Link to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part NineSpace School UK: The Final Cut
Link to: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine (The Critical Conclusion)
So, should you go to Space School? Find out here...
I'll try to be fair, impartial, and objective in this conclusion, but I doubt I'll succeed. Without further ado, I present to you a series of categories that I'll grade out of ten.
Cost: 7 (pretty good)
The most important factor, for some. I know a fair few people who had to work to get the money to go. £199 for five days and four nights is quite high compared to other summer courses, but you get good food, good rooms and some outstanding lecturers who probably cost a lot to get. If you can afford it without too much difficulty, and think you like the sound of it, come along. But there's no point bleeding yourself dry for Space School.
Also take into account the cost of your travel arrangements. It cost be £30 to travel down from Liverpool, which is outrageous. However, most of the people going to Space School were a lot nearer, and took the car, so I suppose it wasn't as expensive for them.
All the Space Schools will now be in Leicester, which is great news for us who live in the north, but not so good for those London and southerner dwellers.
Accommodation: 8 (very good)
I don't know what it's going to be like at Leicester, but it was great to have individual showers, since most Halls of Residence don't have them. You don't really spend much time in your room anyway, so it's not much of a concern.
Food: 8 (very good)
There was a wide choice of food, and vegetarians were catered for. You didn't have to queue for long to get it, and as I've said before, the breakfasts are great. If you're coming to Space School, I don't think you'll have to worry about the quality of the food if it was as good as it was at Brunel University.
Lectures: 7 (pretty good)
Some of the lectures were outstanding. Some were boring. Some I found relevant to what I was interested in, some were completely irrelevant.
It's all a matter of opinion. Generally, the lecturers are fairly competent at keeping your interest, and every so often you'll have some great lecturers who will make up for the bad ones.
Nearly all of the lecturers know what they're talking about. They're experts in their field, and they can provide some invaluable information about career opportunities if you're looking to go into the space industry.
Activities: 5 (passable)
I was going to give this a higher rating, but I'm not sure. The rocket practical was great fun, but actually putting the thing together wasn't. The DRACO space archaeology thing was a bit poor, to be honest. I know that Space School put a lot of effort into it, but it didn't hold my interest.
The Astronomy practical wasn't amazing either. The talk the graduate students gave was uninspiring and we weren't certain why we did so badly at identifying the different types of galaxies. That said, the competition at the end was fun, but not particularly relevant.
On the whole, if you're coming to Space School for some hands-on fun, don't expect too much. It's OK, but the lectures are better.
Extra-cirricular activities: 2 (there weren't any, apart from the barbeque and the laughably named 'disco')
Outside of the lectures and activities, you don't have a lot of time left for messing about, apart from the time in the evenings. Maybe this is why they didn't provide anything to do after the last lecture, but it does matter.
What we generally did was congregate in the Halls of Residence kitchens and play cards. What would have been ideal would be a football and a place to kick it about in, and maybe two student common rooms with a TV and computer. I understand that's probably not practical, but if they'd be provided, it would have made the week much better.
Don't get me wrong. You don't have a lot of time outside lectures, so the lack of stuff to do isn't that bad. But every little counts.
The Totty level (from a boy's point of view): 8 (very good)
You have to understand that one of the driving reasons why people come to Space School is to meet people of like mind - there aren't that many teenagers in the UK who are interested in space. It's a real bonus when these people you meet are of the opposite sex. It's a valid concern, and I'll hope to shed a bit of light.
From a boy's point of view, Space School was very good. I'd say there were 60-65% girls, and 35-40% boys, which are the sort of percentages we like. The age range is generally spread out, but most girls there were 15 or 16.
As I have said before, there are some very weird girls at Space School. My advice: Keep a safe distance from them (I'm laughing as I write this).
Now, whether you actually physically like any of the girls there is a matter of opinion. Speaking personally, I thought that the totty level was acceptably good, and there was a very small yet significant number of outstandingly good looking girls (and no, I'm not going to tell you who they were). There's something for everyone.
The Totty level (from a girl's point of view): I don't know, but who cares, I'll talk about it anyway
Girls, if you've finished being shocked by my fantastically sexist comments above, I'm more than willing to put online whatever you'd like to see here, from your point of view. So email me whatever you thought the boys were like.
On with it. From a numerical point of view, the girls are at a disadvantage - there are less boys than girls. However, I'm told that girls prefer lads who are older than them, and you'll find that most of the lads at Space School were older than the girls, so you're in luck there.
You'll find some of the lads there weird, without a doubt. But most are pretty fine blokes, and taking me as an example, well, you won't find a funnier, better-looking and intelligent guy for some time (I'm still laughing as I write this).
The Overall Score: 7.5
I know that awarding Space School 7.5 out of 10 is a typical cop out in saying that it's not bad, but it's not amazing. But it's true. Space School UK is worth your money if you can afford it, and you'll make some friends while you're about it. I have a friend, Philip Dembo, who went to Space School several years ago, and he is still in contact with them.
Also, if you are planning to go into the space industry, you'll find that many other people will also have been in Space School, and it's a good talking point.
Go on, you may as well go.
Special addition: Is the returner's course any good?
Apparently so. Out of the ~110 people at Space School, roughly 30 were returners. The returners had some different, more career-related lectures and they had much more freedom in constructing their rockets.
Also, the returners were a much more tightly knit bunch - they were much more relaxed because they'd been to a Space School before, and knew what to expect, so they all became friends quickly (aw, how nice).
So, if you liked Space School, and/or are serious about going into the space industry, try the returner's course, it's worth it.
Interesting fact: This Space School report was roughly ten and a half thousand words long (about 10,450 words). I hope you enjoyed it.
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