In 20 years’ time, I am sure that I will look back on my youth and pinpoint LIYSF as one of the most positively transformative experiences of my life. I was 16 when Iattended, thanks to a grant from a local education group, and as I’m sure many of you have, up until LIYSF I had pursued science with a passion. But it was a lonely love, everything I learnt I taught myself, every paper I read was a snapshot of another world, which in practice I had no knowledge or experience of. I had no-one I could share my passion with, I had never been able to share such a big part of who I was, or when I had in my 'greener years' it had earned me a fair few blows from my peers. I was quiet and I was lonely.
LIYSF changed all that. Not only were the lecturers fascinating, both in theatre and in conversation afterwards, I was introduced to a whole new community where I could be open; here I could discuss science with people who were just as passionate about it as myself. LIYSF challenged me in so many ways, academically, socially and politically. I was introduced not only to the scientific community but the international community as well. These challenges forced me to change my viewpoint on so many issues, to examine and inquire more into the dynamics of the world in which I lived, to become a more active participant in the world and most importantly it gave me the confidence to work with others and to seek out opportunities in that field which I so loved.
In the 2 years since LIYSF, I have spent over 600 hours working in various scientific establishments across 3 countries, won multiple international debating and public speaking awards, captained my school robotics team to become national champions, described a new species of plant with RBG Kew, have a research associate placement this summer and most importantly developed socially so that I now have a group of friends who share my love of science (and Star Wars but that’s another matter).
For any advice on LIYSF I would say this, bring a notebook, a camera, and record your experiences as you go; don’t be afraid to get stuck in to any group activities, give it your all and I promise you, it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life!Back