Tuesday, 28 September 2010

First lecture

Currently listening to: Have You Seen Her Face - The Byrds

There's a first time for everything...including a first time for actually turning up to a 9 AM lecture. Not the nicest way to be eased into final year, but those carefree days of midday starts seem to be a thing of the past. All things considered I really didn't have an excuse for not turning up this morning, so grumpily I hauled myself in, picked my usual seat three quarters of the way up in the lecture theatre (far back enough to look uninvolved, but not too close to the noisy tools who sit on the last row), and tried my best not to fall asleep.

I was pleasantly surprised though since the lecturer has improved a lot since last year, such that I was actually very interested in what he had to say. The lecture was about flavin containing monooxygenase deficiencies, focusing on Fish Odour Syndrome (oh alright, scientific name: trimethylaminuria) which is caused by defects in an enzyme called FM03. FM03 normally breaks down a compound called trimethylamine which is found in choline rich foods by N-Oxygenating it. In FOS patients however, the enzyme is defective so TMA isn't metabolised, and is released in that unfortunate person's sweat, breath and urine...basically giving off some pretty unpleasant fishy BO.

Anyway, my lecturer was in the research team that discovered the mutation that causes FOS, indeed part of our reading for the lecture is the journal article he co-authored in Nature detailing the research (for the uninitiated, in the science world getting published in Nature is a very big deal, so I was suitably impressed). I suppose this was really the first time I realised (as naive as it sounds) that my lecturers and all this stuff we study actually does have a real life application, and a pretty important one at that.

Anyway, the main difference this year seems to be the lack of textbooks. Apparently setting us journal articles to read instead of textbooks is par for the course and is just part of life in third year. The only problem is that scientific journals are not very friendly. They're usually written as blocks of texts with no paragraphs, in small print, and to top it all off they're written by seasoned scientists for seasoned scientists, not lowly undergrads. In short, it's a learning curve I'm going to have to surmount. But all in all it was a good first day, let's hope Thursday's Endocrine Physiology lecture is just as interesting.

It's good to be back.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Quote for third year

Currently listening to: Stronger - Kanye West

" A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at."

- Bruce Lee

Even though things didn't turn out as expected last year, it's time to leave that behind. This is a new year, a new chance and since third year is worth 60% of the entire degree, there's still everything to play for. With that in mind, I'm going to concentrate on the future and do my best to get that 2:1.

First lecture: Human Genetics & Genomics...final year starts in 12 hours.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Back in E1

Currently listening to: She's a Lady - Pulp

I can't describe how awesome it is to be living in London again. After three months of being on holiday, I was bored stiff, so I was really happy when I finally moved back to London yesterday. So happy that I chose to go out in the evening rather than buy groceries, hence why I have nothing in my fridge!

Anyway, this post is just to let you know that normal service (i.e. lots of moaning and grumbling) will shortly be resumed. Classes begin at the end of the month, and the timetable has already been released...this semester I will be taking Human Genetics, Endocrine Physiology and Molecular Clinical Microbiology, in addition to my Project Skills coursework module. Two 9 AM starts which is a bit annoying, but oh well, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, eh?

I'll be striving for the all important 2:1, and as my adviser keeps telling me, she knows plenty of students with far worse grades than mine who managed to get a 2:1 or even a 1st just because of the fact that 3rd year is worth 60% of the entire degree, hence there's still everything to play for. I am looking forward to the challenge. Amongst other things, Imperial College do an awesome MSc in Immunology, and I fit the entry requirements perfectly (2:2 or above). The plan is to finish my degree with a 2:1, then spend next year studying a masters course whilst applying for medicine. This is by far the most interesting masters course I've found so far, at a great university and with decent entry requirements.