Saturday, 7 November 2009

And so it begins...

Well, today marks the beginning of the York Road Trip, and in forty minutes I will be leaving the house to head to the train station and meet my friends. It's far too early, of course, but I'm too excited to wait any longer than that.

Very much looking forward to this. Camera's charged and functional (hopefully), phone's charged and ready, clothes are mostly put-on and operational, hair is a mess, but that's to be expected, coffee's been made and drunk, music is on, friends are on their way, and it's not raining. This is a good moment here, I like it.

Seriously, I've been looking forward to this visit for weeks. I don't get this excited about Christmas. It's like being a little kid again, I swear. Genius.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Onset of work

So, the past week has been... well, I'm not going to say hectic, as that's a lie and the biologists in my house may very well kill me. But it has involved more work than previous weeks, which shocked me somewhat. Work? In a Psychology degree? This isn't what I signed up for! Especially not in the first year!

I've decided to start peppering my posts with photos of uni.

For example, for Friday I have to write an essay plan, fill out a self-evaluation form and make a flyer about Neuro-Linguistic Programming in a group of three, aimed at 16 year old prospective Psychology students. Now, this may not sound like much (that's because it isn't), but the NLP flyer is bloody annoying, if only because it's taken me, like, six days to work out what the hell it actually is.

Seriously, when the Wikipedia article is so convoluted that you can't grasp the concept, there's something seriously wrong.

Yes, students. Take note: Wikipedia has failed me. Panic.

The lake in the middle of the uni. Beautiful but toxic.

In other, less terrifying news, course rep elections are currently running this week. For those of you who are interested (i.e. first year Psychology students at the University of York), go to and log in. Then drag the candidates into your order of preference. Simples. *cheep*

In even more, much more exciting news, the York Road Trip is happening on Saturday! Friends from Gloucestershire, Salford and London are coming to visit me in sunny ol' York, and I am so excited that I may just start jumping for joy. Seriously, as Saturday approaches, I will become insufferable. Housemates, you have been warned.

Seriously, it's going to be awesome. So many hugs, so many photos, so little time. York won't know what hit it. :D

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Viking Raid

Really fun night last night: Viking Raid. That's a bit of a misnomer, I'll admit - it's more of a crawl. Without any Vikings. But a great deal of alcohol, which I'm pretty sure is historically accurate.

Everyone got their t-shirts earlier on in the day (there was, originally, a choice between a pleasant, albeit baby, blue and garish, shocking orange. Guess which was the only one they had left when I went there?), and then headed over to Derwent to get a couple of bendy buses into town (pictured right). I really love the bendy buses in York. They're purple. 'Nuff said.

With the routes printed on our backs (horribly impractical - they should have been upside down on our fronts), we set off into the big wide world in search of bars. And bars we found. I realise this is a bit of an alcohol-heavy post, but it was all in good fun. The route consisted of the Punch Bowl (a Wetherspoons), Montey's (a cocktail bar), BPM (which was closed when we first turned up), Flares (where they play ABBA and Blondie all night - bloody brilliant), Varsity (which was overpriced), Vodka Revolution (which we skipped because it was even more overpriced), the Slug and Lettuce, Lowthers and eventually Gallery.

We went to the Punch Bowl; it was packed, so we stayed for one drink and then headed off. We skipped Montey's for the same reason (and because it smelled like cabbage), and headed straight on to BPM. It was shut, so we continued to Flares. Fourth bar on the crawl, and we were there by 8:30. Admittedly, though, we did go back to BPM later on, which was quite pleasant - assuming you like the mingled smells of vomit and industrial-grade detergent.

I won't go into much more detail, as detailed accounts of drunken escapades can never lead to anything good, but suffice it to say we ended up having a really fun night. We did skip the penultimate two bars in favour of heading to Willow, which we'd heard good things about. It was exactly as it had been sold: a Chinese restaurant that changes to a nightclub and offers free prawn crackers all night. Also, completely empty. It was rather brilliant.

In short, although the name was misleading and the bars overcrowded, we had a really fun night. And a nice, long sleep afterwards. Just so glad I don't have a 9:15 this morning.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


I started to write this post on my phone, which was ridiculously exciting ("Feeling too lazy to get to your laptop? There's an app for that."), but then I closed the application by accident and lost the post. I guess even the great and wonderful Apple isn't without its faults.*

Basically, the gist of it was that I tend to think of blog posts as having to be very long and detailed accounts of everything going on in my life at the time, which is just silly - look at most blogs out there, and they're as boring as a three-hour Statistics lecture:

Today I woke up and looked at the birds. They were really pretty. Here's a poem I wrote about it:
Oh birds, birds, birds,
You are so lovely,
And your plumage is so colourful
It makes you look... dovely...


