It has been six months since my first blog post. I was still in the middle of the module phase of my Applied Bioinformatics MSc, yet to know what lay ahead. There was no break between the module phase and the group project. The work kept coming, but I had become accustomed to the ongoing work and so I was ready to get going.
The first step was to choose a project. Each group received their preferred choice and presented these to the Bioinformatics lecturers at Cranfield. We chose to create our own Java application from scratch, visualizing the anchoring of scaffold sequences using genetic linkage maps. Personally, I was advocating for it the most because my skills are best in Java, and I felt it would be the best opportunity for our group to get the highest possible grade outcome.
I had no idea of the challenges that lay ahead and how we would overcome them (and there were quite a few along the way). Originally, we had worked independently through the module phase, so now working in a team with other individuals who could not be there all the time (including myself) was difficult to work around to begin with. The work we had ahead of us was particularly daunting and stress slowly started to rise, but as a group we came together, used our strengths as individuals and began working on the task ahead and I am so proud of each person in our group. We all worked on parts that suited us, some working more on code, whilst others working on the documentation, and some even went above and beyond, trying to learn new skills in coding to implement fantastic new features into our application to make it even more special. Great lessons in team working and collaboration.
Then came presentation day and I had never been more nervous in my life. Usually, I am okay with presentations, but there is something about a large room and individuals you have never met before watching you that makes it more nerve wracking. I was messing up my part of the presentation in practice, fortunately, I had my team behind me supporting and giving me tips, even making jokes on what I would say in the actual presentation and laughing about it afterwards just to ease my nerves. As students we learnt many new skills to take forward into the thesis and beyond into our careers. The extra work Cranfield gave us made us all realise that we had taken away lots of different skills that we might not otherwise have picked up on, so I am grateful for that.
I think my advice for the group project is to take all your team members’ strengths and bring them together as one. Have fun with each other! I could not have asked for a more special group than what I got, and I honestly will never forget the experience.
As I am writing this, I am nearing the tail end of my thesis work, where so far, my advice would be to manage your time well and make sure to choose a project you know you will enjoy. For myself, I chose to make a website which has been extremely challenging to start off with but I am beginning to enjoy it. I am going to be honest and admit I have not managed my time well, but now, if you are reading this, getting your time management in order is important.
Good luck to all my fellow thesis writers and good luck to any of you reading this thinking about starting your journey here at Cranfield. What a journey it has been for me!