Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Why do we study?

As a student in her second semester of uni, I've been thinking about this quite a lot. Why am I here, what worth does this have, all that kind of stuff. The scary questions, if you will. The days when a university degree meant you'd get a well paid job are long gone. Even the days when you'd be more likely to get a job graduating with a first from a reputable uni are fading fast. So, that kind of the begs the question: in a world obsessed with the acquisition of wealth, why am I paying in excess of £9,000 for my university degree.

Maybe it's because I want to postpone reality for a little bit longer? It's easy to be a student - not in the sense that the work load is easy, by any means, but in the sense that I get given money from the government to live on. I'm not expected to pay my way just yet, or to have a full time job. I don't have to worry about money problems - or at least not to the extent that "grown-ups" (and I use the term to mean adults who are not in full-time education) do. I live a relatively comfortable life - nothing is expected of me. This is very plausible.

Maybe it's because it's what I think I'm meant to do. All my life I've been told to go to uni and get a degree. That surely must have had an effect on me! But, I don't think this is the case with me. I am the first person in my family to go to uni (well, my dad got a degree with open university, but it's not exactly the same thing). I think in my parents eyes, this means I am still a child. They went straight into the world of work - they had far more responsibility at my age than I do now. But maybe they didn't - maybe it's just a different kind of responsibility?

The most likely answer I think, is a love of learning. I really enjoyed school. I know, it's strange, but I did. And I think to succeed at uni you need to enjoy learning - even if you didn't enjoy all of school, then you need to have enjoyed whatever it is you're studying. Me? I loved literature. I love sitting down and reading and for that to be an ok, worthwhile and encouraged thing. I love that I can sit and type this, and that this can be considered helpful for my degree. I enjoy lugging books around with me, seeing their beautiful spines lined up on my bookshelf, ready to be broken.

Ultimately, there's no real answer to this question. it's probably a bit of everything. But it's interesting to think about.

Best Wishes,


Friday, 18 January 2013

'I'll type more posts,' she said...

Right, so, yeah. I know I said I'd try for a couple of posts a week, but these first two weeks back at uni have been hectic. I've been house hunting and have a shed load of reading to do (so much more than last term). I started this post with all the intentions of finishing it last Thursday - suffice to say that didn't happen. So pretend it's last Thursday for the time being, I'll let you know when you can escape the past again!!


Loving being back at uni, and it's only been a couple of days. My timetables not as good as it was last term though: I have a 9 'o' clock start now! That's almost like proper work!!

So far, I really like the sound of my seminar leaders, which is the most important thing at the end of the day. On my course, a majority of the contact time we get is in seminars, so if you didn't get on with the leader it could hold your whole grade back.

Most of my seminar leaders seem to be pretty young, no older than their mid thirties, which is quite nice. My Literature in History leader is slightly easier to understand than my last one (who was lovely, but her phrasing choices were sometimes a bit over my head). My Reading Texts tutor is really nice. She was half an hour late for our first seminar because she is new and got lost, but she filled us with confidence about her teaching credentials. She's given us a door-stop of a book to read though - she's suggesting we try to read for four hours per day! I used to think it was pretty good if I read for two! Guess I'll have to buck up my act a bit this term. On top of that book, in LiH is giving us pretty much a book a week to read, which should be interesting to say the least. The only seminar I haven't attended yet is my Writing Texts seminar. I have attended the lecture though, and it was alright, but I don't really like the lecturers style very much - although I know she's a lovely person, and our lectures change week on week so it's not a huge deal.

* Back to present *

I still feel pretty much the same about my seminar leader and my lectures as I've just said. I've been to my Writing Texts seminar now. It was alright - but the leader is a PhD student. This isn't a problem per say, but she just lacks the confidence of a regular tutor. I'm going to give her a couple of weeks, but if I don't get on with her I might ask to move groups. She seems like a lovely person, but at the end of the day I'm the one paying a ridiculous amount of money for this, so I want the best I can get out of it, y'know?

Recently my whole world has been consumed with housing, housing and more housing. We have a back up property, but we want to make sure we get a nice place that suits us all - so far proving to be a little tricky not only because we've maybe left it a little late, but also the weather is so not on our side. It's pretty much snowed constantly for the past 5 days, which means I've been stuck at home unable to get onto uni campus. So I've had to miss a couple of viewings, which sucks. I trust the judgement of my fellow house mates though! So hopefully things will turn out ok.

Some words on the snow then. I love the snow, don't get me wrong. But I am kind of ready for it either to GO AWAY or, more importantly, GET OFF THE ROADS. I almost got stranded in Norwich the first night it snowed, so now I understand why grown-ups always moaned about it so much when I was little.

Speaking of getting stuck in Norwich and housing - my housemate had a bonding session for us and cooked us a roast! How lovely is that!!

