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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending February 17, 2012

February 20, 2012

Kamille:

This week was amazing! Of course it was valentine’s day and I was fortunate to share my day with my boyfriend. Unlike Spelman there was not a lot of excitement about the day of “love”. It was a regular school day to everyone. Of course that did not stop my happiness in the beginning. As the day progressed however things start going wrong. Somehow my lab experiment went wrong again for my chemistry class and I became ill towards the end of the night.

Well let me refresh from last weekend. Last Saturday, there was a HUGE thrift store sale. The premise of the sale was to pay either £10 or £20 and stuff as many items as you can into the bag you pay for. It was great!! The commotion and lack of heat did put a damper on the scavenger hunt for clothes. But luckily, I walked away with a boat load of sweaters and dresses. My friends came out with some nice finds as well. Besides the thrift shop, I was able to catch up on some school work before the week started.

During the week, I received a gift from my aunt in the mail. Say Surprise!! It was a hat to match the scarf she made for me. I love it and it keeps my ears and neck warm when it gets cold in London. Towards the end of the week, the routine of going to class and doing work became redundant. I needed a serious break but really could not enjoy one because I needed to stay on top of my class work.

Friday was the best day of the entire week! I finally received my valentine’s day gift from my boyfriend and my refund from Spelman. Both were greatly appreciated and needed. It brightened my mood for the weekend. With that money, I am now able to plan mini trips to other countries as well as feed myself like I should. Also the gift really warmed my heart and was a reassurance in how my relationship is going.

Surprisingly, it is getting warmer in London. Towards the end of the week, the high temperature was around 50*F. Pretty warm for February in my opinion. But the change in weather was refreshing from the bitter cold. I was able to wear less layers during the day.

As for research, we are done synthesizing the monomer for the experiment. Now we are characterizing or confirming the structure of the monomer by running various tests to show proof. This process is rather tedious and boring at times but is necessary for publications factors. While helping with the characterization, my post doc leader explained how to understand the results of the tests and how to become very accurate when using certain machines.

Overall, the week was great and now I cant wait to go on a day trip to Oxford.

Shekiaya:

This week seemed to fly by much faster than the others. During the weekend, I spent most of my time preparing for a quiz in Microeconomics and completing my research assignment. And before I knew it, it was Wednesday night and I had an internship application to complete among other things. Needless to say, I didn’t get out much this week.

While I was in one night, a few students in my dorm knocked on the flat door and asked if anyone wanted to go to a party they were having in China Town for London Fashion Week. I missed them when they came in initially, so I left my room to find them and ask for details. I already purchased my Vodafone London Fashion Weekend ticket, so I was excited to hear that some other people in the dorm were interested in going as well. I told them I could not go that night, but to keep in contact with me for next week when I would be available. They were really sweet and agreed to catch up with me next weekend. So I suppose I have reached my goal of being more “social”. It has become somewhat of a chore because I have been trying to stay on top of my studies and traveling details for break so things have been very hectic.

On another note, my research meeting was astronomically long this week. We usually only meet for about an hour and I do independent research until our next meeting. However, this week, our meeting lasted for about five hours. As I noted before, a large portion of my project is being done in C++. This is my first encounter with linked lists and recursion, so it took quite a while to completely understand what was supposed to happen, mathematically, when I ran the program as well as understanding how to construct the linked list and the layers associated with recursion. I still have to take a few days to make sure I truly understand the concepts. After all, my presentation is in about a month! It definitely flew by. So I’m trying to make sure I have everything in order to prove to myself I am capable, present a good representation of Spelman, and of women in science in general! So it is a lot to handle. But I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

I’m not sure whether or not I have mentioned this previously, but next week is reading week. Reading week is similar to reading period before finals except it is an entire week. The only downside is that midterm exams are allowed during reading week. So I have my first exam this Friday in one of my most difficult courses. I was also just recently informed that the exam would only be 40 minutes long with 3 to 4 questions each with 2 to 3 sub-questions. So, this will be quite different from what I’m used to. In order to help, they provide mid-term exams from the past and an answer key, so I will be using those to help me study. I will also use the fact that I will be participating in the shopping event for London Fashion Weekend after my exam. It will be my reward for working so hard J.  The week after I will be attending the Olympic swimming event! So I’m excited for that.

After being here a while I’ve realized what truly makes me happy, excited, calm or frustrated more than I realized being back in the states, so I’m excited that I have had this time to not only experience a new culture, but to learn about myself as well. Looking forward to whatever else London has to offer me in the short amount of time I have left here!

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