Friday, July 6, 2012

The Last Hour

Finishing our three week journey as a class with a bang, we nailed our presentations. It was more than the in-depth analyses all around that impressed me. Jody was also impressed. Jody Hall privately told our TA Colby that we were the best class she'd ever had, and our whole circle beamed with pride between bites of pizza as Colby, sitting beside us at lunch, divulged this juicy tidbit. But behind the smiles, there was sadness. It was the last time we were eating Antonio's together, and the memories from lab and the far greater amount of time we spent outside the class setting came flooding back. Luckily, the tears did not.

I remember getting to class early for our last day and discussing our figure presentations with the only other student that had arrived, when Jody walked in. She asked us if we would have been able to interpret these same figures on that first day of class. It wasn't until then did I reach the incredible realization of how far we’ve come. 

Walking into the first lab day, I was clueless to DAPI fluorescent staining, xenotransplants, multipotent htMSC cells with osteogenic differentiation, and their immunomodulatory properties. While this course didn't teach me all these specifics in three short weeks- an impossibility and grand impracticality- it instilled in us a far more valuable ability. As they say, it's not what you learn, but how you learn. We weren't spoon-fed data; instead there was an emphasis on the process. The skills sets we picked up allowed us to absorb and dissect high-level research information, then communicate the significance to our peers. 

I already anticipate how helpful this elevated understanding will be in college and in the workplace. Learning mechanisms are far more efficient when they encourage independent thought. With this awareness, I realize that the model is incorporable. How do we foster an environment (back in WCCUSD) that promotes this kind of guidance? Once students have had a taste, they're thirsty for more, and it's our shared duty to ensure there's more to offer in our classrooms. 

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