Saturday, June 23, 2012

Freak Storm

The first Friday spent on campus felt just like any other day this week. Today we had our third lab in five days. The purpose of today’s lesson was to test the effects of DNA methylation. Methylation occurs when specific methylase adds a methyl group to its respective restriction recognition site, ‘protecting’ the DNA by preventing the restriction enzyme from binding and cutting it. To test this property, we again used gel electrophoresis. Theoretically, if methylase renders a restriction enzyme unable to cut the DNA, then there should only be one thick DNA band on the gel rather that several, spread out fragments.

During a lab, there’s a lot to be aware of manage at the same time. Most of the time we work on several parts on the lab at once. With so many steps, procedures, reagents, and hazardous chemicals to handle, we really must be organized enough to see everything the whole way through. Everyone is well aware of the fact that one mistake could result in having to start over major sections of the project, or worse. In the end, my gel produced incorrect results, leaving me to ponder which section of the 3-hour long process could have possibly gone wrong.

At 1 PM I had a floor meeting with our RA, so I left everyone else on the green and hurried back to my dorm. During the meeting we discussed and came up with activities we wanted to do as a floor. Starting next Friday, we have planned to be held in one of the undergrad houses. Because I haven’t been staying in my dormitory too much due to the murderous weather, I haven’t interacted extensively with my floor mates yet and I look forward to having the chance to get to know them better.
Frozen Lemonade: a lifesaver on any typical 100 degree day

My new favorite place to study
After the conclusion of the meeting, I headed back to meet everyone only to find them gone. Apparently, they had all decided to retire to their dorms for a while. Not wanting to be trapped back in the oven-like environment of the Grad Centers, I decided to hold a study session by myself at the Science Library (Sci-Li). The cool, quiet, and peaceful atmosphere inside the huge sophisticated library was just the environment I needed. I got down to business, and the next time I checked the time, three hours had passed! During this period, one of the many things I accomplished was to complete the online quiz for my class. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected. Not having been able to completely wrap my head around concepts from the book, I found myself quite skeptical. The quiz itself was just 6 lab-based questions, and it was no trouble. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed studying there on my own, and whenever I get the chance I plan to study there further—instead of staying in the dorms, of course.

Although we were predicted to have thunderstorms during the day, we saw no sign of it until early evening. As I went to meet David, who had just woken up from his nap, the wind picked up and the skies became more ominous—it was obvious a storm was brewing. It started to drizzle lightly; the rain felt very nice on my humid and heat-wracked body, and it was a welcome relief. As we made our way up Thayer, the storm picked up intensity, and we were bombarded by frightening flashes of lightning and thunder. We were lucky in that literally just seconds after we made it to the V-Dub, the rain outside became merciless. You could tell several students had been caught off guard by the rain, coming in completely drenched. Storms on the East Coast have a much different feel than back home.

From inside the V-Dub--its pouring!
Leaving the dining hall we got a chance to assess the damage. The storm had died down for the most part, put in the mere hour that it had rained, most of Thayer had become flooded and difficult to traverse. Upon reaching David's room, he discovered that he had overheated his laptop while napping, leaving it unable to function. Unfortunately, this means that he won't be blogging for the next few days--until he finds a new one, that is. I spent the rest of the night hanging out in his dorm, seeing that he had nowhere to go.

Tomorrow will mark our first weekend in Brown.

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