Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Laboratories To Best Friends

I woke up this morning feeling more excited that usual. After eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, I walked to class energized, knowing today we were taking a fieldtrip. As soon as everyone arrived, we began a lecture on the administration of drugs, just before we were given instructions for safety in the research laboratories on campus. We were given cool looking safety goggles, then headed off to the other side of campus.

 Our first stop was at a microbiology lab, where a graduate student named Laura Anzadi gave a us quick lecture on bacteria. We learned about gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and how to differentiate and identify which is which. She also described just a few of the many viruses she studies, which we looked under the microscope in the lab. The laboratories were not as I imagined. They were pretty small, and not as modern as I thought they would be. Nevertheless, she did an amazing demo on how to stain bacteria and look at it under a microscope. It was pretty awesome to see pink and purple rods, mini circles, and clusters enlarged in the microscope, but shown large on the computer screen.

It looks like we're going to fly with these goggles!
We then headed to another research building, where we had a mini protein biochemistry lecture by another graduate student. It was hard to grasp everything she was teaching us, but I did enjoy looking at a protein in 3D. On the large projector screen, she showed a protein she created, and with some special 3D glasses on, the protein seemed livelier than ever.

Our morning ended with some chemistry demonstrations with a chemist who holds a PhD. My favorite experiment ended with a result of silver inside a flask. I thought it was really cool to see my own reflection. We had lunch with those who lead our demos in the lab, and discussed more about their science careers. One of them knew chemistry was his passion since high school and wanted to pursue it, while the others thought they wanted to do certain things in the medical field, but their minds changed towards the end of their undergraduate experience. I am now a bit skeptical of becoming a pediatrician, and reconsidering what I want to major in. I know I am only a junior, and my mind will change a million times, but this class is really helping discover myself more.

Next, we headed to tour three different laboratory facilities, which were beautiful! I saw many graduate students set to work in the fume hoods discovering molecules. These labs looked very modern and it was crazy to see all the different instruments and chemical test tubes around me.
Our professor's actual classroom!

Fencing is getting better and better each day. We actually got to wear the gear(the torso jacket did not feel as safe as I thought it would be) and fight with each other. I can tell you, fencing is pretty tiring, and it gets hot and sweaty under the super safe helmet. Although I’m still scared of getting hit with the gear on, I am enjoying this sport more.

I ended my day with a proctor group night! Our amazing proctor group went into a lecture hall, played Who Knows Their Roommate Best, ate a plethora of Italian food, watched Mulan, and I painted my nails.  My roommate Alexa and I have taken a lot of time to get to know each other better, and it paid off! We won first place, and our sweet proctor, gave us best-friend necklaces! Woot woot! I just loved the quality time we spent with each other and how much we have bonded.

A ton of pizzas, plus lasagna, salad, buffalo wings, and dessert!

The best roommate and proctor!
Our best-friend necklace!
I have had a wonderful day here at VSA, and I am ready for many of the adventures ahead of me!

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