October 23, 2009
SO, despite all of the whining in my last entry, fall break turned out to be exactly what I needed: an unscheduled block of time on a relatively empty hill. My plan for fall break was to get caught up on a bit of work…a lot of work, and you’ll be glad to know that I am much less behind than I was before!
YESTERDAY it was a beautiful, soul-invigorating 70 degrees out, and for that I swear I won’t complain about cold for the rest of the year – my heart will keep warm from yesterday’s sunshine.
As promised, I depart with the second installment of my Hamilton escapades.
Our saga continues with the conclusion of a phenomenal freshmen year full of great friends, hard work, tons of fun, and new experiences:
College summer #1 looms up and rather than travel back to my home in the islands, I receive a summer research grant to stay on campus and investigate Microbial Diversity in Meromictic Green Lake, under my wonderful genetics professor, Jinnie Garrett, along with our fabulous microbe expert, Michael McCormick. The basic idea: The Green Lakes near Syracuse exhibit some unique and highly interesting chemical properties and we want to know what kinds of microbes live at different depths, and what kinds of respiratory methods they employ. Cool fact: About 22 m beneath the lake’s surface there exists a layer of purple bacteria! Purple! Stuck at a depth in the middle of the lake!
Summer at Hamilton is great; I get to play with high-tech nucleotide separating and DNA sequencing devices while my lab partner, Greg Ray, entertains me with the corniest jokes imaginable all day long. I miss Greg (now at Cornell grad school) and the awful jokes :(
Enter Fall Semester ’07
Let's compare the first half of my sophomore year to annihilation by nuclear warhead: why, yes, they are quite similar. In light of this, I decide I need to take a semester off pronto and live in the big, bad apple. New York city has captivated me down to my last fingertip...what a magical place full of sheer awesomeness! Clearly I will be needing to spend more time here (grad school, anyone?)
An aside now, for a school legend:
There is a great big, raised map of Hamilton in the middle of campus. If you step on the map at any point during your enrollment (or perhaps even prior to…prospectives, beware!), legend predicts that you won’t graduate in 4 years. Wah, wah, wah, silly superstition right? Well, I happened to step on the map as a freshman, oblivious then to the college’s wise ways. I am now a semester behind. Oooooooh, coincidence or Hamiltoncollegemaplegend destiny?
End aside, with the comment: just don't step on the map.
Farewell, New York, and now onward to a summer in Boston for my first, completely independent and self providing living experience. I work at Massachusettes General Hospital in a biomedical genetics research lab on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure and little is known about possible causes. The opportunity is golden. Noted self growth that occurred during my stay in Boston: I discover a hidden passion for onions (a previously despised vegetable) and become a master omelette chef.
At some point that summer, I officially decide not to pursue a career in research, AND I make a confident decision about Med school: Fascinating and rewarding though the field of medicine may be, I am not willing, at this point, to make the time and lifestyle commitment demanded of a doctor - there is too much else I want to do in life, I want to do it all!
But what does a premed student do when med school and research are no longer primary pursuits? Why, she switches to a Math major of course!
I have one more, vitally important thing to say about my summer in Boston: I read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Please go read it, right now. And I don’t want to hear anything about amoral selfishness or the evils of capitalism, just read it like a book and prepare to be inspired. Do NOT assume a predetermined negative attitude towards it and do NOT approach it as a controversial work of philosophy, just as a big, fat, juicy book. Dagny Taggart, you are my role model.