From Prague to Masters

From Prague to Masters

It has been a crazy September and even now it’s almost at an end so much is just beginning! I spent 10 days in Prague, Czech Republic for our World of Warcraft Guild meet 2015 and for a celebratory holiday for graduating/my 30th birthday in a few weeks. It was fantastic to see our friends again as we’ve not been on a guild meet for a few years, and Prague was a gorgeous city. We went to a few specific places but most of the time we just picked a direction and walked. It is literally one of those cities where you feel like you are walking through a living breathing art gallery. The people were so friendly as well, and the food was amazing. Massive portions of gorgeous dishes. It’s taken Chris over a week to stop saying ‘I miss Czech food :(‘. Munich was at the top of my list of places I’ve visited but I think Prague has either taken over or is resting in joint first place. We only saw a part of the city, staying in the Old Town, and there was so much more to see. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to visit.

 

We came back from Prague and I jumped straight into my Masters degree at the University of Strathclyde; Information and Library Studies. The weirdest part of this is suddenly finding myself a computer science student. I have always been an Arts student. I’ve only had one week of classes, and half the classes were cancelled due to it being week 1, so next week is my first full week. I am in Tuesday and Wednesday all day, which is a long time but there are two bonuses to this; 1) I have no 3+ hour breaks in which to get bored or feel ill in, and 2) all my classes are in a nice neat block and not across the campus from one another. I’ve already found the places to eat, drink and rest in those buildings and in the next few weeks I’ll start exploring the rest of the campus bit by bit.

 

I’m hesitant to say the next bit, because I’m aware I’ve said it before in regards to teaching… but… I really feel settled already. I feel like this is the right thing for me. I enjoyed teaching, but as my placement went on there were parts of it that began to wear away on me; the politics, the two-facedness of some people, the endless critiques and the huge amount of work. A lot of the teachers were welcoming, but some were not. However, everyone I’ve met so far in relation to my course – teachers, students, library staff at the Mitchel Library (placement) – have all been really nice, friendly and enthusiastic. And more importantly, I don’t feel overly geeky. I am a self admitted geek, it is who I am, and I’ve noticed teachers come in all flavours, often not geeky, sometimes looking down on geeky. However, when you’re sitting in your first lecture and the lecturer says ‘I think we’re all geeks here’ in response to a student apologising for being geeky.. I think I’ll be ok 😉 I also like looking around the class and seeing marvel t-shirts, harry potter necklaces and so forth. I need to break out the Star Wars and World of Warcraft t-shirts 😛 I just don’t feel judged and everyone I met at the Mitchel Library, which is the base of our placements (1 day a week in both semesters) they all welcomed us with open arms. Like, this is the next generation of librarians and we want to help them become a part of this amazing tradition and profession.

 

One thing that has been really important to me is that among the jargon and technical stuff, the point of what a library is, what it should/can be and it’s impact on the whole community (whether it be local, academic and so forth). It is important. It can and will change lives. That was why I looked at teaching; I wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives, I wanted to help those who were ill or bullied and show them that they can do it. However, teaching only covers one subject and one aspect of people’s lives – being a part of a library means helping everyone and not being limited to one subject area. One of our assignments is to do research in 3 subjects, one arts, one sciences, and one engineering, to prepare us for working outside our comfort zone because we could be asked to research/find information of any topic at any time.

 

My placement really excites me because it feels like a continuation of my time in a school and a combination of all those thoughts. I’ll be working in the schools in Glasgow, and in simple terms, evaluating the current system the library is running in the schools. Basically the librarian is a part of Glasgow Libraries and then visits the school so many days a week. This means a lot of travelling around, and I’ll be splitting the huge list with my placement partner and doing it over both semesters. I’m going to be talking to the students, teachers and library staff to find out what they need and want. The most important part of this is it isn’t just an assignment, it is actual work. Everything I do in this placement matters and will be used by my supervisor to actually evaluate the system. So when I go in to a school and talk to the kids, I could be making a huge difference on their lives. But also I’ll be helping the teachers too. It is something that fits me and my desires/ideas/etc. for contributing perfectly.

