Tag Archives: uni

Graduation

Graduation has finally been and gone. I don’t know what I want to do with myself now, but I know that it will have nothing to do with chemistry. Everyone’s asked me ‘What are you doing next?’ and honestly I have no idea. I gained a degree, over three stone in weight and absolutely no direction for my future. I need direction and some healthy living!

Uni was a fantastic experience; I met loads of really cool people along the way. I can see myself still being great friends with more than a few in years to come, but I don’t think university is for everyone and if I could choose to do the last three years over I’m not entirely sure I’d do it again.

Being bad at exams meant GCSEs and (what I completed of) AS Levels at school were a struggle, but I got through them. I left school to go to college to study for a National Diploma in Applied Science and it was ace since exams weren’t a thing I had to content with any more.

I carried on to do a HND in Applied Chemistry and got a merit. It was awesome, and no exams meant that whilst I had to understand the content I didn’t have to cram it all into my brain to splurge back out onto an exam paper. Going to ‘proper’ uni in 2012 was a major wake up call. I struggled massively in exams, and even had to retake a year because whilst I passed my dissertation relatively well, I’d completely fucked up my exams. Everyone else around me had always done well in exams, and I just didn’t get them. I’d not done an exam in nearly five years and just didn’t know how to revise and study for one.

I still don’t really.

Anyway, if anyone ever reads this I’d say think long and hard about whether a degree is right for you. If you’re shit at exams like me then it’ll be a massive uphill struggle. I don’t really know if my degree is going to be of any use to me ever other than to say “I have a degree”. I certainly don’t like chemistry like I did five years ago.

Going forward, I’ve started self studying for a CCNA qualification (on the advice of a close friend) which is something I’m actually interested in and have been for a long time. Looking back, maybe this should of been my path a couple of years back. Ah well, I’m still young 🙂

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Too many games, not enough time

It’s been a while since I posted anything on my blogs.

I spent Christmas in South Wales, passed my January exams, and completed some games.

Super Mario 3D World was completed with the help of my girlfriend (We’ve not started the bonus challenge levels yet.), I got around to finishing Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies at last. Pretty good, but I should probably skip novel-like games in the future. I also completed Dragon Quest IV on the DS which had been nearly completed for months. That was a lot of fun, the last battle was phenomenally difficult.

Anyway, it’s back to studying for May exams (last ones ever!) and playing of more games in the between hours of uni/work/uni/work.

I bought Monster Hunter 4 this week so I could experience the online whilst it was still new. I’m also slowly playing through Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Fallout: New Vegas. Time is precious! Oh, I got an ambassador New 3DS too which I’ve been meaning to review at some point!

Betws-Y-Coed Miniature Railway Trip

At Betws-Y-Coed station, there is a railway museum and miniature railway. The museum entry fee was £1.50, and so were tickets on the miniature railway. Having nearly run out of pennies, we decided to hop on the miniature railway, as you do. We even got cute little tickets which the driver checked…

ticket

Miniature Railway Ticket

Only when the train started and a family with young children walked onto the platform did we realise that this probably looked a bit strange: Two 24 year old guys, and a 19 year old girl sat in the tiny carriages. Of course, we were the only people actually on the train.

betws-y-coed-mini-railway-james-laurence

Me and Laurence on the train!

The train itself was coal fired, and we had to wait for coal to be loaded before we were on our miniature way around the one mile long track. We passed the previously mentioned family about three times, since the track double back and looped on itself as seen in the background of the next photo. It was amusing, to say the least!

betws-y-coed-mini-railway-museum

After we looked around Betws-Y-Coed itself and determined that we couldn’t afford anything here we continued along the A5 into Bangor stopping along the way to take some more photographs and to look at hills and waterfalls. It was a great end to a busy weekend trekking around North Wales looking at RNLI stations including Beaumaris, Porthdinllaen, Abersoch, Pwllheli, Criccieth, Llandudno and Conwy (which Laurence will be posting about on his blog ‘soon’!)

Once I get hold of them, I’ll add some more photos to this post!

Busy busy busy!

So, I managed to avoid blogging at all in September (and half of October!). It’s been fairly hectic recently, work filled up my spare time in September and now I’m back at uni full time too!

I’ve been working towards completing some games, and contemplating the future of my various projects including Tupcast. Currently, you might of noticed that Tupcast is in hibernation. We don’t have time to record between us, let along write up simple blog posts. We’ll see how that goes over the next few months.

I’m hoping the next episode might be released mid September when Laurence comes to Bangor once again. The last time we recorded was when he came to Bangor… Until that point, I guess Tupcast is going to continue in a state of suspended animation.

Meanwhile I have started my third year project, and am getting back into studying whilst Pokemon X&Y, and GTA V among other epic games have been released. I don’t have enough spare time.

I have some Tupcast posts planned, but Pokemon is calling me… Maybe I should just be studying instead? 😉

Until next time!

