Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Review: August 2016

Hi all! August was a bit of a weird month, with periods of intense activity and then also days where I just worked on my projects in my bedroom. 

FRIENDS: I'm glad to have had lots of time with my friends this month. I spent the 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th either at sleepovers or at parties (or at sleepover parties...). Good fun. Facebook told me that the 3rd of August was my 3rd Facebook friendship anniversary with Gabi, so here's the hella cute collage I made (painstakingly in MS Paint) for Gabi's birthday. I also celebrated two years of friendship with Daniel on the 2nd. Funny how that corresponds.




18TH BIRTHDAY: I turned 18 a few weeks ago and had a few friends over to celebrate with a trip to the pizzeria and some chilling on the beach. We would've watched shooting stars, too, except for the bloody cloud cover. It was a lovely birthday and my friends banded together to make me this lovely notebook full of letters for me. My ideal present, basically.




LEAVING CERT RESULTS: I got my results on Wednesday 17th and got 600 points, with A1s in English, Physics, Chemistry and French.



COLLEGE: I was offered and accepted a place on Trinity's General Science course, which starts in just under three weeks. Exciting! (Wish it would hurry up though...) Three of my friends got into UCD Arts, and I'm excited to move up to Dublin soon.

CTYI REUNIONS: We had two CTYI reunions this month, the hype reunion and the big summer reunion. Both were great. Strange lack of photos though.

SPEAKING: I attended a training workshop for TEDxDrogheda with our great speaking coach, Orlaith Carmody. It was very tiring but I learned a lot so that was cool. I've also been preparing to speak at TY Expo on the 13th of September, and will be speaking at Zeminar in mid-October.

OUTBOX: Gabi and I had a reunion with Amy from Manchester, whom we befriended at Outbox - and completely serendipitously, Aoife from Sligo happened to be in Dublin that day and literally physically bumped into us!

@RainyGabi @MiniGirlGeek and I at international Dub @OutboxIncubator reunion + ran into @trebletotheclef from Sligo!

20 UNDER 20: I was invited to a 20under20 meetup in Dogpatch Labs organised by Tom McCarthy. It was fun and I met lots of cool people.


Photo by James Keating


PROJECTS: I've been working away towards my goals, which I created in a heavy brainstorming session of "life dreams" -> goals for the next year on August 2nd and I'm so glad I did. Here's my goals tracker so you can see how that's going. I put an X in the box every time I work towards that goal. Some things I'm hoping will start bearing fruit over the next month are the antibiotic resistance campaign and the speaking goal. Cool stuff is also happening with the Youth Platform of the Talent support network so look out for that. This month (or towards the end of July), I've read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Zero to One by Peter Thiel and I'm about 25% through Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I want to read Asking for It by Louise O' Neill soon. 




So there you go! That's my August.

Review: August 2016

Hi all! August was a bit of a weird month, with periods of intense activity and then also days where I just worked on my projects in my bedroom. 

FRIENDS: I'm glad to have had lots of time with my friends this month. I spent the 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd and 25th either at sleepovers or at parties (or at sleepover parties...). Good fun. Facebook told me that the 3rd of August was my 3rd Facebook friendship anniversary with Gabi, so here's the hella cute collage I made (painstakingly in MS Paint) for Gabi's birthday. I also celebrated two years of friendship with Daniel on the 2nd. Funny how that corresponds.




18TH BIRTHDAY: I turned 18 a few weeks ago and had a few friends over to celebrate with a trip to the pizzeria and some chilling on the beach. We would've watched shooting stars, too, except for the bloody cloud cover. It was a lovely birthday and my friends banded together to make me this lovely notebook full of letters for me. My ideal present, basically.




LEAVING CERT RESULTS: I got my results on Wednesday 17th and got 600 points, with A1s in English, Physics, Chemistry and French.



COLLEGE: I was offered and accepted a place on Trinity's General Science course, which starts in just under three weeks. Exciting! (Wish it would hurry up though...) Three of my friends got into UCD Arts, and I'm excited to move up to Dublin soon.

CTYI REUNIONS: We had two CTYI reunions this month, the hype reunion and the big summer reunion. Both were great. Strange lack of photos though.

SPEAKING: I attended a training workshop for TEDxDrogheda with our great speaking coach, Orlaith Carmody. It was very tiring but I learned a lot so that was cool. I've also been preparing to speak at TY Expo on the 13th of September, and will be speaking at Zeminar in mid-October.

