“From Online to the Labs”

by Samar Abrahams

Initially I thought Honors was finally going to be my year off to relax after a rather intense third year of medicine. However, I was quickly brought back to reality the second lectures started and work started piling up. I quickly had to change gears and adjust my frame of mind. Once I started keeping up with work and attending classes, the workload did not seem half as bad as what I had initially thought.

In order to adjust myself I went back to how I worked in previous years, which is attending live lectures, writing down as much as what the lecturer says and then watching the recording (if available) to confirm what I’ve written down as well as emailing to ask questions if I really don’t understand something. In my experience hand-written notes works best and my brain seems to retain such information better but of course it’s different for everyone (and I’m sure the trees don’t agree with my highly paper-demanding methods either).

Once I started working as normal and keeping up to date, I was pleasantly surprised with how much free-time I had on my hands. Finally, I started experiencing the relaxation I had initially associated with honors as long as I managed my time correctly and kept up to date.

And then the real fun finally started, Lab work! Initially it was difficult to fit into the schedule with lectures everyday as well as tutorials and assignments and I could feel the stress building up. I was also very worried about being in the labs given my extremely limited experience since everything lab-related has been online for me. However, by the third module, the timetable was a lot more accommodating, and I got to spend more and more time in the lab.

My first great achievement was learning how to pipette correctly which I am very proud of. And slowly but surely, I’ve become a lot more confident in the labs and am thoroughly enjoying generating data for my project. My project focusses on developing a simplified method to test for TB and I love how it relates to both my medical and IDI background. I can’t wait to now begin with full time lab work and focus more on my project! 


  • I think we must do more to orient Honours students when they start. Honours is the most pressurized year of one’s postgraduate years. I am happy you quickly adjusted


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