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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

2020: Four Months In

It's hard to believe that we're coming to the end of April already. It seems like yesterday I was packing up my car at home ready to head back to uni for my second term. I've been very lackadaisical when it comes to blogging recently - believe me this hasn't been intentional! I have been very busy working on assignments to hand into uni as well as the disruption of leaving my halls of residence and returning home partway through second term. I would love to share some posts about how my first year at Harper has gone so far for anyone planning to (hopefully!) start studying there later this year as I know it has been difficult for lots of people choosing where to go to university and they may not have had the chance to look around all of their choices.

For now I thought it might be interesting to share some of my hilights from the start of this year.

January started off with me at home for the Christmas break. This gave me plenty of time to spend with the family, catch up with some of my friends from home and get out doing some of my favourite seasonal activities. We were able to get out with our local hunt which I had really missed being at uni. I also got to spend some time staying with my Aunty which meant plenty of puppy cuddles and getting plenty of much needed work done at the yard. I then headed back to uni to reunite with my friends and start up my second term. I was thrilled to have my copy of Student Farmer magazine come through my door too as I had been asked to write a piece summing up my first term at Harper. I was pleased to have the chance to represent the uni in the magazine and some of my friends were excited to make a cameo in the picture accompanying the article.

February saw the start of lambing at Harper, I loved being able to pop into the lambing sheds for a quick cuddle with some of the lambs and we had lots of tutorials down there which made for a great learning experience. We also had Hobgoblins in the Students Union which saw the return of lots of Harper old boys and girls for some rugby and a guest appearance by the Wurzels! It was a great night and the Wurzels were definitely memorable.

The following week I packed up an overnight bag, donned my tweed blazer and headed to the NFU conference in Birmingham. This was my second year at conference so I knew exactly what to expect and it didn’t disappoint. There were some great speakers this year - the hilights for me had to be Minette Batters (as always), the animal health and welfare talk and the NFU education presentation. It was great to hear what lots of different people have been up to and discuss some of the current issues in UK agriculture. It was definitely a much different focus than last year when we had much less information about the Brexit deal and although the future is still unknown it was interesting to hear some of the industry expert‘s opinions on the situation. I met lots of lovely people this year at conference, being sat at a different table than last year meant I was able to meet lots of the other Young Farmer representatives from the neighboring counties. The food was incredible as always, I felt very lucky to have been asked back and I hope to get the chance to go again next year.

The beginning of March was very much business as usual, I attended my normal lectures, hands on practicals and did lots of lab work including a bacterial transformation - inserting a fluorescent gene from a jelly fish into some E.coli. Harper hosted their annual Paddys Ball to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we had a fantastic time unaware that this would be our last ball of the academic year and one of the last times to see lots of our friends in person for the forseeable future. On the 18th of March, I packed up as much of my tiny uni room into my even smaller car as I could and drove home to start the self isolation period we still currently find ourselves in.

As I write this, at the end of April, I am currently buried under a huge pile of “alternative assessments” set to replace our end of year exams. Although me and my friends were sad to have to finish our first year early, we can look forward to hopefully completing the next three years of our degrees in something resembling the usual fashion. I hope everyone is staying safe and well at home. You can look forward to plenty more blog posts in the near future as eventhough I’ll be plenty busy, I, as well as many people, find myself with a lot more downtime!

p.s I hope you like the new blog layout (I had a mishap when trying to tidy up the old one hence the delay in posting), rest assured you can still access all of my old posts!

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