I say after finishing finals every semester, but I can’t believe the semester is actually over. Gone are the days of developmental bio, plant bio, physics I, biotech I and IV, advanced stats, and bio seminar. It’s hard to believe it’s all over.
I can say with confidence that I’ve learned a lot of really important, life-long skills this semester. From biology seminar, I learned how to properly dissect a primary research paper. I put in a ton of hours working on the two papers we spent half of the semester on. There were times that I thought I’d never get the hang of it, but eventually, I did. I now have the skills that are required to tackle any major primary scientific research paper, which is a skill that I will use for the rest of my career in biology. From developmental biology, I became a lot better at understanding molecular biology; I’m still not a “molec pro,” but I feel much more competent while talking about things like transcription factors. Biotech I and IV and plant bio increased my knowledge of lab-based research, and physics and advanced stats reminded me that, though I don’t like to admit it, math and numbers are a major, important component of biology and biological research.
All in all, I had a good semester. There were definitely days of “I can’t do this” and “Why did I ever choose this major?”, but overall, I feel like this semester has helped me to think about applying what I’ve learned thus far in my major to everyday life in research and biology.
It’s weird to think that the semester’s over. But hey, I have a lot of rest to catch up on over Christmas break. Because when we return, it will be time for classes that are just as challenging – if not more challenging – than this past semester’s classes.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Everyone!!
To date, I think I’ve highlighted each class that I’m currently taking , excepting advanced statistics. For a third-year biology major like me, it is sort of strange to be in advanced statistics, which is a 300-level math class. Dr. Newton is helpful and fun, and I’ve made some friends in the class, but it’s still strange to be among a group of people who’ve all taken calculus 3 and “diff-e-q” (whatever that is) and a bunch of other math classes with fancy names.
But last week was, for me, probably one of the most interesting weeks I’ve had in that class. You see, we use a computer-based program called Minitab on which we run statistical analyses. Last week – yes, just one week before the end of the semester – I realized that the statistician’s term “reponse” parallels the biologist’s term “dependent variable” and that the statistician’s “predictor” is the same as the biologist’s “independent variable.” I had been reading along and comprehending the material all semester long while we were doing problems about the diets of “gummy ewes” and various types of beets in Australia, but it never really clicked until last week. Well, better late than never right?!
Though I probably won’t use Minitab or some of the math-based skills I learned from advanced statistics, I think it was still worth taking this class. I was exposed to the methods that statisticians will use to analyze my future research-based data, and I made some friends along the way.
You say “toe-may-toe,” I say “toe-maah-toe.” You say “reponse,” I say “dependent variable.” It’s really all the same in the end.
What has seemed like the longest, most difficult semester of my life…is finally coming to an end! As my final day of Thanksgiving break is beginning, I am realizing that once I get back I only have two weeks left! That’s just crazy! Although two weeks is a short time, I do have a lot to get done within that time, so I can’t be blinded by how close winter break is, I need to plow through the rest of the work and not just quit! Even knowing the amount of work these next two weeks are going to be, I still find it hard not to be excited. After I finish my final exam on Thursday December 6th, I will have five weeks of no classes! I’m sure after about two weeks it will begin to feel too long, but five weeks off sounds great right about now!
Winter break is so close! … Yet so far…