Busy Times!

Well, what a lot has happened since I last posted around three weeks ago!  Exams came and went, the viva voce came and went, and results also came and went.  I’m pleased to say that I got a 2.i, so that was an enormous relief.  I opted to wait for the results to be posted publicly on the Senate House boards, rather than check online which was a bit scary, but definitely worth it I think!

It’s currently May Week here, and I’ve been lucky enough to go to two May Balls (Robinson and Jesus).  A great time was had at both, and if I get round to it, I’ll do a write up of each (maybe).

Apart from that, I’ve been relaxing a lot, eating lots of good food (the highlight being some fried wild mushrooms that JW collected), along with the usual post-Cambridge exam Pimm’s and croquet combination. Oh, and visiting the pub, a lot.

Anyway, today’s the Sedgwick Club “May Ball”, so that ought to be a lot of fun.

Looking ahead to next week, known as “Grad Week” (as it’s the week where everyone except the graduands leave Cambridge), I’m off to Wales for a Part III holiday from Sunday to Tuesday.  Then my graduation takes place on Saturday week which is quite a sad moment really, as it means I’ll be finally leaving this amazing place, and will no longer be in statu pupillari.

The End of Term

Well, that’s it.  My final lecture ever has been and gone, and now it’s the end of term, and I return home on Sunday afternoon.  Only one more term remains, most of which will be taken up with revision (AJ, you know you miss the UL times we had, don’t deny it)!  In other news, various things have been going on!

Yesterday was the Sedgwick Club conference, which is a new thing this year, I guess inspired by the Imperial one that was on in February. It was a lot of fun, and we had a lot of interesting talks, as well as being able to catch up with the Oxford geologists (some of whom I met when they came down for the annual Geology varsity football match a couple of weeks ago), as well as meeting some Imperial geologists.

Job hunting still isn’t going especially well.  A graduate geologist job with a company in Cambridge that I was really hopeful for rejected me this morning which was a bit of a pain, but on the upside, I’ve got a phone interview early next week for a job in Woking, so hopefully that’ll go well!  It’d be so handy to have an interesting job already lined up before I graduate, and I’d be able to have a delightfully smooth transition to the real world (where the fun of council tax, mortgages, utility bills and TV licences awaits).  This job looks really interesting too, so fingers crossed that I’m lucky!

I’m off to Spain next week for the ninth and final geology field trip of my degree which should be a lot of fun.  The rocks are pretty diverse, with everything from metamorphic petrology to palæontology being represented.  I’ll bung up some photos of it when I’m back.

The Grind Continues

Another weekend bites the dust, and nothing especially eventful has really happened.  Just another weekend in Cambridge.  I had some fun with the geologists last night.  As there was money left over from the Magical Mystery Tour we had at the beginning of January, the Sedgwick Club rather delightfully decided to splash out and spend it on a free keg (72 pints) for us all, and host a beer/pizza/film night in the department.

This week is another standard week, with lectures, practicals, and the ever present job hunt to look forward to.

I’m very excited about the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics that started on Friday, not only because the Olympics are awesome, but also because my good friend Guy (Kanes) Sucharitakul is competing in it.  He carried the flag for Thailand in the opening ceremony, and will be racing in the slalom and giant slalom events on the 19th and 22nd, so I wish him the best of luck for that!  I’ll definitely be cheering him on!

The New Term

Ah, Lent Term.  It’s been a very busy one so far, with my research project being written up etc.  Thankfully that’s all over now, which is great.  The last week or two were a haze of panic, but at least it’s finished.  Since then, it’s been back to normal lectures and stuff which is oddly relaxing in comparison.

Anyway, now’s when I start looking for graduate jobs, and so far it’s been a disaster (rejections or no replies).  I guess it’s pretty standard stuff for graduates, but hey, just keep going and I’ll hopefully find something!

Part III Begins!

I appreciate that it’s been quite a large number of days since I’ve posted something, but it’s been a wee bit busy (as in, I’ve been sorting out starting my research project, and enjoying being back at Cambridge).

