Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm done! I'm done!

And boy does it feel good.
Cleaning is lovely.
All I have left to do now is wait around for my package to arrive (I still have hope in a Christmas miracle), and pack my bags.
Hee, in three days I get to see my family!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Four down, one to go

So far, I haven't burst into tears while writing any of my finals. Alright!
Only one more and it'll be over! Studying today was no fun. I'm so close to the end now that I can taste it, and the motivation's starting to go. For all of my complaining, I'm so happy that my finals were all lumped together. I can't wait until I see my family! (Sorry Beata!)

I went out to our local pub, Dieu du Ciel, last night with some friends. It's so nice and relaxing (especially after, say, four exams in a row), and just a few streets away! They brew their own beer, and the menu changes several times a month. I mean--not that I drink or anything. That's right.

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I've been listening to this song "Here I dreamt I was an Architect" by the Decemberists pretty much constatly for the past month. I find it so soothing. One of the things I love the most about the Decemberists is the vocabulary in their lyrics (my personal favorite: "my soiled teenage girlfriend").

and here i dreamt i was a soldier
and i marched the streets of Birkenau
and i recall in spring
the perfume that the air would bring
to the indolent town
where the barkers call the moon down
the carnival was ringing loudly now
and just to lay with you
there's nothing that i wouldn't do
save lay my rifle down

and try one, and try two
guess it always comes down to
alright, it's okay, guess it's better to turn this way

and i am nothing of a builder
but here i dreamt i was an architect
and i built this balustrade
to keep you home, to keep you safe
from the outside world
but the angles and the corners
even though my work is unparalelled
they never seemed to meet
this structure fell about our feet
and we were free to go

and try one, and try two
guess it always comes down to
alright, okay, guess it's better to turn this way

and here in spain i am a spaniard
i will be buried with my marionettes
countess and courtesan
will fall 'neath my tender hand
when their husbands were not around
but you, my soiled teenage girlfriend
or are you furrowed like a lioness
and we are vagabonds
we travel without seatbelts on
we live this close to death

and try one, and try two
guess it always comes down to
alright, okay, guess it's better to turn this
but i won, so you lose
guess it always comes down to
alright, it's okay, guess it's better to turn this way

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Holiday blues?

I haven't been able to sleep lately. It's not that I'm particularly stressed out (surprisingly!): I just lie in bed for hours, in a mindless state. Not sleeping. It's driving me crazy, now my throat has started hurting, and I know that if I don't get a good night's sleep soon I'm going to crash. Really hard.
Passing an exam on less than 6 hours' worth of sleep today was... interesting. I'm really angry at myself, but I really don't see what I could have done to avoid this problem. I was in bed by 11:30! Hopefully, my grade won't have suffered tremendously. Ugh.

2 down, 3 to go... Hopefully the ones on Thursday and Friday should be marginally easier.

In all seriousness though, I'm feeling pretty angry at the moment at how biology is instructed. Don't get me wrong; I love biology, I'm the nerd who discusses biology when I'm hanging out with my friends, biology is a big part of my life. I just don't understand why McGill would think that it is essential for a student to remember the exact number of amino acids in the SRC protein, and which antibody out of a whole list of them will cause it to immunoprecipitate?
Honestly: a day after the exam, how many students actually remember the facts we get tested on? None. We remember the important information, the signaling pathways and protein interactions, sure, but the rest is gone in record time.

In my experience of working in labs, you don't
need to know all of the excruciating detail. If you don't know a fact, you look it up. So why are we, as students, expected to remember? Who expects these tests to be a proper measure of our capabilities?
The reason I'm ranting if because I just took an exam on the Molecular Biology of Oncogenes (i.e. cancer). This class, which
should have been fascinating turned out being... well, not too interesting, to say the least. We didn't even begin touching on the possible ways of treating cancer until the last two classes! What's the point?

One last thing that has me a little worried: I ordered a bunch of Christmas presents from Amazon a few days ago, and chose the speed shipping option. Today I get an email that the package will be here in
two weeks, and arrive exactly a day after I leave. I have no idea what to do. It's too late to cancel the order-- does this mean I'll turn up empty handed? Should I ask Sarah to FedEx them to Madagascar (that would take forever)?

I had better go on studying for my exam tomorrow. Joy!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

One down

Blogger works today! For some reason, I haven't been able to update or check blogs in the past few days. Mabe it's just my computer (I'm currently at a library computer, clearly not being very studious)?

Anyway, exam period has officially started. I hope you can excuse my little panic attack there, it pretty much summed up how I was feeling. Now that I'm elbow-deep in exmas, well, there's little else to do than write them, is there? I had one today and have three more this week. Then I get to write one on monday, and I'm done!
The one today went OK: it was an essay-type exam (6 essays in 3 hours... urgh), which makes me a little uncomfortable. Reading over the answers, I'm always struck by how simple and uninspired they are. Luckilly, last night my friend Heather and I went over the previous years' exams-- and several questions had been repeated this year! Allright!
I make it a general rule not to think about how well/terrible I did once the exam is over though; what's the point of gripping over something you can't change? We'll see when the grades are up.

I'm tired, though. All I want to do now if reconnect with my friends (assuming I still have any), go out, plan a dinner, go dancing, go Christmas shopping, etc. It makes me a bit sad that I'll only have one day in Montreal before I head "home" to Madagascar, but at the same time, it's finals period. No one will be going out. I suppose there's always next semester...
At the same time, I can't WAIT until I'm get to see my family again-- it's been a YEAR since I saw my sister and brother (those two days in Dordogne don't count!). That's disgusting, and I hope it never happens again.

Hmm... I also can't wait until vacation to read. There are so many nice juicy books that caught my eye this semester but that I just haven't had time to read. Note to self: must read next year. Who needs sleep anyway?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Panick Attack

Argh.... Aaaaarghhhhhhhhhh!