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Jenny’s Spring Term Outlook

Hi friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s week four of spring term already! The Prefrosh have come to visit and have gone already. This was my third–no, fourth–Prefrosh Weekend! I’m starting to feel a bit old. If there are any Prefrosh reading this post, best wishes for your decision! Hope you enjoyed your visit here if you came…. and if you didn’t come I hope this blog gives you a good idea of what coming here will be like.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed this year so much. I’m really going to miss some of the seniors who will be graduating. Just the other day, I saw them all lined up in their graduation gowns and caps to take their graduation photos one by one. My high school wasn’t a four-year school, so this is the first time in a while that I’ve spent so long in school together with older friends. Even at any other four-year school, I don’t know if some of the same friendships could have developed. Caltech is a really small, tight-knit community. I say those words pretty often to anyone who asks what Caltech is like, but it’s times like these–facingthe reality of the commencement that I know will be happeningin six weeks–that I really understand the impact that my small school has had on me. Lots of places might claim to teach students how to think and how to collaborate and how to do amazing science and that can all be true, but few boast the close community that Caltech provides, and that’s something I have come to cherish.

Before those six weeks are up, though, I plan to make the most of my time with these seniors. We can go for coffee shop dates or a weekend at the beach… One of my senior friends also wants to go to the new Harry Potter part of Universal Studios, so those plans are in the works, too.

Somehow those plans will have to happen, between school work and medical school applications. I’m taking these classes this term:

Ch 25 – Introduction to Biophysical Chemistry: Thermodynamics

Bi/Ch 113 – Biochemistry of the Cell

Ch 7 -Advanced Experimental Methods in Bio-organic Chemistry

Art 55 -Art of the 19th Century

PA 31C – Chamber Music

I’ve really enjoyed these classes so far. I’ve also been dropping into Ch 250 when I’ve had the time. It’s a seminar about medicinal chemistry. It really showed me how much hard work andresearch andtesting there is to go through before a medicine can be made available to patients.

Art history class has been really great, too. My favorite painter of all time is JMWTurner, a British Romantic landscape painter. For this class, we got to go to the Huntington Museum last week to see some of his works, including this one:

And this next one is just one I really like, called The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838:

And then there’sbio-organic chemistry lab, where we’ve prepared L-nitrophenylalanine amino acid from a racemic mixture using stereoselective hydrolysis by the proteaseSubtilisin Carlesberg. We then protected it with Fmoc. Thisweek and the next, we plan to incorporate it into a pentapeptide (a peptide string of five amino acids) by using solid-phase synthesis. I’m usually a klutz in lab, so I hope I’ll make it to five… we’ll see!

As for medical school apps, I’ve been working on a personal statement, some way to express just why I really want to be a physician. The hardest part is to step back and think about whatmy story is. It’s a little tough to step aside when I’ve been in the thick of it for all this time.

That’s my story for now. Good luck to all the Prefrosh!! See some of you in the fall. It’s gonna be an intense but great time.

Keep lookin’ up,


Jenny Sheng