Education, Research, Science

The Challenge of Novelty

Hello again, and happy September!

It seems like my posting is now becoming monthly, instead of weekly – and for this, I apologize! Research has been keeping me busy, along with other things. By the time I finish my work for the day and have dinner, all I want to do is relax! (And study Japanese, which I’ve been determined to make time for in the evenings as consistently as possible.)

Continue reading “The Challenge of Novelty”

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Education, Science

How to Read Scientific Journal Articles

During my researching and reading for my thesis project proposal (which I should finish soon!), I’ve come to realize that my ability to discern whether a given paper will be useful has improved a lot since I began graduate school. Before, I would have to read a paper in its entirety to figure out if I need it or not, which puts quite a few hours of valuable time down the drain.

My first semester in the program, I had a lot of papers to read each week for two reading-heavy courses, and I found myself struggling to keep up some weeks more than others. I spoke with professors and classmates and did some Googling to get some ideas of how to read long and/or dense papers more quickly without losing understanding of the material, but the biggest teacher has really been simple: just read more papers. This was one of the first pieces of advice I received, but at first, I wasn’t convinced it was very helpful. Why would reading more papers help if the sheer number and length of papers I had to read was what I was struggling with in the first place?

Continue reading “How to Read Scientific Journal Articles”

Education, Science

What Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Courses Don’t Teach You

Hello again!

I apologize for the lack of posts as of late. I have been adjusting to a new routine of lab work in the summer, as well as working on a proposal for my upcoming thesis project in the fall semester. I went home for some vacation time – only 4 weeks – and I have been slowly plodding through a cold I managed to catch (probably while I was traveling).

Since returning to the lab (more regularly at least than during the previous spring semester), I have come to realize that learning in a lab is different now, as a graduate student, than it was when I was an undergraduate student. That’s what I’m going to talk about in this post!

Continue reading “What Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Courses Don’t Teach You”

Education, Science

Top 10 Tips to Boost Your Learning

Back in 2015, I took an online course on Coursera called “Learning How to Learn” but didn’t get a chance to blog about it. It’s a wonderful course; it taught me lot about how the brain works when you’re learning something. In light of my current pursuits in neuroscience, learning is one of the many topics I am interested in (along with neurodegenerative diseases, mood disorders, and motor neuron diseases).

The course is free, and you can check it out anytime! I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to improve their ability to learn new things.

I made PowerPoint slides for each of the four weeks in the course to help me take notes on the course material. Instead of sharing these slides here, I decided to put together a short list of the most helpful bits of advice.

Here we go!

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Education, Science

So You Want to be a Scientist

I began my graduate school program in August of 2016, and I’ll be finishing at the end of the upcoming fall semester this year, in December 2017. I’ll be graduating with a Master’s degree, in Neuroscience.

In this post, I’ll be talking about what I have learned in the program so far, in terms of skills and things I have had to get accustomed to. I’ll also briefly list out some reasons why I decided not to go to medical school.

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Education, Science, Sketchnotes

How to Sketchnote Science

Hello!

I have been researching and working on my own sketchnotes for quite some time, and I’m still trying to get the hang of it. Last semester, I tried sketchnoting to help me study in my cellular metabolism class. I kind of went through an “evolution” of sorts, where my formatting and style completely changed as I tried new things.

Check out the gallery below to see my progression!

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Education, Science

Biochemistry Manga? No Way!

In light of my newfound interest in biochemistry, I decided to find some books to read so that I can learn more about the subject (namely to study for the MCAT). There are dozens of books on the subject, I’m sure, but I find that when it comes to chemistry, I need something more than an ordinary textbook. (The only exception to this is Dr. George Klein’s two-volume organic chemistry book series, “Organic Chemistry as a Second Language” and his organic chemistry textbook. I highly recommend these to all organic chemistry students; they are a life saver!)

I recently came across  this manga guide series that features titles like “The Manga Guide to Physics” (wish I had this last semester!) and “The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology.” There are others as well, including “The Manga Guide to Biochemistry,” which particularly excited me!

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Clay Crafting, Final Project, Science

Polymer Clay Science Presentation

Here is my final presentation about polymer clay and the science (mostly chemistry) behind it. My shareable component for my presentation can be found here. (It’s my polymer clay crafts blog, where I post inspirational creations, tutorials, videos, and pictures of my own work!) Also, here is a PDF with my references that I used for this presentation.

Click on the slide to go to the presentation!

Capture

I made this presentation on SlideRocket. It’s free to use, and easy as well. (Although I must admit, the number of available themes were lacking.)

Enjoy!

Design

Ambient Noise, Restaurants & Creativity

Have you ever been in a productivity slump? Try studying in a coffee shop!

A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at how ambient noise affects cognition, mainly with respect to creativity.

According to the study, moderate levels of ambient noise (around 70 decibels) actually helped the performance of the subjects in creative tasks, such as brainstorming ideas for a new type of mattress. (Here is a list of sounds and their decibel levels, as a source of comparison.)

Apparently, moderate background noise actually helps people think more creatively and abstractly because it provides enough distraction. Interesting, right? Usually, we students are told off for getting distracted! (Here is the full study, if you’re interested in reading it!)

If you’re interested in getting ambient noise without leaving the comfort of home (or dorm room), check out this nifty little “coffee shop background noise” website, called Coffitivity. It does sound repetitive in some places, but the goal is to not focus on listening to the noise, but to have it in the back of your mind as you’re working.

Give it a try! (You’ll be surprised about how much work you churn out. I sure was!)