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!


  1. congratulations!!!


  2. Hey,
    I'm thinking of doing a masters but was wondering how much harder it is than doing a degree? Like is the standard of work much harder? Was it more difficult to achieve the grades you got at uni in coursework? And having done it now, do you think it is worthwhile? Good luck with your application for your perfect job :) dying to know what it is!

    1. Hey, I've got no idea whether this will get to you but I can try. I wouldn't say it's harder per se, just a lot more intense for example at York we may have been juggling 3 deadlines at once and it sometimes get a little stressful.

      What did you do your undergrad in? I did mine a similar discipline so the content wasn't difficult to get used to but I know a few others found some concepts difficult to grasp because they hadn't come from the same marine biological background. Grades were initially a little odd because it depends on a lecturers style I guess, I started off with a few duff marks (at least , they weren't up to scratch by my standards) but you quickly learn to adapt and develop your writing style until, voila you're pushing out awesome grades!

      I definitely think its worth doing but again, it depends what you want to get into. In this day and age where getting a degree seems 'the norm' (silly, I know) we all need something to make us stand out from the crowd and I think a Masters helps that just nicely.

      Good luck!! :-)

  3. Aw thanks, that was really helpful! Yeah i did marine biology too so would be similar, struggle with statistics though so would be abit worried about that at masters level :S
    Yeah i know what you mean about needing to stand out, just torn whether to do a masters or try get some experience although that is difficult to come by as im sure you know!
    Thanks again!

    1. Hmm statistics is a difficult one - I thought I was rubbish and dreaded the project we did during the MSc (you'll probably use a programme called 'R project' - very steep learning curve but it's pretty good) but I ended up with a 76% which was crazy, I didn't think I would do well in it.

      Personally I'd say go for the MSc and then work on the experience after. I had difficulty getting any experience pre-MSc (had I found a little something I probably would have put the MSc on hold but, there you go). If you find something, stick with it. The job might not be there all the time but the MSc sure will :)

      Always here to help if you need any advice - What uni's are you looking into?


  4. Thanks (sorry for late reply). Looking at Bangor as it's easy for me to get to so can live at home/save costs and like the look of a course. Still undecided.
    What are you hoping to do now then?

    1. That's okay! Oh nice, I nearly went to Bangor to do MSc Marine Environmental Protection (I think that's what it's called?) but I fell in love with York so just had to go there ha ha.
      I don't really know yet, I'm applying for a job in Liverpool as a Research Assistant, and I'm also going to be applying for a job as Marine Planner with the MMO but that's up in Newcastle... I'd really like to spend a year or so back at home to earn some money in a low-rent environment, otherwise I'm going to struggle BIG time (plus, I highly doubt I'd actually get the MMO job ha ha).