Tag Archives: MSc


The deadline for the PhD application was on April 16, which resulted in me working over Easter desperately trying to finish it. It ended up pretty good, if I may say so myself. The only problem now is out of my hands, and I can only hope that my application stands out enough to call for an interview among the 40 other applicants. Other than being nervous, I also managed to finish my thesis.

I sent it in twice for revision and now the final version is in my hands. I only need to check for some minor errors and find typos. After than I’m ready to write a presentation manuscript and defend it. It’ll be fun, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Knowing that I have so many people that support me is very comforting. I’m not gonna lie, I am nervous but being a little nervous is good. It feels amazing and very unrealistic at the same time. Once my defence is over and I pass, I will have made my childhood dream come true and I’ll finally be a marine biologist.

I remember when I first started this blog and it was all about being a bartender before I realised I need to head back to uni and finish what I started. I also remember the picture shown to me when I was 8 and I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to be an archeologist and head for the deep blue instead. For the longest time as a child, I thought the words marine biologist was just a made up thing. I had just put together two words that made sense to me: marine because of the ocean and biologist because of all the life around us. Countless of times was I met with the question Is that even a thing? Of course it is! Look at me now. I’m very happy, although the thought of not knowing what I’ll do the coming years is frightening.

Most of all, I’m proud of myself. I’ve managed an education with 0 in debt. Zero. Nil. Nada. My degree is the manifestation of hard work in its purest form. Yes, I have put many things aside to achieve this but it is worth it. I’m also very proud of the fact that I managed to do something that I’d never thought I’d be able to pull off. My thesis is strictly theoretical and it’s packed with statistics. I’m still afraid of statistics but I now have a fundamental understanding to it and I know why it’s important. It scared the living being out of me when I took it but I am really glad I did it. It put me through so much agony, pain and frustration but it paid me back in knowledge and resilience. I’m really impressed with myself, not only to the fact that I managed to pull this thesis off, but also because I took the courage and challenged myself and walked out of it alive. So whatever the future has coming my way, I am not afraid.

//c_Cae; challenge accepted and achievement unlocked: marine biologist one month from now! 


The past week

It’s been an eventful week. I’m TA-ing an undergraduate class, got good news on the thesis and most fun of all, I got a mail from a very dear friend.

First things first. The undergraduate class is exciting, the students are cheerful and willing to learn. But since most animals we deal with are my weakness (terrestrial and insects), I could only guide them to the best of my abilities which are very limited. We did get to hear European tree frogs play and it was amazing just sitting there with tea and enjoying the scenery. It did get better when we got out on a field trip and some students caught some crucian carps. It was my time to shine and I could actually tell something about the fish and their induced defence in the presence of a predator. It’s somewhat of a famous topic at the aquatic ecology unit and so I’ve heard many talks of the matter. It was fun and I can’t wait until we get to the aquatic stuff of the class.

My thesis meeting was alright. I gotta go through my data once again just to make sure it’s completely waterproof (read: flawless data). It takes a lot of time and I’m already pressuring myself into having a first draft of my report by next week. There’s another PhD position I’m interested in and I feel like I have to get a first draft finished if I am even to have a shot at it. Deadline’s May 23rd and so I just have to step up my game a notch or a few.

And the mails that I received from a dear friend (and frequent commenter), sent me over the moon. I hadn’t heard from him for two years and it was as much of a relief as it was joyous. I now know he is safe and happy, and that’s all I could ever wish for a friend. The most comforting part is that even though it’s been two years of silence, we picked up right where we left off. I genuinely cherish this friendship. Now I have one less worry and can focus even more on what I need to do.


I was trying to work from home today, but Zoe wanted otherwise :)

//c_Cae; “I won’t apologize for the fire in my eyes”~

Handling data

It’s true what they say, the larger your dataset, the greater the confusion. Here I’ve been for a week now trying to make sense of my data, and how far have I gone? Not very. At first I tried to plot everything and maybe that will make sense. Did it help? A teeny bit, but I still can’t draw any conclusions from them. It doesn’t make things easier that I have about 15 graphs and figures to understand. It’s tough but it’s still incredibly interesting. I’ll keep trying, but it isn’t easy learning three programs at the same time. Sometimes, I just want to fold and lie down for a few days. Somehow, when that happens, it’s always a Friday…


//c_Cae; keep on goin! 

That silence

For the past days, I’ve had a million thoughts of what to blog about. I realized that I hadn’t posted anything for more than a month. It’s not like I feel obliged to post, but my fingers were tingling, yearning for writing.

