Student Blog The blog of William Woods University Undergraduate Students

1Oct/1313

Study Time

I cannot believe it is October already! We are well into classes and there are so many fun things to do on campus. This semester I am taking a Biology focused course load. I’ve got 15 credit hours, consisting of Microbiology (+Lab), Honors Genetics (+Lab), Honors Organic Chemistry I (+Lab), and General Psychology II Honors. You’re probably thinking yuck that’s a lot of science (I was too before classes started), but it is actually quite fun! I spend a lot of my time in the biology building learning things that I know will help me later on. Hopefully you’re taking classes that are interesting to you and make you want to know more. That always helps when you try to finally sit down and write a paper, or study for a test!

In Microbiology Lab, we're learning how to culture bacteria and grow them on a plate. We've learned different aseptic (strange word that essentially means sterile, who knew?!) to spread bacteria on a growth plate without getting other contaminants. The first thing we are trying to do is separate out two different types of bacteria that were mixed together so we can practice before we take samples from outside and isolate unknown bacteria. When I first started spreading plates, I was not very good at at it. One of the bacteria turns red at lower temperatures, so my first plates looked more like an elementary art project than a culture. Since then I've gotten a little bit better, but it is definately a work in progress.

We grow cultures on plates in this incubator! Right now it is set for about 25 degrees Celcius, which is room temperature.

We grow cultures on plates in this incubator! Right now it is set for about 25 degrees Celcius, which is room temperature.

Learning to culture bacteria in Microbiolgoy!

Culturing E.Coli Culturing E.Coli

 
Learning to culture in Microbiolgoy!

In Genetics Lab we are learning how to isolate DNA from cells so that eventually we can analyze its compostion. It is a pretty long process, and it is a little bit scary because you can't actually see what's happening. My professor always says it will be okay, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening. When you do isolate DNA it actually  looks like clear, very thin silly string!  Sometimes I wonder if I've actually done something right, but so far it has seemed to turn out alright (knock on wood)!

This device does a polymerase chain reaction that amplifies (multiplies) DNA!

This device does a polymerase chain reaction that amplifies (multiplies) DNA!

The NanoDrop analyzes the purity of DNA so we know how well we did when we extracted it from the cells.

The NanoDrop analyzes the purity of DNA so we know how well we did when we extracted it from the cells.

 

Before I came to William Woods, I was terrified that classes would get really hard and I just wouldn’t be able to keep up! I’ve found that the classes are quite challenging (as any college course should be), but there are a wide variety of tools available to help me succeed. All of my professors know me by name, and they set up office hours so students can get individual help outside of class! I find that going in and asking questions after class really helps me understand the material and I build relationships with my professors. There are also peer tutors available who have taken those classes before and learned from those professors so they have a lot of valuable advice. Every class I am in has a study group so we can all help each other study for tests. I also like going to the library to get some quality study time in to avoid the easy distractions in my room.

The library is a great place to study! This room is great for me because there aren't any computers to distract me!

The library is a great place to study! This room is great for me because there aren't any computers to distract me!

This is another great room in the library for group projects and computer assignments.

This is another great room in the library for group projects and computer assignments.

With all these tools and resources, I find that it is possible to be successful and my professors are here to try to help me succeed. I might have to pick studying for a test over watching a movie with friends every once in a while, but with effort and study planning there is still plenty of time for fun. When people say there is a big difference between high school and college they’re right, but some effort and time makes the transition really smooth. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a class that you really enjoy and then you’ll be able to say school is fun!

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