20 UNDER 20: I was invited to a 20under20 meetup in Dogpatch Labs organised by Tom McCarthy. It was fun and I met lots of cool people.


Photo by James Keating


PROJECTS: I've been working away towards my goals. Here's my goals tracker so you can see how that's going. I put an X in the box every time I work towards that goal. Some things I'm hoping will start bearing fruit over the next month are the antibiotic resistance campaign and the speaking goal. Cool stuff is also happening with the Youth Platform of the Talent support network so look out for that. This month (or towards the end of July), I've read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, Zero to One by Peter Thiel and I'm about 25% through Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I want to read Asking for It by Louise O' Neill soon. 




So there you go! That's my August.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Review: Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Hi all!

I've been reading Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer lately, but since it's 600 pages long and fairly slow-going, over the last two days I cheated on it and read Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to One was a hugely enjoyable read. It's fast-paced, getting straight to the point without verbosity, provides actionable information based on experience and features some cool anecdotes and sketch graphs, which I liked. It does have its flaws, usually when Thiel's personality comes through strongly - I sensed arrogance (could be confirmation bias though, considering that I'm prejudiced against him for suing Gawker out of existence) in his rants (e.g. about biotech) and pontification about founders.

I enjoyed his discussion of going from zero to one vs. going from one to n, a ka creation vs incremental progress. It was a cool way to phrase it. Also, the way he said a startup is the largest force all aligned to the same mission (paraphrasing) - large companies get bogged down by bureaucracy, but co-founders are important because it's hard for one person to get things done.

I learned that PayPal used to pay people $10 to join, and another $10 to get a friend to join. I'm kinda amazed that worked, but clearly it did. Thiel talked about PayPal's competition with the nearby X.com (run by Elon Musk) and their decision to do a 50/50 merger - it made me wonder what would've happened to those companies if they had continued to compete instead of merging. Would both, one or neither have survived.

Thiel argues that competition is actually a hindrance to capitalism, seemingly defining capitalism as "making lots of money" and thus advocating monopolism instead. This was one of the things I didn't really agree with him on, but his advice for creating a monopoly and his comments about how monopolists and non-monopolists both pretend to be something they're not were interesting. He said unoriginal companies with fierce competition will call themselves the intersection of various smaller markets, like "We're the only Irish restaurant for Millennial ex-pats in Toronto" (Irish restaurant intersection Millennial intersection Irish ex-pats intersection Toronto). On the other hand, monopolists like Google phrase it as the union of big markets to try and paint themselves as small fish - as Thiel put it, Google could say they only have a tiny percentage of the sum of all markets of "search engine U mobile phones U wearable computers U self-driving cars". I thought that was a really interesting point. He also compared airlines' tiny profits to Google's huge ones; because Google is essentially a monopoly that Bing and Yahoo can never catch up with, Google doesn't get undercut.

I liked his advice for building a monopoly of "start small and monopolize". He talked about how PayPal identified a great small but focused market to use their service: Ebay Power Sellers, who were working with an unwieldy payments system on Ebay. "The perfect target market for a startup is a small group of particular people concentrated together and served by few or no competitors"

His discussion of definite vs. indefinite optimism vs. pessimism was quite interesting. He devotes a whole chapter to it so I'll let you read that (the book is free online here as part of an MIT course), but basically indefinite optimism is expecting something good to happen while you sit on your ass, definite optimism is expecting something good to happen if you make it happen, definite pessimism is "we know what will happen and it's bad" and indefinite pessimism is "I don't know what's gonna happen but I know it'll be bad and it's out of my control".

He says aiming to be well-rounded is indefinite optimism, while aiming to be excellent at one thing is definite optimism or being "a monopoly of one". He then does a swing around Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Epicurus, Hegel, Marx, Rawls, Herbert Spencer and Robert Nozick, sorting their philosophies into definite or indefinite, pessimistic or optimistic. 

He goes on a little rant about biotech, saying it's all indefinite optimism, because researchers simulate or create thousands of compounds hoping they'll find one or two that work rather than designing something to work. Unfortunately, the human body is more difficult to understand than a computer. 

He talks quite a lot about the Pareto or 80/20 principle and the power rule, especially in terms of VC portfolios. One investment, he says, will likely have more value than all of your other investments combined (for him, that was Facebook). 

