As the new year approaches, we thought that it would be good to look back at the year that was 2017 for the HumBugs. So, grab yourself another mince pie, or leftover turkey sandwich and a mulled wine to share our memories from 2017.

January – February

The beginning of the year began pretty quiet for the HumBugs, with our heads in books, hands busy in the lab and brains working away in the office. (Either that or our memories fail to remember the details from almost a year ago!)

In February, the HumBugs began their PgCLTHE training. This is the qualification needed to allow us to teach in the university. For the majority of us, this was our first formal teaching experience, bringing nerves and a whole new challenge. By February 2018, we will have completed the training and officially be qualified associate fellows (fingers crossed). Keep posted for an accompanying blog about life on the other side of the lecture theatre.

March – April

April brought an exciting trip to London when the HumBugs attended The Society for Applied Microbiology Conference 2017. I will not bore you with repetition of how we loved London, our first conference experience, the venue, the interesting talks and most importantly the wonderful conference buffet! A full run down of the conference can be found in a previous blog (Our First REAL Conference).

May – June

Summer for the students does not mean summer for academics and researchers, although quieter on campus the HumBugs were still busy beavering away.

In May we held our annual School of Science and Engineering (as we were previously known) Conference. All graduate tutors presented their initial research project, giving us the opportunity to receive feedback on our work, supported by a good grilling from fellow students and academics! I think I can speak for all GTs when I say that presenting our research for the first time was certainly challenging, however this gave us confidence, plus direction and refreshing motivation.

Teaching also continued for the GTs over summer.  At Teesside University we run a summer school for prospective undergraduates to build on their knowledge and confidence before beginning their degree. We think this really brings a positive edge to Teesside, allowing transition and a unique ‘university experience’ for the students. The HumBugs were involved in exciting lecture days on all aspects from biodiversity to investigative biology.

July – August

We are not all work, work, work, as summer gave us a brief opportunity for relaxation and to enjoy the limited summer sun of England, plus squeeze in a BBQ or two. Summer also brought a personal celebration for one of our HumBugs; Cassy travelled to Florida for a magical Disney wedding, returning as Mrs Ross. If that is not cause for celebration, then I don’t know what is!

September – October

The mayhem of a new academic year began with induction week for the first-year freshers and the HumBugs teaching workload increasing dramatically. But this did not stop us squeezing in another enlightening conference to expand our research knowledge. This was the Nutrition, Immune Tolerance and Allergy in Early Life Conference in Newcastle, presented by some of our colleagues from the RVI, Newcastle. If you missed it, the previous blog for this can be found at the following link (Conference Workshop).

November – December

We may always look cool, calm and collected, however sometimes behind the front we have panic and stress. This was especially true in autumn. As first year PhD students we were required to submit a progression report and then present this in front of an academic board to progress into second year. The build up to which brought mayhem to the GT office, with late nights, early mornings and lots of coffee! After an hour of intense questioning, debate and discussion for each of the HumBugs, we all passed first year with flying colours and the celebrations began, swiftly followed by the anticipation of second year!

Phew! We are not quite sure how we managed to fit so much into one year! We now look forward to the next chapter and cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for the HumBugs! We anticipate lots more challenging labs, burning away our finger tips typing away, but also adventure and excitement along the way.

Happy new year to all, see you in 2018!