Friday, 7 June 2013

Death of a Student

Hi all,

RIP student 
Yes I know, I said I was going to write more regularly and it didn’t happen but I got swept up with a dissertation and then revision and my final final exams ever of my degree.  It’s now all finished, I am no longer a student and there’s nothing more I can do except wait the 3 weeks till the results are published and I can know what all my hard work has amounted to: scary.

The dissertation was frustrating but I actually really enjoyed writing it. The frustration came from poor communication within the faculty and the Easter holidays getting in the way but I got it finished and handed in and I’m fairly happy with it. It was the kind of project that if I had a million years then it would take me that long. There was always something more I could do so I had to draw the line somewhere. I’m hoping the markers think it has worth too. I think the findings are worth putting forwards for publishing however it currently is 10,000 words plus references so given that most journals require articles between 1000-4000 it would need some streamlining to get it ready to publish. Something to pursue when I have some time I don’t need. Oh my other paper is still under review…. So that’s nearly 6 months now.

The testing system
After the dissertation deadline I dove straight into revision for my final 3 exams. My course is heavily weighted on exam performance which I think is a little unfair as this gives an advantage to those who can perform well in a written medium under pressure. It what circumstance would it be required that a scientist write an essay on a surprise topic without looking anything up? Maybe if all books were lost due to a book eating mould epidemic combined to the internet being lost due to the machines rising up or something. In that instance then yes spontaneous encyclopaedic scientific knowledge would be fantastic. But until then it seems a little backwards to test the scientific minds of the future this way.

Regardless of its value as a testing technique it is the one I was faced with. The last month of my degree was spending 10+ hours a day writing up notes and then trying to shove them into my brain. If eating my text books would have helped then I would have, at least I would have enough fibre! The exams all went fairly well and there was nothing that I totally had no clue about which was reassuring. I think possibly that these are the exams that I felt most relaxed about at the time. This might be because I was well prepared or it might have been because I used up all my emotional expenditure and didn’t have any more worry or stress to feel about it.

I sat my last exam yesterday so now have a week left of my accommodation contract that I can relax and enjoy my last uni days with. Today hasn’t been much of a holiday though. Unlike the glorious sunshine I have been ignoring though revision, this morning I woke up to grey skies and rain showers. So I’ve spent the day watching films and doing laundry. The laundrette machines are a little temperamental and I got one that didn’t drain so all my clothes came out soaking wet. I split them between two tumble driers and it’s still taken two 50 min cycles for each one to be dry (I hope, I am writing this while I am waiting for the second dry cycle  to finish).  Tomorrow will be my big celebration of completion of my degree. My housemates and I are going to London for a huge D-day party organised by the blitz party people. A couple of months ago my housemates and I went to the union’s version of a 1940’s blitz party and it was amazing. It was only in the small venue on campus but it was packed. The live band was amazing, the burlesque dancer was a great touch and we had a fantastic time sipping martinis and enjoying the ambiance. So tomorrow night we are all off to London for a full scale venue and party. My mother was a star and helped me pick out a suitable dress pattern, fabric and make a proper 40s style dress. Ok she did all of the actual making of the dress but I found the pattern and we had a great day out finding fabric for it!

I am fairly sad that I had to put my life on hold and miss out on some fairly important events because of these exams. Mainly one of my good friends from 6th form got married and I couldn’t go because it was in between my exams so it really wasn’t possible. I’ve seen some of the photos though and it looked like a lovely ceremony and reception. It was lovely sunshine and just by the beach so perfect for them, I just wish I could have seen it myself.

It’s a bit odd thinking that my degree is over. What now? I’m trying to find a job and have a few really exciting prospects for the future so watch this space! It’s going to be interesting moving on to the next phase of my life, after defining myself as a student for the last 4 years it’s going to be difficult to shake the identity and become an “adult”. When I came out from my last exam there was a cloud of very mixed reactions. Some people burst into tears, I’m not sure of joy or of sadness, maybe they were joys of relief that they could stop revising and get on with living their lives? Some people instantly went to the pub and ordered as many drinks as possible. I sat in the sunshine with some others from my course with a couple of bottles of champagne enjoying feeling warm sunshine and bubbly tipsiness. I’m not sure what I felt really. Relief? Disbelief? Anxiety? I think my brain enjoyed not thinking anything for a change and shut down for a little bit.

But now I am free as a bird (ish) I will write all the ideas I have had mingling around in my head for a while. I have been keeping a post it of ideas on my desktop for the last few weeks, so watch out for a few more posts soon.