tips for science majors (and all college students)
hey everyone! i decided to compile a list of tips for college students, specifically science majors because a lot of people are starting college soon. a lot of these could apply to any majors in general, but i’m simply speaking from my own experience.
handwrite your notes! I know it can be tempting to type them on your laptop because so many science classes are so heavy with information and lectures move so fast, but handwriting notes is super helpful and a lot of times an easier option, especially when drawing diagrams and writing reactions
make at least 2 friends in every class to study and share notes with. chances are you won’t understand everything perfectly and getting a different perspective might make things clearer. also helpful if you miss a lecture!
practice questions are your best friend! this is true for most classes, but they’re absolutely necessary when it comes to classes like organic chemistry. look up practice questions and tests online and use them.
if you don’t already know any statistics, learn the basics. stats is ESSENTIAL and has come in handy for almost every science class i’ve taken. knowing what a t-test is, p value, alpha value, etc. beforehand is super helpful for labs and reading papers.
practice reading scientific journal articles as much as you can. this is a skill that i’ve yet to master and can be really frustrating but knowing how to process and understand those dense articles is really important no matter what you want to do in your life. most school libraries have subscriptions to most major databases like pubmed and journals like nature and science, so dedicate some time once or twice a month to read an article that’s interesting to you. focus on trying to interpret the figures and summarizing the data.
youtube is great for explaining scientific concepts you don’t understand. because certain processes and molecules etc. are so complex and may be hard to understand from a textbook with words and 2-D pictures, videos on youtube might explain and help visualize things better. there are some good ones out there but googling the topic you’re looking for usually brings up some helpful material!
khanacademy (my all-time fave i would literally die for khan academy guy he can have my firstborn)
get involved in research as early as possible. even if you don’t think you’ll like it, getting involved in research is a great experience for anyone. research professors and their work and email as many as you can before the semester starts to see if you can work in their labs. not only does it look great on your resume but you’ll also learn so much about the scientific process.
get a chalkboard/whiteboard for your room. it’s a great study tool to practice drawing mechanisms, reactions, processes, figures, etc. it literally saved my butt in organic chem last year.
don’t get stressed if you don’t know what you want to do with your major. try different things. do research in different labs on varying topics, talk to your professors and advisors, do some shadowing, talk to people in different industries.
rewrite your notes and redraw diagrams. rewriting notes is a good tip for anyone, but redrawing diagrams in a different way than they’re presented in your textbook or lecture in a way that you understand better is super helpful.
don’t put lab reports off until the last minute. lab reports are the bane of my existence, but there’s nothing more stressful than doing one at the last minute before it’s due and realizing your results made NO sense. start them as soon as you finish the lab and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your lab instructor or other students.
those are all the ones i could think of at the moment! hopefully some of these are helpful for some of you :-)
So in other news, I had some nice bonding time with a classmate in my spanish class when I doodled a doofenshmirtz on my paper and she doodled a phineas which started a chain of doodling until we ended up drawing every pnf character for the rest of the class period.
Poor teenage Jules being horrendously publicly ill, and Alistair chewing out anyone who even thinks about looking at him funny
Haha, I loved this request! I love an excuse to write about these two as teenagers, I’m a sucker for childhood friendships. Just as a warning, there’s mentioning of dissecting sheep hearts in this (cause I needed Julius to freak out) and that’s what i dissected in high school. But if you don’t like that, don’t read this. On a nicer note, Alistair is actually pretty sweet in this one, when he’s not acting like a little creep about the dissection. Swearing in this, cause Alistair. I hope you enjoy it.
“I would like you all to be mature and adult about this. Remember, you’re in year nine, not primary school,” Mrs Devril drawled in her low, slow voice, drawing her icy blue eyes over every teenager in the class. Her eyes lingered on Alistair a little longer than necessary. The red-head flashed her a smirk, which she ignored.
“Work in pairs or threes,” she went on. “Be sensible. Anybody caught messing around will be removed from the class. Dissection isn’t a game - it can be very dangerous if you don’t take it seriously. I’ll hand out the hearts in a moment. Make you sure you have your gloves on before you touch them.”
