Garfield’s Right | Henry C.

I hate Mondays. It’s always the worst waking up early in the morning for class, especially when one gets used to sleeping in over the weekend. You never appreciate what you have until its gone, and I would have given just about anything for another hour of sleep. I was so exhausted this morning that after dragging myself out of bed, I didn’t fully open my eyes until half an hour later during breakfast. It was a rough start to say the least. 

However, as much as I dislike waking up early, the SSP Class Activity session always has a way of cheering me up. This was the fourth week of SSP and, lucky us, Dr. Hall predicted it would be the most difficult and most intense week of SSP. My team began the day working on the on the procedure for running a steady-state assay for natural polypeptides to test our hypothesis and identify which substrate our protein has the highest affinity and specificity for. In this procedure, my team had to utilize our knowledge of steady state kinetics (and a bit of guessing) to identify substrate concentration and enzyme concentration. All in all it was a great way to start the morning with a challenging activity that required elaborate discussion and adaptability to stimulate the mind and remove that weekend numbness.

After this our Class Activity Session was not over, and Dr. Hall ran through some big picture objectives for our research paper, showing us how to properly create the Results and Methods portion of a JBC paper. He assigned each team a portion of the project to create a method and figure for, and then reviewed some with us after. Our first draft was quite a mess, but with suggestions from Dr. Hall we made notes as to what we had to correct and planned out an outline for the figures and tables in our actual final report. 

For class activity today we saw Molly, one of the Purdue TAs, give her presentation. She described her varied experiences from trips around the world to China and Europe to her favorite classes and experience with research in college. She gave us an in-depth tour of what has been important to her throughout her life and really gave us SSP students a better understanding of who she is. In addition, within her topics she weaved lessons and common themes that she believed would help us along our educational path. I personally took many of the messages to heart and will remember them for the coming year. Her story was incredibly inspirational and truly shows the perseverance of human spirit and how things will work out if we give our best and push our limits. 

Monday continued with the TA block at 4, and it was one of the most intense we’ve had throughout this program. My group had to write the lab report for last week’s remaining activities, finish the class activity, and work on the second portion of this week’s project. We struggled through much of it, often confused and forced to go to the internet or to our notes. On one of the portions where we were especially lost, we collaborated with another team and compared our thought process to theirs. It was actually incredibly productive, and everyone contributed to a solution that was plausible and seemed like a step in the right direction. 

This day was one of the best days of SSP and truly represented what the it is meant to be. A program that presents difficult challenges that forced the students to struggle and think. An environment that creates confusing situations to improve collaboration and discussion, A community that supports its participants to challenge their limits, expand their understanding, and broaden their horizons. 

My day isn’t done though. Still plenty of lecture videos to watch, quizzes to take, and rough drafts to submit. Maybe I was wrong about Mondays.