So, what’s been going on?  Well, first of all, and most importantly, I’ve started my research project (which forms a significant amount of my grade this year).  I’ve been working on it for a week or so, and I’m enjoying it which is pretty lucky!

I went to visit AJ and EB at their London flat, and JW, JM, and AD came along too.  A great evening ensued, and it was lovely to catch up with them again, as it’d been too long.

This week is pretty quiet, with me mainly working on my research, but I went to the pub yesterday with the Sedgwick Club (and will probably do so again at some point this week too).

Other than that, there’s not really been that much to report I’m afraid!

The Courage Of Your Convictions

I’m a lucky guy.  Ok, not the luckiest bloke, but I have been lucky enough to have inherited my father’s rather nifty sense of direction (if you’ll excuse some rather uncharacteristic boasting on my part)!  A few weeks ago, I decided to walk home, rather than get a taxi (as a cab is just a waste of money right?).  I didn’t know the way, but knew which way roughly was my hotel, and walked it, based solely on my thought of “I reckon that way is east”, and a very basic knowledge of the map of the Santiago metro.  Two kilometres later, I got to my hotel, without any faff/muggings/murders (an exercise I have repeated twice more since).

A similar thing happened tonight.  It was 5 in the morning, and JD and I decided to follow a group who said there was a bar open until later (as our favourite haunt – En Secreto had shut at this point).  Sadly, this turned out not to be true.  So what happened next?  We walked east, until we got to a road.  A road that was easy to follow home (Avenue de Pedro de Valdivia).  Unfortunately, we went south, rather than north, which wasn’t ideal (I needed around number 100, but we ended up at about number 3100).  At this point JD decided to ask for directions, and decided to go east, while I looked at the numbers of the buildings, and returned north (to my hotel).  In other words, I decided to trust my instinctive sense of direction (ta muchly father dearest :D).  It was at this point that we parted.  I decided to back myself (a favourite motto used within the Sedgwick Club), based solely on my sense of direction, and made it back fine (although it was a decent walk of at least two miles), augmented by solar navigation (as dawn was breaking at this point).  Turns out JD opted for a cab in the end, which was a good shout, although much more expensive (£4+ vs. £0.00) 😛 hehehe, (although to be fair, I only had the equivalent of about 50p on me at this point and hence had no real alternative)!

I have however made errors with solar navigation in Santiago in the past, as the first day I was here, I forgot that in the southern hemisphere, the sun is to the north (rather than the south) at midday, which is different to the northern hemisphere (and hence different to London), a forgotten piece of information that made me get a tad lost! Seriously, solar navigation is really helpful.  It might not be the most accurate, but it does give you a vague idea of what direction you’re going in (as long as you know roughly what the time is too), which can be invaluable!

Risky Business

So now I’ve been in Chile just over a month, and the weather is still freezing cold in the mornings.  There is no force as powerful as the attraction of a nice comfy warm bed, in a freezing cold room, at 7 am while it’s dark outside.  However, life goes on, and work must be attended.

Now, pretty much everyday since I’ve been here, I’ve been wearing my green Sedgwick Club fleece to keep warm.  However, today I thought that it needed a break, and, at great risk of looking like a muppet, I donned my new poncho.  As I was walking to the office, a pickup truck pulled up alongside.  Nothing unusual about that, he was just asking whether I wanted a lift.  I politely declined, saying that I preferred to walk, however, I paid close attention to whether I could see any smirks or not.  Luckily there was none.  First hurdle passed, acceptance from a randomer.

I emerged out of the woods at the office, and waved at my colleague through the window, who gave me a thumbs up.  I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or not, as he’s got a pretty solid sense of humour.  I went in to ask, and he said it was fine, although it would look better if I had a horse and a hat.  Hmm, subtle indication of a stupid look perhaps?  I decided not to beat about the bush, and asked him if I looked silly, to which he said no (hooray).  However, rather handily, he gave me some tips on how to wear it (when you’re outside, you keep your arms inside, but inside you roll up the edges so your arms are totally free).  Second hurdle passed, acceptance from colleagues.

