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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending February 24, 2012

February 27, 2012

Kamille:

This week was rather chill. Classes were cancelled due to reading week so I had a lot of time relaxing and catching up on work. It was a great week to lead into the final month of school. School has really gone by so fast here in London. But I am enjoying every moment of this adventure.

Well last weekend, me and my friend Simone took a trip to Oxford with our study abroad program. Oxford is one of the two college towns in England (Cambridge is the other). Oxford is such a nice area. It is very beautiful with the gothic architecture and intricate buildings. If I could stay for another semester, I would attend a college in Oxford. Oxford is not far away from London either. It takes an hour and a half to get between the two cities. I would love to go back to Oxford before I leave Europe.

This week the weather has became warmer. The temperature was in the 50s and upper 40s, which is rather warm for February. I was able to run and check out the local park right next to the campus. It is rather beautiful and peaceful even during the weekends. The wildlife and the foliage makes a great place for a person to sit and think about life.

Besides working on school assignments, I had the opportunity to go to a local club and see the artist Lloyd. It was a rather interesting adventure! Going to clubs in London is very different than the social life in Atlanta. The music is more pop and techno and some old school r and b songs. There are a lot of flashing lights and fog machines too. Well to start off, when going to a club here you do not have to arrive early to wait in line for admittance. When they say that the doors open at 10pm, literally the line does not begin until 10pm. Also dancing is rather odd here. They like to dance in groups with friends of the same sex more than with the opposite sex. No close body contact which is not a bad feeling  in my opinion.

As for my school work, I spent a good portion of my reading week going to various historical sites to gather information for my paper due in a month. It was a nice adventure which help me explore London a little more. London is a very diverse city and one can always find a new place to see.

In Research news, I had my first week of working completely alone. I set up and synthesized a component of the monomer. It took 3 long hours of adding small amounts of a solution to another. The reaction ran smoothly but takes a long time to complete. Afterwards, I began the purification step of the component. It takes a long time to purify a sample depending on how many by products are in the solution. This week was very promising and I feel proud of myself for completing the task at hand.

In other news, I finally used my international health insurance. It is such a daunting process to use in my opinion. Since I am in London under 6 months, I do not qualify for free healthcare. So to see a doctor I have to pay out of pocket. Luckily the student health clinic is rather cheap compared to paying for a visit in America. Also the doctor was able to diagnose the problem I was experiencing. Sadly, it cost me £40 for 10 minutes to find out that it has to heal on it’s own. Not the news that I wanted to here. Well I am glad I at least know what’s wrong.

Shekiaya:

This week was truly filled with surprises. I believe this week takes the award for being the most exciting and unforgettable week since I’ve been here. As I stated last week, this past week was reading week. Reading week is meant for students to take the time to make sure they are up to speed with their studies. While I did use reading week for that purpose, I also made it a priority to allow myself some down time as well. Because this time really allowed me to focus on things that usually take a backseat to my academics, I truly wish we had a reading week at Spelman. I was able to check myself academically during this time, but I also had time to check myself emotionally, and physically. This usually isn’t as important back home, but being in a new country, you’re more than likely to have a lot more issues than you had back home. So I am grateful for the time to sort things out. I am also grateful for having more time to work out! Even though the reading week concept is great, I had my first midterm exam this past Friday.

After taking the exam, which was only 40 minutes long, it is hard to say how well I will perform in the course (Differential and Integral Analysis). I think by the time the exam rolled around I was about 80% prepared for the exam. The only thing that could have helped when studying is probably having more midterm exams to practice from. Overall though, I don’t anticipate receiving terrible marks. The midterm exam is worth 10% of my total grade, so hopefully it will be just enough to help my marks rather than harm them. Either way, I am optimistic about the outcome of my course marks. This includes my research course, even though research is becoming more time consuming as the presentation date approaches.

This was generally a positive week for my academics, but a rather dodgy one for transportation. I went to the mall this week, which is only one stop away, and on the way back I decided to take the bus rather than the tube for different “scenery”. The only problem was that I got on the wrong bus! Apparently, there are three 25 buses and only one goes in the direction I needed to go. I eventually made it back, but it cost me a pretty penny and I had to take the rail. After the London Fashion Weekend event, tube service to mile end was suspended, so again, I had to take the rail. This time, however, I made sure to ask someone for help! So this was a learning lesson for me: when in doubt, ask questions!

Regardless of my tango with transportation, I had an amazing time at the London Fashion Week event at Somerset House. I purchased tickets a while back and was unsure of what to expect, but it was easily the best time I’ve had since I’ve been here. There was music, food, cameras, freebies, and most importantly, a lot of clothes! It was even somewhat overwhelming. I wish I had known before to look up all of the designers I wanted to see that day. But either way, I took pictures for two competitions. One was for Veet to win a bag, and the other with Canon to win a free camera. I really had a great time. Words cannot begin to express my excitement from this event! It was so great that I would even fly back here just to go. It’s very unique and worth every penny.

After the event, we went to find a place to eat, but couldn’t find the restaurant. So, we ended up at McDonald’s for dinner. While this was not ideal after an amazing day out at the Somerset House, while eating, we spoke to some locals about America. They noticed our “accents” and asked where we were from. That’s generally the kind of thing that happens when you’re out and about in London. I think it is so great that Londoners have a generally friendly spirit when it comes to tourists like me. I have such a great experience.

After trying to explain some American slang terms, we left and both went our separate ways home that night. This week, I plan to complete a few crucial projects for my research and take time today to plan vacation and prepare for the week. My 25 bus incident made it so that I didn’t get home until late on Friday, so this week I will make it a point to take the right form of transportation in order to get my reflection in on time! Looking forward to another amazing week in London!

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