Monthly Archives: June 2012

TPark dreamin’ and the return of Commuter Tunes

With all the craziness happening in my life over the last couple of weeks (little sister’s high school graduation, getting my braces off, Foster the People concert, my cells getting contaminated, etc.), I’ve been slacking on Commuter Tunes. So today, you get three wonderful songs to make up for it. Think of it as my Canada Day gift to you.

Also, word on the street is that first year residence assignments are supposed to be coming out very, very soon (which means I’ll get to find out where I’m advising, too!). I’m beyond excited. As in, I’ve dreamt about Totem for three nights in a row. I need help.

Without further ado:

1) Nothing is Anything (Without You) by Wintersleep. Wintersleep makes me happy to be Canadian, and they even headlined at AMS Block Party a few years ago. Awesome.

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UBC SSC is the new Facebook

Seriously, I’ve spent waaaaay more time looking at the UBC course schedule than creeping grade 12 prom photos  over the last couple of days. While I’m super excited for second year (especially since being tentatively accepted into the Integrated Science program yesterday!), I’m starting to realize that this whole life-after-first-year thing has its ups and downs.

The good part of being in second year: taking courses you’re actually interested in. With only four courses I really have to take this year (hooray for IntSci and designing your own curriculum!), there’s tons of room to explore and get me closer to my B.Ev.

The crappy part of being in second year: you get last choice when it comes to course selection. Which means most 100-level electives will be full by the time you get around to them. There’s four spots left in a FNH course I want to take, and with two weeks until I’m allowed to actually register, the prospects look grim.

Hope course selection is going well for all you first years. I’ve been getting tons of questions in the Academics section of my blog, and while I’ve been trying to answer them to the best of my ability, it’s important to remember that I am not an academic advisor. Everything on my blog is my own personal opinion and may not apply to you, so make sure you take all of my advice with a grain of salt. If you’re still struggling with course selection and degree planning though, the best non-grain-of-salt advice I can give you is to read the UBC Academic Calendar. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but it literally has every bit of information you could ever need regarding your degree. Also, if you’re a science student, the New Students section of the UBC Science website is an absolutely amazing resource. Happy course selection!

PS: For your amusement, here’s my bit of research humour for today. Yes, these are the things I find on the Internet as I’m waiting for my gel to run.


Just one of those days

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go your way? Where a perpetual raincloud of klutziness and bad luck sits over your head and you feel like you’re the universe’s very own personal joke? Of course you have. Well, I hope that you didn’t have one of those days today. But even if you did, I’m about to make you feel better about it. Prepare to laugh at my misfortune, because today pretty much secured my position as the stupidest summer student in the lab. The events of the day:
  • Slept through my alarm and made a mad dash to the train station on my bike. Made me a little nostalgic for rushing to my 9 am lectures. There were no mountain views to calm my nerves, though.
  • Got my morning Grande dark roast. Proceeded to spill it all over my white shirt.
  • Arrived at work, coffe stains and all. Set up my samples on a gel. (Non-molecular biology savvy kids, this lets you see if cells are expressing certain gene sequences.) Ran the gel in the wrong direction. Note to self: DNA is negatively charged.
  • Made another gel. Loaded my samples. Ran it in the right direction. But I forgot to add the dye, so I didn’t get any bands.
  • Started making more samples. Put it in the PCR machine but forgot to close the lid properly. All my samples evaporated.
  • Admitted defeat and went to put my samples back in the -80 degree freezer. Accidentally knocked a box to the floor. Tiny, tiny tubes flew every which way and I had to scramble to pick them up before they melted. Also got some pretty severe freezer burn.
  • And on the way home, I stepped in gum.

Sigh. Well, at least I didn’t set the lab on fire, like another summer student apparently did last week (ethanol and Bunsen burners are usually a bad combination, just a FYI).  Also, I discovered this website today while running my first gel, which eased the pain a little. I even had a good laugh at all the posts making fun of the undergrads.

If you had a day as disastrous as mine, or if you just want to have your own personal dance party, please enjoy this song/video that is full of neon and sparkles and general awesomeness. Tomorrow will be better!

