The Thoughts of a Second Semester First Timer

By Matthew Brown

I didn’t learn about Phage Hunting until the beginning of O-week. I was attending a Biology Major seminar for Freshman when the professor giving the presentation mentioned that there was a Freshman only class called Phage Hunting that allowed people to gain research hours. The class sounded interesting and engaging and I eagerly went home and checked out the class on ISIS. Anyone know the probability of getting into a class with a waitlist of 20 people? Well, I don’t, but is not good. Due to this, I had to listen to my roommate and two other kids in my dorm talk about how much they loved the class and the wonders of being in a bio lab for a semester . . . I was not happy.

But then came the day we had to choose classes for second semester and I realized that the Tuesday/Thursday section had one open spot. One. The problem was that I knew of more than one student who wanted to be in the class. Was it even worth going for? For me yes it was. So at 7am on a Friday morning I chose my classes and to my surprise I got into the class, despite ISIS slowing down due to the mass overflow of students online. I was really excited because I finally had the chance to do a lab I knew that I would enjoy and that also would not cause me to use the devil that is Chem21Labs.

Unfortunately, the first few weeks of phage did not live up to my expectations. I wasn’t working in the lab and instead I learned more about how to install Windows XP onto a Mac. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, annotating comes along. Its not that annotating isn’t interesting, I actually find it cool, it’s just not what I envisioned when I signed up for the class.

Fortunately, I finally got to work in the wet lab. Despite making some really basic mistakes such as not working around a flame on the first day or letting an applicator touch the desk and then using it (stupid, I know —- Tegan made that clear), I was and still am happy. I am really enjoying isolating my very own phage and the fact that the lab is so relaxed is wonderful. Everyone is showing the same love for bio that I yearn to be around and it only excites me more. I’m upset that I only have one more week left with Phage Hunting because I have thoroughly enjoyed the little time I have had with it, (EXCEPT for paper discussions. I can’t say I have enjoyed or will miss them). I will miss this class a lot because I think it’s a great way to foster the love of science that a lot of kids come to Hopkins with and I would highly recommend that any freshman interested in science in the slightest take this class.

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About jhuphagehunters

JHUPhageHunters is the official blog of the phage hunting project lab of Johns Hopkins University. Supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as part of the Science Education Alliance, this freshman-only lab affords two dozen students the opportunity to dig in the dirt and isolate a phage --- a virus that infects a bacterium --- of their own. This blog does not represent the views of JHU nor HHMI, but is instead the musings --- and the occasional rant --- of a bunch of people fortunate enough to be able to mess about in lab for a few hours a week, learn a few things, and maybe name a phage.
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