Monday, June 18, 2012

Left the Nest

Since 8 AM was relatively late compared to our recent early rising hours, I had no trouble setting off for the first day of class and finding my way to breakfast at the V-Dub. Navigating the BioMed building, parts of which were under renovation, was a little more difficult. Nonetheless I found my way after exploring the area with Sarah, my floor and class mate, and other students we met along the way.

My first impression of the class was that it was very small. Very different from the eighty-something students in last summer's class at Cornell, this class of under twenty was also a great deal smaller than the biology courses at Hercules High.

Our instructor, Jody Hall, is an Associate Professor of Brown's Division of Biology & Medicine. I was very glad to find her very approachable and great at explaining concepts. Completing the dynamic duo was our TA Colby Jenkins, who just graduated from Brown last month.

He was hilarious, cracking jokes in between the Powerpoint presentation and orchestrating the icebreakers. It was also reassuring to know he was rooting for the OKC Thunder and not the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Most importantly, the staff at Brown seemed extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Besides the Fire Safety Director whose office Tayler and I randomly wandered into, and who then helped me track down my misplaced ID in the cafeteria, Colby volunteered his time for an impromptu open office hours. There he explained some of the review material and tried to get us caught up on topics our schools hadn't covered. Seeing the range of subject knowledge in our classroom was interesting. Some students have never taken a biology course, while some complete the teacher's sentences.

Anyways, office hours was also an opportune time to be introduced to the SciLi. This was completely different from the more conservative atmosphere at The Rock (Brown's John D. Rockefeller Library). While many know the tower as the "ugliest building on campus”, inside is a very interactive environment, especially past the third floor. The SciLi is much geared more towards collaboration, with great meeting spaces, conference rooms and boards for diagramming. Our meeting room had calculus equations scrawled all over the glass walls.

I have an upcoming quiz on everyone's names in class to look forward to, not to mention our graded pre-exams to be handed back. A test on the first day was definitely unexpected, but thankfully, it wasn't a big deal. Our professor was only trying to determine where we are as a collective and which topics are pressing for review.

Besides class and office hours, I also enjoyed a refreshing round of yoga before dinner. It was on the intense side, but pretty much everyone was sliding and laughing on the slippery wood floors of Sayles Hall and we had a lot of fun. My floor mates and some guys from the building next door were planning on organizing a morning run, but it turns out Brown beat us to it. The last great discovery of the day was that the awesome gym facility I'd been staring wistfully into all yesterday across the courtyard,  through my barred windows, is actually accessible to summer students after 4 PM.

1 comment:

  1. A GREAT commentary, Kelly. Very informative and an enjoyable read. I especially liked your analogy of the skill levels of your classmates.

    If you get a chance, when it’s appropriate, maybe you can snap and post a few photos of your classroom, lab and instructors.