Posted in Education, Languages, Musings, Relationships, University

The Frustrations of Life

I like my life.

None of us has a life manual to tell us what to do, when to do it, or if we are doing it right. I follow my gut instinct though it’s taken me years to actually trust it and believe it knows best, but it can be difficult when you see what everyone else is doing, or worse, when other people tell you you’re not living your life right. How even?!

I’ve spent the last five years at uni where I was a good 6 years older than my fellow students, for the most part it wasn’t an issue, but of course there was some lighthearted ribbing, and some less than lighthearted ribbing. It was my choice not to go straight to uni after school, mostly because I felt mentally broken and scraped my way out of it. I instead went to a Further Education college to study Italian for a couple of years, then I studied Photography at another college, then there was a half year back at the original college to do more languages, then onto a third college to do a HNC as I was beginning to feel that uni was within my reach.

Does it matter how long it took me to get to uni? No. Does it matter how many years I spent doing other stuff? No, because I actually did other stuff. Does it matter that I’ll be 29 in a month and I haven’t been married off? HELL no!

It’s fine for other people, I know loads of people from school and college who’ve dated for years, got married, and had kids (in various orders) and that’s great for them who’ve chosen that life… But I really don’t believe it’s for me. I’ve dated, not recently, but I can’t be bothered with the drama right now. I’m only just back home in Glasgow and I’ve been in Waterstones so many times and yet no one has approached me from behind the shelves to ask to buy me a book!

I know it sounds like I’m trying to justify my life and choices, but sometimes I feel swamped by subliminal pressures because I’m not doing things the way everyone else is, but why would we want to do it like everyone else is?

Right now, I’m binge-watching Suits (Don’t trust the pineapple), I’ll do some more crocheting after, maybe a little Sims, then back to work for my course… and I may just add a sprinkling of Dutch in.

I like my life, I like my own time!

e x

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Posted in Education, Fitness, Memories, Musings, University, Writing

Back to the drawing board

My course started on Saturday and I’ve managed to spend at least a couple of hours each day since to contribute to the forums and work on assignments. I’ve received really good feedback from a couple of other students on my first submission. I’m not good with criticism whether good or bad, and I struggle with accepting constructive criticism which I put down to too many essays being returned with ‘try harder’, ‘more detail’, ‘less flowery language – get to the point’, ‘don’t be so forceful’ – feedback in general can be contradictory as everyone will have different opinions.

This first year is broken down into four blocks and two specialisations, which for me are: Fiction and Script-writing. I’ll be working on Fiction in blocks 1 and 3, Script-writing in block 2, and block 4 is independent study. There are assessments at the end of each block and a final end of module assessment in June. I’m not too worried about the assessments yet, I had a read of the requirements and so long as I follow the course work and readings, I should manage to do quite well overall.

One of the stories I’ve been using for coursework is from what I want to be a novel series but it actually started aeons ago when I was around 6 or 7 as a make-believe scenario which touted many filled afternoons and a special birthday performance of a play of the story which I’d worked on for days. I was industrious to say the least. Now it’s a grown up story, but I’m still lacking a decent title. I know what I want the individual books to be titled but I don’t know what to name the series! I read an entire chapter on the purpose and point of decent titles, but nothing quite helped with this conundrum. I’ll get there in the end I suppose… consistency is the best cure for being stuck!

Managed to get back to the gym yesterday after several weekends of being too busy. Not lost too much in terms of endurance and I managed to get onto the lat pulldown machine… merely a couple of kgs off my personal bests! Going back tomorrow to smash them. Down several pounds in weight as well which is nice, but I’m trying to focus on listening to my body, if I really feel hungry or I’m just bored. I don’t want to go back to counting calories as I become far too obsessive with it, portion control and paying more attention to my eating habits and cravings will get me through for now.

