Let it Snow!

Most of britain has been covered in deep icy snow, and Flackwell Heath is the same. As you can see from the above picture I’ve had a pretty good snow day.

I live on the top of a giant hill, and most of the roads get shut or a pretty undrivable during the snow; the gritting machines are unable to get up the hill and people died on some the main roads during snow. Its meant I’ve been unable to go to work today and I’ve had the fun day of juggling my two sisters and a very, very excited puppy in the snow.

Casper was especially amusing in the snow, he kept blending in and we kept loosing him in the garden. For puppies first snow he loved it, but has spent most of the day asleep on the window ledge as close to the heater as possible.

With snow forecast through the night i can only hope i am able to escape my dreary village tomorrow, because i have uni and a social life.

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Arctic Chill and Christmas Colds

Its that time of year again, the winter storms have made a really chilly appearance and the annual Christmas cold has struck my family. Every member of my house has the sore throat, runny nose and sneezing fits that characterise this time of year.

I love winter especially snow, which we had a bit of today. I don’t love the illnesses that come with it.  When you commute on a number trains and tubes, its only a matter of time until you get sick with something.

I definitely need to stock up on antibacterials and cold and flu remedies, at least theres only a week of uni left before i can quarantine myself…

When the drugs don’t work…

I’ve just finished the most intriguing read; a welcome break from the revision stress, but a thought  provoking one non the less. The Drugs Don’t Work, by Professor Dame Sally C. Davies is a thought provoking yet blunt incite into whats going to happen in the next 30 years as our antibiotics stop working.

There has been no new antibacterial discovered in the last 26 years, and simple infections that could once be cured by our antibiotics are becoming harder and harder to treat. Professor Dame Davies proposes realistic methods to prevent deaths from simple infections, things that could be easily enforced globally to give us added time to address the situation.

The antibiotic crisis also highlights the need for scientific research in todays world. We need new blood, to take creative ideas and make them a reality, to discover the undiscovered, and say that money should not define life. Because the thats the sad reality of the last 26 years; no new antibiotic classes have been discovered because pharmaceutical companies see no profit to be found in them.

The conclusion to Davies’ book is a likely reality; when infection hits home quarantine and home infection testing is the norm, you have to recover alone until the infections die out and our antibiotics work again. If the world doesn’t work together to fight this crisis and inspire research in this area, then we will rapidly run out of options, and hope for a infection safe future.

Based upon the words of Professor Dame Sally C. Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England.

Revision Begins

Shock horror!

Its not even December and my revision schedule has already begun. Its mainly due to the vast amount of subjects and the depth of knowledge required in third year. Third year requires you to start thinking independently; bringing in base knowledge with new research to have the most up to date information when answering questions.

It means the revision takes longer, as there is more to learn and plenty more to read. The amount of notes is expansive, the trees must be weeping from my lecture notes alone. You have to be prepared and organized, especially when some modules ignore the January exam period in favour of an exam at the end of December…. Thanks for that…

I am hoping if I get revising now I have the ability to take some time off over Christmas, well only a little; revision is the perfect opportunity to get away from annoying relatives. I am lucky that I only have two exams this semester… but I don’t really understand what is going on in these modules. If I had more clarification, I would then know what to revise instead of revising everything with the hope of understanding enough to pass.

With any luck, I will get the clarification I need in the next week or two; and then I can reduce my revision workload. Until then, i just have to keep up with the lecture notes to reduce my workload later.

Unwanted Surprises

Some surprises are not good surprises, especially when they involved estranged family turning up on your doorstep.

It definitely put a downer on my evening, and really messed with my focus for sorting my very messy desk out. Its put my whole evening on edge, I’m sat here waiting for them to shout through my letterbox again, telling me sad things to manipulate my emotions… they are good at that.

To summerise, one set of my estranged grandparents turned up on my doorstep at seven o’clock at night. Not expecting them, i opened the door, to promptly slam it in there face again! (Score for me!). They gave no notice they were coming and spent a good hour trying to get into the house by either shouting requesting through the letter box or trying to get into the back garden.

Its messed up when you think about it, they burned there own bridges with my parents a long time ago, and as i got older i became more aware of the emotional manipulation they imparted to get gossip from me about my family life, as they got nothing from my parents. I want nothing to do with them, they had a change a few years ago and they missed the opportunity, the door is closed with me and its too late for them to try and worm there way into my life again.

I am assuming they are parked down the street, waiting. They are crazy enough to think this is a good idea… alas… maybe its time to have a cup of tea and relax…

 

Update: I’m out of milk 😦 and too afraid to leave the house to get some.

Dissertations as a science student

The majority of your time at Uni during Third Year is dedicated towards your dissertation. Its taking up every ounce of my free time at the moment, leaving me struggling to balance work, school and being social.

