My confession…

I have a confession to make: people think I’m weird. In fact, they’re probably right, but that’s not the main part. No, the confession is the fact that I probably am rather weird.

clock

You see, I am a morning person.

But you wouldn’t think that if you see me trying to drag myself out of bed for work at 7am. I hate alarms, and I hate being rushed. But I’ve found a trick: getting up at 3am.

I know, strange right?

Well, it started about a year ago when I was working half days. I would work 9am until 2pm and at first I would head straight to the library and take advantage of my free afternoon. But then, as deadlines approached, the library suddenly gets incredibly busy during the afternoon and even up until midnight when dissertations are due (because of course all the deadlines are bunched together).

In first year a friend had gotten me into the habit of going to the library at midnight and staying until 6am when it was a bit quieter, though by no means empty (seriously, people who think students are solely at university for a social life have no idea!). But with a shift at 9am those kind of alnighters weren’t exactly feasible anymore.

Instead, I began taking naps straight after work- until midnight. No, in your world 10 hours is probably a bit of a drastic nap but welcome to student life. Then I would drag myself to the library and put in a caffeine fueled six hour shift. Even after that, I still had plenty of time to wander home and get ready for work, so much so that I might turn up 45 minutes early. And wide awake!

Once I got into this habit, it wasn’t long before I was squeezing in a routine morning job between the library and starting work. Add a runner’s high to a caffeine buzz and that’s what makes a morning person a nightmare!

But since I lost my half day shifts there was no need for that kind of routine anymore. I began spending full days in the library and going to bed at an average time. I would gradually drag myself out of bed for sometime in the early afternoon and trudge to the library, already hoarding two cans of Red Bull for the first hour to wake myself up.

Until today.

Now it’s 10am and I have:

  • Been to the library and written 300 words on an assignment
  • Applied for a few jobs
  • Watched an episode of Once Upon a Time
  • Been to the gym and done an hour workout
  • Wandered into work to check my shift, have a natter and get the keys to open up tomorrow.
  • Been to the medical centre to order my prescription
  • And written this blog

At a brilliantly leisurely pace. And now, it’s safe to say, I am absolutely buzzing!

Though considering my lectures don’t start til 4pm I’ll no doubt have crashed by then….

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Those Early 20s Rumours

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had this idea that something was wrong with me. Not in the way I looked, or even how I acted (mostly) but I just wasn’t fitting in as well as I should be. Things weren’t going the way society had laid them out. Actually… They still aren’t.

I mean, we grow up thinking certain things are supposed to happen. So I thought I’d check out a few of these ideas that I’ve had in my head since I was 13:

1. Marrying your first boyfriend

Now, I do in fact know a few couples who are engaged to their first boyfriend, or their first love if you differentiate between the two. In most cases (that I know) they’ve been together at least five years, have endured their mishap teens and survived the curse of long distance. Finally, as they’ve grown into young adults, one has popped the question.

But then again, I know people who have been through all that and still refuse to consider that kind of commitment.

Me? Well, I broke up with my first boyfriend almost five years ago but at the time I think people did imagine us getting married. I think even I did to an extent. I don’t know whether it was because we lasted so long (anything over six months was considered a massive deal) or just because we were always together, maybe it was the naivety of being 17/18 years old and feeling the rush to settle down.

Looking back though I’m glad that never happened. To say the least, I’ve had a very different life to what I could have had and I wouldn’t say it’s all a bad thing.

2. Best friends for life

It’s a romantic idea isn’t it, you meet when you’re toddlers and are still bosom buddies as you cause havoc in your wheelchairs. In fact, I do still talk to the girl I considered my BFF. We met when I was three, at Sunday School. She was rebellious and wanted to play Power Rangers- and I was banned from watching the “violent” tv show so I was amazed. Her height made her look two years older than me rather than six months younger. She was an only child and had the confidence to show it, while I was far more weary and responsible for my little sister.

We still talk, but I wouldn’t call us best friends. She stayed home, moved in with her boyfriend, got a full time job and even got engaged. Me? I buggered off to university and essentially disowned everything that I had once known on that little island.

Personally though I do think that that’s more something about my personality. I have a very short attention span when it comes to friendships. I’m not saying I can chuck people away, in fact I’d probably say I was too clingy, but I don’t show it as much. I’m fond of having time alone, and I don’t enjoy talking about deep, emotional kind of stuff unless I’m bossing someone about with advice.

2b. You make lifelong friends at university

This is kind of going along the same lines, and it’s another concept that I was relatively disappointed with. I mean, I’ve made friends yes- and I do know course mates who are more like siblings now. But, typically, it would only be between one or two friends. Maybe I do have that now, I mean I am trying to revive some friendships that I let slide over the past few years and am finding that with a little effort it’s not that difficult. But I don’t think going to university together and slaving in the library at 3am automatically bonds you for life. Though I can see where the idea came from, with university usually being your last few years of freedom before full time employment takes over.

3. You meet the love of your life at university

Ha. This is along the lines of “by the time you’re 18 you’ve met the guy you’ll marry”. Or as my boss once said: “in our culture, if you don’t meet your wife at university you settle for your arranged marriage.” I know many, many people who got swept up within the first few weeks of university- myself included. We all ‘fell’ for some guy, good or bad, and while some have survived the test of university, the majority didn’t.

Not to say that I haven’t met many people at university. I mean, whether they were potential best friends, worst enemies, one night stands or the full wham-bam-blow-out crush I’ve had them all. And well, my 18 years before that is a whole other story. But I’m quickly starting to realise that there’s not really much point going out with expectations of anything but yourself anymore. If you go out believing that you’re going to do your best, then falling in love or bonding with someone will happen when it’s supposed to happen.

Which leads me onto my fourth, and final point:

4. Everything comes together at university

Well, the less said on that the better.

To the First Person Who Ever Commented on my Blog

This post isn’t anything about myself, but rather an idea that I borrowed off Little Miss Wordy. