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Hi, my name is Amy, and i am a self confessed Chemistry nerd, and life long science enthustist, come and read my blog as I document my time at through college and university as I study chemistry to become a chemistry teacher. Please note, glasses are optional

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Many of you that read my blog regularly will know that universities are a major theme in most of my posts. I, like many A2 students up and down the country, am in the process of my decision for the next step in my paths in education, this, I know, in not a decision to take lightly, and as many of my friends and family can vouch, I am researching every choice with great care and diligent.

Over my summer break, I attended all my chosen university open days, a vital step, in my opinion, on the path to making a decision. For one of my choice universities, I have attended several of their open days. Most recently I have attended a taster day hosted by the university, in a bid to gain more of an insight into university life, and to get down to the knitty gritty of what my chosen choice would entail, and I can say, without a doubt, I was not disappointed.

The reason I enjoy chemistry as I do is that behind the theory of each topic, I can physically get to grips with the concepts explained to me. Each aspect of chemistry has a practicality to it, something I can physically do and see, and to me that makes me feel even more like a scientist.

On the open day, we were split into groups, performing two different chemical tasks during the day. In the first task we preformed, we went into the universities laboratories and measured the release of fluoride ions from toothpaste. We were told that fluoride ions were an important part of tooth structure and the structure of teeth is constantly being broken down and renewed, hence the reason we need a constant supply of fluoride ions. We were told that the best way of getting these ions to our teeth was by using fluorinated toothpastes; we then heard how different toothpastes have different concentrations of fluoride ions, locked up in different compounds, such as, monofluorophosphate. We were then given a range of different toothpastes and told to pick one to test, once we had chosen we were give screw-capped test tubes, and distilled water with the instruction to fill the tubes with 25cm3 of distilled water, and carefully measure and add 1 cm3 of our sample toothpaste. Once we had our water-toothpaste mixture were then secured the top back on to the test-tube and shook the tube vigorously for at least 3 minutes to ensure that the toothpaste had fully dissolved and the ions were free in the solution. After this, we then took turns in using an electrode in our toothpaste solutions to measure the fluoride ion concentration, following a few simple calculations, we then gained the mass of fluoride released by the toothpaste when brushing, we compared this to expected mass of fluoride released to see if they agreed with the values given by the toothpaste manufacturer. After the experiment, we then evaluated the procedure, looking at areas that could be improved upon. We also touched upon the use of fluoride in drinking water to reduced decay in teeth, learning about its effects on growing children, and adults, we also spoke about where fluorination of water sources still occurred. We finally spoke about how toothpaste manufacturers tested the effectiveness of their product, by testing toothpaste on dead cow’s teeth!

After a short lunch break we then returned to the labs to perform an NMR spectrum. I have to admit now, to this point, performing an NMR spectrum has to be one of the highlights of my student career, and it was when I was sat in front of a computer, with lab coat on and goggles over my eyes, that I truly felt like a real scientist!

In the NMR spectrum laboratory, our group preformed an NMR spectrum on three unknown compounds. Before we started we were given a quick overview of NMR spectroscopy, of the different environments protons can be in, and how these environments corresponds to peaks on the NMR spectrum, we also learnt briefly about spin-spin splitting of the peaks, and how this splitting pattern gives us information of the protons on the neighbouring atoms. After this brief insight into the theory we were then given the opportunity to run our own spectra. Each student in turn was given an unknown sample to place into the NMR machine and programmed details, such as the position of the sample into a linked computer. We then let the computer run the sample and were presented with a spectrum of our unknown substance, by then comparing the number of peaks, and so the number of different environments, we could then determine the compound by comparing it to a list of possible compound identities. After we had run our spectra, we then heard briefly about the theory of how the NMR machine works, how the superconducting magnets were supercooled to 4K by liquid helium, surrounded by a layer of liquid nitrogen. After this, the fun began, as a group we went outside of the labs with a canister of liquid nitrogen and an insulating glove, we then took some leaves and dipped them into the liquid nitrogen causing the leaf structure to shatter like glass as we threw them to the floor, we also preformed a few other entertaining demonstrations with the liquid nitrogen, such as showing how the ground is super hot compared to the liquid nitrogen and causes the poured liquid to instantly turn to gas when it hits the ground and how when liquid nitrogen is poured onto a puddle, the water freezes into thick ice.

