Spring Quarter Classes

At UCLA, we have the first two weeks of the quarter to change class times, sections or perhaps classes in general. Now that we are well into third week, schedules are finalized.

This quarter I am taking four classes.

1)      Phy Sci: Continuation of the core series for my major. This is the last class of the core series, but I will have to do the lab component in the fall. We are already ready for the first midterm on endocrinology!

2)      Honors Seminar: Psychology of Fear. I am taking this course to fulfill my honors collegiums requirement. It is taught by a practicing psychologist. It is a bit different then my normal classes, but very relatable.

3)      Biostats: This course counts as an upper division physiological science class and fulfills that statistics requirement for medical school. The professor is great, and many of the topics are very relevant to the research I do.

4)      History of Modern Europe: Upper division history course. So far, the material is similar to one of the lower division courses I took, but it is by a completely different professor. It has been interesting to hear similar information presented in a completely different manner.

Pretty broad mix, but it should be a great quarter!

Go Bruins!

Physiology of Nutrition


This quarter I am taking my first upper division elective class for my major. The elective courses are pretty neat since they focus on a specific topic. My class is titled “Physiology of Nutrition.” It is quickly becoming one of my favorite classes I have taken at UCLA. The topic applies directly to day to day life, and applies to everybody. It is also inspiring since it ends at 5 pm. Who would eat junk food for dinner right after a nutrition lecture?

The class is led by Dr. Heber, who runs the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. He is an MD and currently practices medicine, which provides a different teaching style then the norm. I love it! I always enjoy hearing relevant clinic examples, and it makes me excited for medical school. We have had a variety of others give lectures, including a registered dietician. Last Tuesday, a physical therapist (a UCLA alum btw) about lower back pain and how that relates to nutrition. Fascinating.

Of course, the class includes the good old food log where you write down everything you eat for three days. But we also go a bit beyond, last week every student had to do a body composition test. We received information about our %body fat, lean body mass, basal metabolic rate and target weight. Next, we do a project analyzing the above information. I think it will be much more fun than physics problems.

Go Bruins!

My Classes

WOW! I can’t believe I have already taken my first midterm of the quarter, and next week will be the half-way point. Boy, is time flying. And it’s February?? Hard to tell with all this wonderful sunshine!

With that said, I thought I would tell you a little bit about the classes I am taking. First off- Phy Sci 111A, titled “Foundations of Physiology.” Despite having taken a few quizzes and midterms, still can’t really tell you what exactly that means. Mainly we have looked at everything regarding action potentials! The class is a bit different because it is taught by 3 different professors, each with their own module. It is also six units, meaning they expect us to do a lot of studying outside of the class.

Next, I have History 140C. I love this class! It is American History since the 1960s. The professor is hilarious and lectures are never boring. It is different then the other history upper division classes I have taken due to a discussion section. Discussion is actually a discussion for this class! It is really interesting to be able to hear the opinions of other Bruins.

Finally, I have Physiology of Nutrition. We are actually doing something cool in that class in a few weeks so I am going to save the details on that for later!!


Schedule Planning

Decisions. Decisions. As soon as the schedule for winter quarter classes comes out, deciding what to take and when to take a class becomes a seemingly cumbersome process. I thought, this shouldn’t take me long, I’m a third year now, shouldn’t I have limited options of what classes to take? Wrong. In fact, even now after my enrollment periods have passed, I am still debating what classes to take.

One of my majors, physiological science, is much more mapped out. There are several classes which have to be taken, and some are offered only one quarter of the year. Meaning I don’t really have an option, I need to take it. One lecture, solves the problem of when to take it. Still there’s a choice involved, which discussion should I be in?

History is much more open. The requirement is 10 upper division classes, of which I still have six to do. There are about 40 options per quarter! I love how many classes there are but it sure makes making a choice hard. Do I take one that I know I will love the subject material? Or do I need to pick one that fits better with my schedule? Good professor reviews? Final times? As you can see, lots of factors to consider. This quarter was further complicated because I plan on preparing for the MCAT. I decided to try to have my class load be a bit lighter to give myself ample time to prepare, and perhaps take an MCAT class.

Now, just to address a big UCLA myth… It is possible to get your classes! If you can’t tell from all my inner rambling, not only do you get your classes, but probably the ones with the professor and times you desire.

Go Bruins!

Thanksgiving Break


After making it through lab until five on Wednesday, I ventured ten miles across town to my mother’s house. This was my first year not driving to Northern California, so the significantly shorter drive was fantastic. Of course, being in Los Angeles, I decided to go on a flash card making binge after lab to avoid traffic.

The break was nice to catch up on sleep, but also comes at the beginning of a stressful time for us Bruins. Finals are quickly approaching and I certainly began feeling the crunch over the holidays. Glycolysis, the Citric Acid Cycle, Enzyme mechanisms, so much to learn, so little time! It is somewhat comforting knowing that in a week it will be finished.

