[#2] – Chemistry 101 – Introduction to University Chemistry I

July 5, 2011 4 comments

Today’s post will be centered around my first ever university chemistry course (a.k.a. Chem 101).  In all honesty, Chem 101 was my toughest class in first year (barring Stats 141, which I will talk about at a later date) – I found it very difficult to make the transition from high-school chemistry to university chemistry.  Even to this day, I’m still not completely certain why this was the case; however, I do have a sneaking suspicion of where I went wrong, albeit not a definitive one.

A standard periodic table for a standard chemistry course.

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Preamble:

Chemistry (more specifically, inorganic chem) was always one of my stronger subjects in high-school.  I enjoyed learning about it all throughout my grade-school years, and even managed to obtain my school’s highest mark award for grade 11 chem.  Given this background, it should not be surprising that I was rather disappointed with my relatively poor performance in university chemistry …  The following should shed some light on the reason(s) for my discombobulation in this course! Continue Reading >>

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

July 1, 2011 4 comments

Although the saying: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” may seem trite and clichéd, I do believe that it is true.  I mean, an activity that comprises one third of our entire lives must have at least some merit to it!  Despite the ever fervent debates in the scientific community about the nature and purpose of sleep, most scientists will agree that humans need it in order to function efficiently and effectively throughout the day (or night for that matter).  Simply put, monophasic sleep is a paramount portion of our natural circadian cycles; something that has been ingrained within our evolutionary history for many millions of years.

 

Our natural biological clocks don't take lightly to attempts at circumvention.

 

You would think that, being the educated bunch that we are, we would know by now that a good night’s sleep is just something too important to pass up on.  This, unfortunately, is not the case.  Many people that I come in contact with, whether it be at school or elsewhere, seem to be lacking a fair amount of shut-eye.  In fact, it’s all too common to find people nodding off in class, on the bus, on a bench, etc.  Granted, the majority of us have very busy lives; busy to the point that we have to constantly put sleep to the wayside in favor of more stimulating activities such as studying, work, etc.  Incidentally, this is when ‘sleep-debt’ multiplies and grows until it becomes too taxing for us to handle.  Hence why we occasionally end up seeking slumber in the most unorthodox of places.  This is merely nature’s way of helping us deal with the inevitable (nature cannot be beaten!) Continue Reading >>

[#1] – Biology 107 – Introduction to Cell Biology

June 28, 2011 4 comments

This post marks the first of a series of posts in which I will attempt to analyze courses that I have taken in the past.  Each week, I intend to provide an objective review of every class that I have completed thus far in my University career; in the order of least recent, to most recent.  Let’s begin!

Cell biology deals with the microscopic aspects of life.

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Preamble:

Biology was one of my favorite subjects in high school; I found it neither too difficult, nor too easy.  Most importantly, I truly enjoyed the subject matter and possessed a genuine interest for the majority of the topics.

The ‘cramming’ strategy that I had mentioned in my first post had always seemed to work for me.  With that being said, it was my primary way of studying for biology tests. Continue Reading

An Introduction

June 24, 2011 6 comments

Hey everyone,

After much contemplation, I’ve finally decided to hop on the bandwagon -so to speak- and start an online blog.  My name is Brandon; I’ve recently completed my second year of study at the University of Alberta and am slated to begin my third year in September.  For all intents and purposes, I hope to share with you the insight, tips, and tricks that I have accrued throughout my undergrad (thus far).

A (not so) brief back-story:

I often look back fondly on my high school years; they were, for lack of a better word, excellent.  I was able to expend minimal effort and still maintain 95%+ averages in the majority of my classes.  There always seemed to be time to run in races (a big hobby of mine), and to play street hockey with my buddies.  Way back when, course marks were made up of half a dozen or so unit tests and we were given the option to exempt (and therefore not write) most of our final exams.  In other words, high school was extremely forgiving! Continue Reading >>