Reichel Halls, Bangor University

I was going through my photos from uni that I took last year, and realised that people looking into accomodation at Bangor University might like to take a look at some of my photos of the inside of my halls. So here goes!

Reichal Halls
Outside of Reichel. To the right of this photo is the rest of the halls site.

My room looking quite sad.
My room looking quite sad.

I was in a large room looking into the courtyard. Mind you, you’ll mainly be looking into other peoples windows and the roof of the conference centre. These rooms are much bigger than any of the new building at the expense of not having your own bathroom. I was quite jealous of those with mountain views.

For me, paying an extra £17 a week for a bathroom didn’t sound exciting. The prices have all gone up, so I don’t know what the difference is for this year. Reichel isn’t like the other halls, it’s laid out a bit like a hotel along long corridors of rooms. Again, I didn’t miss not having flats that much.

The kitchens vary wildly depending on where you get located. My kitchen was one of the smallest with 5/6 people in it. The big kitchens (on the corners) are much larger and have 8-10 people in them I think. Our kitchen had too many people, so I had to share a cupboard. More photos?

You can't see them in this photo, but the mountains look great with snow on them!
You can’t see them in this photo, but the mountains look great with snow on them!

The Fridge
The Fridge

Nothing too fancy. Reichel seems to have some of the newer appliances on site which is nice. Wifi has recently been installed into the halls and whilst it wasn’t switched on when I left in June it is now! (I’m back for resits and staying in Adda.)

You’ll get a proper key for your room in Reichel and a code to get through the front door. No fancy smart cards for us! Also handy as your room won’t lock itself when you pop out for two minutes without your key. I recall it costing something like a tenner to security if you get locked out from your room and need them to let you in.

One of the downsides of Reichel is that it’s slightly further than the rest of the halls from the university buildings (not that far really, but you’ll notice it when it is tipping it down!). Other than that, the reduced cost makes it a great place to live (If you can go without the en-suite… which you most likely can!).

The sports centre is a two minute walk away and it costs something like £90 for a 9 month academic membership. Don’t bother. I never went even though it was so close. If you’re moving in to halls in September and you run Linux on your PC be sure to check out my post about how to authenticate with the network so you can access the internet to ‘study’!

Time to finish off this post with some more photos. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me @geekyjames or post a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you!

Bangor Pier
Bangor Pier

The view from the Pier
The view from the Pier

The view from Menai Bridge towards Bangor Pier
The view from Menai Bridge towards Bangor Pier

Looking out for the Chem Tower Toilets
Looking out for the Chem Tower Toilets

The 35p McMuffin Burger

These cost about 40p each to make. Morrison’s muffins are 49p for four. The burgers are generally 8 for £1 (frozen, substitute if you dislike the possibility of eating horse… I don’t mind)… I found 6 eggs reduced at Asda for 56p. Combine them to make these pieces of awesomeness and revel in how amazing you really are. Also note the lack of grease running down your arms from this home made version…

Student McMuffin

Nom!

Swap the burgers for square sausage if you aren’t a broke student. Or nicer muffins; or just go buy a real McMuffin since you can probably afford it. Enjoy!

Using a Linux computer in University halls

If you run Linux on a PC or laptop in halls of residence you may of realised that most universities are using 802.1x authentication on their networks. It’s great, secure all that. It can just be a pain to set up. I’m currently in halls at Bangor University and couldn’t figure out how to get it all working in Ubuntu or Crunchbang. To be fair, it’s pretty unreliable in Windows too… “Unable to authenticate!”… Grr but I digress.

I found this guide on Aberystwyth University’s website, and it worked great. Basically you need to download and make sure that wpa_supplicant is installed (It should be in pretty much all modern Linux distros), then create a config file for it using the details on the page linked. I’ll paste them below in case they ever take the page down.

Start up a command line interface and create a directory by typing:

mkdir /var/run/wpa_supplicant

Using a text editor create a wpa_supplicant.conf file in /etc/wpa_supplicant. Inside this file enter the following lines:
# BEGIN wired network configuration

ap_scan=0

ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant

network={ 
      key_mgmt=IEEE8021X 
      eap=PEAP 
      phase1="peaplabel=1" 
      phase2="auth=MSCHAPV2" 
      identity="your University email address" 
      password="your University password" 
}

# ENG wired network configuration

Open a command terminal window and type:
sudo chmod 600 /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Edit /etc/network/interfaces with the following. (The bits in bold)
#BEGIN

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp
wpa-driver wired
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

#END

Restart your network card by typing
sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

You should now be connected to the University network

You’ll have to do a bit of experimenting with the identity field. Aber wants your entire uni email whereas at Bangor I just needed my username for it to work. Try both until it works. I’m fairly certain these settings are going to be fairly universal for all uni’s who utilise 802.1x authentication systems.

