I’m Nerdy and I Know It

Ask anyone that hangs around me, like friends, roommates, family, professors, or peers, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: I’m a HUGE nerd. I find the obscure topics of science fascinating and usually, I’m going to be more interested in how the body would respond to a nerve gas than the latest fashion trend or sports score. I love learning about new topics, especially when my professors are really enthusiastic about their subjects, like my biochemistry professor (see Wanted: Passion for more details). Instead of trying to hide my nerdiness from the world, I wholeheartedly embrace it, arms wide open, because I’M NERDY AND I KNOW IT.

Since my first chemistry class in high school, I fell in love with the subject. I ended up taking 3 semesters of chemistry before college, including Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry. Once I got to LMU and began learning Organic Chemistry, the love only grew deeper.

You “ether” get organic chemistry or you don’t.

Many people despised Organic, but as I said in Giving Thanks, it ended up being one of my favorite classes because it was new material. Many classes seem to repeat the same information over and over, going slightly more in-depth each time, but not Organic! Organic looks at the structure of organic molecules (those with carbon) and the subsequent reactions. Organic is much more conceptual than General Chemistry, which tends to be more analytical and mathematical. Organic stretched my mind and challenged me to think more than any class that I had up to that time.

This year, though, has been my ultimate favorite chemistry class: Biochemistry. Biochemistry, the so-called “chemistry of life”, deals with the chemical processes that occur within animals’ bodies. Every time I walk out of my biochemistry classroom I feel like I’ve had one of the these “Oh wow!” moments because we learn about processes like muscle contraction, carbon dioxide-oxygen transfers, and nerve transmissions—something I take for granted every day and don’t think about, but that takes an incredible amount of coordination from several systems in my body to make happen. Did you know that if scientists were to attempt to create a processing plant that performed all the reactions the liver does, the plant would cover somewhere around 10 square miles, require thousands of scientists, and cost over a billion dollars (per Dr. Jason Fowler, my biochemistry professor)? That’s crazy! It’s hard for me to think that this three to five inch organ inside our body takes care of this without a hitch, but somehow our bodies have perfectly orchestrated all the metabolic activities so that we can live life to the fullest. I’m fortunate that my study partners are just as energetic about biochemistry as I am because it allows us to have some really fascinating, off-the-wall conversations about how we think detox treatments work (hint: it’s a sham-click here for more) or why we think certain biological systems have evolved the way they have. When I surround myself with people that love science and learning as much as I do, I’m ecstatic.

One of the reasons I love veterinary medicine so much is because there’s always a chance to learn something new—to get that “Oh, wow!” moment again and again. Many advances that are being made in human medicine causes advances in veterinary medicine, because drugs designed for humans can be formulated slightly differently for animals. In Tennessee, veterinarians are required to take 20 hours of Continuing Education (CE) every year so that they stay up-to-date on the latest diagnosis and treatment guidelines, diagnostic techniques (like MRIs for your pet!) and practice management strategies. Other states have different time requirements, but the focus is that medicine is constantly evolving and changing, and veterinarians must not be stagnant. Every patient that walks in the door will give me another chance to learn something new because no two cases are exactly alike.

Sometimes, my roommates literally have to tell me “ENOUGH!” when I start talking about why eggs turn white when cooked (if you’re interested, it’s because the proteins in egg whites called albumin denature at high temperatures and become insoluble, and they form an opaque, interconnected mass). It’s just that I get so excited and I can’t help myself! I love sharing knowledge with the people around me. So the next time someone rolls their eyes at you and calls you a nerd, just grin and say, “Yep, I’m nerdy, and I know it.” I certainly do!

How do you embrace your nerdy side? Leave me a comment!

For the less science-inclined of my readers, “Merry Christmas”!
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Posted on December 17, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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