Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Post-dissertation relaxation, shark tagging & interviews!

I can only apologise for how dreadful I have been with updating but, alas, my thesis came first. Many hours of writing, a fair few tears, a few manic moments, a lot of procrastination (I'm a pro, don't you know?) and a few moody Rach's (okay, MANY...) and my thesis is done. Finito. FINISHED.

"Skating towards a sustainable future" - Fabulous title credit to my supervisor, Dr Bryce Beukers-Stewart,
I'm not entirely pleased with it, I don't think it was my best but given the circumstances I think I did pretty damn well and, at the end of the day, I can say I tried my hardest. I think I took a little bit of a wrong turn somewhere but it's all there, it's all handed in and there's nothing I can do about it now.

Regarding the presentations (that I was awfully nervous about) I did so well! It was worth 25% of my dissertation mark so, 10 credits. I got 73% ! I'm actually a little shocked. I stood up there and wanted to bolt, either through the door or out of that window, so how I managed to get that good of a mark I have no idea.

I also have a little more good news the other day. The exams that we sat those few weeks ago, those exams that I also thought I did dreadful in... well... I also did pretty damn well in: 72, 73 and 74%! That sets me in a really good place to obtain my distinction. All I can hope is that I can manage 70% in my thesis paper and the project placement which I am due to start soon.

So, where does it leave me? I'm currently in Scotland enjoying some well needed R&R but as soon as I get back I'm going to start on my project. I need to write a Terms of Reference up for Natural England (in the process of doing) and also a risk assessment that needs to be sent back to my university. That's nearly completed, I just need to give an overview of what my project entails but as I'll be doing that for the TOR I'll do them both at the same time. I haven't got anymore information on that just yet, although I did buy myself a brand spanking new laptop for my birthday so that I could work GIS on it.

One thing that I am very much looking forward to is a shark tagging trip in August. I was casually just browsing through Twitter and noticed that one of my followers was advertising a shark tagging trip from Liverpool and I couldn't help but jump at the chance. Matt's blog is here! For £45 we're going out for a day, catching mackerel for bait and catching Tope for tagging. I'm booked in for the 16th and I really can't wait.
Tope, image by Davy Holt

Tope, Galeorhinus galeus, is a slender shark that can grow up to about 190cm long and is widely distributed along the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Like most elasmobranchs they have a late age at maturity and low fecundity - this species tends to mature at around 12 years of age and produces about 20 pups ever 2-3 years, As such, they are protected under the Tope (Prohibition of Fishing Order) instigated in 2008. This Order prohibits the fishing of Tope other than by rode and line, and if Tope are taken on board the live-weight must not exceed 45kg per day. 

The tagging of these species helps to reveal information on spatial distributions - their long-term movements, migrations, site fidelity etc. I'm really excited to be apart of this and I think it would be a perfect opportunity to learn some new skills (and new friends of course). 

On top of this I've been asked to be interviewed and photographed for the Postgraduate "You@York" portal which will be showcased at the PG Admissions Forum. I'm quite excited for this (albeit a little nervous) a) I'd never done anything like this before and b) I think it would be great for boosting my confidence (... Plus I get to make myself look pretty for the photos!)

Everything seems to be looking up. The stress is off re: the dissertation but I know the heat is now on for that final push. I'm determined to do it, I'm determined to do well and I know, with a bit of effort (and hopefully less tears and more laughter), I can do it!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Dissertation presentations, oh the stress.

Oh my goodness me, these past few weeks have been hectic and I've not really had much time to myself to write anything in this here blog. I've also started up another blog (completely irrelevant to marine biology but more my life, dreams, food (lots of it) and potential future projects) >> Love travel. Love food. Love life.

So I'm in the midst of my dissertation. I've actually just come back from the first day of presentations, I was presenting last and let me tell you that me and public speaking really don't work very well. I honestly felt like I was about to jump out of that window had my legs not turned to complete jelly. I need to get over this, but the nerves just kick in, my throat goes all dry, my heat rate goes about 1000 bpm and then I feel like I can't actually construct a sensible sentence. Oh well. It went okay I guess. I rambled for the first few slides and then felt that I really got into it (just about). I did learn a few things about my actual study though so that's reassuring.

I do also realise that I have to practically re-write and re-do my dissertation (as it stands at the moment anyway). It shouldn't take too long to rectify and I can add in some cracking information about the Bristol Channel. Anyway, I can't reveal all just yet... I'm going to make this an amazing paper, just you wait :)

Back on hiatus again... For now anyway. My dissertation is due in on the 25th (my birthday - la la) so I should try and do an update near then.

Au revoir!