I am still here in Sheffield geeking out on science! One of my best decisions so far was to take a course called Research Techniques which is for Physical Geography students. The aim of this course is interesting because this is where the Sheffield undergraduate students have to come up with their dissertation topic that they will pursue until graduation This class is also unique as it requires a week long trip as a group to the coveted Lake District of England. We completed this trip two weeks ago.
First of all, the dissertation. At first, I didn’t think I would get as much out of this project as the other students since I will not be graduating at the University of Sheffield. However, I met with my advisor here and she introduced the most fascinating idea to me. I don’t want to jinx it, but let’s just say it involves bringing a successful environmental project from the UK and using GIS and Remote Sensing to try and forecast how much of an improvement it could bring to U.S. waterways. I am really excited to have found a bridge between the two countries and think that I have found a topic that really excites me.
Now, the Lake District. When I first signed up for this course, I was a little nervous about this trip. Me, and 80 English students that I don’t know at all sleeping, eating, and working together for a week. The thought freaked me out a little I must admit. However, it was a really rewarding and wonderful experience. We studied glaciology, hillslopes, and climatology. In the second half of the week we split up into groups to work out a hypothesis and set out to the field to prove or disprove it in a final presentation. I won’t go into the boring details, but what fun we had! We spent two days up on the mountain working, laughing, talking, and freezing! At one point we had to come down to seek warmth in a nearby church which was probably chillier than the mountaintop! At the end of the day we came back to our hostel and all ate supper together and then joined up in the hostel “pub”, which was a man behind a counter selling wine and pints of lager. This activity happened nightly and it was enjoyed by students and professors alike.
Then the final day of presentations came. Up there in the mountains, we all listened to each others presentations in a room in our cozy hostel. We all sat with cups of tea and listened and asked questions. We all did a great job and learned so much from each other. I was impressed by my classmates and all of their knowledge. When the bus brought us back to Sheffield I felt a little pang of sadness realizing that I already missed my big, cozy group.