Written by Alex Tang
February 08, 20181:20 pm 1 Comments
Once, I had a nightmare that i couldn’t find my assigned exam seat in Havemeyer 309
Welcome back to Science 101, Bwog’s weekly column where we share tips and tricks on navigating STEM at Columbia. In this week’s column, Bwog Science Editor Alex Tang shares his tips for succeeding in large, introductory science courses. He draws from his experiences in gen chem, Mowsh bio, and gen physics.
Many students claim that the introductory lecture courses are the toughest part of being a science student. Just picture a large lecture hall (does Havemeyer 309 or IAB 417 strike fear in your heart yet?) and potentially hundreds of classmates (so much for the small class sizes touted by Columbia’s admissions department). We’ve compiled some tips that you’ll hopefully find helpful, whether you’re in gen chem or orgo, Mowsh bio or Physics 1402. You might find some of these tips obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how ahead of the curve you’ll be if you follow every single one of them.
Figure out what type of student you are, and work towards your strengths:
Some students are auditory learners, and learn best during live lectures. If this is you, make attending lecture your priority. This might mean signing up for a lecture at a reasonable time (maybe not an 8:40?). Others prefer to learn by reading (including yours truly). For these types of learners, reading the class notes or textbook may be sufficient, and might be more helpful than merely going to lecture. Note that we’re not condoning that people skip lecture! Just analyze your learning style and organize your time accordingly.
Do the assigned problems (the most important tip):
If you chose to ignore every tip except for one, follow this one! Introductory lecture courses tend to be straightforward; the questions that you encounter in your assignments will be very similar to the questions that you encounter on exams. For every practice problem you encounter in your textbook assignments, practice tests, or additional problem sets, circle the ones you don’t get right the first time. Return to them before the exam, and make sure you know how to do them. This may mean doing the same problem twice or thrice. (And even if you don’t end up getting through every problem until a couple of nights before the exam, it’s still good practice.)
Be mindful of details and know the exceptions:
This is particularly pertinent in biology and chemistry. Your professor will introduce a concept to you, and will test you on how well you know the details. Easy detail-oriented questions might ask about certain exceptions to concepts. Gen chem, in particular, tends to come with lots of exceptions to rules.
Never walk into a test or quiz intending to drop it:
Just don’t. The material invariably gets harder.
Click here for more tips!
Tags: also make sure your calculator is on the correct setting (rad vs deg), biology is still the best science, bwog science, curves are gross, do. the. assigned. problems., the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell
February 04, 20181:30 pm 0 Comments
Does Grey’s Anatomy count as the “literary imagination”?
We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.
For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:
Click here for more science!
Tags: bwog science, free cookies in the chemistry event!, havemeyer is the schermerhorn of the stem campus, lol we just covered immunofluorescence in mowsh bio, who else misses christina yang, wish algorithms helped us with the last election
January 31, 20187:00 pm 0 Comments
gssc to get swoll?
As per usual, Bwog brings you a summary of last night’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) meeting. Highlights include an upcoming fitness challenge and important initiative updates.
General Studies Student Council kept the second meeting of the semester short and sweet (about 30 minutes). As a reminder, GSSC meetings happen each week on Tuesday evening, and are streamed live on the GSSC Facebook page.
The council announced the upcoming GSSC Fitness Challenge, which will be underway soon. The challenge will consist of three separate phases. Phase 1 will emphasize a variety of exercises to do at home (body weight exercises, etc), and will include several instruction videos. Pawel Maslag, GSSC member, promised to complete weekly challenges (including doing one push-up for every like on the instructional videos). Phase 2 will involve collaboration with other groups on campus, and will include matching up workout buddies at Dodge, and mock workout plans. Phase 3 will feature a day of challenges on campus, including jumping jack and push-up challenges, as well as a fun run.
Click here for more announcements from the council
Tags: a budget for a krispy kreme donut giveaway was also approved last night, gssc, i think the last time i did a pushup was in high school pe, it's about time to start working on that summer bod, seriously can't wait for the summer, so down for sun-tanning
January 28, 201812:45 pm 0 Comments
Schrödinger had quite the imagination
Today, we bring you the very first edition of Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that should satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.
For anyone (STEM-majors and non-majors alike):
CLick here for more science events!
