Tag Archives: university

Few more pages left

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My dissertation deadline is coming and I am proud to say I will be able to submit and be done with it early. All the panic and sleepless nights (and future back problems from all the books I’ve been carrying around) and I am actually looking at the almost complete result. Almost because a few entries in my bibliography need some additional information (page numbers mostly) and I need to check my word count again, just in case. I’m not entirely happy with that. I managed to hit just over 13600 when to upper limit is 14000. But hey, I’m gonna read through the entire thing again tonight, hunt for any pesky typos, so maybe I’ll find a few places to add a little something. Everyone’s telling me that I’m over exaggerating with my paranoia, but dammit this is major! (and a major part of my final grade too). I think I’m entitled to act a little crazy now that we’re a breath from the print-and-bind stage. Speaking of…I need to find somewhere to do the binding part. Hm…

In other news I’m also house hunting again, which I left to a lamentably late this year (and, oh, how I long for the time when moving will not be an annual event!). In my defence until very recently I had no clue what I’d be doing, much less where. But I do have a few viewings lined up for the end of the week, so here’s to hoping I drew the golden ticket. All in all my check list right now looks something like this:

  • print/bind/submit dissertation
  • find house-sign contract-arrange move-in date
  • hire van for the move
  • PACK!!!!!!!! (you never know how much stuff you have until you need to put it in a finite number of boxes…)
  • pray the gods are merciful and I get my start date sometime soon

And no! I will not calm down until all these little hotspots of stress are crossed out. On the bright side, once at least the dissertation is out of the way I will have more time for writing again. I have a few ideas I wanna try here but it’s really a matter of finding the time/energy to get started on them. We’ll see how it goes. Until then,

Peace out! 🙂

In which I made an ill-adviced bet

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With none other than myself at that! What new madness did I talk myself into this time you ask? Nothing much. Just writing my entire thesis in a week. All 14,000 words of it. Yes, yes, how silly of me! The line to slap some sense into me is to the left. 

I do have some rational reasons behind it though. For one I needed something to distract me from another source of stress that was, at the time, hovering over me like a stormcloud. Nothing distracts quite like speed reading the Best of Karl Jung. For another, I need short term deadlines if I’m to get anything done. The ones my supervisor gave me are way lenient! Also that means I have the entirety to August to redraft and make my writing all pretty-like. 🙂

As I’m sure you can imagine this has resulted in late nights and hard-to-get-out-of-bed mornings. Still worth it. As of right now I’m two and a half chapters away from a complete first draft (and a conclusion but who wants to think about that!)

So there you have it. Hopefully I will be much closer to the finish line next time I ramble here, but until then,

Peace out!

I have an evil plan!

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Or at least it would seem so, wouldn’t it? Just look at this beautiful, colourful, paper-y chaos!

Every evil genius needs their planning tools.

Every evil genius needs their planning tools.

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A looooooot of tools!

Heh, I remember, back in high school, one of my teachers telling me off for -apparently- paying more attention in making my notes pretty and colourful than the lesson. She was kind of right, honestly. I only took Economics because I needed the credit, bu she was also wrong. I like colour-coding things. It makes them easier to remember. In elementary school (when books still have pretty pictures to go with the texts) I could remember better text surrounded by colour. That and the highlighter bug I think I caught from my mother. She was the one to teach me the difference between turning the page a different colour and actually highlighting the most important point.

So here I am, more than a decade later, almost compulsively taking multi-coloured and badly illustrated notes on all important modules. The beautiful chaos on these pictures is me trying to cobble together my thoughts and ideas for my thesis into something that makes sense to someone that does not have a psychic link with me. My supervisor advised me to make the outline in the form of a map in order to see how the different points I’m trying to make connect to one another. The end result is something like this:

A map alright. A map of the multiverse if you will.

A map alright. A map of the multiverse if you will.

