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Biology

Below are some of my favorite pictures from my Special Topics theatre course focused on the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Kentucky. This was definitely a trip to remember!


Stopping to take a lunch break at an Amish buffet with one of my roommates, Angela, while on the road to Kentucky. It surely is windy in Indiana!


The outside of the Actors Theatre of Louisville, where we saw five plays and attended a few workshops in just over a day’s time.


Taking a riverside walk in between shows. (And nope, that’s not the Mississippi – it’s the Ohio.)


My new favorite restaurant, the Down One Bourbon Bar. It has a 1920s theme combined with British elements.


Taking a selfie with a virus model at the Kentucky Science Center. Hey, I’m a biology major – what do you expect?!


Once a Cards fan, always a Cards fan. Taking a picture with Cardinal legend Lou Brock right after receiving my Louisville Slugger Museum bat, thereby ending the factory tour.

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I just about shocked everyone when I, as a junior in high school taking excess honors and college credit English and Spanish courses, said that I was going to major in biology. A few people laughed. A few people thought I was crazy. And some thought I’d never make it through.

And now, it’s just over two months until I receive my BS degree in biotechnology and physiology.

Biology wasn’t always easy for me. There were days that I considered quitting. There were days when I literally fell asleep in my textbooks. There were days when I thought I’d never be able to understand the mind-blowing concepts or work independently in a lab. Now, however, I’m technically finished with all of my biology course requirements, and I’m proving to myself a little at a time that I can work independently in a laboratory setting because, well, I am working in one for half of the work week. Don’t get me wrong – there are still days that I come home wondering if I’ll ever be able to “make it big” and leave my mark on science – but I’m realizing that making that bold decision to major in biology was well worth it.

What advice would I give someone who is thinking about going into biology? In short, biology isn’t just a program or a degree – it truly is a way of life. If you’re interested in learning about the inner workings of life, if you choose to study biology, and if you’re anything like me, your life will be made so much fuller by studying biology.

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On Monday I had the pleasure of turning my hands blue (Okay, this is totally an exaggeration, but still.). Also on Monday, I had the real pleasure of calculating my engineering physics grade after receiving my very first graded physics exam. Then Wednesday I spent 3 hours with the engineering physics tutor, before going to lab and letting my soon-to-be-an-engineering-major lab partner boss me around.

The other night, after I calculated my grade, I called up my Father, and he told me the story that I always like to hear in times like these, the one about him, my age, studying mechanical engineering down at Rolla. He told me once over break, after I got my Quant Grade back (C+…I survived…BAM), how the average GPA for guys there was, well, a C. And how they were pretty much okay with it because the stuff they were studying wasn’t exactly easy. During my phone chat with him a few nights ago, he once again told me about those Rolla days, and even though I was crying about my horrible, atrocious physics grade, I started feeling a lot better. As Father would say, I’ve been punched in the nose a few times this year, getting into these upper-level chemistry and math classes, and next year isn’t going to be any easier (helllllooo P-Chem!). And while for the past two weeks I’ve been really questioning why in the world I thought pursuing a chemistry degree next year would be “fun” or what kind of job I will get with said degree, I think I’m in the right place. I may spill indicator all over the place and turn my hands blue. I may have to get tutored in the hard classes. I may have to deal with being one of two girls in a physics class off campus with a bunch of engineering guys with big egos (For the record, though, my partner couldn’t remember how to say the word “Meniscus.” Take that!). I may have to settle with knowing that I worked my butt off and still got a C.

But I realized, when Dr. Paine-Saunders today handed me my Quant Lab notebook that Dr. Spudich had given her to return to me from last semester after a run-in with her on the Maryville campus, that all of the stupidity that I put up with this week on my way to becoming a real-live chemist (?) is worth it. Yes, holding my good old Quant Notebook in my hands made me remember how much my mind was blown every time by Dr. Spudich’s ability to figure out why one of our instruments was malfunctioning in lab, or every time I left a lecture. I may not have gotten the best grade in Quant by my old standards (and the same will most definitely be said about physics!), but I feel like I’m really learning this stuff and being challenged and inspired in new and exciting ways. And I really think that maybe I want to someday have some random college student write a blog post about me saying, “She was the toughest professor I had, but man, I learned a lot and for that reason, I think chemistry is pretty cool!” I want to inspire people with my knowledge, too. I want to challenge people. I want to be the one who knows how to fix the Mini Gas Chromatographs when they aren’t working. I don’t want to work in a lab in the chemical industry per se, but teaching…maybe that’s what I’ll do! Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt sheer admiration for all of the awesome instructors I’ve met since changing majors, from Dr. Bookstaver who told me to go into chemistry, from all three of my calculus teachers, to Dr. Spudich, to all of my biology teachers like Dr. Paine-Saunders. Having students admire and look up to me, too…that would be totally, totally, cool (I’m talking zero degrees Kelvin here, that’s how cool.)!

