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    BA Filmmaking and Screenwriting graduate from the University of the West of Scotland. Currently studying HNC Applied Sciences and Higher Human Biology. Ten-time NaNoWriMo winner, tropical fish-keeper, and gamer. Aspiring novelist and ichthyologist. 🌸

    Hey there. My name is Tina. I’m a filmmaking & screenwriting graduate and I currently study science at HNC level. If you're thinking, "are you crazy?" the answer is: well, close enough. So here I am, 24, re-starting my education journey from the beginning and only slightly daunted by the fact that I’m going to sink thousands of pounds in order to do it all again.

    Spoiler contains a little background information on what has brought me to studying HNC Applied Sciences.
    Spoiler:
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    I guess I would say I'm the perfect example of someone who let themselves get carried away thinking that an industry was perfect for them when it really wasn't a good fit at all, and lived so long in denial that it broke them mentally. In March 2016, I left university on medical leave for severe anxiety and depression that was so bad I couldn't even step foot on campus without having a panic attack - if I could even motivate myself to get out of bed that day. During my absence, I decided to make a change with my life. I joined a gym, changed my diet, started drinking less, and took an interest in colouring. And this little fellow below, Roan, was my main source of company after an impulse purchase of a starter fish tank.




    Roan started the session for me. An impulse purchase at a low point in my life turned out to be my saviour. He was my reason for getting up in the morning. I researched extensively and the number of tanks and fish quickly grew. Fish-keeping became my new favourite hobby. I'd spend hours a day researching fish and I enjoyed the upkeep of my tanks. And the more time I spent on that, and how happy it made me, the more I realised I was studying the wrong degree. Thinking about it, the idea of working with or researching fish was far more appealing to me than the media industry. If I thought about it, there were no jobs I wanted in media. But it was all I was qualified to do.

    So, I set out to change that. I began researching various marine biology and related courses in Scotland. But I wasn't really quite sure where I stood academically. At the end of July I had a pleasant email exchange with an incredibly helpful Undergraduate Admissions Officer at the University of Glasgow named Keith Hutchinson. He informed me that if I wanted to follow my newfound dream of studying marine biology then I needed to go back to an FE college.

    Over the start of August I applied to thirteen courses across four colleges in west and central Scotland. I knew it was risky, given that many courses will have already been filled up before the summer. There were only three weeks before the semester started but goddamn it I did not want to wait a year to get back into education. The few months I'd been out of university had already driven me stir crazy.



    I faced so many rejections, and each one would slay me. I'd lay in bed binge-walking TV shows on Netflix while I tried to accept the fact I just wasn't good enough. The first place to give me an interview turned me away. Luckily for me, the very last college I applied to gave me an interview and after a lot of discussion with multiple lecturers I was offered a place on their HNC course starting just one week from the interview date. I was not qualified for this course, and should have started at National 5, but apparently someone had faith in me. And one week after the course began, I knew I was in the right place. I contacted UWS and told them I was not returning to complete Honours year in September after all.

    So, here I am. Back in college studying a subject so far removed from film that at the first even the people closest to me doubted my ability to stick with it. And honestly, I don't blame them. I hated science in school - and I was also terrible at it. They thought I was making a mistake, and that was beginning to effect my own judgement as well. Was I being an idiot? Perhaps. Let's find out.





    I wasn't good at science in school. At all. And I am at a huge disadvantage in my subject area right from the start of my course. My only qualification in the sciences is a general level pass in Standard Grade Chemistry achieved August 2008. Instead of being enrolled into the National 5 course I probably should have done, I've entered a HNC which, for those of you unfamiliar with the Scottish educations system, is SCQF level 7. To put it simply, this means that this silly person needs to jump from an SCQF level 4 understanding of chemistry, achieved eight years ago, to being able to complete an SCQF level 7 course within one year.

    Graphic depicting the jump on the SCQF scale.
    Spoiler:
    Show





    Note: outdated image due to the fact that Standard Grades are no longer taught in schools. God that makes me feel old.