I’m going to attempt and turn this to the standard bullet-point format but I am not sure I’ll manage. The thing is, as confusing (and frustrating at times) it was to make my little diagram (little, ha! That’s an A3 paper, baby!), when I look at it, it makes sense. Starting from the centre and moving outwards and clockwise, coming back to certain points again and again, I suppose it’s as close to an illustration of my thought process as I can get while remaining confined in two dimensions. Yeah, remember those awesome hologram things Tony Stark has in the MCU (that I will not even try to pretend I understand the “science” of)? Boy, would they have can in handy when I was working on this. Or the dangle-y paper thingies Megamind used. Really, the third (and fourth) dimensions are not used nearly enough. Also, once more, all together: What is it with me and crazy/evil geniuses?

Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll figure it out. Until then let us all be thankful I stuck with literature instead of the sciences. In the immortal words of the Big Bang Theory:

I may not have Sheldon’s IQ but… -cue the ominous music-

Things that university taught me

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I finally truly hit that uni is almost over. And I say almost because I still have my thesis to obsess about, so expect a lot more gushing/groaning on that department. Thinking back however, there’s a few things I’d like to share that I think will stay with me for a long time:

  1. Most of the stuff you learnt after year 6 is irrelevant. Unless you do Creative Writing. In which case everything is relevant.
  2. Movie/TV references are the currency.
  3. There is no such thing as optional reading.
  4. Laundry doesn’t get lost. It multiplies in your absence.
  5. Walking distances are proportional to your bank account.
  6. The faster you learn to cook, the faster you become popular.
  7. Hand-written notes rule!
  8. Opinions don’t matter. Everyone will do their thing regardless.
  9. Online shopping (window or not) can be addictive.
  10. The walls are always less soundproof than you think.
  11. You will feel decades older than the first years. And you will find yourself quoting your grandmother.
  12. Supernatural has gifs for everything.
  13. Scented candles always help.
  14. Any day is pancake day (and any time for the matter).
  15. Having fancy-dress costumes is more important than having practical clothes.
  16. You will run out of pain killers the day before you need them.
  17. Illnesses can be postponed through sheer will-power.
  18. Embrace the geek.
  19. Learn to saw. Tights are expensive when you buy them every second week.
  20. Weather and temperature have no relation to outfit choices.
  21. It is perfectly acceptable to go to the supermarket in your pyjamas.
  22. You will develop as seventh sense tuned to find the nearest chocolate. Also an eighth one for coffee.
  23. Fairy lights are an essential decoration.
  24. So are skull-shaped candle holders. (I have diverse interests…sue me!)
  25. Carrying around a creepily questionable book and openly reading it in public will -hopefully- repel any unwanted social interactions.
  26. Morpheus is the most important god ever worshipped.
  27. Your music tastes will inevitably shift to things your teenage self would cringe at.
  28. Disney is still awesome!
  29. There’s never enough money.
  30. There’s never enough time.

There’s more, but if I kept going we’d be here till Kingdom Come. One day, many years from now, when I’ll be a mostly-functional adult, I will write the full thing. Then print it out and use it to wallpaper my house. Just because I can. I did mention that I’ll be mostly functional, didn’t I? 😉

Well, this is awkward…

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(“Awkward” being a word I normally cannot spell…) What you ask? The weather for one. -glares at overcast sky- The relative calmness of my mental state for another. No kidding, since I started back with the full time research again I’ve been much more…balanced is not quite the right word but you know what I mean. I’m basically pulling a Hermione Granger, diving in books, taking notes, finding more books to read…It’s…nice. Familiar. The sort of thing that I can be comfortable with.

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Books, stories, they’ve always been easier to be around than people. I enjoy talking to people (sometimes) but it’s so hard to figure out what they actually mean most of the time. Sarcasm and irony, those I can handle. Heck! Most of what comes out of my mouth falls under those categories. It’s when this isn’t an option that things get hard. I know, right? Straightforward would be harder for me….

kkCas

What the pretty angel in a trench-coat said. I sometimes wonder if there was some sort of mandatory class in how to communicate with other people that I missed. I know I’m not the only leaving conversations feeling like they missed something.

