4

I Finished My Degree!

Hi guys!

I’ve gotten the urge to write a bit on my blog again and first thing’s first – I FINALLY finished my degree!

I know there’s only like 100 odd people who follow my little blog, and most of yous haven’t been here since my first posts, but I began this blog back in the winter of 2014, while on a foundation year for a degree in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex. In total, I’ve been in further and higher education for the past 7 years – yes, SEVEN! At 19 years old, I jumped back on the education bandwagon after dropping out of school when I was 14, and am now 26 years old and have finally completed my degree. If you think about it, it actually ended up taking the expected amount of time – 2 years for GCSE’s, 2 for A levels and then 3 for a degree is the norm – and it took me 7 years too. I went a bit of a different route though – starting with a year doing intensive GCSE’s in Mathematics and English alongside an Access course to Higher Education in Biological Sciences, followed by a year spent on the foundation year of the Physics & Astronomy degree at the University of Sussex, followed by a year spent studying A level Physics & Mathematics from home, followed by a year spent on the foundation year of a degree in Physical Sciences at North Hertfordshire College, and then finally 3 years on a degree in Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire.

It’s been a very long journey, and I didn’t expect it to be such a long-winded, twisty path, but I think every step was necessary to allow me to be in the position I am now.

I’m hoping for a 2:1 – my possible degree classification grade range is from 56.5% – 74.9% based on my degree classification safety net and based on the 6 pieces of work I have left to receive a mark for. I was so dead-set on getting 70% (a 1:1, highest possible grade classification for a degree) for the entire time I’ve been back in education, but I’ve done my very best and I’d genuinely be happy with a 2:1 (60-70%). I think I’d feel pretty upset if I got a 2:2, not going to lie about that, and feel insanely happy if I somehow managed a 1:1 (EXTREMELY unlikely given the amount of questions I couldn’t answer in the 3 exams and that I’d need something like 90% or more in them to get a 1:1 overall at this point), but I feel comfortable with a 2:1, knowing that it was the best I could reasonably do without losing my mind in the process!

I can honestly say that I’m really, really flipping proud of myself aswell. For many different reasons.

1. I may be lucky to not have any extreme disabilities or any incredibly disruptive situations at home that would greatly impact my degree, but I have had a lot of mental health problems for this duration that have definitely affected my learning. I’ve also not had any friends or family nearby (actually, I don’t have any super close friends altogether) so my support system hasn’t always been the most in place. I’ve also experienced a lot of hurt in my last relationship for these past 7 years, including several break-ups, and a year ago our engagement was broken off. It wasn’t the path I wanted for the relationship, which has meant it has been EXTREMELY difficult to focus on my degree for this final year. Coronavirus has also impacted my exams and the majority of my second semester pieces of coursework.

2. I could have worked harder than I did during my degree, but I still worked harder than I thought a human would be capable of in the same circumstances I have been in honestly, and looking back, how good some of my grades are is actually shocking considering how extensively my mental health and personal life was impacting my life at the time, and I think it would have been entirely normal to have deferred the second half of this past year of my degree altogether.

3. Some of the grades I have received this past academic year include 100% in all 3 of my particle physics assignments (2 problem sets and a presentation), 96% in my condensed states of matter assignment ( a problem set), 95% in my space dynamics interim workbook submission, 92% in my computational physics star formation report, 92% in my quantum mechanics coursework problems, 90% in my quantum mechanics presentation and 90% in my cosmology practical.

4. My grade average for second year was 53% (I really struggled mentally last year and had to defer a lot of work – this also means this grade average doesn’t include the module Quantum Mechanics that I deferred to do that this year instead). My grade average this year (including the Quantum Mechanics module and its weighting, and not including any marks I haven’t gotten back yet) is 69%. I have raised my grade average in final year, the most challenging year of a degree and whilst struggling with mental health problems and a failed 6 year relationship, by 16%. I am so incredibly proud of that!

It’s been an insane journey – astronomy never ceases to fascinate me, and I’ve learnt about so many different interesting topics.

I’ve learnt what topics in astrophysics I really, really do not want to pursue unless it’s in my free time and is entirely non-obligatory, and the topics that really amaze me, and that I yearn to delve deeper in and explore further than I have done. It’s given me a bit of sense of direction, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I’ve learnt that I sort of really do not enjoy being obliged to study pure physics topics, and would much prefer to learn and read about those topics in my free time. I’ve also learnt that I really enjoy (and am quite good at) data sciences, and aswell as still enjoying astronomy in general and astrobiology, I also really find cosmology fascinating.

I’ve learnt how important ecology is to me and the need for me to somehow integrate that into my life in order for me to feel fulfilled.

I’ve learnt that I am absolutely rubbish at exams and exam based,  face-to-face, taught, conventional education – and that that’s absolutely okay!

I’ve learnt I’m really, really good at coursework and research, and that I learn better with having just a few face-to-face taught interactions, and most of the time learn better and produce better work when I work fairly independently – at least for astronomy.

