Friday, September 18, 2009

My Thoughts on Smallpox Safari

Smallpox, Smallpox, and more smallpox. When someone asks me what my SOCO is about, that is what I say. But then I launch into a 15 minute description of all the cool things we do surrounding this subject. Even 15 minutes does not do justice to probably the best 3week class I've ever taken. And of course, its not all about what the class was about. It includes the teacher, the SCAs and the fellow students. It is impossible to describe this all in one word. Bob: engaging, eccentric, awesome, brainiac, creative, unique; i mean, what other teacher of yours has written a poem about a virus? Takes a jumping picture wherever he goes, domestic or abroad? Puts on skits with his SCAs dressed up as cows and death reaper? Stars in student's musical videos? Takes pictures of a BBC crew? Asks extremely thought provoking questions? Gives some of the best advice I've received? And relates to everyone's interests? Manages to keep our interests alive even after two weeks of 10-4/6 hr school days? That is rare to come by. What other SCA is willing to talk continually and repetitively talk about his/her experiences? Dress up as a cow and death reaper? Stalk important people so that they can come talk to us? Offer to help us in our journey as students? Is excited that he/she will still be seeing us even after SOCO is over? Gives up an entire three weeks of summer and even more in planning in order to make sure that we get the best out of the class? Try their best to be in class with us despite their busy schedules? Has the best sense of humor? Get sooo excited about a simulation in which they're not even participating? I could go on and on but my point here is that Bob, Aaron, Josh and Lauren have been the best teachers i've ever had; and the best thing is that I feel I have made four new awesome friends. I am sure everyone agrees with me in saying that this class has been the best combination of learning and having fun that most of us have had.
Now to talk about the class: as it was the best combination of alot of learning and alot of fun, I am now interested in something I never considered before; this class just turned on a spark in me that I never new was there. Now I have a sincere interest in epidemiology and virology; I have absorbed so much information and the best thing is that this class, through Bob and the SCAs brought everything together. Everything that I remembered from high school biology and a class on biotech. Whether it was plasmids or vectors, everything just clicked. I really enjoyed this class. I cherish the experiences: Jasper Ridge, ATLANTIC STORM, GSID and Don Francis, jumping pictures, the movies,OUR movie, the Baylands(or should I say the Palo Alto landfill haha), RAMEN... It was over all a great experience in all ways possible. I came expected to be bombarded with more smallpox facts and I left bombarded(in a great way) but not with only smallpox information but with lots of great advice, good memories. I feel more aknowledged three weeks later. They really care about our success in school and in life. What a good feeling!
I don't mean to sound toady and if thats how it comes across, then what I am really thinking can't be expressed in good words, at least not by me and my ENL(english as an nth language) skills. It has been great to meet my fellow classmates of course because you guys are what helped make the class more exciting. I can't think of anyone else I would have wanted to have in this class you but you guys. It was so fun, I really actually enjoyed myself. It was a class, but it didn't really feel like a class (most of the time anyway), especially when we all loosened up after a couple of days. It was great. I am sure I will see all of you at some point in the future. Keep it real and have a great time this year, I for one am excited for this year (not for classes, but they are a part of the process). Stay well and try not to get that viral infection!!

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