St Andrews

As you may have read in my biography in the about page, I completed my Bachelor of Science by reading Geography at The University of St Andrews, Scotland's first University. I have only made a handful of visits since I completed this course. A few occasions to use their laser seive to analyse sediment from Greenland while researching my PhD, but since then I have only made two trips. Once in late December in 2005 with some friends and then again last Sunday.

The thought of returning to a place I became so familiar with after such a long absence has always made me feel a little uneasy. When I was there in 2005 I was horrified that Costa Coffee has opened up, the whole idea of 'chain' shops seemed to go against the idea of St Andrews and its 'lost in time feeling'.

Of course, finding Starbucks, Pizza Express and a whole host of other multinational shops in the city this time certainly shocked me, although if I had thought about it for more than a few minutes before I arrived I would have figured out that this was an obvious progression. 

It's hard going back, it's hard not looking for the familiar signs, the people and the feeling that doesn't seem to be there anymore. I think it was the excitement of being there as a student, not knowing what was going to happen each day. I think I could see it in the eyes of the students that I did see though, I did feel a pinch of jealousy.

Of course, some things never change, the red gowns were adorned by the students coming out from St Salvators Chapel heading towards the Pier Walk, possibly heading to the Hebdomadar's office for sherry, or perhaps a new tradition of heading to Starbucks for a Frappuccino. Trust me, the sherry was always better.

I didn't take many photographs as I was mainly walking around in my own thoughts of years gone by. Click the thumbnail for the large version.

Glasgow University

It was an interesting wander around the University of Glasgow on Sunday. It dredged up a lot of old memories from my time at Glasgow (Caledonian) before I started at the University of St Andrews. I spent just over three months in what is quite possibly the worst place I have ever lived. I think the excitement of living on my own at 17 clouded the fact that the dampness was spreading throughout the flat. When I passed by it on Sunday it looks like it has been renovated. I will never forget the time that the bailiffs appeared at the door looking for the landlord. Fun times!

The walk around this area and the memories that came to me didn't dampen (ouch) my spirits though. It was a great day out, much better than the last trip to Glasgow, mainly because it was in an area that I knew a lot better. There was only three of us on the trip and it was great to meet someone new, Ash, she was a splendid guide for the day as well!

I've posted the photographs that I like below. 

 

Graduation

I graduated from The University of Edinburgh on Monday with an M.Sc. in Geographical Information Sciences. I have always felt a bit overwhelmed at the pomp and circus that is the graduation ceremony. It is a time honoured ceremony that is a celebration of completing a course. Celebrating the commitment and hard work that allows the conferring of the academic (in this case) degree. The graduation was at the Usher Hall as the McEwan Hall, where The University of Edinburgh usually has graduation, is undergoing renovation.

I think I find graduation overwhelming as it is nerve-wracking crossing a stage in front of over a few thousand people, trying hard to remember how to walk normally.

I thought I would post a few of the photographs that I took on the day and a couple from friends timelines.

 

Edinburgh University Class of 2016 GIS / Earth Observation / GIS & Archeology

Kerst and myself.

Maria looking thoroughly delighted!

Nick, Will and Maia discuss the finer points of Python.

Ryan gives the ceremony the thumbs up.

The parental units and myself.

The published list.

Professor Bruno Labour's speech after receiving an honorary degree.

Belated Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day (Canada) occurs on the second Monday of October, our M.Sc. class celebration was a little belated but this didn't stop the celebration going ahead on the 16th of October instead. 

I took a few candid photographs during the evening and these are the shots that are safe for public consumption. I'll apologise here for the shocking standard of these photographs but to be fair there was a lot of whisky and wine going around (but at least I didn't take part in the 'buck fast tasting').

It was a nice evening to mix with the new class as well as catching up with my own class from the M.Sc. course. It's great to hear where my fellow classmates are now working and their new experiences at the forefront of GIS. 

New academic Year, new academic students.

It seems almost surreal that the M.Sc. course I completed last year has started again. I have been helping out in some of the practicals which has also allowed me some time to work on the paper that I am trying to publish.

It's interesting talking to the new students and discussing with them about some of the course options and what they hope to get out of the course. It's amazing how similar their thoughts are to what I was thinking last year. 

I am keeping myself busy mostly with application forms for employment, learning R (a statistical programming language), learning some statistics (because I am gluten for punishment) and re-drawing diagrams for the paper I am writing. I also have three interviews next week, which is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time.

Seeing as the new academic year has started I thought it was about time that I posted a couple of the photographs from August when my class and I were celebrating finishing our dissertations with some of the academic staff :-)