Managing projects and in the full swing of school now.


So its been a little bit since I blogged but things are going well. About a month into the spring semester of my sophomore year now. OH! I should also mention I got accepted into the 4 year school that I am transferring to- Salisbury University. I've grown up about a mile from the university and have planned to go there for the last 2 years. (What I've planned to do while there has changed haha). I also got into  their honors program so WEEEEEEE good job me. First round of exams are done except for my physics one which is tomorrow. Results are good! Got a 100 on my org chem exam but I also put a lot of hours into that. In fact I've been putting a lot of hours into a lot of stuff project wise. I have been using an app called forest to help focus me and do time tracking. 
This is the report of time logged this last month. I've labeled all studying under their respective subject but made them all share the same color. The grey i'm honestly not sure what that is. The orange is reading/blogging which took a huge hit after  school start. 99% of my recreational reading is audiobooks during the school year. The purple is project management. These are writing assignments or just general weird projects like posters and what not. It's fair to say I am more than a bit proud of these numbers. That's about 96 and a half hours logged of doing straight work. That's over 10% of all hours of this month being logged. I don't want to scare you and make you think I'm dogging out and slugging all these hours and hating my life and living for these numbers. Honestly I am taking breaks, drinking water, taking walks, enjoying the spots of good weather and this is the first I've looked at these numbers. I'm pretty decent I think at avoiding burnout. I take self inventories pretty often and make a lot of time for myself in my day.

Anyways lets talk about my projects.  

I am in the STEM honors program at worwic which involved 3-4 projects which each stem class I want a credit for. This semester that is Physics 2 and  2. Each class has two writing projects, and physics has 2 lab associated ones and org chem has one lab. However on top of this you need to conduct undergraduate research under a facility member and publish it in an undergrad journal or present it at an official thingy. I have an idea for the research I wanna do. I wanna design a synthesis of Oleic Acid and see if I can affect ant behavior correctly as the acid is known to do. Oleic acid is emitted after about 2 days of an ant's death and this signals to other ants to dispose of the body. If I put oleic acid of my own synthesis on ant bodies I wanna see if I can affect their behavior the same way. So I bought some uncle milton's and designed a synthesis. 

Now I've never designed a synthesis to be used in real life and it might be better to use some different material than stuff like bromooctane which is pretty nasty, as well as sodium hydride. However I still gotta investigate that. I've accomplished three of the four writing assignments for the STEM Honors project and done some reading for the lab one in Org chem. I really haven't done a lot for the lab ones in physics yet, but one is a lot easier than the other just from glimpsing it. So I think I could knock that particular one out in 2 days or so, maybe 5 hours total work on it. I really would have to look into the gas and light lab to see how difficult it would be. The paper on Frances Arnold I am going to put on the backburner as it is only 5 pages compared to the 10 pages of the PAH paper and I would rather use the time I have for the more research heavy and lab projects. These are all due at the end of the semester (May 2nd) so I have pretty good time on it all. Nows the time to talk to teachers about the labs, especially the research stuff. After talkign with my org chem professor I have a backup plan of synthesizing soap which is a lot simpler and safer than my Oleic acid idea. However I kinda love the oleic acid idea and I am going to stick with it as long as its possible. Next is to do some research on what I would need to synthesize it, as my synthesis is a bit theoretical and actual application of it might  be a bit harry or expensive or dangerous. 

Big Big Macro projects

Okay so heres where it gets juicy. Part of the honors program at SU is you get to write a thesis which is exciting as heck. I've been generating ideas for it and reading some books on studies and I have some fun ideas. 

#1- Qualitative Study involving interviews of parents of children in vegetative states.  
So I have met two families through work I would love to interview and get their life story. As for what possible research I would turn this into I am not sure yet. But i am reading and forming ideas and plan on conducting the interviews this summer. Even if this doesn't turn into a research or thesis I would still love to write about families. I was inspired by The Spirit Catches You and You Fall down by Anne Fadiman which I just finished my review on, but I finished the book about a month ago now.

#2- Study of the effects of pterostilbene on meningitis patients. This is a little compound I cam across in my life-extension reading. (Yes I'm a loser whose into longevity). This little compound is awesome as can be. It's really a money maker because of its anti-carcinogenic affects but what I would love to focus on is it has anti-inflammatory affects while being very lipophilic. In fact it should be lipophilic enough to cross the blood brain barrier. When shadowing this winter break I saw a case of viral meningitis (it was really cool because it was suspected to be COVID-19 derived which is very rare) who's symptoms of headache drastically reduced after a lumbar puncture. The physician initially prescribed decadron (as steroid) but as he was charting and talked more with the neurologist he decided against it. He explained that he didn't want to cause any risks if the meningitis symptoms were managed because decadron as all steroids do- carry an immunosuppressant quality. So treating the symptoms with it might spread the virus. I asked why he couldn't do NSAIDs like aspirin and he explained that they cannot cross the blood brain barrier. I think if this option was explored, a safer alternative to the management of mild meningitis could be found. This might be too ambitious for an undergrad project but I'll see what I can do. Pterostillbene itself is pretty dang safe and "Pterostilbene is generally safe for use in humans up to 250 mg/day." according to this

#3- Examination of the survival rates of two different surgery methods in treatment of endocarditis of the mitral valve. So I think this is the one I'll have the easiest time with and it is pretty dang interesting. I would basically just do follow ups with surgery patients too and see how they're doing as far as health and especially when it comes to pacemakers. Endocarditis of the mitral valve is usually you get an infection so bad that it grows "vegetation" upon the valve and starts making it efficient. You treat the infection, usually give statins and there's some good ole cholesterol on there too usually and then you surgically clean up the valve. However there are two options for approaching the valve. The gist of it is, you can do a big ole cut and have higher risk of pacer-dependency after surgery as you've caused disconnection of nodes. OR you can do a tiny cut and have a smaller risk of pacer dependency at the cost of a shitter view of the mitral valve you need to clean.  I would love to interview cardiothoracic surgeons on what factors affect their decision making as for which technique to follow in the surgery. Then you just get a heaping pile of patients who underwent the surgery then collect stats on them. 

All three ideas seem pretty fun and I am gosh dang excited for all three. I do plan on taking a whole buttload of time, from now until my senior year to properly give them the treatment they deserve.

Okay other than that Ive been studying for MCATS, not really sure when I'll take my first one. Im thinking end of this summer. I gotta get more serious come the end of the semester. Uhhhh OH I got my internship lined up at this cool lab down in ocean city that collects and transforms the blood of horseshoe crabs (ethically, we dont kill) and transforms it into Limulus amebocyte lysate

Well that about sums up what I've been doing. Gonna get back to lab report now. WEEEEEEEEEEE


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