Glasgow, May 2011-March 2012 (A day in the life)

Another catch-up entry.

I lived in Glasgow 11 months, during which time I finished my phd thesis and wrote a bunch of journal articles and therefore didn’t do very many interesting tourist-y things. So, since whenever I say I’m a physicist I get people saying “what do you even do all day?”, I thought I’d sum up my time in Glasgow via an imaginary-but-realistic day:

  • 6-6.30 am: wake up. In summer, this would be hours after it got light (whoo blackout curtains!). In winter it would be hours before it got light (ugh).
  • 7 am: I think I can see how to fix the chapter I’ve been trying for a week to make readable, so I skip breakfast at home and go to a cafe near campus with ok-ish coffee and decidedly mediocre pastries, but no wifi so I can actually get stuff done. Stay there for about an hour, or until I get dirty looks from the staff for taking up a large-ish table for too long having bought only a small americano.
  • 8:30-ish. Go to my (shared) office. No-one else will arrive until 9-ish, so in theory this is prime working time, but in practice I check my email and facebook and then check facebook again just in case someone did something interesting in the past 5 minutes. Get an email saying I need a form signed, attempt to find supervisor, who isn’t in.
  • 9-12.30. A mix of chatting with office-mates, replying to emails from collaborators, checking up on simulations that I’m running to get better data for one of my thesis chapters, staring out the window, procrastinating on the internet. Try again to find supervisor, who is now in a meeting. Come back later, supervisor has disappeared into thin air.
  • Of course, morning tea at 11, where I plan to just duck in and say hi and make a cup of tea, but in reality I hang around far too long and get caught in a discussion with other phd students about which professors would come out victorious if we instituted a physics department death ring, in the style of a roman circus.
  • 12.30-1-ish. Lunch. Let’s imagine this is one of the 3 sunny days per year, in which case lunch involves sitting out in the beautiful university grounds, enjoying the view. (More realistically: duck over to Marks & Spencer through the drizzle, buy sandwich, eat at desk because the office is the only room with decent heating.)
  • After lunch: Much like the morning really. Finally find supervisor on 5th attempt, get form signed. Get into discussion about how to arrange the 6 subfigures and insets of a figure for a paper we’re writing: for space reasons, we can’t split it into 2 figures. Fail to convince supervisor that it is not physically possible to make all the subfigure labels larger while making the overall figure smaller. Go back to office, open image editing software, despair of life, decide to go home, make note “to do: fix fig 2 :(“.
  • 5.30. While walking home, decide to go for a run this evening. Upon getting home, decide that watching videos on youtube is more appealing. (Actually, to be fair on myself, I did end up running ~2x per week while I was living in Glasgow, as opposed to 0x per week now.)
  • Invariably, I’ve brought home stuff to work on, but oddly enough, I struggle to find the appeal in spending time after dinner trying to read a paper I’ve been attempting to understand for the past 3 weeks. Read trashy blogs instead.

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