Who inspired you to take the path you’re on? What keeps you going when the courses get tough?

Have a spectacular weekend everyone!

-Carly

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Courtney

The Balancing Act

by Courtney on February 9, 2014

in College Life

I’ve recently come to the hypothesis that every college student is a circus performer. That is, while in college, one is balancing school, work, friends, family, and extracurricular activities. Up until this year, biology courses have dictated my life, meaning that my schedule was set. I’d go to school during the weekdays, come home to read countless chapters and finish assignments until I fell asleep (either in my books or in my bed – whichever was closer at the time), and spend the weekends catching up and attempting to get ahead.

However, this year is different. I’ve finished all of my required biology courses, so you’d think it’d get easier to balance out my schedule. Wrong! I’m actually finding it harder to do so. I’m working a lot more this year than I ever did before, so that means that most of my free time at school is devoted to tutoring and that I spend half of my weekdays in the lab, where it’s hard (sometimes nearly impossible) to get any studying or reviewing done, even during lunch breaks. I’ve been getting home later in the evenings due to work and classes, so, by the time I get home, it seems pointless to crack a book since I’ll literally just fall asleep as soon as I open it. Therefore, my homework is, once again, pushed off to the weekends.

Do I like this new balancing act? It goes both ways. I love having the opportunities to tutor and work in the lab more, which is something that the past three years didn’t give me a lot of time to do. And I am finding that I have more free time on the weekends to catch up on taped television shows. On the other hand, though, I miss the order and schedule that enveloped my life for the past three years. I’m definitely a scheduler – you should see my planner – so I miss knowing exactly how every day would be. I guess this year is a good experience in spontaneity, though it’s hard figuring out how to spontaneously plan out my days.

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Life without Biology

by Courtney February 2, 2014

I can’t imagine my life without influences from the hard sciences, specifically from biology. However, this semester, I have but one biology course, which is an independent study course that, though awesome in itself, isn’t exactly what I would consider to be exactly on track with my career intents. If you’ve read my previous blogs [...]

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“Back to School” for the Last Time

by Courtney January 20, 2014

This is my last semester at Fontbonne. Wow. Though it feels like I’ve been waiting for years to be able to say that, actually saying it feels strange. I finished all of my courses required for my various biology programs in December, so now I’m just finishing up my theatre minor and taking a couple [...]

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7/8 of the Way There

by Courtney December 17, 2013

The grades are now all in. The semester is officially over. And I have only one semester left at Fontbonne University. This semester was definitely different for me in many, many ways. First of all, I only had classes two days per week, and I spent the other days of the week interning in a [...]

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And You Say I’m Not Competitive

by Courtney December 2, 2013

I’m not athletic. I don’t relish in the idea of a trophy room. I’d rather see everyone who sincerely tries succeed instead of seeing the same few people being successful all of the time. However, all of that being said, I’m definitely excited to have taken home first place from my microbiology lab’s first Thanksgiving [...]

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My Favorite Things

by Courtney November 24, 2013

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a big “Sound of Music” fan. It’s a classic – don’t get me wrong – but it’s just a little too “overdone” for me. However, with Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to talk about a few of my favorite little things in life that simply [...]

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I’m a Poet

by Courtney November 10, 2013

Last week, while I was looking online for some microbiology information, I saw a blog-style article. Being interested, I clicked on the link to open the article and began reading. I’m a very opinionated person myself, and I respect others’ viewpoints so long as they have backing for those viewpoints, but I definitely didn’t like [...]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.