Julius ducked his head queasily, trying to stay calm. He was never a massive fan of biology in general - most of it was dull, and he always ended up getting stuck doing some sort of awkward sexual health related activity with Alistair, and that boy seemed incapable of staying out of trouble during those situations - but he had been dreading this day in particular for months.
Dissection day. This was the only opportunity their school had to do any dissection, and the lesson was eagerly anticipated by most students, satisfying their ghoulish teenage curiosity. But Julius had always been a bit freaked out by blood - seeing a good deal of it made him nauseous and dizzy. He was sure he would struggle to stay composed as his classmates hacked at a dozen sheep’s hearts, their cloying meaty smell filling the room unpleasantly.
Julius hadn’t mentioned his phobia to Alistair. The boy had been looking forward to the dissection to a degree that was almost unnerving. He looked like a kid on Christmas morning as he snapped on rubber gloves purposefully. Julius didn’t want to dampen this macabre experience for Alistair.
Julius tried not to look as Mrs Devril began handing out hearts, ignoring the awed gasps and disgusted squeals of the teenagers. She paused as she placed a heart in front of Julius and Alistair. Perhaps she’d have noticed that Julius was looking rather pale, had she not been distracted and unnerved by Alistair’s eager face and bright eyes.
“Remember, anyone caught doing anything silly will be asked to leave,” she warned, looking only at Alistair. The teenager scowled as she moved away.
“Bitch. What does she think I’m going to do, throw it across the room?” he muttered angrily. Julius gave him a weak smile, swallowing convulsively.
Julius and Alistair stared solemnly at the heart, eyes wide. It was red as a poppy, cold and slick to the touch, and about the size of a man’s clenched fist. Alistair poked at it curiously with a finger - his glove came back slick with blood. Julius wrapped his hands around his stomach, trying to combat the uneasy churning.
“Wow… At one point this was the most important part of a sheep’s body. Couldn’t survive without it,” Alistair said quietly, as if thinking out loud. Julius shuddered, the nausea steadily becoming more painful.
“You want to hold it, Jules?” Alistair laughed. He had the heart in his hands now, offering it to Julius like a gruesomely literal Valentines gift. Julius backed away rapidly, his head spinning. The room felt boiling hot, his curls were sticking to his sweaty forehead. The rank smell of meat filled the room, and Julius choked back a heave.
“What’s up?” Alistair asked cluelessly, casually tossing the heart from hand to hand. Then he blinked, suddenly realising.
“Oh. Is this freaking you out?” Julius nodded dizzily.
“Yes, and you’re not really helping, Alistair,” he mumbled. Alistair grinned.
“Hey, it’s okay, you don’t have to touch it. Though it isn’t bad, it just feels like the inside of your cheek. There’s nothing to worry about, you’ve got a heart just like this pumping away in your chest,” he said, and Julius’s face bleached even whiter.
“Alistair, please don’t…” Julius pressed a hand over his mouth, swaying on his feet. Alistair snapped off his gloves quickly, looking concerned now.
“Julius? You’ve gone white. Look, if it’s really bothering you we’ll ask Devril if we can wait outside, okay?”
As if in answer, Julius retched deeply, vomiting violently over the desk and the floor, making Alistair leap back in alarm. Their classmates began crowing, some scornful, some disgusted. Only Alistair stayed beside Julius, moving towards him tentatively.
“Shit, Jules! You should have said something sooner,” he cried, as the dark haired boy coughed and spluttered. Julius whimpered, stumbling into Alistair, and would have fallen if Alistair hadn’t grabbed him tightly, holding him up. His head fell against Alistair’s chest limply, his face white.
“Shit shit shit, don’t pass out on me! What the hell am I supposed to do?” Alistair yelled, panicking. Julius gave a choked sob, squeezing his eyes shut.
“The b-blood… Don’t like it. P-please, Alistair, get me out, get me out,” he whimpered, and then suddenly pitched forward again, bringing up another wave of vomit onto his and Alistair’s legs and shoes. Alistair sighed a little.
