A Whole New World

By Taylor Veralli

Ugh, I’m just going to say it. Phage Hunting went from my favorite class last semester to my least favorite this semester. I dread the potentially 2.5 hours spent discussing gene annotation every Tuesday and Thursday. The professor and my classmates are honestly the worst, I don’t know what happened (I used to think everyone was great, but now they are just so lame). I sit in class just hoping it will end soon, just so that I can go back to my dorm and annotate more genes. To be honest I wish I had the foresight to drop this class and explore other options.

April Fools 🙂

In reality, the second semester of Phage Hunting is quite different from the first semester, yet still very enjoyable. Working in the lab was definitely fun, (I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t rather be there on most days) however, gene annotation (while tedious and confusing at first) is actually quite interesting. We all learned so many practical lab skills last semester, it was nice to learn the science of the genes that make up my little phage. As a class we were also able to learn just how difficult getting Windows and Linux operating systems onto a Mac. (On that note, my non-computer science major self feels like such a badass when running three operating systems simultaneously). The actual process of gene annotation is a rather tedious and repetitious after a while, but I’m assuming the end result is well worth it.

This semester is also interesting because I am literally watching, and actively participating in the picking apart and labeling of what became my child during the first semester. It is a really weird feeling seeing the thing you harvested over many long hours in the lab, just quantified into a computer file of just A,T,C, and Gs. Then multiple programs and undergraduates had to further analyze just what makes your baby phage unique. Honestly the whole thing is almost worthy of an existential crisis. As if this wasn’t unsettling enough, I also cringe with slight embarrassment at every mention at the name “Phatniss” because everyone is painfully aware at how obsessed I am with the Hunger Games.

Just to be explicit: I still adore this class and all of the amazing things that I have gotten out of it.

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