Fearless

So I haven't written in a while or had any life crises or anything so I figured I'd just write about what I've been doing and learning life wise this summer.

I'm doing research at Duke through the Bass Connections program so I get lots of money to live here and then go to a neuroimmunology conference in Montana in the middle of July. I'm looking at how overexpression of a protein whose gene has been shown to predispose Alzheimer's disease affects a mitochondrial stress response called the unfolded protein response. Pretty much it means that when there are a lot of unfolded proteins in the mitochondria, there are pathways that cause more chaperones and proteases to be transcribed and translated to deal with it. It's an interesting project, though it's hard to see the real world application right away. It was for me anyway. If this mitochondrial stress response is an implication of Alzheimer's, we can try to treat the cells with drugs and see how they fare. Eventually we could do this with mice and see if that helps symptoms. It's an interesting idea because you don't usually think mitochondria are implicated in neurodegenerative disease; they usually talk about a lot of cell death and the buildup of amyloid plaques. I guess this is trying to kind of see beyond that. I need to read some more papers clearly.

I should be studying for MCAT a lot more than I am, which is not at all.

I might get involved with volunteering at the Alzheimer's Family Support Program that holds support groups and normalizing experiences for Alzheimer's patients and their families. They do some arts and music kinds of events at the Nasher and other things, and the lady there got pretty excited when I mentioned that I'm a dancer. I'm really excited too and I'm hoping that I can make this opportunity into a way for me to cross my two interests of dance and science that turns into healthcare. It bridges my two passions which is something I've been looking really hard for in a volunteering opportunity. Hopefully it works out, fingers crossed!

Everything feels like it's coming together and getting better this summer. My relationships with my family and my friends are getting stronger, my "image" and career skills are being strengthened, and hopefully I'll have accomplished something by the end of it. I can't believe I'm a junior next year, but I'm looking forward to all of the new things that have started like volunteering about something I really care about and being the captain of a dance team that I want to succeed and doing research that is my own project. Now I have my license too so I feel like so much more of an independent. Growing up is definitely a scary thing, but I'm glad it's happening. Some things I've learned.

1. Question everything. You might be using cells or tissue lysates that you were told are fine, but the problems you're having might not be any fault of your own and rather due to inherently poor samples. Even outside the lab, your boss isn't always right because he's your boss, and neither is your mom for the same reason. You have your own set of morals and opinions and ideas that should lead you to come up with your own solutions for things.

2. I need to work on my assertiveness. A lot of times I don't say anything during a discussion with people I don't know that well or with professors because I'm afraid if I will or will not get a reaction about it, whether it'll be a good one or not. It keeps me from sharing a lot of things that I think others could benefit from hearing, or at least get them thinking. It's really hard to convince yourself, so what if no one listens or responds or someone shoots you down? That's one person and one time that is in the past right after it happens. Easier said than done. 

3. Boys rarely plan things as ahead of time as girls. Yeah, I'm major generalizing about this, but it's a really frustrating thing to deal with when you make plans and those plans change because boys don't have anything set in stone. It's okay, I'll make do. Had to learn that about men sooner or later. 

I'm hungry. Peace out.

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