Just a few quick updates on how things are going, since I know I don't write these things down very often.
I've been buried in work the past week or so. It's been fairly non-stop. I've had meetings and meetings and meetings, then learning about fMRI protocols and techniques in the lab (which was awesome, if tiring), then coursework and pole competition training. This is off straight off the back of a hellish few weeks where I got punched in the face by PCOS. It was fairly hardcore this time - my heart fucked up the hardest it ever has, and there was a tonne of blood. Heavy flows for PCOS is like... an overnight pad finished in about half an hour. That's where I was. So, as you can imagine, I was a little loopy. Chay kept an eye on me, which was pretty good, since at one point I got dizzy enough to not be able to do the stairs, and was very fascinated with the idea that octopuses (octopi???) could have secret sweets at the bottom of the sea.
I'm not bothered by the bad periods - they're really irregular, and I don't have them as bad as some ladies with PCOS. Plus, they're pretty short in the grand scheme of things. The heart thing, however... concerning. I'm half plucking up the courage to go see a doctor again, but then I remember I'm in Swansea, and I already know what they're going to suggest or try to give me. The only option I'm slightly willing to consider (other than cinnamon, flax and exercise) is anti-androgen, but they depress me a little, since changing testosterone can (and does, for me) alter your personality and how you perceive your size. I hate taking those. Might have to, though. Again. Ick.
I swear this didn't start out as a health rant!
I got the go ahead for my project on ASMR, too. It's... a weird one. Which is good, I like weird. I'm bummed I won't be strapping wires to anyone, though, since that's what I was after. Maybe if I fly through this there'll be a chance to, but I'm not sure. We'll see.
Pole competition is next weekend, so I'm getting ready for that (read: staying off my injured arm!).
I've spent the last few days having some down time - had a pretty intense start to the week with one thing in particular, so I'm giving myself some mental health days. xD I spent most of that time up until today doing pole, but since I don't want to overdo it I took today to explore and take some photos of all the autumn leaves with Chay. It was pretty rad. At the moment, I'm making some badass tomato soup, because you know, autumn.
I also just e-mailed to volunteer for invisible illnesses week next week. Between mental health and PCOS I feel like it's probably a thing I'm pretty suited for, and it's only a week at the uni so it's convenient enough for me to get my work done and get some volunteering in. I also might get to do free hugs, which are always fun.
Doing my best to eat right because I want to lose a little of the pcos-padding on my tummy for pole. Make it easier to lift myself. *fist in air*
I am really... not good at writing diary entries. xD But I know I won't remember this stuff in years to come unless I write it down, so here goes.
Bonfire night in Swansea is AWESOME. Screw Newcastle's bonfire nights, this was the shit. Not because the fireworks were particularly impressive (they weren't), but because it was an event. Swansea is ridiculously small compared to back home, we're pretty much all on one side of the hills that slope towards the bay, and however steep said hill is, it's not big at all. That means that there's really only need for one fireworks show, right in the middle, at the football ground (which is really just a field with a wall, some lights and some benches). Before we went, everyone I know here had asked if I was going to see the fireworks, and where I was going to be standing. The grass by the beach seemed to be the place to go - the beach is pretty much next to everything here. At university? Cross the road and you're there. At the football pitch? Cross the street and you're there. So, grass between the beach and the football ground was where we headed, and where I thought I'd stay. People had told me about people setting off fireworks on the beach, and I wasn't about to tango with that. I had flashbacks to every bonfire safety talk in secondary school I'd ever had. Grass for me.
So around 7 I headed down with my housemates; Chay, Calli and Tom. I was dressed like a northerner ready to brave to cold of November, after being assured it got cold. Everyone else was in essentially light jackets. :l "I thought you said it was going to be cold." "It is." "So what the hell are you wearing that for?!" xD People here really do not get the concept of cold.
