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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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Hello Bloggers,

Excited to be back writing to you again! I am now back at university after an extremely hectic summer, and I am pleased to say that the work has not abated! As many of friends and colleagues know, I am an extreme workaholic, and I am so happy to be surrounded by both chemistry work and my educational work again! Since winning my awards in June, I have been approached by several companies and schools, asking to come in and promote, women in science, women in chemistry, as well as science and chemistry as a whole. I’ve been asked to work on some fantastic projects with some amazing teachers and scientists, including the amazing Robert Winston, who has been a personal hero of mine since childhood, and whose television programmes helped feed my science bug when I was small. I have also been extremely busy establishing links with various educational charities with my university to encourage other learners to take up science, and help those learners into places at the university to study at various levels. My main goal in life is to encourage more people in the STEM subjects, and showing them that science is not as ‘hard’ and ‘boring’ as it’s made out to be, and anyone with hard work and determination can find a place to make a difference in science, whatever level you start at.

Outside of my work, I have been extremely busy with starting my university course. I had to retake my first year after a long period of illness, but I am glad to be back on my feet and back into the swing of university life. There is so much to catch up on, with lectures and labs, but each is a familiar and enjoyable experience.
The coming few weeks have a lot of offer for both my work and education and it makes me excited to be a chemist.

Posted by Amy King on Oct 23, 2014 6:04 PM BST
Hello, sorry I have not updated my page as much recently, but for those who follow much of my social media sites, you would have seen that I’ve been up to a lot of unusual things, such as the making of films and photo shoots, but I have been unable to tell people why I’ve been doing these things due to being under a press embargo. Fortunately, the press embargo has now been lifted and I can explain.

Back in January, the PR department of my old college in Bromley got back in touch with me, and asked for my permission to put me forward for an award for an event, known as Adult Learner’s Week by a company called NIACE. At that moment in time I agreed, not thinking much would come from it, but I still submitted an application and then promptly forgot about it, as I continued on with my degree studies.

Then back in March, I had a phone call from my college, informing me that I had won a regional award as a Young Adult Learner of the Year for London, and that I had (some how) been shortlisted for the National Young Adult Learner of the Year award. I was then placed under an embargo, and asked to take part in producing promotional materials for the project, which included being filmed by a member of the BBC and a photoshoot with a top celebrity photographer.
The time soon quickly came around for me to attend the first of the NIACE award ceremony, which was held (on the hottest day of the year) at London Canal Museum, on the 12th of June. I attended this ceremony with the closest members of my family, and old chemistry teacher, head of science and my personal idol, Ian Davis. It was a tear-jerking evening,  I was called up to make a speech (off the cuff I might add, as I wasn’t informed I needed to make one!), thanking both my mum and my teachers, at Bromley. My mum was then called to the stage to come and accept the award with me, where I gave her a hug, and told the room how much I loved her and without her I wouldn’t be where I was today….safe to say, the whole room was in floods after I was finished!

The following Monday, the 16th of June,  was the national award ceremony, and I was extremely nervous! I was told before we had arrived that we would be attending the event at 8 Northumberland avenue, but we had no idea that this was the location of the Grand Hotel. Walking through the hotel’s plaza, I felt like Julie Roberts in Pretty Women, it was so unbelievably beautiful and I could hardly believe I had been asked to be there! Which, consequently, made me all the more nervous! A buffet lunch laid out for myself, other winners and guests, a beautiful hotel room had been booked where my family and I could go and freshen up, and all the help on hand if we needed it. It made me feel like an utter princess, and for the first time, like someone that was very important!

During this time, we were still in the dark with who had won the award. I had been entered into my category with two lovely boys, David Ian Simpson and Max Bennett, who both had amazing stories, and were absolutely incredible people. We, as well as close to around 300 other guests, were given a gourmet dinner in the hotel’s Ballroom, as each award was announced. The Young Adult Learner of the Year award was the second to last award of the night, and with each passing award, I became increasingly more nervous. The award was introduced with each of our finalist videos being shown to the room, before the award was read out (Oscar style) from a silver envelope by Jan Hodges, a sponsor of the award, from a foundation called The Edge Foundation. Those few seconds as she tore into the envelope, seemed like the longest in my life, as I repeatedly told myself it wasn’t going to be me,  I wasn’t even in the running!

