Year 3 updates + hospital experience

Hi! I didn’t get a chance to blog last week because I spent the week at the hospital so I thought I’d talk a bit about what that was like and then just give a general catch up about how the semester is going!

I arrived to the hospital on an ambulance and was put on the resuscitation area, they made sure I was stable and then I waited a few hours there until I got a room in the acute unit. I was offered a sandwich and I had nurses constantly checking on me every few hours (including at night). The room I got was surprisingly large, there was a bed, a couch, a chair, a shower, toilet and tons of open space. I got cereal for breakfast around 6-7am and then for lunch and dinner I got a menu a bit before it was served (which was noon and 5pm) and they had lots of things like pork and mash, steak pies, cottage pies, custard, apple pie, lots of British food I guess. I actually really liked the food which is surprising because hospital food tends to suck, but it was a bit much for my stomach to handle more than a day or two because it was more greasy than I generally eat. I was transferred to the ICU and spent most of the week over there, I had to deal with them putting a line on my neck which was terrifying and involved some movie like putting a cover over my face and 5 doctors staring down at me doing things and ordering people around (and finding out I’m claustrophobic, that was fun). The ICU was more like an open floor space with curtains around the beds, there was always a nurse looking at me at any given time, I couldn’t shower and to use the toilet I had to use a weird portable bedside thing. I didn’t have to pay anything which was nice and I was given a discharge form which I then used to apply for extenuating circumstances for two of my class tests. My lecturers were also flexible about turn in dates for unassessed coursework and I got support from the centre for wellbeing as soon as I was out.

Now on a more positive note, let’s talk about how my semester is going! I’m taking 4 modules: matrix analysis, advanced algebra, manifolds and topology and introduction to function spaces. This year is the first year where all of my modules are electives so I’m only going to be taking 1 module I’m not super into this year (that’s next semester, because there were only 3 modules out of the choices that I liked the sound of). I’m enjoying all of my modules, though I must admit a lot of the manifolds and topology content is way over my head right now, I’m hoping it’ll make sense soon. I also joined the mountaineering society and I’ve been climbing at the sports park which I absolutely love and I started doing acapella which I really liked (even though I know I’m horrible at it). I’m doing Chinese level 2 through the GGA as well which is exciting but also a bit terrifying, I think I forgot like 80% of the characters we learned in between May and now. I’m also going to London more often, I’ve been going to some of the gendered intelligence events (I went to a picnic right before the semester started, then I went to a Halloween party which was awesome, I dressed up as Greg from Steven Universe because it was the only thing I could improvise) and I’m going to be going to their conference next weekend which you might hear about on this blog, we’ll see! The LGBT society also hosted a trans only event and a whole 13 people showed up which was really exciting, I’m meeting two of them for coffee next week (which is a big achievement, I don’t have any friends at uni and I really struggle to talk to people so I’m really proud of me for asking and excited and nervous) and a lecturer from the department came out as trans to me so I’m feeling a lot less isolated than I was before. I’m still working as a student ambassador in both the international and widening participation strands (though I haven’t done any WP events this semester yet) and I also started working as a lab assistant for the first year stats module (I help out with the R labs). I’m living off campus this year so I’m commuting which is a bit of a pain (I have to wake up at 6:30 am to make it to a 9am lecture, when I used to wake up at 8:30am) but I decided that instead of taking the bus to the train station I would bike and I’m loving that (though it’s not ideal to bike at -1C and my front wheel broke so I need to get that fixed this weekend). I’m also thinking about doing ballroom or latin dance but I’m not sure if I’ll actually do that, it already feels like I don’t have enough time to do all of my coursework and do extra exercises and that’s without mixing extra things in and being a week behind because of being in hospital. It’s surprising how much material gets covered in a week, I’ve been sitting in lectures feeling completely lost the whole week and it feels like I’ll never catch up, but hopefully I will. I’m still reading a lot (I’m so excited that Blanca & Roja just came out, as well as the second book in the Dragonwatch series and the second book in the Morrigan Crow series) and I’m still doing some calligraphy and art, though definitely not as much as I’d like to. I started a youtube channel recently as well and I’m doing some book reviews in there, though I haven’t made any videos this month due to lectures and everything, though I feel like the start and the end of the semesters are always the hardest, in the middle you can do more because you’re used to the load and know what you need to do for each module rather than spending a lot of time trying to work out the best way to study for every one (which is even more of a problem when you get lecturers you haven’t met before with different styles, which I got 3 of those this semester). I also don’t know if I mentioned it before or not but I got a pet hedgehog, his name is Bram and he’s adorable, he goes everywhere with me and is the perfect study buddy.

I kinda feel like talking about climbing a bit more so I’ll do that! I tried it when I went camping with gendered intelligence and I loved it so I decided I’d join the mountaineering society. The first session I was taught how to tie in and how to belay which was all new to me and then I got to climb a bit. A week later we went to buy gear and I bought a harness and shoes (it came out to around £130 which I still feel bad about but having shoes does make a huge difference and the harness should last me at least 4 years so I guess it’ll be worth it). I have tried bouldering a few times but I don’t like it, I’m terrified of heights and when I start getting really high up and feeling like it’s getting tricky and I might fall I freak out and try to climb down which is hard and then usually I slip and fall and it feels worse than a roller coaster (which for the record, I absolutely hate), but climbing with ropes and a harness is great. I can feel the fear of heights and the anxiety but I keep pushing past it and going up, it makes me feel invisible and like I could do anything, which is something I really need right now, I’ve had the worst two weeks of my life and after climbing on Wednesday I’ve had two really good days so I’m definitely going to go to as many sessions as I possibly can and hopefully I’ll also get to do some outdoors climbing!

Something else that was cool that I did this semester is help out with a war memorial campaign. They got 100 staff and students to form a 100 and open some poppy umbrellas which turned out really cool and we got to keep them which was nice. I also found out some interesting facts about WWI like for example apparently tea bags were invented in the war so that soldiers could have tea in the field (because of course British people can’t live without their tea). I feel a bit weird going to war memorials and the like because I feel like it’s not my place to be there since I’m not British, European or from the US, I wasn’t influenced by it, but while filming the video I felt like it was ok to be there, I can be a part of it, I can care, so since then I’ve been wearing a poppy on my coat, for the first time since moving here. You can see how the video turned out here

As always if you have any questions or topic suggestions just shoot us an email!