Keep calm, it’s a NEW semester!

Hi there! After a restful reading week, it is now the first week of the second semester- students have returned to the uni, the library becomes crowded again, even the Rubix (the night club of our uni) is back in business.  I feel energetic and ready to start my second sem in such a dynamic and vibrant campus.

As usual, I signed up for ELSP (English Language Supporting Programme), particularly the courses of presentation skills, dissertation skills, and critical reading. I continued joining the PAWS (Peer Assisted Writing Scheme) as well. I found those programmes/schemes beneficial as they allow me to practise English, in both speaking and writing.  Thanks to those schemes, I actually gained confidence in communicating with my friends, because my vocabulary has significantly increased. However, I am still trying to improve/rectify my grammar mistakes, in order to stop getting stuck when speaking English. I am determined to be able to talk to people fluently and clearly, and to understand and respond naturally to conversations, without having people to slow down when talking to me. This is because good speaking skills could be essential in my placement, especially when I have to present my research findings at a symposium, in front of hundreds of people.

Next, I am very looking forward to the modules of the second semester: Immunology, Pathology and Medicine, Pharmacology, Analytical and clinical biochemistry. One of the reasons is that I don’t have to study molecular biology anymore in this sem, because molecular biology is basically a module on gene expression and mutation, which I am not that interested in. Besides, the modules delve into the physiology of diseases and the ways to diagnose and treat disease. They link different physiological systems together. Therefore, I am intrigued by the modules, and particularly fascinated by the effect of our body immune system in combating pathogenic challenges. Moreover, the modules include many highly transferable laboratory skills and knowledge, which are closely related to my placement year research project.

For example, pharmacology is an interesting module. It is amazing to observe the process of drug discovery, and how drugs recognize their specific receptors, thereby causing different cellular responses that improve the physiological condition. Do you know that we actually need 8-15 years and 10 to 100 million pounds to discover a drug? Can you imagine how cool the screening process is to eventually select the most suitable compound to make a drug out of hundreds of million compounds? More interestingly, how agonists and antagonists bind specifically and alter the conformation of functional proteins that activate a series of cell reactions. I come across many drug names and functions as well, therefore I think I will be able to compare the efficacy of different drugs of the same function, and thus select the most suitable drug for treatment, after completing the module. That is fascinating and impressive, isn’t it?

However, the second year could be much tougher than the first year undergraduate studies. I had tons of in-class tests but only one lab report to submit in last semester. In contrast, I’m gonna have more in-class tests and five write-ups to do for this semester- the workload has increased. Haha I had better stop watching Netflix and work hard from now on XD.  In addition, to prepare us for our final year dissertation writing, I found that the lecturers have higher expectations on our work, and adopt stricter marking criteria. This somehow makes us a bit stressed. Nonetheless, BE POSITIVE! There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make me stronger. So, take the challenge, Ying! Your time management skills and organizational skills will definitely improve in this semester.

Furthermore, since I have secured a placement in Francis Crick Institute, I planned to search for accommodation in London (near the St. Pancras train station and Euston train station). I might ask USL (University of Surrey Lettings) and my seniors about the housing information, since I have no experience in renting accommodation in London. In addition, I am aware that the rent and living cost in London could be very expensive. Therefore, I am currently working part-timely to earn extra income. I work in Hillside restaurant and Simply fresh. (I will tell you how a part-time job is like in my future blogs, so stay tuned 😊).

University of Surrey Lettings (USL) provide a practical advice service to all students preparing to or already living in the private sector.

All in all, I think this semester is a challenging semester. Yet, as the saying goes, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. I will allocate some time to take a break between the packed schedules. For example, I might go travelling with my friends. Hence, I might blog about my travelling experience too.

Alright, I think that is it for now. Till the next time! Bye~~~