Suddenly, I heard Ms Hodges announce that I had won, and I, in Oscar style, burst into tears. All the hardships I had faced and all the times I had struggled had been vindicated, and all the work I had done to help those who were struggling like I had, been recognised. I was over the moon, as well as shaking like a leaf! After the two wonderful boys had collected their awards, I was called to the stage to address the room. I felt like I was walking on air, as I walked up on stage to a sea of applause, (even with the slight Jennifer Lawrence moment I had on the stairs). Learning from my previous award evening I had tried to prepare some things to say (including an educational quote from Einstein), in the extremely unlikely event that I did win the award, but in such shock from being picked, I had forgotten everything I had planned to say! I managed to bumble my way through an interview with one of the members of the NIACE team, before being escorted off the stage (mostly I believe so I didn’t go flying again!), before rounding off the night off with some PR shots.

The next morning, my mother and I found ourselves being escorted through the House of Commons, for a parliamentary reception with all the winners, their families and local educational minsters and MPs. The morning was a rush of faces, names and congratulations, in such an amazing and beautiful surroundings, I could barely believe I was there in the flesh. Our reception was finished up with a series of talks, the CEO of NIACE, the MP for Eastbourne, and the MP for West Suffolk (and minister for Business, Enterprise and Energy).

Since these awards, I have been featured in many local papers in Bexleyheath (where I am from), Bromley and Medway (where my university campus is based). I have also been involved in some advertising campaigns for Bromley College (the most recent featuring on the back of a bus). I was also interviewed by the Royal Society of chemistry to be featured in their 175 faces of chemistry, which is an incredible honour! Also through these awards, I have been given a chance to study a fully funded PhD, after my master studies are completed to a satisfactory level. As well as being involved in many other interesting and exciting opportunities and projects.

In the next coming months, I am due to return back to university, this year I’ll be juggling my studies, alongside be being president of the universities chemical Society, continuing my work in STEM as a STEM ambassador and running my STEM based charity, GlamSci, as well as working as ambassador for a number of important organisations, including NIACE, and WorldTeachIn.

I am extremely excited and utterly humbled by the future holds now for me as a young woman studying chemistry. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined doing even the fraction of the things I have done in the past few months. My only hope is now, that I can continue this work and inspire more young people into the chemical sciences and related fields.

Thank you to all my readers, for sticking by me for so long and here’s to the next coming years! May all our work be successful, and that we keep pushing the envelope and changing the world through chemistry! 
Posted by Amy King on Aug 9, 2014 6:52 PM BST
Hello fellow bloggers, sorry I’ve not updated in a while, but as some of you may know, I have been ill, yet again! Suffering with a severe virus meant I was bed bound for several months, and I’ve only just started to get back on my feet, and get back to my workaholic self once more. This has meant, unfortunately, my blog has suffered, but now, I’m getting back on my feet, I can get back to writing once more.

Sadly, due to this virus, and other factors that have occurred throughout my year of study, including possible heart problems, and mobility issues, the university, my doctors and I to come to a decision to defer my year of study, until I have a full bill of health. I am under a number of consultants, in many different hospitals at the moment, and trying to combine this, as well, as my studies, work, and other chronic illness, has meant that I’ve had to stop, take time out, and focus solely on my health. As many people know, without your health you have no foundations to build upon, and with the loss of so many months of studies, I have not been able to shine as a student. I am slightly disappointed that after coming this far I suffer this set back, but unfortunately, this was my only option.

Even though I’ve had a lot of poor luck over these last few months regarding my health, I have had some good news regarding my work. Back in December, I was lucky enough to be nominated and won, Outstanding Student of the Year, for the work I undertook at Bromley College, and was invited for an award night at their Bromley Campus. During the awards night, I was then informed I had also won the Principal Award, where I was hand-picked  from the 8000 students attending the college. I was utterly shocked and delighted to win these awards, as this was the first time, in my professional career that I have ever been recognised for any kind of work I have carried out. As part of these awards, I was invited to attend a tea at the House of Lords,with members of COSLP (Committee of South London Principals), where I was nominated and received a Best Learner Award in the 20th of May.  Since then, I have recently  been nominated for 2 further awards, but due to a press embargo, I am unable to divulge any details of these awards, however, I am allowed to say,I am currently, producing promotional materials for these awards, and when the embargo is lifted during the first week  of June,I will be making another post about these awards.

