Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ellen’s First Year Blog: Why Manchester?

Hello one and all,

How this year has flown by; it’s already the Easter holidays and time to revise yet AGAIN. At least this time round the weather is the tiniest bit more sunny so my ghostly pale skin may get the chance to turn a hint of yellow (oh the pains of not being able to tan AT ALL). Just before I came back home I got a text from Emma, a friend from my school on a gap year, saying that she was in Manchester for an open day and wanted to catch up! Over a cup of tea and a cake I ended up persuading her that of course she had to put the University of Manchester as her firm choice and that she should stay in any of the Fallowfield accommodation (because Fallowfield is the only right place for a student to reside, obviously). Now I know that the university and the city can speak for itself, but for those of you still curious as to why Manchester is the place to be – here’s what I told Emma…

When I was deciding where to even apply to university I had a pretty big hurdle to overcome. I knew I wanted to study Bio Medical sciences, however without doing Chemistry AS or A level it meant that most universities wouldn’t consider me at all. Manchester however was one of about 7 that required any two science A levels, including maths. YAY. So once I’d narrowed down the universities that would actually take a look at my personal statement, I then looked into the details of the different courses. Manchester offered such a wide variety of modules, from body systems and anatomy to microbiology, so I knew that my interests would be catered for. Other big bonuses were the prospects of potentially being able to carry out dissections on cadavers in my second year, something other university’s only provided for those studying medicine, and the hands on approach to labs id get straight away even in my first year – inhaling and squirting drugs in your eyes to see their effects on your very own autonomic nervous system to be precise – no wonder Manchester is 5th ranked in the UK for research power and excellence. Talking of research and lab work I’ve in fact just finished my first year labs. Done. Fini. Caput. Very weird to be able to say that; I don’t want first year to be over! To celebrate such an occasion myself and my lab compadres went to the one, the only, Gelato passion. They had never set foot in the place, but I think they’re now big fans of the ice cream loveliness on offer there – snapchat stories of waffles and sundaes left, right and centre.

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Eleanor’s Final Year Blog: My First Experiment

Hi guys,

This week is British Science week, and you might have seen the hashtag #my1stexperiment going around. It’s a week focused on celebrating science and getting young children to explore it. To get in the spirit, I thought I’d tell you how I got into science in the first place.

I’m going to be honest I can’t really remember when I first became interested Biology, as a child I was always into nature and spent my weekends in the woods with my sister catching frogs and bugs. I had loads of pets, rabbits, guinea pigs, stick insects and I was a complete and utter know-it-all, I wanted to know as much as I could about the world around me. As for my first experiment, I have a feeling it had something to do with growing cress on a cotton wool pad in year 3.

As I got older I got even more into science, careers wise I thought about choosing medicine or Veterinary school, but having two doctors for parents put me off medicine, and I fainted when I saw a Great Dane get neutered on my week of work experience at the vets. In the end I chose biology because I was good at it, I liked it and because I never got over the neutering incident.

It turns out that Biology is a know-it-all’s subject, I have a memory like a sponge and I could reel off facts about living things for hours even though I can’t remember what I did on Tuesday night (but I think that can be excused as it was St. Paddy’s day). I don’t think you really know what biology is until you actually go to uni, but I guess that is the case with any degree. School gives you the basics, explaining photosynthesis and basic anatomy. Uni shows you that biology is the study of everything from animals, plant, bugs, to bacteria, proteins and genes you name it I’ve studied it. It is a subject that broadens your mind and makes you think in a completely different way, and if you are coming here to study it you are very lucky, you’ve got a brilliant three years ahead of you.

And now I’m here in my final year, last week I had the last lecture of my undergraduate degree, I’m finishing up my project, and I had my last shift as a student ambassador. I was always told uni would fly by, but I don’t think I quite believed it until now. As for my first experiment, the cress experiment obviously had an impact on me because I’ve specialised in Plant Science and Microbiology. I even have plants in my room at uni.


I named him Carl, and I am very surprised he is not dead yet

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British Science Week 2015: #My1stExperiment (Kory Stout)

Life Science Archive

Kory StoutI remember watching BBC’s Planet Earth as a fresh-faced 13 year old and being absolutely fascinated with the sheer diversity of life on Earth. From watching penguins in Antarctica, to tigers hunting in India’s forests, I was completely captivated by nature. It was from this series and subsequent natural history films that I decided I wanted to know everything I possibly could about our planet.

