I decided to take AP Biology over the other science electives at Northside for a few reasons. One, I knew I wanted a challenging science class in my schedule. Two, I had already taken and enjoyed Honors Bio with Ms. Ortiz junior year, so I figured a more intense version of the same would still be enjoyable. And three, I already thought that I had biology more or less figured out. Sure, each unit’s vocabulary would challenge me, but so long as I had enough flashcards in supply for each new word, I would be fine so long as I followed the same principles. Evolution and natural selection, form’s relationship with function, the effect of certain changes on an ecosystem… I thought of Biology as mostly a pattern of ideas, varying in specifics but not in concept across the whole scientific world.
However, my experience this year has disproved this to me entirely. Of course there are some principles that overarch other aspects of Biology, but I discovered this year that most of the rules that define life are as diverse and mysterious the thing itself. So much is unknown about Biology. It is one of the oldest sciences, something that people have been studying since before we knew what science was, and we’re still just figuring out some of its most important material. Sometimes, biologists don’t even know what their next questions are, let alone their answers. This haziness leads to speculation, and that is where AP Biology enlightened me most. From teaching me about the alternate theories regarding the formation of first life on earth to the biological systems of DNA replication that seem too complex to have formed naturally, AP Bio this year enlightened me to the nuances and mysteries that comprise the study of biology—and life itself.