Part of the reason that I chose the school I chose was because they offers a lot of opportunities for the students, this is my travel diary from one of those opportunities. So before I begin I would like to give my thanks to Hvitfeldtska who made this possible.
Secondly, let me explain what I’m actually here for. Some 200 years ago there lived a famous Swedish chemist named Berzelius. He apparently did many great things for Swedish science, enough to get Berzelius Dagarna named after him (also some streets and at least one park). It is a two day conference held in Stockholm where students gets to listen to a variety of people talk about chemistry. I, and four others, represent Hvitfeldtska.
We traveled by train on Thursday afternoon. Basically half of the travelers in my carriage were other students. The journey to the capital takes about three and a half hours, I spent most of it studying. We are staying at Clarion Hotel Amaranten, which is possibly the nicest hotel I have ever been in. So damn pretty, I’m now spoiled forever. Since I’m the only girl from my school I will have to share a room with a complete stranger. So far it has been going really well. I was exiting the room when she arrived and when I got back she was out.
The conference starts tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it. The topics seem fascinating and I love chemistry. The fact that I get both hotel breakfast and a fancy dinner is just a bonus. But, before then I will have to do some studying, I have a chemistry test on Monday.
I got like 15 minutes of studying done, not very impressive. But other than that the night was fine.
We started the day with hotel breakfast, is there a better way to start a day? Then we were on our way to Aula Magna to watch a lot of lectures. I have to admit, I have watched some recorded lectures that take place in that auditorium before and I got a bit starstruck by just being in there. I am such a nerd. In total we listened to seven lectures, with some breaks and a lunch in between. My absolute favourite was the third one. He talked about GMO’s and he is kind of an icone. My biology teacher had mentioned him multiple times during our class, so when I realised that I got to see him, and hear him talk, I was very excited. Btw, he was one of the first people to eat a gmo plant and now tries his hardest to educate non-scientist in order to lessen the stigma surrounding gmo.
My least favourite was probably the woman from AstraZeneca, her talk was very “please come and work for us in the future”. Not really inspiring. The other parts of her talk were fascinating, and so were all of the others. There is so much in chemistry, so many exciting things for the future.
After the lectures we had a nice formal dinner at Piperska Muren. Before the dinner I planned to study in my room but then a new girl arrived and there was a lot of confusion about whether she was to stay in our hotel room or not. Turned out that she was supposed to sleep on the couch. It was a nice couch. Instead of studying we started talking, she was really nice. Then my first roommate appeared and I finally talked some with her. She, too, was really nice and it was fun to talk to some females my age.
Then came the time for the actual dinner. Most of us were dressed up, which was really fun. The dinner was a three course dinner. With asparagus and feta cheese for starter, cod and mashed potato for the main course and a lemon meringue pie with berries for dessert. Possibly the best meal I have ever had at a restaurant, the nice company didn’t hurt either.
Afterwards we did what all unsupervised 17’th year olds do when left in an unfamiliar city, we took a really long walk. No, seriously, we walked around a pretty big part of Stockholm and when we finally returned around 11.30 we played cards. It would have been a lot more fun if someone didn’t sabotage it for me, so I didn’t win. Still, we had a really nice time. Although I’m pretty sure that their hotel room is haunted given how much the light flickers. There was also an incident with a painting, not our fault.
It was technically the third and last day when I went to bed, we stayed up to 00.30 playing and I didn’t get into bed until 01.00. Then I had to get up at 06.45 to shower. The last time I voluntarily slept that little was in eighth grade when my swedish teacher said that we were only allowed to read until the part she had marked in our book and I got so upset that I read all of it the night before we were supposed to start it just to spite her.
It was a much more pleasant experience to sleep that little because I had fun. Despite the few hours of sleep the lectures were still very interesting. Although I did lose some of my focus by the end. The funniest lecture was the last one when a man from Manchester talked about “Making the Tiniest Machines”. While the topic itself was a bit too complicated to be the most fascinating the lecture was most definitely the funniest one given that he also performed magic during the lecture. I think that anyone would have found it interesting when he turned a piece of a newspaper into a whole newspaper.
When the lectures were over we continued doing stereotypical teenagersthing, aka walking back to the hotel from the University. Stockholm is a much nicer city than I, a Gothenburger, wants to acknowledge. After returning we played some more cards, the same someone kept sabotaging for me. A three hours train ride later and we were home in beautiful rainy Gothenburg again.