mention everything we learned about microbiomes, cancer cells, and solar cells in the process.

Beyond this, though, we also learned how to work with a partner, how to not put work off till the last minute, and how to ask for help when you need it by going to office hours. Along the way you'll probably also pick up some organizational skills. Besides all the learning you do, in 20.109 you also make friends, eat snacks, and have fun. Don't waste your 20.109 doing the bare minimum, sitting in the back, and not paying attention. Class will be much more enjoyable if you put in effort and ask questions to make sure you actually understand what's going on. Sometimes the instructors may not even know the answers to your questions, but it's all part of the learning process. You have a dedicated staff that will push you to do your best, and even on occasion bring snacks.

I feel like I didn't use enough gifs, and I didn't know how to fit this into the first part of the blog post so I am going to put it here at the end.

As you progress through mod 1 you feel like a newborn still learning to stand on its own feet.
You keep stumbling and falling, but Shannon, Noreen, and Leslie are always there to help you back up. They may refuse to answer your question sometimes,
And it will feel like you are just being pushed back down.
But its only to make you stronger, and by the end of 20.109 you can walk on your own feet with no problem.

Having completed makes you feel like a boss! Like you can do anything.

And I'll end this with a completely unrelated funny gif:

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