Sunday, 27 May 2018

Review: April 2018

COLLEGE/STUDY: At this point college was mostly just study since study period started near the start of April. April was mostly just sitting in studying honestly. Before I got properly into study period, though, there was something to get past...

TRINITY MONDAY AND SCHOLS: Trinity Monday is the Monday directly after term ends and it's when new Scholars and Fellows (professors) are announced. I had done Schols back in January but didn't think I'd succeeded, so I didn't turn up to the announcement and just let Leon wake me up with the news...but it turned out I'd got it! It was a lovely wake up, Leon screaming ELLE YOU GOT IT YOU GOT SCHOLS!!! and then me hurrying in for the Scholars lunch and the other events of Trinity Monday, like playing marbles with the Fellows on the steps in Front Square, and the very very fancy dinner that night, as well as the swearing-in the next day. I got a nice gown also, though I had to rent it for an extortionate price. 

I still can't really believe I got Schols, I really wasn't expecting it even though I worked my ass off and everyone around me said I would. It's nice because I started Biology with the other Bio people having a year-long headstart on me (3 years if you count Leaving Cert Biology but who does apart from the Science Course Office) and I still ended up getting Schols. I'll be putting up a whole post on Schols in a bit but basically for non-Trinity people it's a set of really hard exams you take at Christmas of second year and if you get a first in them you get free accommodation for 5 years (with the last few on campus), a free three course meal every weekday for 5 years, a title after your name (so I'm Elle Loughran, Sch. now although I don't really know of many contexts where I can use that without seeming obnoxious, a nominal salary (like 200 euro because scholarship is from like 1592) and a couple of other things I think. There are some rumoured ones like being allowed to graze your sheep on campus or request a pint of beer during an exam or use the Trinity tunnels which aren't true, and I'm not sure about scholars being allowed to vote in Seanad elections before graduating.

ANYWAY. I got Schols! How strange is that! I'm a Scholar! Weird.

MODERATORSHIP CHOICE: For non-Trinity people: Moderatorship means specialism, so I came in doing General Science for two years and then had to pick my moderatorship i.e. what to specialise in from a range of things like Astrophysics, Geology, Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Zoology and more. 

I'd come in certain I was going to do Molecular Medicine, but then Aoife got me an exemption to do Genetics and essentially canvassed me to do it until I stopped being stubborn and realised I actually did like the sound of Genetics more. It helped that Molecular Medicine changed its course this year and didn't seem as attractive, and also that I'd realised I didn't actually like Microbiology and Immunology very much (I'd come in thinking I loved them), and that my favourite module had probably been Evolution which Genetics does a lot of. I wasn't sure because another very strong contender for favourite module was Metabolism, but that was from the study I did for Schols rather than from what was actually taught, and I don't think it actually stayed like that for Sophister necessarily, it seemed to become more about the actual proteins and other structures like membranes themselves rather than about the pathways. 

Genetics seemed interesting though I wasn't certain about it, and clearly had a brilliant and really non-hierarchical department with interesting and supportive staff as well as some cool modules. One thig that had very much been turning me off it was that I find molecular genetics (the biochemistry of DNA) boring, but I looked at it and realised Genetics only actually has 10 credits of that (apart from labs) in 3rd year which is the exact same as Molecular Medicine has. In general when I properly analysed it with a spreadsheet (ranking how much I'd likely enjoy each module from 1-5 and colour-coding the cells according to that, then adding them up) I found that Genetics definitely seemed like the better choice. 

If any Genetics or MolMed staff are reading this and disagree with the ratings, well, I just had to go off the information I have. 

I ended up choosing: 

  1. Genetics 
  2. Molecular Medicine 
  3. Biochemistry 
  4. Neuroscience  (I don't actually have the prerequisites for this or Micro so hope it doesn't get down this far!)
  5. Immunology 
  6. Microbiology 

1916 SCHOLARSHIP: At the start of April I was told I'd won the 1916 Scholarship, a new bursary offered by Trinity for students who are poor/have a disability/were in the TUSLA care system/Travellers and also do cool things in college or extracurricularly. The scholarship is 5000 per year so obviously I was thrilled since it'd be really helpful (this was before I heard about Schols). Unfortunately, when I was signing the form to accept the scholarship I saw in the terms & conditions that you can't have another scholarship and then was put through a long ordeal of checking if it was okay to have my Naughton Scholarship also (that condition was not mentioned anywhere in the initial application, and I don't see why it makes a difference since I was still under the income limit) until eventually they said it wasn't allowed and took the scholarship off me after an incredibly stressful week.

Damn dudes if you're going to target students with anxiety and traumatic childhoods would you not at least make sure to handle it properly instead of giving nasty surprises after telling someone they'd won it for definite and then taking it off them? It was really not handled well.

Luckily I then ended up getting Schols, but that could easily not have happened and it was quite the ordeal. Being strung along was pretty horrible also. And the fact that I could've just not told them about my other scholarship...Gotta be honest though. 

EXAMS: My first exam was at the end of April, and it was my most dreaded one: Chemistry. I'll have a post about the exams but basically it was not great and I'm just hoping to pass it. Quite miffed that I learned a whole bunch of Thermodynamics really well but everything I didn't learn came up. Kinetics and some of Inorganic Chemistry were nice though, and Organic was reasonable considering it's Organic. 

POSTAL VOTE: I registered for a postal vote around 23rd April, before the 28th April deadline, to make sure I could vote in the 8th amendment referendum. 

THE GETTING INTO BIOLOGY DEBACLE: Need to come up with a snappier word for that but anyway it's about last summer when admin wouldn't let me do Biology because they thought I'd fail since I didn't do first year Bio or LC Bio and I had to get the Students Union to argue my case (after convincing them too). After I got Schols in all Bio I emailed Alice, the education officer, to thank her for getting me into Bio and show that it had worked out (now hopefully I did decently in exams...).

CA MARKS: The continuous assessment marks (so marks for labs/assignments/projects) for most of my subjects came out (not Eco because that's just finished, and all are provisional). 

I got:
  • Cell Structure & Function: 95.3%
  • Metabolism (Biochem): 94.1%
  • Evolution: 79.3% (damn assignments wanting words rather than numbers dragging marks down)
  • Microbiology:  85%
  • Ecosystems: not out yet
  • Behaviour: 62.7% (this one I think there might be a mistake in as it's way lower than the others and I'd have to have got about 6% in the last assignment; that said, I did very frustratingly discover during exams that there was an assignment I didn't realise existed and thus didn't do, so it could be that)
  • Genetics: 85.4%
  • Immunology: 96%
  • Multivariable Calculus: 87.5% (I think)
  • Stats: not out yet

So there ya go. Not terrible overall. 

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