    Hobbies and Aspirations
    I’m an avid reader, gamer, fish-keeper, retired freelance cameraperson, and published writer (short prose and poetry). This blog will make reference to all of these things – especially fish and writing, as my existing degree and (hopefully) future studies will revolve around these two topics.
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    UCAS Progress
    Application submitted to the college December 8th for reference. Sent off to universities December 20th 2016.

    1. The University of Aberdeen - Marine Biology
    Offered Received: January 18th 2017
    Condition: B in Graded Unit
    Status: Declined

    2. University of Glasgow - Marine and Freshwater Biology
    Offered Received: February 2nd 2017
    Conditions: A in Graded Unit, B in Higher Human Biology, and successful completion of the University of Glasgow Summer School.
    Status: Firm / Unsuccessful

    3. Heriot-Watt University - Marine Biology
    Offered Received: February 2nd 2017
    Condition: C in Graded Unit for Yr 1 entry; B for Yr 2 entry.
    Status: Insurance / Released into Clearing

    4. The University of the Highlands and Islands - Marine Science
    Offered Received: January 31st 2017
    Condition: B in Graded Unit
    Status: Declined

    5. The University of Stirling - Marine Biology
    Offered Received: March 9th 2017
    Condition: B in Graded Unit
    Status: Declined

    6. The University of the West of Scotland - Applied Biomedical Science (Clearing Choice)
    Verbal Offer Received: August 11th 2017
    Offer Confirmed: August 17th 2017


    2016-17 Progress

    Higher Human Biology
    Currently self-teaching the content with the aid of several textbooks. Arrangements so that I can take the internal assessments are currently being arranged by the college. Ended up not sitting the exam.



    HNC Applied Sciences

    1. Maths for Science ✔️PASSED.
    First assessment passed on October 24th 2016: 19/22 marks. (86%)
    Second assessment passed on December 5th 2016: 10/13 marks. (77%)
    Third assessment passed on January 16th 2017: 13/20 marks. (65%)

    2. Graded Unit (Predicted: B) ✔️PASSED WITH AN A.
    5,000 word essay on Swim Bladder Disease in the Domesticated Betta splenden. (A)

    3. Cell Biology: Theory and Laboratory Skills ✔️PASSED.
    Mock assessment took place November 30th 2016. Failed with a score of 16/37. (43%)
    First assessment passed on December 6th 2016: 25/30 marks. (83%)

    4. Microbiology: Theory and Laboratory Skills ✔️PASSED.
    First practical assessment passed November 17th 2016
    Second practical assessment passed January 10th 2017.
    Written assessment passed February 21st 2017. (69%)

    5. Fundamental Chemistry: Introduction to Chemistry ✔️PASSED.
    Failed both mock assessments with less than 25% of the marks in October.
    First written assessment was November 24th 2016. I failed, scoring 8/60 marks. (13%)
    Second attempt at the written assessment passed January 25th 2017: 25/40 (63%).

    6. Laboratory Skils for Science ✔️PASSED.
    Passed all paperwork and a 5-minute presentation on Swim Bladder Disease in the Domesticated Betta splenden.

    7. Statistics for Science ✔️PASSED.
    First assessment: (96%)
    Second assessment: (60%)

    8. Human Body: Structure and Function✔️PASSED.
    Passed written assessment: 51/79 (65%)

    9. DNA and Genetics ✔️PASSED.
    Passed written assessment: (69%)

    10. Fundamental Chemistry: Theory and Laboratory Skills ✔️PASSED.
    First assessment failed on January 16th 2017: 20/48 marks. (42%)
    Second attempt at the first written assessment passed January 25th 2017: 33/48 (69%).
    Third assessment passed: 63%
    Fourth assessment passed: 70%

    11. Biochemistry: Theory and Laboratory Skills ✔️PASSED.
    Passed written assessment: (70%)
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    #1 - November 7th 2016



    Monday morning is maths, which is a subject I've never really been good at. We are currently covering differentiation and while some areas sit well with me others are just baffling. Derivatives of natural logarithms completely went over my head today, so I should go over it sometime this week.

