I can’t believe it’s time for me to write another blog already – the months are just flying by. Last time I was writing I’d just finished my exams and now I already have my results! Overall I’m really happy and now I just need to keep my foot on the pedal for a few more months until summer. So what have I been up to since then? All sorts really! With third year, two jobs and a social life, I feel like one of those circus acts that runs back and forth keeping 10 plates spinning at once. I absolutely love everything I do though and I’m just glad I can make the most of Manchester whilst I’m still here!
Things are starting to get busier at university now we’re well into second semester. Things haven’t become too crazy yet but I think most of Easter will be spent pouring out my essays and second project proposal. Soon I’ll be starting my MSci experimental skills module. I’m not too sure what to expect from it as it’s the first time it’s run. It looks like we’re going to spend around 30 hours in the lab or field doing a group experiment that we have planned between us, followed by a group presentation of our mini-project with a professional scientific poster that that we have put together, as well as an individual lab report. It’s going to be an intense four weeks whilst we get everything together but the unit will aim to replicate the sort of situation you’d be working in within a real lab. For this, collaboration and team work is key so the unit will be really useful for developing these skills. I’m really enjoying my current units (which have nearly finished already) and this is probably my favourite semester of my degree so far.
Whilst my deadlines seem to be fairly far away (further than they actually are), I’ve been getting some hours in at work. I found it really easy to get a part-time job around the corner from my house in Fallowfield and it’s a great way to top up my bank account between student loans. In my other job as a senior ambassador uniform the Faculty of Life Sciences, I work with really great team and we’ve all become close friends over the past year or two. It really is the best job I’ve ever had. We’re starting to near the end of the UCAS interview days for this academic year and therefore our work as ambassadors is also rounding off; upon realisation of this upsetting fact, we’ve decided to start having lots of socials. For the past few weeks after the interviews and tours on Wednesdays we’ve been heading to the Students’ Union for cheap food and a few games of pool to savour our remaining time together. I’m currently arranging a social for the final interview day; trying to book a meal for 60 people is a little tricky but I think I’ve found somewhere. The curry mile is pretty good for catering for large groups and there are so many restaurants you can go to.
However, our social this week was really quite something to behold. The social of all socials. It was genuinely the best night out I’ve ever had and I don’t think it can ever be beaten. We went to an event called “Bongo’s Bingo ft. The Vengaboys” at the Albert Hall. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. I felt like I’d died and gone to 90s kids’ heaven. Around 30 of the ambassadors got together and went to the Albert Hall, where we had a few drinks, played bingo (for both hilariously terrible and cash prizes), danced around with hundreds of people to The Vengaboys live. One of the ambassador’s housemates even won the jackpot of £1000. It was like one of those surreal dreams you have, where a series of random things all happen at once – except it was real – and it was brilliant.
Hover over photos to read captions:
Anyway, back to reality now. Everything is starting to get a little easier now that the days are getting a little longer and brighter again, or at least that’s what I thought. One day last week I woke up, opened my curtains and was greeted with snow (in MARCH)! At first, the little girl within me started jumping up and down with excitement ready to launch a snowball at my housemates, until the grumpy old lady within me told her to calm down and reminded her that she had to somehow walk to work in an hour. As fun, magical and exciting as snow is, I’m slightly terrified of having to actually go anywhere in it, for fear of slipping and falling over in a puddle of slush and breaking a bone. Now if you’re reading this from somewhere classically snowy like Scandinavia, or maybe Canada, you’ll be laughing at how pathetic and dramatic that sounds. If you’re reading this from England you’ll probably be nodding your head in agreement when I say: the English cannot deal with snow, or any remotely unusual weather patterns for that matter. The snow we get here is pretty infrequent and light, but quickly turns to an ice rink. Nonetheless, I subdued the grumpy old lady within and went for a play in the snow. For those of you wondering, I made it to work alive and in one piece, even if I did practically have to inadvertently ice skate there.
Right around now a lot of you will be nearing the end of your A Levels and getting ready to make one of the biggest decisions of your life: what university to go to. Maybe you’ve already decided where to go (*cough* Manchester *cough*), but if you’re wondering why you should choose Manchester, here’s just a few reasons why I picked the great capital of the North and why it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! First of all, I’m a Northern girl myself; I come from Blackpool and having lived in the North for most of my life, I just can’t believe how much more you can get for your money around here. That certainly goes a long way when it comes to paying for day-to-day essentials like food and rent. However, that only narrowed it down to the north of England. So why Manchester?
The field courses are one of the top reasons. The faculty has an incredible range of field courses available and the second year Costa Rica trip really appealed to me. It was a really unique opportunity to carry out my own tropical field research and we even got exclusive access to visit the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre due to contacts made by the university staff, as well as having a day off white water rafting on one of the best rafting rivers in the world. It also gave me a great excuse to travel around afterwards and I made some lifelong friends with people I barely even knew before the trip.
The Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences is also much more heavily focussed on research than other universities, so the people teaching you are the very people who are making the discoveries in the lab that are hitting the headlines or rewriting the textbooks. This also means you have to opportunity to work with some incredible academics who are leaders in their respective fields; who despite their busy schedules, are extremely approachable and friendly, and always willing to help. This is especially important for me as an MSci student as I can collaborate with scientists within the faculty for my masters project, who are researching and teaching topics which I’m most excited about. With literally hundreds of labs working in different fields from cancer to algae and cardiology to parasites, there is sure to be someone in the Faculty researching an area of interest which you can get involved with for either the MSci course, final year projects, or even just for a summer internship.
Finally, there is just SO much to do in Manchester. Even after three years I’m still finding new places or events that I never even knew existed. There really is something for everyone here and can honestly say I have never been bored since moving to Manchester. I could go on forever about how much I love the place but I don’t have the space, so you’ll just have to come here and find out for yourself instead!
Ciao for now,