Tag Archives: Education

Today: The let down

6 Jul

I say let down, not because I have let people around me down, but I have let myself down. Or at least that’s what it feels like.

I have been sticking well to the eating part of my diet, cutting down and having things on moderation has meant that I’m used to not eating much now, and its only a week and a half in.

Exercise is another matter unfortunately. As soon as I get home from work its like I just need to stop. Which means I dont do anything but housework or maybe popping to the shops for dinner. Which makes me feel quite disappointed with myself, because I was doing so well with my running, and I’ve only been out once since we moved in and it was so demoralising that I just don’t want to go again.

I also miss science, I really miss being in an environment where I learn new things everyday, or when I put my knowledge into practice.

Charlie and I have been planning starting a new website, aimed at gcse revision that uses current news stories to relate to topics. I get really excited and motivated to do it when I’m at work, but then I get home and I just want to crash out!!!

The blog site is set up, its just not live and has no content as of yet. I need to motivate myself to do about an hour a day when I get home, of the website that is, then half an hour of exercise in the home. Maybe I should get a workout dvd, or a kinect for the xbox.

Thing is, It’s all well and good me saying this when I am at work, its carrying it on when I’m home. That’s also a reason I haven’t blogged on here much!! Maybe I should get a star chart or something…

Has anybody else suffered through this type of lacking motivation? It just seems the more goals I miss the less motivated I become.

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Today: What I Have Learnt…

28 Mar

… From my Physics Degree.

Here is a list of 10 things that need to be known if you will pass a physics degree…

  1. Vectors, dot products and cross products. You can’t have a force without direction! Well you can, you’re just not going to get anywhere.
  2. The universe of homogeneous and isotropic. Forget this and you WILL FAIL anything for do with cosmology
  3. Integration. Mathematical tool, if in doubt, integrate the dam thing between zero and infinity then blag your results.
  4. Errors, Everything has errors, if you’re unsure on an answer say “within statistical error” and you should get away with anything else
  5. Units, the pain of everyones lives. Forget the units and you lose the marks. Unless it’s natural units, which equal 1….
  6. Everything is a spherical body made up of an infinite number of spherical shells… Now you can model EVERYTHING.
  7. light = particles = waves. No-one really knows why, to be honest not alot of people care. just accept this fact and move on…
  8. Conservation laws, If in doubt, do the following: Conservation of energy, then conservation of momentum (linear and perpendicular… VECTORS PEOPLE), Cons of Angular momentum, inertia, charge, mass… use which ever ones apply. This list is not exhaustive.
  9. Stirling’s approximation. Apply it everywhere. when you eventually know what it is…
  10. The most important thing of all. No matter what level you are at, what you are being taught, it’s all WRONG. There is always a better theory ‘just around the corner’.

However the Gravitational waves people have been saying that they are ‘just around the corner from discovering a grav wave’ for the past 6 or 7 years…. Bad example…

Today: A Day in the Life….

18 Feb

I have recently been filming a UCAS ‘Day in the Life’ video as a student here at Cardiff University….

Although I sound like a 12 year old girl and look hungover in pretty much all of the frames, the comedy music makes it sound like an awesome time!

There was so much more i could have said, but i guess i’ll have to wait for my Oscar performance another time!

The video is here on one of my Professors blog’s, and on you-tube so have fun watching!

Today: Expensive to Educate

26 Oct

I have just returned from an emergency meeting set by my students union, as a comittee member and society executive, i am constitutionally required to attend, so i potted along to have a listen to what Cardiff Students Union plans to do in spite of all the cuts that Higher Education is to face in the next few years.

I was expecting to listen to inspirational speeches about how the union will survive in these hard times, and how we’ll all have to tighten our belts – much the resolve of the UK population to date, but i was surprised as to what i read on the agenda, and heard from the floor.

Now without going into all the nitty gritty of the proposals, i’ll sum it up for everyone:

Cardiff University Students Union WILL be fighting aginst the rise in tuition fees, and the cuts to higher education

We heard many points from the floor, the risk of how the UK will become a heirachy system based on cost -and not education (comparable to the system implemented in the USA), how the union is going to put the points of view of their members across (lobying, protests, student council discussions, vice chancellor addresses) among other defying and quite impressive tasks.

One point that was brought up from the floor, was in support of the fee rises. Now everyone is entitled to their opinion so i’m going to say mine now: What he said was elitest, wrong and just plain ignorant.

How anybody can suggest that allowing universities to set the grade of their own tuition fees, and then comparing this fact to how ‘good’ their degrees are? Rubbish.

