Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Volunteering: This is New!...

There have been alot of firsts for me since coming to Canada:-

Professor who is on another campus: "Daphne, besides volunteering outside, try and start volunteering in a professor's research lab during the summer. Brownie points for graduate work!"

Daphne: "Ok! Er, who's lab?" (I have never ventured into this area before)

Professor: "Professors whom you know and are on good terms with who will be around during the summer and who has research work which fascinates you, and who will be carrying out lab work over the summer. And of course, the professor has to agree to take you!"

That leaves me with about, 4 professors. I only know so many!

Anyway, I found myself in 2 labs: Leng Chai Professor's (LCP) lab, and another very nice lady professor's lab...

I got the full tour of leng-chai's lab just recently. He does research on rats and even has this swimming pool thingy for the rats to swim in (I will be working with his NSERC scholarship student)...

No problem, I thought. I dissected rats in Form 6, and I've handled them before.

Until I saw the rats here--Oh My Gosh! They're super cute and fat! They look more like furry guinea pigs, with their white coats with black and white heads.


LCP then took me of a tour of the surgery room and he said I was welcome to join him when he does the surgeries.

LCP: "Any questions so far?"

Daphne: "Has anybody ever cried when you kill the rats?"

LCP: "Not yet" *Grins*

Sheesh. I better not start a precedence. The reason why I stopped volunteering at the ISPCA (besides the distance from home) was that I spent so much time crying over the animals who died.

Ok, Daphne, you can do this. You already went through the entire course on animal testing, ethics and pain-free options, and sat for the exam, all so you can join the lab. Don't back out now!

Well, at least the other professor's lab doesn't involve live specimens.

And guess what? Both labs don't involve children. In fact, both labs study things from a neuroscience perspective--memory, sensation and perception. Guess there's more to my interests than just children...;)

But that's what a good education is about, right? To allow one to explore different interests, skills and areas...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Of Zoos, Professors, Curry-Puffs and Armchairs...

I am back!

This is what life is all about. Just lazing about, watching hours of idiotic Everybody Loves Raymond, eating good food, and doing nothing stressful...

So, what exactly was Daphne up to over the break (besides being a pig)?

A bear having a good snooze in the sun...

I got to visit one place I've always liked! The zoo...

Muahaha...I know, you'd probably be thinking, how boring?

On the truck in the African Savannah section!

But I have always liked places where you can find animals--pet stores, zoos, parks, you name them!

The Toronto Zoo is very large. I enjoyed the nice weather and the walk (They even have an Indo-Malaya section, and a section dedicated to Malaysia). My only complaint is that we didn't get any interaction with the animals like you get in Zoo Negara...

My Korean friend, Sae-Hae, and me...

I also learnt some basic baking over the break! One of my aunts, who loves to cook and bake ran me through the ahem, art, of baking currypuffs and cookies. Unlike so many of my friends who tell everyone they bake and then buy ready-made pastries to be used as dough, this aunt of mine actually does everything from scratch...Pretty cool!

This picture is priceless! Pssst, mum, are you reading? ;)

I also met up with one of my professors who took time to meet me for coffee in downtown Toronto to discuss future study-paths and work. She is based in the satellite campus in another town (same uni, of course) and because of that, we don't get to meet for appointments.

I met some students from a much bigger university a couple months back, and they were surprised we actually talk to our professors! They were telling us how all interaction for them is with TAs...And here we have professors who come over for dinner, and who meet us for coffee...

I am very glad I chose a small university to do my undergraduate work because everything is just so much more personal!

Flowers growing wildly!

The weather is becoming a whole lot more beautiful now. Flowers are blooming everywhere, especially the dandelions that seem to sprout overnight. The geese have returned, and it is now possible to walk outside with just a light sweater on.

Classes (summer session) resumed today, and I actually opted to walk to campus from my summer-residence, which on foot, takes about 20-ish minutes to reach, if you walk fast. The weather was just too nice to resist, and heck, I wasn't going to pay $2.25 for a 5-minute bus ride!

And I'm all prepared for the Spring and Summer. I have brought out my flip-flops, my shorts and skirts, and my sunblock. My cousins have also very kindly donated their rollerblades and bicycle (Thank you!) and I thank my lucky stars I had them back home. Can you imagine how horrible it would be if I was given the blades and wheels and I had no idea how to use them?!?!?

Crocky on my new armchair...

I made one splurge though--I got myself a nice armchair. And when I sat in it today to go through my readings, I asked myself why I didn't buy them last year itself.

8 months of sitting on a normal chair has taken a toll on my back (either that or lie on the bed and read, which of course, I end of snoozing). After all, I spend so much of my waking hours sitting--either reading, studying, doing assignments, or being on the computer.

I was really bummed out about having to study during the summer as I really wanted to go home. But I guess it won't be too bad. Classes are really hectic because they are compressing everything (like an 8-month course into 12 weeks!), but I'll survive.

My volunteer work is also looking very promising, which I am very happy about. The variety of things I can volunteer in here is just amazing--the scope is almost endless. I have even surprised myself by branching out of my comfort zone (pediatrics/children) by trying my hand out at emergency medicine care (yeap, volunteers do this too)...