Tag Archives: Conservation Biology

Open Day

31 Aug

I haven’t visited my blog in over a week…..suffering withdrawals :O

I took a bit of time after my last post to sort out my thoughts as I surprised even myself a little. But I have to say it was extremely refreshing and nice to be so completely honest. I think often we feel as though, even if we aren’t totally honest with those around us, we are at least honest with ourselves. And in most cases I’m sure this is true, but I definitely think we can all be very good at lying, or at least omitting the truth, from ourselves on occasion!

Anyways, enough of the introspectiveness for today and onto much lighter topics 😀

It was the Open Day at my ‘Holy Grail’ university on Sunday. There are many open days currently running at the moments at Universities all over Victoria as it’s coming to close crunch time for Year 12s with regards to finalising their course preferences. During these open days Universities will run course information talks and campus tours, you can meet the staff and the visit the student information desks, and there is usually some form of entertainment, plenty of food and all the university societies come out to show their wares.

For anyone considering further studies, it’s an extremely valuable tool, and I am embarrassed to say that years ago when I attended the Open Day for the University of Edinburgh, where I completed my first degree, I spent most of the day discovering the bars in the student union, having taken a day trip with friends from school!!! (probably why I ended up studying Mental Philosophy….well that and the fact that the department head looked like Bill Pullman, who I had quite the crush on at the time 😉 )

This time round, I was the proverbial sponge and went fully equipped with a notepad (where I had already made notes of the timings of the information talks I wished to hear and tours I wanted to go on), a pen and a thousand questions 😀

Now, as you know, my first choice of course is located at this University, but though the course looked great on paper (or on the website!), you can never really tell what a course might be like in terms of the facilities, the staff and the general gut feeling you get from actually visiting a faculty and hearing it from the horse’s mouth so to speak.

I am extremely happy to report that my visit only increased my desire ten-fold. 😀

The School of Life and Environmental Science is housed in an almost new building with state of the art facilities that seemed to emanate learning, but though that impressed me and filled me with confidence, it was the smaller things about the place that most appealed to me. There were many photos on the walls of the past/current students out in the field, looking weather-beaten but very happy, on research projects and such like. It was the camaraderie in these photos that really stood out, between not only the students ( of all ages 😉 ) but between the staff as well.  There were also lots of stories up about work the department is currently involved in, both in the conservation and the research arena. It all thrilled me, and I hadn’t even been to the course information talks yet.

Needless to say, these talks and the subsequent discussions with the lecturers and admissions staff were extremely informative and exciting. The Wildlife and Conservation Biology course just sounds just about perfect, as I was pretty sure it would, and the way the staff run their department is right up my alley. They have an open door policy in the department  and one of their main aims is for a tight knit learning community therefore they actively encourage students to be in constant communication with their lecturers which obviously would provide an extremely supportive environment. The University of Edinburgh was an amazing university to be at, but I wouldn’t say that the professors in the Philosophy department were just what you would call ‘approachable’!

When talking to the Course Coordinator about my return to study, he was very supportive and said that I certainly would not feel out of place as the course is full of people from all walks of life, and, for all you mature-age students out there, he told me that they currently have a 70 year old women who started the course at the beginning of the year! Talk about inspirational, I wouldn’t mind spending some time with that particular women in the future!!! 😀

So, all in all, it was a highly successful day and though it may be a battle to get there, it’s a battle worth fighting 😀

Fact No 8: Bats always turn left when exiting a cave

Holy Grail

22 Aug

Well, after a looooooooong moving weekend, we are finally into our new house!

Of course, at this stage, it’s boxes everywhere, every surface covered with stuff we didn’t even know that we had (and surely wouldn’t have moved if we had seen it at the old place!) and yet-to-be  constructed pieces of furniture awaiting construction lying all over the place. In a word, total pandemonium :\

Even though this was my 19th move, I had forgotten, yet again, how exhausting the whole thing is! For the first time ever we actually employed the services of a moving company, who were fabulous, and I really thought that would cut out some of the stress. But, as amazing and astonishingly quick as they were, I was wrong about the stress! How is it that whenever you move house, it feels like your belongings have grown, mated and had babies since you moved in?? The house we have moved to is bigger than our old place, yet it feels like all of our possessions are only just going to fit!

The one thing I did learn from past moves , and this would be my advice to anyone in the same position, was to fiercely protect the kettle through-out the move to ensure that some well-meaning soul did not accidentally pack it and therefore we were/are always able to have that restorative and frankly required cup of tea which makes everything seem manageable 😀

However, enough with the rant, we are in, and I am delighted to report that I think we are going to be very happy in this new home. Here’s hoping that this will be the last of the moving now for quite some time, for various reasons. We now have ducted heating (a central heating system for those outside of Australia) so no more frantic freezing dashes to the shower in the morning, a dishwasher (thank the lord) and a garden suitable for many, many veggies patches and hopefully even a couple of chickens, which fills me with joy as sustainable gardening has slowly become a real passion of mine over the past couple of years. A blooming passion you might say 😉

We also (almost) have a view of the Dandenong Ranges, one of my all-time favourite places in the entire world. If fact, on walking to the tram early this morning (it’s a much earlier start in the new house), the sun was just rising behind Mount Dandenong causing that beautiful pink halo effect. Such an amazing sight, it made me smile 😀

But, the most important thing about our new home is its place as the base for our new beginning, this next chapter of our lives. With Bob’s career in Industrial Design just beginning to take off and my  proposed new start at University in early 2012, it’s a very exciting time for us, and for me, this house seems to encapsulate that.

Furthermore, as well as being much closer to Bob’s work thus cutting out the daylight thievery of our local road tolls, just around the corner stands the University that houses my ideal course: Bachelor of Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) (as well as many other relevant and exciting courses) 😀

Now, I have placed 12 different applications, as is allowed through VTAC (as mentioned in a previous post) but my first four preferences are all at this particular University (all because if I don’t get into my first preference then it would still be great to study in the same department (School of Life and Environmental Science), thus allowing me to possibly switch courses further down the track into my first preference). But even if I don’t get into to any of these preferences and end up at a completely different University, then the hope would be that I would eventually be able to transfer anyways, thus ending up at the same place.

So, today, when I was standing looking at the Dandenong Ranges in the morning light, there in the forefront stood my Holy Grail 😀 It was a very inspiring vision and though I am not quite there yet (in fact not even at the beginning!), it filled me with excitement for my future and I felt happier and more content than I have in a very long while!!!

PS Next time, I am organising movers AND packers!! ;D

Fact No 6: Polar bears look white, but they actually have black skin!