Saturday, February 28, 2015

More than studying …. (II)

If there was ever a time I wish I was a full-time student at The University of Edinburgh; that would be now. Judging by the rapid inflow of messages I get in my school mail talking about either an invitation to one road trip here, some sporting event there and some volunteering opportunity somewhere and another election coming up elsewhere – it all seems so exciting and I feel just a little wistful that I’m not in the midst of the flurry of activities in the campus. (And what is it about “The trip to Loch Ness”, I’m really curious as there have been repeated invitations to the trip since last semester). Anyway, they say you can’t eat your cake and have it, so I better just probably wait till I get the opportunity to visit Edinburgh, right?

So, in my last post, I was discussing about the variety of assignments that I’ve been having in this semester and I’m going to talk about my just-concluded Poster assignment.
Let me mention first that I had no prior experience in scientific poster-making, therefore, I was quite apprehensive about how to even go about it in the first instance. Fortunately (thanks to our ingenious course supervisors), in addition to providing how-to materials on making posters, we had the opportunity to critique a sample poster and I considered this a great idea. Everyone contributed accordingly and I’m pretty sure it was a highly beneficial exercise and learning experience for us, not just as students but as researchers, scientists and workers in our different fields of work.

Also, I reached out to a fellow ODL student and Nigerian who I “met” on the Facebook ODLEdSoc platform. He is a second year student running a course that I consider similar to mine (MSc International Animal Health) and he was really helpful in giving a few pointers on his own experience with his previous poster assignments. All in all, I tried my possible best in making what I consider very appropriate for some cool high scores.

So, wish me luck with that!

It’s just a few hours away from the next month and I’m sure we all had great times in January and February.

Just to leave this little nugget by Napoleon Hill – “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it”.
I hope this motivates someone for the month of March and beyond.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

More than studying ....

4:07 am. Lagos, Nigeria.

As my “internal alarm system” wakes me up in my room, I feel the simultaneous blend of heat and caress of cool air both coming from my ceiling fan above and my open side windows on the sides. Thank goodness the rains are finally here to cool the searing characteristic dry heat of this season. I’m grateful for the present electricity - and then I feel dreadful at the thought of having no electricity to power the fans at this moment (Yeah, this happens here). The heat would have been plainly discomforting and the few mosquitoes that I noticed were very much around just before I slept would definitely have thanked their maker for such an opportunity! But of course, if that happened, I still would have survived anyway and probably slept fitfully through it all.

So, I look through my windows, observe the starless night, feel the peace of the quiet night and it comes rushing ... Edin-BLOG!!! (that’s what I call it).

Yeepa!!! (That’s Nigerian pidgin English for “Gosh!!!), I grab my nearest phone, reconfirm today’s date and grab my laptop immediately. I feel grateful once again for this electricity because my laptop battery has run really low.

So Yes ... I’m here again.

I hope we all had a great January and a LOVEly February. I can say I have been having a good semester so far. This semester course schedule and organization was quite different from last semester’s course. However, the good news is, I’m more prepared. We have had series of very interesting assignments which were given in new ways, some of which I have just recently been introduced to.

The last 2 assignments were given as writing an abstract, giving a diagrammatic representation of that abstract and then making a poster!

I’m not new to writing abstracts, thanks to my undergraduate research project and one year of work experience in a research institute; but I was definitely new to the recent trend of presenting cool diagrammatic expressions of your abstract (and project). This I learned, is necessary to present a summary of your project in an engaging way that can be communicated easily, especially to the layman. It was quite the interesting and learning experience undertaking this assignment as I consider my drawing/artistry quite horrible. (I imagine myself as a kid, when my teacher tells me to draw a picture of the sun and I end up with something that looks a lot like a very active amoeba). Keeping my poor artistry in mind, I immediately set to work and read so much more to further familiarize myself with the dynamics of the assignment given and the use of Microsoft Power point. Also, the support and tips given by the course team (as usual) and fellow classmates was incredibly helpful. So, I was thrilled to know that my hard work paid off when I got a reasonably satisfactory grade in the assignment

And you know the most interesting part, undertaking this assignment has taken me to a whole new level of expertise (please allow me to brag!) on putting together creative presentations especially for my workplace. I have learned so much from just undertaking this assignment that has and will improve my capacity beyond just getting an education.

Okay, I have to go now. Wish you all a great week ahead!

To be continued… Promise…