After this final afternoon session, we had a Q&A session where we could approach the lecturers and speak with them directly about the chemistry we preformed and ask general questions about the course and the university. I found all the lecturers to be very friendly down to earth people, we seemed genuinely interested in my views and my career path, and seemed very keen on helping me succeed and pushing me to achieve my maximum potential with many tempting opportunities, such as PHDs and research aboard!

All in all, the taster day really opened my eyes about what opportunities are available to me, and how to go about getting the best start in my future career, and giving me a clearer insight on the inner working of how my future degree would progress.
Posted by Amy King on Nov 19, 2012 12:17 AM GMT
It’s been nearly two months since I started my second year of Bromley College, and I’m finally back in the thick of the action! Since being back homework and studies have taken up much of my time, as well as finalising my UCAS form and sending it off (finally) on the 22nd of October. As to date, I have heard back from three of the four institutes I have applied to. One university, giving me an offer within two days of receiving my UCAS form (which I was utterly shocked about!). I have also had offers for interviews, which has quickly become the one of scariest concepts ever, only narrowly beaten by taking those brave steps into the exam hall, to take those dreaded exams!

With the spare time, I have had, I’ve dedicated it to my old student ambassador role. Such as being part of a college focus group, meeting with our college’s principle, Sam Parrett, to talk about changes to Bromley College. I have also recently, been re-elected to be class representation, however this year I got my dream role of repping for chemistry! The year before, I had been repping for biology. So far I have attended only one rep meeting, and have another coming up in the next few weeks.

Another aspect of being back in the swing of things is even more practical experiment. Practicals have been coming thick and fast in my second year. As with each new aspect of chemistry we study, the knowledge we learn is backed up with a simple demonstration of said aspect in action.

So far, we have covered reactions in aromatic and carbonyl compounds; now have moved on to carboxyl compounds and their reactions, and most recently, the study of amines.

We performed some basic tests on the carboxyl compounds ethanoic acid, investigating its solubility with water and the pH of the resulting solution. After concluding that carboxyl compounds are highly soluble in water and result in an acidic solution, we then went about testing the acidic strength of the carboxyl group, by testing it reacting it with sodium carbonate to see if it was strong enough to displace the CO3 and produce carbon dioxide. Finally in our investigation of glacial ethanoic acid, we investigated its formation of salt, via neutralisation. We added small amounts of sodium hydroxide to the acid, testing its pH and its ability to produce carbon dioxide from sodium carbonate. We saw that with each addition of sodium hydroxide, the resulting solution increased in pH and was less able to react with sodium carbonate to produce carbon dioxide.

In a later experiment, we also prepared the organic product, aspirin, from its constituents, ethanoic anhydride (also known as acetic anhydride) and salicylic acid, with phosphoric acid catalyst. We heated this mixture under reflux in a water bath. After heating we added a little distilled water to the reaction mixture, before pouring the synthesised aspirin and water mixture into a breaker of distilled water, to crystallise out the insoluble aspirin. After we had synthesised the aspirin we then carried out steps to purify it. We used the process of vacuum filtration and recrystalisation, using a water solvent, to gain reasonably pure crystals of aspirin. After this we then used a melting point tube with a thermometer and a capillary tube of our aspirin to measure the boiling point of our aspirin.

Most recently we have begun our studies of amine compounds, as we our carboxylic compounds. We preformed some basic investigative tests on them, for this test we studied the reactions of butyl-amine, ethyl 4-aminobezoate and ammonia. We tested all three compounds solubility in water and the resulting pH of the solutions. We concluded that, of butyl-amine, and ammonia were readily soluble in water, where as ethyl 4-aminobezoate was not, and required heating to dissolve. We also concluded that all three compounds resulted in basic solutions, with of butyl-amine and ammonia, having a pH of around 10, whereas ethyl 4-aminobezoate had a pH of around 8.5. We then tested the compounds ability to form salts, we added to a small amount of each amine, hydrochloric acid, drop wise and then smelt the solution, testing to see if the odours disappeared.

