I used to really struggle in science classes in high school, and the topics were hard for me to wrap my head around. That is exactly why I decided to major in biology and minor in chemistry. They are a challenge and apply to so much more of the applicable understanding of the world as we know it. Biology is a fulcrum of existence itself.
I consider the major principles of biology to be evolution, cell theory, gene theory, and homeostasis. Throughout my time at Longwood, I have tried to understand a breadth of what each of these principles contains. I have mostly been interested in environmental ecology and anatomy as they pertain to evolution and environmental impacts. During my freshman year, I was encouraged to apply for a highly prestigious and paid program at our school, PRISM (Perspectives on Research In Science & Mathematics). It was a month-long hands-on research opportunity to publish and work with a professor on a topic of their choice. I went to Stubbs Lawn and put up my hammock one afternoon. In one sitting I finished my application and turned it in. A few months later I was accepted and honestly, I could not believe it. I got my top research professor and we were set to work on chemoreceptors in fish. My parents were so proud. Then COVID-19 hit. Our topic completely changed to combining open-source water quality data and fish data from local bodies of water (Briery creek and Sandy River reservoirs). I knew I was going to have to do it online. Honestly, it presented me with a lot of skills at such an early time in college that I am very thankful for. The parts of the program that I really enjoyed were getting to Zoom with actual ecologists and talking to them about what they saw as problems in their field. Finally, we produced a group final presentation and final paper to show to them. They loved it and really saw the potential and importance of the work.
While the ecology side of biology really intrigued me and came naturally while microbiology took some time for me to get used to. My fondest memories of the class were an hour before each lab I would go to the second-floor whiteboard and write down everything I needed to know for the very specific and meticulous lab quizzes every week. I aced them which made me really happy and proud of myself for doing well in this course. However, the tests were another story, they were hard and really specific. I was not getting the grades that I knew I could on these tests so I made endless Quizlets and meticulously studied for 6 days leading up to the exam. By the end of the semester, I was doing much better and had proved to myself that even if a topic complex I can still push myself to learn the material and be able to apply it. For example, I took what I learned in this class and presented an independent presentation on Antrhax and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Presenting is a strong suit of mine because I am really comfortable talking in front of people, so I really enjoyed this part of the class. Ultimately, glad to be done with this class and I am never looking back.
Since I want to be a dentist so anatomy and physiology really interest me. I loved A&P one even though it was a night class. I felt like I learned so much that I will be using for the rest of my life. A&P two was even better, we really dived into what anatomy really is and why it is that way. I really enjoyed looking at this from an energy perspective. We are a ball of energy that is constantly ebbing and flowing. It all works out in the end but the systems to get there are incredibly complex and intricate. A&P was six weeks long and I was so nervous to take this class because I was scared it would make my semester significantly harder. I had no choice but to take it then, I had just taken the first A&P so it was fresh in my mind. The professor was on maternity leave and would not be back until halfway through the school year. Most people ended up not taking the class, so that left eight of us. We learned the material before coming to class and during class, we would apply our knowledge through discussion of critical thinking. I got so much out of this class and was even able to include my own interest in oral anatomy. My final presentation in this class was on the health myth that charcoal toothpaste will make your teeth so much white AND is perfectly safe. The results were that while the toothpaste whitened your teeth it was taking with it visible layers of the enamel. This was super interesting to me because while charcoal toothpaste is not the best for your teeth it’s not the worst. It is best used in small doses, so once or twice a week is recommended. This class helped me become super confident in my ability to understand human anatomy and our evolution. Now as I prepare to apply for dental skills this knowledge has helped me study for my big test (Dental acceptance test/DAT).