As was also pointed out, in comparison to the American universities, a Harvard education is just as good as any other education. Except because you have to fork out about $40k a year for your education there, it minimises the people applying, minimises the numbers and hence people seem to have 1 on 1 conversations with their lecturers – That’s all well and good, but surely someone who gets the same grade in a class of 200 as one in a class of 20 should be considered first?

Allowing universities to set themselves above the rest by having the higher fees is plain ridiculous. It won’t make them any better, and it sure won’t attract the students to join them.

A motion was rejected (well an ammendment within a motion) to say that we, as a student union, reject all fees, and campaign for zero tuition fees, and that we, as students should be paid to come to university (the latter, another point brought up by the floor) – Then general public already see us students as living off the system, if we start shouting for zero fees, surely we’ll be looking like spoilts brats? I’m willing to pay SOME fees, the university has to survive after all.

i’m against these rises because it will throw a huge amount of the coming generation into debt, causing them to save more, causing shops to not sell alot (see where i’m going with this?), causing a nother dip of a recession.

There is a compromise here. I’m sure of it. The government SHOULD and WILL hear the students voices, saying they’ll raise the fees and we can pay back after uni is all well and good when you’re on £250k a year (Mr Prime minister), and when they had state funded education at a high level – yes they had to pay upfront an amount of money, but nothing on the scale that I as a graduate next year will have to start paying off.

There is a protest march on November 10th for all students to protest against the rise in tuition fees.

We aren’t wanting to live off the state, we are trying to make a life for us to beable to NOT live off it. Please support our cause.

Today: The Education of Science.

10 Sep

Sitting at second tea break, normally i am there dead on time. Leaving before the mass of academics converge on the tea room, indulging in in depth conversations. Usually involving Cricket, Where they have been on holiday and Golf.

Today however i was late due to reasons beyond my control (I lie. i just forgot the time) so i was surrounded by these people, all alot cleverer than i could every really be, all having about 4 conversations at once.

One conversation caught my attention however, one being held between 2 professors all about the correlation between A-level results and degree outcomes.

I’m always a little defensive when it comes to A-level’s, having not done very well (CDD) I had to do a preliminary year to guarentee myself a position at Cardiff University, doing alot better than what i had acheived in my A-levels.

However they turned not on the students in this case, but on the teaching standards that you receive. I was relieved and intrigued to hear what they were saying about how teachers make things seem too easy for the pupils. Effectively enabling them to fail when they don’t put effort in (for those of us lacking that genius gene), or denying those who are super genius’ from the challenge they deserve.

It took me back to ALL of my A-levels and how they were taught.

I went to Waingels Copse School in Woodley, Reading (Now called Waingels College…), for A-level i did Physics, Maths and Chemistry. Pretty much the hardest lot you could do, I was only ever really good and had fun in my science classes so it was an easy choice for me going into year 12 (where i also took Geography… I am still not sure why).

At the end of year 12, I had an E in physics, 2 marks INTO an E,  and D’s in everything else. I chose to drop Geography, and re-sat my As Physics and A-level Physice all in 1 year, bumping my final grade up to a C. The problem my school hit with this? My head teacher didn’t want to grant my head of physics permission to hire another physics teacher (there were 2 dedicated and one complete idiot who admitted that he hated teaching Physics). So he left… Half way through my final year. Causing my favourite Physics teacher Mr Jon Clarke to have to cover The department heads classes, and teach an A-level class. Needless to say the A2 class had dropped a lesson a week, and the As had the same. Leaving me 2 lessons down, and wanting to study Physics at Uni. Panic E-mail to the admission tutor cleared that issue up. Thankfully.

Next Issue came when January results came out. The people who took double maths (top set GCSE sat the full A-level in a year after doing their GCSE a year early) pretty much failed and dropped down into my class. So my class went from having 5 people in, to 25. It became a revision lecture for them, and i failed to get taught pretty much anything, no matter how much i asked, how much i complained to the teacher. It was not the students who dropped down to my classes fault, but my teacher for failing those of use who needed to be taught in the first place.

Chemistry was a bundle of laughs. Nothing went really wrong, just nothing went really right either. The teachers made us  try and see chemistry as an easy thing. So apart from my full marks in my practical examination, I learnt nothing.

It’s good to see that the lecturers see that A-level results are a result of teaching practices and not a students bone idle-ness when it comes to university. I tried very hard at my A-levels. In the end my hard work has paid off and i am currently averaging a 2:1, I have been taught well!

On a side note: If anybody reading this knows Mr Jon Clarke, or at least where he is, I would really like toget back in contact with him, as thankfully he has left Waingels and moved on. I want to thank him for keeping everything real. Being honest with me about my results, and to show him how far i have come. I did Physics and Astronomy because of his inspiration, I think shaking his hand is necessary.