We then moved on to the formation of azo dyes using aromatic amines. In the formation of the dyes we proved that azo dyes can only be formed from aromatic amines, (in our case ethyl 4-aminobenzoate), by performing the experiment, using an aliphatic amine, butylamine, and water, as a control. We placed three separate beakers full our experimental solutions we were testing on our bench, and added 10 cm3 of aqueous sodium nitrate. Whilst letting the mixture stand, we prepared our naphthalene-2-ol (already in sodium hydroxide) by mixing it with cold water. We then added around 20cm3 of naphthalene-2-ol to each of the mixtures and watching as the colour of the azo dye instantly formed, in the ethyl 4-aminobenzoate beaker, whilst the aliphatic amine produced a thick precipitate, and the water did not change. Then using our formed azo dye, we each took a few small scraps of fabric and placed them into the mixture, before pulling them out and allowing them to dry on watch-glasses, to prove that azo dyes could be used to dye fabrics.

Our studies then turned to other types of nitrogen containing compounds, amino acids and proteins. We preformed more basic experimental tests on these compounds. In our tests we used glycine, glutamic acid, as well as casein hydrolysate (free amino acids found in milk). We started by testing their acidity and basicity, by adding small quantities of sodium hydroxide to each of the compounds, and then repeating with hydrochloric acid and noting down their change in pH of each compound, as the solutions were added. We also preformed a biuret test, a test common to many biologists! We added equal volumes of our amino acids to sodium hydroxide followed by 1 drop of 0.1M copper(II) sulphate, looking for the present of a purple precipitate if the compound was indeed an amino acid (or a protein), sadly we did not manage to take any photo graphs of the precipitate formed.

We have most recently moved on to addition and condensation polymers, before we broke up for half term. We had a very informal lab session, where we were allowed to ‘play’ with polyamides (forming and colouring nylon 6,6,) and cross-linked polymers. In the formation of nylon 6,6, we took a very small beaker and placed a small amount of the acid, 1,6-hexanedioic acid in the bottom, and at room temperature we added drop-wise the amine, 1,6-hexanadiamine until we saw an interface form, at this point we took tweezers and pinched the interface and carefully pulled it forming the nylon thread and wound it around a test tube. Next we moved on with forming our crossed-linked polymer, we took 20 cm3 of standard school grade PVC glue, and added 10 cm3 of borat, and mixed the solution with a glass rod, I was transported back to my childhood days as the mixture before me turned into horrible (colored by food coloring) slime! It was one of the best ways to end our first term of the year!

In physics we have covered a lot in the last few weeks, he have covered oscillations and SHM, and performing various experiments, such as, investigating the effect of spring constant on the time period and speed on oscillations, and various experiments on the effect of resistive forces on oscillation and the effect of damping. Our studies then moved onto fields, we have been learning about gravitational fields, unfortunately we only managed to perform one experiment estimating the acceleration of falling objects. In this experiment, we took a weighted plate, attaching a 30 g mass of blue tack and dropping the plate through a light gate, taking various readings of the time it took for the plate to drop from a set height. We then preformed a few calculations to find the acceleration of the plate, and as we assumed there were no other forces acting on the plate, acceleration of g. Most recently, we have moved on to looking at electric fields, meaning we have had the chance to use a van der Graaff generator, and perform simple tasks involving static electricity.

In biology, we have moved onto the interesting biochemistry involved with photosynthesis, after spending the last 5 weeks studying ecology. This new topic meant we were able to perform some interesting experiments involving separation of chlorophyll using paper chromatography, and practicing a past ISA task, involving exploring the effect of ammonium hydroxide on the time taken for chloroplasts to decolorize DCPIP ( a blue dye that becomes colorless as it accepts electrons and becomes reduced).

