Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 280: Seven miles and then some

Quick update.

Ran seven miles on Sunday.

Labs today were fine. Meh. Stimulated a frog's gastrocnemius muscle (it's thigh). That was pretty sweet. Totally f-ed up my Organic lab. Yeah, don't worry about it. I worked it out.

Exams galore (Round 2) next week -- Physiology quiz, Physiology lab quiz, Physics exam and Organic exam.

Then ... New York City after that, thank heavens!

I Heart NY

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 278: 100 Days

You know what I realized today?

Within the next hundred days (give or take), I will have...
  • Lived in North Carolina for a year
  • Taken my MCAT
  • Completed (most of) my pre-medical courses
  • Returned to New York
  • Found out about internship programs
  • Won the Nobel Prize
  • Saved the world
Okay, so maybe the last two won't have happened (yet!) but ... how crazy is that? In 365 days, a whole helluva lot can change. It's crazy to think that 200-some days ago, I was a science virgin who could barely remember the elements on a periodic table. Now, not only can I read the periodic table (yep, it tells you more than just the elements), but I can read crazy structures like this:

acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)

methamphetamine (speed)

And I can tell you what it means when "all preganglionic neurons secrete acetylcholine onto nicotinic cholinergic receptors" or what the anterior and posterior pituitary glands do. Hello?! I sound ridiculously intelligent! haha, I'm not saying I am, but it's crazy that all these big words make sense, you know?

My brain better look like this when this is all over.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 275: And the first results are in.

I managed to pass everything! Yay!

Physics: I could (and should) have done better on the exam but there's four more, so I'll survive. I'm getting better about forcing myself to do it. Blah.

Physiology: Quiz 4 tomorrow. It's mainly about the sensory neurons. Fun fact, the reason that smell brings back such strong memories is because it is tied directly to the limbic system, the organizing center for feelings and whatnot. The other senses pass through your thalamus, where it has to be processed first.

Organic: Dr. Red was uber-kind when he graded. I managed to get an A (with or without all the bonus points and the curve) but even so ... it doesn't feel like I earned it? If that makes sense? I just like feeling confident after an exam and I feel like I could have come out with an A, B or C after that exam. So, I don't know. Whatever. An A! Yes!

And the studying continues...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 273: And the week is over. Sort of.

Come Tuesday, most of my workload is over. I have all my labs Monday and Tuesday so I'm going-going-going and then it comes to a bit of a standstill. It's nice because I work my butt off and then I recuperate the rest of the week.

Anyway, I was crazy productive on Sunday (for the first time in a long time). I ran six miles (again!) so go me.

With my BFFFHs commenting more, I'm going to try and find the perfect balance between science and personal.

Science-wise, Organic lab went great today. The other Organic professor asked my BFF Organic Lab Organizer who I was. That was pretty amusing. (I sent the other Organic professor an e-mail, essentially, complaining about how it takes two years to get our pre-labs when some of us want more than a day to prepare for lab. He replied and was extremely cordial about it. So he wanted to know who I was, haha) I'm a pretty big deal in the Chemistry department ... apparently. I just think it's funny.

Let's see, what fun facts can I tell you guys? Remember action potentials? Well, that's all your brain receives (is action potentials). That's why your life is based on action potentials. It's pretty crazy. We're learning about senses in physiology right now. Fun fact: When you taste food, sour and salty are tasted (milliseconds) faster because they directly affect the ion channels that affect the action potentials going to your brain.

These areas are actually completely random.
Your tastants are everywhere!

The other tastes (sweet, bitter and umami) need to create secondray signals that are eventually sent to your brain. This is why they are (milliseconds) slower to process. (Like I said, fun.)

Personal-wise, I'm trying to ooze more confidence (if that's possible). I need to learn to treat men like dirt so they'll want me bad (they're really that dumb :P). I think I want to run a 10K at some point and maybe a half-marathon by the end of the year? That's after I get all A-pluses, a perfect MCAT score and abs. I think that's it. Doable right?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 270: Radicals, antioxidants, peroxides and action potentials

All right, so the good stuff.

So the crazy mechanism from yesterday's post has to do with radicals. (Free) Radicals are unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in twos. So when they're alone, they do crazy things (like a girl after she's been cheated on). Free radicals are what cause wrinkles and other fun things in your body.

Antioxidants. Now these suckers are cool. They're magical compounds that have the ability to pair up with these radicals without turning themselves into a radical. That's why everyone oohs-and-aahs about them. They do amazing things for your skin and for your body. Eat 'em (they can be found in most berries and fruits), slop 'em on your face, do anything with them really.

Peroxides. Where have you heard that before? Say, hydrogen (peroxide)? Or benzoyl (peroxide)? The fancily random things about peroxides is, they're very good at making radicals. And sometimes, we want those crazy things. Like that huge zit that's forming right now? Yeah, right there. If you put some benzoyl peroxide on it, the radicals created will pair off and kill things and chop things up and again, other things a woman scorned will do. It's pretty cool.

Lastly, action potentials. As my physiology professor put it yesterday, "it's amazing that your entire perception of things is based on action potentials." And she's right. Action potentials are electrical messages sent throughout axons which are in your neurons.

The connecting link between all the action potentials

What this means is that little electrical impulses are firing all the time -- to let you (and your body) know what's up. For example, when you press on your skin, those are action potentials firing. When you're smelling something, action potentials. Sight, action potentials. And yes, even feelings in the limbic system are based on action potentials.

I don't know, I may have just geeked out hard core just now but I really love this stuff. And I thought you would all enjoy a non-how's-Jessica-doing-in-school entry. And maybe you learned something, and who doesn't love that? :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 269: Organic, organic, organic

Um, okay.

