A Kameo Appearance

Just a third culture kid's musings on Baltimore, Biomedical Engineering, burgers, and everything in between. *Disclaimer: Not everything discussed within these blogs begins with the letter B.

Month: November 2016

Dear Prospective Student

Dear Prospective Student

I’m not going to lie to you: my brain feels a little like mush right now. It’s the first day of Thanksgiving break and I just finished a round of 3 midterms (and a quiz) this morning. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this or what the purpose of this little letter is. As a member of Hopkins Interactive (HI), we’re told from day one that HI is designed to give you, the prospective student, a real insight into the world of a Hopkins student. Whether it be fun activities, classes, grades, majors, or whatever, we strive to make these posts so you can read them and paint an imaginary picture of the world at Hopkins and in Baltimore. Today I want to touch on the topic of exhaustion, because I don’t think it’s discussed nearly enough on here – and it is an ever-present part of life, not exclusively at Hopkins, but any college anywhere.

This exhaustion is by no means a bad thing – honestly, I feel incredibly accomplished after making it through a round of exams or a pile of work and into the weekend (or, in this case, Thanksgiving break). What is important is for you to realize and understand that it exists. There will be days or weeks that utterly drain you, and if there aren’t, then that’s probably a good sign of needing to re-evaluate the amount of work being put in. Believe me, I’ve been there. There will be times you’ll get back to your room, collapse on your bed, and sleep for longer than you’ve ever slept. There will be times that you’ll spend multiple days, weeks even, either in the library or in class and nowhere else* (if you’re like me, you’ll be in the Brody Reading Room). It’s both humbling and difficult. The difficulty though, is the kind that you push through to reap the rewards, because every time they’re absolutely worth it.

*I’d like to add a disclaimer that I’m taking a heavy course load this semester, and that this level of studying is by no means a (very) regular occurrence for other people.

I wanted to take a second to tell you this, because just as all the fun, friends, clubs, and independence is a fundamental part of college life, so are the exhaustion, work, and long nights of reading your textbook.

I’m out. Be back in a week.

Kamran

Organic Chemistry: Debunking the Myths

It’s November 1 – which is absolutely insane. This means three great things:

  1. Thanksgiving break is less than three weeks away and I finally get to go home.
  2. It’s fall and the weather is cooling down, which is awesome.
  3. I’m a solid ¾ of the way through my Sophomore fall semester.

Now, as a pre-med (and for my BME requirements), this is the semester I was required to take the class that everyone seems to dread: Organic Chemistry. I just took my 2nd of the 3 midterms for Orgo last week. In the midst of the course right now, I thought I’d be in a prime position to layout myths perpetuated about the class and tell you if it really does live up to it’s insane reputation.

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That right there is 6,7-dichloro-hept-2-ene. And people told me I’d never use Orgo…

Myth 1: It’s the hardest class you’ll have to take.

False.

Don’t get me wrong, Orgo is a difficult class. It’s inherent difficulty comes in the fact that there’s just so much material that needs to be studied. In terms of actual concepts, though, the class isn’t significantly harder than anything else you’ll have to take. If anything, it’s easier than what’s to come as you move towards upper levels.

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Myth 2: It’s all about memorization.

False. 

A lot of people try skating through Orgo purely off of memorization alone, and a lot of the time, those are the same people that call it the hardest class ever. The fact is, memorization will only get you so far. Where in Bio memorization worked because it was straight facts, Orgo is rooted in concepts that need understanding to be applied.

If only I was, Aunt May...

If only I was, Aunt May…

Myth 3: It takes a lot of time.

True.

This is the one truth about Organic Chemistry that everyone agrees on. If you don’t dedicate the time this class warrants, you will fall behind. Personally, the class has completely changed the way I study, and I’m actually all the more grateful for it. Its the first real wake up call of college that shows you how you need to work to do well.

At the end of the day, Orgo is a class we all inevitably have to go through. I can tell you one thing about it with certainty though: it’s made out to be much harder than it actually is.

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