Posted in life, University, Writing

Dissertation Update #9

I guess I forgot to write this on submission day, but it’s been all over for more than a month and I’m just now feeling the relief that it’s all finished. My university career is over! Wtf?!

The last few weeks before October 3rd were awful and some of the worst in my life, and yet I somehow managed to pull together enough to still write, edit, and revise the most important text I’ve ever submitted. I don’t know if I can say it’s my best work given how ill I was, but perhaps it’s better than it would have been as I was able to give my inner editor/critic a swift vaffanculo because I just did not have time for that negativity.

I’m relieved but starting to grow a bit anxious, there’s still a month to go before we get our results back. I just hope it’s enough to get my solid pass mark, I don’t care where everyone else’s marks get them to, I’m just happy to pass well. One of my submissions this year, a shitty essay, really messed up my average and I’m well aware that my tutor doesn’t particularly like anything I’ve written though I had stellar feedback from others on my course. I never said I was James Joyce, I’m happy to be in Jim Butcher’s league.

Alas, I’ve been away from here thanks to real life swinging back into play. I started a new job on the 7th of October and it’s been non-stop since with training and then getting familiar with the new role. I’m enjoying it so far, there’s definitely been a steep learning curve with the material but everything else is all stuff I’ve done before. It’s a good environment, a good team, and supportive co-workers. Plus the office is toasty warm, great for those 8am starts when it’s dark and minus-one outside.

More updates to follow, now that I’m free from studying. I’ve been on edx and udemy again flexing my Italian, Latin and Classical muscles. And I bought a Korean grammar book!

e x

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Posted in University, Writing

Dissertation Update #7

It’s been a wee while between updates thanks to health stuff and not knowing what is causing me to still feel so ill.

Anyway! I’ve been working away bit by bit and last night I hit the 10k words mark! Woohoo! Then today I started four new crochet projects because I’m procrochetenating finishing the excerpt.

I’ve sat back down at my desk, lit some candles, have the Gladiator soundtrack playing and cracking on back to work. My hook is next to me once I earn a break.

I’m itching to get back to normal stuff again, gaming and reading. My goodreads challenge is getting out of control so I’ll be speed reading through my TBR list after October 3rd!

Good news is coming soon, I’ll tell you all closer to the time 🙂

e x

Posted in Blogging Challenge, Education

30 Day Blogging Challenge – Day 16

Thoughts on Education

We’ve been here before on this topic!

I believe in education as a means to progress, to move forward and upward – stepping out of the cave and into the light. But I also believe in education for education’s sake. The reduction of learning to testing and scoring and grading really defeats the point of education. We’re supposed to learn so we know, not memorise to get an A. And I’m speaking as someone who rarely gets As, even now in my masters… I don’t really care. I’ve long since accepted that there are people who just get the system and know how to ‘hack’ their work to fit what is asked for, and I’ve seen myself work my arse off doing what I believe to be the right thing only for it to be handed back with a limp grade and red pen marks telling me I didn’t get it…

Education shouldn’t be elitist and exclusionary, but it is. Education should be for everyone, should be free and easy to access in whatever form is most suitable for a person. Not everyone can up sticks and move across the country to attend a uni for five years to earn their degree, more needs to be done online and more accessible online… that includes the fees and making the internet far cheaper, if not free. Let everyone have a chance.

Hell, make it as easy to get into education as it is to apply for Big Brother. Open the floodgates, let the people learn!

e x

Posted in Day Trip, Education, History, life, Travel

Have you met Dippy?

Meet Dippy the Diplodocus. He’s on tour around the UK having left the Natural History Museum in London for the first time since 1905. His show is on the road until 2020 and is next heading to Newcastle on 18th May, having just wrapped up a several month stint in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Dippy is a beautiful big beastie who originally roamed the earth 150 million years ago, munching on leaves and hanging out with his dino friends. I can’t help but be reminded of The Land Before Time and Disney’s Dinosaur, so excuse me while I wipe away my tears.

If you are a paleo purist (ancient bones, not the diet) then maybe Dippy wasn’t your thing, he is a replica – plaster cast of the original Dippy in residence in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. However, I don’t care, because it’s thanks to Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist, that we over here have a Dippy to look at! Carnegie financed the excavation of Dippy in Wyoming in 1899 and they later discovered it was a new species, thus named the
Diplodocus carnegii. As a favour to King Edward VII, Carnegie faithfully reproduced the bones of the original at the cost of $2000 back in 1902 and gifted them to the Natural History museum in London.

Most people know how much Kelvingrove means to me, it’s my hang out place when I can get there; where my interests in art, history and old buildings converges so for that to be the temporary home of Dippy’s Scottish visit, I couldn’t have asked for more. Picture it, me in all my 30 years turning up with my pater and the two of us nerding out worse than the kids swarming around.

Dippy is 70ft long, no wonder it’s hard to get him in one shot!

