Sunday, 27 May 2018

Review: March 2018

COLLEGE: By this point in the semester I was doing two new modules, Ecosystems & Global Change and Infection & Immunity, and continuing with Stats. Infection & Immunity was the module I decided to switch into Biology to do but I actually ended up not liking Immunology or stuff about antibiotics at all really, and I was pretty sick of Microbiology. I did however like the last week of Infection & Immunity, which was about genetics.

I actually found Eco quite interesting, even though the first half was heavily plant-based; before I'd only seen plants taught via 'here's their anatomy here's how they reproduce' whereas now it was all just ''here are the challenges plants face in this environment (biome) and here are the strategies they have evolved to get around it' so it was a lot more logical. We did it biome by biome, including desert, chaparral, tropical rainforest and other types of tropical forest, temperate forest, boreal forest, tundra and peatlands, and finished with a lecture on climate change. The second half of the course was marine ecology, which I didn't find quite as interesting as it was more like geography with bits on how lakes and estuaries form rather than a pure adaptations-based approach, but still not bad. 

I was also continuing Stats, which sadly had not lived up to its promise and involved a lot of derivations on the board and homework assignments involving things that had been too long or tricky to do on the board during the lecture, which is surely the opposite of how it should be. I did like Markov chains when we did them, though, and the little bit we had on algorithms wasn't bad. 

STUDY: I was properly doing my study/extra reading at this point, following this Excel spreadsheet (yellow means I completed it and the date is when it was done; it broke down right before exams but I was still doing a lot of the stuff, just on a different schedule and somewhat differently) and writing notes/learning each book chapter or doing Maths problems.

JOB HUNT: I knew I'd be working with Aoife doing research at this point so I was just applying for funding. During March I applied for the Laidlaw Scholarship which is a research funding and leadership programme over two years.

MODERATORSHIP CHOICES: Moderatorship choices were due on the 13th of April so March held many moderatorships holding information sessions to convince us to sign up for them. The Molecular Medicine one held by the School of Biochemistry and Immunology was good, and the students there spoke highly of it; unfortunately, so did the Genetics one (although none of their students were there because they'd all been given the afternoon off to go protest in Take Back Trinity!). Aoife also set me up with a Genetics student and we talked about the workload and lots of other things.

The actual decision was in April so I'll leave that discussion for the April Review.

TAKE BACK TRINITY: Speaking of TBT, that was a big protest students held in response to the Provost announcing that supplemental exam fees were increasing from nothing to 450 euro. The protests were amazing. There were some online ones, like students mass-one-starring Trinity's tourist attractions (which it relies on), and then it got physical, with students blockading the Book of Kells and then starting an occupation of the Dining Hall. Trinity reacted to that very badly from a PR perspective and apparently told students that if they left the Dining Hall they wouldn't be allowed in, refused them access to bathrooms and wouldn't let people drop food in, and said if they moved to certain areas in the building armed guards would come. In support, other students then occupied Front Arch and the Exam Hall. There's probably more to it that I'm forgetting but anyway it was great, I'm so proud of all the protestors, and they won! The Provost eventually dropped the fees entirely. They were also fighting for other demands like fee confidence for international students who were having their fees raised year on year during their degree. 

CHEMISTRY BROAD CURRICULUM: I talked about this in the February post but technically the final and me receiving glues as a reward (???) happened in March.

LEON'S BIRTHDAY & SNOW: Leon turned 21! And there was snow! So we went out frolicking in it for a while, which was really nice.


Netsoc, Trinity's Internet Society, had its AGM and I ran for Events Officer and got it! I was quite nervous but after I made my speech one of the two people running against me dropped out saying something like 'OK I'm convinced' so that was a nice confidence boost. Here's a picture of the new committee with our Easter Eggs. Also, Leon got Auditor! (which is Trinity's word for Chairperson). 


Physoc also had its AGM and I was outgoing Secretary so I gave my lil speech about what you need to do and also generally heckled. One nicely dramatic moment was when there was a tie for I think Treasurer (which we knew because our auditor ran in and snatched the constitution off me) and then suddenly I discovered that I was still holding my vote, it hadn't been collected. So I knew I was the deciding vote. 

I hadn't actually intended to run for committee again but I ended up getting Honorary Contrarian which is just a position voted on by the outgoing committee to keep someone on outgoing committee on to heckle and/or generally help out.


In March, I read The Way of Kings part 1 by Brandon Sanderson (which was brilliant, even though I usually don't like fantasy) after much campaigning by Leon, The Philadelphia Chromosome by Jessica Wapner, which is about the chromosomal abnormality that usually causes Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and the process of developing Gleevec to treat it as well as cancer genetics more generally (though much less technical than I would've preferred), and Pandora's DNA by Lizzie Stark, which is about living with BRCA mutations and having a familial history of breast cancer and the decision of whether or not to get a preventative double mastectomy (sadly didn't have much genetics and was mostly just her talking about her personal experiences, which wasn't really what I signed up for; even in the parts I expected to be interesting, like about the company trying to patent the BRCA gene, she didn't have access to any major players in it so it just didn't seem super professional or like she was best placed to write it). 

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