 

I am also now a member of two libraries; Glasgow and my home council. Yes, that means exactly what it sounds like. MORE BOOKS. I now have access to a huge range of resources for my Masters, but we are actively encouraged to use the library for pleasure reading because that is what libraries are for! So I went through my massive to read list and now have two lists on goodreads:

There were some cross overs, and local library is still easier as it’s literally at the end of my road, but I will definitely be grabbing some from Glasgow libraries. I’ve already ordered two I have been dying to read and hopefully will be able to pick them up when I’m there on Thursday.

In other geeky news I have been playing Guild Wars 2 again. I will be popping back into World of Warcraft for bits and pieces, such as holidays like Brewfest, but otherwise my motivation has just ceased up and died. I went in to do the 5 pvp pet battles for pet battle weekend and just ended up going ‘meh’ and logging out again. I go through phases with everything, gaming is no exception. I will probably post more on GW2 and gaming in general soon.

It’s a 2.2!

Degree

Yesterday I got my degree classification for my English Literature MA (hons) and it was a 2.2! In my previous entry I wrote about how bad I expected the result to be and honestly, I was not expecting a 2nd at all. I stared at the screen for several minutes before the hyper hysterical reality hit me and I have been on a high ever since. I am just so happy. I am extremely proud of my fellow students for getting their 2.1’s, I know how hard they worked for them – but I’m not jealous. A 2.2 is beyond my wildest dreams for four years that have been emotionally and physically difficult. I almost gave up this year, considering the idea of resitting my final year and I’m really glad I didn’t now. I’m still waiting for my individual module marks, but it is most likely my creative writing dissertation which boosted my final mark. I seriously doubt my exam results were that good.

 

They say you can do anything if you believe in it, if you put the work in and I finally feel like that is true. I had health problems during my first degree, however, they were mostly in the final part of my final year. I had to get an extension for my dissertation and that probably cost me a 1st. I was and still am overjoyed with the 2.1 I got, just as I am with this result. There are always going to be ‘what ifs’ and sometimes, especially when it’s due to health reasons beyond my control, it is easy to get lost in them. What if I hadn’t been so ill? What if I’d not missed so many classes? At the end of the day I am very lucky that it doesn’t matter. I’m already accepted into a Masters so the result didn’t matter – wait no, that is incorrect; it didn’t matter to my career, to my future. To me personally it matters. I would have been satisfied with a worse result, yet I would have felt terrible. Like a failure. Everyone around me would have told me not to be so silly, that even just completing a second degree with my health issues is a marvellous achievement – and they would have been right. I still would have felt bad. I still feel bad about my A-level results all those years ago despite holding two undergraduate degrees now.

 

Last time I got my degree classification I had just come out of a bad relationship, and while I was proud of myself, my future was completely up in the air. I had this awesome degree, loads of knowledge and experience in my mind and no idea what to do with it. No confidence to do anything with it. That was 8 years ago, and several months later I would make a choice to return to a game I still play today, the MMORPG World of Warcraft, after a chance meeting at my cousin’s wedding. There I met Chris, the amazing and loving man who has helped me through this degree and built my confidence up one bit at a time. I still have bad days, they will never go away, but I have hope and I have love. This time I am surrounded by love and support, people cheering me on and wanting me to do well – for myself.

The future is bright; Post Graduate

Postgrad

I’ve been trying to get my brain to function well enough to write this since my exams ended two weeks ago, but thanks to a raging sinus infection it has been delayed. Usually the post-exam entry is me panicking about my exam results, especially as these are my final exams. I’ll admit I am a bit, but not nearly as much as I should be. BECAUSE I’VE ALREADY been accepted to study a post graduate course at  University of Strathclyde in Information and Library studies! I was literally jumping for joy when I was accepted, and since I already have a 2.1 degree classification I was accepted straight away. I’m also the first one in my family to get to Post graduate, and it has been a very hard won victory for me personally. So yes, I am feeling very proud of myself. I’ll feel even more so when I’ve actually done it of course, and I’m excited to enter into a new realm of career possibilities! The course itself is a mixture of information, law, computer labs, individual and group coursework and exams. I’m sure there will still be some essays in there, but it will be nice to be doing some lab work as well. The law side of things is different, however, I’m hoping my background in sociology helps with that.

