Is Majoring In Biology Really Hard?

I get few emails and DMs asking if pursuing a Biology degree is really hard. The fact is it all depends, let me explain. Majoring in Biology is something you must want to do and not something you kind of want to do. That should be applied to everything you do in life, but definitely when you’re talking about getting a degree in a science or engineer program. Why? Because getting a degree in these fields require a lot of dedication and self-sacrifice to get. If you’re more worried about partying it up in college every chance you get don’t even attempt to try to obtain a degree.

Biology is a subject that you must retain information that must be learn. You can’t go through college just memorizing stuff here and there. You have to be able to use your understanding to formulate or solve problems in hypothetical situations. On the college level, be prepared for very technical material and lots of hard work.

I can’t stress enough to put in the hours studying. Most likely you’ll only will have to take four or five test a semester for a class. If you’re taking a class and not doing the lab that corresponds with the course, you’re doing it wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t get something in class, but when I did it in the lab it all made sense. Also be active with your professors. They might have other learning material or references that will help you. Get involve in the biology club and other events. There you can meet new people and can form up study groups and be strong support system for each other.

Obtaining a biology degree is quite the challenge. It was for me anyways, but it’s so worth it. Now I’m working in a research lab while obtaining my masters. The truth is the learning will never stop. Science is always ever changing and you have to stay in top on things.

So relax, study hard, stay dedicated and continuing to dream of where you going to be after you obtain the degree. Choose easy electives to help bump up your GPA. People from all over the world from different walks of life are able to obtain the degree. There’s no reason you can’t. The biggest thing is to believe in yourself and dream of where that degree can take you.

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Biology Questiones I Get Asked That Make Me Facepalm!

One thing I don’t like doing is talking about my job or academic subjects that involves my grad school courses because they already take up an enormous part of my life. When I’m out and about I want to do/talk something that’s completely unrelated. However, one of the 1st questions you’ll get asked when meeting someone new is: What do you do for a living? And here is when I give a gentle smile and tell the induvial I do research for a university, and pray I don’t get bombarded with crazy questions. Just to be clear, I’m not the type to put people beneath me because I think my job is more “prestigious” than others, but lately though I’ve been getting some crazy questions. Mind you that most of these questions comes from when I’m at a bar downtown with my friends watching football games or hanging out, but here are some of my favorite questions I got asked before.

A man around his 40s asked “That’s amazing my dude… Tell me though. What’s the boiling point for semen?” I literally almost spit up my vodka. What kind of research do you actually think I do at the uni?! What really got me is that this guy acted like he was genuinely offended that I didn’t know this and questioned my whole existence as a biologist. Put down that martini. That’s enough alcohol for you old man.

This girl that claims she was in human anatomy was talking about baby gender determination. It all went downhill when she asked this question. “If two lesbians have a baby, does it automatically come out as a girl?” At first, I was totally convinced that this girl was trolling me, but it became clear that she was dead serious when she was cursing me out and getting red because I told her that two lesbians can’t have a child because an egg and an egg can’t produce an offspring. Till this day I’m still confused on what the fuck happened back then.

At one of my coworker’s party I was describing how to do simple stoichiometry for finding out how much of a particular chemical is produced in some cycle. He then asked. “Oh wait! So .5 and a half are the same thing?” ……. Why yes ….Yes it is…Mr. Lawyer guy.

Anyways. That’s three that I find myself still shaking my head over. Sometimes very interesting conversations can come up, but not in these cases.

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Finals Week!

May… The month when most students are stressed the fuck out. Definitely if you waited last minute to try and learn everything at the end. Just completed my 1st semester in grad school, and I have to say I’m proud of myself. When I took a full time job back in August I really didn’t know how this semester would work out. However, I was able to attend college, work full time, stay committed to my fitness with crossfit, and keep a social life. Long days, but so worth it!

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Above is my friend Destiny going in hard on her studies. I don’t know how she does it, but she usually study 6 to 7 hours a night, take a nap, then starts her day. Pure dedication.

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Literally my best grade ever

For all the college students, I hope you guys did great on your finals. If you haven’t taken one yet, best of luck to you!

-JiNX-

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My 1st proposal to bring stem cell research to my uni!

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Above is the 1st page of 46 that makes up my proposal to start doing stem cell research at my work.  I’ve been working on it since December gathering all the facts I need to pitch this to the research department.