Tags: be brave and attend one (we're talking to you humanities student), bwog science, i saw the word 'ligand' and got flashbacks of parkin gen chem, medical humanities is a field to pay attention to, science fair, there's a very high chance that you'll see your science professor at the colloquium
January 26, 20188:01 pm 5 Comments
no, it’s not a mondrian painting. this is a microbiome bacterial heat map, one of the techniques used to determine the most significant types of bacteria
Bwog Science Editor, Alex Tang, attended the Bio Department’s Horwitz Prize Lecture, and introduces us to the role of the gut bacteria in childhood nutrition. Among his gathered insights: glycobiologists are a valuable, endangered species, and poop can tell us a lot about ourselves. More seriously, a viable solution to childhood undernutrition could be simpler than we think.
There’s a fascinating city within each of us, located specifically within our stomach, and inhabited by a population of bacteria many orders of magnitude greater than New York’s. These bacteria aren’t made by us – they’re foreign guests of our gut, who engage in a symbiotic relationship with us. We give them the safe home and resources they need to survive, and they produce invaluable nutrients that we wouldn’t be able to produce on our own. We call this city the gut microbiota.
Yesterday, Columbia’s Department of Biological Sciences invited Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri, to give the Horwitz Prize Lecture, an honor bestowed on researchers who’ve done amazing work in the life sciences. Gordon’s talk, entitled “The Gut Microbiota and Childhood Undernutrition: Looking at Human Developmental Biology from a Microbial Perspective,” provided a fascinating glimpse into the complex ecosystem that our guts contain, and suggested a tantalizingly efficient solution to undernutrition, a condition that’s plagued humanity its entire history.
Gordon began his lecture with a deceptively simple hypothesis: impaired development of the microbiota is related to childhood undernutrition. Sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gordon’s team identified specific types of bacteria that seemed to be instrumental in the development of a healthy child’s gut, and produced therapeutic foods that, when fed to young children, aided in healthy development and reduced long-term risks of malnutrition.
CLick here to read about the methods of Gordon’s research
Tags: all that biochemistry brought me mowsh bio flashbacks, bacteria but not the scary disease-causing ones, biology is the best science in this writer's opinion, bwog science, ngl kinda got lost during the metabolic pathway explanations, the kind of science that saves the world
January 24, 20189:28 am 0 Comments
We’re proud of our very own (almost) alumnus: Timothée Chalamet!
Happening in the World: Earlier this month, a woman managed to evade airport security and board a flight from Chicago to London without a boarding pass. This isn’t the first time she’s managed to sneak onto a flight. (The New York Times)
Happening in the US: Oscar nominations are out! This year’s nominees for Best Picture include “Call Me By Your Name,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk,” and “Get Out.” (The Los Angeles Times)
Happening in NYC: Have time to go off campus this weekend? Here are some of Bwog’s recommended art exhibits (free with a Columbia/Barnard ID)!
Happening on Campus: “Reflections on the UN Human Rights Committee: 40 Years of Practice” will be happening in Fayerweather Hall from 4-5pm. Kretzmer who formerly served as a member and a Vice-Chair of the Committee will discuss his work and the impact of the body in advancing and protecting human rights. Check out more details here.
Overheard: “I can’t go to Ferris with you. I’m on a 3-day juice cleanse.”
CC Boy via Rotten Tomatoes
Tags: all our cool alumni are drop outs, bwoglines, girl take your juice cleanse back to santa monica, highly highly recommend the david hockney exhibit, michelangelo was amazing as well, pressed juicery is my guilty pleasure
January 20, 20181:30 pm 1 Comments
Bwog does outreach in NoCo, an (alleged) gathering space for STEM students
Attention all SEAS students, pre-meds, bio majors, physics majors, students in FroSci who actually enjoy FroSci, and anyone at Columbia/Barnard who studies and/or is interested in STEM subjects:
Bwog is pleased to announce that, starting this semester, we will be featuring a greater amount of science-related coverage. In other words, we’d like to better represent the experiences and interests of Columbia’s STEM community.
Here are some new features that you can expect from Bwog this semester:
Finally, Bwog is still recruiting writers who study science! We value the perspectives and experiences that STEM students will bring to Bwog, in terms of helping us cover science events and writing about issues that relate to STEM students. As a science writer, you’ll have the opportunity to get first-hand access to various events around Columbia, as well as practice and improve on your ability to write about science. No prior experience in journalism is necessary. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to one of our open meetings at 9pm on Sundays in Lerner 510.