Even though the photos show other people as scale, it still doesn’t do justice to how massive Dippy actually is. He towered over the adults, nevermind the kids and weighs in at a hefty 20,000kg (alive, I’m sure).

Smile for the camera

I had to zoom in to get his wee face, and felt so small and insignificant. Really makes me wonder about people who deny the existence of dinosaurs – we might mostly be top of the food chain these days, but we’re all fairly tiny and annoying.

Colossus at rest

It was a great day out to visit Dippy and I can only hope that there have been countless children inspired by seeing him. I may have ended up at the merch shop and may have acquired a Dippy soft toy for a small fortune…

Kelvingrove is a free-entry museum and is open nearly all year-round from 10/11-5pm everyday. There are accessible entry points from both the Argyle Street and car park entrance. There are two cafés serving hot and cold drinks and light foods, the basement café serving meals as well. The basement features different installations and the two gift shops sell the permanent and temporary merchandise. There is artwork from Dalí and the Dutch Masters to the exhibits of Ancient Egypt and Scottish Wildlife, so there is definitely something for all to see.

Posted in Education, Food, studying, University, Writing

Another Day in the Library

First things first, my last post was officially my 100th post! Woo hoo! I think I’m happy with it, or maybe I believed I’d posted more. Anyway, here’s to another hundred.

Monday was the recommencement of the Monday study sessions in town. My Italian class starts back next week, so I used this time to haul my laptop and notebooks with me to work on my Creative Writing assessment. It was a fairly early start (for me) and I was in the library for 12pm and a giant coffee to get things started. Unfortunately, for the first few hours we had to make do with a drafty round table, but later we got using a booth (not the usual one, but good enough). I’m a bit like Rory needing her study tree, I’m a creature of habit!

The second-best booth

I’m terrible for procrastinating, even when something is right in front of me to be done. I also put it down to being more of an evening, nighttime worker but needs must and since being ill my sleeping pattern has improved somewhat. But I had my checklists and tried not to overdo the pressure with the tasks I wanted to complete yesterday. In the end wrote 1700 words for my assessment which is sufficient as the bones of a first draft, it’s not due until the end of January but I can’t leave it because who knows what is around the corner.

Checklists, planners and laptop

The great thing about this library is that it is much warmer than the one in Aberdeen. Granted I felt chilly at points throughout the day, but most of that was to do with the draft from the door way and my brain wanting to curl up and go back to bed.

My plan now is to rework the draft into something I can share to the forums for feedback (I missed the workshop deadline – didn’t have anything to submit), then I have to start worrying about the commentary. It’s a horrible exercise of only 500 words which I apparently still don’t have the hang of. I ought to message my tutor for help, but what can she tell me that hasn’t already been shared in our groups online?

I need to remember more study snacks for the next library session, I had some food, but there’s nothing dairy-free or vegan as options at the coffee shop or canteen as a snack and the vending machines were empty too. You might recognise me on the next trip though, I’ll be the bag-lady laden down with laptop and books and a tote-bag full of food.

e x

Posted in Education, life, University

First Study Day of 2019

Yesterday was the first day I finally felt better, and to crack on with my every growing pile of work. So, naturally a study-date was called for. Unfortunately, the uni is still in Christmas holiday mode, I arrived on campus and found the library open but no coffee outlets, no food, and empty vending machines. Like the apocalypse.

I met my study buddy at her flat and after going foraging for food at Sainsbury’s we came back, ate and attempted to work. Yes, it took a while to get back into the swing of things, but as I had tried to be kinder to myself with my to-do list I did all right.

My next assessment is at the end of January, I do essentially know what I’m doing now, it’s just doing it that’s the problem and the most time-consuming part. As I remembered from the last assessment, the bibliography is the most awkward bit, because of formatting and remembering everything I read and skimmed over the last few months. I’m glad I started it and have at least the bones and formatting down, just minor information points and a few other sources to reference, otherwise it’s taking care of itself. Still hate writing the commentary though, it’s only 500 words and I’m wordy dammit!

I missed the deadline for the workshop for the second block, unfortunately they’ve been appearing earlier this year and I had nothing to submit, not even a semi-formed idea… in part due to the beating I took from the last assessment. I’ve tried not to take the criticism too personally, perhaps the genre of my work isn’t to my tutor’s liking or… I don’t know. Alas, I’m attempting this assignment from a different angle; I made a list of all the technical points we covered in this block and constructed a chapter where I was actively trying to include many of these points in it. I understand that the assessments are to see how we’re managing with the new topics learnt and if we are able to weave them into our own work… Which is fine, but I think others in my class are as frustrated at not being able to crack on with longer pieces to see how we are developing as writers and not trying to hit bullet points in a marking scheme.

Just my thoughts. Next study date is tomorrow, but I’ve a ton to get on with later tonight. Italian class starts back next week! I’m planning to start a new series of blog posts related to Italian grammar, at the very least to keep it fresh in my head!

e x

Drinking: Black Coffee

Listening to: You look so fine – Garbage