Thursday, May 14, 2015

The things I've learned

Some classes are ridiculously frustrating, and still seem to serve no purpose in my educational well-being even after I’m done with the class. I have only encountered one class here where I have truly felt that way, but thankfully, it’s not 20.109.

This class, 20.109, certainly has its frustrating moments. Homework assignments seemed to take an unnecessarily long amount of time with little background knowledge, and while I tried my best on them, I would get a constant stream of 4/5 or 4.5/5. While I wrote my Mod 1 and Mod 2 reports, I constantly went through mini-panic attacks because I had no idea whether or not what I was writing was valid. Every week seemed to be consumed by 20.109 struggles, but somewhere within myself, I still held out a little hope that my struggles would be worth it in the end.

Perhaps I can’t fully evaluate the worthiness of this class until I reach higher level classes, or even graduate school, but I can say that right now, I do feel more knowledgeable. I did not learn too many new laboratory techniques, but I did learn about scientific communication. I learned about concision not only through writing methods sections and the various reports, but also through fitting presentations into a set amount of time. In a way, we were forced to write concisely when we learned about writing abstracts in 250 words or less, and also when our primer design memo had to be three pages or less (that was a tough one). Having the ability to write concisely required me to think concisely, and with this mindset, I felt more organized both as a person and as a writer.

Because this class required us to use scientific literature so frequently, I also soon became adept at consuming scientific writing. When I was doing research for my journal club presentation was the first time I had more than ten tabs open to different scientific articles. Soon, the idea of skimming abstracts and scrolling through scientific literature did not seem as daunting.

Overall, I would certainly be lying if I said that 20.109 is a stress-free class. But I would also be lying if I said that my educational well-being did not benefit from 20.109. I hope that I will continue to use the skills that I’ve learned in this class, and hone them further in the future. However, I do hope that the day-to-day frustrations can be ameliorated in some way.  

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