Also, apparently the 12 largest tech companies in America (or the world? he doesn't specify) are worth over $2 trillion, which is more than every other tech company combined. Wow. 

He discusses the continuum from conventional knowledge to secrets to mysteries and the trichotomy of the easy, the hard and the impossible. He mentions this dude who thinks the reason modern humans are unhappy is that all of the hard problems have been solved, so all that's remaining are the easy and the impossible, which are deeply unsatisfying. Thiel disagrees, though, and says to succeed a startup needs a secret - something you know how to do that no one else understands.

He talks about how no matter how good your product is, to succeed you have to actively work on distribution and stop looking down on salespeople because if you don't have salespeople, you are the salesperson.

He veers into AI and clean energy here but I think Wait But Why covers that way better so let me leave you with the seven questions every business needs to be able to answer.

1. The Engineering Question - Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements? 
2. The Timing Question - Is now the right time to start your particular business? 
3. The Monopoly Question - Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
4. The People Question - Do you have the right team? 
5. The Distribution Question - Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product? 
6. The Durability Question - Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future? 
7. The Secret Question - Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?


Definitely a thought-provoking read, enough to make up for moments of arrogance. 4 stars. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

20 under 20 2016

Hi all! I'm just back from a week in which I spent 6 out of 7 days gallivanting up in Dublin. On one of those days, I participated in the 20under20 event at Dogpatch Labs organised by Tom McCarthy, who's in the EmTech Global Youth Leaders programme with me. 

All photos in this post were taken by James Keating of Dogpatch Labs. 

The event featured 11 under-20s (8 guys 3 girls, and all of the girls were Outbox alumni) plus mentors in entrepreneurship and tech jobs. The young people included a Youtube manager, a mathematician (Paul, who I met at BTYSTE 2014 with his cool blackboard shortly before he won overall), app developers, one nanonerd (me), someone working on a nuclear fusion reactor (Tom) and more. 


We started with some food and table tennis (I'm very bad at this, it turns out), a quick talk from Tom, then introduced ourselves. All very impressive but sure what can ya do.

We then did the ever-present marshmallow-spaghetti challenge. Despite the number of times I've done it/seen it done, my team's structure still collapsed. Probably because we changed our plan halfway through under time pressure. Oh well!

We went down then to listen to a talk from CoderDojo Executive Director Giustina Mizzoni. She was so cool and seemed like a really interesting and genuine person. She talked about running the CoderDojo Foundation and her life story up to that point. I'm pretty sure she said she did Arts in UCD, which was cool because basically my whole friend group is doing that. It's a nice rebuttal to my friend who thinks his employment prospects are low because he's doing Arts, so I'm glad to have Giustina's example.


We then had a panel discussion featuring a bunch of different people. I knew the lovely Claire but no one else (the only woman on the panel...). It was interesting.



We then had a workshop session in which we were told to come up with a way to combat obesity using technology. One of those fast-paced whiteboard group sessions. With the requisite Post-Its. We settled on an app that uses image recognition to scan your food, compare its nutritional value to your personalised diet plans and then, still within the app, shows you the nearest shops/best delivery services to get foods to keep you on target/bring you back on target. I liked how effortless it was, because I think if I was using it the more thought I had to put into it the less likely I'd be to eat healthy. 

The fun part was when my team got me to pitch it and suddenly I was able to pitch it well. I seemed so confident, which is funny. My pitching skills have come on in leaps and bounds since BT Bootcamp and I am so glad. I think ours was pretty cool honestly.

One thing I noticed - maybe it's the scientist in me, but I'm unable to do things (project-wise) that I know other people have done before. So I'm always surprised when I see people pitching things in these imaginary sessions that they must know are already widely available. But the funny thing (and something I'm trying to get into my head), is that it's all about execution - people can get very far without being completely original. Don't think it's really my style though. 

I also noted the necessity of narrowing down your focus. Our team's first ideas were very broad - educational campaigns plus app plus wearables to track your exercise - and honestly that's the kind of thing a government, not a startup, should do (in my opinion). So I went for just the integrated image recognition and food delivery service. Narrower things can be a lot more effective.


Seen here, being the only girl on the team ... I sure am glad I'm an assertive one!

