Friday, 30 October 2015

October Review

Hey guys! This month was pretty quiet (by gut feeling), not as fun as September or July but still pretty cool. 

Thursday 1st

My friend Chloe turned 18 and I made this bangin' collage. We celebrated later. 

Friday 2nd to Wednesday 14th

I spent a lot of time working on my personal statement and UCAS application - very frustrating. The deadline was the 15th and my guidance counsellor helped sign off on it on time, then there was more application stuff to do and, now that I think of it, I have yet more forms to send off to reach England before the 5th of November. 

Saturday 3rd

Spent a lovely day in town with friends. 

Friday 9th

I attended the launch of the 2016 Youth Media Awards as a past category winner (I'm so thankful for the iPad they gave me). I blogged about that so you can find it by scrolling down. It was a good event with nice food and interesting people, missed double Physics though which is unfortunate. 

This is me and another winner with presenter Miriam O Callaghan. 

Maybe there'll be a day where my hair works out, but it won't be soon. 

Saturday 10th

I hung out with Daniel in the morning, having slept over the night before, then went to DCU for the first day of the CTYI-Intel engineering course. Gabi was doing it too, which was awesome. We studied Newton's laws and basic mechanics the first week. 

That day I learned where Tara Street Station is in relation to O Connell Bridge, information which has proved very useful. Gabi and I wanted to go to Girls Hack IE but couldn't actually find its physical location so didn't. 

Sunday 11th

Nothing exciting happened, but I took an amazing photo of my brother, I love it. 

Tuesday 13th

Again, just family stuff - my sister and I getting acquainted with our baby cousin. 

Thursday 15th

I applied to three different universities in the UK for five courses: Natural Sciences, Chemical Physics, Physics with a Year Abroad, Chemistry, Physics. Really strange decision to make - very adult. 

That evening we had the school's open night. I've blogged about that, so scroll down the blog to find out more. It was fun. 

Saturday 17th

Second day of the Engineering course - we studied aerospace engineering including various plane wing designs and rocket troubleshooting. It was a bit strange since Gabi couldn't make it. 

I got lost in the area for an hour afterwards, so could only meet up with Ben for about fifteen minutes then. Good to see him anyway. 

Monday 19th - Tuesday 20th

Had big Chemistry and Physics tests that went infuriatingly badly, and a Maths test that went alright. We stayed an extra hour after school for maths to plan out our revision. 

Wednesday 21st

Cian's birthday. I think this picture is actually from September or August but it's great so I'm posting it. 

Friday 23rd

We celebrated Elayna's 18th (the following day) in school. A few people brought cake and sweets and made it really nice for her. 

That evening, I got the bus to Dublin in preparation for my trip to London the next day. 

Saturday 24th

The day of my long-awaited London trip for a meeting of the CREST Youth Panel of the British Science Association. I've already blogged about the meeting and will soon blog about my other experiences in London, so look out for that. It was a really cool day and I honestly - at risk of sounding melodramatic - felt like I'd grown up overnight. Knowing I could go to a different country and navigate London on my own gave me confidence. It was wonderful getting to see Floriane and Imogen at the meeting and Sobelema (Outbox) and Jason (CTYI) afterwards. 

When I got back to Ireland at 23:30 that night, Chloe's parents were wonderful and picked me up at the airport.

Saturday 24th - Monday 26th

Stayed with Chloe, had a great time. Particularly enjoyed going for a walk in the dark through a field filled with brambles (not even sarcastic - we had some awesome conversations). Went to see Mam complete the DublIn Marathon on Monday and meet Sonia O Sullivan. Alice found me in the crowd and we hung out with Mam at Starbucks for a while. Very impressive achievement!

Monday 26th - Wednesday 28th

Sleepovers at Alice's. Had a lot of fun - stayed up late watching comedians on YouTube, jammed on ukulele, went out for lunch, went Halloween shopping and went to the library to study. Alice is lovely and, in case she hasn't heard it enough already, an incredible artist and musician. 

Oh, and adorable. 

Friday 30th 

Went to an amazing sleepover/Halloween party at Daniel's with Chloe, John Joe and Joe and had a fabulous time. We watched Zombieland and played Never Have I Ever very tamely, then went to sleep at four. It was great fun. 

Saturday 31st (Halloween)

I went with everyone to the big Halloween reunion from Daniel's from 1 - 6.30, then stayed at Ben's and had a chill Halloween night. Some photos: 

Daniel and I on the DART to the reunion. 

Gabi went as Cinderella and I as Gabi's fairy (witch?) godmother. 

Mai and Daniel being adorable. 

Ellen looking amazing. I think she looks like a queen from Irish mythology. 

Me with PJ and Jack, who I haven't seen in about 5000 years because they live across the country. 