I have high hopes for this to get implemented, but like anything else, I sometimes get doubts. The budget is way more than the other projects we currently have going on here, so I’m hopeing they’re not going to get turned off by the cost. There’s plenty resources that would help us fund for this research. Other thing is you may of heard about the controversy around stem cells. You can create artificial stem cells without harvesting them for embryos, but Texas is a very conservative state. Politics may shoot my proposal down before it even have a chance. I believe the majority on the research board wouldn’t think like that, and it won’t be a factor. Lastly, I have a bachelor’s degree, and not a PhD. Top it off I haven’t been working here for a year yet. They may look at me and say I’m naive because I’m still pretty new, and the whole nine yards. The content of my proposal should silence the no-sayers on that issue.

I always overhear conversations changing the direction of the research here to be more ambitious. Even if my proposal fail, I believe it will get nging our approach  on the matter. Dr. Bennett looked over it and said I should definitely submit it, so by the end of this week it shall be done.

A huge thank you to my parents. They emailed, texted, and called me everyday to keep developing this proposal. I maybe live 9hrs away, but the support haven’t changed since I was a dorky 6 year old with my crazy ambitions. Also, thank you Bella, Clay, Anna, Rosilia, Liz, Jamie, Allie, Dr. Bennett, Dr. Lawson, Terrance, Terrell, Pat, Ju, Stephanie, Dr. Williams, and Jared for your direct support during all of this. I may be going overboard on the thank you, but I appreciate you guys!

Why Are Fewer People Studying Science and Engineering?

This is a great vid on why fewer people choose to study in a science degree. In the video he states that people think that you have to be a certain type of person to achieve a science degree. Truth is getting a science degree is tough for anybody! Check out the video below!

Why Are Fewer People Studying Science and Engineering?: http://youtu.be/uHzgdTPi2CM

Progress of my microbio bacteria research here at work!

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So the bacteria that I am currently working with is called C.perfringens and is a common soil bacteria that is also found in association with mammals as a commensal and sometimes as a pathogen. There are five serotypes (A-E), each associated with a set of different diseases and target organism which is either a mammal or poultry. C.perfringens is capable of producing up to 16 different toxins, although these are rarely expressed all at once. It is a saprophyte, so decays dead matter – hence most of its toxins are hydrolytic enzymes. The most common diseases caused by C.perfringens is food poisoning and necrotic enteritis (chickens).

It is also the fastest growing bacteria, with a doubling time of 10 minutes (E.coli’s doubling time is 20 minutes). It is an obligate anaerobe which makes it tricky to grow. I have to essentially streak it out onto TSC agar and then add a second layer of agar on top of that to create a highly anaerobic microenvironment. I also need to leave these microbes in an anaerobic chamber over night to completely remove any possible source of oxygen from their surroundings.

The final thing I want to mention is the TSC media I use to grow them. This media contains a source of sulphite which C.perfringens is able to reduce which is what causes the bacteria to show up black on these plates. They are one of the few Clostridia that can reduce sulphite, so this media acts as a differential media for C.perfringens.

-JiNX
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Why I choose to study biological engineering.

Usually when I’m out and about meeting new people and tell them I earned a degree in biological engineering I usual get “ew.” Mostly think I do it for the money thay this degree brings, which is not true. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Keep in mind that I was a C average student and nowhere near wanting to study biology. I had interest in the science, but I never thought I was smart enough to obtain a science degree. It was really a miracle that I was accepted into LSU. Like most colleges, LSU is set up where you can’t declare a major your freshman year. At that time, I really didn’t know what I wanted to choose as my major. That semester I took sixteen credit hours. Two of those classes were both the lecture and the lab for biology. I hated the lecture, it just reminded me of highschool all over again. In the lab it was a totally different story. I enjoy working with the equipment, making wet mounts and doing experiments. After awhile the biology lab is what I looked forward to every week. One day, I made a wet slide of a plant. I clamped the wet slide to the electron microscope, focused it and I was blown away! I could see all the green dots (chloroplast) moving within the cell. To me it was pretty damn cool to see the disk-like structure that is responsible for capturing light and using it to change carbon dioxide from the air we breathe into usable sugars for the cell in a process known as photosynthesis. Sitting around after class I finally felt like I’ve found what I want to do. Eventually, I would commit to biological engineering.

Getting this degree was definitely a journey. It consumed me and totally changed my lifestyle.  Like I said, I was never the really smart guy. I had to study my ass off and doing internships to get some experience when I got closer to graduating. Sometimes, I feel like it costed me relationships with my significant others at the time and weakened my bonds with friends and family. I was so stress during the semesters because there was so much to learn. In the end, it was all worth it. Now I’m working as a research assistant. I’m so blessed I get to say “I don’t got to go to work.” Instead I’m saying, “I get to go to work.”

-JiNX
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