Cake or pie?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Well, my first week of classes is finished. Due to the inauguration, most of my labs were canceled, or didn't meet since Tuesday classes were canceled. Previously, I think I had mentioned that the classes I'm taking this semester are the second half of Anatomy & Physiology, General Chemistry II, Microbiology and Animal Biology. All of the lectures have met other than General Chemistry, but I am taking the same professor for it that I took for Gen Chem I, so there are no surprises there. I know what to expect when it comes to him.

My honest appraisal is that I like all of my professors and the one TA I have had so far. My animal biology lecturer is very straight-forward with his expectations, and very internet-savvy and connected. Responsiveness is always something that I appreciate from a professor. I know they may have 200 students per section of some courses, but I honestly like it more when they say "Don't call me, either e-mail me or stop by my office hours." Maybe that's just me?

The one lab I have that met was for animal biology, and the main thing we covered was taxonomy and getting reacquainted with microscopy... in this case it was microscopy of red blood cells of different animals. We did a blood count for leukocytes, which BTW was not a complete blood count or "CBC" by any means, we were told to count and classify the leukocytes until we hit 100 to make it easy to calculate the percentage present of each of the types, i.e. neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes and monocytes. My method was just scanning the slide from left to right, top to bottom until I hit 100, and my percentage observed seemed to be pretty close to what's expected.. which is always good, I suppose. I definitely noticed that the majority of the leukocytes present were neutrophils, over 60%. We were also given about twenty animals and one plant to write down the complete nomenclature from kingdom to species, and then organize them in a chart.

One of the questions in the lab manual asked which two species were more similar - human and a particular bat or a particular fish and the great white shark. It turns out the human and the bat are more similar due to both being in the Mammalia class. One funny thing was that the lab I signed up for meets right after the lecture on Thursdays, so when our lab TA was asking us questions, we were all primed with the right answers from the lecture, i.e. she would ask something like "Who came up with the current system of nomenclature used to classify organisms?" and the 1/2 the lab section said "Linnaeus. Next!" Just kidding about the next.

The other interesting thing about my animal bio lab section is that at my lab bench, 3/4 of us already have our degrees and came back to school for something else. Next to me, is the 1/4 who is an undergrad pre-med biology major. Across from me are two pre-dents, one a woman with a degree in business, a husband and children, and the other with a degree in English. I guess my table is the non-trad friendly one, all though there is another non-trad in the section at a different bench, I guess she didn't sit with us because we were all filled up by the time she strolled in. This is kind of an aside, but it doesn't seem odd to me that we tend to seek each other out, especially in the labs I've been in. My lab partner for general chemistry last semester was a non-trad pre-med like me, with a master's in statistics and she was 30.

My microbiology class looks very interesting to me. The professor is a virologist by training. We didn't cover much other than the rules of the road in the first meeting on Wednesday, but on Friday we got into the methods of how microbiota are named, by their shape (coccus/cocci, etc.) and arrangement. I learned a fun fact, "staphylo" originally comes from the Greek and means a cluster of grapes, so now we know why Staphylococcus aureus gets its name, the organism is spherical and arranged in an irregular clump like a cluster of grapes. The only thing that sucked on Friday is "The Hills" sat in front of me - three girls that talked the entire time, like they were giving a running commentary and I wasn't eavesdropping but I could tell it had nothing to do with the class. I actually care about the lectures, I actually care about not being able to hear, I actually care for once. I want to do well. I don't want to feel like a grumpy old man, especially when I'm only 28. Did I say something? Yes. I could care less what they think. For all I know, they're probably pre-med too, or pre-dent or pre-pharmacy. Hope it works out, but they should think about saving the socializing for outside of class.

My anatomy & physiology class looks like more of the same. We talked about what we're going to cover this semester and got into "the special senses" a little bit - vision, balance, hearing and all that jazz. The professor said she really likes the second half of the class more so than the first half even though it's about equal as far as learning new vocabulary, but the first half is really bogged down at the cellular level and the second half is more of a systems approach, and after the special senses, we'll get into the immune and lymphatic systems, the cardiovascular system, the urinary and the reproductive systems, and I'm probably leaving something out. Oh well, time to hit the hay, or watch Burn Notice and try to. :D

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