Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

It’s been three months—no it’s only been three days. My entire perception of time has been distorted. Usually when school is in I am able to remember the date, the time, but at Brown my class has such small influence on my day it is a completely separate from the rest of my day. Instead of worrying about what will be covered in the next lecture or lab, I am thinking of ways to occupy my time until I sleep. It may be the irregularity of the day, so I know that in college I must organize my classes in a way that flows with the rest of the day.

In class today, Professor Hall first discussed the results and errors of the lab from yesterday. She did not tell us the information about the lab beforehand because her teaching methods involves completing the assignment and then answering questions and problems when the student cares about what he is doing. I think her teaching method reflects the attention spans of students, but I would have liked to know what to do during the lab so I would not be confused.

In preparation for our lab tomorrow, Professor Hall explained the significance and purpose of enzymes—both endonuclease (on the inside of the DNA) and exonuclease (on the outside of DNA)—in bacteria and electrophoresis. Electrophoresis is an analysis of the lengths of DNA strands after the strands are cut by enzymes. She also gave out an assignment that required groups of four students to interpret a graph in a scientific journal. I think my group had the hardest graph to interpret; it had two strands at points named lox1 and lox2 and had the abbreviation of dem/3 and rem/3.1. It took a while, but my group figured out it proved that the pluripotent cell (cells that can differentiate, similar to stem cells) could survive after removing methyl levels and then restore methyl levels after a RNA strand was removed. What I just said was difficult to understand, I understand, but this is the type of work we do during lectures—at least in a nutshell.

I was warned by some of the participants who went last year that I would seek every opportunity to find air conditioning. So far I am trying to avoid it. The weather is not the scorching heat that I was warned about. I try to find the elements that tell me summer, but I find clouds that stretch across the sky. The humidity is still present, but the rain combined with the blowing of cool airs sends chills down my spine. I like this kind of rain. It is warm enough where I don’t need an umbrella, which was convenient since I did not bring an umbrella with me when it started to rain, and it was light enough that I didn’t hear water squish through my shoes. What did surprise me is that when I walked along Thayer Street water nearly flooded the street.

I was looking forward to sitting on the communal green and explore some of the scenic features around the center of Brown. Instead I settled with studying in my room and the Science Library, and trying to find some activities I thought I might be interested in. During dinner, one of my friends said there was an event held by my housing cluster, so the curiosity and rumor of food got to me, and I investigated further. I was contemplating whether or not I should go, but the lure of root beer floats was too strong.

The event was a “Girls’ Night In.” At first I was expecting something really girly: a teen show, which was considered, a chick flick and gossip. Yet the group passed over Teen Wolf and chose Jeopardy, and talked mostly about what happened today in class. Coincidentally “Jeopardy” had a section about college and —guess what—it mentioned Brown; the entire group screamed, “What is Brown?” and I laughed. After Jeopardy was over, there was essence of a “Girls’ Night In” in the choice of What happens in Vegas; I left shortly after the movie began—I had to get ready to go to Freakonomics.

Freakonomics was a great movie. It discussed financial corruption, incentives, housing market, the consequences of a name a baby has and interesting anecdotes pertaining to the subject being discussed. At one point in the movie I reflected that being an economist is like being a scientist but focused on social interactions, and I thought I would enjoy doing those types of studies. Then I changed my opinion again because I prefer working with animals; humans have too many flaws and I have seen enough of the worst of human nature to last a lifetime. I think I would prefer a friend that studies economics, and then he could tell me all of these amazing discoveries. I would take an economics class in college just to try it out because researching is my passion, but I need to find the right subject to study.

As I mentioned the weather was gloomy and I experienced the worst of the day after the movie. It was raining so hard that there was a flood on George Street, and even after running to my dorm, I was entirely soaked. Despite the rain, the sky had a beautiful orange glow that made the rain bearable. Tomorrow I will bring my umbrella even if it does not seem to rain—I do not want a repeat of tonight.

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