Day in the Life: Kate
So what does a normal day look like for a chemistry or biochemistry major here at Baylor University? Although my friends say I am far from normal, I hope you will join me below for a day in my life!
7 AM: Wake up. I am a morning person, so I try to wake up at the same time every day. I try to have morning classes, and I love walking across campus when it is still quiet. Even on cloudy days, the Baylor Sciences Building (BSB) is a beautiful sight.
8 AM: Physical Chemistry II class. This is my class in quantum mechanics, and we are a small class of just 10 people. Almost all of my upper-level classes have been small (under 20 people), and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know my classmates and professors better in this more intimate environment.
9 AM: Research (part 1). I have some time before my next class, so I head into lab in order to set up a reaction that will take a few hours and start up the glovebox and vacuum pump. Because I have been doing research in my lab for more than 2 years now, I can work independently, which is helpful in maximizing my productivity during those gaps in my class schedule. I discovered earlier this week that one of the key reagents in my project decomposed, so I need to re-run the reaction today before I can continue working on my project. Research is full of setbacks, and it requires a great deal of dedication, perseverance, and problem-solving skills, but I have learned so much by being involved in undergraduate research and am so grateful for this opportunity.
11 AM: Former Prophets class. This is a small, discussion-based class in which we are studying the biblical books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. Because of the flexibility for electives in Baylor degree plans, I have loved taking classes in other departments and have added a minor in Religion. Former Prophets is my favorite class this semester, and it is a great break from all the chemistry!
12 PM: Research (part 2). After class, I head back to lab to check on my reaction, run some NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) samples, and do some literature searching. Our lab office is adjoined to the lab itself, and so I also have time to eat lunch, work on some homework, and talk with my labmates while I wait for my reaction to finish. Research is definitely a serious time commitment, but it is definitely doable with some time management skills.
4 PM: Great Texts in Modern Science class. This is another one of my favorite classes, and it is actually taught by my Honors thesis advisor. We have read a variety of works ranging from Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, philosophical treatises from the French Enlightenment, and excerpts from William Paley’s Natural Theology to an H. G. Wells science-fiction novel, Watson and Crick’s 1953 paper on the structure of DNA and a lecture from Sigmund Freud on psychoanalysis, to name a few. We discuss the history and philosophy of science, including the development of science as a field, intellectual movements, the role of science in education, and philosophical and religious implications. As a scientist, the discussions in this class have challenged me to think about science from a completely different perspective.
5 PM: Meeting with my thesis advisor. I also regularly meet with my professor after class to discuss my progress on the research and readings for my Honors thesis on questions of moral formation and scientific research practices in a lab. He is an amazing resource, challenging me to think deeply about my own experiences, the books I am reading, methodologies, and how this all might fit together in my thesis.
6 PM: Dinner. The weather has been so nice, and there are so many places around campus to sit outside and safely social distance. We picked up gourmet mac and cheese from Franklin Avenue Mac House, a local Waco restaurant that offers a student discount, for something special today, but I usually just eat something I had previously meal prepped over the weekend.
7 PM: Desk shift. I also work part-time as an Office Assistant at the front desk of my residence hall. I enjoy the opportunities to interact with residents, but I also appreciate the time to study if no one is around, especially in busy weeks like this one.
9 PM: Evening chapel (my favorite part of the day!). All Baylor undergraduate students are required to take two semesters of chapel. Although most chapel students are online (in normal semesters, big chapel is held in Waco Hall), the Honors Residential College offers a small nightly, in-person chapel services for our students led by upperclassmen. I serve as the Spiritual Life Chair for our community, and it is a blessing to work alongside our amazing leadership team to host chapel, worship nights, prayer groups, and other initiatives to encourage our residents to grow in their faith.
10 PM: Homework, chores, and/or procrastination with friends. I try to tackle some of my less intense homework at this time of night when I am more tired (e.g. my word art quizzes for my British Literature class). However, I much rather spend time catching up in the company of good friends. These late night conversations are usually the highlight of my day, and as one of my professors liked to say, “You are not truly living and learning in college if you have not stayed up until 2 am talking about the meaning of life.” One of the main reasons I still live on campus is for all the impromptu hallway conversations with a wide variety of amazing people, and I am so grateful for this community.
12 AM: Sleep. The importance of sleep cannot be overstated, and it is one of my goals in college to never pull an all-nighter.
Although everyone is different and each semester unique, I hope following me around for a day will help you better imagine what YOUR life here at Baylor could be like where you learn, lead, and develop your passions inside the classroom, in the lab, in various student organizations, in the Waco community, and more.