And yet, even with the underlying note of stress that never seems to leave me these days, I’m good. Not totally ok but cautiously finding myself willing to venture out of my cave. We had a careers fair the other day and being surrounded by noise and people wasn’t quite as overwhelming as it might have been two weeks ago. I suppose the sunshine on the past few days helped too. I’m always better when I’m under the sun (even if I go home and feel like I’ve boiled my brain.)

So there! Tiny steps, plenty of books, (hopefully) more sun to bask under and very limited human contact. Sounds good to me.

Tea with Molly Bloom

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One of the greatest lies anyone will ever tell you is that following your dreams is the way to go. I don’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact you should, and if you actually make it to your personal pot of gold at the end of your rainbow more the power to you! The problem is that when someone tells you to follow your dream, they usually mean what they think is your dream. It’s not even because they think they know better (ok, there’s always the occasional asshole that thinks so and will not hesitate to tell you). Most of the time they genially have you’re best interest at hand. They truly, wish for you to be as happy and safe and secure as possible. So you pluck up the courage and confess what your secret labour of love is. And with a snap of your fingers, the light of encouragement fades a little, their smile becomes a little forced.

 

Because you told them your dream and it’s not something easy, or –what’s that other expression career advisors like to throw around? – marketable, or even the kind of thing that you talk about at family reunions and can easily attach the word “successful” to. So you begin to compromise, because you care about them and the last thing you want is to make them worry. Alright, you say, it’s a bit out there, and of course I will look for something that pays the bills first but, you know, as a hobby? On the side? And if it ends up being the main thing I do, then great! But I’m not going to be heart-broken if it doesn’t work out. Except you will be. And you will become bitter and sad. Because while you work that in-between job you’ll realise that when you get home tired, and there’s nothing prepared to eat and you still need to do the laundry, there’s no time or energy left to do what you like. Of course some people find both these so elusive things. Me? I know myself well enough to know that once inertia has settled it won’t matter how much I love that hobby. The very idea of moving from whatever flat surface I’m lying in will be too much to consider. And no, the advice “force yourself to do it and eventually the mood will come” is about as stupid as advising someone with a broken leg to work on their marathon time.

 

Or you will choose to fly in the face of adverse winds, do the improbable degree, dare to apply to jobs that tickle your interest. And with every non-answer or negative answer to your applications you’ll get more disappointed, more convinced at your uselessness. Don’t get me wrong, dear reader. While this may apply to you, it is also (mostly) a letter to myself. So where was I? Oh, yes, my sparkling, glitter-sprinkled future. Or rather how easily “I’ll chase my dream job, I don’t care what it takes” became “I just need someone to trust me enough to give me a job so that I don’t have to look at the end of my degree as the start of a free-fall without a parachute”. Less than four years to reach that conclusion and I’m not even twenty-five. And it’s harder when people believe in your dreams (or their idea of them) more than you do. How do you explain that you care more about a steady source of income, even if it doesn’t relate to what your degree says it’s about?

 

How do you make the older generations understand that even a cinema ticket or a night out for drinks have become so loaded with guilt (because you’ll see what’s left in your current account and it’s always so much less than you thought it’d be and never mind that you have a savings account these are savings they’re for emergency you shouldn’t touch them and you thought you had finally figured out budgeting but you didn’t because no one has shown you how ever and suddenly the idea of living off crackers milk and apples sounds appealing) that you cannot even consider it seriously? How do you explain the sensation of never being good enough, even though you try as much as your mind will let you, because when you have it already weighting on you that in the end it won’t really matter because someone more qualified will always be there to make you look worse? How do you explain the tears that aren’t really triggered by anything in particular, at least nothing apparently serious, but you’ve been holding it for so long that even something as little as a broken light is enough to have you curled up with your pillow and sobbing like someone just died?

