October 26, 2012, by Matt

A Day in the Life of a Geographer … Francesca Marriott

Welcome to Second Year

And so it begins, autumn is here and I am in my second year as a Geography student at the University of Nottingham…

So what does second year feel like? Well I can honestly say it is nice to be back in Nottingham and in some circumstances it feels like nothing has changed. However, the knowledge that now marks do count towards my degree does put things into perspective.

It’s quite nice to start of the academic year with 40% of a 20 credit module already completed – thanks to the ‘Techniques in Physical Geography’ field-course.  And great to know I now have a little more knowledge about fieldwork techniques to help me begin to think about dissertation ideas.

This week I’ve spent a lot of time number-crunching on excel. Unfortunately geographers don’t spend all their time playing about in the field and collecting data. And sadly numbers, maths and stats are not my forte so it has been pretty slow going and rather painful at times. Yet as a BSc student I guess I should get used to being able to quantify and statistically analyse my results.

Group work is also taking up quite a bit of my time at the moment, with group projects in a large percentage of my modules. It’s nice to bounce ideas off each other and share out the workload. Don’t get me wrong, group does have its own significant challenges, but I guess it just gives me the opportunity for me to work on those’ invaluable’ team-working skills.

I have also spent a lot more time in the lab this year so far, which is quite refreshing and interesting compared to having lectures all the time. Practicals range from modelling fluvial activity, to working with climate models on computers to designing and conducting an experiment on salt weathering in deserts.

In addition, I have a couple of deadlines coming up in the next week or so, which means I am working my way through all the reading and prep-work. Though a few of them are formative; so are marked yet do not count towards my degree. Hopefully, I shall learn from all my mistakes for when the assessments actually do count!

This semester second-years have a compulsory module called ‘Career skills for Geographers’ which aims to prepare us for the big, wide world once we graduate. It is a chance for us to learn about possible careers and what we want to do after we graduate.  Currently, I still have no real idea on what ‘career pathway’ I am going to take, but there’s still time to decide.

My work placement is underway now at Groundwork where I have joined the FIG Project (Food Initiative Group). This project aims to promote locally produced and sourced food in key areas of Nottingham which are associated with depravation.  By promoting the sale and purchase of local, healthy food it aims to have both a positive impact socially and economically on the area as well as encouraging environmentally-friendly and sustainable way of buying food. So far my work has entailed gathering information for a database which will encourage networking between growers, buyers and sellers in the local area. My geographical skills have also been put to good use by making and annotating a map on a foraging trail in a local park.  And that concludes my week in the life of a geographer!

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