I’ve learnt that although I am capable, I’m not mentally well, and so I am less capable than a healthy person is and will therefore struggle more with the same work, and am likely to do worse in some pieces of work due to this despite working harder, and that that is also okay.

I’ve learnt that full time education is a bit of a pressure cooker situation for me due to my mental health, and leaves me with absolutely no time whatsoever to focus on any hobbies at all. I haven’t read a non-university related book in around 6 years. I haven’t played a computer game in maybe 4 years. I haven’t watched Star Trek – my favourite TV series of all time, in maybe 3 years. I’ve learnt only 10 seconds or so of a song on my guitar that I’ve had for 4 years, etc, etc, etc.

I’ve learnt the impact of my mental health on every aspect of my life, and that it absolutely must come first if I’d like to soon be capable of having enjoyable, fulfilling days.

I’ve learnt that I absolutely WILL stick to and complete anything I really want to, but that it will take a lot of time and work.

I’ve learnt that just because I am fully capable of commitment, not everybody else wants the same things as I do, and that I shouldn’t base my decisions on a life with somebody who thinks it’s wrong to prioritise love.

I’ve learnt that I am beautiful, inside and out, and that I only require myself to believe in that for me to feel it.

I’ve grown, and my life has changed a lot, but in other ways, it and me are exactly the same. Before I started my education journey, I was single, and am single again. I started it out without friends around, and again, don’t have any friends around me. I started my journey out homeless and again, I’m without a home. I started my journey off independent, determined and strong, and again, I am independent, and hopefully the determination and strength will come with a bit more time.

So, that’s first thing first!

TLDR; I finished my degree, it took me FOREVER, it was difficult because I have bad mental health and my relationship failed, but I’m hoping to get a 2:1 and am proud of myself.

– Storm

3

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

3

What being an INFJ means to me + rant.

Hey! I’ve been thinking about my personality type, and wanted to write about what it means to me to be an INFJ. What I mean by this is… What are the things that set me apart from other types, in real life, day-to-day situations that are easy to relate to.



What being an INFJ means to me:

  1. I will feel personally hurt when silly, little casual comments are made against me. I just can’t shrug anything off. I won’t be able to truly think nothing of the comment, and I won’t be able to think that the person who made said comment wasn’t being a tad insensitive. I’m easily upset, easily offended, easily hurt – even by people who I’m not technically “friends” with. I think many people don’t realise that there are some really sensitive souls in this world. I know for sure that some people do realise, and this face just pisses them off more than anything. I find that many Thinking over Feeling personality types will be irked by the sensitivity of Feeling over Thinking types. But yeah, I’m a sensitive, delicate, sometimes rather pathetic little flower. I feel things very strongly, and am easily overwhelmed with an emotion.

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  2. I feel like an alien. I feel like I can’t relate to almost anyone, and the people I can relate to in many ways will still always have just as many contrasting beliefs. I find it incredibly hard to connect with people and make friends – in fact, at the age of 23 I would not consider that I have any “friends” in the strictest sense. I don’t “hang out” with anyone, or get invited out anywhere. I suppose my partner is my only friend, but I’m fine with that. I couldn’t handle socialising, day in and day out, with a group of people who just seem so… Hollow… I don’t know. Imagine if every human saw through 2 lenses, one main, dominant lens and one small, inferior lens. I feel like most people’s dominant lens is my inferior lens, and most people’s inferior lens is my dominant lens. I just don’t feel like I’m seeing the world the same way that the majority of people are. I feel sort of like a loner. Very alone.

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  3. I don’t get shallowness. I hate all this pop culture. I hate celebrity gossip. I hate drama. I hate the 9-5 everyday mundane routine of humans. I hate repetitiveness. I hate feeling like so many people are SHEEP. I hate people doing what is easy, and not using their brain and heart to decide what it is they truly WANT. I don’t like people ignoring very important, hard TRUTHS, and instead turning a blind eye.

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  4. Similar to the last one, but I don’t follow crowds. Why the hell would I? I’d much prefer to feel genuinely happy and blissful doing the things I enjoy. I love Lush to an extreme – something not uncommon at all, but definitely a genuine love rather than following a craze. Even if Lush were to become incredibly unpopular one day, or if the Body Shop were to instead become the new exciting cosmetics brand, I’d still be dedicated to my Lush. I’m a female studying for a degree in Astrophysics. I’d like to eventually be a researcher in the field of Astrobiology. I don’t think I need to even explain how this one isn’t following the crowd. I don’t care if people think my ideas are stupid. I just care that I’m doing what genuinely makes me happy in my life.

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  5. I can’t take relationships lightly. Every person I meet, I care about. Every person I SEE, I care about. I truly hope every homeless person I see on the street will be okay. I hope that all the randomers I see on my morning train will have a brilliant day. Again, it hurts me when people make sarcastic or slightly offensive comments toward me, because I generally hold too much respect to be able to be nasty to that same person. It is hard to feel like almost every single relationship is one way. I care too much.

