To start with, here is a picture of a strange quark holding a glass of champagne:
This is my second week back at Imperial after Christmas, and this term is looking set to be a brilliant one. For a start, I have only one lecture course this term, as all my options happened to be last term. This lecture course is called ‘Physics of the Universe’ and is about particle physics and astroparticle physics, and the lecturer is a completely inspiring man who literally flies out from CERN to teach us, and who you can just tell absolutely adores his job.
Guess who finished her exams this week guys… IT’S MEEE! I am so happy to have finished for this exam season. I had a great Christmas at home with the family but studying and having a horrendous cold at the same time was kind of sad. Last Thursday I sat my final paper for this exam period which was Genetics. I was expecting an absolute nightmare of a paper but it ended up being much better than expected so I’m very happy with that.
One thing that can be hard about starting university, especially at Imperial, is that you basically lose your holidays.
I really enjoying learning how to identify wildlife, so not only do I spend time identifying soil invertebrates as part of my PhD project but I like to attend identification workshops and courses in my leisure time. On Saturday I was at a workshop organised by the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS) learning how to identify land Heteroptera with Tristan Bantock and Jim Flanagan. Many people use the term ‘bug’ to refer to any invertebrate but in strict entomologist sense a bug is a member of the order Hemiptera. These are characterised by having a straw-like mouthparts (a rostrum) which they feed on fluids of various kinds, often plant sap but some on other insects and even blood.
The start of the new 2015 year definitely does call for a reflection of my time in the UK so far. Three months have flown by unbelievably quickly, and its been a roller-coaster of a ride. I’ll save you the entire shpeel of serious reflection, and instead sum up my entire experience in three words that have been my life these past few months. Time to start the year on a lighthearted, excited note 🙂
Three months into this MPH program, and I have seen Public Health in an entirely different light. The impression of Public Health I knew has been questioned, reinforced, replaced and shaped into a much better piece to add to the worldly knowledge of different lines of work.
It’s inevitable that whenever a year draws to a close, people feel the need to constantly ram down your throat how amazing their year has been and all the wonderful things they’ve done. It becomes annoying and unrelenting, so that’s why I waited for it all to simmer down so I can ram this blog post down your throats. Actually I just procrastinated too much over Christmas so much that this post wasn’t ready yet.
But in all seriousness, I decided it would be a good idea to review what has been an incredibly interesting year…I also realise the only entry in my blog thus far is a rant about missing a train.
I’ve been writing emails following up contacts made at the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative Conference I attended back in December. Additionally I will soon start to customise the standard email that my research group (PREDICTS) uses to request data from researchers.
I find writing emails really stressful, worrying over every word, and whether I will be misunderstood, which I know is silly because the recipient is unlikely to read it in such detail. It’s good to know I’m not alone, thanks PhD Comics!
Spring term started two days ago, and is going really well – I’m on top of everything so far (NB. two days ago was Saturday. I’ve not done anything yet. So I’m actually on top of nothing… except the chair I’m sitting on…)
I’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions with the intention of being a bit more productive this term. So…
1/ Get more sleep at night i.e. stop napping in lectures.
2/ Cook more (healthy stuff) – I could definitely have eaten better last term, but when I’m busy it’s so easy just to get some fast food junk stuff.
During the Christmas break, I went to visit my friends in the UK. We were from the same high school and now studying abroad. While we were eating Chinese takeout on a makeshift table in the dorms, one of my friends asked:
“Do you remember how we thought of the international students back in our school? The UK students here must feel the same way about us.”
I was taken aback. And no, it wasn’t the chinese food.
Have you ever wanted to do something but you kept putting it off for such a long time that when you finally decided to do it feels awkward and strange, like the moment has passed? Well, this is how I feel writing this post, it has been quite a while but I am back! Not just in terms of the blog posts but also I am back in halls!
After spending two weeks at home I realised how easy I had it. Clothes washed and ironed would ‘magically’ appear in my closet. Food, I mean home cooked food, prepared whenever I am hungry (instead of going out or ordering take out) and grocery shopping is done by someone other than myself.
A perk of having a NERC funded studentship is priority attendance on the NERC Advanced training courses, and I was fortunate to gain a place on the Systematic review and meta-analysis for environmental sciences held at Royal Holloway University. Meta-analysis is a statistical technique used to combine results from different studies to identify patterns among studies, the strength of this is a higher statistical power is achieved than that of a single study. It was originally developed in medicine to gauge the effectiveness of treatments but is increasingly being applied to ecology.
We started off with lectures on the different types of reviews and an introduction to meta-analysis.