Sunday, 9 January 2011

Fresher in the Midst

I'm a bad blogger, having not updated in since the middle of December. However, now things are underway, I'm aiming to get a bit better!

The snow did alter things a bit, but I finally got back home just before New Year, which was seen in wrapped up in a blanket outside by a fire with some of my new neighbours. It was a really lovely way to see the New Year in.

So, a few days later I rocked up to my department, nervous as hell, ready to start the next 3.5 years of my life. It sounds pretty intimidating when put like that! Spent the first day just finding my feet, sat in with the secretaries, as there wasn't a desk available for me. They were lovely though and I also got introduced to some of the PhD students, so I've slotted in with a little group there. That was pretty much the process for the first couple of days, as my academic record is wrong, meaning that at the moment I can't access the computer system, register, get an ID card, look up journal articles etc. More than a bit limiting really! It did mean that I could go home early on Thursday and spend the rest of the day and all day Friday working from home. Not that a lot got done, mostly because I'd find an article, read the abstract, try to access the full version and end up frustrated. Rinse and repeat! It's still an issue, so I think there may be some stamping my foot - it's not like it should take that long to change 2011 to 2010 really.

I had a really good meeting with my supervisor on Thursday morning though, which definitely calmed my nerves in some respects and then daunted me in others! I think having a bit more focus on what I need to do has helped, because until we can speak with the company and get exact details of what they are wanting, there is a limit to what is practical for me to do. She also introduced me to a couple of people in the department, which was handy.

One of my OMG WTF moments happened during one of these introductions. It was meeting the head of the group I am working under and my supervisor just dropped into the conversation what I did for my MSc thesis - Glucose sensors in China. All fine. Then she added on that I was going to do a seminar on it. I think my face must have betrayed my inner, whaty what what thoughts, as she tagged on, "Once you've settled in, of course". It will all be OK, as I did a presentation plus questions as part of my MSc, but it was all a bit daunting. I then had to try and compose myself and hold an intellectual discussion about it all with this man.

Otherwise, there was a definite amount of considering how to plan my 42 months; including thinking about deadlines and things. Thankfully, my 5 month report is minor, and it will definitely be a case of cutting down on what I have put in there, rather than not having enough material. Given that it may well come when the first testing is happening and I'm trying to process results, that's a relief. Just before Easter, the plan is to go to a conference in London, get a feel for things in the field and then probably go to Munich in October for a European conference, where she hopes I'll be presenting my first poster. Now that was another intimidating moment. Least they are all lovely and supportive and want to help!

The weekend has been spent fairly gently. Curling up with cups of tea, enjoying books for pleasure and popping out to a local town to see what was there and have a cup of tea. Baking has also occurred, but I feel that deserves a separate post, for baking shall feature most definitely. Food is definitely something to enjoy and there is nothing like coming home to the smell of something delicious in the slow cooker and some sweet treat for afterwards.

So, here's to another week of things going relatively well, settling in and being a valid student. Hope that everyone else has had a successful start to the new year too.

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