It's funny how you're often less inclined to notice these little (and sometimes big) changes which make life different/easier/better, in some way or other, when they affect you, but cannot help but notice them when they are to be granted to others than you. In my case, the last few days are a double-whammy...
Beginning with the more recent event: during the departmental teaching committee today, the department announced the creation of third year project modules, which are research-only, starting next year (following the example of similar modules offered at the University of Birmingham). Some of the proposed topics are very interesting, and it's definitely the sort of stuff I would have been into. Then again, I'm not complaining about my current courses, which I'm very pleased with.
Further back, now (read: two or three days): the Information Commons (the new library/study centre for the University of Sheffield) opened recently, and I discovered it yesterday. It had been under construction for quite some time (read: a bit over one year), and as it began growing out of the grown like some postmodern concrete flower, over the past few months, I couldn't help but think it was going to end up being fairly rubbish (and to be frank, if you saw it from the outside now it's finished, you'd probably have the same intuition). However I was quite wrong. The interior simply rocks. It's luminous, spacious, well laid out. There are individual desk lamps and plugs on all the desks (which are quite large), there's a huge silent study room which is actually acoustically divided from the rest of the building (unlike the old library), and there are more digital screens and computers than you could shake a USB stick at. I've been using it for 72 hours, and I can't help but feeling (very slightly more) productive (than usual... which isn't much). So since I have a healthy amount of work to go through before the end of the semester (and indeed before friday... aaargh damn essay on superstrings), I have a feeling I'll like it here. Best of all, it's open 24/7, which is fantastic (what sort of library doesn't cater to the late-owl types who do their best work between midnight and 3am?).
Anywho, it's a bit of a shame to leave all this behind in September. Then again, I can't say I'll shed a tear for the rest of the city, and I presume St Andrews will be quite nice, both aesthetically and academically. So really, I can't complain (but I will anyway, being part french).