Archive for March, 2005

A view to the future

Mar 13th, 2005

This term has been remarkably busy, and a good deal has happened since my last update. I’m afraid that both lack of time and a desire to keep some things private for a while has contributed to the desert that has been my blog for the past term.
By far the most time consuming occupation of the past eight weeks has been my lab project, which is now in its closing stages. Unfortunately time restrictions, my experience, sheer misfortune and complete stupidity have all conspired to see that I have discovered nothing, save continual examples of the failure of my experiments. However I have learnt an important lesson, one which I will now impart:
SW could equally be MS written upside down. This is particularly important when one considers the fact that sterile distilled water is not the same thing as mineral salts.
Yet all this finishes in a few days, leaving my to present it all on Wednesday and hand a report in on the day before Good Friday. Then, with that out the way I can finally settle down to revision.
But by far the most important thing that has happened to me is the signing off of the next four years of my life. Last time I spoke to you I was having concerns about PhD’s, the trouble with applying and the nervousness involved. This was all coupled with a constant fear that someone to whom I had applied might well come and read it, a problem that became increasingly likely when I realised how casually I had emblazoned my website address on top of my CV. Still since that time I have had my interview with the Human Genetics Unit ad Edinburgh. It was a two day event, involving getting up at six in the morning to take a five hour train journey ‘up North’ and beyond. As the Angel of the North rose up above the hills and the architecture gained a distinct Northern vibe I realised exactly how Southbound I had been all my life. Still Edinburgh was fantastic and as I tried to navigate my way towards the HGU I met a character who always seems to appear in these stories but whom I had always assumed was semi mythical.
I met the person who, In being so helpful, leads one to draw overgeneralised conclusions about whole subsections of the human race. In this case, upon asking where the HGU was not only did he show me the way, but actually walked with me for about half an hour pointing out all the landmarks. Only when the building was in sight did he finally depart. I have a feeling that somewhere a scriptwriter for the universe is having fun overdoing the clichés.
The HGU itself was similarly full of nice people, who seemed to all know each other. At the same time there was the realisation that all these people you were chatting to were the very same people who’d be on the interview panel tomorrow. When a couple of the people were also sat at the back of a pub in the evening it did bring about the slight nagging fear that the entirety of Edinburgh were assessing you and preparing to send back a report.
On the second day (After spending a night in a guest-house run by another clichéd nice person) there was the interview. The projector broke down halfway through, which I was secretly pleased about as the disruption gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. It was only when I left that I realised how nervous I had been and when I heard the panel discussing my performance I had to make my escape. This allowed me to catch up with the other candidates and we ended up spending the rest of the day being tourists in Edinburgh.
We went overboard, or rather on board (Pun intended), and decided to travel on an open top tour bus. However as we passed into the old town the sky turned an ominous black and threatened rain. Rain, however, was not what it delivered, but rather hail. Coats went up over heads and the amusement of the situation reigned over the inconvenience until the hailstones melted and the dry seats became wet.
In the evening I got on the train to travel home, it was late and I was exhausted. Any plans I had to do work vaporised as I just wanted to relax, and finally five and a half hours later I disembarked at Cambridge relieved to be home.
I have a habit of checking E-mail before bed, and in doing so I waded though a stupidly high number of mass E-mails, spams and useful E-mails.

Subject: Studentship Offer

I’m fed up of receiving these mails. Offering degrees from non-accredited US ‘universities’ my finger moved to delete. Then, with shock I recognised the name. My heart leapt into my throat, my drowsiness vanished and my body started shaking as though I had just eaten and entire bag of Whittards chocolate covered coffee beans. I read the E-mail, I was in! Before I had even got back to Cambridge I was in, in fact the mail had been sent before I had even left Edinburgh. I spent about five minute lead on my floor laughing. I then phoned home, woke up my parents and gave them the news.
Throughout all of this though was the thought of my Manchester interview on the next Friday. What would I do? Before I got the offer Edinburgh was my first choice, but I hadn’t seen Manchester yet. The offer from Edinburgh was great, but in being forced to make a decision I was assailed by worries. Everyone I asked over the next couple of days recommended something different, from accepting the offer and going to Manchester anyway to delaying my decision until I had seen both places. In the end I accepted, and contacted Manchester with my apologies.
So next year (if all goes to plan) Jasp’s Blog will be comming from Edinburgh.