We then had another panel discussion with new panellists. I got absolutely roasted for asking a similar question of these guys as I had of Giustina earlier but hey, I wanted answers. They kept saying "ask someone who's done it before" and I was just thinking "you guys are entrepreneurs you literally are these people that's why I'm asking". I got some good advice though, and it was an enjoyable session overall :)


It was a cool event overall, and I'm looking forward to keeping in contact with some of the people I met there. Thanks to Tom for organising, to all the mentors for coming and to Dogpatch Labs for giving us that incredibly cool space to work in!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Study Playlists

I've just finished two years of pretty intense studying for the Leaving Cert, and music was a great motivator through those hundreds of hours of study. Here's a sample of the music I used to keep me going - let me know any study music recommendations you have in the comments or on Twitter @frizzyroselle!

Note: I never said the songs weren't cheesy. 

Source




Motivational

to keep you going when you're bored, tired or both

Non-Stop - Hamilton
Bet On It - High School Musical
This entire Youtube playlist (literally the most motivational thing ever)


Soft

for long study periods with minimal distraction

It's Quiet Uptown - Hamilton
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story - Hamilton
You Could Be Happy - Snow Patrol
Same Love - Macklemore ft. Ryan Lewis
How to Save a Life - The Fray
Photograph - Ed Sheeran
Safe and Sound - Taylor Swift
Back to December - Taylor Swift
Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Lorde
Still Sane - Lorde

Cheer-Up

for playing through speakers while in the shower after a shitty test grade or particularly stressful week

Drop in the Ocean - OMI
7 Years - Lukas Graham
Bright - Echosmith
Shut Up and Dance - WALK THE MOON
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Little Things - One Direction
Keeping Your Head Up - Birdy

(Lots of songs from the "Soft" list also go here)


Soundtrack

general songs that I listened to a lot while studying

Popular - Mika 
I hate u, i love u - Gnash, Olivia O' Brien
Demons - Imagine Dragons
Trouble - Sander Kleinenberg Remix - Halsey
Colors - Halsey
Call Your Girlfriend - Michelle Chamuel version
Epic Rap Battles of History
Car Radio - Twenty One Pilots
Stressed Out - Twenty One Pilots
Panic Cord - Gabrielle Aplin
Academia - Sia
Stitches - Shawn Mendes

(Spotify's Revision Ballads playlist was great, as was the Who Run the World? playlist.)

Artists
Taylor Swift
Halsey
Ed Sheeran
Hamilton
Mumford & Sons
Marina and the Diamonds
Lorde
Twenty One Pilots

___________________________________________________________________________

This is obviously an incomplete list, but I think it's a pretty good summary of the songs that got me through all that studying.

Until next time,

Elle xo.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Leaving Cert Results!

Hi everyone! 

As you probably know, the Leaving Cert results came out on Wednesday. So here I am, sharing them, because why not? On a related note, I'll also be posting my leaving cert tips, my study playlist, my preparations for college and lots of other fun stuff. If ye enjoy it even half as much as I do, we'll be flying!

My Results

To summarise: I got 600 points out of a maximum possible 625, which is enough to get me into (I think) any course in the country except for those that require interviews, HPAT, etc. Yay! My course only needed 515, but overshooting it by 85 can't hurt.

Me with Dad

The Breakdown

Physics: A1
Chemistry: A1
French: A1
English: A1
Irish: A2
Maths: B1
History: B2

My Reaction

I enjoyed slowly pulling the sheet out of the envelope, as the first things I saw were the A1 in English and A2 in Irish, aka a good start. 

I counted my points several times and was delighted to have reached the 600-point mark (it just has great symbolism, y'know?). My guidance counsellor, year head and principal were lovely about my results, and I got some photos for the paper.

I was delighted with the A1s, disappointed with Maths and Irish and happy that I pushed History from a D1 in the mocks to a B2 in the real thing. 

A few hours after I got the results, it dawned on me that they don't really mean a whole lot once I've got my course. So while I'm relieved my seriously hard work paid off, I don't really get the big deal people are making of 600+ points. I just saw an article in some newspaper like "I got 600 points, here's how you can too!" and having gotten 600, it seems a lot less impressive now.

Damn my brain, constantly moving the goalposts. "You can be satisfied with your achievements if you get 580+" *Gets 600* *Yoink!*

Cue Angelica Schuyler from Hamilton

"I will never be satisfied...I will never be satisfied!"

