PooPiDy Poo, School Started Again!

After much administrative drama, I’m finally starting the master’s program I wanted to do! Hum, hum, let me introduce you to the M.Sc. in Behaviour, Evolution and Conservation of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland!

This program takes place within the Department of Ecology and Evolution of the School of Biology. So far, it appears to be a mysteriously biological place (read: with lots of machines and freezers and shit), where most people don’t get why a psych major might want to come. “Fool”, some say. “WHY” others ponder.

When faced with their reaction, I give them my usual speech. No, I am not scared to have trouble understanding – most of our courses don’t have prerequisites. Yes, I have knowledge of things like population biology and evolution because I don’t limit my learning to what is taught in a degree. Also, I know more about behaviour than anyone else in my class. I’ll continue to study it for my thesis, AND I haven’t had to suffer through physics and biochemistry classes.

All in all, I’m pretty great.

I’ll stop here before I start sounding waaay too narcissistic and full of myself (although I think it’s sometimes good to feel like that).



8 thoughts on “PooPiDy Poo, School Started Again!

    1. Ria Pi Post author

      Thanks! I’m very excited. For my thesis, I’ll be looking at inter-individual variation in cognitive abilities of great tits and how it correlates to certain life-history traits. For example, do smart birds live longer?

      How are things going at your end?

  1. Sam Hardman

    That sounds like a brilliant project! I hope you write about it on here…

    Coincidentally I’ve just started a PhD (2 weeks ago!) at Aberystwyth University also working with great tits. I’m looking at great tit song and how it is affected by urbanisation. I’ll be going to cities and rural areas and recording the birds singing and looking for differences in the pitch, frequency and amplitude etc… I’m just a bit excited about it!

    1. Ria Pi Post author

      Bioacoustics – nice! I knew a guy who did the same thing with black redstarts. Congrats on the PhD (you don’t have to answer, but is it funded?).

      I wouldn’t dream of not writing about my project. Now that the ‘hecticity’ of the summer and beginning of the year has subsided, I should be able to get back to posting all sorts of things anyway.

      1. Sam Hardman

        Thanks! I really love the project, it’s so interesting and I get a lot of fieldwork which is something I love doing. Yes, it funded, there’s no way I could have done a PhD without some sort of scholarship. My department at Aberystwyth (IBERS) funds seven students a year and I was lucky enough to get one! I’m sure I’ll write some great tit themed posts once my project is really up and running. Are you thinking of doing a PhD after your masters?

        I’m looking forward to reading your posts again!

      2. Ria Pi Post author

        Fieldwork was definitely something I wanted as part of my master’s, too. I’ll be going to Sweden for it. It’s cool because working on data from natural populations adds ecological validity to our findings, and I’ll be able to take advantage of something like 10 years of data.

        Am I thinking of doing a PhD later? ABSOLUTELY. My heart isn’t set on a single place/lab yet (although Uni of Cambridge is looking goood), but as long as I’m passionate about the topic and it’s funded, it’s perfect.

        Haha for a moment there, I read that you would write great (as in, good) “tit themed posts” :D… I’m 5 years old inside.

  2. Sam Hardman

    Haha! Great tits are very unforunately named, I need to be careful how I word things!

    If you can get into Cambridge that would be amazing, they have a really good animal behaviour group there. If you’re interested in cognition you should also look at Exeter, they do a lot of cognition work on Jackdaws and it’s a really good university. They have a website here http://www.wildcognitionresearch.com/

    1. Ria Pi Post author

      I actually met people working on jackdaws, co-supervised by Alex Thornton from this group you mentioned, this summer :). For now I’m more interested in the Comparative Cognition Lab, which is where I worked a bit.


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