I month into my PhD I moved from my family home in Portsmouth to a rented flat in outer London, it’s a short commute away but I get a lot more for my money. Unfortunately logistical problems meant I spent the first few weeks with minimal furniture etc. which wasn’t ideal on top of having trouble settling into the first real home of my own. So Andrew took me off to Ikea Croydon, to buy some items to make the place more homely (and to take advantage of the the free coffee).
I have since found out that the Croydon store is the biggest Ikea in the UK, which partly explained how we managed to spend nearly seven(!) hours there.
So I have spent the final few weeks of term at Chelsea and Westminster hospital completing my first clinical attachment at med school.
The purpose of the 3 weeks was to talk to patients, learn how to take histories and get a feel for what will happen in the clinical years. We also had 2 sessions with a GP which was really useful and interesting.
On the first day, I was up bright and early at 6:30am to have a long shower, do my hair and WALK to the hospital. I was bursting with enthusiasm. We had ward round at 8:15am and our firm group decided we would meet by our lockers (yeah how cool we got lockers!) at 8am.
Yesterday I came home for Christmas. Being home is both weird and wonderful.
Weird because first term can’t possibly have gone so quickly, and because living in a village is a bit quiet after London.
But wonderful because I love home: cuddles with my cat, having my family around, making plans to meet up with friends who I haven’t seen for ages, being looked after by my mum, telly (I caught up on Downton Abbey this morning, in time for the Christmas special!) Also, I finally have time to stop – this term has been crazily busy, and while it was mostly crazily fun, having time to catch up on sleep is good too – you can only survive so long on caffeine…
The problem with having spare time is having time to be ill.
My friend Andrew loves Christmas, so it would be cruel if I didn’t let him visit the Winter Festival at the Southbank Centre after the trip to Tower Bridge (although mercifully I avoided taking him to see the Christmas lights in Oxford Street this year!).
After enjoying some traditional roast Chestnuts by the River Thames I said goodbye while I spent a few days finishing up some university work before heading home for Christmas and the New Year.
On the 16th December the PREDICTS team had planned a Christmassy day which included a visit to our neighbours the Victoria and Albert Museum where the joint-museum choir was performing.
As I mentioned in my first post, I actually had a whole post about my experiences over the first few weeks. Here’s part 1 of 2 (respecting chronological order of course) !
A barrage of languages greeted my ears as I walked into the college bar. After completing my backbreaking ten mile journey from the suburbs of north-west London to Imperial, I suddenly felt as if I had entered a different world. Three weeks into the term, the wide diversity of people on campus is still astonishing.
But let’s backtrack .
Fresher’s Week has been elevated to an almost mythical status by students across the UK, but it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s an experience unlike anything else.
Only one day, one tutorial and one lecture to go before Christmas holidays! We had our house dinner yesterday, which was awesome, but this blog is on something a bit different…
Basically, I was trying to listen to a lecture on matter reacting to magnetic fields, when I noticed a great tweet by symmetry mag showing their paper snowflakes in the shape of famous scientists. They look amazing, but are pretty intricate, and I don’t have a craft knife—also I was pretty sure I could make them even more nerdy, so I decided to come up with my own science inspired snowflakes.
I haven’t posted about French in a while so I thought that now would be a good time to talk about Horizons. If you select the average biology second year and ask them their opinion on Horizons, you will most likely be met with a loud groan and possibly screams of horror. I’ll say off the bat that in the life sciences department and I think a few others as well, doing an extracurricular Horizons course becomes compulsory after first year and counts for credit, meaning that the marks you get go towards your overall degree. I don’t want to freak anyone out by saying this but what I will say is that as long as you choose your course carefully, you don’t have to be filled with terror at the mere mention of the word ‘extracurricular’ and I actually quite enjoy my course.
Studying in London gives plenty of opportunities for ‘going tourist’ and visiting attractions in London, so for a treat after two busy weeks away in France my friend Andrew visited and we went to see the Tower Bridge Exhibition. The Exhibition had been in the London newspapers recently as it had just opened a glass floor on the high level walkways, giving views from over 100 feet above the River Thames, and so we wanted to pay a visit – despite Andrew being afraid of heights!
Tower Bridge is in the eastern part of London so it was exciting to see a part of London I am not familiar with, emerging from the Tower Hill underground station we saw the Tower of London – another attraction on the list to visit while I am here studying.
Barely recovered from the First Global Soil Biodiversity Conference in Dijon I was back to France the week after to attend the Joint Annual Meeting of the British Ecological Society (BES) and the Société Française d’Ecologie (SFE), in Lille Grand Palais, Lille, from the 9th to 12th of December. This time I was not only presenting my poster but attending as a BES student helper which not only gave me free entry but would increase my confidence as I would have a ‘job to do’ and be working with other student helpers (my supervisor calls this ‘activity-based socialisation’ and it is ideal for introverts and those with autistic leanings).