STUDY // Semester 1 is over

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Hello there!
Yes, I know it has been a little while since I have last posted. I have sat at my laptop thinking 'I want to blog but I have finals' and yes - finals happened and were a thing. I have half of my marks back and  they aren't too bad considering I had a grand total of about 4 days to prepare for a full semester's worth of work. I still cannot get over that. I know if I was given the three months I'd usually have to prepare for finals I'd ace them but instead I had three days so I am super impressed to get 84% overall for Materials (if anyone needs a materials chemist just look this way!)

Anyway, I thought I'd just do a post showing a timeline of my first semester here at UBC. It has been the craziest past three months and I cannot believe I am flying home for Christmas on Monday. It's going to be so nice to go home and see everyone and see my cat in her Santa suit and at all of the cheddar cheese in the world because Canadian cheese is bloody awful (#realtalks).

So here we go!

So, first off, I arrive in Vancouver and it looks like this. It is the most beautiful city with mountains and water and greenery and plenty of designer shopping. I think I was in love as soon as I stepped off the plane. I could definitely think of worse places to be living.

I attempted to spend my time doing a few adventurous things but it turned out in going to Stanley Park, which is beautiful, crashing a wedding and getting lost going to Walmart. Chemistry students have it hard okay?! I need to go back to Stanley Park though - it's so large and I don't think I even saw 1/4 of it. It has an aquarium and everything (that I must go to because they have a sea lion show apparently!)

I found out that the busses said sorry....Thank you for apologizing bus. I really do appreciate it. Why can't British buses be so polite? They also say 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays' on at the moment which is just super cute. I love it.

I somehow made the trek down to Wreck Beach on campus. The sun set was beautiful and I really need to go to Wreck Beach more often. The next cold, sunny day I get I am grabbing and XL vanilla cap from Tim Hortons and sitting on the beach with it. I may or may have gotten lost in the forest of 1,000 steps coming back from the beach but I survived and had the snapchats to prove it.

So, first week of classes followed with Homecoming! I had never been to an American Football game and I now understand why. It is the most ridiculous stop-start game that just entitles grown men to jump on each other for about 3 hours. I didn't really understand what was going on but the mascot was hilarious and 100% made the game for me. You have not lived until you have seen a twerking Thunderbird (put it on your bucket list - it was definitely ticked off of mine!)

By second week I was already behind on assignments - how?! I attempted to draw really complex complexes to then find out they don't expect undergrads to use chemdraw here. Either way, I was proud of this one. It took so long! I was given random quizzes, had two lab reports a week, 3 problem sets every two weeks and lecture notes to keep up with of course. I kept up with all this work with varying degrees of success and I was only on 3 lecture courses and a lab. How I'll cope next semester I have no clue! I have had weeks where I have had 8 assessments, including 2 mid terms, due in 7 days and it's just not funny. How on Earth are you meant to put any effort into anything when you know you have approximately one day to complete it? Let's just say I did not hand in a lab report on time and I felt like a rebel but it's okay. I like this rebellious Rachael - she wears ski jackets as normal jackets. 

I went ice skating most weeks for quite a long time! It's so much fun (if you don't get ridiculously uncomfortable skates!) and I cannot believe I haven't skated in about 6 weeks. I must go again before I fly back home! I also realized that apparently I'm really short. 

I almost did a 'year abroad in snapchats' post (let me know if you want that because I have a LOT saved and it could be quite funny) and I did just want to put in that I did miss my friends quite a bit! They'd be going to all of our usual nights out and I wouldn't be there and it would be very sad. Sure, I was doing my own thing but you do miss things like getting three Jagerbombs for a fiver AND getting change. It's an issue. 

I then didn't go out for a long time. It was about a month all in all because I just had so much work! All of my friends were off out doing fun things and I was looking at total synthesis questions and pointing out a Swern oxidation and comparing it to a DMP oxidation. It's not quite the same....but still rather fun. I finally went out again for Halloween. I got the most stunning dress from H&M which is now my witch/loki/ursula dress so I am sorted for many future costume parties. Halloween is always fun (even if you don't get into the pub you paid $20 advance to get into. I may or may not still be angry about that).

I think after Halloween I had gotten past the point of caring about my grades a little bit. I felt like I was given too much work to warrant worrying and that if I just did it to the best I could do it, would have to be fine! I started going out more, and even went to a basketball game! We lost, but it was fun and we took lots of photogenic photos of Robbie. 

At some point I went to Granville Island with my housemates. It's such a lovely morning out and I really want to go again. I don't spend anywhere near enough time with them as I should. Usually it's just us in the kitchen with me in my PJs and them cooking whilst I'm waiting for the kettle to boil so I can have my 5th coffee of the day. Next semester we are definitely doing more fun things outside of the house!

I had my 21st birthday! It's so weird to finally be 21 - I still feel 19 if I'm honest. I had a nice dinner, had a little party and then went to go see Avenue Q with the lads the next week to celebrate Liv's 21st too. It's crazy how a group of us have made this little family in a home away from home and it's just super lovely. It really is.

I will be honest with you, I then spent the next few weeks procrastinating. I had a few less bits of work and was attempting to prepare for finals. I did have a weekend where I went to two different house parties in one night before managing to get two lab reports done in a weekend and write up 5 weeks worth of notes for a module. How I did this I don't know, but I want to find out!

Yes, drinking out of beakers is the way forward. From that weekend onwards I really did focus on studying again. I spent from 8:30 - 10:00 in The Beanery with so many regrets after that fifth cup of coffee and third piece of cake but it got me though finals. I wish my notes would get me some marks towards my final grade because they are just beautiful but alas....I just had to try and complete a few exams instead. 

Now I'm finished and flying home tomorrow. I have just been spending time with some friends and doing stuff (all of which will be uploaded soon!) I really have done so little when it comes to travelling this semester and I really want to change that. I'm not sure how successful I'll be with that considering I'm picking up an extra module next semester but I will go for brunch, go to the aquarium and go to the science museum at least!

So that's my first semester abroad! It's so strange to think it's over. I have endured 16 weeks of pure stress and managed to survive (of which I am very proud!). Now I'm just looking forward to going home for Christmas, seeing my family, friends and cats and trying not to work on next semester's work too much.

Would you guys like to see a semester in Snapchats? If so, that can definitely be arranged! How are you guys all feeling about finishing your 1st/2nd/final year of uni? Let me know!


  1. Looks like you've had an amazing time and what a great experience! I wish I'd jumped at the opportunity to study abroad in my second just looks incredible!

    Lizzie // xBeautyMagic // Beauty Giveaway

    1. I'm so glad I did it at this point! It may have had it's up and downs so far but completely worth it!


  2. What a great semester! And yes to a semester in snap chats aha x

    1. Okay, I'm going to have to start collecting them! Keep your eyes peeled!


  3. It looks like you are having a fabulous time, Vancouver look like a beautiful place to be!

    Julie-Ann from


  4. Vancouver is absolutely beautiful! I'm Canadian and can say without question that you picked one of the best places to go! Congrats on being done finals! I just finished mine on Friday and am so happy I am done for the semester. I hope you have an amazing time back home for Christmas, xx. I'm happy I found your blog, definitely following!

    Becky, x //

    1. Ah, I hope your finals went well! I bet you cannot wait to just relax over the holidays. I can't get over how chilled I was!
      Thank you so much lovely!



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