I’ve written up a 3 part blog post on the topic of pracs! So here’s part 1 of the prac trilogy :)
In my experience, I’ve noticed a big difference between my first year and second year pracs.
FYI: As you know, I can’t generalise my experience across the whole of first/second year subjects. In this post, I will be comparing my experiences from first year biology (BIOL10004) and my second year zoology subject: Animal structure and function (ZOOL20005).
Here are some of the differences between my first and second year pracs:
My lab room looks like a dungeon compared to last year’s!
(In 1st year, my labs were based in Redmond Barry. And now my labs are in the Zoology building)
Redmond Barry labs are x100000 times better than Zoology’s.
I don’t have the luxury of all the awesome flat screen tvs around the lab to see what the demonstrator is doing. And just in general, my first year lab was much nicer and ‘modern’ than where I am now.
Better quality microscopes
The microscopes that I’m using now are the bomb! I can see EVERYTHING in such clarity and in high focus.
My inner science geek gets really excited when we get to play around with microscopes :D
Everyone get their own microscope (no need to share)!
One day I hope to learn how to take pictures through the microscope! I wonder if there’s a career in that?
Where is the demonstrator?
Here is what my very first prac was like this year!
Me: *walks into prac room all excited*
Me and everyone 10 minutes later: *what the hell is going on?*
Demonstrator: “You know you can start now right?” *leaves room*
The structure of pracs are so different! Compared to first year, the demonstrators practically held our hands throughout the prac. And now? We mainly worked through the prac by ourselves.
There’s still one or two demonstrators floating around if you need help, but EVERYONE needs help. So…yeah :(
p.s – You get to know the people on your table very well because you just bond over how we have no clue what is going on!
Level of difficulty
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been struggling through my pracs for this subject all through semester. Even walked out in tears on one occasion! (I am so silly, I know!)
There’s a lot of work to go through, and it’s hard stuff. (I’m not the smartest cookie, but I’m a hard worker!)
My prac is on tuesdays, and the lecture is on mondays. And the prac is based on the lecture!
So I have one day to learn everything before the prac (mind you, it’s A LOT to cover). But I feel really bad for the people who has the prac on the same day as the lecture! That’s just unlucky.
And we have a test at the end of each prac which I was ace-ing it at the start. But apparently I haven’t been doing too well in them lately (and I don’t know where I’m going wrong because I never seem to get my test back).
Who needs lab coats!
Demonstrators didn’t care if we wore our lab coats or not! Mainly because we weren’t working with chemicals or anything deadly.
I do miss wearing my pink labcoat though :(
And close-toed shoes are still a must. They have a bucket of old, smelly shoes if you forget…and they WILL make you wear them.
And you know what – I was allowed to take photos in my pracs this year! In fact, they encouraged us to! Woohoo, I like it that they are catering for the visual learners! Win!
No seat numbers/no scanning student cards
In first year, the demonstrators would scan our student cards as a way to mark our attendance. And we would be allocated a seat in the lab.
Second year? None of that!
But your attendance is still marked
You see cool things in pracs!
I LOVE the things we get to do in the prac! It is lots of fun using the microscopes, seeing cool things, poking and touching weird things.
This is definitely the best part of second year pracs.
Stay tuned for part 2: What I do in my pracs
In the meantime, rug up! It’s mighty cold out there!