Tags: bwog does science, no but seriously the best views on campus are from the top floors in noco, raise your hand if you've been personally victimized by biol 2005, science is sexy, still seeking token seas student, the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell
December 06, 201711:44 am 0 Comments
what better place to show off your favorite holiday sweater than at tomorrow’s holiday sweater party?
Bwog’s GSSC (General Studies Student Council) Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, brings us a recap of last night’s meeting, the last one of the semester!
This week’s eventful GSSC meeting, the last one of the semester, included a visit by the new incoming dean of GS, updates on the reorganization of the GSSC elections process, and speeches by new council nominees.
The meeting began with a presentation and Q&A with the new dean of the School of General Studies, Lisa Rosen-Metsch, who will take over Dean Awn’s role in January. The incoming dean arrived early, greeting council members and meeting attendees. Introducing herself as an alumna of the GS Jewish Theological Seminary Joint Program, Rosen-Metsch will be the first GS dean who is also a GS graduate. Trained as a sociologist, Rosen-Metsch worked at the Mailman School of Public Health, focusing on the social determinants of health, specifically on issues such as HIV prevention and substance use prevention. Rosen-Metsch highlighted the unique identity of GS, with “no other school like it in the Ivy League or in the world,” and emphasized her desire to maintain a close relationship with GSSC.
When asked about what she sees as being the biggest challenges that GS faces, Rosen-Metsch mentioned the limited availability of financial aid for GS students, as well as affordable housing and food insecurity. During her first semester as dean, Rosen-Metsch plans to meet as many students and faculty as possible. Rosen-Metsch encouraged GSSC to share student concerns with her as often as possible, noting that the student council is a place for the dean to present initiatives and to get genuine student feedback.
Read about the new elections process and meet the new council members!
Tags: can we all go home now, count on columbia for making elections way harder than they need to be, gs is a special snowflake in a good way, gssc, stanford had like 1 election rule, thats all folks! see you next semester!
November 29, 201711:50 am 0 Comments
ceremony of sparkly lights thanks to our student councils
Happy Wednesday! Bwog’s GSSC (General Studies Student Council) Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, is back with updates on last night’s council meeting.
This week’s GSSC meeting was one of a nitty-gritty, technical nature, focusing mostly on structural and financial matters regarding the council.
To start, GS President Sam Demezieux introduced the plan for the four Columbia undergraduate student councils (GSSC, CCSC, ESC, and Barnard SGA) to form a four-school fund. Since there are certain events that all four schools share (including Tree Lighting and Glass House Rocks), creating a common fund would make logistics much easier. Allocations for funds would be set up in the beginning of the term, saving discussion time during student council meetings. At the earliest, the four-school fund would be implemented by the coming spring semester.
VP of Policy, Raisa Flor, introduced and passed two bylaw amendments to the current GSSC constitution. Firstly, the removal of any associate of the GSSC must now require a majority vote by the executive board (rather than at the sole discretion of the committee chief). The GSSC policy committee will also add a health/wellness position, due to the immediate importance of the issue at Columbia.
Click here for GSSC’s plan to revamp its elections process, as well as other updates
Tags: a productive meeting (but not the most exciting one), also a super long meeting (my computer was running on 5% battery by the end), get to the tree lighting EARLY (we mean it), gssc, only one more gssc meeting for the semester, third day back after thanksgiving and already exhausted
November 15, 20172:30 pm 0 Comments
so many things to look forward to, such as tree-lighting season!
Now that we’re two months deep into the semester, and with Thanksgiving coming up next week, many of us are sleep-deprived, swamped in work, and losing steam. Luckily, for the officers and the attendees (including yours truly), last night’s General Studies Student Council meeting was short and sweet. Bwog’s GSSC Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, brings us updates for upcoming initiatives, events, and food giveaways.
To start off the meeting, GSSC’s Students with Disabilities Representative, Jonathan Criswell, introduced the council to the new Students with Disabilities Survey. The survey will be sent out to the GSSC community, and is aimed at pinpointing any “financial issues, issues of accessibility, issues of morale and discrimination, and any potential issues” that affect GSSC’s population of students with disabilities. The council briefly reviewed the survey, and certain members suggested semantic changes in the language of the survey. After further review, the survey will be sent out to the GS student body, and all respondents will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card.
