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ugghh – i got trashed by my biochemistry final on friday. it stings, since i actually devoted a bunch of time to studying for it. i thought i was well-prepared too; sadly, other people didn’t seem to think the exam was that difficult. that bodes poorly for me :)

in any case, i’m not too worried, given that mit at least appears to grade its graduate students on a very generous curve. for instance, i considered taking a graduate class on numerical simulations earlier in the year … the professor mentioned that of the 80 kids who took it last year, 78 got A’s. (i later chose to drop that class for philisophical reasons that can be explored in another post.) i just can’t get lower than a B, however, since the people who fund me (i know, i know, evil empire) will cut off my stipend if i pull any C’s. that and getting C’s really sucks – i got one in the second grade (handwriting) and i’m still not over it.

so graduate biochemistry felt like a good fit – i figured i won’t have to compete with any undergrads and, as aforementioned, i’d enjoy the fruits of the graduate curve. and for the cynics out there crying grade-inflation, bear in mind that graduate students ostensibly sacrifice 5 (of the most virile) years of their lives in the pursuit of knowledge. if you’ve seen our stipends, or the fat checks those damn business students pull down, you know we’re not in it for the money. so is there really any reason to get punished in class?

that digression aside, i also liked the idea of taking biochem, because i thought it’d make me a better persion. really. looking back, i realize that i learned a bunch of standard molecular biology assays and experiments as well as just a bunch of nitty-gritty biology in this class. it would be insane to call myself a computational biologist and have no idea what goes on in biology at the molecular level.

so yes, regardless of how my grades turned out, if you’re ever at mit and looking to learn some biochemistry, i highly recommend taking course 7.51. i had no previous training in biochem and still was able to take a lot away from that class. and, the lecturers are stunning – bob sauer, tania baker, and in particular frank solomon were quite enthusiastic professors who clearly enjoyed teaching. actually, i think frank solomon and his deadpan humor combined to form the best lectures i’ve ever enjoyed in a class.

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