Halfway There

I don’t care how¬†unoriginal it is to say this, but I legitimately, sincerely, wholeheartedly cannot believe that I will be a junior next semester. I’ll save the reflectioney bits for later, but I’ll say now that for as terrifying as it is that half my trip at Hopkins is almost over, I’m genuinely excited for the way my junior year is panning out. As basic major requirements start to wrap up this semester, the last two years of undergrad really open up to take all the upper-level electives you’ve always ogled at on the course catalogues.

Before getting ahead of myself, though, I want to go over what classes have been like this semester (more for my sake) and the ways they can inform my coming schedule. I think I changed my schedule a little bit since I first posted about it before the semester had started: this spring I’ve been taking Orgo II, Orgo Lab, Rise of Modern Medicine, Nervous System II, and Stars and the Universe. I threw in that last class pretty last minute – it’s taught by Adam Reiss, the 2011 Nobel laureate in Astronomy whose findings proved that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate – and I was planning on just sitting for a lecture or two and then dropping it. Long story short, I ended up coming to the rest of them, and eventually just decided to keep the course on my roster. It’s been a really fulfilling departure from the rest of my coursework, and space is something I used to be huge on in high school. The rest of my classes have been going solidly too. Aside from them, I’ve also stuck with research at my neural stem cell lab at the med school. But I think most of my time this semester, when I think about it, has gone into my history research. Over the semester, my profoundly intelligent and approachable mentor – Dr. Fissell – and I have been reading book after book on medical systems in colonial India during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s had a massive impact on the way I approach history and argument, and I’m really excited to say that what was initially a nebulous and somewhat-informed proposal is starting to turn into a very real, directed research effort. I’ll definitely be writing more about it soon!

Anyways, course registration for next fall was a couple weeks ago. Same drill as always. Had an idea of what I wanted leading up to it. Frantically materialized those ideas into a draft list the night before. Pressed register that morning at 7:00:01.5am. Went back to sleep. Woke up. Rechecked ISIS to make sure I didn’t dream the whole thing. Texted parents.

And bragged a little. I’ve been really lucky with my course selection pretty much every semester, and I ended up getting everything I wanted. So here’s a quick rundown of what my first semester of junior year is going to look like.

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Firstly, do note that my earliest class is at 12. I literally do not have anything in any morning. Which is kind of an issue, though, because I’m terrible at waking up if there’s nothing I¬†have to do. And that would mean that I’m literally conscious less next year. So I’m going to have to find morning obligations that will get me to wake up on time instead of consistently sleeping in till 11. I’m thinking that I’ll spend a good amount of time on Tuesdays and Thursdays in my lab before classes start, for starters.

So Mondays will be pretty nice. Just Biochem. It’s a premed requirement that I have to go through, but I think it’ll be pretty interesting as well.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are neuro days. I’m taking Diseases and Disorders of the Nervous System, for one. It’s taught by Dr. Hendry (who I have for Nervous System right now), and it has a different lecturer every class who is an expert in a specific field. It’s supposed to be a really solid class, and I think it’s one that would be directly relevant to what I want to do in the future. I’m also in Great Discoveries of Neuroscience, which I don’t know as much about going into it, but it fit well into my schedule and seems like a pretty cool, foundational course.

On Wednesdays, I’m taking this really cool course I found called Science and Technology in Slave Regimes. My research is kind of focused on this same idea of extracting voices from conventionally and historically suppressed groups, and it would be interesting to see how it’s approached in this class. Also, I’ve realized that after this current semester, I’m only two classes away from completing my History of Medicine major, which is awesome because it’ll let me focus on writing my thesis senior year!

And then on Friday…………………..I have lab. I have Orgo lab on Fridays right now, and yes while it definitely can be a bummer in some ways, it just feels amazing when you walk out of lab. Also, it was either Friday or Monday for my biochem lab, and I didn’t want to walk into lab blind. So Friday it is. I’ll live.

So, although it might change because I always end up changing things, that’s what my next year is starting to look like! As weird as it will be to be a junior, I can’t say I’m not looking forward to these lunchtime classes.

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