Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heart dissection

The past few weeks have been a busy few weeks. Lectures have been getting much tougher, there have been more lab sessions per week than normal and the March deadlines are fast approaching! I am finding myself in the red zone of the Drill Hall library more often nowadays than I had ever imagined was possible! If the second year is like this, I don’t even want to imagine how the final year will be! I will probably end up making the library my permanent second home if I could! The hope that I will be able to graduate with a first next year if I keep all this hard work going is my only motivation right now…

Last week, during the Physiological Systems and Regulation lab session, we were lucky enough to carry out a heart dissection on a sheep’s heart. As the cardiovascular system has always been an area of science that I have been interested in from a young age and an area which I had always hoped to specialise in (should I get the opportunity to study medicine in the future) I was very eager to get underway with the dissection the minute I entered the lab! I had carried out a rat and sheep’s eye dissection when studying Biology during my A-levels, so I was quite confident with the dissection procedures in the lab and knew exactly what to expect (some of my friends on the other hand who had never done any dissections before felt very queasy…. one friend in particular had to leave the lab for a while to get some fresh air because it was too overwhelming for her).  I found the lab session very valuable as it gave me the chance to actually apply the things I had learnt about the cardiovascular system in lectures and in various textbooks in a practical way, giving me a better understanding of the heart, such as all its anatomical landmarks and the way in which they function. I was so surprised just how small the atria were in comparison to the ventricles and just how strong the condrinae tendinae were! Although I managed to locate all the anatomical landmarks of the heart relatively easily, I was disappointed I couldn't locate the sinoatrial node (the pacemaker of the heart) – although I was reassured by the lecturer that it was very hard to do, after all the effort and time I put into trying to locate it, it would have been really satisfying if I had actually managed to succeed…

Apart from that, I have been busy trying to find voluntary work and summer placements I can apply for.  I recently found a really good opportunity to volunteer in schools, through an organisation called STEMNET, which allows its members to teach the subject they are studying/ specialise in- I've sent my application off and keeping my fingers crossed for that. But as for summer placements… that is a whole different story. I have searched and searched but still not found one! If anyone has any ideas where I can find a placement in the health/ research sector it will be much appreciated!

Here are some pictures from the heart dissection I thought I’d end this month’s blogs with…

Friday, 1 February 2013

Working hard

It's been just a few weeks into the new term now and second year is really beginning to prove just how different it is from the first year.  We now have lectures from 9am every Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and usually about two lab sessions on alternate weeks.  We have also been given various assignments to complete before the end of February and have been informed about several phase tests (which are practically like small unit tests) that we need to complete as well. The content we are covering in the second term (Pharmacology, Pathobiology, Metabolism and Disease and Bioanalytical Techniques)  are topics  that we have never covered before and are completely new to us, so a lot more hard work is required to understand the concepts taught in the lectures and really get to grips with answering practice questions on them. I have been trying really hard to review each lecture and make notes/ research around the topic as we go along...before the next lecture is taught... so that I don' t fall behind (so far so good....let's just hope I keep this up for the rest of the term and not get too lazy!

The Refreshers Fair was held last Wednesday for those of you who missed the Fresher's fair during Fresher's week. It was a huge success as usual with many societies participating, large crowds of students attending, freebies being given out, raffles/ mini competitions being held and much more! And it was a particularly special event for us Biomedical Science students as it was the launch of the Biomedical Science Society, set up by a group of Biomedical Science students on the course, who hoped it would be a great way of sharing our passion for science with other students by discussing various topics covered in lectures, inviting guests with a scientific background to give presentations about their profession, organising trips etc. And as expected, the launch was a success, with around 40 new members signing up for the society on the day itself! (For those of you who didn't get an opportunity to attend the Refresher's Fair, fear not! You can still sign up for the society of your choice or even set up your very own society through the SUUG/ UMSA website.)

And before I forget, I thought I'd just remind those of you who are thinking about living in halls next year that the application for 2013/2014 are now open. Although I would really like to rent a house with some of my friends next year, I have got used to living in halls for the past two years and find that it is much more convenient to stay in halls next year as well. I sent my application off a few days ago and I know my friends have too... so if you guys are also thinking of living in halls next year, it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible!  I just really hope I am given a place!