Sunday, 22 February 2015

Continuing the Project: First Meeting

I really should’ve posted this yesterday, but I was busy, and you’ll see why in tomorrow’s post. Anyway, Friday marked a much-anticipated day where I had a meeting with a PhD researcher called AJ. We met while I was on work experience at AMBER and clicked when it turned out he’d gone to CTYI. He’s really cool.

I told him a bit about my project at the time, and later emailed him for advice on a few things. Then, after the 2015 Exhibition, I emailed him asking could we meet to discuss development of the project and he enthusiastically said yes which was lovely.

We planned to meet up in the Science Gallery (which would’ve been so deja-vu, I’m not conjugating that right, but I met Nina there as well), but on the day AJ emailed and asked could we make it to the hospital where he works. Some harried phone calls later (because MOR was in Meath for Anna) I took the train to Pearse (made a mindmap of things to talk about at the meeting on the train), got there at 2.08, then waited for MOR to arrive. 

She came at around ten to three which was very worrying because the meeting was supposed to be at 3 p.m., but the (female!) taxi driver was fast and we got there only a couple of minutes late. I rang AJ on the way to let him know, having asked for his mobile number earlier that day. Preparation!

When we (with difficulty) found the part of the hospital we were going to, AJ met us at the reception and shook hands. He was really friendly, which was reassuring, and brought us down to a seminar room with the same chairs as there are in the school music room.

I plugged in my dead laptop, and MOR started talking about the unfair judging. Eventually I said let’s just focus on the future and started talking myself. AJ was impressed, and asked challenging questions. Some of them were difficult because (a) it’s been a while since the Exhibition and (b) my brain fogged over. I could actually feel it happening – he’d start to ask a question, and before he even said it I could feel the mental block. But I think I did okay, and it was a successful meeting: he said he’d talk to his supervisor about letting me continue my research there, although I’ll have to make my graphene somewhere else. He said I should make a poster to brighten up the abstract, and that he’d send me some examples on Monday. I have to email him my report book too.

We laid out a rough timetable/plan, which showed a great proactivity on his part, then he invited me to speak at a national biomedical conference in April. That sounds daunting, but if I can replicate some of the results I didn’t have time to before Christmas, I’ll certainly consider it. I mean, obviously I’m very honoured to get the opportunity – I just don’t want to disappoint.

So yeah, a really great meeting, and he walked us back to reception. Then MOR and I got a taxi back to Ashtown and had a meal (I had chips and a tropical smoothie. The chips were served in something similar to a sundae glass with fake newspaper, something I’d never seen before, so that was interesting. MOR had a scone and a drink.)

Then we went to MOR’s car and talked a lot on the way home about school. She’s a really great educator, it’s awesome. We also talked about Anna’s project. MOR drove me to my house, going above and beyond as always.

I felt so relieved when the day was done and had gone so well, and knew I had a fun Saturday to look forward to. I think that’s a great balance for a weekend: stressful/productive Friday, fun Saturday, relaxing Sunday. 

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