Three days into the semester, I’m already pretty pumped about my schedule. As the semesters pass, you get to slowly check off basic requirements for your major or preprofessional track and take more and more electives that you’re really interested in. Don’t get me wrong – you get to do that as early as freshman year – but as you get older you get to take more and more classes that you couldn’t before because you need to take their prerequisites first. So I thought I would spend this blog giving you the rundown of what my classes are looking like this semester along with my first impression from having gone to each class at least once so far.
Probability and Statistics for Life Sciences
I do have to take one prob stat course for my neuro major, and there are about 929047032487 to pick from. I decided on this one because it’s tailored towards biology students. That means that whatever statistics we learn will be readily applicable to research and analyzing data sets in biology, which is actually super useful. And the professor, Prashant, actually seems pretty funny. I’m slightly worried, because this is technically my first math class at Hopkins, and I’m a junior. But fingers crossed.
Introduction to Computing
Both of my parents are software engineers, and I’ve grown up around code. But I’ve never touched it in my life somehow, and I decided it’s been too long. I do think that coding is doing to be a necessary language in a few years, and I really wanted to get myself familiar with it. I started playing around with MatLab and Python last semester to help we with my research on the med campus, but I think I really need to start at the beginning and learn this properly. This class is made for people like me that have minimal background in coding and focuses on using computing for data analysis, which is perfect for why I want to learn it in the first place. Plus, it counts as an upper level neuro towards my major, and I’m starting to see why.
Ecology, Health, and the Environment
This is an upper level history course, and after taking it I’ll basically be done with my History of Science, Medicine, and Technology major, which is pretty exciting. The course takes a historical perspective to look at the ways in which the environment has impacted the health of bodies in the Baltimore and greater Chesapeake area. My research interests have always been in the history of medicine, and this class fits in perfectly. The professor is amazing, and, I know this is small, but the class takes place in the history seminar room (Gilman 300), which has to be one of my favorite rooms on campus.
Easily the class I was most looking forward to and the one I’m the most excited about. This is one of the best courses in the department, and after our first lab I understand why. On day 1, we each were given our own sheep brain. We spent the day cutting into the dura, probing the sinuses, and then carefully teasing apart the inferior dura to reveal the 12 cranial nerves. It’s one of the coolest, most bizarre things I’ve ever done, and I honestly can’t wait to go on with this class over the semester.
Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
My lab at the med campus studies the dentate gyrus, which is a structure in the hippocampus responsible for memory formation in every animal that has it (including us!). The research I’m doing focuses on the quiescence of some adult stem cells we find in the brain, which is super specific and molecular. I wanted to zoom out a bit and see how this structure wires up in the brain and contributes to the circuitry of memory formation and retrieval. And so I’ve registered for this upper level neuro to get a better sense of the big picture with respect to the part of the brain I’m studying. From the first class, it actually seems really interesting.
I’m excited about this semester, because these are all classes I’m taking after deciding that each one can bring something to the table in terms of a skill I feel I need or some area I want to expand on or just sheer curiosity. It’s hard to be definitive about anything since we’ve only had 3 days of school, but it’s looking like a dope semester so far.