When the James Bond franchise added this film to its roster, I was a little bit amused. While the title of the film is actually based on a short story by Ian Fleming, the plot is completely disjoint from that of the film that it shares its name with. The title of the short story actually gives away a lot of the plot – quantum refers to the minimum amount of a discretized quantity, such as energy, light, or, in the case of the story, rest or respite. Apparently, Fleming was implying that his short story was about a brief moment of respite in the otherwise chaotic life of 007. This is an apt description of the next week for me since spring break started a couple of days ago. I have had so many irons in the fire for the past couple months and I’m really feeling the need for some downtime.
I’ve pretty much decided to stop attending lectures for my genetics course. I tend to advise against skipping lectures, since I think it’s probably the most important thing undergraduates can do in order to succeed. Ultimately, I concluded that it simply wasn’t worth the investment of time that was required. Since I have to leave work early in order to attend lecture, every hour I spend in class requires me to make it up later on during the week or on the weekend. We had an exam last week and, as I was reviewing the lecture slides, it started becoming evident that there really was no value added in sitting in lecture while my professor read the slides to us. Exam and quiz questions are either from the textbook or the lecture notes and there is absolutely nothing additional provided in class. I’m not too worried – the important thing is that I learn the material and lecture is more of an impediment than an enabler.
The second semester of biochemistry has been a lot of fun – we have our second (and last) exam in three weeks, which will cover something like 7 weeks of material. After that, the course will primarily be concerned with preparing research presentations that will be given the last two weeks of the semester. As long as I don’t tank the second exam or get stuck with an incompetent group, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty keeping an A.
I think this will be my last semester taking courses – I’ll have had physiology, a year of organic and biochemistry, plus genetics, which rounds out all of my premed requirements. Thus cometh the MCAT – haven’t registered yet, but plan to take it in early September. Last summer, I debated quite a while about postponing the exam and I am really glad that I made that decision. Physiology and biochemistry have really helped me understand a lot of the topics that I didn’t understand or hadn’t covered yet.
The last couple of weeks have been really rough – I haven’t ridden my bike in almost two weeks and have sort of fallen off the nutrition and rest wagon. But, the two months prior have been really great – I’ve been eating well and exercising on a regular basis and it really made a difference in my ability to focus, study, and keep ever burner going.
I made mention of this a couple months ago, but I figured I’d give a bit more detail. Back in early January, a good friend of mine hooked me up with a research group at a hospital. I don’t really want to give too many details, but the group is large and nationally recognized. It’s also ridiculously interesting. Right now, I’m only there for the next three months or so working with several others with a small part of an imaging study. But, hopefully after this part is finished, I’ll be able to get involved with something else there. I’m really excited about it and it’s been a great reminder as to why I’m doing all of this. If I hadn’t decided not to take the MCAT last year, I wouldn’t have had a chance to be a part of it.