Me³

We’re nearly twenty percent through 2013. I’m 23. I’ve spend many years considering getting my life into shape but I guess now is a good time before it’s too late. In comes Me³ which is my fancy term for what I want to change and focus on for the next 90 days. Yes, this is going to be a 90 day challenge! 90 days from today ends June 1, 2013.

What does Me³ comprise of? Studying well, living well, playing well (Me.. cubed.. get it?! :P).

Study

I need to get into proper study habits. My last course broke my revision and exam skills because it was just coursework. This year I was thrown back at exams and didn’t do terribly well (whilst I did quite well at the assessed coursework such as lab reports).

Since I have to resit most of the January exams I’m going to make a complete set of revision cards for each module last semester and this semester. Mind maps/spider diagrams were always useful back when I used to actually revise too so I’m going to see if they can still help me out. I guess I need to dedicate time each lectures each day to completing and reading my notes and stuff like textbooks. Not too much, I don’t want to overload and burn out. The latest time to study would be 9pm each evening leaving a few hours spare to relax and do other things before bed time (preferably before midnight!)

Living

Last summer I managed to lose quite a bit of weight but that has pretty much gone out of the window since I’ve been living away at uni. I bought a gym membership for the year in October and I’ve gone three times. Three times…. Yeah, I should probably get on that. 2-3 times a week mostly on the days I don’t have insane amounts of lectures or shifts a work will be enough to get me back on that wagon.

Recently we’ve been cooking more meals in bulk. Spaghetti bolognese, an amazing mixed vegetable mixture composed of tomato sauce, spices and other cheap things (Student, remember?). It’s cheap and healthy. For under £4 we can get around 10 good sized servings out of one cooking session. A frozen pizza for a £1 sounds awesome, but honestly you’d rather not subject your body to it. If we already have delicious things frozen then it’s easier to say no to junk food. As my day likes to put it, “eat less, move more”.

Playing

My backlog of games is pretty huge. To round of my 90 day challenge I want to try and complete up to two games a month depending on my workload from uni and how close exams are getting (They start May 14th I believe). As I said, there is no point studying 24 hours a day; I’ll just get bored and quit like I usually do when I try and go overboard with stuff. I want to enjoy my time at uni too. Spending quality time with my girlfriend, reading, watching movies, playing games all factor into this. I want do well, whilst enjoying myself.

June 1st 2013

What should I be like in ninety days? I should be feeling confident in the exams I’ve already sat, I should be feeling much happier and healthier within myself, and I should be making steady if somewhat slow progress though my backlog of games, I’ll be ready to start the next ninety days up until We’re nearly twenty percent through 2013. I’m 23. I’ve spend many years considering getting my life into shape but I guess now is a good time before it’s too late. In comes Me³ which is my fancy term for what I want to change and focus on for the next 90 days. Yes, this is going to be a 90 day challenge! 90 days from today ends June 1, 2013.

Semester Two

Exams are over, lectures start again on Monday. What am I going to do differently this term? I’m going to study… That is, I’m going to spend at least an hour a night going over my notes. Uploading them to Google Drive. Making sure I understand them. Making sure they’ll make sense in three months time. This lot of exams has been a big shock from what I’ve been used to at college for my ND and HND. Revision? Wow, that was a lot harder than I remembered it being five years ago.

This is a behaviour that I need to change as soon as possible, to give myself the best chance at better exam results in the Summer. Going to the gym (that I’ve already paid for!) is going to be another focus of this semester. We went yesterday, and are currently planning to go most mornings (I have 4/5 9am starts… Welcome to the real world) to make the most of each day and start to feel better about myself. We’ll see how it goes!

Twenty Thirteen

I don’t make ‘New Years’ resolutions, because I never stick to them. This year I might actually try… Following on from a previous post for Tupcast about how I have so many games that I don’t play; I have decided to create a plan for 2013. That is, I’m going to complete at least 12 games in the next 12 months and the same number of books before December 31st 2013.

Games that I am planning to play currently include Skyrim, (finally getting around to) Half Life 1 and 2, Magical Starsign, and maybe a few Dragon Quest & Professor Layton games. Bookwise, I’m going to start with ‘Life of Pi’ which has been on sale for 20p for Kindle and then probably move back to the Game of Thrones series next to read a few of those. The week after Christmas I finally got around to watching the three Lord of the Rings movies back to back before going to see The Hobbit which was brilliant except the IMAX failed midway through the film rendering us listening to a radio play for a few minutes until they fixed the projector

You shall not pass

As for other life goals, I actually plan to visit the gym this semester since I’ve paid for it and never actually been. Yeah, embarrassing. I know. Studying too, lots and lots of studying this term. Exams start next week… Back to revision. I’ll be sure to keep my non existent readers updated 😉 This will likely be it for updates until exam season is over (Not that there were many updates recently anyway…)