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.
This isn’t actually a joke, this is what I did on New Year’s…but mainly because I like cheesecake.
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.
I don’t want to always be the person who remarks on the passage of time (like it’s a big suprise) but I can’t believe it is 2015. It feels like only yesterday that I was waking up on September 28th 2013 with butterflies in my stomach and the knowledge that once I left my house that morning to move in to halls, I’d never be living in my family home full time again.
In true new year spirit, I thought I’d give you a run down of some great 2014 moments and look ahead to what I’m hoping for from this year!
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).
Andrew admiring the chimneys at Ikea Croydon
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…
*Excuse to show everyone pictures of my cat*
The problem with having spare time is having time to be ill.