Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Good, the Bad, the Gold, and the Pink

          As this semester comes to a close, I have been doing a good amount of reflecting, which is probably evident from my influx of blogposts, but I figured it's about time to make my capstone post. I'm finally ready to give my overall takeaway from the semester and to talk about all of the things I've learned. Yes, all - the good, the bad, and the ugly of 20.109, so let's get to it!

You ready for it? My one big takeaway?

          You do not have to love every part of every module. You don't even have to like every module. I came into 20.109 super excited to finally be in a lab class. I knew that I loved working in my UROP, and therefore, I had decided that there was no place I'd rather be than in a lab class too. However, as I soon realized this was only partially true. Our first module focused on the microbiome of birds. The process of performing a 16s rRNA screen for these birds was interested, the applications to influenza I guess were interesting, but the microbiome of birds, to me, just was not interesting. I was immediately disillusioned with 109 as a class. I dreaded those 4 hour lab blocks that I spent with Bird 270, but I couldn't quite understand where these feelings of dread were coming from. When I really thought about it, the applications to influenza were really cool, so what was the problem? That was when I realized that I was focusing too much on my dislike for the bird microbiome part. By fixating on the parts I didn't like, I was missing out on the enjoyment I could get out of the parts I did like. When we went on to Mod 2, I was in my element. We were talking about DNA, cancer, and everything that truly fascinated me. I was back to my heightened lab class excitement. Then, we hit Mod 3. I'm going to preface this with the statement that I now think solar cells are super cool, and I'm pretty stoked to get to  say that I engineered one out of gold and titanium. How legit does that sound? However, that's not how the story starts. When I heard that we were doing biomaterials engineering, I immediately dismissed it as something I wouldn't be interested in. The minute I heard the words "oil production" I was done. I desperately tried to hold on to Mod 2 as long as I could, which made my motivation to work on Mod 3 clock in at a surprisingly low value. Eventually, I was able to get over this, and as I previously said, I now think solar cells are pretty cool. Do I ever see myself working in biomaterials? No, but that's ok, and that 's the whole point of this mini rant. What's so great about bioengineering is that it has so many applications, and there is an application for everyone. Everyday when I go into my UROP, I'm working on the science that I love. I have found my niche, but there is still a lot of science out there, and it is far too early in my career to close myself off to that world. This is why you have to come into 20.109 with an open mind. This is the time to experience all the applications that bioengineering has to hold and to decide for yourself what you like and don't like, and yes, it is ok to not like something. Just don't let it hinder your ability to learn about it and hinder your ability to get the full 20.109 experience. This will most likely be the only time that you get to work on some of these topics, so jump in. Immerse yourself in it, and you won't be sorry. If you take a second to truly appreciate all that 20.109 has to offer (including but not limited to awesome color teams GO TEAM PINK), then you might just find that those 10 hours a week spent in class are your favorite 10 hours of the week, and then when you hit that last class, which I am soon approaching, you might just find yourself wishing to have the companionship of Bird 270 back, but hey, what do I know?

Just for kicks, I'm going to throw in one last picture of Team Pink because I would not have made it to this blogpost without the team!

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