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  6. There’s never enough time in the day. There is so much I want to do yet I spend so much time up in my mind, that I rarely do much physically in my day at all. I’m a thinker, a dreamer – and a doer too. I’m just far less of a doer than I am a thinker. I don’t generally like this fact about me though. It is seen as laziness – it truly isn’t. I don’t even realise how many hours I’ve spend in my thought bubbles until I randomly snap out, and realise that my actual day is already over.

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  7. I don’t see animals, or even plants really, as being of less value than humans. We are all alive, this life is the only one that any of us will ever live. Who is to say which life is more important? Of course, I eat plants. I am a vegan, and am doing the best I currently know how to do. I do aspire to be a fruitarian one day though. To me, death is death, and life is life. Simple as. In fact, if anything, I feel more toward an animal or plant life than I do a human life. Humans have so many ulterior motives, can be so cruel and selfish. Animals and plants are pure. They just live. I don’t know…

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  8. I am honest, quite possibly to a fault. I can’t keep surprises from my loved ones. If asked how I feel about a topic or what my opinion is about something, I will be completely honest. I don’t think anyone deserves to be led into believing something that just simply isn’t the truth. Who could be that cruel? I’m a very honest person.

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  9. I see beauty everywhere. I’d stare at a sunset for hours if I could. The sea is absolutely gorgeous, as are plants, hills, mountains. I love the universe I love the natural world, I love landscapes. Colours are so vibrant, I don’t know… I just love how the universe LOOKS, and I truly appreciate it. The same goes for any art form – music, dance… It is all so incredibly beautiful!

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  10. My mind is complicated. My thoughts are confusing, and do sometimes contradict one another. I’m logical, scientific, sensible, reasonable, wise, technical, clear. I’m also creative, artistic, sensitive, spiritual, idealistic, disconnected. My mind is a mixing pot of two different worlds. I find it hard to make decisions, because I sort of love almost everything. Making a decision of which career I wanted to pursue was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in my life. I decided that any interests that were more creative and less academic would be better pursued out of conventional education, because then I could grow in these areas as a unique, uninfluenced individual – which to me is what art is all about. With all of my academic interests, I just sort of smushed them all together, and found one subject that embodied them all – Astrobiology. Paleontology, biology, climatology, astronomy, geology, geography… It’s all in there, every single academic interest of mine. After doing this, the only things left behind were things that I had either integrated into other areas of my life in other ways – such as travel, or things that I have little or no interest in – like Politics… I chose Astronomy as my pathway into the field of Astrobiology, just because it seemed like the most vast and interesting subject that Astrobiology is made up of. I can’t, don’t and won’t settle on one idea if I am interested in many different ideas. This is also evident in the amount of different seasonings I use when I cook…

    That’s all for now! There’s 10 things that being an INFJ means to me. If you’re an INFJ, did you relate to any of these? If what ways did you/did you not? If you’re not an INFJ, what type are you, and what ways are you similar/different? Leave a comment below!



    Warning:
    RANT

     

    Also, I’d like to ask a favor of any readers who are interested in MBTI. If you have taken an MBTI personality test, please, for the love of God, take another. MBTI tests are NOT perfect, and will have blind spots for certain types of unique personalities. You absolutely cannot take one test result at face value, and just start investing your time researching that result. That is insane! You can’t go taking a man-made test, that absolutely will NOT be flawless (as personalities are so diverse and unique between each person, not everyone will perfectly fit into the same mould as another member of the same personality type..,) and just 100% have faith that the result you obtained is a solid FACT. The only fact you have obtained from taking that test is simply that THAT test provided you with THAT result. Take one test, then take another test on a completely different website – a test with different questions and entirely different mechanisms to reach a result. If you come out with the same result twice, through answering honestly, then chances are that you’re that personality type. Read it up and see if you relate to it. If not, then take a third, different test. Keep doing this until different tests have provided you with the same result!

    This is so, so, SO important. It almost angers me when I read that someone took a MBTI test, and straight away are like “Okay, I guess this is me then 😀 .” If you’re so convinced, get the same result in a different test too. What is there to lose? And if there is a CHANCE your result may come out differently in a different test then why wouldn’t you want to know what else you might be? My first result (taken on the typical 16personalities site I believe…) reckoned I was an ISFJ. So, what did I do with this result? I saved it, and then instantly took another test. INFJ. What did I do with this result? I saved it, and then took ANOTHER test instantly. INFJ/INTJ. What did I do with this result? I further researched the INFJ personality type, as I had received that result twice using 2 different tests. Considering there are 16 different possible outcomes, getting the same result in 2 different tests, when only having taken a few, means chances are that you’re this type. After researching the type, I related well, and have since had an MBTI enthusiast type me as an INFJ too.

    I’m sorry with rambling on, I just don’t like when people say they fit a personality profile because of ONE test result. I mean, claiming that a certain profile pretty much defines the inner functions of your ways of thinking and your behaviours is pretty huge, so at least make sure that what you’re claiming is reliable! Grrrrrrr. If you only can be bothered to take one test then at least take the humanmetrics test instead – that one seemed to be most reliable for me!