Monday, July 7, 2014

Deciphering Failures & Acknowledging Ups: Working with Our BLOOD's DNA in the lab & Reflecting on This Trip

I'm not all that sure as to why it has been difficult to keep up in the labs, but the only thing I can think of to remain optimistic is that the longer/less followed road will, in the end, be worthwhile. Today's lab required for our blood to be drawn, so we were in the lab at 8 in the morning ready to go. Out in front of us we had a table of fruit, including watermelon, and green and red grapes, Nutri-Grain bars, some sweets and juices. Everyone helped themselves to some as we hung out in the conference room while waiting our turn. I was one of the last to go and as a result of waiting in line outside the lab, Heidi caught me of guard dancing some Cumbia, which then turned into Salsa as I demonstrated to both her and Jody the unseen Latin flare to me (wink wink). Okay let me not get too carried away, but anyway... I had my blood drawn as I spoke to both Jody, Heidi, and the woman drawing my blood, and didn't even realize the needle was in and out until it was over. I couldn't quite fathom how I was going to be working with my own blood (thus, DNA); it was surreal.

Over to the hardest part of the day was working in the lab. The mission we had set before us was to do two things- a protocol from our notebook and lab procedure from our textbook. Working on it was very steady and not as quick as everyone else, but it wasn't until we all had to move on to the lab procedure that multi-tasking became a common struggle. There was a constant back and forth pattern that turned out to not be the best. Nothing terrible happened, but it didn't go too well either in my case. In the end, my DNA did not precipitate after adding the required ethanol to it, thus making it the major downfall and being the biggest disappointment of the day. Having stayed about an hour after class just to witness my own DNA and failing to do so wasn't that encouraging to realize either... (re-doing the protocol is still a possibility, so I hope I can work on that ASAP)

Working with my DNA blood sample

I had a very slow paced lunch as I reflected some and came to the conclusion I stated above. Maybe there's just some reason as to why everything has not been so perfect between labs and myself. It could be that labs aren't for me, or being more optimistic, it could be that there's something I'm supposed to be learning of all these mistakes. As for myself, I have no idea what the reason may be, but the reason for it is up to debate and I'll only have a better understanding as I reflect more, even though it'll probably just hit me as asome sort of magical and unexpected epiphany at the end of all this.

The next thing I remember after lunch and getting to the dorm was waking up after a very much needed nap. It's funny how I hardly nap at all, but something about being tired just hits you harder here. I woke up and saw an the room, messy once again, but also saw the laptop hanging out untouched as well. If I haven't learned a lesson on blogging as soon as possible, I wouldn't have decided on getting to work on mine, but because I have and because it just came a bit more natural easy (since I didn't have much to do, really) I went over to it and typed away. I got a headstart, but up next was dinner. I found out about dinner half an hour after Brandon sent me a text about it, so I'd might as well stayed to work on the blog. After working on this for a decent amount of time, I had dinner at the V-dub, where saw Amulia, Brandon, and Jing, though they were pretty much finished having dinner. They were heading out to Thayer again, but I decided I'd skip it for today due to laundry. I made my way out of the V-dub to the Bear Bucks machine to check the balance on my card, but was having a hard time. Apparently, it was the machine's fault since the one in the Ratty worked completely fine. Anyway, I headed back to my dorm and Jing was at my door shortly after to drop off the detergent since she was going to hit the shower first. I decided I'd do the same and then met back up with her downstairs as we did our laundry.

There was a mini cluster meeting today. We went over the upcoming events and by when we had to check out. We didn't go over details with that, but what's for sure is that there are going to be two parties this week. One will be a dance and the other a floor/cluster party, both which seem to will be a great time and great way to end the final week here! It's crazy how much there's to do in this last week. I can remember these past two weeks have been laid back for the most part, but wow will these upcoming days be busy. Aside from the dance and parties, tomorrow the cohort and I will have our last check-ins with Alana and our official (it's really official this time) cohort dinner. Hopefully, It'll bring us back just like it did when we had our first one at Chevy's and other amazing get together the first (college exploring) week.

Coming to think about it, it's so amazing having this opportunity. I don't recall if I've mentioned it here, but every time I share my story about me and the ILC, I say how I never imagined stepping outside my comfort zone and traveling outside California, let alone without any family, and on top of that, being away for nearly a month! Now, I can't believe how quickly the time here has flown by. There's been so much, yet so little done out here that I can't imagine how each and every thing thus far is a simple memory. I know I'm writing as if this is the last day, but it's incredibly unbelievable to think that I, coming from a humbly underprivileged school (and district for the most part), am out here on the East Coast, not just to explore, but to study at a prestigious Ivy League School, Brown. In retrospect, I've been learning so much in the labs despite having difficulties in them. In addition, I've cherished all the time and freedom here, considering there's not much to do at home. It's been such a wonderful and humbling experience to step foot on the coast where I might be attending college in the future. I can't emphasize how grateful I am of it and just making the best of these last days here.

As time passes and I write this blog, I have also noticed that slowly, I'm finding my voice with all this blogging. It may not be the easiest job in the world, but it definitely helps. I'll definitely have to keep up and make progress with writing, as it will be critical in my personal essays when applying to colleges and universities.

As I come to the end of this blog, I'm remembering my family and thinking of how great it will be to be back home with everyone and sharing my experiences here on the East Coast. It's definitely going to be something I look forward to, even though on the bitter side of it I'll be away from here. As you can tell, I have some love for Summer@Brown and just having freedom here. It'll be a way to keep me motivated, but nonetheless spending the next couple years with my family will be as justly cherished, if not more. Considering that they will be my final two years being home and moving out for 4 years, then coming back as a mature adult makes thinking bout the near future bittersweet. I'll only be a teen for so long, but then again life goes on.

Okay, so if I haven't poured out my heart enough, then I don't know how else I can do that. These next days here at Summer@Brown will be great, though I kind of don't want to be finished yet (maybe it's just a trend to not be appreciative until you realize things will come to an end, but I think times are cherished furthermore towards the end of them). I'll have to stay tuned to see what else is in store for all of us here. It's been a great 3 weeks here and I know these next days will be just as spectacular, if not better!


  1. Great blog, Arnold. I enjoyed reading every sentence. It is clear that you have made the most of every experience here, and we are all proud of you for that and excited for the next chapter in your life!

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