Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Adventure Time

Today was the second day of class, and we were already in the lab to begin with. The first lab was entitled “Measurements, Micropipetting, and Sterile Techniques”, which was designed to introduce/review basic lab procedures that we will be using throughout this course. We began with a review of the safety rules. Although these procedures might seem tedious, they are what keep lab results legitimate and the laboratory environment safe. It was also bolstered by a supplement protocol, or another lab experiment.

The students worked independently on the lab, an interesting change of scenery from past science classes, where everyone worked in groups and the teacher held our hands and guided us through the steps. The materials needed for today were all located on a central table, and we set and worked at our own paces. Ms. Hall and Colby gave us support, were very helpful, and answered our questions thoroughly. The first lab was basically micropipetting practice, which was reminiscent of the biotech class I took a few years ago at UC Berkeley. For the protocol experiment, we worked with calf thymus DNA, analyzing its properties by mixing it with ethanol to cause it to precipitate.

Even though today’s session held a fairly simple experiment, I still experienced the thrill of working in a laboratory environment. Furthermore, there was the novelty of working it on my own.  I also enjoyed the positive learning environment in our class. Although every student worked independently on the lab work, we students collaborated and mutually helped one another to accomplish their goals. Part of the first quiz this Friday is to know everyone, so during the lab everyone had a labeled sign by their work stand. After the lab we had a meet and greet session I learned most of my classmates’ names.

For lunch I met up with some Macroecon students. Despite the subpar quality of food at the VDubb, it has a great social environment where we can meet lots of new people and connect. After the meal David suggested going shopping at Providence Place again. I happily obliged since last time there, our exploration had been cut short. It ended up being just the old Brown I group again minus Nick. On the way there we could all share our experiences so far on campus.

When we returned from the mall, Kelly decided to get some exercise, which we all thought was a great idea. Originally I hadn’t thought much about using any athletic facilities on campus, considering the steep cost for student membership at $80. Luckily, Grad Center E, right in the middle of our dormitory complex, complete with a fitness  center and a TV, has open hours after 4 PM. Although it doesn’t have as much to offer as the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center, I think it is more than adequate for staying in shape and getting exercise. We worked out for about an hour—stretching, running, etc. before getting freshened up for dinner. Back at the VDubb, we were all ravenous and ate a lot, especially Kelly, who went for seconds and even thirds when the hall closed.

Since everyone was in need of clean clothes, we all decided to get together and do laundry at the girls’ dorm building. Honestly, as my first time doing laundry (away), it wasn’t a very great experience, but I survived. The laundry room was on the first floor, and had 3 washing and 4 drying machines, all small and dirty. With all of them running on quarters, I would’ve thought that the room would have quarter dispensers or some sort of money exchange. Unfortunately, it did not. After scrambling back and forth between dorms rooms we managed to come up with enough to wash three loads and dry two, splitting each use into different loads. While waiting for our laundry, we did homework and motivated each other. It was a fun way to end our exciting second full day at Brown, blogging and studying together.

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