Summer 2014 – Part 1

The entrance to the Isle of Grain facility
I’m sitting here with my portfolio document open, the US common application and UK UCAS web-interface up, and a large, white, blank Word document, waiting to be filled with words of inspiration that will hopefully grant me acceptance to a university in the US or the UK. The only problem is that these ethereal words are not making their way onto the page. I’ve noticed that getting what is in my head onto paper is much harder than I initially expected. Combined with the fact that almost every sample essay I read is a thrilling journey through some life-changing experience that has left the author thoroughly changed, the task seems more and more daunting.
The UK personal statement is much easier. It’s just a well-ordered list of academic achievements with some reflection. my writing style is much better suited for that kind of essay. The US university essays are just completely different, and I don’t have a clue where or how to start. In any case, I’ll get through it somehow, but in the meantime, I have here to spew out my thoughts in an uncontrolled and un-succinct manner. I am somewhat wary that an admissions officer can come across these posts, so I’ll eventually write “An Open Letter to the Admission Officer” post, directing them to the important posts on this Blog.

So, it’s probably worth a bit of reflection on the past few weeks of the summer so far, seeing as all these essays require an uncomfortable amount of reflection and analysis! I started the summer with a week at National Grid, traveling around the country to see various sites and facilities. I saw the Isle of Grain natural gas importation terminal, the National Grid head offices, a substation that supplies power to London and the electricity network control centre! They have this awesome button there: at times of unexpectedly high demand (usually after a football match or a popular TV show), NG keep Dinorwig’s – a large pumped storage facility – turbines running and synchronised to the 50Hz distribution network, but uncoupled from the generators. If demand peaks to the extend that NG cannot get enough generation online in time, this button, when pressed, immediately couples the Dinorwig turbines to the generators and let the full flood of water run through them, delivering a whole 1.8GW of power to the network within two seconds! Just the idea of a simple button push bringing this huge, mighty facility online, with water gushing through its bowels, somehow fascinates me! It’s just so awesome.
Reflection time! There is not much to say really. The experience conformed my desire to study engineering at university and hopefully enter the industry later on. I had a great time, and I loved seeing what NG was like from the inside.
Next, I traveled to Cardiff, in Wales, or as I call it, Welshland. Why would I do that to myself, you ask? Well, I was accepted onto an engineering course at Cardiff University. After oversleeping by two hours and missing the early train, I arrived three hours late [the extra hour due to a power failure on the track from Cardiff to Swansea]. That was a fun morning.
I spent the three days experiencing University life in the UK, which was great fun! Again, it has just confirmed my engineering ambitions again, but I also picked up some new knowledge about how F1 car motors are characterised and some new mechanics equations that are really awesome! As always, I made some new friends, which is never a bad thing!
So thus we return to me sitting here, pondering over these essay titles and staring at a blank document for an unhealthy amount of time. Hopefully inspiration will strike eventually. In the meanwhile, I will start making preparations for my four-week internship at Magna Steyr in Austria, working in the car body manufacturing and prototyping devision. Lets see if that helps me decide between mechanical or electronic engineering!
Summer is in full swing, and I hope that everyone is having a great time, even if that means writing essays for university!
Until later.
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