Posted in Random Ideas!

Bus Banter

So I’ve been a commuter for four weeks due to my Nuffield Placement (post to follow soon!) and it’s been really great. I recently attended a lecture where the professor’s advice was to travel by bus. Why? Because by travelling by bus, your mind has time to think and process stuff otherwise shoved to the back, therefore you’re more likely to have an “aha” moment ( also known as the light bulb moment or the Eureka moment), leading you to become a successful scientist. I can agree with his logic, but I’m yet to experience my own “aha” moment. Instead, I thought I’d share with you some bus “banter” that have made me smile on my bus journeys.

  • “Being Manc is hard work” – Liam Gallagher. I’m sure you’ve heard of this famous “snarling” Mancunian. This is great. When talking to Johnny Vaughan on Radio X about his Manc roots, he said this. And it makes me smile every time I read it!
  • So, I had a bit of a dilemma. I’m in my second week of my placement, and the novelty of sitting on the top deck isn’t lost on me yet. However, it does have it’s issues. For example, the fact that by the time my stop comes, all window seats are occupied (so one person is sat at each row of two). This isn’t an issue for me. You just have to sit next to a stranger – which is fine. It’s Tuesday. Nothing extraordinary, apart from the fact that I’ve accidentally sat next to the same teenage lad (my age) as yesterday. It’s ok – only minor awkwardness. It’s Wednesday. As I walk upstairs, I clock eyes with the SAME GUY and he recognises me. I’m faced with a dilemma. a) sit next to him and have a very awkward ride because neither of us know whether this is a funny coincidence or whether I’m a stalker. b) sit elsewhere, after we both know that I recognised him. Plus side: no awkward journey. Down side: I might potentially hurt his feelings and he’ll wonder whether there’s a reason why I moved away. What would you do? FYI – I sat next to him on the Wednesday, then never saw him again. Maybe it’s coincidence? Maybe I scared him off? Either way, it’s an amusing anecdote of the woes of public transport!
  • I needn’t say anything but that this is from a genuine conversation, and that I nearly cried laughing on the bus. Person A to Person B, ” You won’t cycle the Alps. Jason Bourne couldn’t do it, and he can kill a man with a pen!”

Have you any tales of ‘woe’ on public transport? What would you have done in my predicament? Any funny conversations overheard? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Random Ideas!, Revision & School

Summer Fun?

I joke, but summer isn’t just a time for fun in the sun. When you’re thinking of University, careers and other scary stuff, it’s important to remember summer is a golden time to boost those CVs/Personal Statements. I’m not suggesting work all summer – that is no fun. Maybe look into a couple and keep your eye out for applications opening for 2018. There is no harm trying!

 

Nuffield Placements – A fabulous way to experience life in research and industry. These placements are offered in STEM and some social sciences. Nuffield source you a placement, reimburse you for travel costs and give you the opportunity to make links with amazing people. I’m currently on my Physics Nuffield Placement now (more on that in future posts), and I can’t tell you enough what an amazing opportunity this is!

Summer Schools & Access Programmes – I know, its hard to think about the dreaded universities! But whilst you are researching future universities (I’d suggest doing a little digging in the summer after Year 11, but before College) take a look at what they are offering you now. It may be reduced grade boundaries after completing certain schemes, summer schools to sample Uni life, or scholarships. Doing your research will make your life easier later on, plus it could open doors to opportunities you may have missed!

Extra Stuff – The last thing you’ll probably want to do is do extra work on your break. However, choosing to study a little will boost your applications, and knowledge, and avoid loosing your ability to think over summer. (We’ve all been there!) Why not take a look at FutureLearn, a site that enables you to choose a short course of your choice and receive qualifications from a University or certified centre in the process. Or, take a look at free lectures, museums & galleries, or a scientific paper to advance your knowledge.

Let me know how you get on. I’m happy to answer any questions or give further advice – just let me know in the comments below!                  – The Clever Owl

Posted in Random Ideas!

Inspiring Humans – My Grandpa and The Older Generation

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

Ok, so bear with me on this one. It’s easy to forget how awesome the ‘Older’ generation are. That they haven’t always been old, slightly grumpy, a little forgetful and useless at technology! I’d like to use my Grandpa as an example (he won’t mind!), but no doubt it will be the same for your elder relatives and members of your family, even the old woman crossing your road or holding up the queue in the supermarket.

I realise I’m using the word ‘old’ a lot, but that’s what society tends to do – write a large proportion of the world off because they are getting on. And then we are shocked when they prove us wrong, reveal that they had quite an extraordinary life, or excel far beyond our ability.

I was stunned to silence when my Grandpa told me about the Patrician. I knew that he’d served in the Merchant Navy, but I’d never thought much beyond that. I’d never thought that his story went further than that.

He had been serving as Fourth Engineer on the ship, SS The Patrician, sailing on the Straits of Gibraltar. After over a year on the sea, he was on his second voyage on the Patrician when it hit an American ship (the Santa Emily). In the thick fog, he ended up in the water, attempting to swim towards the life boats and to safety.

When I asked him about that night, my Grandpa’s response was something that has stayed with me, and will do for some time. He asked me about my faith in a higher being. He said that his belief in a Superior Being was rooted firmly to that night. Because he felt the side of the ship with his foot and knew for certain that he would be pulled under with it to a watery grave. That he couldn’t outswim the suction from the ship.

