My Week at Uni – Researching

I think my toe’s broken! Since falling off the machine in Pilates last week, my toe has been painful and swollen. I thought the pain would go away with the bruising but it hasn’t!

Aside from the toe issues, this week has been a lot calmer than last week. My two regular yoga classes were cancelled for the week, due to half term, so I had a week off teaching. It was quite nice to have a little less rushing around but I felt like I was less productive without the pressure of having a lot to fit in. Looking back over the week it definitely has been productive; it just felt different.

In Biology this week we had a lecture on Ecology which I feel could be interesting but was taught in a particularly boring way. Chemistry, however, was really interesting. We looked at fatty acids and how triglycerides are formed as well as other organic compounds like ketones and aldehydes. In Academic Skills we had a presentation on how to give presentations. I have delivered more presentations in my life than I care to remember so this was a particularly redundant lesson for me! Writing up my practical report for my Biology assessment was actually good fun this week. After some initial procrastination (oops!), I enjoyed researching for a few hours at the library on Thursday and then had an incredibly productive writing day Friday.

This week at university was the first time I felt like I was truly enjoying myself and doing what I really love: learning a lot about a topic I’m really interested in and passionate about. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed the experience so far, it’s just that the greater focus on exercise and nutrition rather than general science has been a welcome change! I didn’t realise how much I truly enjoy carrying out research, particularly in an area I find so fascinating.

Personal learning from this week: A little procrastination is ok but it’s better to plan breaks in with focussed work rather than allow it to take over.

Interesting things I’ve learnt this week:

  1. Our body protects our brain when weight lifting – when people lift heavy weights or do other activities which greatly increase blood pressure levels, the body creates a rise in cerebrospinal fluid to protect the brain vessels! Clever body!
  2. Fats/oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fat – Foods contain fatty acids and these fatty acids are made of different carbon bonds (single bonds – saturated fat, double bonds – unsaturated fat). Different fats have different numbers of bonds and different types of bonds. Within a fat or oil there are different types of fatty acids which together create the fat content of the food. Each food lies somewhere on a scale as to how saturated the fat content is and this is tested by the number of grams of iodine that is absorbed by 100g fat/oil. The higher this iodine number the more unsaturated the fat is. Examples of this are coconut oil has an iodine number of 7-10 and olive oil has 80-88 so coconut oil has a greater amount of saturated fat than olive oil but olive oil has a greater amount of saturated fat than linseed oil which has an iodine number of 136-178. Although it is highly saturated, coconut oil still contains unsaturated fats in its composition because it is not at absolute zero!
  3. Breathalysers check for aldehyde not alcohol – The human body easily oxidises alcohol into aldehydes because it is quickly processed breathalysers check for aldehydes as opposed to alcohol.

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