Thursday, September 23, 2004

why biochemistry?
Many moons ago, when I was but a slip of a thing I was asked to choose what subjects I'd take at A Level*. I pondered, I was pretty good at all the subjects at 15-16, and found everything pretty easy. My first thought was: physics, chemistry, biology and perhaps a maths AS (half an A Level) to help with the physics. I'd always loved science lessons and had always got top grades. However, since up until that point, we had combined science lessons I ws a little hazy on how the three subjects differed.
My English teacher took me to one side. 'Little badger,' he said 'I think that you'd really enjoy English A Level, there's none of that English Language nonsense, just pure and unadulterated reading of books.' So, now I added English to my list of subjects and since maths had always always been a weak spot, maths and physics went out of the window.
My later teenage years were not easy - whose are? - and school work was often at the bottom of my priority list as I was too busy rowing with my parents and moving in with my boyfriend, consequently, I didn't do well in any of my exams. By the time I needed to choose a degree subject I followed the path of least resistence and picked English (I later stuck history in there too). I had fleetingly looked at the course descriptions for the science courses, but was told that I couldn't apply for both - besides the curriculum for biochemistry used lots of words I didn't know, English courses just listed books I had yet to read.
I loved my course and later, when I was feeling understimulated, went back to college for an MA in postmodernism. However, I have never given any academic pursuit the time or dedication it warrents (blame rebellion, falling in love, breaking up, partying and then - for the MA- getting married), and that's why I've never graduated with the top grade. I'm really angry about this and feel as though I've still got something to prove - to myself, to the world.
So, my interest in biochemistry has always been there, it was just latent for a few years. Then, I started editing medical titles and I kept thinking, if only I'd kept up with my sciences I'd be able to understand so much more of this. The final straw came though when I started looking for a new job - all the good, well-paid editing jobs required a BSc. So, I applied and was accepted and I start in two weeks. I know this is going to be tough, tough, tough. This time I'm going to feel proud when I graduate rather than ashamed no matter what my grade.

*US readers: we take A Levels at 18, after two years of study. When I did them (things have changed a bit since then) you chose three or four subjects. A Levels were hard, I found them more difficult than anything I've ever done except perhaps finishing the dissertation for the MA. A Levels, because of the narrow range of subjects studied, tend to cover things at greater depth than the US system does at the same age.

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