It was really great getting to spend some solid time with Ben - we got takeaway and just talked a lot, until just after midnight when the month ended. Here's Ben sounding very adult on the phone to the restaurant:

Academics and college application stuff were frustrating and not fun this month, but I think the social side compensated for it because that was awesome. 

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

British Science Association Youth Panel October Meeting

Hey guys! This is my first blog post written on a computer in a long time because Alice has kindly allowed me to use hers, so shoutout to Alice. I'm going to describe my one-day trip to London in another post, along with what I learned about London and meeting up with some hella cool people. 

The Youth Panel is a part of the British Science Association with around 25 young people with CREST awards aged between thirteen and nineteen. We act as a liaison between the BSA and young people and as ambassadors for various things, including - for some of us - the Wellcome Trust's national Crunch initiative, which educates people about the relationship between our food, our health and the safety of our environment. We'll be meeting a few times a year to discuss and debate things, and also attend events like the Big Bang Fair and British Science Festival. 

So I went over to London on the 24th of October to attend our first official meeting of the 2015/16 year and had a great time. Because it was my first time navigating London on my own and only my second time there ever, I got lost and was late for the meeting, but eventually I got in and it was alright.

Met Floriane from Outbox!

When I arrived, we were in the middle of a session from Debating Matters, who teach people how to debate and give out information packs on various topics. We debated whether space exploration is a waste of money and time, whether animal testing is ever justified and some other topics I missed. To finish that session we gave them loads of ideas for future debates they could hold with other groups. 

Met Imogen from Outbox!

I was really surprised and delighted when I noticed that here there were rarely any lulls; people had their hand up ready to talk all the time, so no one became that person who constantly asks questions or makes points. I've gone to plenty of events for high-achieving teenagers, but I'd never experienced this to such an extent. It was wonderful that everyone was so engaged. 

We then had lunch and I got talking to lots of interesting people. It's kinda unfortunate that whenever I leave the country any conversation I have with people I meet inevitably turns to the differences between that country and Ireland and that country's history with Ireland, especially if I'm with English people. It's quite problematic. Anyway, these people were really cool and had awesome stories and perspectives. I've met so many new people this year with the most amazing experiences, it's brilliant.

After lunch, we did a session with someone from Telefonica where we were told to think of a problem in the world and figure out a way to alleviate or fix it with a budget of £300 (fun fact: I spent one day in London and I still keep saying "pounds" instead of "euro"). My group chose poverty because of course we couldn't choose an easier target, and were quite alarmed when we were told the budget. So we focused on urban poverty in the UK among old people and proposed using solar panels so they wouldn't have to pay electricity bills - one girl in the group had done her CREST award project on solar panels so she knew the details and how cheap they are. Installation would probably be a bigger problem and limit the reach of the £300, but still. Our presentation was the best even though it was pulled together in a panic in about thirty seconds, and the guy from 02 Think Big/Telefonica said it would inspire him to go out and buy solar panels right then. Ta.

To close out the day, we did a live webinar with Nora Maddock from the Wellcome Trust about their Crunch initiative, where we commented on and provided reactions to and suggestions for the schools programme. It was a really interesting and constructive discussion and Nora is really great. I need to email Nora to follow up on something, actually, but I've lost her email so hopefully the project organiser will send it to me soon. The Crunch initiative is looking for ambassadors so I'm hoping to get involved with that soon, although my location (not in the UK) might be an issue since it's a UK initiative. We shall see. Nora left us cool magazines and a little book from the Wellcome trust.

After the day ended, I met up with Jason from CTYI and Sobelema from Outbox, but I'll describe that in the next post. 

Really interesting day, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to visit London - and work on my navigational skills!

Liebster Tag

I've been nominated for the Liebster tag by Harry McCann of 

1. How would you describe yourself using only three words?

Nerdy, earnest, independent 

2. If I gave you $1,000,000 for 24 hours only, what would you do?

I'm not going to go Ciara's route, so my model for this is that the money goes away after 24 hours, but the stuff I've bought with it doesn't, because it's more fun that way. 

I'd pay off the mortgage, pay my college tuition and maybe tuition for some friends, buy half the books from Waterstones Drogheda and get a personal library, buy a ton of plane tickets to visit people, save about three thousand for various school things (I now realise that time is the biggest issue with this question), pay my family back for various things (I heard once that raising a kid to 18 costs about €160,000), have some cool experiences like bringing friends to Gravity or spade camp or some random island, and then ... Charity, I guess, except I wouldn't know which to choose and it doesn't mean much without that. I'd quite like to do an overhaul of academia - I really like the whole 'gentleman scientist' idea. I really don't know what to do with that much money. Buy three million Freddo caramels?

3. What's your favourite TV series?

I don't watch TV (soz). 

