Life After Lincoln – My New Blog!

When I begin writing this blog in early August 2013 I always intended that ‘A Year in the Life…’ would be just that, a year’s collection of blog posts that made up my experiences and life while studying at Lincoln University.

As a result, when I completed my research at Lincoln in August 2014 I decided to stop posting on ‘A Year in the Life…’ in order to focus on writing my thesis and begin to find my feet as a science graduate.

I am now spending a year gaining experience working in a secondary school ahead of applying to train as a science teacher, specifically biology. I was lucky enough to begin working as a teaching assistant back home in Oxfordshire, in September 2014 and have now been at my school for 5 months!

My time there so far has been amazingly good fun, really rewarding and has definitely confirmed to me that I want to teach. As a result I am now in the exciting stages of applying for teacher training!! I plan to use this new blog ‘Life After Lincoln’ as a way to record my experiences of life after university, both professionally and personally.

I hope that this new blog will be as interesting and informative to read as my previous and that you continue to follow me from new graduate to biology teacher 🙂

– Amy


A Day in the Life: Postgraduate Induction

As freshers week began at the University of Lincoln, so did a series of postgraduate induction sessions which myself and several other postgraduate research students attended. We started on the 25th September with a College of Science, School of Life Sciences specific induction which was held in Bridge House next to the on campus accommodation – Courts. The session was held by a member of staff who usually works at the Riseholme campus, and was attended by both new and current postgrad students as well as members of staff. It was really good to get to meet some other new research postgrads and members of staff who I haven’t had the chance to meet as an undergraduate. 

The session started with everyone introducing themselves, their previous experiences and the nature of their postgrad study at Lincoln University. We then had an introduction into how postgrad study is structured at Lincoln, what to expect in regards to forms (Risk assessments/COSHH/Ethics), writing up our thesis and viva. After a coffee/tea break we were introduced to our postgrad support members of staff and the events they want to hold this year to help our study. We then had a break for lunch, which was really good as we sat with most of the other postgrad students and members of staff. This gave us chance to get to know other new students and give feedback on the morning’s session.

IMG_2584Bridge house has facilities for postgraduates in the College of Science, School of Life Sciences

After lunch we decided to join a campus tour for the students who were completely new to Lincoln, and visited the graduate building, Witham house and finally the Science building. We then met with Julian Bartrup, the laboratories’ manager for a talk regarding health and safety, working in the labs and whether we would like to work as a lab demonstrator for undergrad lab practicals. I am really interested in doing some demonstrating, so I was very happy to hear that it was possible for us to sign up to do so. We completed forms with our details and experiences, so that we could be properly assigned to practicals. We were now offered a tour of the labs, but as I have used almost all the labs in the building I decided to head home.

I thought that the induction was very useful, everyone we met was friendly and ready to answer any questions we had. It was also good to meet other postgrad students, as many were from different disciplines (Animal behaviour/Pharmacology/Biology/etc).

As well as this specific induction, we also attended a University wide postgrad induction on Friday 4th October, which was held in the graduate school. This induction was fairly similar to the specific induction, however students from a variety of different colleges and schools attended (Business/Media/Psychology/etc).

IMG_2580The graduate school, above the accommodation office

Firstly we were welcomed to the graduate school by Professor Mike Neary, who is the Dean of Teaching and Learning, and Director of the Graduate school at the University of Lincoln. We started the induction by getting to know the person sat next to us, and then describing our research in 100 words to everyone else in the room. This exercise was very useful as we are required to do this when we complete our GS3 forms in around 3 months. We also worked together to think about what will be the best and most challenging parts of being a research postgrad student.

We then had around an hour lecture on the structure, paperwork, thesis writing and viva – very similar to that at the specific induction. Finally we had four small talks from several members of staff within the university. Firstly Chris Brandrick – the graduate school’s online services officer, who introduced us to the graduate school website and guided us through some of the main features, including booking onto training and being part of the new postgrad student profiles. We then heard from Marishona Ortega – the subject librarian for the School of Life Sciences, who introduced the library website to us as well as the facilities the library offers to postgrad students. Next we heard from a member of the student’s union, who talked about joining sports and societies, as well as student representatives. Finally we heard from Jess Bishop, who introduced us to the Lincoln Award, volunteering and Jobshop facilities at the university.

I enjoyed this induction as we got to meet other postgrad students who weren’t necessarily from our particular subject. It was also really good to spend some time within the graduate building and getting to meet members of staff who work with postgrad students. I’m really interested in attending some more graduate school training events, and will definitely be signing up to more sessions.

A Day in the Life…

A Day in the Life: Graduation!

