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25Jul/123

Uni update: year 2

So, around this time last year, I wrote a blog post on all the courses I'd taken during my first year. I figured I should keep you posted and do the same thing again this year.

As I explained last year, our school year is divided into six periods, three per semester. First period started off pretty heavy this year, with three different subjects. General Toxicology, where we learned about various toxins and how they affect different parts of the body; Integrated Human Physiology, which was essentially a continuation of last year's Principles of Human Physiology; and Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health, which had far less to do with disease epidemics than you might think. It was mostly about the trends in diseases/conditions like diabetes and obesity, and involved quite a bit of statistics, history of epidemiological research etc. The second period has both the best and worst class of the year: there was Nutrition Behaviour, which I found really interesting because the behavioural/sensory aspects of nutrition are pretty much what I eventually want to focus on. And then there was Advanced Statistics for Nutritionists, which pretty much sucked. I had Statistics I and II last year and they turned out to be nowhere near as bad as I'd expected... and then Advanced Statistics suddenly delves into these rather complex statistical models and stuff, and I'm still not quite sure how I managed to scrape a pass in that class, because I was basically certain I had to have failed that exam. :P To finish off the semester, we had Pharmacology and Nutrition, which explained the workings of various types of medications and their interactions with food substances.

The second semester started off with the first (and only) subject that we got to choose for ourselves, rather than having a prescribed compulsory class schedule. Well, it still wasn't exactly a free choice, as there were only two subject to pick from. One was Practical Biochemistry or something like that and came with about 46829 lab sessions, so I went with Applied Data Analysis instead. I was a little worried about picking another statistics class after nearly failing my last one, but it was actually quite doable. We didn't so much learn any new stuff... it was basically a tutorial on how to apply all the different statistical methods in practice, that we'd learned in theory during the previous three courses. Quite useful and not even all that hard. Fourth period had Research Methodology I, where we were taught about various forms of nutrition research, standardised measurement methods etc., and Cell Biology and Health, which was basically the sequel to last year's Cell Biology I course.

Finally, we had Research Methodology II and Food & Health. In Methodology II, among other things, we measured our cholesterol levels in our own blood samples, which was pretty neat. Food & Health was probably the most intensive course I've had all year; we had to come up with a new and improved version of any food product, produce it ourselves, run a chemical analysis to establish the macronutrient composition, have it tested by a sensory panel, etc., and write a 50-70 page report on our findings, supported by literature. In fact, for the first time in my entire two-year study programme so far, this course didn't even have an exam; you simply get graded on said report. This also means I don't yet know my grade for this course; we had to edit two sections of our report after handing in the initial version (only 4 out of 19 reports immediately got accepted with no corrections necessary), so I'm not really expecting to receive a grade until the end of the summer holidays/start of the new semester.

That being said, here's my grades for all of the other courses:

Not as great as my first year marks, but still a 72% GPA for this year (77% overall), and I still passed all my exams on the first try. And now I get to relax for about five more weeks before the new year starts ;)

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