My first experiment was an expertly coordinated and entirely controlled insect enclosure. After watching Attenborough describe the trials of life, I decided to gain some first-hand experience of field research by taking a Tupperware tub from my kitchen and, after filling it with leaves and twigs, I decided to hunt out as many bugs I could find from my garden as possible. After forming a rather strange ensemble of animals; ranging from spiders and worms to snails and caterpillars, I would watch over the tub…

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Dan’s second year blog

Greetings fine bloggists!

And welcome to a post that, for once, doesn’t consist of me venting work related stress and frustration at you! You’ve caught me at a rare moment of solace, with the pressure off. The RSM is over, its lab report is in, and the first draft of my dissertation was sent off into the ether late last night! And when I say late, I only mean like half one, wasn’t up until the small hours of the morning trying to eek out the last few sentences as first light began to break…

What other news has there been since we were last here..? Well as hard as I tried, I’m afraid I couldn’t go this long without heading back to the good old Albert Hall. I’m sure you’re probably tired of hearing about nights out there by now, but Duke Dumont, Jax Jones and Co put on another champion performance. Over the course of this semester however, the notable absence of Warehouse Project means that the  Albert Hall has become the best bet for live music. Speaking of live music; for those of you who live in lead lined bunkers is the hills and haven’t heard yet, Parkflife festival tickets have also been released since we last spoke. If you have not seen fit to purchase one of these.. you’d better have a good reason!

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Kai’s second year blog: March Madness

Hello friend!

The intervening time since my last post has been quite eventful. Labs has come and gone (and I didn’t get corrosive dye on my eyeballs even once!), I went to the Faculty of Life Sciences’ lab coat pub crawl with a couple of friends (key word: Tetanus Shots. Har har.) and I’m now happy to say that I’ve set foot in the lovely land of Wales. Cardiff, more specifically, for an event I helped organise with the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad. Our get-togethers are usually quite fun and this was no exception, involving activities like egg drop, charades, minefield, musical chairs, quizzes, races and all around good times outside in the middle of Bute Park. The event concluded with quite a spectacular night out in Cardiff city centre. I must say, the Welsh know how to party! Following that I found myself sitting quite bleary-eyed on a train back to Manchester.

Since then I’ve had to cut back on my escapes somewhat, spending a lot of time in the library trying to Get Things Done™. As a creature of habit I’ve settled in to my own little corner, where I have returned so many times I’ve practically memorised the shelf layout immediately in front cataloguing the history of Southern European architecture. Not that that’s particularly relevant to what I’m working on for my dissertation these days, which is catalytic RNA “ribozymes” as they are so called. One of the decidedly coolest aspects of my topic is exploring how scientists are beginning to create artificial genetic polymers – not DNAs, not RNAs, but XNAs! – that are simultaneously capable of storing genetic information as well as acting on another as templates for self-replication, hinting at how life can emerge from chemicals. Biology is thoroughly strange and wonderful.

When peering up from the books from time to time, the halls of the Stopford Medical Building have been unusually busy lately, buzzing with groups of people shepherded by swathes of red shirts. These students clad in red are, of course, the university’s ambassadors whose job is to give little tours around campus to visiting students and their families. Seeing them curiously exploring and asking questions about coming to university for the first time had me at once feeling strangely removed and empathetic at the same time. In effect, it elicited the staggering realisation that my time at university is approaching somewhere near 58% to completion (because I like to be specific like that). Where has time gone??

Rifling through a few of my personal and academic writings from first year reinforces what a different place I am in in second year, and I can clearly see how drastically my abilities, experiences and outlook have changed in a span of time that still feels like nothing at all since I first came to uni. If anything, I guess that’s just a testament to the quality of the time I’ve spent in Manchester. The sum of those experiences, at university and in this amazing city, has certainly put me in a better place than I could have imagined when I initially stood fresh-faced, bags in hand at the airport on my first day. So, dear reader, if you happen to be one of the people thinking of going Manchester, I say go for it.

Well. This post suddenly took on an air of finality… so on that note I think I’ll wrap this up and get back to work… Just after I wash down these day-old pains au chocolat with some Red Bull. In some respects I haven’t changed all that much.

Yours until further notice,

> Kai

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Celebrating the year of the Ram in Manchester.

Over the Chinese New Year one of our International Student Ambassadors, Arthur Yu Shi wrote a blog about his experience of Chinese New Year in Manchester

Celebrating the year of the Ram in Manchester

15 February – 22 February 2015

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Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in the calendar for Chinese people -its tradition is celebrated around the world. There are about 80,000 Chinese studying, working and living in Manchester, therefore this year’s Chinese New Year celebration was set to be bigger than ever. Apart from extended celebrations across the city, there were a variety of ways for people from different backgrounds to join the fun and lively atmosphere here in Manchester.

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