So anyway, I've started lectures now (*gaspshockhorrorgasp*). The first term of Psychology BSc at York is basically two modules: Scientific Skills for Psychologists (SSP) and An Introduction to Psychology as a Biological Science (ITP). SSP is, obviously, just two weeks' worth of Research Methods and Statistics packed into two months of lectures. Fortunately, though, the lecturer is really animated and enthusiastic, so she manages to maintain interest in the subject to the point where you suddenly realise after about an hour that you're still listening to the differences between Independent Groups and Repeated Measures.

ITP, on the other hand, is a collection of diverse and different lectures, each on a different topic and taken by a different lecturer. So, as you could probably guess, it varies quite dramatically. The first lecture we had was an introduction to the history and methodologies of Psychology (apparently psychologists carry out experiments. Who knew?), which was paradoxically engaging, while the second was Psychobiology and the Central Nervous System, but it was taken by a guy who just read the slides back to us.

Seriously. Quite possibly the most interesting field in the entire bloody subject, and I might as well have grabbed the lecture notes and left. Thoroughly disappointing. It's a good thing that the SSP lecturer doesn't use that approach, or I don't think I'd survive until Term 2.

Still, I read about the subject in the book later, and wrote up all my notes into nice pretty, colour-coded folders, which is ridiculously pleasing, so I can't really complain. And he did talk about his research into Alzheimer's and recognition of words based on age of acquisition, which was fascinating.

Ooh, but the best part of it is undoubtedly the fact that our tenth lecture is on Memory, and the lecturer is Prof. Alan Baddeley. Baddeley!! Of 'and Hitch' notoriety! He's a real person, and he's taking one of our lectures!! I'm sorry for the abuse of exclamation marks, but this is ridiculously exciting. Apparently Graham Hitch also works in this department, but he doesn't associate with Freshers. THEY'RE REAL PEOPLE!!!!!! Why was I not informed of this before? All of my Psychology teachers neglected to inform me of this important fact.

I'm also in the running to be a Course Rep for the Psychology Department on the YUSU Academic Affairs Committee. It's difficult to describe, but basically I get to yell at department heads until they pay attention to us little people down below. Not quite as exciting as discovering that psychologists are real, but still note-worthy, I feel.


*Note: Actually, the app isn't made by Apple, so I don't think they can be held accountable for its faults.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Here endeth the week...

My first week is now over. I have officially been here over a week now. This time last Sunday I was down in the kitchen with a cup of tea, chatting and making friends with my new housemates and eagerly anticipating a week of drunken revelry and little work - a state I plan to recreate in about half an hour.

Last night was odd. Most of the people in my house had bought tickets to Access All Areas (the campus-wide bar crawl), but when the time came to actually head out, we all found ourselves peculiarly reluctant. We were having much more fun in the kitchen, chatting and drinking (juice, obviously, being as we're students).

Eventually, however, the promise of the Cheeky Girls performing over in Derwent made us get up and leave. We had no idea where anything was, predictably, so we just went over to Vanbrugh, following the direction of the lights in the sky, until we happened across a bar or some such where something seemed to be happening.

I think we managed about two places before we gave up and went home (although I did spot a couple of people I knew out and about, which was nice), then I found another group who was just heading out as I came back. So out I went again, but that proved to be as fruitless as the last time (lost them around Vanbrugh again).

At this point, I decided that enough was enough, and so headed back and stayed up 'til 2 in the kitchen, as I seem to have spent most evenings this week.

Other than that, nothing much to report. I start lectures tomorrow (work? What is this strange concept?) and there's a Comedy Night tonight, starring Simon Bird from The Inbetweeners, which should be quite exciting. I hope he's funny.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Freshers Ball and Meet the Department

I'd like to say it's been a hectic couple of days, but... *ahem*

I've been making lots of shiny new friends, going to all the James events and generally having a whole lot of wholesome fun. Last time I posted something was Monday, which was the day of the Psychology ice-breaker and Freshers' Ball. My verdict follows:

Ap-cray onway away ickstay. Actually, it wasn't too bad. The ice-breaker was just weird. PsychSoc got all the Psychology freshers into a room and told us to mingle. Unfortunately, it was packed, and the lecture hall wasn't massive, so I ended up getting a bit claustrophobic and leaving. Did make a new friend or two out of it, though, so it wasn't a complete loss.

The Freshers' Ball was held at York Racecourse, and that was a real experience. We were supposed to get a bus to the venue at 8pm, there were supposed to be a few artists that everyone else assured me were real and fairly decent, and then we were supposed to get a bus back.