We walked down through the queue of traffic on Rhyddings Road (very unimpressive, but funny at how packed all the cars were), and were down by the ground in about 5 minutes. Little kids were hanging out of loft windows to see - it was all pretty cute. Until Chay pulled a Withnail and started shouting "SCRUBBERS!" at them. xD Moving on. We went down past the pub, played the world's slowest game of Frogger with the few cars still on the main road, and got to the grass. I was there for about ten seconds before hearing a huge crash of waves from the beach. The tide was right up, and there was about 15 metres of sand between the dunes and the water. Loads of people had set up bonfires down there, were toasting marshmallows, wandering about with sparklers, setting off fireworks over the water... so I decided, fuck grass, I want in. I grabbed Calli and headed down onto the sand to take some pictures with my phone, none of which really came out, but... screw it. <3 We wandered around next to the fires for a while, kicked around in the sand, climbed the dunes and found a great spot to watch the show from. Looking at the fireworks people were setting off into the water was entertaining while we waited through the 4 countdowns from the football grounds. Imagine fireworks skimming on water, and then the reflection when they go off. Yeah. It's awesome.
Not much more to note from there, it was just a nice half hour of standing around in a huge crowd of seemingly everyone in Swansea, watching large amount of explosives and reactive metals. We remarked on the surprising ability of loud sounds and shiny things to bring a whole city (however tiny) together.
Okay, I'll open with something less stonerish.
Long story short, I moved to Swansea, Wales last month. It is /awesome/ here. Right by the beach, everything is within walking distance, people are lovely, my housemates are amazing, the freedom rocks, I am a happy. Really, really happy. The course seems... a little easy so far if I'm honest, but the best part is that everyone on it seems to want to do clinical, meaning that the facilities for neuroscience experiments are mostly unused by students. This makes it extra easy for me to get all the research assistant positions, and to take on extra lab work with awesome things like TMS and tDCS. Have a google of those if you fancy, but they essentially amp up/turn off parts of the brain.
In that vein, I went to see a supervisor for dissertation about using those two things today. I mentioned that I did a project on synaesthesia and he lit up. We've pretty much drawn out an experiment to test three conflicting theories on the neural correlates of pseudosynaesthesia, which is EXACTLY what I wanted to address from my undergrad dissertation. I get to use a tDCS machine and I'm so pumped about it I don't even... I'm really excited. This is an amazing opportunity and I can't believe that everyone seems to enthusiastic to let me do these things. I also get to play around with oxytocin, giving it to people who were born with face blindness to see if it helps them improve (spoiler: it probably will. This is excellent).
As always, I feel like there's probably more that I could gush about on this front, but nothing springs to mind. It's probably best to keep that somewhat brief anyway, since I know not many people read these and of those that do not many (any?) are into neuroscience. Still. Huzzah!
I graduated!! I've now got a BSc in Psychology. x3 I'm all proud and stuff.
I wish I was feeling verbose enough to make a long winded, deep entry (heh) about this, but that's happening less and less these days. Maybe I'm just getting old. I did want to record the highlights, before old age claims those too.
My supervisor, Chris Petkov, was there! I know that's such a tiny thing, but Chris was way influential in third year. He helped me through my dissertation, encouraged me when I wanted to give up (I'm not just saying that, the only reason my project went so well is because he had faith I could do it) and was all around lovely. He didn't just want me to learn the beaten track stuff, he saw that I had enthusiasm to do my own thing and acted as cheerleader, which is just what I needed. He got a huge hug after the ceremony (what lectuer would even consider that?!), and he seemed really hyped about the whole thing. xD "It's like my kids are graduating!" Gahh. I'll miss him. xD
I'll also miss all my homies. Michael's off the St Andrews to do a PhD, some people are staying for IAPTs and Health courses here at Newcastle. I'm.. doing my thing. xD I'm really going to whack out the abnormality academics this next year in Swansea, and hopefully get a place in a lab as a result. That'd be nice. I've been considering applying for a research assistant post at Durham University (so respected, and my lecturer is the one choosing people), but I think I need to just keep chasing what I'm interested in for now. In a lot of ways it feels like the choice has been made for me. Not in a nasty or mystical way, just that I know what I really want, and the way to it isn't through getting that research assistant job just yet. I want to be the most use I can before I get into research.
Venice was lovely, and I will write about it in the fullness. However and the moment I just want to post a gfvchvbhh because my insides feel like rubber and I feel sicky. Not upset by it particularly, just weighed down sort of ill. I'll likely have to do an ultrasound and operation this summer. Failing that, a camera down my throat. All the fun. My MRI came back normal for where they scanned, but apparently the resolution isn't good enough, so I'll have to get back into the hospital cycle.