Thinking back on my second semester at McGill, I find it both difficult and easy to select defining points of my experience; in four months time, an inexplicably large amount of things tend to happen. Almost like a roller-coaster ride, I felt as if I had been gliding through the peaks and troughs of any university student.
The central trough, of which I speak, is most literally Montreal’s weather which I certainly did not expect to remain at below negative thirty degrees on end, but I digress. To say second semester was not an incredible learning experience would be a lie. Having been volunteering at the Cristescu lab at Stewart Bio has been a hallmark of my experience here, working on both Daphnia DNA extraction and mutation accumulation lines, and researching Daphnia lineage mutation rates as a result of environmental factors (metal concentration in lake water, in our case). My work there has certainly spurred my ambition of becoming a research physician, as well as give me a greater appreciation for research altogether.
Surprisingly, I was taken aback by some of the things I had learned in a course many life science students take as an elective – PSYC 101. The interplay between my textbook theories and real phenomena was astounding, and I feel as if this was one of the few courses that I could apply on a regular basis; learning about human reaction and brain mechanisms has been influential on how I am now able to work with others in group-oriented scenarios.
I plan on continuing my research endeavors, as well as delving further into the realm of neuroscience, having had my curiosity peaked.