My thanksgiving dinner had a special guest. This half of the quarter consists mostly of bones and muscles for my physiological science class. Naturally, I borrowed a skeleton from my friend to practice outside of lab. The skeleton is named Bones and is missing the screws that keep the legs in, but he/she successfully served its purpose!

Go Bruins!

Open Gym Antics


Three-day weekends at UCLA are very contradictory. On one hand, campus seems incredibly empty while several events still seem to be taking place! I had friends who took ski trips, beach trips and even retreats with their school clubs. I kept pretty busy with athletic events on Friday and Saturday, and open lab re-scheduled for Sunday. (Food for thought- why did they re-schedule Friday labs for Sunday? I certainly would have rather just attended my normal Friday time and had Sunday off.)

For me, the Friday holiday allowed to me to thoroughly enjoy open recreation gymnastics on Thursday night! Even though I am in the gym virtually every day, I haven’t done much participation myself lately. I was so excited to get some flips in! More importantly, I got to see all of my open gym buddies. Yates Gym is located in the front of the Wooden Center, with several glass windows. I have now nicknamed the area the “fish bowl.” There are always several people staring and watching. The only problem with that is my friends and I like to have a little fun. We really emphasize our salutes at the end of the tumbling pass, mock floor routines from the 1996 Olympics and so on. I tend to forget there are people who don’t know what is happening watching. So, as normal, I stuck my front full rudi pass on tumbal track and threw my head and hands back in victory. Well, I didn’t think much of it until a few girls sitting on the bench started chuckling. Being myself, I just gave them a big grin and went back to take another turn. Different day, different place where I manage to make a fool of myself. I must not be too embarrassed if I’m writing about it online. By the way, the pass I did was in Nastia Liukin’s 2008 Olympic floor routine. She won the gold medal 😉

As much fun as I had, man did I forget how much gymnastics hurt. After doing uneven bars for the first time in a few months, my pectoralis major muscles (I had a quiz on this today- I can tell you the origin, insertion, and action. Thanks phy sci!) were sore for days. They even hurt while running three days later. Maybe next time I’ll stick to tumbling.

Go Bruins!!!

A glimpse into Phy Sci 107

Last spring, I successfully completed all my science lower division course work. This means, this fall I began taking classes that were specific for my major, physiological science, instead of just life science core classes. There are about nine life science majors which all have the same pre-requisite classes. Most students take the first two years to complete the 16 courses. Then it’s time to take classes specific for the major. Even though it’s only been four weeks, I couldn’t be happy with my choice of major!

The first class on my agenda is Systems Anatomy. The class has two two-hour lectures per week, one three hour lab, and one two hour open lab period. We have spent the last couple of lectures learning about the nervous system. Today, we started the circulatory system.

Although lecture is full of information, my favorite part of the class is lab! Getting to lab is an adventure in itself. The lab class room is located on one of the bottom floors of the engineering building, and besides the lab classroom, the rest of the floor appears to be under construction. Plus, lecture is right before it is on the complete opposite end of campus, requiring a full on sprint to make it in time. At UCLA, we get to use human cadavers. They take this pretty seriously- the lab room is locked at all times, we have to show our bruin cards to get into the lab, put all items in cubbies, absolutely no cell phones or pictures, in addition to standard lab procedure of toe-closed shoes, pants and sleeves.

I have spent the last couple of weeks identifying structures on brains. But today, it was time to see an actual heart in lab. I had no idea hearts were that big! And don’t even get me started about the lungs. One of the cool perks of being a Bruin, is we are one of the few schools where undergraduates get to work with humans, according to my professor. Plus, every summer they offer a dissection course, where undergraduate students like me prepare the specimen for the next class. Pretty cool!! I think I know what I’ll be taking this summer.

I know finding the right major can be tough, and even stressful, but hopefully y’all can find a major that you are just as passionate and excited about as I am with phy sci!


(remember: Thursday night game this week!)

Summer in Spain (and Morocco)

Half-way through the first full week of the quarter! I am starting my first science upper divisions, and not to brag or anything, but I got to look at human brains during lab today!

But first, a little bit about me, since this is my first entry… My name is Gina and I am a third year student now. I am double majoring in Physiological Science and History. I love both my majors and it definitely permits me to have a balanced schedule and lots of great opportunities. This summer, I was able to participate in, as far as I’m concerned, the BEST Travel Study Program. I spent about four weeks in Spain and Morocco taking two history classes. My program traveled to several cities through Spain and Morocco including Madrid, Granada, Tangier, and Fez. My professor has done the program for about twenty years and definitely has figured out the perfect blend between enjoying traveling and studying. It was pretty amazing to learn about a historical event one day in class, then walk through the building where it happened, the next! I also enjoyed getting to know about 30 other Bruins. We all came from different majors and interests but truly formed a family on our trip.

I could go on for days with how amazing my trip was but there are amino acid structures to memorize and Scandinavian Sagas to read.