    We were given the dates for our assessments today. December 5th and January 9th. The earlier one is on derivatives, so that is a little daunting for me. It seems straight forward until it isn't. Maths has always been a weak subject for me, but for last month's assessment my method of studying was to keep tackling the same types of question over and over again, getting help from my Dad where necessary (he did a course in the past few years regarding maths/engineering) to help talk me through it. It took me five hours total but I managed to pull 19/22 on the test (pass mark 14). I'm a little irritated by that, to be honest, as I lost a mark over a very dumb mistake. The other two, yeah, I didn't deserve those.


    In non-college related news, I went out to buy a curling iron this evening after realising mine had broken, and somehow ended up falling for this cute crowntail Betta splenden in the pet store. Meet Sona:




    Current Goals
    Write-up all three lab diary entries (2/3 entries) by 10/11.
    Complete Section 1 Review.pdf on Moodle (16/37 pages) by 10/11.
    Study derivatives of natural logarithms by 14/11.
    Research junctions in animal + plant cells, and catch-up on missed class, by 15/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016 Progress
    20,222 / 50,000 words.
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    #2 - November 9th 2016

    So, I was a bad girl and skipped college yesterday. But for a good reason! Instead I was in Ayr at my university graduation ceremony! Officially got my BA in Filmmaking & Screenwriting.



    Also, a photograph my Dad got of me on stage.
    Spoiler:
    Show




    I don't feel like doing anything today. I feel so dead. But I need to finish off working through a .pdf for chemistry as well as write up a lab diary entry for microbiology.

    Current Goals
    Write-up all three lab diary entries (2/3 entries) by 10/11.
    Complete Section 1 Review.pdf on Moodle (16/37 pages) by 10/11.
    Study derivatives of natural logarithms by 14/11.
    Research junctions in animal + plant cells, and catch-up on missed class, by 15/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 23,700 / 50,000 words.
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    #3 - November 9th 2016 (Pt. 2)

    My afternoon has been work-work-work. After finishing up my lab diary entry I messaged my lecturer to find out where I can find her tomorrow, and when she responded she told me that I have until midnight Friday to edit and resubmit an assessed lab report. Yay. More work.



    Most of my afternoon was spent doing chemistry homework. I don't have a desk so I had to improvise using two folding tables to be able to use both my laptop and my notebook at the same time haha. By the end my hand and arm were dead. But I still had two fish tanks to clean before I could go soak in the tub. /sigh Now that that is done though, it's time to move onto getting today's 1,667 words in for NaNoWriMo.

    Although, a couple of pros - my mother came home around halfway through studying with food! And she managed to get hold of an A4 orange ring binder, to match the plastic wallet I use for chemistry, for me as it's fit to burst. But FOOD.




    Current Goals
    Edit and resubmit lab report on gram-staining by 11/11.
    Study derivatives of natural logarithms by 14/11.
    Research junctions in animal + plant cells, and catch-up on missed class, by 15/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 23,700 / 50,000 words.
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    #4 - November 10th 2016

    Dear lord, I am exhausted. I got four and a half hours of sleep last night. Today was my weakest class: chemistry. Luckily the studying I did yesterday really aided me in today's class as the lecture was on orbitals (as you can see from one of my photos, was exactly what I looked at yesterday!). We were doing an assessed practical today and it went well.

    My free time (break and lunch) was a little more stressful. Instead of a break I spent it with my microbiology lecturer, a lab tech, and then writing up the conclusions to the lab diary entries I wrote yesterday. I managed to get the final pieces submitted with enough time left over to go get a sandwich before I had to go back to chemistry (which, for the record, goes on for 6hrs!).

    I got good news about Higher Human Biology today. It's finally been confirmed that I am going to be enrolled to sit the internal assessments and exams at one of my college's other campuses. It does mean I'll have to continue self-teaching the content, as it looks like the possibility of an evening class taking place has been dismissed. I'm quite happy though. I took an evening class back in 2010-2011 (in Int 2 Spanish) and I hated it.

    Unrelated to my studies, my parents got me a new game as a gift! :heart: They said it was for how well I handled graduation which, for context if you didn't look at the long-ass spoiler on my history, is related to mental health issues.



