We had a short year last year (it was almost as long as the mean!) and it surely has flown by. For me, it was a year of ups and downs, and hopefully I’m about to give a fair appraisal of what I’ve learned from it.
The year started off in a manner which I’ve become accustomed to – exams! What joy, I know. However, these were the first exams I’ve ever taken which I’ve felt were both genuinely challenging and appropriate for the level I was at and which I could solve in what I consider the “right” way (a mix of knowledge and improvisation). I had found the courses (at the tail end of 2011) exciting and stimulating, and I found that my enthusiasm carried over well into grades. That was nice to see.
Then in February I started my MPhys placement at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), doing something which at the time I would have professed to have no interest in or knowledge of (electronics!). One of the main reasons I liked the idea of starting there was that it challenged what I thought I liked and what I thought I was good at.
Honestly, it turned out fairly well – I’m at least competent at dealing with electronics now, and I understand a little more about the subject than I was ever taught. Moreover, I’ve shown that I can enter a field that I don’t think I like and not only get on with it, but actually find the work interesting. I think that this is one of the great things that happened to me last year, and I’m looking forward to carrying on challenging what I know I’m good at.
I’ve also as a result experienced one of the best feelings in the world – the sensation of knowing something important before anyone else does! I have, arguably, had my first taste of “real” science by becoming somewhat of an expert in one very particular sub-field. I’m glad to now understand what kind of work that involves, and I hope I get to do it again. It was fun, and I always love the exhilaration of discovery.
However, it hasn’t all been upsides. While the work I did at RAL was great, the environment wasn’t always what it should be and over the year it caused me considerable stress. I think that it brought out the bad side of me over a large part of the year, and I’m determined not to let it stay that way. Hopefully, I’ll be keeping such environments at arms length over the next few years.
Another good thing happened to me last year though; I revived this blog! I have to say that it’s been extremely fun writing and (sometimes) being listened to. Blogging has been a way both of me zoning out and of focusing my thoughts. I’d really love to spend more time writing in the coming year, and I’m keen on diversifying somewhat in what I write about. It’s always been my ambition to write something factual here, and hopefully in the coming weeks you’ll see just that.
Finally; I’ll be learning to be a little more concise.
All Hail The New Year!