March 10, 2010 10:26 PM

Class sping '10!

Ah! So lately I’ve been pretty busy so it’s been a while since I posted. Soo much has happened. So spring semester is in full swing and almost halfway over and I have already done so much.

This semester I’m enrolled in 16 units (Chem 3B, 3BL, Physics 8B, Bio 1B and NST 199) and filled to the brim with sciences classes. So far this semester includes the most amount of class work (40 hours/week) since all my classes have labs, I have chem. study groups and NST 199, which is research is about 14 hours of work a week. At first it seemed impossible, but now I think I got the groove of things and it seems actually weird to have a lot of free time and I usually end up wasting it by sleeping or something. So I want to take some time telling about my experience in these classes so far.

Chem 3B is supposed to be a killer class….. but I don’t think so; it seems more like a moderate class. Not easy, but not too difficult. The material for the most part is pretty simple since the class is pretty much mechanisms and reactions. The only tricky thing is stereochem, but there is a limited amount. I feel like this class is much easier than Bio 1A which seems to have midterms that are just plain tricky and confusing. If you have a good memory and like puzzles than you will….dare I say it like chem? I think what trips people up is that they cram at the end, which by all means equals disappointment as this class has lots of material so as long as you stay on top of it than you should do fine. Don’t worry if you feel discouraged so far because there is always a chance to redeem yourself. I did pretty okay in Chem 3A where I was owned by stereochem and freshman laziness, but now after studying and buckling down I got an A on the first Chem 3B midterm =)

Chem 3BL is pretty cool as we get to do actual chemical reactions unlike 3AL which was just teaching us about the basics of how to use a chemistry lab. The only pain in my opinion is the NMR that we have to do for every lab. I have never met a person to this day who enjoys NMR….ugh!

Physics 8B is probably the worst class I have taken. The material is just not my thing. I disliked physics in high school and still do today! All I can say is that I can’t wait until April when I can be finished with physics classes forever.

Bio 1B in the beginning was soooo much fun. Feldman really made this class come alive. I had absolutely no problem waking up for an 8am lecture that was webcast! Feldman proved himself as being an excellent and interesting professor as he constantly filled the lecture hall and made people think critically about plants at 8am. He made me love plants to the point that I am thinking about taking some upper div Plant Bio classes. I think the only downside was that his midterm was pretty tricky and according to many people his class is not curved, which is kind of mean seeing as how the average was a 75. About last week we started evolution, which by all means is a pretty cool subject, but the professor could take a few pointers on how to spice up lecture since I stopped going and from watching the webcast it seems that the lecture hall got pretty empty.

NST 199 is independent research that I’m doing by working in the lab with a professor. The lab is in the ESPM department, but is more chemistry than bio. This class would count as an upper division elective for Moltox since I might double, but that’s another story that is coming soon!


Fabian Collazo | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (4)

Comments (4)

Hi! I'm interested in taking NST 199. I am curious how the enrollment is like and the likely hood of getting in. Also, is the work very rigorous? How do you split up your 14 hours a week? -Helen Ngo


Posted by Helen Ngo | 2010-04-05

Hi Helen! Well NST 199 is basically research for units and not really a traditional class. There is no lecture, discussion sections nor tests (well normally). To get into the class you just have to have a professor that you can do research under and than fill out the NST 199 form (at mulford), which you just fill out basic information such as how many hours a week you will work since 3 hrs/week is equivalent to one unit (I should be getting 4.5, but 3 was the cap for my professor grrr)and give a short summary of what research you are doing with the professor. You turn the paper, usually to the major advisor, and they sign it and give you a CCN for NST 199 and you just enroll using telebears. NST 199 just shows that you spent time on research and gained insight on material on your area of study (Moltox) and deserve to get units to count for your major. I spend about 14 hours per week and split it up by working on Wednesday and Friday from 10am-5pm. Hope this help and if you have any more questions about the major, classes or research feel free to post more questions! - Fabian Collazo


Posted by Fabian Collazo | 2010-04-05

Hmm yeah I have always thought that they should add more courses to the restricted elective list. I found my professor by going to the NST website under the faculty section where they have the contact info and description of the kind of research each professor does (I attached the link below). My strategy, which worked for me and a lot of my friends, is to email the professor and talk a bit about yourself and why you are interested in the lab. I attached a resume to the email as a way to give a professional feel (basically my info, degrees, classes taken, other research experience). Most professors, especially in NST, are pretty fast to reply to your email and if they want you than they often set up and appointment with you to meet them in person and have kind of an "interview". You usually don't have to give them a proposal as most of the time they assign you work to do under a grad student, which trains you in lab work. http://nst.berkeley.edu/faculty.html


Posted by Fabian Collazo | 2010-04-05

Thanks for the fast response! I am planning to use NST 199 as one of my restricted electives for the mol tox major. All the other electives are offered in the spring and the only one in the fall is ESPM 100 but it conflicts with another class x_x. I need to take a restricted elective in the fall in order to graduate on time. How did you find the professors you want to work with? Do you have to talk to them first or give them a resume and proposal? -Helen


Posted by Helen Ngo | 2010-04-05

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