    Current Goals
    Edit and resubmit lab report on gram-staining by 11/11.
    Study derivatives of natural logarithms by 14/11.
    Research junctions in animal + plant cells, and catch-up on missed class, by 15/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 25,399 / 50,000 words.
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    Been lurking on here all week but just wanted to say how impressive you are, in so many ways! Will keep watching this but good luck- you can do it! Always around if you want someone to talk to too
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    (Original post by furryface12)
    Been lurking on here all week but just wanted to say how impressive you are, in so many ways! Will keep watching this but good luck- you can do it! Always around if you want someone to talk to too
    Glad to know I'm not talking to myself haha! Thank you for the support. :heart:
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    #5 - November 11th 2016

    I submitted the redraft of my lab report by 7pm. The deadline was midnight. I managed to get in a few hours of gaming this afternoon as well as getting 3,000 words done on my NaNo novel - bringing my word count up to 30,000! So much for the lazy day I had hoped for.

    We also got a new tank today! It turns out my fish obsession is contagious, hehe, with my folks making the decision to purchase this one. Up until now the fish have been my responsibility - financially as well as maintenance. Can't wait until I can move my guppies, female bettas, and plecos over to it. It's 190 litres - a bit of a jump from their current 70 litre tank!

    Spoiler:
    Show


















    Current Goals
    Study derivatives of natural logarithms by 14/11.
    Research junctions in animal + plant cells, and catch-up on missed class, by 15/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 30,074 / 50,000 words.
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    #6 - November 13th 2016

    Finished all my homework and planned studying up until this point. My to-do list for college is currently empty!! Now watch that be ruined tomorrow lol. Oh well, a good way to end a Sunday night.

    Tomorrow I am hoping to help out with the Children in Need fundraiser at my college, but I'm in class during the main hours so I'm not sure how that will go. I have just realised that up until now I've neglected to mention I'm a voluntary officer on my college's student association in the role of LGBT Officer.

    Current Goals
    EMPTY!!

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 35,076 / 50,000 words.
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    #7 - November 16th 2016

    I don't think I could be anymore exhausted and stressed out. Doesn't karma usually mean what you give is what you get returned? So how I have spent two days fundraising this week yet had the absolute worst luck with, well, everything. Train delays and cancellations. Class cancellations (once I'm already an hour late to the campus). Getting lost. Phone dying. Back-up phone dying while you're in the middle of a place you've never visited before. So on and so forth.



    However, despite this I've been having a lot of fun this week (Monday and Wednesday) raising money for Children in Need with my college. I got to visit another campus for the first time today, and other than struggling to find the way (thanks, back-up phone, for failing me) had a really great time. I'm hoping to help out tomorrow during breaks/lunch during six hours of chemistry (ughhh).

    There was an assessed lab in microbiology yesterday, that I feel went well. My goals have unfortunately increased. And I also had a lab report to edit and re-submit, which I did last night. I've also made some progress on NaNoWriMo; I broke 40k!

    Current Goals
    Worksheet for microbiology due 22/11.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 40,163 / 50,000 words.
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    #8 - November 17th 2016



    I FINALLY PASSED THIS GODDAMNED ASSESSMENT AFTER FIVE EDITS. Just in time for a new lab report to be set soon. Boo. But I passed the first assessed lab.

    Today was six hours of chemistry broken up with stints fundraising for Children in Need again. I was also told that I have an exam on November 24th - on top of also planning to help out at a college event that day. So busy-busy. Also got the paperwork filled out so that I will be enrolled in the internal assessments and exam for Higher Human Biology.

    But right now it's the beginning of (my) weekend and all I want is a Chinese takeaway and my bed.


    Current Goals
    Worksheet for microbiology due 22/11.
    Tutorials 1.2.1-1.4.1.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 42,012 / 50,000 words.
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    #9 - November 20th 2016

    It's been a relatively lazy weekend of video games and wine. But I did just validate my win on NaNoWriMo after breaking 50k this evening.



    Current Goals
    Worksheet for microbiology due 22/11.
    Tutorials 1.2.1-1.4.1.

