Semester 3 Grad School Reflection

This is coming out later than I wanted, but that’s life sometimes. In December, I couldn’t handle all the things coming my way, and for the two weeks of my winter holiday, I did nothing but play video games and watch old TV shows. I also watched The Matrix for the first time, binging the trilogy in a day before seeing the newest movie the next. I had a fantastic break, but now it is time to get back to work, starting with reflecting on this past fall semester.

Firstly, this was the semester that we went back to in-person classes. It was a bit jarring since my first year was entirely online. Traveling across campus was a weird experience for me, especially with all the people who ended up being out and about. It was nice seeing people around town, but at the same time, there was the usual nonsense that I’d come to expect. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, crossing streets without looking both ways because your head is stuck in your phone.

Anyway, the class that I took this semester was a cancer biology course. I learned a lot and was very surprised with the A I got in the class. The material was challenging, and I was not expecting to do well in those classes even though I enjoyed it. Of course, every time I would be in class, I would wonder how any species has lived without any massive catastrophe because biology is wild. One mistake can cause several problems in the long term, and you just have to hope that everything goes well. This really just proves to me the evolution is wild.

Next, I would like to talk about my research. Right now, I think it is going pretty well. I have some experiments in the bag, and I hope that I can get a paper out sometime this next year. We have some pretty remarkable findings that we just need to validate before putting it out there. I am very excited about that. It will be nice to get something out before my research has to slow again. The lab is currently trying to start up a colony of mice that will generate the testicular cancer phenotype that we want. Even though we are following a paper, which makes this slightly more straightforward, we will have to have tons of mice and lots of breeding before doing any experiments. At least while my experiments are slowing down, I can focus on my exams.

This year, the focus will be getting ready for my qualifying and preliminary exams. My qualifying exams are answering questions in writing and being a part of an oral presentation with my committee members. This is the next step in becoming a Ph.D. candidate. I have no clue what I could be asked concerning these exams, so I just have to do the absolute best I can. I’ll be spending the next 3 to 4 months studying; I wish myself luck. I will be learning all that I can on testicular cancer, male reproduction in general, and toxicology topics since that is the focus of my research. I’m just hoping that I can handle the craziness that will be a part of this year and make it through okay. I suspect that I’ll have a couple of panic attacks along that way, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I think.

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