Archive | October, 2012

Back to normal

29 Oct

All sense of achievement is lost, I have no motivation and I can’t reason with myself to get out of bed. Clearly, things have gotten back to normal after my unusual dose of optimism these past few months. It’s been a long few days, a lot’s happened, a hell of a lot’s gone wrong and I’ve pretty much gone round the twist. On the plus side, I’ve remembered my once perfected ability to look like I’m focusing while really imagining pretty colours and wondering how long until I can get back to bed.

I’ve been slowly coming down from my ‘new-start-I’mma-be-a-good-student-and-learn-and-stuff’ high at the start of the term. It’s lasted longer than I thought it would, which is mostly good. Hopefully now that 2/3 essays are finished I can calm down and get things back on track, but I doubt it. It’s almost time for exam panic!

Anyway, I think I’ve figured out why it’s been months and months and months since I last posted any creative writing on here. I have absolutely no confidence in my work anymore! This is not surprising, I hardly ever did, but it seems to have gotten worse. To the extent even thinking about writing makes me feel slightly ill. What’s happening?? I’m getting upset with myself because usually when I start feeling down I write something but it’s been that long since I’ve had the confidence to do that, I’m starting to worry I’ll never start again.

I’m going to try though. I’ll do that tonight. After I sleep for a little bit. God, I’m exhausted! I’ve been awake pretty much constantly for days attempting to do these essays. And they were awful. After all the weeks of planning my comp Lit one took all of two hours to actually write, had 8 quotations total and one secondary source. I’m starting to wonder if I’m cut out for this.

Sarah, my friend who’s been putting up with my near constant hysteria the last few days, has told me I need a confidence boost. I’m feeling deflated and need something to perk me back up again. So what am I going to do? Should I go out and have fun? Meet up with friends? Should I start writing and hope it works well enough to cheer me up? OR should I curl up in bed, watch ‘Tipping the Velvet’ with a hot chocolate and a box of tissues? Right now, the last’s sounding pretty appealing to me right now.

Anyway, I know this post’s pretty crap and doesn’t really say anything at all, but it was on my to-do list and now I feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it is just something as half arsed as this.

Also, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s been reading this blog! I’ve had about 10,000 views in the last week, though god only knows how! I seem to have had a sudden surge in popularity! So thank you everyone!

I’ll blog again later this week. Probably sooner, actually. I’m in a whining mood.

Bye.

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Photos of Kelvinbridge area and the Uni in Glasgow

21 Oct

 

Okay, so, despite my inability to remember to reply to all the lovely comments I get on my posts, I do actually read them, and I’ve had a few requests recently to take some pictures of Glasgow and the Uni which I tried to do this week when my little sister came up to visit me. Now, I’m definitely no photographer, and these were all taken on my phone camera so the quality’s pretty terrible but I thought I’d post them anyway. I might, at the end, post some really nice pictures from other websites (or google images, more likely) because I know quite a lot of you have never, or hardly ever heard of Glasgow and my photos don’t do it justice. Especially as they’re only really the sights I encounter on my five minute walk to uni… Also, you shouldn’t be alarmed that in some of the pictures the trees have leaves and in some they don’t. It’s just magic. And the fact I took some last year of the uni. 🙂

PS. I had NO idea how many photos there were!! Jeez!

I just can’t stop talking…

1 Oct

Well, I guess I’m getting better at this updating thing… It’s only been three weeks, not eight, so a marked improvement I have to say.

Anyway, I’ve had a busy fortnight! I’d thought getting settled back into Uni life would take a bit of time, after my hectic summer (believe it or not, I didn’t spend every day in bed reading, despite my serious intention to do just that after Uni finished last year.) but it was actually a painless process, relatively. I’m not particularly enjoying the whole ‘get up on time’ thing though. Which is strange, I managed to do it effortlessly during the summer to get to work. Now though, even though ‘on time’ is a whole lot later than over the summer, I’m seriously struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. Possibly because I have the most comfortable bed known to man, but most likely because I know I’m going to actually have to think during the day, which is enough to make anyone stay in bed. I haven’t done much ‘thinking’ during the summer. I’ve sort of gotten out of the habit. Now, I’m right back in the deep end. Urgh, learning. Yuck.

Well, the last few weeks have consisted mostly of catching up with friends, making the most of having a kitchen all to myself, and reading. Lots and lots of reading. Again, something I’d gotten out of the habit of over the summer. Unless E.L. James’ crap counts, which I *seriously* doubt.

I mentioned some of my texts this year in my last post, but what I failed to mention is that the interesting ones don’t come up for a few more weeks. Right now I’m stuck reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in English. For those of you who don’t know, they’re books about colonialism, from two pretty different perspectives, both completely new to me as I’d only ever heard of ‘colonialism’ and ‘imperialism’ in passing, and only found out what it really was about two weeks ago. I know, this is shockingly bad. I can’t believe that I’ve gotten to this level in my education without having realised that. But I’m finding lately that I actually knew very, very little about history, or literature in general really, before the start of this year.

Mostly it’s incredibly obvious things as well, things that, when I say I don’t know what they are or mean, people look at me like I’ve said the world is flat. For example, and I can’t believe I’m even writing this, because it’s that ridiculous that I made it to the second year of my University education without knowing this, but I didn’t realise that the Victorian era occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria, or the Edwardian era occurred during the reign of King Edward etc. Now, for most of you this is just a fact, it’s something you don’t even need to think about. I bet you don’t even remember first being told this. I don’t. I never was!

