Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Ahhh, holidays. Or should I say "vacation", because that's what it is >_>

"Vacation". You vacate your room, your college, the city... but not your work! *insert evil laughter from Captain Tripos here* ...sorry, Cambridge reference.

So, my department this year sets us a 3000-5000 word essay to do over the Christmas holidays, which is supposed to be essentially a week of full time work. Woo.  Actually, though, it's almost enjoyable.
I have trouble motivating myself to start reading papers, but once I'm reading it's really interesting. My essay is on X-inactivation, which is completely new to me, and I've not written an essay quite like this before either (so that's kinda scary), but so far I think it's going well. I'm just about getting my head around how to write a third year essay (I think), and it's quite nice to be looking really in-depth at a topic, and reading some very new work as part of that. I might do a blog post on X-inactivation, once I've got my notes together - it'll be a good opportunity to check I actually understand it! Plus, it's cool.

Not so cool - I also need to finish reading lecture references, and going over lecture notes, and writing up revision notes, quite possibly, over the holidays. This has always been possible before, but then I'd never had an essay to do as well before...

Fig 1: what I should be doing. (What I am actually doing)

Next term is going to be interesting for a similar reason. This term's been okay, I've got enough work done (just about), but next term I have to do the same thing... AND a lab project. I'm looking forward to doing the lab project (because the place I'll working has awesome cake because I'll be back in a lab!), but, I'm a little concerned about having time for everything. Ah well, I suppose that's why we don't have any lectures in the third term...

*sigh* In other words, my university is a little crazy. Nothing new there!

((I know some people will look at this and think "ugh, an undergrad talking about workload, what does she know?!" and I know - I don't know what graduate research is like. But I do know that I found it a lot easier to motivate myself to get up in the mornings and to read papers when it directly impacted on lab work I was doing over the summer. I'd much rather be doing that than going to lectures, even if it is damn hard work.))

Anyway. After that ramble, I'll leave you with a video:

This guy, Tom Whyntie, is fairly awesome. The video is of his winning talk in a science outreach contest. I envy his ability to be funny, comprehensible, and accurate, all at once. He's equally cool in person, too. One of the non-work things I've done this term is be involved in my college's science society, and as he's a former student I asked him to come give a talk - and he did! It all went fairly smoothly, the room was packed, and the talk was great, so I was quite pleased with myself afterwards!

I think Tom, and his friend Andrew Pontzen, and the Naked Scientists, are my outreach role models. All I've actually managed to do is go to a primary school and wave an infra-red detecting camera around - although that was awesome... *daydreams*

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