 

It meant that I could go through my exams with a certain reassurance in regards to my future. I didn’t flunk my exams, but knowing that if they did go tits up it wasn’t the end of the world was very freeing. The exams went ok, with the exception of the last one – my body finally screamed ‘I’ve had enough!’ and flung a tantrum. So the end of the second question ended up a rambling mess and I had to leave early due to a pounding migraine. Our results usually come out in a few weeks, and I’ve heard rumours of the 12th June being ‘the big day’. Honestly, I’m not expecting a great classification. This year has been insanely difficult and the year before wasn’t exactly a peach either. I wouldn’t have gotten through it all without an amazing amount of love and support from friends and family, that’s for sure. Honestly, I am most looking forward to finding out my dissertation result, because it was my first original short story work that has been looked at critically. AKA a big deal.

 

I have more to write about (such as summer plans) but it will need to wait for another entry, my sinuses are making my brain go mushy again. I will finish on this note though; since my last exam I have successfully stuck to a strict diet! Now just need to add in the exercising 🙂

2014 so far

World of the Year 2014

Where to begin? As you can probably guess from the lack of posts since December it has been a busy and chaotic 2014 so far. Health has been up and down, lots of changes and moving home. The later came as a massive shock and couldn’t have come at a worst time. We’re all settled in now though and life is moving onwards. I am currently in my exam period for year 3. All assessments have been handed in, although I’m waiting for grades for them still. I have 3 exams; two from Semester 1 and one from Semester 2. I was fortunate enough to have the exam gods bless me with one exam a week, which gives me plenty of time to revise for each one individually. The downside? The Medieval Literature one is first up. It’s not too bad; it’s just the translation part of the exam which has me pretty nervous. I’m not to bad reading Medieval English – in my head. But I need to write it down in modern prose… not so easy. The other two are a matter of re-reading, remembering themes and planning questions.

 

At the beginning of the year I was invited to choose a Word of the Year by Haley. To read more about this idea see this useful blog post. Googling word of the year gives you a range of different websites; dictionaries mainly but also spiritual and it isn’t specific to one religion. For me it’s spiritual, it has it’s roots in Paganism but this is something you can do whether you’re religious, spiritual or not. At the end of the day it is about positivity, making steps towards something better for yourself.

 

Change

 

That is my word of 2014 and it has so far been an apt choice. This year has already brought about some changes, whether I’ve wanted them or not. I chose it because I knew this year I would be starting two things which would have big influences on my life; teaching placement and creative writing dissertation. I’ve been at my placement at a High School since February, initially starting for just the required 25-30 hours for my Humanities in the Classroom module and then being invited to stay on for the rest of the year. I’ve also been offered the chance to return next year, which I would love to do, but I need to take into consideration that it will be my final year and that means insanity in general. Plenty of time to decide about that anyway 🙂

 

I am absolutely loving my time at the school. I really lucked out and have had the opportunity to work with an awesome department full of supportive and friendly teachers of all levels and styles. It really helped to be working alongside two student teachers currently working on their PGDE as a lot of the work they had to do, I was also doing i.e. reflecting on lesson plans and working with certain classes. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I can finally say ‘I found it’! That thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I’d love to end up an author full time, but I’m nearing 30 and it’s time to settle down into a career that will last. It has been a long time in coming but I have finally found it; Teaching. After the first day I had fallen in love with it.

 

I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it physically but another change, a positive one, is that my Physio is working. I have the loveliest Physio and cannot recommend the team at Glasgow Physio Center highly enough. They’re awesome 🙂 I have a 30 min session every week in which is usually spent 15 mins working on my problem areas with massaging techniques and stretches and then 15 minutes pilates. I’m hoping to move up to 30 mins pilates over the summer.

 

This should hopefully break my lack of blog entries record now. I have a growing list of topics I want to blog about so I’ll try and get started on them soon! 🙂 At the moment I’m getting over a bug that I’ve had for 3 weeks – yep my entire easter break, which sucked – and during my recovery I have gotten addicted to pinterest thanks to Haley and Claire. You can find me over here.

 

 

 

Memories are just a memory (Things are looking up)

Memories

There! You see I did get to use the title after all… sort of 😉

I may be a little hyped up on coffee right about now. I had some after waking up from a nap feeling really yucky and while I do still feel sleepy, the coffee and food helped a lot. So instead of heading to bed here I am right now writing a pretty damn perky blog entry. The positive mood is not just down to the caffeine though; it’s a general feeling that hit me yesterday when I realised how much better I was feeling. Physically I’m not doing so good – ear/sinus infection & my dodgy knees playing up – but emotionally I’m good. It’s the first time since the start of this god forsaken year that I have felt happy and confident. I still feel guilty considering what happened to Az… how can I be happy when something so horrific has happened? I am still mourning him, I probably always will because the loss of a loved one – human or animal – never truly leaves us.

