Friday, January 18, 2013

Keeping busy!

We had our first "proper snow" today, though it somehow managed to avoid us here in Carmarthen. We're in a valley, so it's just warm enough that although the snow did fall here, it didn't stick. There were only really a few inches in the areas surrounding us, but because the roads are so narrow and they rarely get snow they aren't really prepared for it, so even that little bit of snow was enough to close down schools and a lot of shops in town. I was in work today but we closed early because town was so quiet. Josh took me for a drive up outside of town to see where the snow was actually sticking, hence the photo :)

I started my second semester classes two weeks ago, which meant I turned in my first two essays as well. I felt really good about them, but hearing people who have been in the program a bit longer talking about their marks on previous essays is making me nervous. I'm not sure when we'll get our grades back, though the rumor seems to be within 3 weeks! It's just stressful because with having only one assignment for each class during the semester, we don't have a chance to see what they're looking for early on to be prepared for later ones, so these first essays, which are a major part of our final grades, are also our "test runs".

One of my courses this semester is Foundations in Research, which I’m pretty excited about because it’s basically a chance to get a guided head-start on our dissertations, which are due in 9 months so having the guidance and structure of a course on the research process will be really helpful. I’m just in the very early stages of formulating my dissertation idea, but I’m hoping to look at the psychological and personality factors that affect how older adults newly diagnosed with dementia cope with their diagnosis. The determinant of whether or not I actually can do the research project I want will be whether I can find people to participate in such a limited amount of time. I’ve already started contacting different charities that I hope will be able to help me with the recruitment process, so it’s good to feel like I’m already doing something productive on that front. I've had positive responses from two of the charities as well, so my prospects are looking good!

I've also begun my volunteer training for the British Red Cross. I'll be volunteering in a program called Gofal y Ddolen, which means "Care in the Home" in Welsh. I'll be paired up with an individual over the age of 50 who has been isolated at home, working with my client to help them find ways to get involved in the community again and to build confidence in being independent. I'm really excited to get involved in a local volunteering position that is also related to the field I want to work it. It's also a great way to meet people in the social care area locally.

On March 3rd I will be participating in my first running event, the Cardiff 5k, with Josh's dad and (potentially) my friend Amber! It's a big thing for me to even be attempting this thing called running, considering that I still remember how embarrassed I was finishing the mile in PE in 4th grade at least 3 minutes after everyone else. So while the 5k will be a milestone for me personally, even if I don't run the entire thing, I wanted to do it for something else too. So I'm being sponsored in the run by the charity AgeCymru, which is an organization that focuses on raising awareness of the issues affecting older adults in Wales, as well as supporting the distribution of information about these issues and research in various fields. If you can find it in your hearts and pockets to make a small donation, you can do so over at

And finally, don't forget to check out my student blog if you're interested. My latest post gives some more information about the ageing studies program at Swansea! That's all for now, and I think that's plenty! Diolch (thanks) for reading.

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