I’m not a runner, it’s never been my thing, and I’ve actually caused myself more damage in the past when I’ve tried to run. Remember Phoebe trying to run in the park with Rachel? And Rachel was humiliated? Yep, mum just let me know today that that one time in school when I was picked to do the relay, I ran just like Phoebe did, maybe even worse! Thanks mum. I was never the sporty type. I had/have little to no upper body strength. I’d try to go on the monkey bars, grab on and swing forward – and keep swinging as my arms betrayed me and I kept swinging forward until gravity smacked me into the playground foam. I still can’t swim: I don’t float. Even when I was several stone lighter, it just never happened for me. My swimming proficiency at the end of Primary School, I got the shortest pity badge of 15 meters, but honestly that was me bobbing and trying to remember how to doggy-paddle like on Topsy and Tim. Then someone splashed water into my face and I choked and threw up by the side of the pool… thus my attempt was over.

So yeah, I was never going to be Sporty Spice, but that’s really why I prefer individual exercises that involve a steady machine or weights that I’m comfortable using without dislocating something. Don’t even get me started on gymnastics… the day I realised I had no balance or poise killed me. I’d never get to be the Pink Power Ranger. But when asked to do jumping splits over another person, I could take at least four others down with me!

Leave me to walk, row, and lift heavy stuff. I’m good.

e x

Posted in Education, elearning, Musings, University, work, Writing

Balance

If there’s one thing I’ve never been great at it’s balance. Not just in the literal sense of standing on one foot but in terms of what I’m doing in my life, e.g. work or uni, and what I’m juggling with secondary interests and socialising/relaxing.

Especially within the last few weeks this has become my aim to work on achieving a better balance despite working full-time and travelling around ten hours a week to-and-fro. One of my most important challenges has been to prepare enough new and original content for this blog, and as an exercise in discipline to flex my writing muscles even when I’ve little time or inspiration.

Very soon I’ll be starting my new Masters degree, which I’m really excited about but also slightly anxious about being prepared and inspired even if I’m drained from work. I know what I’m getting back into having just finished full-time uni; deadlines, stressing over grades, never feeling I’ve done enough, etc, but I’m planning to plan better and work on my biggest hurdle: TIME MANAGEMENT! This has never been my friend, ever, but I know now more than ever that I need to work on it so I have time to review, revise, and edit drafts efficiently, prior to submitting, so that I can be certain I’ve handed in my best work.

I’m pretty certain I’ll naturally be more inspired to submit creative writing pieces rather than essays. No matter how much I love to write, I’ve never quite gotten the essay writing process down! All lecturers wanted a different style, format, or I really struggled to grasp what they actually wanted me to submit. I did always try to find a hook or an angle to trick myself into being interested in essay topics (apart from classics courses, no tricks were ever needed), but my resounding feeling during honours years was that nothing I wrote was ever good enough.

This course will be different. I’ve been writing since I was 2. Yes, two! Since I could hold a pen I would scribble on paper or forms, (the wall occasionally) and feel exactly the same as Scout Finch, that writing is as natural as breathing. It’s no more spectacular than the respiratory system but is as absolutely critical to life as air.

In the evenings I don’t really have much chill time but I’m starting to get used to my routine and have been able to better utilise what time I do have. I’ve signed up to a few MOOC’s on Coursera, Edx, and OpenLearn which are all free to study and follow but with the option to pay a small fee for an official certificate/qualification. I’ll post soon about the courses I’m doing with some early thoughts and feedback.

There’s also my massive TBR pile, which I’ll get to at some point and review my recent reads.

As a final thought for tonight, I know it is important to take one day at a time, but it is also just as important to make plans and time for the things you really want to do during your free time, so you don’t end up sitting dejected on a Sunday night remembering all the things you wanted to do! (Too many times!)

My schedule changes by an hour next week for a few weeks but I’m going to create a full rotating schedule of activities to slot in around work…

… just keep swimming!

e x

P.S. I’ve added a new Photography page, which I’m planning on adding much more to soon, have a looksie!

Posted in Education, Travel, University

Job searches, soul searches…

Having heard nothing back from the jobs I’ve applied for I’ve returned to scouring the various job sites looking for something, anything that seems relevant to my skills and experience… Pickings are slim here. I guess being up north I was quite spoilt fortunate in that there was maybe less competition for each job and I at least got an interview (also every job I applied for asked to hire me).

