After spending the day working on my last genetics assignment of the school term, Mark and I picked Maddie up from nursery and made for the beach to enjoy this gorgeous weather. A beer and a nice dinner (complete with ice cream for Moo) was just the thing to make the effort of an entire day of studying worth it.
Sunset over snowy hills.
Drooping eyes, weary caffeine-jittered body, a cup of warm milk. Silence, impossible silence, and the sound of the house asleep. My brain is mush, but luckily it held out just long enough to complete my Cell Biology and Genetics report and submit it online, mere hours from the cut off. Relief, sweet relief.
I’m not the type of person to procrastinate, especially not with important things such as my university degree. Yet as the March 14th deadline swiftly approached I found myself not only completely unmotivated, but borderline paralytic when it came to the notion of cracking the books and getting started. So, in the span of the last forty-eight hours I’ve covered more than two months worth of information just to catch up enough to get to the assessment assignment and report. It was JUST January it seems, and back then I seem to recall figuring I still had plenty of time to get this done, haha.
I’m amazed at what a jam-packed year 2013 is already turning out to be, days and weeks disappear under the guise of busy days and long evenings, and yet the mid-March snowfall is enough to make you almost believe it was still the beginning, still January, still just the start of another year. Moo bathed and tucked in in the early evening, Mark having turned in a few hours ago, and here I sit: in a silence interrupted by only the light clicking of the keyboard, reflecting. So often everything is moving by at such a pace I cannot stop to catch my breath, let alone just stop and be. I completed a huge assignment these past few, hectic days. Tomorrow is Moo’s day at nursery for the day and I will be painting the kitchen and life will most surely go from zero to sixty bright and early tomorrow morning when the alarm goes off.
But for now, there is just this, and the peaceful silence.
Amazing how, in just the short span of a week, one can go from feeling completely overwhelmed to feeling completely in control. Wednesday was a reward to myself for all the hard work, as just one week ago I was rushing off to the post office to mail a client’s package later than I would’ve liked, after having dropped Moo off at nursery so I could then spend the day working on my neurobiology project report… something I hadn’t even started. Wednesday this week was one of those amazing, serendipitous occasions where everything had come together at the same exact moment: neurobiology project submitted (over 75 hours invested in a sixteen page report) the night before, all of my branding ideas came to fruition as I finally completed the package, house spotless, dishes done, laundry done, Moo at nursery, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. So that afternoon I curled up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of coffee and indulged in short story after short story in volume two of Ray Bradbury’s short story collection.
And it was perfect.
My Cell Biology course starts this week and I am very excited to sink my teeth into the material. Genetics is one of the top running specializations I’m considering as a possible post grad path, with the ultimate aim to hit the forefront of my field with tissue engineering. Although if you know me, you know I get equally excited about virtually all of biology and may have trouble choosing a path to follow! At the moment I’m focused on completing my Neurobiology course’s end of year project so I can finish the course enitrely, and thereby be one-third of the way through my degree.
I’m starting to feel better, building my momentum again slowly but surely and getting things done. And it feel great to be productive once more.
Finish Human Biology with a 2:1 – DONE!
Another New Years Resolution bit the dust last night as I finally got my Human Biology course results: a solid 2:1 on the exam, and a 2:1 overall in the course! This is going to open some doors for me when it comes to which level three courses I can take, as I can now prove I am more than up for the challenge some of the heavyweight courses will bring.
For my American friends and family, because I get these questions a lot: the grading system is as follows: distinction (or a “first”), 2:1, 2:2, 3, and fail. Less than 10% of majors in the hard sciences will get distinctions, because oftentimes “original thought” is what will mean the difference between distinction and a 2:1 (not an easy feat as an undergrad!). You will have a final grade for each course which will go towards grading your overall degree. I’m aiming for a 2:1 on my degree, which will be a big help when it comes time to apply for grad school.
Course loads are determined by how many points a course is worth, not how many courses you take: you can be a full time student with two, sixty point courses as example. Whereas in the US you may have Human Anatomy and Physiology 101, 102, 201, plus a class solely dedicated to the heart, the UK system rounds all of that up into a longer, more information intensive course and calls it Human Biology. As a biology major, I am not expected to take any humanities, which I found to be a plus given that was practically all I took my first two years within the American system. It was a steep learning curve, and admittedly I did balk the UK system at first because I thought I wasn’t doing as well as I had in the US. I’ve never been graded so hard or asked to do this much work academically.
But I am so pleased with my 2:1.
Next up? My neurobiology course ends in October, the only thing left to do is the end of year assessment project and then I will be done. Also? Once neurobiology finishes I will be 1/3 done with my undergrad! I need to register for my next course this month, and there is an interesting cytology and genetics course starting in the fall. I cannot wait until I am able to build a future out of all of this hard work.