I survived! (good riddance April)

Goodbye April

April is that one part of the year that I’m always glad to see the back of. I’m not sure when it started, it’s been this way since I was a kid. In some ways it is/was great; there was always a 2-3 week holiday, but then came the exams or end of term assignments. Not to mention April’s weather is always completely off the charts. It is always wet and wild, and then Spring starts to appear only to be buried under a pile of snow. Usually, it’s the last snow of the year, sometimes there’s a bit in May, but yes, April represents the end of things. It is the month of chaos before the summer starts, the time when everything comes to a head and becomes the most stressful.

This year was no exception and after trying to play catch up on my blog and photo challenges I had to admit defeat. I had a bunch of uni deadlines fall in short succession and the final one of my second term is due this Friday. I had well over a few weeks to work on it, and of course, my body decided that was way way too easy for my final assignment. Maybe it was a result of 2 busy weeks of stress (including waking up the day of a presentation for our group project with an insane migraine and actually making it into present) but my body basically started to fall apart last week. Everything was just monstrous and agonising. I managed to get the assignment completed on time but I am somewhat pissed that my body threw such a big tantrum and changed an easy assignment into more stress. For those of you who haven’t kept up with the health saga that causes me to refer to my body as its own entity, you can read about my 6 health conditions over at my health page. On top of that, I’m also suffering from monthly hell which brings a lot of crappy feeling, more joint pain, and migraines. Add to that the mysterious gland illness that I FINALLY have a hospital appointment for (yey!) and it’s this month (even bigger yey!) and possibly a cold on top of that. So yeah, my body is just being a total pain and making everything so much harder.

Now that it is Friday and the last assignment has been submitted, it is party time. Quite literally. Chris’ gran turns 100 this weekend and we have a party with family and friends on Sunday and then a mini-party at her club, in which the Lord Provost is coming to congratulate her. I’m also celebrating the fact that I survived the whole two terms of my post graduate despite the odds. I was very fortunate enough to have a department that was incredibly understanding, and a course leader who was happy for me to continue rather than forcing me to stop. It was hard, it was stressful, but it is done – for the most part anyway. I was too ill to take my exams in December so I take them in August, which also means I cannot progress to my dissertation until after those results. So I have 3 months to prepare for my exams and I intend to use them. It is also time to start exercising, gently, and start shifting this weight.

My grades for this term have been good, I’d have liked better for some of them but considering how ill I’ve been it’s a miracle I haven’t failed anything. There is still the mark for the assignment of doom, which was by far the worst assignment of the entire course. I just want a pass, anything else is a bonus. But so far I have a 64, 65, 66 and 70 – the latter was a big deal for me because it was our group project which involved building a website. Until this project I had been dabbling and learning html and website design for my own purposes, as a hobby. I was incredibly excited for the project and at the same time terrified; I’d never done it for academic reasons, never had to stand up in front of people to discuss and explain my design choices. So getting a 70, which is a distinction, was amazing. It’s the highest grade you can get. 60-69 is a first, so I have been doing much better than I could have thought possible.

This weekend I intend to enjoy the open Overwatch beta, attend the celebrations for Chris’ Gran and begin to work on new blog content.

Goodbye February

Goodbye February

February was the first month of my new blog content and I did better than I expected, although not as well as intended. I’m struggling right now with an unknown viral illness on top of my normal 6 health issues. It started at the beginning of October and despite numerous blood tests, all the doctors have managed to tell me is ‘it’s a viral illness’. It has all the same symptoms as Mono/Glandular Fever but because the test for that keeps coming up negative the doctor I saw refuses to call it that. So I’m in limbo. I’ve been trying to see my normal doctor, who on other occasions has proven to be caring and straight forward to talk to. Even that hasn’t been simple. I’ve either been too ill to attend appointments, or had to wait for weeks for one because she’s only in 1-2 days a week or has been on holiday. I am hoping to see her on Wednesday, as on top of the other symptoms I’ve either developed new ones or caught an infection in my chest as well. I literally feel like my body is falling to pieces right now.

Amazingly I am actually managing to keep up to date with university, including completing the first assignment of this term and settling on a dissertation topic. Here’s the topic summary:

Dementia is a growing problem in Scotland and around the world because the number of people who have it is increasing so rapidly. Friends and family who care for people with dementia have many demands on their time and energy. As they try to manage their lives and care for their loved one, they naturally have a need for information to help them make decisions about their loved ones and their roles as carers. Little is known about how to better meet their information needs as they change throughout the progression of their loved one’s dementia. This dissertation will look at information needs of these carers and how information agencies can best help them meet these needs.

 

I am really excited and a bit humbled by my dissertation. This is a topic near and dear to me, something I have experienced first hand and as a disabled student the idea that I can actually do something, anything, to help people with chronic illnesses is extremely humbling to me. The more I do of this course, the more I learn about what information and library studies is about… honestly it is mind-blowing. It is very scary, and may lead to something amazing possibilities and opportunities, so I’m trying not to get overwhelmed.