Alas, I’m caught between jobs that are paying a chunk less that what I’ve been used to and barely more than what was considered a high wage four years ago. A trend I’m noticing is that many employers are trying to lure people with promises of a higher wage only to then state that it’s only part-time, temporary, on a month-to-month basis to cover maternity leave, or; worse yet, mentioning at the bottom of the ad that the post is technically a self-employed one so the employee has to pay their own taxes and National Insurance so the inflated hourly wage isn’t that great after all.

I suppose I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to work as… Batgirl has already been cast, so I’m still looking. I have a great variety of skills and could open my own coffee/book/photography/language shop and even do a jam session at the end of the night. I’ve tried for hotel work with the belief that while Brexit is still a huge clusterfuck hotels are never out of favour with travellers, so there would be the chance to use languages conversationally. Plus, many are international chains and I’m totally fine with relocating if the opportunity arose. A stable opportunity. I’m really starting to sound my age.

I’ve also looked at the TEFL jobs page (worthwhile if you’re more spontaneous than me) to see what opportunities are available. South Korea is very tempting, they seem to treat native English speakers like royalty or K-Popstars (much the same thing). Of course, my heart longs for Italy but many of the jobs are part time and too similar a wage to home that I’d need to hope to make up the difference with tutoring. Show me a full-time job in Sorrento and I’ll be there!

The Scottish Government and SAAS announced this year that they’re offering a loan of up to £10,000 for students to take a full-time postgraduate course at a Scottish University (£5,500 for tuition fees and £4,500 for living expenses). They’re also offering £2750 a year for a maximum of two years for part-time students to study, which appears to include the Open University… so much temptation!

Later,

e x

Posted in Education, Languages, Musings, TV, University

I am Bing, hear me roar!

To describe myself in two fictional TV characters I am Chandler Bing and Josh Lyman. I’m the awkward sometimes comic (relief) with occasional strokes of genius but mostly strives to be a third fictional character: Rory Gilmore. However, my procrastination and housekeeping skills make me more like Lorelai Gilmore instead. (Not complaining, but I do sniff books).

I was never the brightest or most engaged at school. I was the day-dreamer, the creative type never more sparked than when doing something crafty with paper, writing never-ending stories, or learning classics (partially started from my love of TV Hercules). I dreamt of attending Hogwarts when I should have been studying for my standard grades, I got up early and won a competition to meet Linkin Park when I should have revised more for my computing exam that morning.

Eventually, after many years of studying various vocations, I made it into University but still comfort-binge-watched The West Wing and Gilmore Girls on repeat too many times. Like Chandler, not many people know exactly what I’ve done or could tell you what I do/have been doing (apparently I do too many things); and like Josh I’m good at my own things, my own interests and specialist fields but at school I really had to work twice as hard as everyone else just to reach my own level. It’s too easy to lament on this with ‘should have tried harder’, ‘should have been better’, ‘why did others get x?’ but it’s not healthy to compare oneself with other people. We’ve all had different upbringings and pasts, and some people are just naturally academic. Me, I like that I have a million interests. I do need to focus on adequate scheduling more though.

Now uni is over, we’ve all been set loose and free. Except, Brexit is happening, I’ve gone off the language I studied, I’m years older than my former classmates, many pounds heavier (and poorer), Jed Bartlett isn’t running for president and I’m not seeing waves of job opportunities now that I’m home.

So what now? Well, it’s 2017 might as well blog and perhaps find others in the same position.

Call me Lyman Bing now. The point is I’m not being self-deprecating I’m being realistic. I don’t want to do finance training and feel like a sell-out (to myself, not dissing those who do/like finance) or feel my soul seeping from my ribs in a mind-numbing job. I’m living at home because I can’t afford to live alone and because my mum is nice enough to take me back (♥), I can’t afford to have children nor get married (not that I would, that’s for a whole other post), and I’ll probably never buy a house… but it doesn’t matter, times are changing and I’m riding the waves as they come.

e x