I’ll be honest, my brain hurts. I just got out of my third cell physiology exam for the semester. The past few weeks we’ve been talking all about DNA. Lots and lots of DNA. What did we cover? I was expected to be able to address the following points in excruciating detail (this isn’t the test, just topics):
- So, that human genome of yours: what’s significant about it? Why? Say you find these things called haplotypes, or areas in the genome that are linked together, discuss those and how they can theoretically be used to see if you’re susceptible to a disease or not. Explain.
- How does your DNA replicate itself? Give all the nitty gritty details of what is happening to those strands of DNA. What’s binding first, what’s happening to the different strands… everything. How do those tiny little creatures called prokaryotes do it, how does yeast do it, how do you do it? Explain.
- So your DNA gets damaged. Then what? Talk about all those pathways. There’s a bunch. When to repair, and what specifically do you want to be repaired? How can you tell? How does it differ amongst different kinds of organisms, specifically humans? Don’t forget to talk about cancer. Explain.
- So how do genes in your body end up making those essential elements of your body that you need called proteins? There’s a code that your body uses to make those things. Discuss everything: where it starts, how it’s written, how it’s stopped, and how higher organisms can vary those copies that are written. Explain.
- So there’s this really important thing called differential transcription, or changing how you and somebody else can have the exact same DNA sequence but still look really different. Who, when, why, how, what … Explain.
- Here are a bunch of experimental techniques you could potentially run to see gene expression in the cell and what not. Know them all and when to use them. Explain.
I’m really fortunate to be able to say that I learned this in really great detail. Super great detail. Only in approximately 7 lectures or something. I can answer all those questions… and we’ll see how well I can answer them when I get my test back! Dr. Dan Kuebler is incredibly smart and absolutely flies in lecture. He ties everything together extremely well, so well that most students tend to have to listen to the entire lecture over again to get everything written down. Some are able to do it all in lecture, but that’s certainly not me. Dr. Kuebler really pushes me to work hard and to earn my grade, but more importantly pushes me to learn. Nothing is handed out. Although it definitely requires a lot of sacrifice, I can say that I am learning, and this class is probably the most interesting class I’ve taken at Franciscan. It’s taking everything I’ve learned in the sciences here and making it all come full circle.
The tests we take are primarily written and nearly all application. Not only do you have to know it, you have to know how to use it and when. This is not a matter of simple regurgitation. The first 1/3 of the exam is multiple choice followed by short answer and essays. Dr. Kuebler is generous enough to give us a light hearted question in the beginning of every exam, making it so we get two free points to start the exam. It helps to lower the stress a little bit… although, seeing how much cortisol (and potentially caffeine!) is in my blood may show that the pressure of the challenge ahead may be alarming. But, that’s why you just gotta work hard, prepare the best you can (and you’ll know if you’ve done everything you can do), and once you do that… go for a run after the exam to clear your head.
I’m thankful for my education. Up next: microbiology exam in 5 days. Just keepin’ on keeping on. God is good!