My University Courses Part 5: Earth Modelling and Prediction 2 (EMP2) & Soil, Water and Atmospheric Processes (SWAP)

In the second semester of my first year Undergraduate Geology degree I studied EMP2 and SWAP outside of the core course: Introduction to the Geological Record. EMP 2 was oriented towards mathematics while SWAP was oriented towards Environmental Science. Both subjects imparted useful ideas in the realm of GeoSciences ranging from mathematical modelling to the workings of microclimates around the world.

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My Favourite Study Spots in Edinburgh.


I squealed in delight when I first received my schedule of classes sometime in August because I was pleased to have classes only three days a week. My older brother was quick to inform me that I would be too occupied with school work every day. In other words, a 3-days-a-week class schedule is a seven-days-a-week work schedule. And my program directors were quick to echo this sentiment during induction week, recommending a 50 hour study schedule every week. In order to meet up to this demand, it is important to figure out the ways one learns best. My undergraduate program made me realize that my best performance comes from a consistent study routine from the beginning of the school year. But studying is more than reading through notes and books and trying to understand their content. The ambience of the study space has a lot to do with how easily one can study.

In Edinburgh, I’ve found that I spend a lot of time in the same few places because of how intense the Masters program is. When I’m not in class, I’m often working in the GeoSciences buildings on Drummond Street. However, once in a while, I go to other places on campus to get a change of environment. And it all depends on what kind of school work I have to do. Who knows, you might find a new spot on here and please, feel free to check it out.

1. Library 5th Floor – I like to come here because it is a quiet zone and, usually, postgraduate students retreat here to study. There is a section with PCs but mostly, I take my laptop and books to a corner and study there. It’s ideal for people who need an extremely quiet place for readings or calculations.

2. The ECCI Café – It’s a café, so I like to have group discussions here over lunch. People walk in and out so it’s only ideal for casual meetings and readings right before a class in one of the Drummond buildings.

3. The Pods at Main Library– These are the technologically vibrant group study areas in the library. They are round cubicles with a PC, plasma screen, headphone sockets and a whiteboard. It’s not ideal for extremely quiet study but it works very well for group discussions and presentation projects, and is in close proximity to the library cafe. What’s more? The library gives priority to groups of 3 or more and there are up to 29 of them in the Main library alone.









4. Lorimer Room at Old College – I discovered this place accidentally when it was the only room available for a group meeting. It’s probably generally unknown to non-Law students at the university. It is a larger room for 10-15 people arranged in a square, board room style. It is ideal for groups who are working on a project together and has a large screen for projection.

5. The Master Hub at ECCI – This hub is exclusive for a good reason. Only those on a few programmes have access to this room, but during office hours, it is a good place to study alone or in a small group. Like the pods in the library, it has cubicles and monitors for a group working on a project together.

So, did you find any surprises? We’d like you to share some of your favorite study spots below.

A Good Omen: Our First Assignment

Not 24 hours after I landed in Edinburgh we received our very first assignment as Carbon Masters from the course organizer for Carbon Economics. After introducing himself at our induction, Dr Harnmeijer gave us our task: find an article in The Financial Times that relates to carbon management in some way.

Now, it’s not as though I expected this task to be particularly difficult, but I would never have guessed it would be this easy.

That night I was perusing the Financial Times website to get a lay of the land and a sense of where I might find a suitable article. As I scrolled through the drop-down tabs atop the page I saw “Energy” under Companies. I thought, “This looks promising.” So I clicked.

The first article on the page: “Level of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere Surges.” The article, a worthwhile read and deeply important in its own right, is noteworthy for another reason. A few paragraphs in, the author Pilita Clark writes, “The jump in CO2 concentrations revealed by the WMO is worrying news because it underlines the inadequacy of efforts to date, said Professor Dave Reay, chair in carbon management at Edinburgh university.” (emphasis enthusiastically added!!!)

I suspect it’s self-evident that seeing your programme director quoted in the Financial Times on your first full day in a new country is pretty exciting, so I won’t blether on about that. Suffice it to say that I’ll take this as a good omen.

May the rest of our year feel as right as our first day.

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