Yesterday (May 11), at about 10:50am, I completed my Master’s Degree in Meteorology and Climate (MMet) at the University of Reading.
The exam – Oceanography (perhaps not the most typical way to end a meteorology degree, but I guess it highlights the diversity of the subject).
The way I finished it? Ending a question on the thermohaline circulation with, “And with that, I’ve finished my degree!”.
It’s a surreal feeling when it’s a moment that’s been coming for the last four years. It’s been a long slog. Like everyone who studies meteorology at university, I can confirm it’s a tough subject – full of concepts and equations that (for me at least!) have required a caffeine addiction (thanks, Taylors of Harrogate) and a lot of head scratching to understand to the required level. From linear algebra and differential equations, to fluid dynamics in the laboratory, boundary layer fieldwork… and hours of programming. The Reading degree is thorough, to say the least. But it was everything I could have wanted, and more. I finally have the understanding of the atmosphere (and, apparently, the oceans as well!) which I so craved when I first became interested in the clouds above my head.
What’s worth more, though, is the understanding of the sheer scale of the atmospheric science discipline, and just how much I don’t know. The most challenging class I took was Advanced Synoptic at the University of Oklahoma (taught by Howie Bluestein, all-round meteorology legend and someone who can plaster the whiteboard with the semi-geostrophic equations and make the whole thing less daunting than it should be!). I’d probably show the notes I made in this class to anyone who thinks that meteorology is just about standing in front of a weather map saying it might rain tomorrow. Here’s a brief look at them:
Came across this photo of my answers to one of the problem sheets for Howie Bluestein’s Advanced Synoptic Meteorology class I took whilst at @ousom last year 🤯😍 #ThisIsWhatMeteorologyLooksLike pic.twitter.com/vLHEhBRmnx
— Simon Lee (@SimonLeeWx) May 9, 2018
Deciding to study the MMet degree at Reading was the best decision I ever made, and it’s opened up a world of opportunities for me – both here and in Oklahoma, where I spent my third year. I’ll be studying for a PhD in Meteorology from September, sharing my time between Reading and Oklahoma yet again (which I’m super excited about).
Thank you to all the staff at Reading and OU for making it all worth it, and for sharing your knowledge in a consistently entertaining and passionate way. Thank you to all my fellow students and friends, who sufferred and celebrated through the degree with me. And, thanks to everyone on #WxTwitter – I’ve learnt a great deal from all of you!
I couldn’t recommend the MMet strongly enough to anyone with an interest in the atmosphere. You won’t regret it!