The colleague with whom I share an office came in a few minutes later, she seemed to like it a great deal, and said it had nice colours.  At this rate, I’m almost bordering on stylish. Yeah right :P.  Either way, I was extremely warm on my walk to work this morning (as it’s a mixture of sheep and alpaca wool), so it doesn’t really matter!  All I need now is a cup of tea, and I’m sorted!

The Beginning of the End

It’s the penultimate day of May Week, and so things are beginning to wind down.  The Sedgwick Club “May Ball” was today, and it was great to see all the geologists one last time before we break up for the summer (or graduate in the case of a few of them), and enjoy a [traditionally rainy British summer] barbecue.  SP and the rest of his steel pan band were playing, and they were great (I particular enjoyed their rendition of Take On Me, which worked really well on the pans). I’ve also managed to get a ticket to Corpus May Ball tomorrow night, which should be enormous fun.  I’m also now going to the summer ball at Imperial on Saturday night, so it’s going to be a knackering weekend (although it’ll also be huge fun clearly).

As I’m moving out on Saturday, packing begins with earnest today. My parents are collecting most of my stuff tomorrow, so I’ll be left with only a few basic things with which to take home (via London).  After I’m home, I’m basically just sorting stuff out for Chile (travel risk forms/health assessment/horse riding lessons/etc.).  I got an email today giving more details about my Atacama placement, and I need a -10 to -15C rated sleeping bag, as it is cold at night.  There will also be strong UV radiation due to the high altitude (2.5-4.5 km).  It’s all very exciting, and is a much cooler “office” than most people get to work in!

Dinner tonight was at a local curry house, as it was JT’s birthday supper, and it was lovely to spend the evening with everyone, especially as most of them are graduating, and so will not be around next year.

We Sail the Ocean Blue

Ok, so it wasn’t the ocean, but it was the River Cam.  Today was geological punting day, and so, having stocked up on many provisions (including lots of food, drink, and those cheerful little brollies that you put in your drink), we hired a couple of punts from Scuds.  We spent a cheerful few hours on the Cam, and got to Grantchester Meadows. Essentially it was a fun day with the geologists, as HS is leaving before the Sedgwick Club Party on Thursday to go sailing (which is fair enough, given that she’s probably going to be in the 2016 Olympics). After that, I came home, and had pizza for supper with RS.  All in all, it’s been a fun and relaxing day!

A Descent into the Maelström

The first is over, merely another eight remain.  Doesn’t sound great, but it’s a good start.  So, what question did I answer for the synoptic paper?  What could possibly be written about for three and three-quarter hours solid?  Well, I went for Exoplanets.  Turns out my astronomy keenness of several years is actually helpful!  I managed to get some random comments into the essay, including referring to “Davey Jones’ Locker”, whether aliens could speak fluent English or not, and porridge and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Overall it went surprisingly well.

We got sent emails today reminding us to hand in all our practical work next week.  I wasn’t aware of the fact that we needed to do this, and so there are large gaps in the practicals I’ve been able to locate. Cortisol levels are sky high at the moment, I’m not going to lie, especially with the core essays tomorrow!

For those of you who are interested, today’s exam represents 4% of this year’s grade, and 12% of the total time spent in examinations. Including the 20% of my grade that will be determined from my mapping project, 76% of the marks and 88% of the time spent in exams remain.

In other news, there was a third anonymous donation to my pigeon hole yesterday afternoon of a couple of packets of sweets.  Not sure who it was this time, but as before, whoever you are, you have my deep gratitude!

Fun things that have happened include the ordering of the Sedgwick Club stash (always nice to get some of that), and my book about the UL is now in the post (see my previous post entitled “Groundhog Day).  I also found a fiver that I didn’t know I had in a drawer which was nice.

Anyway, now that the first paper is over, it’s back to the UL for me alas.  The core paper is tomorrow morning, and with 4 essays to be written, it’ll be a morning filled with glorious fun!  Let the cramming commence!

NB: If you want to read the story after which this post is entitled, you may find it here.  It’s a good one!