So after a first busy half a term back at college, I am back in the swing of things.
Posted by Amy King on Nov 4, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
Hello there, fellow bloggers.

First of all, I must apologize for my recent absent from my blog posts, but as with many students up and down the country, UCAS time has arrived, and I have spent the last week weeks finishing that off before my college’s deadline. Then once I had finished that, I had various half term tests in all my classes, so I spent every last moment studying for those tests. Finally it was then half term, I’ve spent nearly the whole week getting organised, printing exam papers and getting my notes in order before going back to college.

So bear with my fellow nerds! I am now taking some time to catch up on my blog, and update you all with the ups and downs of my chemical journey.

I also like to tell you all, I have had, to this point, 2 conditional offers, from UCAS application, Greenwich and Queen Mary’s London, and had an offer of an interview from UCL. I am just awaiting on information from Imperial College London (so readers keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Please note for my readers on Tumblr( I am struggling to upload videos, so until this is fixed, I will not be able to post videos. If this is not resolved, I may have to consider other options to upload my videos, such as getting my own YouTube channel and linking them from there. Any thoughts or opinions would be very much appreciated.

Until soon!
Posted by Amy King on Nov 3, 2012 2:32 AM GMT
This week at college has been a very busy and tiring week. I am pleased to say my UCAS form is finally complete; my personal statement is finally finished and has been proof-read by virtually anyone who sits still long enough! All that is left to do now is to ask (beg) my teachers for (good I hope) references, and then I’m all set! I can honestly say it’s an utter relief to get it finished, the thought of finishing my UCAS and personal statement has been hanging over me like a cloud, and getting it done feels like a huge weight has been lifted.

This week also documented a huge number of experiments, I am excited to say. A record four experiments, three for chemistry and one for physics, and though they may only be quick demonstrates to illustrate a particular point, I still get a thrill by getting hands on in the labs!

In chemistry, we were looking at aromatics compounds, such as phenolic compounds and started working on carbonyl compounds. We firstly performed some tests the phenolic compound methyl-4-hydroxylbenzonate, which was less corrosive than pure phenol. We tested it’s solubility in water and the pH of the resulting solution; we then tested phenolic compound’s solubility in alkalis. We concluded that the compound had acidic properties and though was slightly soluble in water, had much better solubility in alkalis. We also tested the phenolic compound’s action with sodium carbonate and bromine. We found that though the compound had acidic properties, it did not have the strength to displace the carbonate ion and evolve carbon dioxide, however, the compound did have the ability to react with bromine, discolouring bromine water and forming a white precipitate of a bromine containing compound. Finally we tested the phenolic compound with iron(III) chloride which is the common test for most phenol groups; the solution produced an intense purple colour giving a positive indicator of a phenolic functional group. Once we had finished with phenol’s we moved on to look at carbonyl compounds, aldehydes and ketones. We began by looking at the oxidation of range of primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols, as well as aldehydes and ketones. We took samples of each chemical, and gently heated them an oxidation agent (acidified sodium dichromate) to determine which oxidised and which did not. We could tell where oxidation occurred by the characteristic change of colour of the oxidation agent, from orange to green. We concluded that acidified dichromate can be used to test for carbonyl compounds; however, the test was not specific and could not distinguish between alcohols and carbonyl compounds. A better test for the presence of carbonyl compounds was 2,4-DNPH (Brady’s Reagent), this produced a bright yellow/orange precipitate in the presence of carbonyl compounds. We also used a test to distinguish an aldehyde functional group of RCHO from the ketone functional group of ROR, by using Tollen’s reagent (ammoniacal sliver nitrate) in the presence of an aldehyde functional group, Tollen’s oxidised it, producing a carboxylic acid and an electron to reduce aqueous Ag+ ions to silver, which produced a characteristic silver mirror.