My days are busier than ever. If full-time means 100%, I’m currently at 150% with a part time job (that is more of a full-time, really). Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m complaining. In fact, I’m actually enjoying it a great deal. The algae are satisfying, even if it kind of scares me a little that I am in charge of their little lives. But you only grow as a person outside of your comfort zone, right? :)

Zoe is also growing very fast. Just the other day, I thought of her first steps and now she’s running around asking me to follow. The other day, she actually stopped me from working. I was sitting next to her, and I think she was watching a movie. I reached for my book and flipped a few pages. Before I knew anything of its contents, Zoe took it and stared angrily at me. I told her to be gentle with it because it’s precious to me. She was, but she never returned it to me that night. I took it as she wanted me to spend some time with her, and I did. No work can keep me away from her for too long, even if I love working.

My thesis is also official now. It went official March 1st, and I’ve been working every waking second that I don’t spend with Zoe. Today, someone told me they were impressed by my work and I think I blushed. I never blush, but it felt very good to.

I promise to write again soon. I need to take time to relax now before I’m going to bed. Early morning again, and here’s a little gem for you guys. Until next time, dearies.

Thanks, Eve for sharing this and perfectly describing every morning ever :)

Thanks, Eve for sharing this and perfectly describing every morning ever :)

//c_Cae; I don’t want Fridays anymore because that means the week is over and I have less time to finish my scheduled things… 

Lots of writing

When I procrastinate, I tend to do the things that are less prioritized on my to-do list. For example, I have an exam on Thursday, but instead of studying for it, I am writing my project plan for my Master’s thesis.

It’s only because I think my MSc is a whole lot more fun than geology. Geology is interesting, but it has nothing on me if I get to choose between the ocean and geology. So, as of now, I’ve almost doodled 700 words for my one year project. I love it already, but there are many bits and pieces that still need fit in there. I really hope to impress my supervisor, although just the other day, he just came up to me and told me I’m super-ambitious. I’m being praised, although I feel like I haven’t shown people what I’m really made of. Time will, though, so I don’t worry. I’m just amazed (and incredibly thankful) that I get to work with such great people.

Did I tell you guys what I’m going to do?

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.15.09 pm

//c_Cae; I now have an “office” at the university!

The past week

Wow, the past 7 days have been pretty intense. Last Friday, I was out in the field climbing cliffs and hurting my bum (from sitting on hard places, no pun intended). That following Saturday, I was at a beautiful wedding with beloved friends. The happy couple are very good friends to us, and I think I speak for all guests that it was a lovely sight seeing the two of them tie the knot.

The beautiful couple we're lucky to call friends.

The beautiful couple we’re lucky to call friends.

My last course at the university has started and I’m currently learning a lot about our planet as the course is all about hydrology (with too much geology, maybe). It was full of lectures and exercises. I’m kind of falling behind, although I don’t really want to admit it (I’d rather be a goody-two-shoes).

As if my schedule isn’t stuffed enough, I’ve started out on my Master’s thesis now! During the field week of my previous course, I was briefed about a project that sounded perfect in my ears. At first, it was a little bit scary, but then I realized that if it wasn’t scary, it wouldn’t be worth it. The project itself is about publication bias in published reports about climate change in marine environments. I could go on forever about this topic, but I’ll leave it be for now.

There’ll be a lot of statistics, which many of you know is not my forte. I hope it will be after all of this, though. I even emphasized it to my supervisor that I’m really a newbie to it, but he’s willing to teach me. And so it only makes me want to ace this whole thing. I’ll be fine, I’m just too excited about all of it, and I haven’t even written a project plan yet.

Apart from this, I’m probably taking on two other side-projects in different labs in the department. I miss lab life and I have no idea whenever I’ll step into one after I graduate, so I might as well take the chance now. I’ll have meetings tomorrow about them, so we’ll see how they turn out :) Hopefully, I will be granted permission to do them, too. Fingers crossed!

A little peek of my schedule. This is a completely normal week for me...

A little peek of my schedule. If it doesn’t look like this, I feel uncomfortable…

And here’s a little gem for you guys. Yes, that dark mark on the forehead is a bruise, she fell face-first to the ground the other week. Of course, we told her not to run so fast, but kiddo wasn’t listening :)

2014-11-08 14.00.23

//c_Cae; and yes, people did ask when the Dutchman and I will tie the knot. Our answer: that’s none of your business, it’ll be when it’ll be :)