I honestly don’t understand how, but nobody, not my English teachers at secondary school, not my history teacher, not my R.E teacher, not even my primary school teacher ever mentioned what that means! I imagine a lot of people knew it before, and it was probably just assumed that everyone in the class would know it, which is why it was never mentioned. But I still think it’s absolutely crazy that I’ve gotten to 2nd year English at Uni and still didn’t know this!

Sorry, I’ve just been thinking about that a lot lately. I feel I’m so totally overwhelmed with things I don’t know that I have to start at the complete basic level. I mean, I genuinely feel like I’m barely reaching levels in English that I should have reached three/four years ago. I have to go over everything again, from sentence structure to basic history (and I mean basic ). There’s a lot that I do know, that I’ve learned myself over the years. I pretty much know instinctively by now how basic grammar works (although you may not believe me if you’re reading this post…). But mostly it’s things I was never taught at school.

I’m not sure if that’s the fault of secondary education, or earlier, in primary school. I don’t know when you’re meant to learn that. I do know that in a lot of aspects I, along with most of my classmates, hit secondary school without the basic knowledge of a lot of things, maths, history, biology, punctuation, spelling. All sorts of thing that I’d assumed you would have learned by that age. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But even so, surely it would come down to the teachers you get after that to help you catch up to the right level?

For the most part they did. Maths, biology, all the ‘science-y’ subjects, were very quick to bring us all to the right levels. But for the social subjects, history, r.e. geography, English, they all started to build on nothing. I always found history and geography etc quite easy, but that was because we were taught on a specific subject, we were never expected to link what we’d learned into a timescale or imagine it within a general picture. We learned about the world wars, we learned about the discovery of America, we learned about different countries physical and economic aspects. But we were never told basic things, which we probably should have at some point.

We weren’t told when things happened in relation to each other, or other big events in history etc. It was assumed that if a time was mentioned, like Victorian era for example, we would know when that was, be able to situate the events being described into that era. But as I’ve just mentioned, a lot of wouldn’t know when this was!

So, I guess the summation of this rant would be that pretty much everything I learned in secondary school was learned out of context, from history and not knowing the basic time periods, to English and not knowing how to put together a sentence.

I guess I’m making an exception for English though, because I did have one teacher who explained it to us (and still has to explain basic punctuation to me on a regular basis, despite me no longer being her pupil…) but again she built her explanations assuming that my previous teachers had taught us certain things. Which they hadn’t. AI was already very far behind what I should have been so even though I grasped what she was saying, I didn’t have the previous knowledge to put that into perspective. So e.g., she might have explained word order, noun goes here, verb goes there, but given I didn’t know what a noun or a verb was (which by second year I bloody well should have! What were my primary school teachers thinking!!) To be fair, it is in a big part, down to the fact I never asked for help with these things, when I should have at the time. But to be honest, what twelve year old kid is going to realise they don’t know something, if they don’t know it exists in the first place? Also, if it was this teacher who taught me word order I owe her a huge *ginormous* apology because, as the entirety of this blog shows, I didn’t listen to a word she said. I still don’t know where the noun goes….

Anyway, the whole point of this long, completely unnecessary rant was to say I think I’m pretty much completely and utterly bogged down in trying to learn the basics, which I should have learned years ago. I’ve managed this far just learning the specifics to each book, to each event etc., but even having only come to this revelation a few weeks, trying to get a grasp on the basics, I’m already beginning to find it easier to understand a little bit more every time I read secondary sources etc.

So, I didn’t intend to get into that because I have so many other things I wanted to blog about!

As I said, I have a kitchen all to myself!!!  I’ve been making lots of nice, healthy meals with fresh veg and also baking lots of unhealthy cakes and biscuits! It’s been absolutely brilliant!

I’m bored out of my mind by most of my texts at the moment. The two above mentioned are growing on me (as most texts do once I’ve studied them enough. Hell, I grew to like Thomas Hardy, which for most people who were on the receiving end of one of my ‘I hate Hardy’ tirades would know, this was damn near a miracle) but the two I’m studying in Comparative literature are definitely not. Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel is pretty much the bane of my life right now, with it’s equally evil and gore filled sidekick, The Tain. Why, why on God’s earth, would you prescribe these two texts in a level one course for anything!? There’s nothing more likely to put you off a course than bad texts. And these two are bloody awful.

In theology we’re studying mysticism, Sufism for the last two weeks, but now moving onto female Christian mystics, where I’m once again realising I know practically nothing about religion. Our lecturer today said twice, about two different saints ‘you must all know saint such and such by now…’, while I sat silently shaking my head and weeping. I’m seriously going to struggle with these topics. I’m considering buying ‘an idiots guide to Christianity’. (when I suggested this to my friend she brilliantly replied ‘isn’t that called the bible?’. While as a theology student I should not condone this blatant religion bashing, I have to admit I was pretty impressed…)

I’m going to have to do some serious secondary reading this term.

I realise I’ve gone on for ages, but I’ve got so much to talk about right now!!

I’ve been out to a few different things while catching up with friends, a literature pub quiz, an LGBT launch night, a few nice lunches, I tried sushi for the first time and loved it!

I’ve also developed a complete obsession with Sarah Waters, which I’m sure I’ll bore you all to death with by the time I’ve finished her novels and watched all the adaptations and described each one in minute detail. I’m turning into a fangirl. *gushes*

Anyway, I’ll stop writing now, even though there’s loads I still want to say. I think this may be the longest post yet. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not…. I’ll let you decide I guess. If it’s as poorly written and boring as I fear I’m sure you’ll have stopped reading by now. Or have zoned out completely as I’ve done every time I’ve started reading The Tain. I could be saying anything right now.  Pineapple.

Right stop Jennifer, you’re going insane.

Bye guys!