In physics we were investigating circular motion, looking at centripetal acceleration and centripetal force. We took a rubber bung, tied it to a piece of string, fed it through a plastic tube and placed weights at the other end of the string. We measured a length of string (to be our radius r) and took it in turns to add different masses of weights to the end of the string and swing the equipment in a circular motion, timing how long it took to complete ten revolutions of the circle. We then used our values to determine the speed of the bung and used these values to plot a graph of Force (of our masses) against velocity squared. This allowed us to perform a little mathematics to work out the mass our bung from the gradient of the F against V2 graph, and compare this to our real life mass of the bung measured with a digital balance.
Posted by Amy King on Sep 24, 2012 12:07 AM BST
This week, my college was running its annual student welcome fair. This fair was designed to welcome the first years to the college, and get them interested in activities around the campuses.

After my tutorial this morning, I attended the Welcome Fair with a few of my fellow students. There were many booths, both inside in the student common room (known as the Hive), and outside in the courtyard, (near the affectively known pool-cue tree, nicknamed for a dear ex-Bromley college boy!).

I started off, with meeting some Pigs and Chickens from a second chance animal shelter. I am a big animal lover, and volunteered at an animal shelter many years ago, so I fell instantly in love with the pigs! It’s always been my dream that when I leave university, I would like to move out into the countryside and have a small-holding.

After my brief love affair with the farmyard animals, my friends and I went to the common room to visit the other stands on offer. We were awash with the sheer variety of information booths available. Some offered student-discounted gym memberships, others offered information about driving, and there were even some offering jobs with charities, such as Mencap.

My friends and I visited virtually every booth in turn. I spent a great deal of time talking to members of the group Bypass (Bromley Young Person’s Alcohol Substance Service) who support young people aged 10-18 with substance-related problems. This charity held views very close to my heart, and I was shocked to see, different substances laid out before me. I will admit, I am not well-versed in drugs, I wouldn’t know what I am looking at. Yet the people from Bypass were very keen on my friend and I familiarizing ourselves with how drugs are carried and what they might look like.

We also visited several sexual health booths that were on offer today. We had a chance to meet the on-site college nurse, who told us about services available at the college, time of drop-in sessions and other drop-ins we can use in emergencies. We were given many freebies (condoms and key-rings) at this stand, and were also given the opportunity to take a free Chlamydia test and given contraceptive advice. I have to admit, my college has an exception health-care system in place, and we are given easy access to both information and help at any point that we require it.

Also during the fair, we were given the opportunity to have ‘tattoos’ painted on our bodies and given free balloon art. This really drew the students in, and got them excited about the welcome fair.

This welcome fair, really brightened up an otherwise, dreaded, Monday morning, and got the students very excited about up and coming events at the college, for which I can vouch, there are many! It was a very good way to start the new term.
Posted by Amy King on Sep 17, 2012 11:16 PM BST
This week marks my first full week back at college as an A2 student, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m glad to be back! As unusual as it may sound, but I’ve missed being at college and I’ve missed the studying, and of course, I missed being back in the classroom and getting hands on with some experiments! As a science student, nothing thrills me more, than the prospect of a ‘hands on’ demo to really hammer home the scientific concept, and what excites me this year is that the experiments, especially in chemistry, are only going to get bigger, and more colourful.

However, before I can cut my teeth on some more work, I had to contend with the dreaded first week back, contending with the early morning starts once more! From experience, starting the first week at any position, utterly tires you out and my first week was no exception. By the time Friday came, I felt dead on my feet; however, it was well worth it to be back.

A2 marks the start of my final steps into university. I have started my UCAS form in my weekly tutorials with my personal tutor, and finally completed my personal statement (in character limits!). In the space of one week, I have nearly finished filling in all my personal details, and just have a few finishing touches before I ask for my references and send my form off. Hopefully, I will try and get it sent off by early October, at the latest!

My work was a little sporadic this week, as I came to grips with my new timetable. Most of our time-tabled sessions were about getting back into the swing of studying. Though I was informed this week that we had an up-coming field trip for biology in October and had the chance for some experiments in physics and a play with a friction-less air track! (Which I greatly enjoyed!)

