Saturday, 23 January 2016

End of Semester 1

So we're now all but finished with Aberystwyth. Mad!

The last 2 exams to be sat under their umbrella were on Monday and Tuesday of this week (18th / 19th) and whist it's so very nice to be free of exams, it does not feel like much of a victory. Not only was the EM Theory exam brutal but the last 4 months (or so) have been so draining on nearly every aspect of my life. The people that I've seen the least are the ones that I lived with last semester, I must have only gone airsofting twice, I could probably detail the insides of the University to a higher degree than that architect of the damn thing. *sigh*. On the plus side, Quantum Technology was an awesome exam so *yay*.

Alright, so, the last time I wrote to you all I was finishing one of the safety course days with 2 left to go. The penultimate day of training was spent doing rifle training and emergency shelters. The rifle training, as I'm sure some of my friends would know, was of course the thing that I was looking forward to doing most so I was probably bouncing in my seat whilst waiting to enter the range. Of course Rifles are severely dangerous when miss-handled so a lot of the time was spent going over the safety procedures and how to ensure that we would be most prepared for a bear attack without putting other members of the expedition in danger.

At some point in the prep the leader of the training asked if anyone had any previous experience with weapons of any kind and of course me being the slightly over-eager person that I am, mentioned Airsoft and to my surprise he didn't laugh at me. Win. Though this was somewhat short lived. After learning how to half-load the rifles we moved on to the fun part. There were targets placed 35m away (not far) and were asked to shoot 4 rounds at the center of the target. It was a given that the sights would be slightly off from center but so long as the drift was systematic and our rounds ended up in the same place then it would be fine. I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed this and here's my attempt whilst lying down; the easiest position:

SO MUCH FUN! Okay so that's out my system. But it really was and I was so stoked to see how I'd done.

I completely missed the damn target whilst the rest of the group did fantastically. Not even a single bullet. What.

I couldn't believe it, especially after having spoken to the instructor about Airsoft and everything. BUT. Turns out the sights were ridiculously off, seriously, they were. 

So me and my partner were handed a new weapon and the next pose was the kneeling position (the most likely position to take upon attack). This was somewhat harder to do because you have a lot more freedom to move the rifle around. Nailed it. I'm not going to lie, I was quite proud of my grouping. :D

With the shooting done, that concluded the majority of note worthy occurrences for Friday.

Saturday was the last day of the safety training and consisted of a round of tasks to be done based on what we had been learning for the last week. Tasks from saving people from a crevasse in which I was one of the victims and I joke not when I say that I had my manhood wrenched back from whence it came. Uncomfortable. There were Avalanche rescue scenarios and also a chance to take a lovely seat in a Jervenduk (Yourvendook) in a makeshift shelter made from snowmobile sleds.

The main idea of the training is really to do the best with what you have and to make sure that whatever the scenario, you're prepared for anything BEFORE you leave so as not to be left in a situation where this would be your only option.

The gentleman in the picture above that's sharing the Jervenduk with me is the author of the video below. He and another friend made a short clip synopsis of the survival training week which can be seen here:
So Woo! Week over and we all survived and none of us contracted Hypothermia contrary to the expectations of everyone. To celebrate we took a quick exam on the safety training to see whether any of us had actually been paying attention and then moved quickly into the Gathering. For those that have been paying attention to my facebook page, you'll have seen the general gist of what happens.

We drink. We laugh. My camera gets stolen and copious amounts of pictures are taken of people around the room. We laugh some more. Something else of mine is then stolen and returned to me several days later. *Sigh* But seriously, it's so much fun with everyone up here, they're all fantastic.

With the high of the previous week behind us, the Aber 7, as we seem to now be called, found it difficult to change our mindsets and get back to the revision for the exams that were still ahead of us from the previous semester. It was hard. After the adjustment to the new environment and the late evenings and lack of sleep, the last thing that anyone had was energy to sit down and revise Quantum Mechanics and Electromagnetic Theory. But we did and the exams came and went.

Aaaaaaaaaand then immediately back into the lecturing. Our lecturer for the week was a gentleman called JΓΈren (pronounced yuuren) from UiO (University in Oslo) and he was absolutely outstanding. A brilliant guy who flew through a lot of material in next to no time, yet in a way that was engaging and fun and I don't think I've ever met a teacher or lecturer like him before but I certainly hope I do in the future.

Other than that, there's not been a huge amount of things happening this week with a combination of tiredness and laziness but what's nice to see is that the Sun is slowly but surely returning. Some of my cohorts will no doubt have some fantastic pictures on their pages soon so I suggest you take a look but the ones that I have been able to capture are below along with other miscellaneous snaps from the last week. I hope you enjoy:

As you may be able to make out in one of the smaller images above, there were some Reindeer that decided to come exploring the outskirts on Nybyen whilst we were waiting for friends to walk to town. I managed to capture a small amount of footage with them on my phone, so I'll leave this entry on that note and say that I wan't wait till the next post, who knows what we'll have done by then!

Time for a cuppah I think.

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