That exam was hard. Like I told my dad on the phone today, if I think something is hard, it's hard. And I only say that because I study my butt off and it's one thing for an exam to be good (meaning it really tests your knowledge and you have to know your stuff to do well), but this one was hard. There were a ton of mechanism and synthesis problems and that stuff takes thought. Real freaking thought.

For example, this is a mechanism: (similar to what was asked on the exam)

Scary looking, right?

Imagine having to come up with this stuff! In a 55 minute exam!

Anyway, I'm way worried there won't be a curve because he already gave us the bonus 5 points for the Steelers winning the Super Bowl. And an extra 2 point possibility on the last question. And I hate having to hope for a curve because that makes me sound lazy and/or unprepared. I wasn't. Te lo prometo.

However, I can promise you that if I thought this exam was hard, half of the class failed. Honestly. I know that sounds cocky but I study a lot more than most human beings and if I thought it was hard, people who don't study must have been dumb-founded.

So enough organic. Oh wait, no I lied. Next week in Organic lab we will be performing a thin layer chromatography. What does that even mean people? Science is making me sound crazy smart (even though I have no idea what's going on)

Okay, I'm done. I promise. I wanted to tell you fun things today (peroxides and free radicals and antioxidants and action potentials, oh my!), but I'll save that for tomorrow's entry so you're not overloaded with scientific fun.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 267: Exams galore!

I need to be doing Organic problems so this will be a quick update.

I had my Physics exam on Monday -- it went fine. It definitely could have gone better. I realized after the exam (while doing lab problems) that I totally messed up the last problem. I knew I had to combine the resistors, but I couldn't figure out how that related to the problem.

(An example of series resistors;
not my exam problem)

It wasn't until I did the lab homework did I realized what the heck I did wrong. I hope (like crazy) that he'll give me a good amount of partial credit for at least getting all the concepts and math (not the numbers, the math) right.

My Physiology lab quiz on Tuesday went fine. I still suck at Organic lab. It's just a lot of freaking stuff.

My Physiology lab quiz today was not what I expected. I may not have aced it, which is annoying. However, at least I grasp all the material, which is good. Anyway, cross your fingers for a 10.2 score.

Organic exam on Friday.

An alcohol dehydration reaction

I'm not feeling comfortable with all these stupid alcohols and ethers and substitutions and eliminations and stupid solvents but it's nothing a little (lot?) practice won't cure.

Oh, and this past Sunday? I ran six miles. Yes, six. It was pretty amazing. I don't expect to beat that but I think I deserve a little bragging. I mean six miles. That's a lot of freaking mileage!

Lastly, Chris Brown and Rihanna. Seriously? Chris Brown? And Rihanna? Dang.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 263: Labs and exams and a lot of work.

Next week is my first week of exams. Physics on Monday, Physiology quiz on Wednesday and Organic exam on Friday. Let's not forget my labs on Tuesday. I took some pictures of my Organic lab notebook to show you how much work goes into this ridiculous thing.

(This lab was 16 pages, one-side)

Anyway, I need to do a lot more studying before my Physics and Organic exams. I realized what my problem has been this semester. Last semester, I was scared out of my pants that I couldn't do it. In response to that fear, I studied all day every day.

Now that I know that I can handle it, I'm just not with it. I'm fine, really. Just by my standards (and compared to last semester) I'm feeling behind. Like way behind. For example, I'm usually a chapter ahead in Organic. That was the only class that mattered last semester so that might be why I'm feeling behind. I'm dividing time equally between all my subjects so I just can't dedicate all that time, I suppose. I don't know. Either way, don't worry Dad. I'll be fine. I'll get my act together.

Tomorrow (Saturday) I will be having another Physics dinner party. Dinner followed by me helping girls with Physics (I know, it still seems rather unlikely).

You should all check out Hungry Girl. This website is amazing. If anyone wants to get me the cookbook (hint, hint) just for fun I think I'd love you for life. And deliver your first child. And perform your appendicitis. Among other doctorly skills I will eventually acquire.

Lastly, I think you should all know today rocked. I made this recipe from Hungry Girl, found my camera memory card (that I misplaced because it's me), and sold these boots I bought off eBay (not the right fit). Sweetness.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 258: Go Steelers Go!

Why am I rooting for the Steelers?

Well, my old roommate is from the 'Burgh. And I love her. So there's that. And my awesome Organic professor, Dr. Red, is from there and he just wrote my recommendations for my summer applications. And he's also writing my recommendations for medical school. Oh, and he's adding 5 points to every student's exam (coming up next week) if the Steelers win. So, like I said,


Let's see, what else is there? I'm still helping those girls with Physics I. It's a great refresher so I don't mind. And we had a pseudo-dinner party last night before we studied so that was cute. Oh my gosh, one of the girls is half-Vietnamese-half-Chinese and she brought over homemade egg rolls! I asked her (this is for my family) if she could me some Lotus Root Salad (which is the most delicious and refreshing dish ever!) and she told me her mom knows how but she doesn't. I told her that to repay me for my Physics help, she should get it together and get me some Lotus Root Salad!

Lotus Root Salad

And for those of you that don't know, I have a library boyfriend. He works in the library so I see him quite a bit. We don't usually speak. We just make googley-eyes at each other. I think we're in love ;) But I'm telling you this story because we spoke the other day! He's got a great voice. I think we're going to fall in love (for real) soon. haha, totally just kidding.

Lastly, SIP for Chem 1 is going well. Except for the fact that the class is so full that I have to sit at the front. And I don't mean the front seat. I mean I sit below the projection screen so the class sees the notes and me writing down the notes.

This is not how our classroom is set up, necessarily, but the point is, I'm sitting below the shoe basically. So that's fun. I don't mind, I just want a real desk to write on, instead of my lap.

So that's all.