Under the guidance of Julia Hewitt, the Family and Working Students Representative, GSSC is also working on a survey for students with families. This shorter survey (also with a $50 gift card raffle) is aimed at granting GSSC a better understanding of the demographics and circumstances of the population.
Finally, the council approved funding for the First Year Dinner, which will happen on Friday, December 1 from 6-8pm at Amity Hall. The event is intended for first-year students to reconnect after their first semester at Columbia. GSSC will work with Amity Hall to make the dinner open to all students 18 and over.
Click here for fun events with free food!
Tags: free food is the secret of success for a great event, gssc, gssc meetings are so chill we love it, no meeting next week!
November 01, 20177:43 pm 0 Comments
Tonight, Bwog’s GSSC Bureau Chief Alex Tang brings us updates from last night’s GSSC (General Studies Student Council) meeting, featuring attendees in costumes and lots of free candy.
Last night, GSSC held a festive Halloween-themed town hall meeting, which included GSSC officers and some audience members in Halloween costumes. The lively cast of characters at this meeting included Superman, Catwoman, and Wednesday Addams.
The meeting ended with a costume contest. Check the GSSC Facebook page to vote on the best pair, funniest, and scariest costume categories. Voting closes on Monday.
The meeting itself was relatively short, with only a few announcements.
Click here for said announcements
Tags: gssc, it's called fashion, newsflash: people love free candy, no drama this week guys and gals, short and sweet
October 25, 201711:30 am 0 Comments
what we think next week’s GSSC meeting will look like
Today, Bwog’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, brings us updates from last night’s GSSC meeting. Read about GSSC’s latest initiatives, concerning an upcoming Halloween costume party, transparency within the council, and the rights of students with disabilities on campus.
Halloween is happening on a Tuesday this year, which doesn’t sound too lit until you find out that you can party with GSSC! GSSC is hosting a Town Hall meeting next week in an effort to allow the General Studies student body to interact with the council. Free snacks and candy (including lots of international brands) will be provided. Come dressed in your costume, as the meeting will include a costume contest, with categories for the scariest, funniest, and best costume pair. GSSC plans to splurge quite a bit during this event, so do show up! As a GSSC council-member quipped, “What better event to go big than Halloween?”
During the meeting this week, GS Student Services and Academic Representative Yona Kornsgold introduced a resolution aimed at achieving greater transparency for GSSC within the GS community. Kornsgold acknowledged that GSSC has done a great job promoting transparency so far, through its live-streaming of weekly meetings and its creation of a policy tracker, which tracks the status of current and upcoming GSSC policies and initiatives.
Read more about transparency and other updates
Tags: bwog gives you the 411 on all student government meetings, columbia's taking a real bet with that ten thousand dollar cash prize, did someone say free candy, gssc, no sexy costume category (yet), transparency is good we support transparency
October 18, 201711:30 am 1 Comments
it’s that time of the year again!
Happy Wednesday! Bwog’s GSSC Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, is back with updates from yesterday’s meeting. This week, GSSC specifically acknowledged the fact that we’re all in the midst of midterms season. In the words of GS VP of Policy Raisa Flor, “remember to take care of yourselves during midterms week. Eat, drink, get enough sleep, and don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Today is Columbia’s annual Giving Day! The bulk of the General Studies meeting was focused on publicizing Giving Day and the various events that are happening on and off campus. Prizes (such as Flex points) will be given away throughout the day for specific challenges. Here are some ways GS students can enter to win prizes today:
Furthermore, the Giving Day Celebration, hosted by GS, is taking place today between 5:30-7:30pm at the Penn/Columbia Club on 44th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Get your tickets here, and show up to meet fellow alumni and students and to grab some free refreshments.
GSSC President Sam Demezieux started the meeting by reviewing the purpose of Giving Day, characterizing it as an “opportunity for the Columbia community to come together in friendly competition” to see “who can raise the most funds for student initiatives.” Demezieux went on to state that a significant part of the funds raised by GS on Giving Day would go towards student scholarships, a large priority for the school. The president encouraged alumni and friends of GS to donate, while at the same time stating that students are not explicitly expected to donate.
