Year 3 second semester is a go!

Hi! It’s been a while, last semester has been the worst semester I’ve had by far. After being at the hospital I spent a lot of time playing catchup and recovering and I ended up having to apply for extenuating circumstances for all of my in semester test which meant 100% of my grade for the semester was based on exams happening on the exam period and I had to take 4 exams and 5 in semester tests. The amount of studying I had to do meant I ended up not flying to Guatemala to see my family for christmas for the first time in my life and after all that I didn’t even get to properly finish going through the material in all of my modules the first time, let alone revising, but I’m trying my best to not worry about it for now, I won’t get my results until the end of February, hopefully I didn’t do bad enough to screw up my chances of going to grad school.

Spending christmas in the UK was an interesting experience. I spent all of the 24th studying alone which felt super weird because I’m used to celebrating the 24th and then the 25th I watched Love Actually with the person I live with, then we had a roast dinner (she made it with turkey instead of lamb so that it was a bit more normal for me) and we opened gifts. Then for new year’s I got grapes and sparkling grape juice and everyone thought I was weird eating my 12 grapes at midnight.

Aside from studying I also started singing lessons during December which was nice, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I don’t know much still, I can barely do scales with the right pitch, but I started practicing dodie’s 6/10 and I might film a video of me singing it and playing it on my keyboard some time soon.

After exams finished I went to visit my family since we get a week gap in between semesters. It was a packed and overwhelming trip but it was nice to get to see them (and way less overwhelming than visiting during christmas is), but coming back at night the day before starting classes was definitely not a good move.

This semester isn’t off to the smoothest of starts – I have the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life, so much that I went to a walk in centre because I thought I had a lump in my throat (I could feel it with my tongue) and it was really hard to swallow and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and it turns out I just had a very inflamed uvula (the dangly bit at the back of your mouth). Hopefully also related to the cold (else I’ll have to go see a doctor about it, which I’d rather avoid) I have been really struggling to bike – I get breathless really quickly and then I get lightheaded and nauseous (and sometimes throw up) which is definitely new and it’s making it hard to get to classes. On top of all that the company I usually get my notebooks from seems to have shut down so I don’t have any notebooks yet which is a huge pain, but hopefully the rest of the semester will go more smoothly than this week (and last semester). This semester I’m taking galois theory, graphs and networks, numerical solutions of PDEs and functions of a complex variable. I have more contact hours than usual and the numerical solutions modules has an assessed coursework instead of an in semester test (that will be a first) which I’m a bit nervous about, especially because MATLAB and I really don’t get along. Plus functions of a complex variable might be interesting since this term it’ll be a combined year 2 and year 3 module.

Aside from classes starting back up I also went to Brighton on Monday for my top surgery consultation, hopefully I’ll get a surgery date soon (and hopefully it won’t interfere with lectures and exams too much) because I’ve been binding for almost 5 years and I can’t wait to be done with it. In other LGBT related news, I’m going to go to brighton later this month for the LGBT Colours festival which I’m really looking forward to.

I also applied to work as a counsellor at PROMYS Europe which I’m really hoping I’ll get accepted for this year (I got rejected last year) because it’s practically my dream job, I’d happily do that for the rest of my life. I might also be doing another summer research project at the university with my personal tutor (it’ll be related to parallel computing) and I’m planning on taking the GRE this summer to start applying to grad school in October so it’s looking like a packed summer, but in a good way.

Something that is still on early stages of planning – I’ve been talking to the Splash! at MIT/Berkeley people about starting Splash at Surrey (it’s a program for high school students to go and learn lots of stuff taught by undergraduate students, I was a student at Splash at Stanford and I got to do a lot of cool stuff including going down to the cadaver lab and I also taught a group theory class at Splash at Berkeley). Next step is putting a team together and forming a society so hopefully I’ll be posting about that soon, stay tuned!