 

How do you communicate the crippling fear that hits you every time the phone rings and you have to speak to someone or, even worse, when you need to be the one to make the call? How do you translate the constant feeling that people around you just tolerate your presence, that even when they seek you out they don’t much care about what you need to say? How do you get over the feeling that those feelings are confirmed because you tell them something and then two days later they text you like what you said didn’t even register? (Apparently “I’ll be sleeping at the library this week, I have work to do” has the response –before the week is over- “Come over tonight, we’ll have fun” No, actually we won’t. I’ll be tired and just want to get home but I haven’t yet found out the proper way of explaining that just because we seem to be having fun together I actually want the company. Because most of the time I don’t.) How do you illustrate the internalised panic attack you have at any given professional, semi-professional, or potentially-professional scenario because all this is running through your head and you don’t know what is expected of you because you cannot understand the rules of the game but just this once you want to play because you hope that if you won even once (no matter how small the victory) then maybe next time it’d be easier?

 

How do you give up something as small as living in a place you know you’d be happy in because it’s small and therefore jobs there are even harder to find? For how long can you stop yourself from screaming at them, telling them that you don’t want to be this messed up, you don’t want the voices or the fears or the nightmares or the feeling of being a failure but you can’t help it? Not when you cannot remember the last time anything that comes with the word “finances” attached to it came without any stress or frustration. Not when everyone went out and did things while you stayed inside and watched movies because you were tired of how loud everything out there had become. Not when you feel too young for everything expected of you and at the same time too old for it all.

 

Not when the few times you manage to open up to anyone and explain why you are angry and don’t want company you feel even more horrible afterwards because everyone has their own problems to deal with and who are you to hoist upon them your own or because you’ve done everything short of screaming “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and they offer company. The whole “no means no” concept is not a joke and does not only apply to the dating scenario. There’s precious few people whose presence I can tolerate for any length of time and a friendly smile does not immediately mean that I want to be around you. Just because what is inside my head is dark and horrible and most of the time yields a particularly sharp scythe doesn’t mean that I will instantly act like a bitch. I am Slytherin enough to understand that social interactions (not hanging out, that’s different) have their uses. And damn my madness even with all this (or maybe because of it) I want to help other people feel happy. If stitching a smile on my face and swearing everything is peachy is the way to do it, well lies have been said for worse reasons. Besides, the line “I’m never ok” sounds overdramatic when spoken aloud, don’t you think?

And now I’m back from Dublin

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Back and STILL sleepy. I don’t think I got a full twelve hours of sleep between leaving England and coming back…. Why, do you ask? Well…er had a starting time of 4:30 in the morning. So I figured the most sensible thing was to NOT sleep at all. The library stays open all night anyway so I just hang out there with a friend and we watched movies (Harry Potter of course!) until it was time to meet up with the others. And…

***Never mind, I’ll continue this in 20 minutes. I finally found the original Yu-Gi-Oh! in Japanese and I’m binge-watching***

And now I’m back! A few episodes and quick nap later. And the inevitable frustration that accompanies every waking moment when my laptop decides to act up with zero explanation. But one thing at a time. Where did this all start from? Ah, yes! My all-nighter. it was fun! I swear. Tiring of course and causing me to pass out during the (unfortunately) short flight to Dublin but for the biggest part of the day I was swinging between manic cheerfulness and that fugue-like state you are right before you fall asleep. And this dear friends is why there are no pictures in this post. Kind of hard to take them when you’re speeding through historical Dublin in less than 48 hours and having to consciously concentrate on forming words in the right language and accent. Yes. New discovery: the more tired I am, the more muddled the languages become in my head. In retrospect it’s kind of funny.

Dublin was lovely. Kind of chilly because of the wind but the sun was out all day, both days and not even a hint of rain bothered us. And yes, this is yet another city I’ve barely met yet I’m already sort of in love with. It doesn’t really help that my first introduction to the country was through the Artemis Fowl books (a stipple of my teenage years and I am STILL waiting on the movie!). I was going there prepared to like the place and I left determined to return for further explorations…

Of course, judging my the weather since I returned, Nottingham is a jealous mistress who did not appreciate my going off to a different city for any length of time. Look at this weather forecast! It’s supposed to be spring!

Capture weathre Here’s to hoping BBC is wrong. At which point I will stop as I just nearly broke my jaw yawning. I think dinner, then sweet dreams are in order for me. See you all soon!

