Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on Fall 2012

This semester is finally over! If I ever sign up for more than five classes, someone please... punch me right in the face. This semester felt like a good slap in the face, with the amount of work I was  doing! While I've expressed some concerns before, I can't help but feel happy about this semester. It was stressful, so incredibly stressful, but the payoff was so nice.
Getting those good grades almost feels like Christmas came early, and Santa knew exactly what I wanted. But it's not like someone just handed me the grades, but rather I worked hard for it, and that feeling makes it that much better.
Am I gushing? I feel like I'm gushing!
At the end of every semester I always reflect, thinking back on what I could have done better or what I really wish I spent more time on while also considering what I did that was fantastic. I think it's a good balance, finding something to achieve while also acknowledging what I did so well always motivates me more for each semester.
Some of my favorite things from this semester// things I've learned:
Learning about Radical formations in Organic Chemistry. Are you ready for a nerd-gasm? Good. 
Radical reactions are thought to be the basis for many forms of cancer, because these reactions are spontaneous and can not be controlled. Like cancer cells dividing uncontrollably, once a radical reaction begins, it will not terminate easily. To explain the process, atoms have electrons in a space around an atom. When these electrons are stimulated with energy like heat or light, they will start to move around more, and will leave the atom. Atoms do not like to have an incomplete shell of electrons, so they share their electrons with other atoms to keep their shells full. In a radical reaction, two atoms share electrons that get excited, and  break apart, causing each atom to seek more atoms. Since atoms don't like having incomplete shells, they will look for other electrons to share, and will attack and bond with other atoms. This is what is being shown in the picture above! Okay, I'll stop now. 
Die Blaue Blume-- German for the blue flower. Way before the modern meaning of this colored flower, the blue flower represented "what people look for, but could never be found." It symbolized love and desire, and the quest to find it. While I can't say that the Romantik period was my favorite, I do love this symbol that they chose. I think I've never seen a blue flower yet, and the way it's worded... well why don't you read it? 
"Nicht die Schätze sind es, die ein so unaussprechliches Verlangen in mir geweckt haben, sagte er zu sich selbst; fern ab liegt mir alle Habsucht: aber die blaue Blume sehn’ ich mich zu erblicken. Sie liegt mir unaufhörlich im Sinn, und ich kann nichts andres dichten und denken."
In English: "It was not the treasures that drew me in so unspeakably, he said to himself. The blue flower was what lead me away from greed, and was what I seek. She is stuck in my head, and I can not think nor write of anything else."
Isn't it pretty? 
There were so many wonderful things in German literature, and while we did get through so much of it, there is always so much more to be explored. I'll definitely be checking out some more German poetry in the near future, even if I'll be reading it with the world's biggest German dictionary next to me...
More Orgo! Who's really surprised? I guess this is not necessarily something I learned but rather became more confident in. At the beginning of this semester, doing a synthesis problem scared me SO much. I was terrified at the thought of needing to know endless amounts of reactions, and knowing exactly where something would attack. I can't say I'm a master at it, but right now I'm not as afraid of these problems as I was at the beginning of the semester. The lesson learned here was to keep working through it. There's more than one solution to every problem, and some are easier than others, but it's not terrifying at all. It shouldn't be. So going into the second part of orgo, I know I can conquer it. I'll study this break, and I'll keep plowing ahead. Which leads me to the last lesson/photo...
If there's one thing I'm guilty of, it's finding life lessons in the show Scrubs. I take it to an extreme, that is probably not what the writers or creators of the show intended. (Sorry!) That being said, this was the first semester where I didn't do my usual ritual of rewatching all eight seasons of the show in a semester. It's weird, because I've done that since the very first semester I've been here, and I've missed it. There have been so many instances where my life has coincided with something happening in that show, and all of a sudden I know exactly what I need to do. So I guess I learned that I need to rewatch Scrubs every semester of college now. (Is anyone else saying weirdo right now? Because I know in my head, I am!) 

Anyway, that brings me to the end of this semester. I'll be heading home for the holidays tomorrow, with my car packed with multiple bottles of nail polish and an organic chemistry textbook. To anyone still charging through finals, good luck! To everyone else, thanks for reading! -- Sheilly

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