Right, I'm typing this in the uni library, so I should probably do some work now...

Best Wishes!


Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Art of Fielding Review (SPOILERS)

 Basically this book will make you feel all of the things. As John Green once wrote “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” That's how I feel about this book.


This book was beautiful. From the first five pages I had fallen in love with all of the characters. Henry is a well rounded character, carefuly crafted so the reader likes him despite the fact he's good at something and despite his mistakes he makes (mainly having a realtionship with his best friends girlfriend - I WARNED YOU ABOUT THE SPOILERS IT'S YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT). Equally Mike is the kind of guy you'd love to be mates with, he sticks up for what he belives him - even if it's at the expense of himself. The realtionship between Owen and Affenlight is believable - despite the fact that these are the two most two dimensional of the main characters (Owen is 'only gay' and Affenlight is 'only the handsome older professor' - although they do have other characteristics too). The reader pities Pella, once again despite her flaws and mistakes (the realationship with Henry).

I don't have much to say about the plot. I enjoyed it, it was interesting throughout the whole of the 500 or so pages, but I don't think it had a specific message. More like multiple messages, depending on which character you most identified with. Ultimately this was a book driven by its characters and characterisation, which is no bad thing.

I particularly liked the characterisation of Pella. She was a female character who had issues other than her physical appearance. She had qualities other than that of a sex object - when she had sex it was for her not for a guy. She is rebellious and independant and fiesty. I liked that.

So, yeah. Good book.

Rating: 5 stars


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Reflection and Resolution

Ok, so it's the New Year. A time for reflection and a time of resolutions. So I guess this is what this post will be about.

Catch-up-time: The last time I posted I was a bit down - not just with a hideous illness that wouldn't clear itself for weeks, but also with life. I felt a bit alone and very lost. However, a couple days after that post things began to look up. Firstly, one of my uni friends suggested we live together, so it's looking like I might actually have the makings of a plan for next year. Which can only be a good thing. As much as I love my family, their constant jibes about how I'm an adult so I should be doing things more independently (every time I ask for their advice) are more than getting on my nerves. Secondly, Christmas happened. I love Christmas, the food, the company, the present giving - all of it. There is something inherently lovely about a time of year when people cuddle up by the fire and give each other things to let each other know they love them. I just like that a lot. When I was little I used to just get excited about the gifts, and whilst unwrapping a present will never lose it's tiny thrill, the act of giving the perfect gift is even better.

All of this hasn't been without it's complications. My 'home-friends' have all been missing the love a little. We didn't really meet up at all through November, which made us all feel unwanted, left out and alone, and all of us were completely oblivious to the fact each other felt like that. It's started to look up again now. I think we've began to realise that the nature of our friendship is changing - its growing into something more mature and we need to be more mature about it. It's so easy to hang out with the home crew because everything just slides back into normal. It's just nice. And I think we're appreciating the good times a bit more now.

Things are looking up now. I'm an optimistic person. That's not always a good thing - it leaves me open to disappointment and heart ache. But I always argue that if I do get hurt I'll mend easier because I look forwards, not backwards. New Years is a time for looking forwards. Here are my resolutions - or rather my goals - for the next 12 months:

1) Stop texting whilst I'm in conversation - I do it far too often and it's just rude, particularly if I'm with people who i don't get to see so often.

2) Update this blog more regularly. I have all these ideas for posts and I never get around to writing them. That needs to change. I'm not promising once or twice a week, but at least every fortnight would be good for me.

3) Compile a portfolio - all this last semester I got given a lot of starting material and was told to write this up to create a portfolio. Needless to say, I haven't done this yet. This is more of a short term goal, but I really need to achieve this.

4) Read more - not just course stuff but I need to make time for reading. If I have some down time, I need to get off the Internet or turn off the telly, put on the kettle and curl up with a book. Recently I read a book that re-kindled my love of good literature (I'll review it soon) and I just spent half of yesterday reading with the fella (I didn't have much choice - he borrowed 'Catching Fire' and powered through it. I fell asleep whilst he read till 1.20am. He took 'Mockingjay' with him.) so hopefully that'll encourage me.

5) Be proactive. I have a habit of doing the easy thing - especially when that easy thing is sit and do nothing. I need to, to borrow a phrase from Hank Green, grab life by the testicles. This is the most important of all my resolution, and it kind of encompasses them all. It's only by being proactive that I'll be able to achieve my goals. It's gone past the time in my life when I can breeze through - I need to work hard. And that's not a bad thing.

And finally, 6) Say no. Over the past term I've found myself getting more and more exhausted. that's why I was so ill - I was too tired. The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind and I can feel myself slowly getting more and more shattered again. I've got to learn i can say no, and I can focus on myself for every so often.

Be strong, be true, be good and spread love.