“Jesus…” he muttered irritably, but he rubbed Julius’s back nonetheless. “Yeah, alright, Jules. I’ll take you to the nurse.” Mrs Devril was doing her best to placate the rowdy class, but Alistair could hear several of the boys sniggering and jeering. He heard their scornful remarks.
“What a baby!”
“Getting sick over a little bit of blood! How old is he?”
“Hey, Alistair, you should take your girlfriend home before she pukes again.”
This last comment prompted a wave of laughter. Alistair clenched his fists angrily, glaring at them fiercely.
“You shut the fuck up! He can’t help it. Make fun of him again and I’ll-” Alistair paused momentarily, thinking of an adequate threat. It usually infuriated him that it was widely believed that he’d deliberately set fire to his old school, but he took advantage of this now.
“I’ll burn down your fucking houses!” he finished menacingly, and the boys shut their mouths sharpish. Mrs Devril fixed angry eyes on Alistair.
“Alistair Renfrew, you watch your language! And don’t go making silly threats. Take Julius to the nurse right now,” she snapped, her lips pressed in a firm line. Alistair obeyed after sticking his middle finger up at the group of boys, lugging Julius out of the room with difficulty, bearing most of his weight.
Both boys were exhausted by the time they’d navigated the long corridors to the nurse’s office. The nurse eased Julius gently onto the one small bed, pressing a cold cloth to his clammy forehead. Alistair perched on the bed by Julius’s feet, rubbing at his sick stained shoes with a paper towel. He watched Julius wearily as the boy heaved deep breaths, trying to calm down.
“So. Blood makes you sick. That would have been nice to know, we could have just skipped the lesson. Could’ve saved our shoes,” Alistair said, giving Julius a nudge. Julius blushed.
“But you were looking forward to it.” Alistair sighed a little.
“Jules, I really wouldn’t have lost too much sleep if I never got to hack away at a sheep’s heart.” He paused. “It doesn’t matter now. You couldn’t help it. Everyone is scared of something,” he finished listlessly. Julius perked up a little, lifting his head off the pillow.
“What’re you scared of then? Disappointing your family?” he asked. Alistair scoffed.
“That ship sailed long ago.”
“No more than most people. You better not tell anybody this! I’m scared of heights,” he mumbled, looking embarrassed. Julius blinked.
“Why?” he asked. Alistair slumped back against the wall, squashing Julius’s legs.
“How should I know? Why is anyone scared of anything? Why are you scared of blood, when you need it running inside you to live? Oh, sorry,” Alistair added as Julius winced again, his face paling at the word blood. Alistair ran a hand through his hair.
“I’m no good at looking after people.” Julius chuckled softly.
“No,” he agreed, but then he paused. “But you stuck up for me. Thanks for that.”
Alistair was silent for a while, turning his head so Julius couldn’t see the expression on his face. It was quiet enough in the nurse’s room to hear the clock ticking. Alistair cleared his throat a little awkwardly.
“Of course I did. Those assholes needed to be put in their place. I can’t stand those boys, i wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire. They mean nothing to me,” Alistair said darkly. Julius watched him carefully, wondering if Alistair had deliberately avoided talking about their own camaraderie.
“So…what about me? What am I to you?” he whispered nervously, a little afraid of the answer. Alistair finally looked at Julius properly, meeting his eyes. He flashed him a small, rare smile.
PLS HELP ME GET OUT OF THIS FATHER-SON HELL IMAGINE THE UP ROAR THAT WOULD MAKE IN MASS MEDIA ALL MIGHT aLSO SMALL MIGHT BECAUSE SMOL CHILD HELP
ADGGHGFJS I HAVE PAGES OF COMICS DUE FOR MY COMIC CLASS AND EVERY TIME I TRY TO DRAW FOR IT I END UP DRAWING BNHA FANART INSTEAD //yELLS WHY DIDNT MY PROF JUST LET ME DO BNHA INSTEAD OF ORIGINAL *cRIES*