Read the other talking points from yesterday’s meeting here
Tags: did someone say free refreshments?, gssc, i live off of flex points so i will definitely be participating, it's better to give than to receive, remember to treat yourselves during midterms week!, they showed funny cat videos at the gssc meeting because why not
October 11, 201710:39 am 0 Comments
Guastavino’s looks bougie enough for this bwogger
Each Wednesday, Bwog’s GSSC Bureau Chief, Alex Tang, gives us a brief summary of the previous GSSC meeting. This week, GSSC approved the venue for the 2018 Spring Gala and introduced a new initiative for GS first-years.
This week, the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) hosted a relatively short meeting, focusing mainly on updates for upcoming events or initiatives. The meeting took place at 8:15 in Lerner 5, during the protests against right-wing speaker Tommy Robinson. As a result, this week’s meeting was different in that it was punctuated periodically by the rallying cries and cheers from just a few floors down. Yet, every speaker spoke slightly louder than usual, and the meeting proceeded smoothly.
The bulk of the meeting was spent on selecting the venue for the annual Spring Gala. VP of Campus Life Dennis Zhao introduced his favorite contender, Guastavino’s in East Midtown. Guastavino’s has a much larger capacity than previous gala venues, and Zhao mentioned that up to seven hundred students might be able to attend this year’s gala at Guastavino’s, more than in previous years. The Spring Gala has been criticized in previous years for its limited capacity, as not all GS students were able to attend the galas. Senior Class President Roya Hegdahl, who attended her freshman Spring Gala at Guastavino’s, noted that the venue was incredibly spacious and well-organized, allowing for a natural flow of events. More importantly, hosting the Spring Gala at Guastavino’s would mean cheaper gala tickets for attendees, as well as the extra benefits of hors d’oeuvres and a larger “beverage” selection. GSSC unanimously approved Guastavino’s as the 2018 Spring Gala venue.
Read about GS’s new first-year initiative
Tags: an efficient meeting overall 7/10 would recommend, ferris friends are forever, gssc, gssc seems to enjoy planning parties, we also serve hors d'oeuvres at our bwog meetings!, we like large beverage selections
October 04, 201710:56 am 0 Comments
the Welcome Back Party venue looks pretty glamorous tbh
Today is Wednesday, which means that Bwog’s General Studies Student Council (GSSC) Bureau Chief Alex Tang is here with a summary of yesterday’s meeting. If you’re interested in what goes on in General Studies and can’t make it to the weekly GSSC meetings, check back weekly for convenient updates!
GSSC held a fairly short meeting last night. Members of the council took turns giving updates about various events and initiatives related to the School of General Studies.
Most importantly, the annual GSSC-hosted Welcome Back Party is coming up tomorrow, Thursday, from 7-9pm at the Hudson Terrace, a rooftop lounge in Midtown. The Welcome Back Party is one of the biggest events that GSSC hosts each year, and is a major highlight for many GS students. A limited number of tickets are still available, so check the link above if you’re in GS and want to turn up tomorrow!
In anticipation of Homecoming, the annual Columbia Homecoming Banner Showdown is happening next week, on Thursday October 12 from 12-4pm on the Lerner Ramps. Each of Columbia’s four undergraduate schools (CC, SEAS, Barnard, and GS) will be given empty canvasses on which to propose their own version of the Homecoming banner. The banners will be posted during the pep rally, and the best banner will be voted upon by the student body. VP of Campus Life Dennis Zhao encouraged as many GS students to attend as possible. Zhao noted that other schools have been talking smack about GS, quoting that GS students are “too old” and lack the “steady hands” to make artwork. Let’s show all the haters wrong!
Here are the other updates covered during the GSSC meeting:
We saw several new faces at the meeting as well, as the council heard (and approved) the nominations for two previously vacant positions. GSSC’s two new council members are:
Senator Ramond Curtis also introduced two new legislative assistants and three new administrative assistants, who will help him interface with the Columbia administration. The role of the legislative assistants, Patrick and Moth, will be to do research, draft memorandums for the University Senate, and to advocate for direct policy changes. The administrative assistants, Daniel, Alejandro, and Christopher, will meet with administrators and draft official emails. All five assistants will be working associate non-voting positions, but will be active members of the board.
Hudson Terrace via pinterest
Tags: going up on a thursday, gssc, not so much drama this week, some friendly interschool competition, summer might be over but there's time for one more rooftop party, why dont you catch me outside and see how steady these fists really are
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