Posted in Random Ideas!

Be an Eco-Warrior (and why it should matter to you!)

Recycle your waste, turn the tap off whilst brushing your teeth, switch lights off when you’re not in the room. So many of us are trained from an early age to save our planet, but our efforts stop there. No-one discusses the arguments and devastating consequences if we let our greenhouse emissions slip out of control, which has lead to doubt over whether Climate Change even exists.

Whatever your political stance, your values or lifestyles that you lead, it is all of our responsibility to look after the vulnerable of our world: delicate environments, endangered animals, people at risk.

I can’t stress it enough, Climate Change is a social issue, not simply environmental. Most would consider this a stupid statement. Reader – you are not most people, so I implore you to think about this.

Global Warming leads to ice caps melting and thermal expansion of our oceans (the water literally swells up when heated), and so the sea levels rise globally. This leads to more erosion along the coasts, more coastal flooding, and potentially towns and cities lost under the waves. You may think of how far inland you are, so of how little consequence this would be. However, hundreds of thousands to a billion people are at risk – cities such as Mumbai, Shanghai & New York City. They must move inland, and seen as though land from most countries will be lost to the waves, the space they can move into just got smaller. Think of how many islands where a metre of land lost means there is nowhere to move back, and you can begin to understand the severity of the situation.

But it’s not all woe yet. There is still time, and there are little achievable ways we can curb this future.

  1. Reduce our plastic use, support your government in any plastic schemes and dispose of bottles and bags considerately –  let’s not give the environment and wildlife more danger and risk.
  2. Meat-free Mondays – Rearing cattle and livestock consumes vast amounts of water, land and crops. Plus, they release large volumes of methane (four times worse than Carbon Dioxide). Think about how many fewer animals would need rearing and killing if we all went meat free for one day a week. Plus, there are so many health benefits too!
  3. Cut down your car journeys a slither. I’m not saying sell your car and cycle everywhere, but little things like avoiding rush hour if you can, try car sharing with your friends or a work colleague, or use the bus, train, tram or your legs for a change!

I’m really not suggesting to change your lifestyle dramatically, become a whole different person and never have a KFC again. What I am suggesting is that if everyone in the UK ate one less meat meal a year, had one less car journey, or just didn’t use a plastic straw for their drink – a population of 66,500,000 –  the difference would be massive!



Posted in Random Ideas!

“How do you do it?”

“What?” I ask.

“Four A-levels, a part time job, running the student union at college, as well as any other extra curricular you do”.

Friends, I still don’t really have the answer. To be quite truthful, I may never have it. However, maybe you might find out for me. I’ve tried to list some things I do, and some things I don’t do, in the hopes that maybe it might give you the answers you’ve been looking for and, for others, some ways to improve or maintain your current student lives.

  • I get my work done on time, if not in advanced. I try to mentally plan out the week ahead and block off time when I know I need to study. For example, I’ll block off some of Tuesday to complete Thursday’s homework, or revise for a test (to be held on Monday) on Saturday afternoon. Those couple of days gap may be a life saver if anything spontaneous happens!
  • I don’t watch a lot of TV. You name it, I probably don’t watch it: Friends, The Crown, Call the Midwife, X Factor, any soap you can name, the latest season of Brooklyn Nine Nine (though I do want to catch that up!). I’ll watch something in the evening, but I don’t have the dedication to be a major box set fan, and I can’t rewatch any episodes.
  • Speaking of evenings, I’m in bed for 10 o’clock most nights. I can’t understand how students who fall asleep at 1 or 2 am can even function the next day.
  • I try to attend yoga each week. I love it, and highly recommend starting a class if you find that you can’t relax, or your brain is always super busy and you’d like it to be a little clearer. Plus, you become a little more flexible and toned in the process!
  • I LOVE my job (teaching young people how to dance), so I’m always motivated to work. If you don’t feel motivated or enjoy what you do, chances are that you spend time recovering afterwards on your phone. Not only for your well being, but to save time afterwards, try to find a job where you don’t mind – or maybe even enjoy – working.
  • When it comes to studying, my desk is always ready to go. If it isn’t clear, you have to spend time finding space to work, and chances are you’re putting off the inevitable. If that’s the only clear space in your bedroom or home, then it’s worthwhile. That way, you can bring up a drink and school bag, dive right into your work, and get the job done – no fuss!
  • I think that’s my attitude to anything I do – I try to achieve it with minimal fuss. Less fuss = less time procrastinated = more time afterwards to enjoy something else (blogging, knitting, being a mermaid – all genuine pursuits!). Being a student isn’t about not having a social life and just dedicating your days to studying; finding a balance and staying healthy & happy is the true goal of being a student, which most people ignore or claim impossible (which it isn’t!)
  • Lastly, I listen to a lot of music. If you can concentrate, I’d recommend playing some background music whilst revising and homework-ing. Just because you’re studying, doesn’t mean you should live like a monk. Also, if you associate studying with boring isolation, you’re not going to feel motivated to study anymore.

However, I don’t do everything and there are things I struggle with, to name a few:

  1. I don’t read enough super-curricular stuff. So many wonderful physics books, too little time!
  2. I don’t have Snapchat. Maybe for fear of the time it will consume or how many streaks I’d break.
  3. I struggle to have a good argument or discussion with someone, especially about physics. Maybe because I don’t read enough super-curricular to feel I have something to contribute (back to point 1!). Or maybe because I feel insecure about making a mistake, causing people to judge me on knowledge that “I should know”.

I’m only human 🙂

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!






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.