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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

This week marks my first week of university and after a few days of nervous waiting for course to start I’m now finally in the swing of it!

My fresher’s started with a meet and greet event at our local pub on campus, giving me chance to meet some of my course mates and some of the students living on campus. Everyone seemed so lovely and welcoming, it really put my freshers nerves at ease! After a few drinks and a bit of dancing we broke up for the weekend, to start the official fresher’s on Monday.

On Monday we got chance to meet our course-leader, a very lovely man called Dr Mendham, along with one of our lecturers for inorganic chemistry Dr Coleman, both lecturers made everyone feel very at ease with their informal chats and tours, which made them feel more approachable than just staff. The day finished on an informative lecture on one of my favourite subjectschocolate! With a couple of practical demonstrations, and taste tests!

Tuesday continued with meeting staff as we meet our personal tutors. Our group of around twenty five student were split up into groups of around three to seven for each tutor. We were then given information about the course and important information about events happening in our school.

Finally today, we had a mini-freshers fair, in which our university had various stalls with information for new students. Unfortunately, as our sister universities do not start until this coming Monday, our main fair isn’t until next week, but this fair gives the Greenwich students a taster of student life, as well as a bag full of freebies!

Later on this week, we are to get our computer logins and a session on how to use our libraries resources, which I’m very excited for, as the library was one of the deciding factors in my choice of university. We will also be having another mini lecture on what it means to be a chemist as well as having a freshers quiz put on by our chemical society.

All in all, I feel really welcome by my new institution, and though I will greatly miss college, I feel very happy and settled at the university of Greenwich.

Roll on the lectures!

Posted by Amy King on Sep 22, 2013 5:12 PM BST
Posted by Amy King on Sep 22, 2013 5:12 PM BST
Sorry for those who follow my blog and know that I haven’t updated my blog recently, however I was having dental surgery done over the last few weeks, as well as having a general tough time of it all. However, I do want to say  a few words about our recent summer exams and impending results day.

So we have all finished our exams now, after many weeks of long and sleepless nights, the tears and the tantrums,  now we are waiting on our important results, andfor many students up and down the country, the confirmation of our universityplacement.

With under a week left for English (and possibly Welsh) students to receive their results and acceptance or rejection of their firm university placements, nerves are starting to fray. The same nervous energy that we all experienced whilst taking our exams, is slowly starting to build and causing tempers to snap, nails to be bitten, and in my case, terrifying nightmares of losing all my teeth, and being Alexander Armstrong’s latest squeeze.

Even though the wait feels unbearable, it’s a final hurdle for us all, the ending of an era, but a starting of a new, for our first real taste of adulthood, of living alone, housework and bills. University holds a new world of experiences for us all, and we, the students of 2013 are on the cusp now of experiencing it, and it is this, that I look forward to the most.

Good luck students of 2013, fingers crossed…….we can do it!
Posted by Amy King on Sep 22, 2013 5:11 PM BST
Posted by Amy King on Sep 22, 2013 5:10 PM BST
There is one C work that makes every students blood run cold in terror.....COURSEWORK. Investigative skills assessments or Externally Marked Practical Assignments are universally described as the bane of most students’ existence! I cannot tell you the amount of students I speak to that find practical exams the hardest part of their a-level courses. I am quite surprised by students that say that they hate practicals in science. To me, science is a practical subject, with chemistry being the most ‘hands-on’ of them all. Essentially within science, we are understanding the world around us, and being able to model its applications into situations where it would not necessarily commonly be found. However, this entry is not meant to discuss the big issues of science in the world, for that there are many arguments to even consider an informed opinion, instead, I wish to talk about practical’s within school/college laboratories and the evolution of practical coursework.

I am in a fortunate situation, where the college that I currently attend have a very hand on science department, and practicals are conducted with gusto and enthusiasm. When choosing my college after returning to conventional education, this was one of my biggest contributory factors of why I made the college my first choice. I had previously been at a college where practicals were few and far between. When I had left due to my ill health, I barely knew how to light a Bunsen burner! Coursework had also been a major part of our A-level and GCSE examinations, however, its practical nature had a lesser influence over the more modern coursework that takes place in colleges and schools across the nation today.

In 2007, the scientific coursework, (at least for biology and chemistry which I took at the time) was largely essay based, requiring the students before any practical work to research thoroughly the methods they were going to used to perform their experiments. Students were required to construct their own investigation for their individual topic, consider an objective and analyse any results and come to their own conclusions of the experiment and critique themselves, almost completely independently. This would sometimes take students an age, and I can remember one of my own pieces, when partially written up, as being over thirty-four pages long. It was essential a magnum opus of chemical knowledge! This coursework could take a student up to three to four weeks to complete, and at each stage, a draft would need to be submitted and critiqued by tutors. Though to many students this would seem to be a welcome relief from the pressure of practical coursework under time conditions, essay based coursework was extremely hard to get good marks on for most students, and was often left to the last minute, requiring many a sleep-less night and a cafe full of coffee to complete this tedious task by the deadline.

Having undertaken coursework in both forms, I am very grateful that coursework has now evolved into the more practical, ‘hands on’ examination it has become. To me, I feel better prepared by it, to be able to carry out practical’s in a laboratory setting than I ever have before. However, with any examination, the current coursework has its bad point. The integrated, ‘how science works’ part of the syllabus for all exam boards, like for many students, is rather hard to understand, it seems to only partially prepare you for the practical assessments that make up part of the course, it therefore falls to the ability of the teaching staff to get you through these tough, but rigorous parts of the A-level examination.

However, once fully understood coursework can either make, or break your grade, thus for this reason, it should be properly prepared for, and not treated lightly.
Posted by Amy King on Feb 13, 2013 12:57 AM GMT
Hello fellow bloggers. Those who follow my blog, will know that I have not been posting much recently, and for that I do apologise, I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues this last month, due to my own health and my family, but I am pleased to report, I’m back, and that even though I am down, I am not out of the game!

I am just about to start my final few months left at Bromley College, and I am quite sad to think in just over five months my time at the college will come to an end. However I hope that I will be able to move on to other successful projects like the ones I have undertaken with them!

On the note of other successful projects, I can tell you I have almost had all of my offers from my UCAS. I am currently due for an interview at my final choice university, Imperial College. I’m quite nervous, as I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from people who have had interviews with them in the past. I’m hoping the interview will be like my last interview, which oddly enough I was completely relaxed in, and I rather enjoyed!

Due to my personal issues, I was forced to miss my January exams for my Fourth Units, which I was really upset over. I had worked very hard for them, and was gutted to not be able to attend. This means that I will have to sit my Unit Fours and Unit Fives in the summer. This work load is huge, however I feel like I am in a good place, and feel confident, that I’ll be able to succeed!

So this is my quick catch up with everyone. I’m excited to start back at college (even though at the moment my college is closed due to snow!) and finishing up my final year!
As a side note, I’m thinking of overhauling my blog, changing my name to ‘GlamChem’ what does everyone think?
Posted by Amy King on Jan 20, 2013 8:58 PM GMT
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