Translink’s got nothin’ on the TTC + Commuter Tunes #4

Nobody likes taking public transit. If I were to go up to anyone waiting at the UBC bus loop and say, “Hey, congratulations, here are the keys to your brand new BMW!”, it’s highly unlikely that any of them would reply: “Oh no thanks, I’d rather take the bus.” Vancouverites (especially UBC students) love to hate on Translink, complaining about the horrible service, inconvenient routes, and how the entire system shuts down if there’s so much as a snowflake on the ground.

But the Toronto public transit takes sucking to a whole new level. I don’t think I’ve taken the subway once in the past week without some sort of massive delay, forcing me to sprint to the hospital and sweat all over my lab coat. Not the ideal situation. Also, on Friday, Union Station (which pretty much every train, bus and subway in the city passes through) decided to do its Titanic impression and completely flood with water in the middle of the day. This shut down half of the subway system and caused absolute pandemonium for 9-to-5 commuters such as myself. Yeah, the dry, robot-driven Skytrain is looking preeeeetty good right about now. Oh well, at least we got some good memes out of it, right?

Two weird UBC-Toronto connections that happened to me this week:

1) The hospital I work at had a summer student meet-and-greet on Thursday where I got to talk to some of the students from other labs. As luck would have it, the first girl I started talking to just finished her first year at UBC. She was in Science One and lived in Totem, which explains why I’d never seen her before. We bonded over our mutual hatred for BIOL 140.

2) That same day on the way home, I overheard a girl on the subway bragging about how awesome her school is to her friends. As soon as I heard the phrases, “There’s a beach on campus” and “This one time, I saw Shia Labeouf”, I knew.

Also, here’s today’s song (bet you thought I forgot, didn’t you): Ho Hey by The Lumineers. Yet another gem discovered thanks to the Peak, which I can now stream on the go thanks to their nifty mobile app. Oh, iPhone, how would I ever survive my commute without you?

I want to get a Bachelor of Everything

For the past twenty or so minutes I’ve been sitting in front of my computer, staring at the UBC Science Year 2 Specialization Application (try saying that three times fast), and trying to figure out what three choices I want to put down. The top three B.Sc. degree programs that I would like admission to, the three subjects on which I would like to become an expert over the next three or more years… And quite honestly, I’m completely stumped.

I really love physiology, but my grades are probably not good enough to get in; borderline at best. Biochemistry sounds interesting, but it has more math and physics hoops for me to jump through in second year. Microbiology and immunology sounds awesomely similar to what I’m doing at work right now, which is intriguing. Psychology has always been super interesting to me and I absolutely loved PSYC 101, but I’m not sure how practical it would be. Biology has always been my first love, but it’s just general again until third year when I could enter a more specialized stream. This stress is threatening to make me drop out next year and become a professional Whistler ski bum. There’s just too many options.

And it’s not just science. I have so much interest in other subject areas as well, especially arts. I loved my first year writing courses, even though I was only really taking them to fulfill my Communication requirement. Now that I’m done first year and have more room for electives, I want to learn about world history, finally understand the economy, and revive my long-forgotten high school French (12 years of French immersion wasted…). I want to learn how to save the environment, use Photoshop like a pro and maybe dabble a bit in architecture. It just doesn’t seem like there’s any way I’d be able to fit all of the things I want to learn into one degree, let alone one that lasts four years.

I’m thinking I’ll create a new degree: the B.Ev., also known as the Bachelor of Everything (if you say it out loud, it also sounds like you’re saying “behave” in a German accent). With this degree, you don’t have to choose between physiology and environmental science, organic chemistry and astronomy, or even arts and sciences. No, the Bachelor of Everything allows you to learn whatever tickles your rainboots. Unfortunately, a Bachelor of Everything would require at least 10 years to complete, with double the average courseload every semester…okay, I’m starting to see why this isn’t the most practical idea.

Well, maybe I’ll just sleep on it for now and hope that the UBC Science Fairies will give me a stroke of insight in my dreams. Lovely blog readers, cross your fingers and toes in the hopes that by the end of the week, my degree path will be as clear as the sky on a rare sunny Vancouver day. As for the rest of you soon-to-be second year science students, I hope you’re having an easier time than I am with this–although if you’re not, at least now you know that you’re not alone.