I’m going to Dublin!

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For a field trip. Staying only one night. It will probably be the most tiring trip ever. I have to meet-up with the rest of the class at 4:30 in the ever-loving morning. There’ll be -shudder- oral presentations.

WHO CARES? I’M GOING TO IRELAND.

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Just a short post to let everyone know. I’ll probably be flooding Facebook with pictures but I’ll if I can’t save some of the better ones for here. I’m hoping there’ll be Wi-Fi on the hotel. And ugh, roaming charges. Now, that’s the part I’m not looking forward to.

Most of my excitement for this Blitzkrieg of a visit to the Emerald Island stems from the fact that I’ve always wanted to go there. I just hope it doesn’t rain. With all the walking we’ll be doing the last thing we need is soggy socks.

Anyway… I’ve packing to do and arrangements to make so I’ll sign off.

See ya all later!

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#JustShowerThoughts

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Or late-night-insomnia thoughts really… You know, all those strange philosophical realisations that come to you at the most inopportune of moments. Here’s a selection of my most recent wut!moments, in hopes that if I type them I’ll stop thinking about them…

  • Why do all my great writing ideas come when I have nothing (or no time) to write them on?
  • Why do candidate posters for any sort of election make me less inclined to vote? Aren’t they meant to fire me up?
  • Why does Disney think that lime green in the colour of evil? No, seriously!

DR_FACILIER maleficent Scar ursula

  • How come I feel less cold when I go out on a sweater and flip-flops than when I’m all bundled up properly?
  • Why is basic maintenance so hard to do in student accommodation?
  • Is being Uchiha Madara like being the Dread Pirate Roberts, only with more explosions?
  • Why is “evil head turn” a thing? And why does nobody ever lampshade it?
  • Why does the Library catalogue computer show different results from the Library catalogue we have access through Moodle? (English student problems…)
  • Why are T&Cs written in such a small font?
  • I can’t be the only one morbidly afraid of answering phones, can I?
  • Is there some sort of (paying) job that mostly involves looking at beautiful landscapes and writing poetic descriptions about them?
  • If I am constantly sleep-deprived, why do I feel guilty when I wake up after eight in the morning?

-awkward wave-

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Um…hey everyone. I’m back. Um…not sure how long I’ll be able to keep the three-a-week schedule this time, but I’ll try. I mean, my load is a little lighter this semester, so I should be fine? We’ll see. At least I’m no longer in constant panic/too tired to function mode. Sure I’m not much better, but small steps, right?

At any case I have a few ideas on what to post here for the next few weeks  so it’s not like there’s going to be zero content-just rambles. (Or more accurately, I have the ideas but whether they will spawn an avalanche of text or barely a post each is up for debate. After my most recent essay marathon just looking at a keyboard blocks my willingness to type…) But on the subject of rambles and generally stream-of-consciousness posts, there’s definitely going to be more of those. Mostly because I’ve been recently told that dammit I need to talk to somebody before I explode (again. Long story.) and since anyone who has ever met me in person can attest to the fact that my ability to communicate verbally leaves much to be desired (partially because my default mode is “people have their own shit to deal with, I don’t need to add”), I’ll just have to get it out on (virtual) paper. No, I’m not going to go all Dear Diary to you. Just rant every now and then here so that I can continue to fool people in real life into thinking I’m a calm and collected adult. Usually. Hopefully. If there is literature involved. I’m not building a good case, am I?

While I’m writing this post, I’m also trying to sync my account on Bloglovin with zero success. According to them, my blog does not exist. Since I have 2+ years worth of posts that say otherwise, I will respectfully disagree. And according to Google and WordPress Support I’m not the only one with this problem. Unfortunately, the few solutions that don’t go along the “follow the instructions on the bloglovin website” line involve coding, htmls and other scary things that I only recognise as things to stay away from. Considering the love-hate relationship I have with all things computer, if I tried my hand on coding I’d break the internet. And I happen to like a lot of people online so I wouldn’t do this to them…. I don’t know… If anyone reads this and can give me idiot-proof instructions on how to deal with the problem, I will love you forever!

