200 Days in the Life of the College

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Put to the test, he comes prepared

By Rebecca Behrens ’11

Sam Silverman ’14 has just matriculated at his first-choice school and is about to take his first major exam in introductory biology. It is a class he is required to take for his intended major in neuroscience.

Silverman has long been interested in the sciences. In high school he completed an independent project that studied whether completing jigsaw puzzles could limit memory deficits in people with mild cognitive disorders. The research sparked Silverman’s interest in neuroscience. He now plans on attending medical school, but doesn’t know whether he’ll focus on practicing medicine or conducting research. For now, he wants to continue neuroscience research and plans on applying for a summer research opportunity at Hamilton.

Though he admits afterward that his first science exam was harder than he expected, he feels he was well prepared. He notes that the biggest difference between high school science exams and those in college is the predictability of the format. His high school exams usually consisted of multiple choice questions, whereas today’s exam consisted of many short-answer questions, four of which the students had to create themselves. “College science courses,” he adds, “are much more hands-on in terms of laboratory involvement, which enhances what students gain from the lecture element of the course.”

As for Hamilton’s science professors, Silverman raves, “They are awesome.” His biology class has read articles written by the professor teaching the course. “Meeting the guy who writes one of these is a cool experience,” he says.

But despite Silverman’s love of science, his favorite thing about Hamilton is that, in his words, “You can literally take whatever you want.” He can take part in a wide range of classes and activities while still being able to focus on neuroscience and biology. Hamilton, he says, “is the greatest place on Earth.”