4. iOS or Android? Why?

The only device I have at the moment is an iPad so my hands are tied, but I'd choose Apple anyway because their devices are just so usable and enjoyable. I had an Android tablet once and I found the UI pretty clunky and ugly. Also, Apple emojis win by a mile. 

5. Supposed, supposen, the old man got frozen, how many men got frozen?

One. Duh. 

6. What is your favourite colour?

Deep blue or deep reed. I'm just that deep, man. 

7. What drink do you order in Starbucks?

I've never been to Starbucks. A Starbucks did appear in my town this year though. 

8. Favourite word? 

Jeez, that's difficult. I tend to like slender (caol) words (I just noticed that the word caol is actually very leathan) - words with lots of Es, Is and Ls and few Ms and Ns. For some reason I really dislike 'dite' as in 'erudite', I think it sounds harsh. Off the top of my head, I like lily, equivalent, cliste (Irish) and more. 

9. Favourite book?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O Neill. I was supposed to get a review copy of her latest but it seems to have gotten lost on the way to my house, tragically. I also love Ender's Game, Harry Potter, Skulduggery Pleasant and Artemis Fowl.

10. How many hours old are you?

I'm on a plane so I can't google this, and I don't want to work it out manually. It can wait. Forever. 

11. Favourite food?


My questions for my nominees: 

How do you take your tea, if you drink tea?
What are your favourite names?
How do you feel about flying?
Why did you start blogging?
What is/was your favourite subject in school?
What's your favourite means of transport?
Do you agree with Irish being compulsory in schools?
If you could live in any time period, past, present or future, which would it be?
What do you think of the Irish exam system?
Do you believe in gender quotas?
What's your favourite animal?

Got kinda heavy there, sorry about that. 

My Leibniz nominees are Christine Costello, Edel Browne, Aoife, Gabi I can't link to yall because of the Blogger app being near-featureless, but go ahead and do it anyway. 

Rules are that you complete the tag and nominate three other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. I'm nominating four because some have already been nominated but haven't completed the tag. 

Done 10:28

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

School Open Night 2015

Okay, I know I said that last year's open night was my final open night in school, and it was supposed to be, but our school broke the two-year pattern this year and had an extra open night, so of course I went. This year, I was involved in choir, chess and the Young Scientist room. 

Our school always puts on an amazing show for Open Night. There were three shows by the orchestra, choir, ukulele orchestra and TY play in the assembly hall, the principal speaking in the library,  a decorated room for each subject and each extra-curricular activity plus rooms for things like TY and Guidance Counselling. They also had candles lighting up the driveway this year, which I thought was a really nice touch. There were games and puzzles for the incoming first years to do too, tours from older students around the school and facepainting by Laura and Caoimhe. The Home Ec room always has great food that I never get a chance to try, and they do demonstrations in the various science labs. 

Tends to leave one feeling quite proud of their school (this effect was strongest in me last year). 

I found this year's open night relatively relaxing, and I wasn't as exhausted as I usually am afterwards - well, until the next morning, when I had to get up early for school and basically sleepwalked through that day. 

I spent the time running between the assembly hall and the chess room, which are on opposite sides of the school, and occasionally popping into the Young Scientist room. It was cool bumping into past pupil Orlagh Gaynor, whom I haven't seen in ages due to her being in college. 

After the last  show (which for me involved sitting still while the orchestra played two pieces, singing A Thousand Years by Christina Perri with the choir and then leaving quickly to let the ukulele girls on) I snuck in the bag and watched the excerpt from the play. It was good, the lead actress has amazing stage presence. The main thing is that they filmed a video with Evanna Lynch in it. Evanna, who played Luna in HP, went to my school, and I can't believe no one told me she visited recently. Bah humbug.


Monday, 19 October 2015 Youth Media Awards Launch 2016

Friday 9thI left school early to attend the launch of the Media Awards, where I won this iPad last year for winning my age category in the newspaper section. 

The event was on in the Department of Education and attended by the organisers, some past winners including me, some people from the HSE and the Ana Liffey Drug Trust, parents, probably politicians, and Miriam O Callaghan (TV presenter). 

(I arrived late so I had to sneak in at the back). 

We listened to speeches explaining the inspiration behind the competition and heard some past winners explain how they created their entries, then watched some of he winning videos. That was pretty fun. Then I was called over for photos with Miriam and then with the other winners (which I have not yet received), then we went and got food from the buffet and socialised. I'm a big fan of the spring rolls and sausage rolls they had at the awards in April. I had an interesting chat with someone from the HSE about drug policy. 

It was over a lot sooner than expected. 

The competition has just opened for entries and will close in late January (it closed in March last year), so definitely consider entering. I learned a lot and won this wonderful ipad, and if you do really well you could even win €2000. 