But Lia, you might say, your blog is tiny (and hardly active lately). Maybe bloglovin just couldn’t find you in the tangle mess of the interwebs. Yes, thank you snarky voice in my head and/or comment section. As a matter of fact I thought of that. And so I went of the main search bar of the site and looked myself up. And I did not exist. What did exist was a handy add-a-blog button which I used. And I still can’t find me. I don’t know, maybe it takes a few hours for the thing to go through? I’ll probably check again tomorrow, see if the gods of internet have decided to show mercy. Or call my, by far more, tech-savy brother. And the problem is not my RSS feed because I checked it and it’s valid. So there!

But isn’t this a great metaphor for my life currently? I have all these plans, all these good intentions (Hell has paved a whole new lane thanks to me…), all the willingness to work for my (largely unspecific) dreams and all I ask for is a chance. And a damn guidebook because gods now I’m taking shots in the dark here and hoping the bullets will not come back to be. Yes, I know I’m neither the first not the last to be in this position and you know what? NO! I’m not going to grin, nod and accept that as an answer. I will happily acknowledge that this yet another part of the whole growing up charade but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to sit here and accept that just because my age group doesn’t (mostly) have a frigging clue on where they are going, we cannot have any help. Screw being independent! If I want somebody to take me by the hand and show me the ropes then maybe I should have one.

Universities like to wax poetic on their student support schemes and career development plans and what have you and while I applaud the initiative, I can’t help feeling I’m not the only one finishing their degree and not knowing where to find a paycheck. I chose an undergraduate and postgraduate degree on a subject I love because even as an eighteen-year-old I knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t make it long in a career path I was indifferent to (even if it meant a certain job). So here I am with an English degree under my belt and one on the making and next to zero tangible job experience because let me tell you (and I’m not joking now), literature is mentally exhausting. You know all those things you read and wonder, “How do they do that?” I’ll tell you how: hours pouring other people’s work on top of your own writing and world building and scenario exploring. Even my silly little fanfics have an insane amount of backstage work. For every scene or line committed to paper there’s three variants rejected or altered or even saved for future reference. If you want to write good, you need to know everything there is to know about the world you’re playing with, and the same goes to analysing someone else’s work. When I’ve spent seven hours at the library doing background reading on top of my coursework, I don’t have the mental fortitude (or the energy really, library marathons mean less cooking time means less of a chance to eat properly on a regular basis) to go out job hunting. Still, I would GLADLY scrounge the energy to pull a shift or five if someone. would. just. give. me. a. chance. When even the simplest retail job demands experience (even in-university or placements that supposedly are there to help us gain experience) and you know for a fact that you only have to show a measly CV and a shy smile…well, you sorta know your chances are next to nil. Of course they will prefer the experienced person because, come on! Who can be bothered with showing the ropes to a newbie?

I used to joke with some of my friends that when we all inevitably fail to find jobs we should just open a coffee shop together. If I had the capital, that would be my Plan A. As it is, what I do have is a very uncertain future, the understanding that my passions lie on the oft-marginalised Humanities and a terrible case of panic. There are things you cannot study for, cannot possibly prepare for and really would it be so hard if someone, just once, bothered to tell us when we are little that it’s ok to not know what you’re doing, it’s no shame to want to study what you love just because you want to learn more, not in order to get a job. I wish I could be paid to read, write and talk about mythology and the sagas and the Arthurian stories and medieval romances and poetry and all those things that most disregard as useless or irrelevant without even realising how much they have affected the “modern” way of thinking. I wish I could just find a job so that I didn’t lose sleep over how I’m going to support myself from the summer on. I wish it would be more than nominally accepted that not everyone works on the same speed and the fact that I didn’t feel ready to dive right in the job market when I was twenty doesn’t mean that I’m lazy or out of touch with reality or immature or whatever it is that employers think they skim through a two-page CV with little in terms of references and plenty in terms of hopeful willingness to help. I wish….I wish…I wish….

Most of all I wish someone would give me a chance.