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 51,301 / 50,000 words.
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    You seem really organised, and your thread is formatted really well. Good luck!
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    #10 - November 26th 2016

    My luck has gone from bad to absolutely dreadful. When will the world give me a break? I only managed to attend college one day this week due to ill health. I'm not going to sit and list the many things that have gone wrong recently, but I've not be the happiest of bunnies this week. I'll just focus on Thursday, as that was the hardest day. Firstly, I failed my chemistry test on Thursday. I don't have the marks back yet, but I know I failed. The content on the test was more advanced than what I had been expecting regarding structural formula and there were a lot of marks in that section of the test. I also know I failed a 6 mark question elsewhere, and everything I knew on balancing equations just seem to slip my mind.

    My bad mood about failing the test was kind of eased with the distraction SA work. This week there were events across all campuses promoting positive mental health and wellbeing and I helped out at the one on my campus during breaks/lunch on Thursday. I then had a successful afternoon in chemistry, because while I'm bad with recall knowledge and understanding theory somehow I seem to do well in the practicals - better than in my biology classes, actually. I got to leave class a half hour early due to finishing so quickly! Yet due to train muck-ups it took me over two hours to get home. Already in a bad mood, I came home to find my favourite and eldest fish, a Cambodian veil-tail betta named Naminé (aka. Nami), dead in her tank. This is my second loss in the past week, the other being a black tuxedo guppy named Vinny. Another of my bettas, Yuna, also looks to be on her way out as well.

    I've essentially given up with NaNo now, so I'm really glad I hit the goal early. So stressed and run down and generally everything that could be going wrong is going wrong. If it wasn't for a kind stranger, I would have lost my wallet on Thursday too. I've switched out my writing time for reading. I usually don't read fiction during a NaNo, as I'm the sort of person to use reading as a form of procrastination, but I made an exception in hopes of de-stressing. I started Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm about halfwaly through and loving it. I've had this book for 7-8 years but it's taken me this long to actually get around to reading it.

    In another news, I found out I've a mock test in cell biology on Tuesday, and then the real assessment the following Tuesday. After chemistry I'm not feeling too confident about it.

    Current Goals
    Lab diary entry and report for microbiology.
    Revise for cell biology.
    Finish personal statement!

    NaNoWriMo 2016
    Progress 53,148 / 50,000 words.
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    (Original post by DarkEnergy)
    You seem really organised, and your thread is formatted really well. Good luck!
    Thank you very much!
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    #11 - December 3rd 2016
    Rest in peace, Yuna. 🐟
    (the fish, in case anyone thinks thats a World of FF spoiler and decides to kick my ass).

    It's been a busy week. I got my results back for chemistry and I'm going to kick myself later for making it public... but I scored 8/60 marks. No I'm not missing a number there. EIGHT. My lecturer said he'll let me resit it in January - late January, I believe. So plenty of time and god knows I need it. Luckily the content we are currently covering in class keeps referring back to the basics, and I'm staying on top of it despite it being more advanced, so I feel like what I really need to improve in this area is my understanding of basic balancing equations and structural formula. And recall knowledge. That's definitely my weakest area.

    The cell biology mock test was on Tuesday this week. I scored 16/37... the pass mark was 22. So, unsuccessful, but I know why at least. I hadn't caught up properly on the third unit after missing three Tuesday's in a row (graduation day; class cancellation and the sub didn't show up; and illness) so I lacked the knowledge to answer the questions properly. The questions for the other two units content however I did pretty well on. So I know what I need to focus on in order to pass the real test on December 6th.

    In other news, I'm writing this post while procrastinating from a lab report on Viable Cell Counting that is due in midnight tomorrow. The biggest demon I've to face right now is Final Fantasy XV. Although while I'm working on my report (aka. procrastinating to write this) I'm watching my Dad play. It's helpful that I can't just decide "okay I've written enough!" and go back to playing the game. Although that grace may not last long - he's considering buying his own copy of it and we have two PS4s. If he does that then I actually have to rely on my own self-restraint (😰).