I’ve hit the critical part of semester 1 as well, i have two deadlines on Monday and exams both pre and post Christmas. Despite work quietening down over winter, the inevitable Pantomime approaches.

As a science student, my dissertation format is dramatically different from that of a normal student. The average dissertation is between 8-12 thousand words. My thesis is a mere 4 thousand. However it is only 60% of my overall dissertation grade. 10% falls into a design study; explaining what my experiment is and submitting a design proposal to show i know what i am about to do. 15% is my lab notebook, a detailed description of all of the work i have done during my lab time and what i have observed and learnt. The final percentage counts for an interview, a mock job offer that shows we have the ability to talk and present our work to people who are not necessarily our peers; a good idea for the whole “employability” focus universities have in getting their graduates into work, but not for my stress levels.

There will also be the inevitable presentation to my Laboratory Supervisors and the pitching to journals to publish my work. More stress on my plate.

I love that my dissertation is so small, as a practical project it would be nearly impossible to make the numbers up in a 10 thousand word essay. It also takes into account my practical skills and time commitment (that is really hard to squeeze into a full four day uni week, plus commuting and work), meaning i am not just assessed on my writing skills, which are poor, especially for science writing.

Disserations are scarily time consuming and stressful, but if you can keep on top of the work (Abigail, i hope you are listening) you can easily make the top grade and get great recommendations for your work. So on that note, i probably aught to get back to the introduction i have been trying to write for the last few days, and those pieces of coursework due in on Monday.

10 Pittacus Lore Quotes that inspired me…

Pittacus Lore is the writer of the Lorien Legacy series. I started reading these books in my late teens, the words I read from these books, inspired me and kept me strong during the times I really looked down upon myself. So I thought I would share a few of these with you all in the hope theyll inspire you too…

Take-a-chance-and-risk

“A place is only as good as the people in it”

Thats-the-worst-way-to

“Best way to deal with fear is to confront it”

They-key-to-change-is

“He who doesn’t understand history is doomed to repeat it”

a-normal-life-such-a.jpg

“There is no set futures, only the one we make”

We-dont-have-to-be

“And that’s about all any of us can hope for, to die with our dignity, to die with honour and valour. To die knowing we did everything we could.”

There is a lot of inspiration to be found in the Lorien Legacy Series, its an amazing series that i grew up with and am glad to have finally found time to read the final novel. Do you find these quotes inspiring? I hope they can bring something magical to your day.

On a Spending Spree to Artemis

Went on a splurge today; was more of a book buying frenzy to be honest. After all, it’s not often payday falls on the same time as reading week. If my university is going to name half term reading week who am I to deny them. I must have spent about 40 on books in the space of 10 minutes. Though this doesn’t seem like a lot. When I start specifying that two thirds of these were Ebooks, you start to see the cost climbing.

One book I ordered was Artemis, by Andy Weir. Andy Weir is the famous writer of The Martian, one of my favourite books, so when I saw the preorder of this new one I clicked it immediately. So despite being disappointed by the wait I am really looking forward to my journey to Artemis.

Artemis is the first city on the moon. This leads to a lot of tourism, and a lot of criminals. Jazz stumbles through life in Artemis on both sides of the law. When an offer to good not to take is presented to her, she can’t say no. After all, how dangerous can a low gravity, heist be?

Pre-order Artemis here, released November 14th 2017

#3: My War – Colby Buzzell

My War: Killing time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell is a sensitive yet accurate outlook into the life of soldiers on the frontline and how returning home effects them. The honest content endears Colby to your heart and often prevents you putting the book down.

Based of Buzzell’s blog called ‘Live’ from Iraq; the humour, detail and excellent writing style makes for a compelling read. The skill in writing shows great detail in combat scenes and the formatting makes it the perfect start and stop book. It has however, lost some of its quality of speech during its move from web to paper. If you can look beyond this you will enjoy the book just as much as i did.

 

What i loved…

The use of profanity is honest and explains the true character of the author. The structure of the book and the depth of the story showed the day to day life of an American soldier; accompanied by his punk rock music compilation.

 

Rating…

I rate my books in the best way i know how; the number of cups of tea its worth. A book i love to read sat on the sofa, the train or in bed with my favourite cup of tea; so i felt it was the perfect way to express my love for the books i read. Between 1-3 cups, 3 being the best.

This book was rated:

3 T's

I loved this book, its one i will probably read again and  would strongly recommend. Its structure and humour bring you in and keeps you engaged in the tales Buzzell tells.

Buy the book here!

Short: Hours in the day

There are never enough hours in the day, no matter how hard we try to prioritise, live or survive. I have been finding recently that i have had to start giving things up; things i have previously enjoyed doing but have now become a strain on my life.

Saying goodbye to things such as this is hard, after all, you probably have fond memories that make you want to give this up.

I had to say goodbye, because i have to sleep at some point… and giving these things up will allow that.

I only wish writing that email was as easy as this blog post…