Freshers for the last time

So I’ve been back in Exeter a few weeks now and it has been just as manic as usual. Although I’m not getting quite as lost, or getting as overwhelmed by the flyering on the Forum Hill, its still been a hectic few weeks.

Rougemont Gardens in Autumn

I left my stuff in Exeter with Our Spare Room over the summer, so I was first busy unpacking all of that, along with the stuff I had brought from home. My new flat is looking just how I wanted it to now, and suitably there are 4 maps on the walls! If you are a Geographer without a map, you need to get yourself a National Geographic pull-out map ASAP. Our Spare Room (OSR) was recommended to me by a couple of international friends who had used them the previous summer, but I personally have mixed opinions. I wasn’t able to get picked up at the end of summer for various reasons, and in September I had to bring back all my wheat, so it would have been a bit of a squeeze to bring everything back. OSR are the cheapest out there (that I know of), with their price of ยฃ1 per box per week. If you pack sensibly you can fit a lot in the boxes, and they provide you with them which is great. One downside is that they give you a morning or afternoon pick up time which would be 9-12 or 12-5, which means you have to stay in for that time, which for me was really annoying when the end of term was so busy. But the main problem for me was when I changed my drop off date. I was originally going to come back to Exeter a bit earlier – to go cycling, unpack, and enjoy Devon a bit before term started. However, I organised a work placement very last minute after my holiday, so I pushed back my drop off date by three days when my flatmate arrived. It costs ยฃ20 to change the date, no matter how far you are moving the date, and then you have to pay for the storage – so to push it back 3 days it cost me something like ยฃ25, which was really not ideal. Great otherwise – but something to think about if you might need storage over the summer.

So once I was unpacked I was in the labs in Amory. The lab technicians had advised that the labs get very busy further into the term, and seeing as I had so much to do, I wanted to get in there asap. So this is what I had to do with my wheat:

  • Weigh it wet
  • Measure it wet
  • Pop it in the ovens for 2 days
  • Weigh it dry
  • Measure it dry
  • Cut it up into small pieces (<0.5cm length)
  • Put it into a machine to be ground to something that resembled flour (this took the longest time because each sample took 5 minutes to grind, I had to thoroughly sterilise the equipment between samples….and I had 92 samples)
  • Measure out 5mg of each sample, put it into a tin capsule and squish the capsule to the size of a peppercorn

This process was very time consuming, but I’m glad its over and I can press on with the data analysis! I’m just waiting on the results of the CN ratios, but starting early was definitely a good idea, and there weren’t any queues for equipment. I really recommend doing a lab element in your dissertation – its really nice to have a break from computers and do something practical, and the lab staff were so friendly and helpful throughout the whole process.

This year I have also joined a new society – Triathlon. The first two years, I was a member of the badminton club, and absolutely loved it, but the sessions clashed with my timetable this year and I felt like trying something new. So far I’m very impressed – nice people, lots of sessions, and a good mixture of indoor and outdoor activities (although the circuits have left me struggling to walk).

Ready to depart with EUTriC for a Sunday Cycle
Circuit Training with EUTriC at St Luke’s Campus

To break up the lab sessions, I caught up with a few friends at The Exploding Bakery (a favourite of mine), tried the new ‘Funk Thursdays’ at Unit 1, went to the good old Firehouse of course, and ran a bit in preparation for the Great West Run Half Marathon in mid-October. I went to the Freshers fair, and came away with a good number of freebies, not as many as I managed as a Fresher, but I did a decent job. I seem to have developed a bit of a sniffle – not sure if it counts as Freshers Flu if you’re a 3rd year and you only went out once, but it’s a tiring couple of weeks for everyone.

At the moment I’m doing some readings, researching for my dissertation, and preparing masters applications, so I guess it’s still a pretty busy time. I hope you all had a great Freshers’ Week and are enjoying the beginning of term – push through the introductory lectures, yes you have them for every module, yes they are boring, but the fun stuff is to come!

The Forum, Freshers’ Fair
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