Summer plans and preparing for third year!
Now that the stress of term three is behind me, summer is in full swing and I have l lots of exciting stuff planned! The things I had to look forward to kept me sane during exams so I’d definitely recommend planning something (no matter how small) to keep you going once term three hits!
Aside from meeting up with friends, and getting my flatmates to finally visit the north (if we actually get organised!) my main plan for the summer is my URSS project, which I’m now two weeks into. For those of you who don’t know, the URRS scheme gives undergraduates a chance to carry out a research project with an academic supervisor so they can experience academia first hand.
I organised my project during the first few weeks of my second year so it’s been a long time coming, but now it’s finally here I’m really enjoying it! I’m working with the Chaplin group within the chemistry department making all sorts of cool compounds. One of them is Tetrakis[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]borate (scary name I know!) which the group uses a lot in their research. It’s a weakly coordinating anion, which allows really reactive cations to be studied. This helps a lot in determining crystal structures but WCAs have loads of other interesting applications too.
Going into a research lab after having done no practical work all the way through term three (labs finish at the end of term two in first and second year so we can focus on lectures and revision rather than lab reports) was a bit like getting thrown in at the deep end, but I’ve learnt so much already. The main thing I’ve gained so far is more confidence in the lab, and an understanding of how lots of the techniques and apparatus we use actually works. I’ve still got another six weeks of my project to go, so I’ll make sure to keep you updated!
One thing that’s strange about being back on campus over the summer is how much free time I have! Yes I’m in labs 9-5, but outside of those hours my time is my own-obviously I can’t take my reaction back to Cryfield to work on! This is so different from term time when you feel there’s always more work that could be done. As well as relaxing and exploring Leamington a bit more, I’ve made a start on preparations for third year. It’s a long way off, but reading up on the optional modules I’ve picked and starting to sort out applications for next summer’s internships is making me a lot less nervous about all the work I’ll have next year!