Sadly I still have two assignments to hand in this Thursday, and I must say, this exam season has been an all-time low in terms of stress. It’s like the stress was so much that I literally shut down and my mind couldn’t concentrate on anything. Usually I’m the annoying one who’s still reading right up until the last minute. Yep, I’m that person who enters the exam hall still trying to get some last minute information in, prepared to keep reading until the examiner says, “Put your flashcards away!” That’s me.
Dorset is the location of some fine geological sites, known as the Jurassic Coast, and designated as a World Heritage Site so we spent a day there with Richard Twitchett, a geologist from the Natural History Museum. The evening before Richard gave an overview of some geological concepts and an introduction to the geology of the area.
The rocks of this area are the sedimentary type, which are formed by accumulation of material compacted and cemented together over millions of years. These type of rocks may contain fossils of plants and animals that died and became trapped and preserved between the layers.
When we last left our intrepid hero, he was deep in the catacombs of Maple coursework, fighting to factorise some worryingly large semi-primes. Now, suddenly, it’s suddenly 2015.
Wait, it’s 10:49.
After the initial wave of panic that I had missed my morning lecture passed, it dawned on me that it was still on winter break. Gone (at least temporarily) were the days of running to morning lectures whilst gorging through a mystery mix of whatever fruits I could find in my kitchen shelf. No more having to micromanage laundry, dinner, and problem sheets on a daily basis.
The Natural History Museum organises a field trip in Dorset for its postgraduates each year, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out of London and spend a weekend in the countryside. A group of PhD students and post-docs from a variety of disciplines set of to the Old Malthouse on the Isle of Purbeck (which is not a proper island but a sticky out bit of the southern coastline of Britain).
After settling in at our accommodation and being fed a good lunch we set off to Hartland Moor National Nature Reserve with Museum botanist Fred Rumsey. We were introduced to the plants that inhabit the Moor, and I was particularly excited to meet Dorset Heath Erica ciliaris, a type of heather, which I had not seen before.
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!