Apr├Ęs ca, it was time for a sleepover at Daniel's in prep for Intel Emgineering the next day. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

September 2015 Review

September was a pretty relaxed but very enjoyable month, with good news but not too much stress. Yay! It was the first month in a long time where there was nothing going on that I'd waited for for a long time, so I really just went with the flow. 

This month I started sixth year (okay technically that was the 31st of August, hush). It's actually been very doable, and definitely not a shock to the system like fifth year was. It's tiring, but the homework is manageable and I'm enjoying being back in Physics, Chemistry and Maths classes. Also, I'm actually enjoying History this year! Probably because we're staying far away from land and doing the Rising and War of Independence, which are horrific but fascinating. I have A1s in Physics, Chemistry and Maths, A2 in Irish, B1s in French and History and B2 in English. So they could do with some pushing up, but I'm happy. This month I went to a school meeting about UCAS applications and started considering applying to Oxbridge. 

On the 8th, I was announced as an Emerging Technologies global youth leader, in the nanotech sector. Check out for more on that. I think they actually told me privately the day before, though. I love when they do that, it's so courteous. On the weekend of the 12th, I studied a ton and was super proud. By the way, I've started a study log on that I find really useful for tracking my progress. On the 14th, I was invited to launch the Media Awards 2016 in October, where I won this ipad for winning my category last year. 

They always use this one photo. 

On the 17th, I went with my school to Higher Options in the RDS. That was pretty interesting. I collected a lot of prospectuses, attended the Oxbridge talk and met up with some friends. 

The following day, the 18th, a couple of girls from my Physics class went to a series of lectures on light in Queens University Belfast. It was a really great event, beautiful university and enthusiastic lecturers. Made me decide to put Queens on my UCAS application. 

On Saturday the 19th, there was a really fun reunion. I got to meet a lot of new people and hang out for ages. 

I visited St. James' on Monday 21st (hello, stressful train mishaps), then on Tuesday 22nd had school Careers Talks where representatives from different universities and ITs including DCU, UCD, DIT and DKIT told us about their institutions. I also really enjoyed the talk on stress by a psychologist and Emily's talk. Emily is a past pupil of my school who told us about college life and Queens University. Very useful. Then on the 23rd half of my year went to a convent for our last ever school retreat. It was quite nice. 

Also on the 23rd, I found out that Gabi and I had been accepted for the Intel Engineering course, which will take place from October to December on Saturdays. I spent most school lunchtimes in the last week or so of September helping the younger kids enter their Young Scientist projects. 

On Friday 25th, Gabi, Chloe and I went to European Research Night in the Science Gallery, which was enjoyable. I then slept over at Chloe's and briefly went to a reunion the next day before getting my train home at half one. 

I spent a lot of time in school practising in choir (we're doing Christmas carols with the trad group and dancers, so it takes a lot of coordination) and played three chess games for the intraschool tournament. I'm happy because I won two and drew one (drew against my sister). 

Then on the last day of September, I learned that I'd been appointed to the CREST Youth Panel of the British Science Association, so I'll be travelling over to London quite a bit this year for meetings. That's  also great because I can see some English friends. 

So that's about it. Grand old month :)

Thursday, 1 October 2015

European Research Night @ Science Gallery

Last Friday evening, Gabi, Chloe and I went to the Science Gallery for European Research Night. We stayed a few hours and had a great time, so thanks to Laura for inviting me. 

We saw stands on cryptology, the psychological effect of censorship, 3D printing, robotics, microbiology, nano medicine (holla) and more. The exhibitors, particularly at the microbiology and 3D printer stands, were really interesting and friendly, and it was really nice to see Adriele and some others I know from research stuff. Here's a cool tshirt one of the microbiology guys had. The lighting isn't  great, but it was funny at the time. 

As well as seeing all the cool science stuff and admiring the Science Gallery's expensive but quirky and unique sciencey trinkets, we had some really interesting discussions. Here's Chloe on the stairs:

We went to an interesting stand with researchers who investigated how much they could find out about you by trawling your social media (with software. When you do it manually it's just called stalking). I didn't really care if social media companies were selling my information, but one of the guys did give an interesting hypothetical: what if you complain about tiredness online and check in near a hospital, and facebook them sells that information to an insurance company and they raise your premium? My position does remain that insurance companies are the problem in that situation though. 

We looked a bit dodge in the weird lighting, but Dublin looked lovely. 

On the way out, we paid tribute to the darkest meme of all: pop culture.

We dropped Gabi off, then Chloe and I walked back to her bus stop and had a really nice, chill sleepover. Well done to everyone who put the night together.

Unrelated: I recently got appointed to the Youth Panel of the British Science Association, so I'll be travelling to London quite a bit. Exciting, nay?