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Mini I + Biochemistry TA

Ugh, it’s that time again. It’s time to be annoyed, frustrated, agitated, anxious, enraged, depressed, regretful, and sleepy. It’s exam time. What a cavalcade, what a veritable carnival of emotions that rush through, only pausing to let us get a glimpse before they dance on to their mysterious destination. Having been used to Monday afternoon exams and getting Tuesday off last semester, it made the exams more painful to have them in the morning, and on Tuesday – thus, not getting a day off. Having morning exams manages to make the day start badly and then get worse.

Don’t get me wrong, only having three exams back to back in one day rather than four is certainly an improvement, but when the subject material is more difficult, and the number of questions hover around 50, it takes away from the experience a little. There were only two highlights today –

1) Due to the content difficulty, the exam time passes quickly as you are busily trying to squeeze the maximum amount of time juice from each second (I know, it’s a curse and a blessing in disguise).

2) My friend brought “Hide and Seek” chocolate cookies. I know it sounds silly, but these cookies are incredibly delicious for some reason, and they remind me of growing up in India. They are absolutely amazing. If you get a chance to get your hands on one of these, do not hesitate. They are the cookie equivalent of moksha. Alright, the last was a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.

Something that I had never considered actually turns out to be quite a time-guzzler during exam weekend. This semester, I am a study group-TA for Biochemistry. As any commonly sensible and slightly lazy individual would do, I scheduled mine for Saturdays 12-2PM. However, during exam weekend, this means that I lose at least half a Saturday, studying and teaching material that I am definitely, in no way, going to be tested on. It also entails this unexplainable phenomenon where, because I studied Biochemistry, it feels like that counts towards studying for my exams. And it then becomes difficult to motivate me to study, which is just incredibly silly. I reproach myself every day for having the mental fortitude of a particularly whimsical squirrel.

In general, being a Biochem TA is a good thing, especially when you’re teaching a study group by yourself, forces you to not only review and relearn everything, but also to have a deeper understanding in order to be able to teach it. This means that not only am I refreshing myself on the material, but also I am making connections in a deeper and overall theme that I never did before. Indeed, it sometimes feels as if I am studying more for biochemistry this semester than I did last semester!

by Prakash Jayanthi, Class of 2014