Colourful and confusing coding

This is the first time I am attempting to work with qualitative data and I must say it is quite an experience. My supervisor is a queen and I have enjoyed meeting her and listening to her advice. Qualitative analysis is one of the things I think which you can never really learn about from lectures. Since every person’s data is different, extracting meaningful findings (finding never results!) is a personal experience. Looking through other people’s thorough work is helpful and I’ve used Bruan and Clarke as the Bible as well as looking at my supervisor’s previous work.

I have chosen Thematic analysis as a means of looking at my data and I love it. It seems to me to be a game a puzzle. These youtube videos have helped loads but mostly are these highlighters and fluorescent stars. Nothing like colour to highlight to beauty of people’s lived experiences. Can’t waiting to start piecing things together!coding


Throwback Exams

As I was getting ready yesterday for my last exam of the MSc. Genetic Counselling, I laughed as I remembered my last exams in secondary school.

My course mates told me that they rarely had exams until their GCSE’s. We had exams every year and there was a lot of pressure to do well. I am happy for that now. The GCSE’s were hard enough, but if I had not been accustomed to an exam environment I fear the pressure and anxiety would have been triple-fold.

May and June in Malta are, for the most part, pretty hot. This is why Maltese students have a relatively long Summer break. Towards the end of the year, the classrooms are saunas and break time is conspicuous by the hardly moving bodies in the shade of the school yard. Exam time therefore was often a sweaty mess – quite literally.

The last day of exams however always held a certain charm. Woe to the examiner who had the fate of dealing out the last exam ever for I doubt answers were legible for the most part. They were often clever enough to put something simple like Religious Studies at the end but I will never forget when the last paper was Maths II!

On the last day, students would be noticeable by bright coloured strands hanging from halter bikinis, and a certain impatient tap tapping by the side of the desk. After the exam we would run down the stairs of the school, run down the street to the pastizzeria, grab a couple of cheesecakes and run into a bus. The destination was either the beach, or Valletta. Valletta being closer became more of a choice, especially as girls had boy counterparts waiting for them in the Barakka Gardens with ice cream.

O zmien Helu, fejn mort?!

(Oh sweet times, where have you gone?)

It was not to be the same clothes choice this year, for May in the UK is pretty much like February in Malta. Although we were lucky to have some sunshine as we sipped on pitchers of Pimms, played pool and discussed the Summer. We reminisced on the first few weeks of this new course, feeling how it would never end, yet here we are, on the edge. We were quick to remind ourselves it was not over.

A Dissertation Summer couldn’t sound more thrilling. But, hey, bring it on!

My Canterbury Tale

Just after Easter, Emanuel and I had a trip planned to Canterbury. Emanuel had been there before, having done a Masters in Fine Arts in the University there. It was so nice to go to places he had been before, with that insider knowledge and nostalgia.

Canterbury is a beautiful rich town full of beautiful parks, the river and history. Emanuel and I are avid holiday makers and our idea of a holiday is walking non stop and cramming everything into a tiny holiday. We were staying at Matt and Laura (an air BnB host) and they were so lovely and helpful! They also had a massive Marmite collection – placemats, mugs, timers, aprons and the works!

My only knowledge of Canterbury was from Chaucer’s classic and

even then, Chaucer is not known to have ever visited the place. My favourite part of Canterbury were the cobbled streets, with their vintage stores. The river tour was a nice touch on our last day, because it gave us a chance to hear about the growth of Canterbury over the years. I would definitely recommend it.

The Cathedral is closed and opened every day with the sound of a 17th Century bell. I did not get the opportunity to see inside, but the gardens were beautiful. I was so pleased with our trip there but in that holiday we had loads to see (next up : Whitstable!)

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