It is nice to have lots of choice now though, just in case I (for some reason) decided I don't like my current #1 course and want to re-apply next year with these points. Choice: it's great. Also, I'll get a Trinity entrance scholarship, which I've heard is pretty measly but hey, better than nothing!

I'm so glad I don't have to go to a lower choice/do a PLC/repeat the Leaving, and I'm mega excited to go to college. I think it's the perfect place for me.

Comparison to Predictions

I did full sets of Predictions a week before the Leaving Cert and again the week after I sat it, so I'm going to compare those to my results.

The ones from the week before are "Target", the ones from the week after are "Pessimistic Prediction" and "Optimistic Prediction". The boxes highlighted in yellow are those where I scored outside the predicted range. Points-wise, before I sat the exams I set a target of 605, which I didn't quite reach (I got a B1 instead of the necessary-for-that-scenario A2 in Maths). Afterwards, I set a pessimistic 500 and an optimistic 605. So I scored at the top end of that with 600. Which is okay.

Subject
Target
Pessimist Pred
Optimist Pred
Result
English
A2/A1
C1
A2
A1
Irish
A1
B1
A1
A2
Maths
A2/A1
C2
A2
B1
Physics
A1
B3
A2
A1
Chemistry
A1
B1
A1
A1
History
????
C2
A2
B2
French
A1
B1
A1
A1

If you want a laugh, think about the fact that I went into school and had photos taken with my good points and only found out later that I'd been wearing my jeans backwards. 
College

Unless something truly shocking happens and there's an 85-point rise in my course requirement, I'll be doing Science in Trinity (TR071) come September. Exciting :D


Now, if I could just sort out accommodation ... That's the next challenge!

Until then.

Elle xo

Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Hi dudes! I finished A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson recently as part of my goal to read 15 popular science books between August 2016 and July 2017, and I'm delighted to tell you that it's a fantastic book. 

I had just worked my way through A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. I thought the books would be similar, but it turns out that there are significant differences: Hawking's is a lot drier, focuses only on physics and describes things more mathematically. In contrast, Bryson's is an entertaining, rollicking read filled with personal spats between scientists and an easily readable explanation of a huge range of subjects, including space, paleontology, evolution, particle physics, microbiology, anthropology and more. 

He manages to provide an overview of everything from 1000 ft up, every so often deftly swooping down to examine a particularly scintillating person or discovery or feud in detail, seamlessly keeping all of the threads together and everything in context. It's quite amazing, really.

It's quite a difficult book to review, because it just covers so much, but suffice to say that it was brilliant, funny and informative, and then leave you with my favourite sections and quotes. My only complaints were some errors (mostly getting the sizes of things wrong) and his avoidance (for the most part) of scientific notation, e.g. saying "one-quarter of one percent". 

Best Bits!

Talking about fuzzy TV and parts of that fuzz coming from the cosmic microwave background:

The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe

Something shocking:

Neptune is five times further from Jupiter than Jupiter is from us and Pluto is barely 1/50000th of the way through the solar system

The existence of the Oort Cloud is, according to Bryson, "entirely hypothetical". I just looked this up and it's apparently true - yet I've believed for years in it!

The North Star might have burned out anytime in the last 680 years and we wouldn't know.

This hilarious anecdote about Isaac Newton:

As a student, frustrated by the limitations of conventional mathematics, he invented an entirely new form, the calculus, but then told no one about it for twenty-seven years. In like manner, he did work in optics that transformed our understanding of light and laid the foundation for the science of spectroscopy, and again chose not to share the results for three decades

Bryson reports that Darwin once decreed that the number of worms in an average acre of English country soil is "53,767" which is hilariously precise.

On the Laws of Thermodynamics:


The three principal laws are sometimes expressed jocularly as (1) you can't win, (2) you can't break even, and (3) you can't get out of the game.

Bryson made Rutherford sound like a very funny person, and I loved this:

All science is either physics or stamp collecting

Not to insult the biologists of the world, but it's a pretty apt quote if you define physics as "understanding the universe".

These excerpts are wonderful:

"Physically he was big and booming, with a voice that made the timid shrink. Once when told that Rutherford was about to make a radio broadcast across the Atlantic, a colleague drily asked: “Why use radio?”"