He lost three birthday presents from his 21st birthday on the Patrician when she sank. Three officers lost their lives in the Straits of Gibraltar. Not only is this a story of how precious and short life is, but how the most unlikely of stories can be part of the most unlikely of characters. We keep saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”, but we are all guilty of it sometimes.

My Grandpa is an inspiring gentleman, who would make you (a stranger he’d never met) smile because that’s what he does. You would never know the life he’s lived as he crosses the road.

Posted in Random Ideas!, Space & All Things Science

Inspiring Humans – Piers Sellers

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

I’ll be honest – I only found out about Piers Seller after watching Leonardo Di Caprio’s documentary, Before The Flood, in a Geography lesson about Climate Change a couple of months ago. The documentary itself was good, apart from the carbon footprint Di Caprio clocked up shooting a documentary about reducing your carbon footprint to save the Earth!

Anyway, Piers was interviewed by Di Caprio about NASA’s stance on Global Warming. Watch the interview with Leonardo. Watch any of his talks. Because what Piers says is more powerful than anything I could write.

That particular interview rings emotional bells for me because a) I’m an environmentalist at heart and b) because I’m human. And any human can see the selflessness and beautiful kindness that is demonstrated by a dying man whose only wish is to save our dying planet. Despite the fact that he will never see the changed planet he’s fought so hard to save.

Piers died on 23rd December 2016 from Pancreatic Cancer. I think we all have a lot to learn from the veteran astronaut of three missions and six spacewalks who spent his final days fighting to save the world that we take for granted.

Posted in Random Ideas!

Inspiring Humans – Malala Yousafzai

We all have people we look up to, follow by example and live in awe of. I’d like to share a few famous faces (and some less so) who I am inspired by. I’d love to know who you’re inspired by – leave them in the comments below!

Malala is someone I’m not ashamed to be in utter awe of. On 9th October 2012, she was shot in the head by The Taliban on her way from school. All because she’s female, she has a passion for education for all and she was not silenced by the rule of The Taliban over her valley.

What makes her story even more incredible is that she survived a gun shot to the head. Not even a bullet could stop her from fighting the injustices of the world, and she is still fighting to this day.

I have her book – it’s certainly worth a read. I find her story so powerful because it is so relevant. Think about how many countries give their female population the right to education. Now compare that to how many don’t. Isn’t it scary that fewer countries give all their girls the chance to be educated, to earn the life that they would like to live. Because of war, a lack of wealth, culture & religion, or terrorist organisations.

Within the book, there is a verse that says

Farewell Music.Even your sweetest tunes must be kept silent

The Taliban on the edge of the village have stilled all lips.

The talk about education for all should not be stilled. If young girls like Malala can continue to fight whilst living at constant threat of being killed, then we can do the same.

 

Posted in Random Ideas!, Revision & School

Owl Online – Memrise

Language. I’m going to try to avoid starting the debate about the importance of learning languages. About the ability to communicate in a person’s mother tongue rather than assuming they can speak yours. It’s developing a respect for others and their culture. It’s also a wonderful skill to develop.

But rant over (sorry – I said I wasn’t going to!). Whether you’re learning a foreign language for business, to travel or because you have to (cue exam-related huff!), I have found an app to help!

I love Memrise. I’ll be honest; I found out about Memrise a couple of weeks before my french exam. However, I have continued my french studies past GCSE and I couldn’t think of a better way to learn a language. Whatever your reason, learning a language is SO HARD and there is a mountain of content that takes you a year to cover before you can say a sentence. No need. Everyone’s lives are far too busy to properly sit down and take on extra work. Instead, simply download the Memrise app and complete five minutes of new words, revision of old content, extra help when you’re stuck and speed reviews. Select the topic to learn or work through it all – you’ll cover the breadth of a language in no time!

I only have one complaint. For languages dependant on characters rather than letters – such as Japanese Kanji – Memrise isn’t brilliant. OK, you learn to identify the characters and what they stand for in English, but you don’t practice writing them yourself.

Overall, Memrise is great. It’s about investing your time early to improve your grade, widen your world and develop your character. Let me know what you think!

Posted in Random Ideas!, Revision & School

Stressed Out

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ! Sorry. It’s mock season and I’ve got too much work and too little time. It really is no wonder that at least 1 in 10 teenagers suffer from anxiety, mental health issues or depression – we are all under so much pressure. So – like I hope you do – I have turned to my stressed out play list to calm me down. Not got one? Maybe it’s time to make one to combat the stress and tension of everyday life. Here are my suggestions if you’re stuck for awesome stress-free music:

  • Tom Odell. Full Stop. Any of his music is beautiful and bound to chill you out.
  • Lianne La Havas – songs like Green & Gold and Unstoppable make you feel light.
  • The 1975 – Not all of their music is stress-relieving, but pretty songs like Paris and She Lays Down are just… well, pretty!
  • Elbow – I’m very much into my Indie, so I love Elbow. Not to mention they are from my home turf! Try ‘Magnificent (She Said)’ if you’d like to give them a listen!
  • Mumford & Sons. What can’t be solved without a banjo?!? My favourites include: Roll Away Your Stone, Lover of the light & Below my Feet.

I hope you are all well and aren’t too stressed. I’d love to know what you listen to to relax! Love, The Clever Owl