Lessons Learned

    Posted on Monday, Dec 03, 2018
    As I look back on my academic path thus far there have been classes that have impacted me either educationally or personally. I consider each of these classes a story that have taught me important lessons. From freshman year to graduate school, these courses have molded me as a student and a person.

    Recreational Drum Circles:Yes, this was a real class! On the first day, with the encouragement of our teacher, everyone grabbed a drum and went outside and began playing as traffic streamed into campus. While this may have been the easiest course I have taken, I did learn not take to myself too seriously and I and remember to have fun

    Calculus 2: Despite the fact this was not my favorite calculus course taken, I learned to appreciate the material in a new way. My professor was so passionate about the subject which in turn made me look at it in a new perspective. In each class she would manage to tell a story about the historical figures of calculus that related to what we were learning. From Descartes to Euler, and the other mathematicians, she told their stories in such a riveting way that math and history morphed together. It was inspiring to hear of how these formulations were derived and the individuals behind them. I left this class with an appreciation of the people that dedicated their lives to mathematics.

    Engineering MechanicsThis class taught me more than how to sum forces around a point or how to calculate a moment. It taught me resilience. On my first test, although I was prepared, I made a crucial mistake. I did not draw a free body diagram on one of the questions even though I knew how to solve it. After receiving my grade back, I made an oath with myself:

    1. I would never forget to draw a free-body diagram. Ever. 
    2. I would ace the next test. 

    Following this I worked every problem I could, and I attended as many office hours as possible. After the second test, I received an email from my professor congratulating me on my grade and commending me for the hard work that I had shown. This course taught me tolearn from my mistakes and to not give up.

    Elementary Organic: In this class I formed a friendship with three other people that carried me through the rest of college. One day I may not remember the differences between aliphatic or aromatic compounds, but I will remember the times we shared together. Learning can be about more than science and these friends taught me just that. The people you meet and those connections you make with them are just as important.

    Bioinstrumentation 2I am not good at pulling all-nighters which is why I rarely do them. Though, for a test in this class I spent the entire night in my department building with other classmates working on LabVIEW. After submitting the test, I walked back to my dorm as the sun was rising on a new day. Sleep deprived and weary, my code worked (or at least I think it did). Nonetheless, this test showed me that any goal can be reached through hard work hard and determination.

    Regulatory Affairs in Drug Development: Going into my first semester of graduate school I had an idea of which course would be my favorite, but it turned out to be a surprise to me. This was a class that I was unsure about and felt the least prepared for. This semester I have learned more about the FDA than I ever thought possible. It has taught me that not making assumptions and being open to new ideas can allow you to learn even more.

    Kalifa Stringfield
    Kalifa is a masters student in the Biotechnology program in the College of Engineering

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