The Autumn Collection

Up bright and early again this morning, ready for the return leg (and possible extra time/penalties) of the STFC Astronomy Grants Panel deliberations in Swindon. While I slurp my coffee and crunch my toast I thought I’d try to get my brain into gear by posting a brief something.

Yesterday was the first day of our induction period for new students. Lectures proper don’t start until next week but this week we have preliminary sessions with all the freshers to show them round the laboratories, tell them how the library learning resources unit works, sort out their access to computer facilities and so on. As I’ve blogged about before, this is a bumper year for us in terms of undergraduate intake so these sessions were busier than usual. Somewhat remarkably, however, at close of play we had managed to process nearly all the students we were expecting. Usually a few  turn up late, or don’t turn up at all, but this time there seems to be only one “no show”. That must be some kind of record.

At coffee time this morning, all staff were invited to a “meet and greet” session with the new students. I’m not really involved with the undergraduate induction process but went along anyway to show moral support (and help myself to free coffee). When I arrived at the session I immediately noticed the crowd of baffled and bewildered people struggling to figure out what was going on. But that was just the members of stafff;  the students  seemed fine with it all.

Over coffee I chatted with a few students who were very friendly and relaxed, raring to get started with their studies. Let’s see how long that lasts! One student asked me “What are physicists really like?”. All I could think of to say was “some of them resemble normal people”…

I doubt if any of the new students is a reader of this blog – especially during Fresher’s Week, in which there are many distractions on offer – but in any case I’d like to welcome them all to Cardiff. If any are reading this, I wish you well in your  studies, and hope you find your time here both fruitful and enjoyable!

Just as some students start on their course others are about to complete theirs. Such is the cycle of academic life. My main administrative role in the School of Physics & Astronomy actually concerns postgraduate students. The end of this week (September 30th) is the PhD thesis deadline for several of these, so there’s been a rush of paperwork relating to arrangements for examinations for me to deal with. I’m sure there’ll be more than a few people having a relaxing tipple on Friday evening after they’ve submitted their thesis.

All in all it was a very busy but actually quite pleasant day made all the more pleasant by an unexpected outbreak of nice sunshine. Now. To Swindon.

One Response to “The Autumn Collection”

  1. Peter,

    the fact that such a pleasant start to the week is now giving way to your trip to Swindon just illustrates that life has to have its downs as well as its ups. I just hope you have a better hotel room view than last time. Oh, and that the meetings aren’t too boring (which is probably a hope too far).

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