I also had the pleasure to see some old faces this week, in the shape of both my Chemistry and Biology teachers, and department technicians, and the thrill of meeting the new, in the shape of our new Physics teacher, our new Chemistry teacher (new as in never taught our particular class before) and my new personal tutor.

All in all, though my first week back was tiring. I was happy to be back at college, and looking forward to what this new year holds for the continuing A2 students.
Posted by Amy King on Sep 14, 2012 10:39 PM BST
I get very annoyed when people look down on other universities. I know reputation means everything, but surely, higher education is higher education, no matter what university you attend. I am completing my UCAS and looking at my courses for universities. I know I want to study chemistry (pretty much set for me) and study in London (because I want to live at home to save money). I have my five choices, yet people seem to want to jostle about which university is the best.

So, I want to know, what makes a university a ‘good’ university and what makes a ‘bad’ university? Is there some system of classification? Or is it down to personal preference? I’ve recently had dealing with some London universities, some good, some not so good, most part of the ‘Russell group’ and some not. Yet, if I had not been told which university I had been at and was visiting, I would have had a huge surprise. I, personally, found the greatest and most prestigious universities, were some of the dirtiest, smelliest, even rudest universities I’ve ever seen and been to, and I found some of the so-called ‘bad’ universities, some of the most welcoming, friendly and cleanest places.

For the jump between college and university, I am not looking for much. A friendly, cosy environment, with good facilities and most importantly, people who seem genuinely excited about teaching their subject. It’s no good having a stuffy old professor droning on and on about thermodynamic principles in industrial chemistry which would send most students half to sleep and have them baying to get out of the lecture theatre! I’d rather have a professor who was keen and excited about what they are teaching, and would get their point over in an attention grabbing and thought provoking way. I guess that’s my teaching side coming out in me. I know teaching is one third knowledge and two thirds pure drama! I understand that University teaching is a lot different from school teaching (being much less interactive with the students), however, good teaching is independent of what is being taught and where.

When it comes to education, every person is different. What works for one, may not necessary work for another. I have seen this, even with myself in education. And at the end of the day, we are all studying, working hard, for the same goal, to walk away from university with a good degree, and good career or job prospects.

So if we are all on the same path, why does it matter how we get there? We are all bettering ourselves, making us good candidates for a position outside the environment of study and school and into the work place. Why sneer at the way we have chosen to get there? I would be proud to say I have a degree, and wouldn’t be elitist in geographically where I got it! I should be more worried about the standard of the grade, not where it was from!

However, this is my personal opinion. I understand there are many views about universities, and I may be wrong about the opinion I hold.
Posted by Amy King on Sep 9, 2012 2:17 AM BST
It’s now 02:18 in the morning and I am pleased to say I have finished my first draft of my personal statement! However, the bad news is, originally it was 2677 characters over the limit UCAS specify (4000 characters or 47 lines). I have spent a good few hours this evening giving it a good jiggle and poke around and have managed to shave off about 1150 characters.

I am majorly pleased with myself, however, as I beaten the beast of procrastination and have something tangible I can work with when I start my UCAS application in a few weeks time!

Hopefully with a little TLC and a few helpful eyes reading it over with me, I can get it polished enough to send in!

Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Posted by Amy King on Aug 31, 2012 12:49 AM BST
Hello fellow scientific bloggers, this is Amy, your self-confessed chemistry nerd. This is my first post of my new blog about my journey through gaining a scientific education and my path to university. To begin, I would like to tell you more about myself.

My name is Amy King; I’m a 21 year old A-level student living in London. I am currently attending a college in Orpington, studying my second year of biology, chemistry and physics (of which I recently received AS level grades AAA). I had also spent two years before, teaching myself A-level mathematics (of which I received a grade A). It’s my intention, to attend university in 2013 to study chemistry.

From a very young age, it was my dream to go to university. When my teachers asked me what I wanted to do when I was older, I told them I wanted to win a Nobel Prize and become a famous scientist, like Einstein or Hawking.

