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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending January 27, 2012

January 30, 2012


Cheers!! From the UK!!

Well this week has went by fast again. But I had an eventful week regardless. So this past weekend, my friends and I went to a market called Covent Gardens. It was fantastic!! It is actually like three markets in one. We saw performances outside as well as unique arts and crafts. The marketplace had hundreds of shops and restaurants. It is really nice and nearby all the major opera and theatre playhouses in London.

Also this week, I joined several clubs on campus. They are mostly athletic clubs because the college does not have a strictly chemistry or health profession’s club/society. Go figure?? So I joined a dance club and a kickboxing club. Both are very interesting and quite fun. Spelman should have some classes like these.

This upcoming weekend London is celebrating the Chinese New Year and my friends and I are making a point to go to Chinatown to celebrate. I cannot wait! Its surprising that I have been in London for nearly a month now. Time really goes by fast. While here, I have been fortunate to try lebonanese, thai, british, French, Italian, and will try Taiwanese. Surpisingly everything besides British food taste very good (British food is very bland).

School wise, classes are coming along. Taking a drama class in London is very interesting. I had to perform in class the past week and I was so nervous. Luckily, my partner was great and helped me become comfortable with acting in front of an audience. I think we did really well. My communication class is very useful in understanding different ethnicities and cultures, especially that reside in the same country. We really discussed how miscommunication is very common because individuals do not let go their own perceptions or stereotypes of other cultures and that hinders communication. With an open mind and being aware of other cultures and their customs, communication will be easier.

As for my research, my group has almost finished synthesizing the compound needed to bind to the polymer. Earlier, I stated that we successfully created the compound but I did not realize we needed to de-protect the compound so that it will be acceptable to binding. To create the compound, we attached protecting groups around parts of the compound that would easily detach if another molecule was present. We do not want that so we protect the group until it is complete.

Well that’s all folks.


The most exciting thing about the weekend is the Chinese New Year celebration at Trafalgar Square on Sunday. There will be a parade, arts and crafts stalls, a speech from the Mayor of London, dragon dancing, music and performances, lion dancers and, of course, fireworks! All for free, which is the best part. So I’ll be sure to catch up on most of my work before the celebration kicks off at 10am.

I’m finding that as time goes on there are more things I find myself wanting to do, but I have to remember that I am a student here first and tourist second. So that’s becoming a bit difficult to deal with. I am really going to have to take advantage of the time given at the end of term to travel and see a lot of the things I missed while I was studying “feverishly” in the library.

I haven’t noticed much about the culture this week but by being in classrooms here, I did notice that the mood of the classroom is much different from back home. I can’t speak for every American university, but I know at Spelman students give the professor the highest respect in the classroom (in the course I’ve taken anyway). For example, no one does any excessive amount of talking for a long period of time. However I am finding that in all of my classes, there is an excessive amount of chatter going on! It’s very distracting to me so I tend to sit in the front now. But before I knew any better, it really became a struggle to pay attention in class. It is also important to note that I am taking a 4-level module (course), a 5-level module and a 6-level module. In the UK, students only attend university for three years rather than four. So the 4th level course is for first years and so on. So the talking isn’t just from first year students, which I thought was interesting. Regardless of all the talking, I’ve been enjoying all of my classes this far.

In regards to my research, things are getting off to somewhat of a rocky start. For the project I am doing, I need access to either C++ or Maple and I haven’t had much luck getting any answers at this point. Also, the further I get into the project, the more complicated is has become so I really have to discipline myself into making time for research as if it is another module. Considering that I am two months away from having to make a presentation on my research, this worries me a bit but I plan to just do what I can and make the best of the situation. There is a workshop next week for the research course so I am excited about that. It will give me a chance to understand the nature of other students’ projects and hopefully make me more comfortable in my own.

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