One of my profs and I occasionally chat about his curriculum. This was his first year teaching at IU East and he’s still fine-tuning his style. The main roadblock he runs into, and I can totally understand, is that a lot of his students have a very nonchalant, sometimes completely ambivalent, attitude towards the course material.
One thing I suggested, for when he teaches Organic Chemistry next year, is to draw in real-world examples to help illustrate and provide context for the material. I call this “contextual learning” (there may be a more official title for it, but I wasn’t an education major, so I’m just going to call it that). Continue reading
In a week and a half, I am graduating.
I started my undergrad, back in Pennsylvania, when I was 18 and I am now 28. I am what admissions refers to as a “non-traditional student.”
I’ve been to five institutions, across three states, changed majors six times, and this will be my second and third college degrees: first was an A.S. in Accounting, the second and third are A.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Natural Science & Math.
This is really exciting for me, as I’m sure you can imagine. Not only because it’s my undergrad, or because it’s been ten years in the making, or even just because commencement will probably be really exciting — it’s just the whole idea of finishing something. Continue reading
Below is a copy of my term paper written for my Cell Biology course. I wrote it in a slightly less-formal style of scientific journalism, but didn’t spare on the technical details. Feedback, good or bad, is appreciated.
The Effects of the Consumption of Methylxanthines on the Adenosine Receptor System
Every year, humans around the world consume an estimated 10 to 20 billion pounds of coffee. (Gale) While some may drink it for the flavor, one can imagine it is probably the psychoactive stimulant, caffeine, that is the puppetmaster, beguiling we Americans to consume 200 mg (approx. 2 cups of coffee), and our northern European counterparts, up to 400 mg, every day. (ibid) For most people, it provides a useful mental edge: sharpening their focus and providing a subtle kick-in-the-pants of chemical motivation. Caffeinating over that sharpened-edge, however, can lead to disorders of sleep, anxiety, and even a jittery anxious quasi-hallucinatory state known as “caffeine intoxication”, all noted by the DSM-IV. (ibid) The other dark side is the silent escalation of tolerance to caffeine’s beneficial effects. Prolonged, regular exposure of caffeine can set up the consumer for an uncomfortable withdrawal period, ripe with headaches, myalgia, fatigue, and anxiety. (Ramkumar et al.) Continue reading
I had a meeting today with two Profs from the School of Natural Science & Mathematics; Dale & Errol. Dale is “that Biotech guy” (a gross understatement ), and Errol is a prof in Chemistry (incidentally, he is also my prof in Chem this semester).
Our meeting was the result of a casual chat I had with Errol regarding Grad school, my future career, and what I need to do to make it happen. Quite honestly, I have the desire but am completely blind with respect to what I need to do. Errol suggested I meet with he and Dale to discuss this in more detail.
I suppose I should back up a little bit. Continue reading
It’s midnight, and I should really be sleeping, but my brain is hyper-alert right now. I think it’s the chocolate cake we ate for dessert. Or maybe I’m just dehydrated, I don’t know. This has been an interesting week so far.
My third straight week of biking was this morning. I have only missed one day, and that was because I got my first pinch-flat. (Rear tire wasn’t inflated enough and I went over a bump a little too hard and it popped the tube). Fortunately for me, Mark & his family were able to come over that evening for dinner, and he helped me do my first tire patch. Exciting! It rides great now. i just have to keep the tires better-inflated; comfort be damned.