My regular blog followers have probably noticed that my blog has been somewhat quieter in 2017. There's a simple explanation. I enrolled on the MSc in Plant Diversity at the University of Reading in September.
I appreciate having access to the expertise of two highly experienced botanists on the course. It is patently apparent that Dr Alastair Culham and Dr Jonathan Mitchley enjoy teaching students. Teaching does not come across as an inconvenient distraction from research work for them.They make learning about plants fun. We laugh a lot as we learn - if you don't believe me check out our #MScPlDiv Twitter hashtag.
Despite all the laughter, serious learning takes place. The field trips are undoubtedly my favourite part of the course. As a kinesthetic and visual learner, being out is the field with an expert botanical guide is great. I have discovered a whole new world with my hand lens and a microscope. As keen gardener and garden visitor, I thought I knew plants quite well beforehand. Oh my! I can't believe how much I missed that was right under my nose.
When you are learning new subjects, there are inevitably times when the going gets tough. Our botanical lecturers seem to know as much about learning psychology as they do about plants. Activities are also supported by back-up staff - including past students. I have also benefitted from the knowledge of fellow students. Our group is a mixture of nationalities, ages and backgrounds.
I'm still translating and providing transcreation services. Look out for further blogs on botanical subjects. I plan to increase my writing output in the future. In the meantime, you can read my guest blog in Alastair Culham's 2017 Advent blog series. Keep following his Advent blog for contributions from a host of expert and knowledgeable botanists in the run-up to Christmas. Alastair opened the new season with a blog on the Christmas Cherry.
Link to my Guest Blog on the Glastonbury Thorn: http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/crg/glastonbury-thorn/
Karen Andrews is studying for an MSc in Plant Diversity at the University of Reading (2017-18).