Another school year has culminated, and the core of my upper division biochemistry major course have been completed. Some of the classes I took were way more rigorous than I ever expected (Even though I had been warned about the terrors of the upper division biochemistry lab, I only thought people were over-the-top complaining.). A few courses seemed to pass by at a snail’s pace, but now I have finished my junior year of college and it feels great. I think that doing research helped me make it through the school-work because I was able to learn about science in an interactive way outside of studying textbooks. Working in a lab and being able to figure out things for yourself allows more freedom for creativity than regular classwork. I have always been the type of person that learns better by doing things on my own and designing my own way to go about the process. My faculty adviser worked perfectly with me because he started me off on my own project under graduate supervision. Although I worked closely with my graduate mentor at the beginning of sophomore year in order to learn the different laboratory techniques, eventually by the end of the school year I was working nearly autonomously. I always discuss my results with my mentor and adviser, but I was devising my own ways to solve problems when an experiment didn’t work out. I was especially happy when I figured out a mismatch dimer test to discover why I was unable to form a self-programmable RNA cube. From my experiment I was able to see that some of the eight pieces that were intended to make a cubic molecule were mispairing and the cubic structure was unable to form. I found that discovering things on my own in the laboratory was more satisfying than getting a good grade on a test and the excitement I got from biochemistry research has helped me make it through the tough classes.
Now that I am done with the majority of my biochem school work I am going to start taking classes in Evolution and Ecology in pursuit of a double major. I am hoping that my future research will incorporate biochemistry and evolution….I will keep posting on my progress. Happy summertime!