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The Start Of Revision

Hey guys!

This post is just one big ramble/rant about what my first step for revising for my final exams is going to be. Consider yourself warned!


 

As some of you may or may not know, I’m a student studying in her second year of a degree in Astrophysics.

I thought I’d come on here and write about how I plan to begin my revision for my end of year exams. I think sometimes taking the first step is the most difficult, so I want to make sure I have everything in order for when the time comes. Unfortunately, I won’t have much time to revise because the entirety of second year for me has been riddled with bad mental health spells and tons of coursework .

As an example, between the start of last Tuesday and the end of this Thursday we will have had 1 class test to revise for and 5 coursework deadlines (a class test in Optics along with four weeks of lecture summaries to hand in, a Differential Equations assignment to hand in, 10 hours of CV enhancement to complete along with an updated CV to hand in, a Nuclear Physics assignment along with a Quantum Mechanics assignment along with like 4 pieces of Python code to hand in and an observatory log book along with an observatory report to hand in).

So, as you can see, even within those pieces of coursework there are usually multiple components, so in that space of 9 days I will have completed 10 different components of coursework.

Which is difficult for most courses but let me tell you, Astrophysics is no joke.

Anyway, so I won’t have had any time to revise for the finals until I’ve handed in my last piece of coursework which likely won’t be until the deadline (Thursday).

I think the first step I’m going to take once I’m in my exam revision period is, before anything else, to give myself some self-care. I can hear some of you being all like “NO, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THAT WHEN YOU HAVE SO LITTLE TIME AS IT IS!”

Well I’m about to change your mind!

You see, with my crappy mental health and insane amounts of coursework, I haven’t even actually left the house since that class test last Tuesday – not even to go to my local supermarket (which is a 2 minute walk from my flat!) I haven’t been taking care of myself at all, and with my partner being in the same situation as me (not the best mental health and extremely busy with work) even the everyday things have really been swept to the side.

I will still be super busy with revision once I’ve finished with the coursework (as in, now I’m completing around 1.5ish percent of my overall grade in coursework per day, and it will be around the same  during the revision period in terms of what the final exams are worth vs the days I have to revise for them). However, I still really think this is the most important first step.

I just need to really quickly take a bath, y’know? I need to do the laundry. I need to tidy up. I need to take bags of clothes to the charity shop. I need to load the dishwasher. I need to leash train my kitten. I need to entertain my kitten. I need to create a revision plan. I need to take that VARK test and work out HOW I’m going to revise. I need to get my weight back down to what’s healthy for me. I need to stock the fridge with healthy food. I need to do a BIT of cleaning.

I don’t want to go nuts, but honestly, it really needs at least a bit of work because it’s like a mad house in here, and I have no idea how I could reasonably begin to revise without taking care of myself, my partner, my flat and my kitten in these ways first. I would just feel far too anxious and wouldn’t be able to leave the flat to go to the library to study anyway because I’d feel gross and wouldn’t want to leave the flat messy or leave my kitten needing attention, ugh.

It’s very stressful and really does need to be done, and I won’t be able to do it before then because I have 2 pieces of coursework to begin and complete within the next 2 days so I can’t really be thinking about revision before the 11th April, and only at that time onwards can I really revise…

So, hopefully you all agree with me now that this is the first thing I need to do once the revision period begins. I know logically it seems like the best thing to do would be to just fit in as much revision as possible considering how little time I have to study for these exams (one of my single semester modules contains 2 subjects (Quantum Mechanics and Nuclear Physics), and I only have 3 days to revise for each of those subjects), and I do see how this would ordinarily be the right thing to do. I just know that realistically, if I were to do that, I’d actually get less work done overall because I’d be super unfocussed.

I guess I could see that preparation as revision in itself? I mean, it isn’t REALLY, but then it sort of is because revision is technically anything that will bring your grade up in the exam right? All of this preparation will definitely ease my mind and make me far more comfortable which I think will definitely cause me to have a better grade in the exams!

I’ll just spend from whenever I give in my final piece of coursework until Friday for this preparation, so less than a day, which is enough time to make a real difference in creating a good, calm, happy and healthy brain environment for me to revise and not so much time that it actually does more bad than good. A good sweet spot.

So I have the first day of revision planned – I don’t really know what I’m going to be doing the day after but I guess that’s what the planning day is for.

Storm

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I Got Onto My Degree! Results + Treats.

Hey guys!

As some of you may know, a couple of years ago I dropped out of my foundation year for Physics and Astronomy, for various reasons. The next year, I applied for University again – and successfully got onto a foundation year for Astrophysics.

I have just completed that foundation year and, finally, I have actually managed to obtain a place on a bachelor degree in Astrophysics!

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I was pretty worried that I wouldn’t be able to, as I needed to achieve 65% in my Advanced Mathematics module – whereas I only achieved 62%. They’ve given me a chance, and I’m so grateful for that!

Here are my overall results:

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Here is a breakdown of my results:

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As you can see, I did pretty terribly in my final Advanced Mathematics exam (43%) – but I did SO WELL in my Statistics exam (90%)!

And here is the interpretation of my results (although this was just a foundation year, so my results this year don’t actual count toward my final grade):

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When I found out, the first thing I did was to call my partner – he was having some drinks with a colleague after work. That evening when he came home, he had brought me back a GORGEOUS bouquet of flowers, an AMAZING bottle of Rose champagne, and an absolutely DELICIOUS bag of Indian takeaway! What a treat! I just love how much it means to him when I achieve something!


