Thursday, 24 May 2012

Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Bye...

So, this is it. My fond farewell. (I'm sure I'm not the first to have referenced The Sound of Music, but hey, I never promised to be original). I'm afraid I stopped writing my blog several months ago for a few reasons. I was certain I had told the Blog Controller, but alas there was some miscommunication and now I've had a bit of a telling off for being ridiculously tardy... Whoops, my bad - I guess I should have followed up on that. No references for me... Anyway, let me explain my absence...

Firstly, I was ridiculously depressed. I'd had a none-too-pleasant year up to the point where I stopped writing. My university work was going ok, (apart from some apprehension about my project and some dreaded group work, hey-ho) but my life outside study was throwing things at me that my mind couldn't cope with. I could see that my - at the time - “complete despair” was going to start seeping even deeper into my already fairly bleak entries and whilst every student blog is about our own experiences, I didn't want my potential breakdown to happen in front of a bunch of people I didn't know (every blogger hopes they have at least one stalwart reader that they don't actually know directly) & to have it forever be immortalised in text. Somewhere out there will be an archive of this blog, long in the future, when I've moved on to pastures new. So yeah, no thanks.

Secondly, I did "break". Some people don't know it, or if they do, quite how bad it really got or they simply don't care (I don’t know which). I won't go into details here, like I said, I don't want to drag you all down with me & I'm not that much of a “sharer”.

Thirdly, my depression, my workload and my general desire to hide under my duvet (even during happier days) had me staying indoors an awful lot and at a complete and utter loss for anything interesting to say. Would you really want to come on here, every two weeks or so and read a paragraph or two about the number of words I managed to write towards my project? Although thinking back, I could have told you all about my really interesting research into new/transitioning students, but I think it might have only interested me... If the response of my peers & proofreaders is anything to go by! It also doesn't help when your flatmate (as wonderful as they are) abruptly stops you, 30 seconds in to you waxing lyrical about the various issues affecting new students (because you have finally ventured out of your room), to tell you about the puppies they saw on their way home. Maybe it's just the way I tell them?

I do have a couple of other reasons, but they are for me and me alone.

So, all my work is done - written, re-read and a final draft handed in. I have been lucky not to have any exams. Woot!

I shall be sad to leave. I will miss my friends, as I know I won't see them as much as I do now. I will miss my flatmate - no more Starbucks by the Thames after class for us (this is how we originally bonded). I will miss my colleagues in the Enquiry Unit. It took me a while to open up, but in the end, despite giving away more of myself than I would usually dare, it was worth it.

For a while, during my darkest moments, I thought I might give in, give up and go into the dark, but I'm glad I stuck it out. I have finally overcome my past failure and I am happier than I have ever been (honestly!). Getting a degree isn't easy. It isn't. But it's worth the hard work - the blood (figurative - unless you count copious paper cuts), the sweat (running to get that physical hand-in sorted before the school office closes) and the tears (mostly of joy that you met the deadline), make it worthwhile - you get out of your degree what you put in. If you make no effort, never find the library and don't do the research, you only have yourself to blame. I think the same can be said for anything - you get out of life what you put in - you are responsible for your own life - if you muck up your 'A' levels, can you really blame anyone else? If you forget to respond to your UCAS offers by the deadline, is that the fault of UCAS? The university that made you the offer? NO! If you want it enough, you will make the effort to get it. I spent several years expecting things to be handed to me. I did. A very lovely, but very truthful, recruitment agent reminded me that no one is going to do that for me. I was going to have to contribute. I've been working on that. Sometimes I do backslide (we all do... It's our nature), but I've been striving to stay ahead, be proactive when things matter (and learning to recognise what doesn’t matter to me and not beating myself up about not chasing those things) and it does makes difference. It really does. I've worked damn hard for three years to get a first. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get what I want. They (my lecturers) say it’s possible, so who knows. Well, I guess I will when the results get published in July (6 more weeks.... *sigh*) but you get my point, right?

Anyway, off my soapbox about the lethargy, antipathy and lack of responsibility some applicants seem to have towards their university applications and life in general. It's not me that's going to regret screwing it up because I didn't try harder, is it?

