Cell Biology Projects & Fishing Season Opening– Alexandra Hilliard

Before I tell you something fun, I’ll tell you something stressful.

I just presented a project for cell biology, it was my protein project. My classmates and I were assigned to this project in the very beginning of the semester and were given free reign for the choice of our protein, and very few restrictions when it came down to what we had to cover. However, I saved my project until very late, and seemed to have been stressing out for weeks. Why would I do this to myself knowing that it was an integral part of my grade, and that it would be easy once I finally started? Needless to say, especially because I did quite a bit of research on the protein last semester for another class, it only took me a few hours to read the primary literature, cite important examples, piece together coherent information, and build a model. But as I mentioned, the stress prior to presenting today was awful. I know that quite a few people thought that the project was kind of pointless and useless, but I see the value. As a future scientist, I see the value in being able to understand the three dimensions of the protein. It’s not because I really care about the protein too much, but because I know what this project symbolizes. As biology majors, we are sort of like armchair philosophers. We have so much to say, we are full of information that we have soaked up like sponges over the past few years, and we have picked up a little bit of everything here and there and have some sort of opinion on everything. Or at least you would hope so, for those of us who are seniors this year. For some reason though, despite our wealth of knowledge, we can’t see the value of gathering 1d and 2d information and turning it into a 3d model. Being able to understand biology in real life, how things function in the natural world as opposed to being able to point out which picture goes with which concept. I know that I will be okay once I go to graduate school, or start my first job, because I can take all of the stuff I have gathered, all of the little piecies, and build a huge piece of machinery fit to do the tasks required. Although I am glad when all is said and done, to have finished this project, I do appreciate its worth.




Fishing! Here’s the good stuff. I started to go fishing this past summer with my boyfriend. I hadn’t really done it before, and admittedly, I don’t really like it much still. It’s starting to grow on me though. Ed and I went to a nearby town and went fishing in a pond that is undisturbed by gas-powered vehicles, and thus, some of the integrity of the watershed has been maintained. It was quiet, sunny, and warm. We stayed out past sunset, and soon the spring peepers came out. We even heard the deepthroated growls of frogs. I am beginning to understand that I have a niche to fill in nature… It’s a quiet, passive niche. Unlike a lot of my friends here, I don’t find a lot of pleasure in bike riding, or rock-climbing, or sea-kayaking. I want to just sit, and be at peace with the world outside. I like to look around and move to another spot when I need another view. I like to rest and even fall asleep outside when the weather is nice enough. I just like to relax. Despite this, for years I hadn’t been able to find an outdoor activity which really met my desire, besides walking, which becomes tiresome for me pretty quickly. I realized though, that fishing is just what I need. I sit there quietly for hours, doing very little besides casting the fishing pole, reeling it in, baiting the hook, and other simple maintenance techniques. I get to just be there in my own mind and it’s really lovely. As time goes on, I imagine I will start to take my ownership in the activity and love it more. I have a license, but I have not purchased my own poles or other equipment. However, the pond that I went to the other day, was unbeknownst to Ed who seems to be the fishing and other sportsman-like activities. Since he has lived here for most of his life, and because these ways are deep rooted in the culture, he thinks he knows of every good fishing hole! He was pretty skeptical when I mentioned this pond, because he had never even heard of it. But once we found the spot and started catching some big fish, he was immediately persuaded. I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment in introducing him to this awesome spot… and I started to feel like fishing can indeed be pretty fun.


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