It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster year, to be honest. I remember several Sunday evenings, crying in frustration because I could not get my head around my Python coding homework. Now, while I can’t just write it off the cuff, I have enough knowledge to know where to look to get started, and can carry on from there. Plus I’ve played around with some other coding packages as well, so I’m not phased by it anymore.
I really, really struggled with the exams I had to do. I simply couldn’t retain enough knowledge in my memory to be able to trot it out in a couple of exams. I put hours and hours of work and effort into one piece of coursework and, while I ‘passed’ in as much as I didn’t have to do it all again, I only scraped through by four marks. Because I’d spent so much time on that, I under-prepared for another piece of work that had to be completed under timed conditions, and I cried over that as well.
At the end of it, though, I made my MSc with exactly 60 marks, enough to earn a merit. And that’s bloody brilliant. I feel as if I’ve gone from zero to 100% at lightning speed, and perhaps I have.
I’ve lived happily in my boat-cave all year too. I had a proper bed built for me, dug up part of my landlord’s lawn and made a small allotment (with their permission of course) and got my hot compost bin working properly.
I’ve effectively become a vegeterian. Over a year’s worth of veggie recipe boxes delivered every week by Riverford Organics have given me a really good collection of recipes, and I’m now just ordering a straightforward veg box. I feel incredibly healthy, although at the same time I’ve been going through ‘that’ phase. My personal thermostat has been all over the place, I’ve had difficulty sleeping, and the aches and pains seem to have set in. I’ve also put on at about a stone in weight in spite of the increased exercise walking to Uni and back. It can’t be the gin.
In the middle of December, I went to China via Hong Kong for a few days, with five other students, some academics (including my main supervisor) and Wendy Hall (Google her if you haven’t read my previous blogs), to attend a winter school and represent the university. It was easily one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed myself, or laughed so much, for ages. The work was very useful, the country interesting, Hong Kong amazing.
And finally, to complete the year, it seems I am no longer living alone. My partner found a job here in August and moved in. Actually, he’s gone through three jobs in six months. His fourth starts in a few days, and it’s at the University. Yes, we’ll be able to walk in together! This will be give me the incentive I need to settle down to a proper routine of study, which I most definitely need. It’s been lovely having him with me at last. I was at the point where I’d started feeling lonely. I’ve lived alone for several years now and, while I’ve enjoyed the independence it’s given me, it’s charms had started to fade. I’m looking forward to sharing my life with someone else for a change.
So, as I write this on the first day of 2016, things are looking good. I’m doing things I love, in an environment that few can better, with my gorgeous dog and the loveliest of men. I have two top supervisors, and two-and-a-half years of funded study ahead of me. Things don’t get much better. This will do.