Sunday, August 14, 2011


Oh classes... what can I say? They are fast paced. Really fast paced. Before arriving I'd heard the first  class (officially titled Molecules and Cells) described as a biology degree crammed into 6 weeks and they weren't kidding.

The material isn't impossible, but there is just so much of it. Also, the sheer number of acronyms used is maddening. Our first test is a week from tomorrow and while I am not terrified of it I am very aware that I will definitely have to stay on top of the course materials between now and then. I do not want to be a crammer.

Having children makes studying harder both because of the amount of supervision/interaction they require and because of the time required to keep them fed/clean/healthy. Also not having my husband/coparent living with me doesn't help at all. But my father (thank goodness for him!) is now officially moved in (as are the kids) so hopefully I can neglect them this coming weekend without them actually being neglected.

Sorry for the tangent... back to classes. Molecules and cells is team taught and it is taught in a way that when viewed from a distance makes sense (nucleic acid -->genes --> proteins --> protein folding etc); however, when in class and taking in the information seems like a randomly jumbled mix of biochem and cell biology. The fact that you might have four different lecturers over four different classes in the same day exacerbates the condition. There is no real continuity between individual lecture sessions and it makes it harder to follow the overall narrative. The overarching structure of the class did not become obvious until I started studying this weekend (ie: by being able to look at the classes as a whole as opposed to studying the information from a single class or day's worth of classes).

But other than that, I don't really have any complaints. Of course I might after that first test, ha! I'm learning a lot, and it is staggering how many Nobel prize winners just one of our lecturers has worked with. I really wish I knew how much I needed to study the tiny details. We will have 2-3 questions per lecture hour and some of those hours have covered very complex biological concepts in intimidating detail.

Tomorrow is our first team-based learning (TLB) session and it starts off with our first graded activity of the term. I understand the concepts discussed in the sample questions and I've studied the lectures and notes of the material so hopefully I will do okay tomorrow. :)

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