    Current Goals
    Viable Cell Counting report for microbiology on 04/12.
    Complete and submit reference request form by 05/12.
    Revise for maths test on 05/12.
    Revise for cell biology test on 06/12.
    Lab diary entries on Viable Cell Counting and Fungal mycelium plates for 06/12.
    ❗️Finish personal statement by 09/12.❗️

    Books Read
    Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami (Nov 24-29)
    7&7 - Anthology of Virtue and Vice - Various, DSP Publications (Dec 1- )
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    #12 - December 5th 2016

    Today was the second maths assessment and despite studying I still lacked confidence. So I was shocked to actually pass it! I scored 10/13 marks and the pass mark was 8/13. Very happy!



    Although the happiness may be short-lived. Tomorrow is the first cell biology assessment and after shorter study sessions over the past week I spent a solid three and a half hours this evening revising in a vain attempt to try and catch up on the whole unit I missed. I'm not entirely confident but I feel like I might have a decent chance at it. My hand is so sore and I ended up finishing off the entire section I dedicated in my notebook to cell biology, heh. The same occurred with chemistry 2-3 weeks ago, so I'm taking this as a sign that next semester I need dedicated notebooks per unit.

    I unfortunately lost another little fish since my previous post. My eldest betta, Mushu, succumbed during a second bout of swim bladder disease. While distressing and awful, this illness is also the subject of my graded unit project. I had tracked his decline, treatment, and recovery the first time he was afflicted with the disease and I did the same this time also. Swim in peace little man. 🐠


    Current Goals
    Viable Cell Counting report for microbiology on 04/12.
    Lab diary entries on Viable Cell Counting and Fungal mycelium plates for 06/12.
    ❗️Finish personal statement by 09/12.❗️

    Books Read
    Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami (Nov 24-29)
    7&7 - Anthology of Virtue and Vice - Various, DSP Publications (Dec 1-5)
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    #13 - December 6th 2016

    The cell biology test was this morning and while I left the house feeling a little off about it, I revised on the train (which takes a little over an hour) and by the time I stepped out of that overcrowded sardine can I actually had started to feel pretty good about it. Either that or listening to Culture Club's Don't Mind If I Do just improved my mood. That mood suffered a little when I arrived in the class and spoke to someone and found out we were also meant to have studied up on Parkinson's Disease and mutations of the p53 gene... two things I must have missed the class on. And I somehow missed it in the handouts during my study session last night. We had 30 minutes to study prior to starting, so I thought, 'okay, if I just study this I should be fine'. Due to the noise level in the class I really struggled committing to memory and even Boy George's lovely voice couldn't drown it out enough for me to focus. It turns out the test only asked questions about Type-1 diabetes, which I had no problems answering questions on. I felt so lucky! I left after 25 minutes of the allocated hour, but I feel it went well. There was only one question I didn't attempt because it threw me completely and I knew it was something I had never heard before. It was only worth 1-2 marks I believe though so I'm not too worried. The pass mark is 18/30 (60%) and unless I misinterpreted some questions, or didn't give enough detail (as I fear with one question) I think I may have passed it.


    Ignore the demon with the glowing eyes. She's harmless, I swear.

    Since getting home I've been playing catch-up on homework. I spent three and a half hours writing three lab diary entries (two for microbiology and one for chemistry) back to back and a little further work on my (late) lab report. But my attention has begun to waver now. I've been given a new date of December 9th to have it submitted by. While I want to finish it tonight I think I've reached my mental limit for the day. Might try to work a little more on my personal statement for a change of pace before I give up entirely for the night.

    Current Goals
    Viable Cell Counting report for microbiology on 09/12.
    Pick a practical and write up as a lab report for ??/12.
    ❗️Finish personal statement by 09/12.❗️

    Books Read
    Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami (Nov 24-29)
    7&7 - Anthology of Virtue and Vice - Various, DSP Publications (Dec 1-5)
    Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) - Elise Kova (Dec 6- )
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    Wow, Op. I admire your determination in improving yourself and pursuing your goal even after your ordeals.
    Well done, you really have done well for yourself and congratulations on your degree. Keep going you can do it! .
    I am a Biomedical Science graduate, if you have any problems in Biology (which is my forte) or Chemistry (though I had a love/hate relationship with Chemistry lol), I am only a PM away. .
    Keep going you can do it! .
 
 
 
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