My Biochemistry StoryJanuary 03, 2019 - 5 min read 🍵🍵🍵
Biochemistry - A branch of science that explores chemical processes within and related to living organisms. By using chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists can understand and solve biological problems.
The journey of completing my degree at the University of Waterloo shaped me who I am today.
During the last year of high school, everyone rushed out to get early acceptance in Grade 12. It was either business or science, a generic path in education that I felt everyone had to choose between. Perhaps, it was the lack of computer science courses in high school had failed to spark my interest in pursuing a CS background.
Being 17, a typical young teen who just enjoyed playing games all day, I had no aspirations to figure what I wanted and failed to do the proper research.
I did well in high school and felt confident in pursuing higher education which led me to the University of Waterloo in hopes that I’d find a career in science and go to medical school.
All the choices I’ve made have really shaped who I am today and I’m happy to say I don’t regret any of it.
The experience of undergrad is irreplaceable. I struggled hard and put in lots of work just to pass and I enjoyed my fair share of parties and I made a lot of awesome friends.
When I said I struggled hard, I meant it. I failed the second physics course, analytical methods in molecular biology, organic chemistry and eventually dropped out of chemical thermodynamics because my fundamentals in physics weren’t sufficient enough to understand the course material.
The balance of coursework, labs, and the co-op interviews were a huge part of my stress in undergrad. The experience learning in high school versus university was night and day.
Finally being away from home and having the freedom to skip classes or do anything during your own time was a reality I was not prepared for. Managing time to make food, do chores and learning the ropes of becoming half an adult while also studying a full course load was a huge game changer.
During my 2B term, dubbed “2B or not to be”, where most people will either have a good chance of graduating or failing my program, I really felt I was going to be in the latter.
I couldn’t figure out how to stay afloat even when I had tried really hard. With all the pressure of dropping out, I’d be disappointing my parents and also coming out with a large loan.
My girlfriend told me something that would completely change the way I approached my academics. She told me that I needed to learn effectively. I realized my way of learning back in highschool needed to change.
I started to find techniques on how to learn and eventually found the Pomodoro Technique which helped me tremendously in organizing my time. I started to focus on finding ways to understand hard concepts and materials which allowed me to grind through the 2B term and make it on to 3A.
With that momentum and a small glimpse of hope, I was able to finish all the required courses, including all the courses I failed.
Eventually, after many co-op experiences, I realized science wasn’t for me. I was already so far in my program, I wanted to see it through to the end.
Throughout this journey, I’ve learned a lot about myself and developed the proper habits to achieve my goals. I was able to stick through the hardships and found out how to make study habits stick and grow from my failures.
This perseverance paved my success in achieving a Bachelors of Science in Honours Biochemistry.
There is no such thing as going down the wrong path - because that is learning. — Chamath Palihapitiya
Biochemistry has taught me the core fundamentals of science and understanding life through a biochemical lens. It has shaped the way I think, how I view and solve problems and the way I do my research.
It has been the catalyst for me to keep up with the latest scientific trends which includes the discovery of CRISPR Cas9 technology. I’m glad I’ll be able to understand this technology at a biochemical level.
It has been 2 years since I’ve touched any science related work as of writing this post. It has given me a deep appreciation of the science academia and their contributions to improving the quality of human life.
My degree has laid the fundamentals of learning and persevering through hardships. It has given me the confidence and tools that shaped me as a lifelong learner. I look forward to learning new technologies and use these skills to develop my own path.