As a treat to myself, from myself, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a Primark haul tomorrow. I’ll be heading down to the all famous Primark on East Oxford Street. My style has really changed over the past few years, and I have a lot of clothes that either don’t fit me right at all, that look bad on me, have become damaged or that I just plain don’t like anymore. I really don’t buy myself clothes very often, so I decided on Primark because if I shop there first, I’ll be able to get a lot of pieces at a low price – pieces that could very well be a lot more expensive elsewhere! I’ll also be able to actually try the clothing items on, and I much prefer high street shopping to online shopping in general!

So, I’ll be heading to the most popular Primark store that I have nearby, and I’m going to get there super early – like for 8:00 AM, so that I can pretty much have the store to myself. I’m so excited! I’m going to really make an effort to choose items that actually make me feel confident, and to not just chuck things in my basket without thinking. I don’t really have a specific spending limit, both because I trust in my ability to only buy the gems I find in the store, and because I genuinely need a LOT of new clothes! I don’t have anything specific in mind that I’m going to look for – Primark could have amazing shoes but rubbish dresses one month, but then have awful shoes and incredible dresses the next.

This is probably going to be the first planned haul I’ve ever done! I’ll of course be writing a Primark haul blog post tomorrow, hopefully with try-on photos, so look forward to that!

– Storm

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Is Obtaining A Degree Ever Worth It Financially?

So, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the costs of obtaining a degree. Unfortunately for us in the UK, the average debt for students graduating today is £50,800. That is an awful lot of money! In that time, the individual could have instead worked full time – both gaining valuable work experience and, of course, money. Obtaining money rather than loaning (and in effect, losing) money is always a good thing!

A student can work alongside their degree however, and loan repayments are wiped 30 years after having obtained said degree. The loan repayments are also a relatively low sum per month, and only need to be begun to be repaid once the individual hits an income of £21,000 +.

With interest applied to the loan amount however, loan repayments can ultimately add up to be a rather large sum altogether.

So, I’ve been wondering. Is obtaining a degree ever worth it financially?

There are many other ways a degree may or may not be “worth it,” but I’m just thinking about the financial aspects of one for now.

I imagine myself, one day in the future when I am repaying back my student loan monthly, and am in a job that required me to have the degree which I had obtained. Now, what if I compare that future me to another person the same age as me, without a degree but with more years of work experience, and by now already in a very stable, well paying job.

I’ve always heard that degrees should be thought of as an investment, but is this really true? Does one always end up better off financially in the long run after having obtaining a degree?

Programmers, for example, do not require that individuals have obtained a degree. Employers will rarely fixate on an applicant’s education history at all in this field, and are much more interested in their actual practical ability in the field at the given time, and will more often hire someone based on their demonstration of said ability. Programmers can make a very decent salary, rising quickly. Programming is also a relatively easy skill to self-teach, and doesn’t really require tuition at all.

My partner has no official prior education in programming whatsoever, and simply self-taught himself as a teenager and young adult for fun. We are both 23 years old, and he is now in a very well paying programming job, whereas I am still struggling through obtaining a degree – with no official work experience to speak of to date! On top of that, I have also already incurred a student debt of over £20k.

So, financially, will my degree ever be worth it? I’m just talking about Bachelor degrees here. Surely it would have been more worth asking my partner to teach me programming instead, right? Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. If I’m honest, I don’t think they are. Some of the highest earners in the UK are Brokers for example, which is a job that doesn’t often require any formal qualifications – only usually a year of work in the relevant field – such as sales.

I suppose money isn’t everything, right? It has made me wonder though. I still have 3 years of my degree, and have begun thinking that perhaps the debt is just not even worth the effort! Especially now that so many people are obtaining degrees – I feel they are almost becoming obsolete over actual real life experience in the industry… I think my answer for this one, in all honesty, will have to be a no! I absolutely do not think a degree is worth it financially. Not in the UK at least!

I certainly don’t think money is everything, but I do know that financially I am currently quite unhappy, so perhaps sometimes money does bring you more happiness. Maybe it is time for a change in direction for me. I think I may start thinking of work and other parts of my life as the center, and my education as a side thing I’m working on, if that makes sense? I do still want to work on m degree, but I think it’s time for me earning a salary to take the center stage! I think I’d definitely feel happier financially that way 🙂 I think it would also be a good idea to get my partner to teach be a bit of programming over the course of my degree, so that once I’m finished, I could work in programming if I want to!

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

– Storm

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My quest to a career in Astrobiology!

So some time ago I decided it was about time to sit down and make a decision on what it is that I want to do as a career. Me being somewhat of a perfectionist meant that I couldn’t bring myself to find a job/find employment in a field without having done this first. After a lot of thinking and searching, I came to a decision – Astrobiology.

This field is ideal for me. You see, unlike a lot of people, I never found an intense interest/hobby/passion when I was younger and instead found most subjects somewhat interesting. Astrobiology is a subject that involves all my academic interests – geology, ecology, biology, astronomy… For a career in Astrobiology, experts in the fields involved are preferred to individuals who are experts in Astrobiology itself, so I’ve chosen Astronomy to be my focus.

It’s taken me two years since I made that decision to get to where I am today. It hasn’t been easy – it meant having to toughen up and mature quite suddenly and I know that it’s only going to get more difficult, but… Making a life choice and following that choice independently is so freeing. 🙂

I’m currently on a foundation year of a degree in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

I guess this post was a little introduction to my educational pursuits. 🙂

– Storm