"At almost the same time the German physicist Werner Heisenberg came up with a competing theory called matrix mechanics. This was so mathematically complex that hardly anyone really understood it, including Heisenberg himself (“I do not even know what a matrix is ,” Heisenberg despaired to a friend at one point)"

"This expressly decreed that nothing could outrace the speed of light and yet here were physicists insisting that, somehow, at the subatomic level, information could. (No one, incidentally, has ever explained how the particles achieve this feat. Scientists have dealt with this problem, according to the physicist Yakir Aharanov, “by not thinking about it.”)"

"Young man,” Enrico Fermi replied when a student asked him the name of a particular particle, “if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist"

I'm a big fan of the wit in "amino acids (which I am obliged by long tradition to refer to here as “the building blocks of life”)" and puzzled by "Proteins can’t exist without DNA, and DNA has no purpose without proteins. Are we to assume then that they arose simultaneously with the purpose of supporting each other? If so: wow."

James Watson's attitude to discovering the structure of DNA was very funny: 

As Watson cheerfully (if a touch disingenuously) remarked in his autobiographical book The Double Helix, "It was my hope that the gene might be solved without my learning any chemistry".

Something I cringed at, but also a testament to the power of today's computers - a dude called Milankovitch "had to work out the angle and duration of incoming solar radiation at every latitude on Earth, in every season, for a million years, adjusted for three ever-changing variables" for his theory of glaciation. He worked on this for twenty years, but it was "work that now could be completed in a day or two with a computer." Sucks to have worked in the 1920s, I guess! Then again, Physics was very exciting at that point...

Darwin wrote an exhaustive tome on barnacles, and afterwards remarked:

"I hate a barnacle as no man ever did before."

Exactly my feelings after studying 1000 pinecones for a Young Scientist project!

I would say my favourite section of the book was the bit on bacteria/viruses/disease, but honestly, apart from the few numerical mistakes littering its 544 pages, it was almost all excellent. Highly recommended. 




Friday, 5 August 2016

Goals August 2016 - July 2017

Every once in a while, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I like to sit down and figure out what my goals and projects are for the next while. I did that a few days ago and felt much better afterwards. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Complete Nobel Project for Physics and Chemistry

As a way to take a swing through important parts of science over the last century, I'm learning about each Nobel Prize winner (deeply enough that I understand the basics of what their Prize-winning work was) and then writing a short piece on each. I'll be doing 6 months of Physics and 6 months of Chemistry to cover all Nobel awardees, and you can follow along with the project here

2. Get Syndicalab running in 3 locations

You can find a blog post about Syndicalab here. This one is going to be a big challenge - I'm reaching out to some people I know and going to do something with a college research soc. If you have any ideas or want to help, contact me on Twitter @frizzyroselle.

3. Organise college science fair

Because why should science fairs be just for second-level students?

4. Read 15+ science books

I'm currently most of the way through A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and before that I read A Short History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Books I'm planning to read for this include Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman, Cosmos, The Emperor of all Maladies, The Selfish Gene, The Trouble with Physics, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, Godel, Escher, Bach and Thinking, Fast and Slow. Plus more, obviously. I can count.

5. Do a research project

I'm just collecting research questions at the moment - the research or prep for it has not yet begun.

6. Reach 1000+ students with antibiotic resistance campaign

As you may know, I'm passionate about slowing the spread of antibiotic resistance. So I have a presentation and I'm aiming to take it to primary school (5th/6th class) classrooms and reach 1000 kids with it over the next year. 

7. Challenge Assumptions

This one is purely personal development. I have a lot of things I believe in just because the people around me do, so I want to examine any beliefs I have without evidence. I'm going to do that by looking for evidence (where applicable) and coming up with as many points as I can on the pro- and against side of the argument.

8. Perform music for a big audience 3 times

It's been a while since I did that, and it'll motivate me with two of the things I want to learn - classical piano and increasing my ukulele repertoire. Big doesn't have to be massive, but something more than just friends/family.

9. Get at least 30 mins of exercise at least 90% of days

I am unfortunately very sedentary usually, and that's bad for my mental and physical health. So I'm going to make sure that even on lazy days I get out and do something, even if it's just walking my dog for half an hour.

10. Speak at 6+ events

I discovered after speaking at the World Youth Organisation's International Women's Day event how much I love public speaking, and my experience at Inspirefest reinforced that. So I'm going to try and do as many speaking gigs as I can this year. 