I will end this post here, as I have a lot of other things happening in the pipeline, but until they are finalised, I cannot say too much about these projects. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief update and I hope now to be writing more regularly for you all.

Until then,

Posted by Amy King on May 21, 2014 11:52 PM BST
Hello readers, sorry I’ve not updated much lately, but I’d had a few problems with my health and the health of my loved ones, so this post comes kind of late this time! So I apologize for my lateness.  My first full term as a chemistry undergrad is over, and it has been a tough but an enjoyable learning curve!!
Before I started university I was told that university is a lot easier than A-levels, which I can say now is majorly untrue!  There is a big jump between university and A-levels, and it can be difficult to make that leap. Many people think that going to university is, to coin the phrase, ‘a doss’, but nothing can be further from the truth.
Over the last few months, my days have been awash of lectures, notes, lab reports, coursework and phase tests! Chemistry is not an easy subject and shouldn’t be taken lightly! However give it the respect and work it deserves and you will find that it reaps great rewards! (This is true with any subjects at university level in fact).
Presently, I attend university three days a week as a full-time undergrad, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with Tuesdays and Fridays as my days off. I have lab sessions, every week, in which we are given a set experiment we preform, we gain data, and write up in a report for the following session. Lab sessions take up a full day, at the moment, my Mondays, where I am in the lab for six hours. On a Wednesday we have lectures in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, each lasting an hour each, followed a tutorial session, alternating between lecturers depending on the week. We cover extra work, worked examples and discuss coursework techniques. Thursdays we have a three hour analytical chemistry lecture, as my chosen chemistry course is heavily grounded in analytical chemistry, and applications in the work setting, which was the main reason I picked my course. Analytical chemistry was a subject in chemistry I had never come across before, and of course before I started I was quite nervous of this fact. However, analytical chemistry wasn’t as difficult as I thought, essentially, it is the application of each area of chemistry and its application in the laboratory, admittedly though, it does require some lateral thinking and further reading.
Though I am only in university three days a week, this does not mean this course is any easier than any Russell group university! We have staggered coursework, meaning that we often have a piece of coursework accounting to our final grade each week, as well as our weekly lab write ups. Although, we have up to three weeks to complete each piece, which is needed if a piece is particularly long or challenging!
During the first year, we do not have Christmas exams; however, we have miniature tests, accounting to our final grade in analytical chemistry. Known as phase tests, these are 45 minute tests taken under exam conditions roughly every three weeks and covers any work that we have covered leading up to that particular test.
Also, as part of the course, we are required to set up and run our own e-portfolios of our studies, and the work we do within and outside the university. We include our own self-evaluations, action plans to improve ourselves and gain further work, and physical evidence of our work or achievements. This part of the course, also requires us to attend workshops, to improve our employability skills, these can include workshops on how to improve your CV, how to write an effective covering letter, or how avoid pitfalls in interviews.
All this work isn’t including the notes and the further reading needed to be carried out before and after each lecture!
I hope this doesn’t make your head spin readers!
So as my second term looms round the corner, what advice do I have for prospective students, and current undergrad students?
Clearly, preparation is key, you are your preparation, and nothing is worse than that last minute cram! If taken steadily, it can all be achieved, with time to spare to spend with friends and family, if you can balance both the work and your downtime. Balancing this ratio is the hardest problem faced by all first-time undergraduate students! Secondly, if all of this isn’t for you, then say so! There is no shame in admitting when something isn’t exciting you as much as it did before. It has happened to me in the past, and if something isn’t making you happy, then what is the point of forcing yourself to pursue it? As my mother always says, ‘there are ways and means around every problem’, and if a course isn’t for you, but you fancy being a forensic pathologist, then by all means change your view and try something new! Not enjoying what you used to love doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means you have grown into another branch a subject that does interest you! Thirdly, and ultimately, keep calm; everything may seem to be piling up on top of you, exams, coursework, applications, etc. but by retaining a level head and not panicking means your brain will be clearer to think and you will generate more ideas and be able to concentrate more on the tasks at hand!
So if I haven’t scared you all off with the honest amount of work that needs to be put in with a university course, I hope to catch up with you all soon!
Posted by Amy King on Jan 10, 2014 3:07 AM GMT