I’ve just completed the second semester of my MSc and, let me tell you, it was a wild ride. My semester got off to a bumpy start with a random doctor (who I’ve never met before) phoning me out of the blue to say that my infusions had been cancelled. After a visit to A&E, a formal complaint and an emergency appointment with my consultant, my treatments were reinstated for another year. Because of this disruption, I missed two weeks of University and had to get an extension on one of my assignments. Luckily, I am able to get automatic extensions due to my personal learning plan (PLP).
Whilst I was desperately trying to catch up with my missed work, I got my grade back for an assignment that I’d submitted after the Christmas holidays. I was shocked to find that I’d got 95%. At postgraduate level, a grade above 85% means that your work is of ‘publishable quality’ i.e it could be published in an academic journal. As you can imagine, I was over the moon with this result as I was only expecting the scrape a pass (50%) with most of my assignments due to my health restrictions; as I had been doing in my previous course. It just shows how much you can achieve when your disability is accommodated properly.
This semester, I was working on a group lab project with the rest of my class (15 people). Any group project is a nightmare, but when you’re working with environmental samples, it makes everything ten times worse. I was apprehensive about starting the more physical aspect of the course, due to my POTS, but I found that the lab work was less physically demanding than the practical work I’d done during my undergraduate degree. Changing my field of study from Chemistry to Environmental Science was obviously the right choice for me.
For my extra-curricular activity, I am the course representative which means that I have to attend meetings to help further develop the course and feedback information from students. I was quite busy in my role this term as there was a lot of issues with the group work. I was also invited to attend a conference where I could further develop my skills. I mainly attended for the free stuff, but the sessions were informative, especially the one about making good digital content.
I also went on a field trip to a nuclear power station. When I first signed up, I was a bit apprehensive about attending as the last time I’s gone on a tour I’d almost fainted and had to leave early. I did not faint this time though and found the trip to be fun and informative and it even catered for those who do not support nuclear power. I would highly recommend going on a tour of a nuclear power station if it is related to your field of study (Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Environmental Science etc.) as seeing one in real life will enhance your understanding of the process. Find out more about nuclear power station tours in the UK here.
In March, I had two assignments due and I did not have any days off. In hindsight, this was probably a bad idea, as I crashed at the end of term. Luckily, I have the whole of April off to recover and write my research proposal for my thesis.