Good bye and good luck dear readers x

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Let’s get some perspective here...

First things first, I need to clear up a potential point of confusion from my previous blog. Whilst working can be disruptive as a student, that doesn't mean that I don’t love what I do. It’s just been hard for me to get my head round work and be as upbeat as I need to be lately.

I stumbled upon this rather amusing comic strip the other day and it gave me some perspective...

Unlike the funny bunny (clearly not my rogue pirate bunny from a few blogs back) it didn’t make me feel small, insignificant and wildly depressed, it just made me realise that in the grand scheme of things, my problems aren’t so big that I can’t overcome them. I can’t say it’s made me anymore organised, but it has given me a renewed vigour for my degree.

Ah, anyway, lots of things to do...

All the best. x

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Life gets in the way...

Life as a student can be hard. At least, elements of can be. Having to work to support studying can be disruptive, but then other things in life can get in the way too.

In the past two months, I've been dealing with a few issues outside of study, which truthfully hasn't made it easy to get on and concentrate. One of these was the unexpected passing of my grandfather, my last remaining grandparent.

It hasn't really sunk in yet, if I'm honest, but I have sometimes found myself dwelling on it. I have found myself thinking about the last few times I saw him and how we were in those times. The last time I saw him was way back in September and looking back, I know that we parted on happy terms. I spoke with him was in January, but it was brief. I do wonder if both of us would have made more effort if we'd known that this would be the last time we had a conversation.

I'm not really a huggy-touchy-feely sort of a gal. I know this and my family and close friends know this. I'm not big on sharing and being openly emotional is something that I really don't deal with very well, in me or other people. I can deal with most emergencies quite calmly. Unless it involves tears, then I’m definitely not the go-to-gal. In spite of this, I hope my grandfather realised how much he was loved, even if I wasn't very good at showing it.

Luckily for me, my cousin, who studies Make-up and Prosthetics (how cool is that?!) in Somerset, came to stay for the weekend after our Gramps passed away. We didn't really talk about him, but we both felt happier knowing we had family around if we needed them. That being said, we both had a busy time of it and not a lot of time to really discuss it. She was here as part of her degree to tour the BBC studios and work at/visit the IMATS (International Make-up Artist Trade Show) at Ally Pally (that's Alexandra Palace, just in case you weren't aware). I too was working at the University wide open day that Saturday. Fortunately, I had a change of scenery this open day, which turned out to be a good thing, as it kept my mind occupied. That being said, I should probably be apologising to anyone who felt that the service received was a little below par.

I recently read something called "What is love?" After you've read it and I explain, even though I never really say it, I think it sort of proves that I do love my dear cousin, who will now forever be known as Kaos... This is due to the wake of it she leaves behind her. And to the left and the right of her. Bless...

"What is love?" a little girl asked her older brother.
"Love is you taking my favourite snack from my backpack every day, but me never changing where I hide it."

I liked this, because I’m better at showing I care by what I do, rather than what I say.

For Kaos I am prepared to stay up until the small hours as coursework support, then get up in the only marginally less small hours to be an alarm clock and be a test model for prototype prosthetics (and letting myself be photographed in them! I don't like photos!) – is this proof that I care? These are things I would do for anyone who truly means anything to me.

But now it is back to cold, hard reality. I still have university work to deal with and the funeral is yet to come. My tutors have been extremely supportive and despite my hesitation to “open up” and wanting to do my usual of “just dealing”, knowing that they are aware of what is going on has made everything a little easier to cope with.

Hopefully, my next post will be a happier post. I would also like to offer my condolences to my fellow blogger and Enquiry Unit assistant, Jerushah, who sadly lost her Uncle P. Big virtual hugs to J. x

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Where did January go??

Jinkies, it's already the end of January & I have no idea where the time has gone! Well, that's not entirely true. I've spent most of it flitting backwards and forwards between researching for my project and writing my contextual report. Thankfully, my report got good, productive feedback. As I've said before, feedback is essential and I would always recommend getting some from tutors, even for level 2 (i.e. GCSEs) and 3 (i.e. A Levels, BTEC Nationals) courses. It lets you know how you're doing and gives you a chance to do better.

