I'm writing this slightly sleep-deprived and sick but intellectually content. This semester has been pretty hard so far... IB Honors is a part of it but it's more so due to my schedule. Dr. Cheeseman was right when advising against the IB 270, CHEM 236, CHEM 237, and MATH 231 idea. I'm not taking CHEM 237 (I'm in a psychology class instead) and I'm already feeling the crunch of bio, chem, and calc. These 12 credit hours alone outcompete schedules with more credit hours last year. I think that the difference between intro-level and upper-level classes is that in intro-level classes, investing some time and studying will most likely push you to an A. In upper-level classes, you need to really grapple with the material before you can confidently say you've mastered it.
This isn't to say that this year is very hard; if I've learned anything in college, it's that it could always be much worse, haha. I've just had to put down a lot of time to get to the level of understanding of the material I want. Orgo's going well and is interesting because we're learning the answers to a lot of "why" questions: "why does a reaction occur the way it does?" for example. I have a hard TA for calculus but at least I'm understanding what's going on (I can't say that for the first few lectures this semester, though, haha). Psychology is very interesting, too, so I'm content there.
That leaves IB 270. The lecture material is still largely review but Professor Whitfield keeps it interesting by asking us questions that make us look at the material a different way instead of just memorizing it and moving on. I really like how we read a research article every week and discuss it on Friday. We're learning about the biomolecules and DNA replication and this week our article was a theory on the transition from a lifeless world to one where molecules were self-replicating (whether this constitutes life, however, was part of our discussion).
In lab my group has been planning how we'll do our crosses to test whether two genes in C. elegans are sex-linked, linked, or on different chromosomes (or more than 50 centiMorgans apart). For the discovery research project, my group is thinking about investigating chemotaxis... but it turns out that C. elegans has literally hundreds of genes for this. Looks we'll have to either choose a different topic or filter through the C. elegans genetic literature until we find a chemotaxis-related gene that doesn't need to be knocked out with 20 other genes to see a phenotypic effect.
I've got a lot of work but I'm very satisfied. I'm not wasting time with any of my classes and I'm happy with how much I've learned so far. I've gotten to know others in IB Honors better and it's cool seeing them outside of class, going through the same work I am but still joking around and being positive about everything. Being around people like that makes me realize I don't have much to complain about.
IBH students travel the world, publish research papers, and do all sorts of amazing things