Problem #1: everyone in the university was getting the buses, so the queue stretched all the way from James to Vanbrugh, which is quite a way to queue. Unfortunately, the people in my house are too fun to have the patience to queue for so long, so we went back to our house (even those from the other houses came with us, because we're just that awesome), and had a few drinks to pass the time. Then, when we went back to the queue, one of us got glowsticks for being the last one in the queue, so we all had wrist and neck decorations. Success.

Problem #2: when we got there, we couldn't find the dance floor or, indeed, the live music. All we found was four floors of a lot of people packed into a small space, with loud thumping music coming from speakers and a bar (again, on every floor) with a queue to rival the bus queues. Not to mention that, at £3/pint, it was difficult to get drunk without breaking the bank.

Eventually we settled into a rhythm, sending scouts to buy a couple of drinks at a time while the rest of us guarded our carefully protected space in the centre. At some point, we did find some live music, but the main act that had been promised never turned up, so it was disappointing.

Don't get me wrong, though. As far as nights go, I've had a lot worse. Ended up walking around and forcibly making friends with vulnerable-looking freshers who had strayed away from their flocks. Can't remember any names, but it was fun at the time.

Then, of course, we decided not to get a bus back, as we were feeling lazy, so we just bought a taxi. Between a group, it was only a couple of quid each, so it wasn't bad.

Then today, I went to the Meet the Psychology Department thing. From drunken freshers to chatting about hippocampus shape and the effects on topographical awareness with doctors who are going to be publishing their work in upcoming journals, it was a really surreal experience. I was fully aware that I was talking too much, and that now the lecturers probably hate me, but it was a really enjoyable hour.

I don't think it had really sunk in before quite how awesome Psychology at uni would be. It's finally dawning on me, I'm happy to say.

And now I have to start getting ready for the James Bond formal this evening. I don't have a tux, or even a bowtie, so I'll just have to slum it and go in a suit. I'm such a slob. :P No doubt photos will be up at some point.

Monday, 12 October 2009

First night

Well, the first day/night here was really fun. And the fact that I can still look at a computer screen this morning is promising - I've been up since 7am, for Pete's sake. Haven't left my room yet (it was too cold to get out of bed, as I left my window open, so I read. Good times, I love it).

Met all of the people in my house yesterday, and we spent much of the day (after kicking the parental units out, naturally) sitting in the kitchen with tea and biscuits and just chatting. Then our 'Mums' and 'Dads' turned up. :\

Don't get me wrong, the system of second- and third-years helping Freshers and guiding them through the first week or so is a good one. It just seems a bit Freudian for a Psychology student to feel comfortable with. And trust me, Freud would've gone into some sort of fit.

Each house gets two Mums and two Dads. Ours were very nice, and brought us presents (a mug, bus timetables, a pencil and a personal alarm) as well as sweets and drinks, which immediately won everyone over. When in doubt, just bribe people with candy. Always works.

Then we had a fire and safety talk. What was it about, you ask? Well, I have no clue. I was sitting right at the back and the guys suddenly lost their microphone halfway through the talk, so all I got was something about starting fires and putting condoms over smoke alarms. Thanks for the ideas there, guys. Wouldn't have thought of those without your help.

After the talk, there was a barbecue. Well, I say barbecue. We were in a large restaurant hall, and on one side, the kitchens had burgers. This was the only reason people came to the talk, I think; so that they didn't have to cook for themselves on the first night. It was like a bloody stampede. One moment, you're sitting there craning to hear about why foreigners shouldn't be allowed to use ostrich burners (seriously, I have no idea what he was saying - this was the closest approximation I could get, having heard 'foreign students' and 'burners'. I added the ostrich bit myself), and then before you realise he's stopped talking, everyone in the hall is sprinting in the direction of the barbecues.

Gotta love that mob mentality.

But anyway, after that we walked into town. As my parents follow this blog, I can't in good conscience describe everything that happened. Needless to say, it was quiet evening of contemplation, chess and a single glass of wine each. That took half an hour to queue for. Seriously - drunk people in queues are bloody idiotic. You'd think that no one knew how to form an orderly line. It's all shouting, pushing and queue-jumping. Queue-jumping! Doesn't that still carry the death penalty in some areas of the UK?

Freshers Ball tonight, and a Psychology ice-breaker this afternoon, which is something to look forward to. It'll be nice to meet people from my course.

I have to go and investigate now. There's an odd rhythmic sound outside my window, like someone's beating some of that card they use to make thunder in theatres with a sock full of jellied eels. Possibly a fisherman?

Hm. Should probably go and grab some breakfast, though. I hear eating is a promoted idea in this day and age. I'm thinking full English, with a pot of coffee and a copy of the Times. I will be lucky to get a slice of burnt toast and a glass of tap water, methinks.