It is very, very easy to coast. I know this. I have been there. For me, years one and two were, in all honesty, kinda easy. And knowing that I did find it relatively easy, it makes me wonder why I didn't get better grades. Hey, I'm not saying that my grades were all that bad, but I then wonder how amazing they could have been if I'd tried just a little bit harder, been a bit more organised. Sadly, I am an out-of-the-closet procrastinator. I used to think I had exceptional time management skills, but then I came back to study after mumble mumble years and realised that when it comes to organising myself, for me, I'm vaguely inept. If I could think about study as a full time job (40 hours a week IS a full time job!) then I think I'd be better organised... Still working on that. I have three months to get it sorted!

I am now finding my feet again this year, as I have been finding it hard to get on and focus. I've had a few things going on and some are still on-going, but I've been making a few changes & it seems to be helping - go me! But they do say a change is as good as a rest right? :o]

Anyway, I didn’t exactly promise, but I did say I’d try to find a way to get Lego C3PO and R2D2 in as a topic, so this is me just blatantly saying “Here’s a picture of some Lego. Enjoy!” You’ll notice that the Lego love is not restricted to Star Wars, as I have made the mistake of starting to collect the Lego miniatures... Bad move – more things to waste my money on!

 Until next time dear readers.... :o]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

When does it become polite to stop saying “Happy New Year”?

At what point in January does it become acceptable to stop saying “Happy New Year” or asking how someone celebrated, even if it’s the first time you've seen them this year? I don’t want to seem all bah-hum-bug-gy about it, but I get fed-up with it around about the 6th. But maybe that’s just me – what do you think...? Also, this (6th Jan) is the last acceptable date, in my honest opinion, that you should still have your Christmas or “holiday” decorations up.

Ahhh, anyway, seeing as we haven’t spoken in a while, I’ll fill you in. Christmas was nice and quiet, no drama, just chilled, the way I like it. Although I did miss seeing all my younger cousins opening their gifts, wondering at the awesomeness of Santa and his in-depth knowledge of their wants and desires. Boxing day was spent considering doing coursework. Not a very jolly or festive thing to do, but consider it I did. Yes, just consider. This took up much of my day and then I proceeded to do something constructive and built some Harry Potter Lego. I love Lego. I meant to take a picture to share with you all, but I had as much fun taking it to pieces as I did building it! Next blog may include some shots of Lego R2D2 and C3PO (I know, Star Wars, not Harry Potter), but that’s only if I can figure out a way to shoe-horn them in as a topic again. :o)

Speaking of toys, I was recently given an extremely excellent Dalek (Dr Who – how many TV and Film references can I get in one blog?!) that now guards my desk (at work) and my pigeon hole when I’m not in. Sadly, because he makes an awful lot of noise, I’m not allowed to switch him on in the office. Booooooo! However, he has been tested out and provided ample amusement for the few minutes he was allowed to run riot. I can be such a child!

Maybe I’ve been very anti-social about New Year due to me being cooped up at home for NYE (sob, sob, lots of sympathy for me, please), trying to meet my deadlines. Fun, fun and more fun. Fortunately, deadlines were met, despite a few last minute panics. Fingers crossed this doesn’t impact too badly on my final grade...! Onward and upward, as the saying goes. :o)

So, what’s next? Project! Back to the project. I am now waiting for the appointment with my supervisor to “discuss” said project. Waiting is fine. It gives me more time to get more work done, which takes my mind off the waiting itself. Still have lots of research to do to, which should fill the time nicely.
Anyhow, must crack on, have lots to do don’t you know! Until next time dear readers...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Third Time Lucky...

I can't believe I'm already on my third blog! Truthfully, I was sceptical when the idea of me doing a blog was first mentioned. I didn't think I would have anything to say, but now it’s hard trying to stop myself from typing...

I do have to say a big thank you to one of the supervisors for the contribution of “Rogue Bunny” on my previous instalment, because it was totally appropriate (and extremely cute – I wish I had thought of it). The Pirate Bunnies of Greenwich have now appointed Rogue Bunny as their leader and as such, I am now avoiding Greenwich Park - I have enough sneezing to deal with from my cold for the time being, thank you very much!

