So, the end of another month approaches and the clock is ticking on my PhD. It is still very early days; nearly 4 months in – blimey. My PhD is obviously the largest thing going on in my life at the moment. I’m pleased to say it’s planning out fairly well (at least I think so :-S).
I have some great opportunities lining up. Namely that our proposal for Palomar, California has been secured and we have been allocated observing time for a couple of nights then. This should prove a great experience, not only academically, but a great life experience too. I have never been outside of Europe which may be of a great surprise to many, but family circumstance etc has made this difficult. I can’t wait for the adventures my PhD has to offer over these three years. Travelling is not the main reason why I’m doing my PhD. I love the subject of astronomy. It’s been my passion for many, many years. I have a great fascination for the Universe. Being given the chance to use these great facilities, such as the 200 inch Hale Telescope is something I could only have dreamt of doing from such a young age. I cannot thank my supervisor enough for this great opportunity. I feel very privileged. I know there is much hard work I have to do in these coming months for preparation. These opportunities are quite rare.
I’m so far working through an old dataset collected as part of a programme I will have a large collaboration with as part of my PhD, SEPPCON (Survey of Ensemble Physical Properties of Cometary Nuclei). I shall soon be moving onto another dataset before I perform photometry. There is much work to do between now and then, but I hope to present something at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow in April. With the visit to Palomar at the end of March/beginning of April, that sure is going to be a particularly busy month or so. It might seem as though I’m moaning about the work, but I’m really enjoying it. I really can’t wait to get proper results. This work should go towards my first paper, so quite exciting.
Home is good. Everything seems to be working out really well, despite us all being introduced to one another as complete strangers. The sad thing is that I will need to find another place to live soon. Our contract ends at the end of June, and what with student accommodation turnover I need to consider where I want to live soon. I don’t want to leave it too late. I’m considering Woolf College, but in my mind that is the ‘easy’ option. The easy option isn’t always the best option from my experience. I’d sooner live on my own full stop, settle in a place I can wholly call my own with no worries to have to move for whatever reason and I can have things more how I want them. Of course, naturally, with house-sharing you can’t have things the way you might want entirely. By sharing with other people you do give up that right. I’ve been used to it over these years; it’s not a problem or anything, but it’s simply my feeling that I’m fed up of the hassle of moving. I miss having certain things that I sacrifice to leave at home.. such as my telescopes and my keyboard. I can’t complain. I guess I feel more “at home” in my current house than I’ve felt since the start of my university career, ‘moving away’ in a sense from my hometown of Skegness.
Of course, not everything has been okily ‘dokily‘ – it’s been part of that feeling of school days rearing it’s ugly head I have largely left behind me. Throughout life I’ve learnt there are always people who you simply cannot communicate with; that being due to a number of reasons. Don’t worry, I shan’t bore you with the ins and outs. It’s also the selfishness of some people that perhaps I shouldn’t let get to me so much sometimes, but God darn it… if we are to make an appointment, don’t cancel on me at the last minute for some abysmal excuse. I don’t wish to concern myself over these people, so I won’t.
I’m focusing on the people who matter most in my life. The people who are willing to listen to me when I’m down, and not only use me to rant to and ignore thereafter. Naturally, I have been trying to settle down in Canterbury and meet new people here, but perhaps I should really have thought more about those people who do really matter to me right here and now, rather than depressing myself sometimes over certain social ‘inadequacies’ here. My main focus is my PhD – that’s why I’m here. I’ve just felt let down by representation for postgraduates with very few events held last term to meet those of a similar mentality in a different subject area. My colleagues are great guys, just one thing I’ve always been told about a PhD is that it can be socially isolating – you just need to make the effort. I feel I have made that effort, but that certain representations for postgraduates haven’t helped. That seems to be improving now, anyhoo. 🙂
I want to try to catch up with my old Leicester buddies over the coming months. I miss you guys! Most people are so spread out around the country now, but many do remain in ‘The Shire’. I saw my good friend Karen this week, after her graduation last Friday xx. She came from The States for what is now a rare visit. We visited Britain’s Oldest Brewer in Faversham, about 10 miles away from Canterbury, as well as Canterbury Cathedral and a Roman Bath. There was little time to do anything else. A great shame! I hope to host many more friends – you are very welcome to visit and my door is open (within limits, of course! 😉 ).
I’m looking forward to a few things in the coming weeks… I cannot wait. Next weekend is the European Astrofest held in London. I have tickets to see Dr. Brian May (ex-Queen guitarist and astronomer) and Sir. Patrick Moore (once again :D). I have decided to go visit the Science Museum afterwards to see an exhibit I have been meaning to see for months but have not really got around to it since it’s opening in July; the exhibit of ‘Cosmos and Culture’. The following weekend I shall be attending a Northern lights flight. I’m sure I will have much to talk about. I plan to visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich at some point in the coming weeks, especially as an old friend presents in the planetarium. Aside those astronomical ventures I hope to book tickets for comedy nights here; perhaps Chr
is Addison and/or Stewart Francis. I await notification with regards to ‘booking’ for tickets for Mock The Week. I don’t mean to sound all egotistical or anything, but the point really is that I actually feel as though I am settling in these parts.
Anyways, I shall end it there now. I feel as though I am descending somewhat into a rant. Best wishes to all my friends and those important people in my life in various parts of the UK and the world.