Archive | May, 2012

The end of my first year at University.

16 May

Well, my first year at university is now over. It’s been both the best and worst year I’ve experienced for a multitude of reasons. So much has happened and yet I’m still sitting here wondering how the hell a whole year’s passed without me noticing.

 

I’ve been wondering what I should say in this post, how can I summarise exactly how much this year’s changed me, made me stronger and at the same time pointed out my flaws. I still don’t know how to do this.

 

I guess that’s not a surprise though, in fact I’d say it’s been the trend throughout my first year here – not having the slightest idea what to do.

 

I don’t regret for a minute my decision to go to Glasgow. Yes, it’s been terrifying and at times I’ve doubted if it was the right things to do, not because I wasn’t sure about this as a career move but because I’ve felt so lost, isolated, overwhelmed and inadequate. Plenty of times I’ve been so close to giving up, falling apart and just running back home. Once or twice I’ve done so. But I got right back up, forged through the worst bits and finally started to enjoy my experience at University.

 

Sure, I’ve made a lot of mistakes – I’ve not handled situations as well as I would have liked to, I’ve done things I’m not proud of, things I should have known better than to do, I’ve spent too much time wrapped up in myself, I’ve lost friends I thought I’d have forever, I’ve let people down, at times I’ve forgotten who I was and tried to be who I thought I should be.

 

But in the end, I’ve gained more than I could have imagined. I’ve gained freedom. Freedom in myself, I think, freedom to live my life on my own terms. Freedom to make choices that, even though they may not end well, are still my own. Freedom to chose who I want to have in my life and who I don’t want. Freedom to do what I think’s right, not what I’m being told to think. Freedom to think.

 

With regards to my course work, being given the freedom to explore new ideas, to hypothesise, to prove myself right, or more likely wrong, to explore my own beliefs, in all my subjects. It’s been an eye opening year, realising that learning, or what I’ve taken for learning at secondary school level, is just one interpretation of a vast array of meanings. I would never have thought that it was even possible to learn like this, to learn by just thinking things through and seeing if you can agree with it.

 

During my last two years at school I noticed a shift in the way I learned things, more emphasis was put onto understanding at least the basics of an idea, not just spouting off a list of points. But at this level of study there’s no place, at all, for memorising bullet points or making strange mnemonics. Everything you learn is open to interpretation. Everything you learn is interpretation. You can’t just rely on knowing something; you’ve got to be able to analyse it, understand, question and deny things which, if you’d been given it at secondary school you’d have taken for fact.

 

Trying to learn this way has been one of the hardest parts about my course this year. It’s like trying to undo six years of classes and take a whole new perspective on, well, everything. But even after just one year I’m beginning to appreciate why this is a better way to approach not just my course, but learning in general. Too much emphasis is placed on examinations and answering questions in school, to the point that even subjects such as English and Religious studies could be past if you memorised enough facts and bullet points and put them together into coherent sentences. Now I’m learning things I know I’ll remember just by thinking it through, rather than forcing it into my memory like I’ve done for the last six years. It’s given me a confidence now in my own work that I’ve never experienced before.

 

I guess it’s this confidence, not just in my work but in myself and in my relationships with other people, that’s been the biggest benefit of this year. It’s completely changed me. I trust my own opinion now, whereas I was always doubting myself and seeking validation from others before this experience. I have the confidence now to face difficult situations without crumbling. I can handle the bad parts of this year because I have, for the first time, a confidence in myself that, no matter what has happened, or will happen, I’m strong enough to get through it.

 

So, although it’s been hard, and will only get harder, I think this has been a good start to my University career, and my ‘adult’ life. It’s not been plain sailing but I doubt I’d be the person I am now if it had been, and I doubt I’d have the resilience I do now when faced with tough situations if I hadn’t had the experience this year has brought me.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even though it’s been hellish in parts, I’ve had the chance to meet new people, try new things, become a new person and learn to respect myself.

 

But I still haven’t figured out how to use a semi-colon.

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Hiding in the wardrobe.

16 May

I’m back! Missed me?

 

I’ve been away longer than I thought I would be, my exams completely monopolised my attention, as per. Anyway, now that I’ve got the whole summer to myself I thought I’d best start by posting!

 

Well, my exams are over! Yippee!!!

 

NO MORE PHILOSOPHY!!! YIPPPEEEEEE!!!

 

Well, I hope there’s no more Philosophy, but if I’ve failed this exam (which is looking increasingly more likely every time I think about it) I’ll need to resit it in August. I’m hoping it won’t be too long until we find out what the results are. I’m really not the most patient sort when it comes to waiting for exam results.

 

Anyway, I don’t feel very confident about any of my exams, but luckily I think my memory has decided to repress them for me. Every time I try to remember them it’s all just one big blur of panic and tears. And hiding in cupboards.

 

I think this last may be a new, unexpected, and worrying ‘coping’ technique. When I was younger I made a den in my wardrobe, curling up on the shelf to read books. I even plugged in an extension cord so I could use a lamp and close the doors, totally sealing myself off. The night before my Philosophy exam found me in the same position. I think it was about ten at night when I went into the wardrobe (which was actually filled with stuff that ended up thrown about my room in the after effects of hurricane Jennifer) and it was about four in the morning before I made it back to my bed without a severe dose of hysteria. For the next two exams I sealed off the wardrobe.

 

I’m not going to write anything more about the exams. As I’ve said, I barely remember them, and I’m sure that’s for the best.

 

What else has been happening in the (really, really) long time since I last wrote, you ask?

 

A whole heap load of nothing.

 

I can’t remember if I mentioned in my last post that I’d taken not well, but I did. I ended up missing a lot of my course. About a third of it actually. It was incredibly daunting realising just how much my health managed to affect my studying. I had to spend a lot longer compensating for it when I was feeling up to it. Most people know by now that I’m really not the sort to let being sick get in the way of my studies, so I’m sure you can figure out for yourselves quite how bad it had gotten this time.

 

So clearly the lest few months have not been my best. Actually the last five months have been one disaster after another. But I’m determined, at last, not to let it get any worse. I can’t change what’s happened so now I’ve just got to get on with it.

 

Starting with trying to get in touch with my friends again. The last little while has been spent in my own little world of panic, denial and self pity, now it’s time to rejoin reality. I’m finally going to get back to my emails, facebooking and socialising, and really it’s about time too.

 

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a job this summer as well! I’ve applied everywhere and I’m just waiting with my fingers crossed now.

 

I’ve not really written much in this post but I have a feeling I’ll be updating at least a couple of times this week, so I promise to make up for it! This is really just a post to say I’m back and sorry it’s been so long!

 

Bye!