 

It goes without saying that this all comes before my blog. I’m sure it probably seems like a stupid idea to relaunch a blog while this was all happening, however, I needed to do something productive, something to keep me connected with people and it is helping. Taking part in Fandom Five each week in particular has been fantastic, and every comment I get (especially on those entries) makes me smile. However, I have failed to complete two tasks for this month; review and look book. I am currently trying out some new products specifically for reviewing, so there will definitely be a review next month. The look book is a little trickier because I’m having problems finding a way to get decent photographs of the completed look. I think I am going to have to ask my fiancé very nicely to help with that one. But otherwise the first month of new content didn’t go terribly and I look foward to the next month!

5 Ways I’m Going To Take Chances In 2016 [5 Fandom Friday]

5 Fandom Friday - 2016 goals

This is my first time taking part in 5 Fandom Friday. If you’re interested in learning more you can find out about it here.

1 – Blogging

For 2016 I’ve chosen the word evolve, and part of that is relaunching my blog. It’s a bit step for me because I’ve decided to share a lot more about my life and experiences as a disabled girl with glasses. Plus I’m going to be delving into the world of reviews, tutorials and beauty. The later is pretty scary for me because I’ve never been a popular pretty girl, I have enough confidence to say I’m pretty, but all my life I’ve been told I’m ugly. I’m also overweight now, something that has been a big issue for me due to a past relationship being emotionally abusive. Their weight issues were transferred onto me and at one point last year I was terrified to visit home because of it. Towards the end of last year I decided I’d had enough and after a few more emotional breakthroughs I realised that I didn’t need to keep apologising for my weight, for my skin problems, which were due to ongoing health problems. I’ve had a lot of stuff to overcome with my disabilities but this was something that I hadn’t been able to come to terms with until recently.

2 – Gaming videos

Following on from above, I’m aiming to try to put together my first gaming video this year. That is a pretty big step for me as we’ve all seen the type of criticism you can get online, especially on youtube. Criticism isn’t something I’ve ever been good with, but it is something I’ve been working on and I finally feel ready to do this.

3 – More diverse and difficult games

This is quite light-hearted in comparison to the others. Last year I decided to try a game which I thought I never had a chance of playing, let alone completing. Yet I did it. So this year I want to up my game, so to speak, and see what else I can complete that is outside my comfort zone.

4 – Professional

This year I complete my postgraduate in Information and Library studies and after that, well… there’s a lot of chances for me to take.

5 – Writing

Not so much a chance to take, but something that could lead to chances. I need to get back to writing and would like to complete the first draft of my novel this year.

Save

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.

Need to do x, y & z

Uni Updates

While thinking about writing this entry I couldn’t help but think ‘I really need to get better at blogging’. It’s a thought I had just under a year ago, and many times before that. There are so many things I need to do, so many I have done and the last year really has just felt like an ongoing list of things I need to do. I guess that is what life is about, moving from one thing to another and on a positive note at least I am progressing. It’s especially important that I remember that right now because since September I have been quite seriously ill. Not at death’s door or anything like that, but my god did I feel like it a few times. I caught the flu and for three weeks it was absolutely awful. I’ve only ever had flu one other time I can recall and I had the same reaction. It’s why I am such a big fan of the flu vaccine and have been getting it since I was 16. Unfortunately the flu vaccine isn’t a cure, and every year the doctors need to choose which flu strain they think will be the most prevalent. Apparently this year they made the wrong choice and one of the other strains turned out to be more widespread, so my flu vaccine did nada.

 

As if flu wasn’t bad enough my body decided to add to the fun; I developed tennis elbow in my left arm and had sinusitis. The flu took such a toll on my body that I developed became post viral which basically means my immune system got smashed to bits. For a while there I had pretty bad fatigue and every day I’d get up for an hour or less before having to collapse into bed with crippling fatigue. I’m still feeling post viral, which basically means I’m really run down, have not been able to concentrate for more than 15 ish mins at a time (end of term essays were great fun…), and generally feeling really crappy with every symptom under the sun. I’m  slowly regaining my health back because I have exams in May and being able to concentrate for 15 mins at a time ain’t going to cut it in a 2 1/2 hour exam.

 

I missed pretty much all my classes, including the creative writing workshops I have been looking forward to for years. Fortunately I managed to persevere and got my dissertation completed, as well as all my assignments on time. The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult and stressful, but I did it. Now just my exams and that’s my final year over with and I graduate. What I’ll graduate with is yet to be seen. I had planned to go into teacher training, however, my Maths GCSE grade doesn’t quite cut it up here in Scotland. I could go to college for a year, struggle with the one subject I find terrifying and still not get the grade. I’ve also had time to think about it and have decided for various reasons not to pursue teaching. My dissertation supervisor, the author Laura Marney, was very supportive of my writing and teaching takes an awful lot of time up. If I want to seriously pursue my writing I don’t think I have the time to do both. So I am applying for a postgraduate course in Library and Information studies which leads to working in libraries (duh) as well as publishing.

 

At present I am coming to the end of my ‘week off’ before hitting the revision. I really enjoyed the selection of texts from my term 2 courses, Children’s literature and Science fiction, to the point that they both added a pile of more books to my ‘to read‘ list. I’ve also registered with our local library at last, which is handily located at the end of our road 😛 So I am catching up on some much needed reading for pleasure 🙂  Also playing some WoW and catching up on various online projects.