College Calendar: Back to life at Harper for Steve Mears

I am feeling refreshed and all geared up for my second term after a month off over Christmas.


I spent much of my time off catching up with friends from home, messing around in the snow and enjoying mum’s home cooking (I’d certainly missed the latter while living on campus).

While home in Somerset, I was fortunate enough to be invited for a day’s game shooting. The offer came from a local farming family who I had worked for during harvest. Despite the cold, I had a very enjoyable time and it was nice to be under the birds in the shooting line for a change, instead of flushing them in the beating line.

I was kept busy over the New Year period by researching and writing my animal production assignment, due in the first week of term. The task has been to produce a technical leaflet that could readdress the public’s view on a chosen animal production topic.

I decided to write mine on dairy bull beef production in the UK, particularly as I found the public perception of this part of the beef industry is poorly understood.

Some of the aspects of the production chain I covered in the leaflet included the rearing and finishing processes, as well as the various marketing schemes that have been developed. Having always had an interest in cattle, I enjoyed researching the information.

I am expecting my academic timetable to change slightly this term. Some of the short modules that I had been studying have been completed and these will be replaced with new ones. All students studying agriculture in their first year study the same modules, before specialising in their second year.

Mechanisation tutorials are set to become more practical-based as first year “agri-mech” students begin practical sessions in the engineering workshops. Some of the topics to be covered include bearings and seals, hydraulics, oxy-acetylene cutting, as well as arc and mig welding. Along with my coursemates, I am looking forward to starting these practical sessions and learning new skills.

I am hoping to enrol on a Lantra rough terrain telehandler forklift course through the Aspire centre on campus. The centre offers rural skills training in a range of courses. I also provides academic support to students, ranging from help with mathematics to improving exam techniques.

I am excited to find out what wild fancy dress themes the Student Union have planned. Themes last term included cavers and ravers, hookers and haymakers, as well as a Hawaiian foam party.

With socials, comedy nights, and late nights dancing to look forward to, this term is set to be as good as the last, if not better.