Tuesday, January 7, 2014


First day back in school! 2014 here I come! Well it's certainly been an adjustment going back to school full-time after being gone from full-time status about a year. I'm trying to be careful about not overwhelming myself with units, but there are so many interesting classes to take. I want to take advantage of all my time here. Working and Studying both full-time made me miss being involved in student government like I used to be last year and I missed the social activities and getting to take lunch time electives. So I'm taking full-time classes no! I'm not joking either! Right now I have 18 units, which is typical for students in my program. Though I'm trying to keep the end goal in mind and really try to take the classes that I need to graduate and really help me with patients, than just those that interest me for fun.
I've read that for every unit, you should set aside 2-3 hours to study depending on how well you want to do or how hard the class is. I'd say 14 of my units don't require studying because they are electives or residency where I just show up for the hours. That means I need to reserve 28-42 hours per week to study! That's like a full-time job, not including the 14 hours I spend in class! My first priority is to focus on the classes where letter grades are required instead of P/F grades. I calculated that I would need to Ace about 12 units to have a 3.5 GPA by the time I graduate. I'm willing to work for it. And then sort them by the number of units. So from my schedule this would be the priority:
  1. Pharmacology
  2. Genomics
  3. Research I
  4. Population Health
  5. Pediatric Nutrition
So today was my first day back. Some of my classes don't start until next week so today I only had Genetics. It is such an interesting class. One of the points I found interesting was that concept that carcinogens violate the rules of the building blocks of DNA. DNA replicates and when carcinogens come in, they disrupt the replication, creating something that wasn't meant to be. The other interesting concept was about relationships. Yes, genetics is about relationships on more than 1 level.  It takes a relationship to pass genets on from one generation to another. And it was fascinating to learn that there is a relationship between the molecules in DNA. There is an attraction whether it be a literal chemical bond, hydrogen bond, or just an attraction between molecules, the point is that there is something holding them together. What's interesting is that if you add heat, those bonds break down and come apart. It's also like human relationships. When they go through some "heat" a lot of them break up. I'm really grateful for a supportive spouse who's been great about making room financially, emotionally, and mentally for me to go back to graduate school full-time. He's even reminded me of when too much is too much. Really, I couldn't have it any better.
Since I've decided to apply to the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program, I've become interested in genetics. My interest in development & behavior leads to my interest in genetics. Many of the children I work with have rare genetic disorders or chronic disorders due to a gene anomaly. I'm also interested how in utero our genes adapt (epigenetics) to our environments.
This class is two parts and next Spring quarter I'm excited to take the class and here all of the exciting research and professors at UCSF who do this kind of work!

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