Over the preceding weeks and months I have been neglecting my photoblog. In my own defence my diary has been a touch overcrowded. And yes, I own a diary which, to those who know me may come as somewhat of a surprise. I am aware of the adage "If you want something done, ask a busy person", but people rarely remind you of such tasks, and that certainly isn't their fault.
What has kept me so occupied since February I hear nobody asking? Many things, most of them exciting and enjoyable. Some, distinctly less palatable. Since my last entry I have completed my masters dissertation and poster, and delivered a presentation of my work. I have completed my final examination at the University of Leeds and in doing so accrued sufficient marks to secure a first class degree. This I discovered on the day I arrived in Barcelona after two weeks of cycling across Britain, Belgium, France and Spain with fellow RAG students to raise money for The Alzhiemer's Society. I tried to wait so as to avoid potentially bad news ruining a big day, but my resistance lasted all of 10-15 seconds. Pitiful. Bryony joined me in Barcelona for 4 days after I arrived and we stayed in a campervan in the city centre which, had we known how hot it would be (a heat wave of around 35-37 degrees celsius) we would not have booked. Another story to tell I guess.
Both Bryony and I graduated from our respective universities, the former also securing a first. We both worked exceptionally hard, but perhaps Bryony more so than anyone I know, and so deserving it completely. We joined our friends on a weekend away in the peaks and attended the wedding of Andrew and Jamie for which I was the best man. It was a wonderful day with wonderful people and a joy to be reunited with old kedington folk and friends. The speech was only slightly soporific and reasonably well received. Even if it was tragic which i sincerely hope it wasn't, I'm not sure anyone would have had the heart to tell me so. Perhaps for the best I don't make any enquiries.
Job hunting has begun for us both. It sounds awfully bratish to moan in this position, so I won't. I am extraordinarily privileged to be in the position to pursue a variety of careers, and this is a little intimidating. Despite this I am very much looking forward to progressing. I firmly believe, despite the bleating of others, that the time I spent at university was significantly more stressful than most employment opportunities I could pursue. This won't be due to my job being easy, but rather the pressure I exert on myself in the university environment. I relish the opportunity of working to assist others rather than to further my own ends. The pressure will remain but the way I see it is different and I welcome the challenge. Although I have finished my formal education for the moment, I don't expect for one moment that I will stop learning and would be thoroughly disappointed if that were the case. Travelling through Europe served well as a reminder that though I may have studied hard and learned much, it barley scratches the surface of what there is to know. I proverbial drop in the ocean.
That reminds me of one of my favourite trivial facts: There are 8 times as many atoms in a teaspoon of water than their are teaspoons of water in the Atlantic. How fabulous is that. Have you ever taken a moment just to look at the Atlantic ocean? Its big. If I've taken anything from my degree, its to remember that the most important thing is, as Feynman remarked, "the pleasure of finding things out". That fact has no practical use to you or I, other than to bore your friends or colleagues with perhaps. Sometimes its enough to be blown away by something that is truly amazing, but serves no purpose. In someways I prefer those kind of facts. Determined for the sheer joy of finding things out.
The picture above is a charity bookshop on the outskirts of Barcelona where you pay how much you think is right. There was a small section of books I could access, but mostly they were written in Spanish or Catalonian. So much information I can't decipher and so equally, so much to learn.