I already have two lined up: I'll be speaking at Zeminar in October, and am in the final stage of consideration to speak at TEDxDrogheda in September. So I'm on track here!

11. Get a First in college

Basically, I want to do really really well academically in college. Fortunately, I love studying as much as I love the #studyblr aesthetic, so if I work my butt off (to manage all the other things) hopefully I can do this.

12. Blog at least weekly

I'll be very busy, so I can't blog all the time, but I want to make sure there are no stretches with one blog post a month. So I'll be blogging weekly.

13. Publish 20+ paid freelance articles

I've had one greenlit since I put down these goals three days ago. Seriously, guys, writing down your goals and making them quantifiable is amaaazing. 

14. 2 YP-ETSN projects

I'm one of the two Irish representatives in the Youth Platform of the European Talent Support Network set up by the European Council of High Ability, and I want to do two impactful projects with the YP this year to improve gifted education policy in Europe.


__________________________________________________________________________

So those are my goals! I made a spreadsheet to keep track of progress towards them and I promise you, it delights me. I really love spreadsheets and graphs. I would show you it but unfortunately the screenshot is refusing to upload. Anyway...




Monday, 1 August 2016

Review: July 2016

This month has been filled with a bunch of small events and, apart from Inspirefest at the start, nothing much else. No holidays, nothing I was looking forward to for a really long time, nothing huge. I did get up to some fun things, but overall it dragged. 

INSPIREFEST: I've already blogged extensively about this, but to recap: on the 1st of July, I spoke with some other Outbox gals on stage at Inspirefest and had a great time. On the 2nd, I went to Inspirefest Fringe with Christine and others. 

PARTAYS: I was unusually adventurous (for me) and went to two parties on two consecutive nights, resulting in 7 hours of travel over three days and 7 hours of sleep over two days. It was fun - the first party was for Daniel and Aleca's joint 18th, then I had a meeting with Ruta whom I'd met at Inspirefest the next day, then on a whim I went down to Paddy's party in Wexford, which is a lot further away than I'd anticipated. 

ENGLISH FRIENDS: I had the good fortune to get to see my two of my closest English friends, London Jason and Manchester Amy. It was the first time I'd seen Jason since an hour in October and we had fun being incredibly clumsy while walking my dog on the beach and talking (okay him talking, me listening in awe) about economics n' shit. Also, him playing violin beautifully. I saw Amy towards the end of the month, Saturday 30th, in Dublin with Gabi - and completely by chance, we ran into Aoife from Sligo, creating a four-person Outbox reunion. It was really great to see all these people I hadn't seen in months again. 



CTYI: I was really sad not to go to CTYI this year, especially since half my friends were going, and it felt like everything was moving on without me while I spent the summer bored. CTYI is such a wonderful place, honestly. I did have fun crashing Omni (the Saturday activity) while visiting Dad's partner - I got to see a ton of people and get a lot of hugs.


COMMON-OR-GARDEN FRIENDS: I hung out a bunch with Chloe, Daniel, Ben and Kate this month. I had fun at Dublin Maker then went back to hang with Kate (I've described that day here), slept over at Ben's, hung with Chloe and Daniel after crashing Omni and brought Chloe to my Debs.

DEBS: My graduation ball happened on the 27th and it was pretty cool. I've written about it here, but in summary it was a good occasion and a nice send-off for the class of 2016. High point: my year voting me Most Likely to Become a Billionaire. Low point: Awful music the whole time. 


BLOG: This blog got redesigned for the first time since it began two years ago. The roses and intense pink are gone, replaced by, well, what you see now. I like how it's a lot cleaner.

TEDx: I applied to do a talk at TEDxDrogheda and have been informed that I've gotten into the final 14, with 8 speakers to be picked in the end. I'll be at a workshop for that on August 20th. 

LIT: I've read and reviewed two books so far this month, Demon Road by Derek Landy and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and I'm now about halfway through A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I also got two freelance articles rejected and one accepted, so once I get that in I'll be receiving $100 (plus the stuff from my commission (rather than pitch)-based freelance stuff. 

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Wow - laying it all out like that, the month looks a lot busier than it felt. Anyway, August has some cool enough things lined up, so let's hope that goes well!