Once again, a fairly quiet week down here in (rainy) ol’ Cornwall. It’s getting towards the end of term (How did that happen? Where did September through to January go? I’ve just got back!) and so the assignments are coming in thick and fast. However, the end is in sight. I have one exam next Wednesday, a video which we’re going to try and put together/finish next week and then it’s just one minor MCQ and a report due for a week after term ends. So the long and short of it is that after next Wednesday I might be able to have a life again!

Turns out there's tonnes of us heading for the other side of the planet!

Turns out there’s tonnes of us heading for the other side of the planet!

A more terrifying outlook to take is that I have 16 days left in which I have to go into Uni. 16. And then I have four exams and then I’m done. Goodbye Cornwall and hello Australia! AHHHHH!!!!!!

On the topic of my upcoming year abroad, the application forms have been sent off! They should already be in Australia and I’ll hear from them in 4-6 weeks! Exciting. I have also received the less exciting but still incredibly important letter from student finance saying that they will let me have some money, and therefore eat, next year! So good news all round.

I went to a ‘year abroad’ party last week and, despite the fact that my relationship with everyone there ranged on the scale of ‘I vaguely know you’ to ‘I have never seen your face before, where did you appear from?’, I had a great time. It was great to hang out with a bunch of new people, people who would be the only faces I recognise when returning, and have a laugh. We didn’t talk much about the trip, it was more of an introduction and drinks evening.

Moving away from the year abroad topic for a while, I’ve been reflecting on recently is how different second year is to first. In first year we had no choice over our modules, but this year we did and it’s great as it means we get to specialise a bit more into our field. However, second year brings with it the dreaded reading (Cue ominous lightning crash). Reading should be great, in theory, as it expands on the stuff you learn about in lectures and you can find some really cool examples. However, you can’t just read books, oh no, you have to read peer-reviewed journal articles and these are impossible to access. There seem to be very few papers that my university actually has access to, and that makes life just a little bit awkward. Also, many of the papers are incredibly dull and dry and the interesting ones are horrendously long and take a good hour or more to read. Not fun.

Also, and this is to be expected, the work load increases. Not a little bit though. Nope, a lot a bit. The lectures have a lot more content, there is reading and then you have the realisation that this year counts towards your final degree grade and all the assignments suddenly become a lot more intimidating…

Me (looking fabulously tanned) and a baby turtle (hatchling) Cyprus 2014

Me (looking fabulously tanned) and a baby turtle (hatchling)
Cyprus 2014

One thing I have picked up on is that experience and volunteering is key, especially in the biosciences. I’m lacking a little bit in this area, I do have some amazing experiences (Cyrpus – see pic, I won’t go in to detail today though) but I need more to truly stand out. I’m going to try and do this as much as possible in the holidays, but that’s pretty much the only time I can do it. It’s a bit more difficult to get a shark in the lab than a fruit fly! Nevertheless I want to try and get some more experience, as that’s what sets people apart from everyone else with a bog-standard degree. It’s just all so expensive or tied up legalities!
Why can’t I like birds or bugs, life would be so much simpler!

I’ve also been looking at what I can do after university and I think I’ve decided that I want to do a masters straight away (maybe a masters in research? who knows), of course marine related, and then do an internship/become a research assistant or something like that. I want to build up by research and field knowledge and actually be a proper scientist for a little bit before the next big thing (either a post-grad or doing my own research, or both!). But this is a long way off yet, at least two years, so all is good for now.

I’ve been a little bit rambly I guess. This is pretty much just me thinking about university and what I want to do in the future. Oh well, here’s hoping I manage some of it. Maybe in a few years I’ll look back at this blog and I can tick off most of the things in this post. A girl can dream.