School starts Monday here at Purdue, so I’ve been trying to get organized. I’m still mildly terrified that this is my senior year. The last three years have gone by so ridiculously fast, and the idea that by December I will be done applying to grad schools is scary…especially since I’m still not sold on any particular places (If anyone knows great scientists studying the genetics and evolution of humans, let me know). Anyway, let’s focus on the present. Here’s what I have in store this semester:

BIOL 500 – Protein Expression (2 credit)
This class has two four hour labs that meet twice a week for six weeks (first third of the semester) and a one hour lab prep on Mondays. I believe all biology majors who needs lab modules have to take this specific one first. Proteins aren’t really my thing, but maybe doing something other than genetics will be novel.

BIOL 542 – Animal Cell Culture (1 credit)
This is another lab with the same format that meets that last six weeks of the semester. Unlike the previous one, you get to choose your other lab modules, and this has a lot to do with gene transfer and making mutant lines, so it sounded pretty neat. Oh, and since I got the lab for DNA Sequencing waived (since I’ve kind of been doing that for the last two years in the lab I work in), I don’t have a lab module the middle six weeks! Hooray!

BIOL 597 – Sex & Evolution (3 credit)
I have been waiting to take this class since I arrived at Purdue four years ago. It’s offered every other year to upper-class men, so that’s why I’ve had to wait so long. Evolution of sexual reproduction? Sexual selection? Mating systems? Human sexual behavior? This is going to be the best class ever. Not to mention it’s with a professor I absolutely love. I also accidentally signed up for the Grad student Recitation, but he told me to stay in there because I would like it better. Yay!

BIOL 441 – Biology Senior Seminar in Genetics (1 credit)
So, I honestly have no idea what’s going on with this class. It has a conflict with Sex & Evolution, and the prof (who I also like) said we could work something out to make up for missing the seminars. What I’ll be doing, I have no idea. I’m talking to him on Tuesday.

PHYS 221 – General Physics, Electricity & Magnetism (4 credit)
I apologize to all the Physics people out there, but – ewwww, physics. Sorry, but I’m really not a fan. Physics was okay in high school – I got A’s, but I found all the math parts insanely boring – but god is it bad at Purdue. It’s one of those huge classes with thousands of students where they don’t really care if you understand anything because they’re just going to curve it 30% at the end so the required amount of people pass. It’s ridiculous. It’s horribly boring and tedious the way they present it. I want to make it clear that I think theoretical stuff ala Elegant Universe is absolutely fascinating, but doing busy-work math problems is not interesting at all. Sigh.

BIOL 498 – Biology Teaching (3 credit)
Like I’ve mentioned way too many times (excited!!) I’ll be teaching a lab class this fall, Cell Structure & Function. Like all intro biology courses at Purdue, the name really doesn’t correlate to what you actually do in lab. It’s a hodge podge of proteins, genetics, evolution, anatomy, and random science skills. Oh, and lots and lots of gel electrophoresis. Lots. My first class is Tuesday, andI have to look over all the information I received about teaching the first lab. Oh, and ironically, my Grad student TAing partner (the two of us teach it together) is also a member of Non-Theists and works in our club advisor’s lab. Small world! Well, maybe not so much in the Biology department.

That’s only 14 credits, which is amazing. I’m usually at 16 to 18, and some of the credits this semester aren’t even taking place all at once, so I hopefully won’t go totally insane like usual. Of course, I’ll have other stuff to keep me busy:

1. Society of Non-Theists, woo! We’re having a ton of events this year, but those are always fun to organize.

2. Research. Trying to finish up two projects and have them submitted to journals before I apply to grad school. Will start working on my Senior Thesis and basically whatever else I can cram in before I graduate.

3. A fun development that I think is awesome – I was suggested by both of the Biology counselors (yay) to a Professor who’s creating a new class. It’s going to be a lab class for honors biology freshmen that gives them real hands on experience with research and teaches them how to think like scientists, rather just go through cookbook experiments to learn the required skills. This semester I’m getting paid to help develop the curriculum, and next semester I’ll be TAing the class! I am super excited about this. I want to be a professor someday, so this is perfect for me. The freshmen labs also need a lot of improvement, so hopefully I can help to make them a better experience.

Still, the fact that this is an easy semester for me should really illustrate what an overachiever (aka, how crazy) I am. Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging away. I consider it a break from the insanity. Oh, and I’ll be hanging out with friends and stuff…right. Have to remember to actually have a social life. I bought season football tickets mainly so I go out and do something every couple of weeks – I could care less if Purdue wins or loses. Yeah. …I think this post pretty much illustrates why I’m probably not going to have a boyfriend for a while.