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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending April 20, 2012

April 23, 2012


“This week was a rather relaxing one. After working last Thursday and Friday, me and my friend took our final trip to Spain and Portugal for four days. I know that from my last post I just got back from Paris and Italy. We did not think that planning these trips back to back would tire out the body so easily. We ultimately had to end our last trip which would be next week to Amsterdam and Belgium. Overall, it was a very relaxing time in Barcelona and Lisbon. It was warm compared to London, which was a great change in weather. We spent time walking around looking at famous sites and was able to go to the beach and sun bathe. O how relaxing! We returned on Wednesday, My 21st BDAY!!! It was a dreary, wet day when we returned to London. Honestly the day did not feel any special than any other day. But I was happy to share my birthday with my friends when I returned to London. We had dinner at a local thai restaurant which was heaven because I was craving asian food for awhile. Afterwards we came back and just had a small gathering in the flat. I feel that my birthday did not feel any different than any other day is because in London I am legal to do whatever a 21 years old can do in America. At the age of 18, we are allowed to buy alcohol and gamble, two things that are not important to me. I can say I received much love from my family and friends which ultimately led to my happiness for the day.

For work, it was also a rather chill day. We are still working on the synthesis of the functional monomer. Since the reactions are usually an overnight time frame, there is not much that can be done. Once the reaction is set up, I spend my time preparing for other work that needs to be done as well as working on final assignments for my classes. I cannot believe that I only have three more weeks of work until I return home. I also cannot believe that I will have to say goodbye to this interesting place called London. I am happy that I was able to have this experience. Besides that everything is winding down as I prepare for my finals. Not much is going on besides studying, writing papers, and working in the lab.

Chao for now!!”


“The highlight of this week was most certainly the Spelman London event hosted by Dr. Ganz and alumna Ms. Jerri Devard from Nokia. Getting there was a bit of an issue thanks to Google Maps, but I managed to get there on time. When I arrived, I met Mirella, who is originally from London and did an exchange at Spelman last semester and Deborah, who is also from London and completed her entire undergrad degree at Spelman. They were both very sweet and welcoming, which sort of set the tone of the event for me. This was the very first Spelman College event in London, so no one really knew what to expect, but I think it went as well as any first event could go. There were h’ors deurves, desserts and wine (this is London) laid out beautifully and even now, as I write this, I wish I had taken pictures. (We did manage to take a group photo at the end, though, as we were walking out of the building). After waiting for everyone to arrive, we introduced ourselves and essentially got on to sharing our experiences in London, what brought us here and what brought us to Spelman. The space for the event was only reserved for about an hour, so most of the girls and I shared contact information. I really enjoyed the event and I am very much looking forward to spending more time with everyone when we meet up again to watch commencement on the 20th.

Revision week is next week, and I only have one revision lecture to attend. My other courses did not have a lecture scheduled for this week. After attending the one I did have, however, I wish the other courses did have a revision lecture. I received a lot of great information, which I am certain without it I would have struggled to study effectively. For the modules without revision lectures, there are scheduled office hours for students to attend, so I will most likely take advantage of those as an alternative. It is hard to accept that this term is coming to an end. Even still, I think after my exams I will be completely wiped out and ready to return home.

Speaking of wiped out, traveling basically absorbed most energy or fervor I had left for traveling. However, there are a few lessons I learned from traveling that made it worthwhile. The most important is if you are traveling to more than one country, which you probably will while living Europe, it would be in your best interest to travel to one country, wait a few days, then travel to another, and so on. I think that was one of my biggest mistakes traveling. With all the sightseeing, walking, awe-factors, etc. it is difficult to come back from all of that and be productive or even functional. A benefit to doing this is if you are flying, you won’t have to worry about having enough space to pack because you’ll only be gone for about two days. I think in total, my trip, traveling to two countries (one city per country), lasted about 6 days and 5 nights. For me, that means a lot of clothes! So when we flew, I had to check one of the bags I brought with me, which cost about £20 total (there and back). This is just one of many lessons I learned after my “Eurotrip”.

After returning from traveling, naturally, my paper was my main concern. Overall, the project is quite stressful. I am, essentially, nowhere near being finished with only about two weeks left to go. However, I can say that at this moment, the thing that has made the biggest difference is communication with my mentor. The topic for my project was not something I was familiar with previously, so it was nearly impossible to develop a deep understanding of the topic. I think my mentor was aware of this and considered this when deciding when to show me the right direction to take to find an answer or to just simply state the answer and have me investigate a follow-up question.  I may not be able to say this with confidence now, but I do think that by the end of the project I will be glad I had the experience and will surely see the benefit going forward.”

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