Just under a month ago, on 3rd September 2013 I finally graduated from the University of Lincoln after 3 amazing, stressful and very rewarding years. I have to admit that like most people I wasn’t sure how the day would feel, despite spending quite a lot of time thinking about it throughout the 3 years! As well as feeling excited and nervous I also felt pretty sad as this would be the last time I would see some of the people I had spent the last few years with. However by this point I already knew I would be staying on at Lincoln University to complete my MSc, along with quite a few of my close friends which did make it a lot better.


During graduation week at Lincoln, different courses graduate over 4 days (Monday 2nd September, Tuesday 3rd September, Wednesday 4th September and Thursday 5th September) at 3 times: 10.30am, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. As part of the College of Science, School of Life Sciences, I graduated on Tuesday 3rd September at 2.30pm. For me this was the perfect time, as it gave us plenty of time to get ready, have lunch and make our way up to the castle and cathedral.

IMG_2544Graduation brochure for 2013

When you first get signed onto graduation you are given two free tickets, as these are accepted or declined by others, extra tickets become available for purchase. As only my mum and dad would be attending graduation with me I didn’t need anymore tickets but some people brought up to five extra tickets! The castle opened from 11.30am to allow graduating students to collects their things, have photos taken and meet up with others before the ceremony started. My parents decided to stay at my house the night before graduation so in the morning we had plenty of time to get up and dressed, before we began the iconic climb up Steep Hill at around 12.30pm. We started by collecting our tickets and brochure, then headed over to the dressing tent to get my robe and gown fitted. Unlike the guys in their suits, attaching the robe to dresses proves a little more difficult but thankfully my dress wasn’t too bad and with grips managed to stay on through the whole day! After taking some photos around the castle grounds and chatting to a few people we traversed the cobbled square and headed to the cathedral for the ceremony.

32 vMe, my mum and dad in the castle grounds before the ceremony

14 Graduation 2013Me and Beau after the ceremony getting ready to throw our mortarboards! 

3 Graduation 2013Me and Beth in front of a scientific section of the castle grounds decoration

When I first visited Lincoln, one of the main things that drew me to study here was the opportunity to graduate in the cathedral, and it didn’t disappoint. Myself and the other graduands walked around the right hand side of the cathedral to the side entrance, while our friends and family made their way into the cathedral from the front entrance. We were then guided to our seats in front of the stage with plenty of time to catch up with everyone on our course who were sat beside us. This was probably one of my favourite parts of the day, as everyone was full of anticipation by this point and we had plenty of time to look around us at the beautiful interior of the cathedral.

The ceremony started with a musical introduction by the cathedral organist and then an introduction into what was expected of us, how we would receive our degree certificates and how to properly become official graduates. The academic procession then entered the cathedral and the official ceremony began with a speech from Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chancellor of the University of Lincoln followed by Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln. Each course was then introduced and graduand’s names called allowing each student to walk across the stage, formally thank the Chancellor and shake hands with the Vice Chancellor, before leaving and receiving their certificate. Although this was pretty nerve wracking it was an amazing experience and is completely worth the effort it takes to get there. Another one of my favourite parts of the day was having John Sergeant present to receive the honorary award of Doctor of Letters. He gave a really interesting and inspiring speech, that I am very glad I got to hear first hand.

IMG_2546My ceremony page for Tuesday 3rd September at 2.30pm

IMG_2549My name on the list of graduating students (* indicate students graduating with 1st class honours)

As we were now all officially graduates, when the ceremony was finished we were allowed to join the academic procession as they left the cathedral. We all gathered outside the cathedral before heading back over to the castle for photos and drinks in the celebration marquee. We also stopped off at the photography stand where my mum and dad brought the photo of me shaking hands with the Vice Chancellor, which was really nice to have to remember the day. I really enjoyed this part of the day, as everyone’s nerves were completely gone and we had plenty of time to take photos together and enjoy our free drink! The marquee was well decorated and the service from staff there was very quick and friendly. We stayed in the marquee until they needed to set it up for the next set of graduands, and then headed back to mine to change before heading out for dinner at Zizzi.

All in all it was an amazing day, and definitely lived up to all my expectations. The castle grounds, celebration marquee and cathedral were well set up and decorated beautifully. The professional photographers were enthusiastic, friendly and took some great photos of me and a group of my close friends (I especially like the swan toys they brought along!).

4 Graduation 2013Lincoln swans joining me, Lotti and Sarah for graduation!

21 Graduation 2013Biomedical Science BSc (Hons.) class of 2013

Later on we also got the opportunity to see the video footage taken throughout the entire ceremony, which was great to see as everything becomes a bit of a blur after a while! It was also good to be able to see my old flatmates and other friends graduate, as we couldn’t attend their ceremonies. The whole day was an experience I will never forget, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year as a postgraduate! 🙂

IMG_2553My framed certificate

A Day in the Life…