All Quiet on the Western Front

I can’t believe that we’re already in February! I feel like I’ve been ridiculously busy, but this quarter is so much less stressful than last that I can’t help but feel time is just ambling along.

Update time: My research has slowed to a crawl because Blair has been busy with non-lab related work and I’ve been going through the last round of testing. I have FINALLY been officially diagnosed with Celiac and have started a gluten free diet. It is borderline absurd how much better I’m feeling already. Another set of tests and biopsies in 6 months and then hopefully home free ๐Ÿ™‚ Classes are fun and interesting, I’m actually ok with getting up at 7 almost every day because I’m enjoying myself! Plus on Mondays they play awesome songs on the bells in Storke Tower – it was Phantom of the Opera yesterday, seriously, wake up early for that. I’m in the same boat as Erin when it comes to Ochem – who thought we’d ever be excited over a D+? But with the curve I feel like it’s at least a solid B. I should be studying for EEMB right now, doing Ochem lab, and a good fifty other things, but I’m not stressing. Since going gluten free I only have to read things once to understand them and I’m not dozing off every hour so strangely enough doing homework has been getting a lot easier. Dave’s research related class is still easily my favorite. I’ve been making an effort to go to the Lab Group meetings and a variety of seminars on top of that, so I feel that I’m starting to develop a good background of knowledge. My only wish is that in the next few meetings we can focus a little more on the microbes; I think the chemistry is ok, and Dave’s presentation on the Deep Horizons Oil Spill in the Gulf was amazing, but it isn’t my main area of focus. I got to talk to Sarah (our postdoc and technical guru) about microbe and viral evolution, and I hope to pick her brain a little more ASAP. I’ve actually even been playing around with the idea of going into Microbiology. I always thought I’d end up studying ecology and big animals – sharks preferably, or octopus – but I love working for Dave and I wouldn’t mind staying with him for the next two years. It’s definitely something to consider seriously.

On a nonacademic note, SACNAS has been keeping me busy, but as usual also keeping me laughing. The butterfly hike this last weekend was awesome (partially because I can now hike more than 10 minutes without getting out of breath) and it was nice to hang out with non-officers. Usually at meetings I’m taking notes so I can’t socialize as much and I usually run off right after to do homework – surprise surprise! The Spring Outreach we’re planning is starting to come together and I’m pretty exciting about that and the Science and Technology Day that LI (I think) is doing. Look it up, get involved!

That’s basically the last two weeks of my life in a nutshell right there. Time to study and apply for a scholarship through NOAA, oh boy. Small point of pride: I’m financially independent from my parents ๐Ÿ™‚ This scholarship however, will make that SO much easier and hopefully set me up for my DREAM job. Wish me luck!

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Posted in 2010-2011, EUREKA

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Alex Iteen is a second year student majoring in Biology. He is interested in bioengineering and synthetic biology. He is currently working in Dr. Fygenson's lab on DNA nanotubes.
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