Originally it was my dream to become a well-known doctor. However after intensive research into the medical field and working within the modern NHS I become disheartened by the concept of medicine.

However, I always knew I wanted a career in science. As a child, growing up with a broken education due to long periods of ill-health and hospital stays, science and mathematics were a comfort to me. During my education, I had spent many years out of the educational system, at least one year during my primary education and two within my secondary education. This fact sadly meant that many of my previous teachers wrote me off as a failure in education, as my time in school was so disrupted due to my hospital treatment. I had spent a year and a half away during my GCSE education, and still walked away with 10 qualifications A-B. It was during my original A-level studies that my teacher’s lack of confident in me greatly affected my school work. Due to ongoing hospital treatment my teachers and I couldn’t exchange work, and this lead to me falling far behind my fellow students.

I became extremely frustrated by this situation, during my illness, education had been my life, and I didn’t want to waste it. This, therefore lead me to come to the decision, to leave conventional education and try another path. As with any determined student, this concept was both terrifying and deeply upsetting, I felt ashamed of myself, a failure that I could not follow a conventional way of learning, and I greatly feared that I would not be able to follow my dream of further education.

However, I wouldn’t give up; I held onto my dream and began looking for other ways to gain the qualifications I needed for university. I came across an A-level mathematics class at my local adult education college. I spent a year there, three hours a week, once a week. My teacher Christine McKenzie helped me hone my self-teaching skills, so when my class was over, I was able to teach myself the rest of the syllabus, before our next class. After my AS level was finished, I had hoped to continue on A2 with the college, however a week before my class was meant to start, the course had been cancelled due to low numbers. Panicked, I spoke to my teacher, asking what I could do, it was she, that suggested I should carry on alone, that I had the skills to teach myself, and I could email her, if I ever had any problems, so I continued onto my A2 year totally independent. I am pleased to say, due to a lot of careful studying and strict discipline, I managed to get my A grade in mathematics.

During my A2, I was searching for a college, where I could study my Biology and Chemistry at night. It was never my intension to go back into full-time education. However when my research came up a blank, I realised I would need to consider a route back into formal education. After more research I came across my current college.

From the moment I walked into Orpington College, I felt at home. I remember attending the open day and being as giggly as a child in a candy store when I saw the science department, and watching in absolute awe, as one of the technicians preformed a few chemistry demonstrations. The staff, I felt, were excited about their courses and cared about their students, and even to this day, my teachers still have that same enthusiasm about their subjects. I had worried, that when I told the staff about my background, my age and my problems with conventional education, that they would become as disheartened with me as my previous teachers had been, but to my surprise, they were excited, and seemed keen for me to join the college, and though my age was a slight problem, (quickly fixed by filling in a few forms) I would have no trouble gaining a place on their courses.

I began my second (and last, in my opinion) attempt at conventional education. I began my first year, working as hard as I could, I had many a teacher from my previous school that I had wanted to prove wrong and also had wanted to impress my current teachers for choosing me to come on their courses. To this day, I feel, I owe my current teachers a lot, for giving me this chance to carry on my dreams and backing me, pushing me to achieve my best. I spent every hours I had studying, sparing a few hours to work as both a science rep on our college’s student council, and a student ambassador. My first year pasted in a blur of ups and downs, and I was pleased to walk away after my first year with my three As.

So this is my full circle, I am now waiting anxiously for my second and last year to begin. I have two weeks before I start back at Orpington. I have so much planned for my second year. I hope to carry on my positions I held back in my first year, or maybe even try running for student president. I plan to continue working as hard, if not harder, than I did last year. I have already started my work for my January exams, trying to get a heads up before the huge step up to A2, and finally, I wish to continue on with this blog, posting some of my ups and downs as I continue my education (conventionally this time) into university and beyond.

Hope you enjoy reading this blog, and trying to make sense of my strange chemistry humour (science and especially chemistry can be a lot of fun when you think about it!).

So, until I update next........
Posted by Amy King on Aug 31, 2012 12:41 AM BST
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