But you have to go on living, looking to the future rather than the past. That has been a very hard lesson for me to learn, especially as I have a photographic memory and can picture unhappy memories in a flash. It isn’t a flash back, it’s just a memory in great detail. I remember the first time I was bullied when a kid stuck pencils through the hole in the school chair when I was 5. I distinctly remember 5 years later when I stepped oddly on a stone while walking to Churchfields park and had my first hypermobility caused injury; a hairline fracture in my ankle. What I don’t remember is which ankle it was because that was the first of many ankle/foot related injuries that eventually stopped as my foot became strengthen through years of physiotherapy and wearing sports support bandages for years on end. My first day at St John Rigby and the years that followed, making crazy friends who are still with me to this day. The good memories and the bad memories. Then Hayes, Leeds and the last six years with my amazing fiance.

I’m tearing up as I think back over all this – but they aren’t tears of sadness. It isn’t my depression raising it’s ugly head. They are tears of joy, of understanding of being able to lay some demons to rest. Why has all this suddenly happened recently? It’s been a stepping stone of different stages, of long term and short term events that have built me back up from rock bottom. I’m far from perfect, far from healed and as I have always known, my depression will still be there. You can’t wash away all the bad things, you just have to learn to handle them with the help of others.

I’m probably feeling even more philosophical tonight because I just watched the first episode of the new Rizzoli & Isles series which starred the actor Lee Thompson Young. For those who don’t already know; the actor was found dead this week from apparent suicide. The details are still a mystery but it does seem that it was depression that led to his death. I know how it feels to feel that bad, that alone and that powerless. I am fortunate that people have been there to help me up, to support me and kiss away my tears. I will always be grateful to those people. When I hear that someone was unable to stop the pain and felt that their only option was death… it breaks my heart. It’s one of the reasons why I always offer people a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and I speak openly about my problems. I’ve even heard someone crying before in a toliet at university and asked if they were ok. I know it sounds stupid but my hope was that the girl might register that even a stranger could care about her, that she wasn’t alone.

Since officially being accepted for honours I’ve had to sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for my academic profile to be progressed onto the next year. It has apparently been fixed, however, until mycampus (the system) has been updated after a major error happened, I won’t know for sure. It means I’m stuck waiting to find out what classes I actually have as no one has confirmed anything with me at all. I know I have creative writing both semesters and in semester 2 a course called “humanities in the classroom” which includes a work placement. I only know this because I had to apply separately for both of these. So I have no reading lists, which is a good and a bad thing. It means I get to read whatever I want to read – currently the Iron Druid Chronicles – but it also means less time to read stuff before the beginning of term. I’ve also heard that one course – the vampire literature one – may not even be happening this year *cries*. This means I may need to find another course from somewhere as well… but I will know nothing until mycampus is sorted. I am hoping – just like everyone else – that this will be the start of next week.

Wow.. this entry is going on for ages. I still have two more points to get through before I finish and head to bed. The first goes with the general feel of this entry; the future. Next wednesday I have my first physio appointment and I’m hoping praying that they can actually offer me something useful. This will be the third time having physio on my knees… having is actually the wrong term as the previous ones didn’t actually do much apart from show me how to do exercises and send me off to do them. The one in Leeds spent most of his time lecturing me on how I wasn’t standing/bending/moving correctly. Dude, you try having this condition and then tell me it’s easy to re-teach your entire body to stand/move/bend differently. Guilting someone into fixing their body when they cannot help it – my body thinks what it is doing is the natural normal behaviour of a body – doesn’t HELP. Anyway… rant over 😛 I was supposed to be talking about how I noticed this week my sudden vocabulary changes from “if I do creative writing, my novel/protagonist will be…” to “my novel/protagonist is going to be…”. No honours went losing out on the chance to start down the official creative writing road and while it is scary, it is damn exciting too. I can’t wait to get started!

And the last point finally; work and how well it has been going, and then that rant stole the show. Everyone is really friendly, and the only down side is the lack of stuff to do sometimes. However, the next few weeks will see that changing and I’ll probably find myself wishing for the good ole quiet days.