Hello all! The conclusion of the first week of classes motivated me to write my thoughts here.
I'm working at some of the requirements for the IBH major, which include calculus II, organic chemistry, and of course the first IB Honors class: the evolution of molecules and cells. My first IB 270 class surprised me in how different the class was from any other I had taken before. Having about 18 students makes a surprising difference in that we're given options that just aren't possible for larger classes.
Take, for example, the fact that we were all given keys to the IBH rooms. I hadn't bought the textbook for the class by the time the first reading was assigned, so after dinner on Tuesday I walked to the Natural History Building, unlocked a door, and got to work using one of the textbooks present in the same room I would be lectured in the next day. As I was nearing the end of the reading, a girl called Phoebe joined me and got to work as well.
The next day, the lecture material wasn't as intimidating as I had thought it would be; it was review from previous biology classes I had taken but now there was a different approach: why is this important? I feel science majors sometimes get the label of just memorizing countless facts from their textbooks and regurgitating them for exams. Here, though, our lecture was placed in the context of the scientific thought of the time and how ideas progressed from Darwin's suggestion that "gemmules" accumulated in gametes and how phenotypes were blended to our current understanding of chromosomes and exceptions to Mendelian genetics. Ok, ok, so that wasn't all in one lecture but by the end of Friday's lecture I felt that I understood not only the material but also why it was important.
My intimidation, I suppose, was made up for with the research project we have for the semester. Producing novel, interesting, and important original genetics research seems quite scary for someone who not too long ago was one of the youngest students at the university (excluding those crazy-smart 8-year olds who go on to become doctors before they can drive). Original research always seemed so far away, like something I'd be doing during grad school or maybe even later. But maybe I feel this way only because I have nothing to base these ideas on. Maybe it's intimidating only because I've never really tried. We'll see.
Outside of the academics, though, I'm excited for the community feel that IBH has. On the first day, Dr. Cheeseman introduced us to the room we were in (and had keys to), pointing out things like the printer, the speakers that could play iPod music if someone was studying in the room, the projector that could technically play DVDs if we wanted.... I feel like IBH is much more than just classes. I'm looking forward to getting to know better the students who surround me during lecture and who I will very soon share a lab with. I know three people who are also in CHEM 236 with me, so IBH study sessions are imminent. The possibilities abound...
Looks like it'll be a good year.
IBH students travel the world, publish research papers, and do all sorts of amazing things