Monday, June 20, 2011

A Day in the Class

The first night at Brown was difficult—it was no Hotel Providence. A light from the building across from my dorm shown through my window and created an eerie silhouette of the window and the desk. While I forgot about the horror of the light, I thought how nice it would be to have lights that resembled stars on the dorm ceiling. I was also distracted from sleep by the noise I assume was the refrigerator, which ceased its noise about an hour after the lights went off. I drifted off to sleep for a few hours only to awake at three hour intervals.

At 6AM I got out of bed and headed off to breakfast. After stumbling across the campus and hoping I remembered the ways to the dining hall, I had a nice breakfast. I did forget my backpack and textbooks that I needed, so I rushed back to my dorm and then to the Bio Medical Center to see my class.

Class wasn’t what I expected. The class introduced everyone by a game where each student chose a slip then guessed who chose that band and whoever wrote the band had to introduce himself. I got to learn that most of the class plays tennis, where everyone lived and the grade level each student is in. Later in the week we will have a quiz testing the names of classmates. Surprisingly the class consisted of mostly rising juniors, whereas Frank and I were one of the few rising seniors of the class. Each student also received a slip of a piece of paper depicting a place to meet up. I got the bamboo garden. Professor Hall expects the teams, composed of three students, to meet at the specific place and take a picture to add to the class yearbook. Besides introductions, each student was given the basic protocol of the laboratory and a syllabus of the class.

The class began with a two hour lecture review of DNA synthesis, an introduction of biotechnology and examples of biotechnology application, such as reversing differentiation of fibroblast. Although the teacher noted at the end of class that she rushed through the material, time could have been taken away from review and added to the information that the lab would cover tomorrow. The speed of the lecture was doable, but she lingered on the less important issues and repeated herself in the powerpoint and explanation.

The test however did not focus on review. It tested my knowledge of DNA sequences, the structure of a nucleotide, which although she had many pictures of the structures, I forgot which part of the molecule the nitrogen base bonded to, concentration reduction and lac operon. Professor Hall did touch on the subject of the lac operon, but she did not include most of the information that was mentioned in the test. When I left the classroom, I felt like I needed to learn what I did not know; I never took a biotechnology class, so I am not expected to know everything; the empty spaces of the free-response question were intimidating.

To begin my assignment to find the bamboo garden, I took Kathleen and some other students that wanted to explore around campus. I did not find the bamboo garden, and I may need to ask my RA if she knows where the garden is located, but I did explore the Science Library and found a museum and a Providence library, which I will visit tomorrow.

I also experienced my first laundry day at Brown. I started to feel anxieties from being away from home and some stress because I realized soon I would have to finish a long summer assignment in two weeks. Time stresses me out. I have three weeks and three load of laundry to do, one is already done and I have not begun yet. I will try to think about the present to keep myself from getting to emotional.

I do have something to look forward to tomorrow; tomorrow Professor Hall will help us conduct our first experiment and explain the fundamentals of biotechnological techniques. There are also so many activities that the RA has planned for students. Soon I will be busy enough to forget my worries and enjoy myself.

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