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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending April 27, 2012

April 30, 2012


“This week I began studying for my finals. Without classes and daily homework, there has been more time to study and prepare for the end of the term. One major project was due today that ended the work on one class. Now I have to prepare for three of my classes then it is time for me to return home. For my three classes, I have a 2000 word paper and 2 finals.

I am worried about the two finals since they count for the entire grade of the class. With constant studying in the library and reviewing notes over and over again, I shall do fine. Life is pretty chill. Soon the semester will be completely over. Ive been stuck in my room studying or sleeping. Nothing much goes on each day. Thursday, my friend and I did go to the movies to see the new release of the Avengers. It was a great movie and everyone should see it.

As for research, I have been working on the same experiment. We have been progressing through and will be analyzing the fluorescence pretty soon. I also have been collecting information to write my final report when I return. There really is not much going on each week. It may seem monotonous but u sort of like it. I do not have to keep track of a tight schedule anymore.

Well that’s all folks”



“During the first few weeks of my time here, I did almost the opposite of what students typically do when they first arrive to their study abroad destination: very little sightseeing! Up until this week, I hadn’t stepped foot near Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge and the like. Even though I certainly had not planned for things to go this way, they did. So, to make up for it, I set aside time for massive amounts of sightseeing. Until my exams are finished, I plan to hibernate, more or less, so I have to take advantage of the short amount of time I have left here.

In all, I visited 14 tourist areas, or places in the city, in two days. Some of them include St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the Wimbledon Tennis Club. Overall, my favorites were the cathedral, the Britain at War Experience and Wimbledon. However, St. Paul’s is truly my favorite “tourist site” in London and I could literally rave about it for hours, so I’ll do my best to keep it short. Prior to this week, I had visited St. Paul’s Cathedral a number of times—from the outside. If you look up to the top of the cathedral, it looks as if everything in the city revolves around its dome. It’s quite impressive, even from the outside. However, I cannot even begin to find the words to describe what the inside of the cathedral looks and feels like. This experience was especially breathtaking being a Christian as well. When you purchase tickets for a tour, you are also able to walk up the steps, which reach the very top of the Cathedral. I climbed 500 narrow steps to get to the top and it is hard to describe the feeling once you get to the top! Being at the top of St. Paul’s was the highlight of the visit for sure. It is certainly a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.

On another note, Westminster Abbey, to my surprise, while being one of the most iconic places in London, was not very impressive in comparison. I found St. Paul’s to be much, much better! This truly surprised me. I felt that the Abbey was much too cluttered. The Abbey is a burial site for prominent people over 100s of years, but in reality, it almost takes away from the beauty of the site itself. After returning I even read an online article written in 1933 expressing similar sentiments. There is no doubt that it is a beautiful site, but again, I much prefer the cathedral! For those wanting to visit both the Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, I would say pay for the tour at St. Paul’s and attend a service at both St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey.

The other ventures were mostly tourist attractions as well, but I do have to mention we went for dessert at a restaurant, which is supposed to have the best cheesecake in London. (For £8 one would hope it would be!). Thankfully, the dessert lived up to the reviews and ended the night on a great note. The restaurant is called Jak’s and is located in a great part of London I will have to visit more often. The area is one that, essentially, personifies London.

London is filled with people behaving the way you would hope people would behave. And this area was no different. Everyone is dressed well, but not showy, polite, but not a pushover. Of course, no city is perfect, so you have your fair share of people who, simply put, do not behave. But overall, many Londoners seem to also have it together and I think this can be attributed to their approach toward life. At first, I was baffled by how most people I met were untroubled about the things going on in their lives. I must clarify though, I don’t believe they are ignoring their responsibilities or “floating”, people just seem to have a “matter of fact” attitude about things. An attitude that says, this is what I have to work with and I’m going to accept it and address it “head on”. This is one thing that compels me to return. I admire this very much and it is certainly refreshing after being bombarded by feelings of depression and stress so very prevalent in America. Looking at things from an economical standpoint, this may be due to the fact that the economy in the UK is considerably more promising than the states. This is mostly due to the popularity and prominence of London—not to mention the fact that the Olympics and Wimbledon Championship events being held here will bring in a considerable amount of money this year (I think considerable may be an understatement!). Even still, I think these are ideals embedded in the culture rather than spurred by economical superiority.

In regards to my research, my paper is mostly done at this point. I only have a few days left to complete it, so it is time to make every second count. I think it will turn out okay overall, but I do not think I will have time to typeset the paper. I have downloaded LaTex for mac, but I have not mastered it at this stage so I think it may be too late. Looking forward to next week!”

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