Soooooo. Priscilla. Was. Awe-some! Although I don’t imagine it’s to the taste of everyone (it is rather crude in places). I had been terrified it was going to be like the night that almost destroyed my love of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, but it totally surpassed my expectations - I’m so glad I got to see it. Fingers crossed it goes on tour so I can see it again, at least once. :) I was mouthing along to pretty much all of the songs - and I’m not even a huge fan of disco, but I do like shiny, shiny things and I do like to sing. As much as it embarrasses me to admit - and hopefully I am not the only one who has ever done this, but if so, I hang my head in shame - the songs have been stuck in my head ever since. This has meant a few impromptu moments of me, when my flat mate has been out, bursting into song. A little too loudly. I think I should probably go and apologise to all of my neighbours at this point... Or wait, then I can pretend it’s my flatmate, should anyone come and ask. I have also been finding lots (and lots and lots) of excuses to use my shiny, shiny Priscilla QOTD (Not QOTSA, Homme fans, but QOT -D) mug... So much so, I have now rechristened it Priscilla, Queen of the Chai Latte. “Chai Latte? What happened to the coffee?” I hear you say. My answer is this - I have a lot more chai teabags left than I do ground coffee, so the coffee is on a strict ration until payday. Then I’ll be back to the cafĂ© lattes and Priscilla the Mug won’t even have to change her initials.

So, beyond my visits to Cambridge Circus and the glitzy, glamorous world of the fictional drag-queen, I have been focussing on the thing I’m really here to do. Sleep. Eat. Earn money. Study(!). I’ve been working hard on a piece of coursework that I’m glad has had some formative feedback of “Excellent”. This is good, as up to now, I thought I might have wandered off the path and was worrying I might get a “needs significant improvement”. Good inspiration to carry on and actually get it finished. To me, feedback is vital, especially at this stage of my degree, when every single mark counts!

*Project Update*
I have a new idea, which is all about e-learning on the mobile web, using devices like iPhones, Nokia Lumia or iPads. Need to get it approved by one of the supervisors - make sure it's web techie enough for them!
So, not a very long update, but I did promise. ;o)
Anyhew, time is getting on and deadlines draw nearer. Including the one for my contextual report. The report that in fact relies on me having picked a project topic… Oh dear. Until next time. Stay shiny. (o:

Friday, 2 December 2011

Pitched into the abyss...

That’s how I felt last Friday after going through the epic fail that was supposed to be my project pitch.
For once, I was super cool and calm before going in, because I totally knew my stuff and I had lots of research to discuss. It went downhill from the moment I entered the room and I don’t know why, but I’m now seriously reconsidering what I want to do. But I don’t want to continue dwelling on it, now that I have shared my misery with everyone else. Whining is wonderfully cathartic for the self in the short-term, but it can lose you some friends in the long-term if you don’t keep it in check. I think I should have prefaced the start of each conversation with “I apologise in advance for the whining and whinging that may follow”, but then that kind of warning could have had people running away. Not good for the self-esteem!
Life has mostly been about deciding if I want to stay on this project train, to destination “classification unknown” or to make the leap onto the platform of indecision and wait for the train towards somewhere more appealing and desired classification friendly. The problem with this procrastination is that the platform of indecision is finite in length. With my face firmly pressed to the glass, nose bent at an undignified and painful angle, I can see the big red “point of no return” sign, getting closer much faster than I would like. Once that sign zips past me, my course is set and there are going to be no other opportunities to get off. Except a derailing. And that would be very, very bad. As much as I enjoy studying at University of Greenwich, I don’t relish the thought of having to retake my project next year. If I’m here, I want to be studying a Masters programme, not fixing a failure. And I don’t deal well with failure.

Oh dear, how doomy-and-gloomy do I sound?! Honest, inside I’m all rainbows, bunnies and lollipops (I just don’t like to show it too often). Ok, maybe not so much bunnies, they play havoc with my allergies.
On a brighter note, I am off to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert (I so nearly wrote dessert) soon, before it ends. I loved the film, all that sparkle and song, so I’m hoping the stage show is just as good. I know I will be silently singing along with all the songs.
Anyhow, I shall sign off for now. Thank you for reading, until next time...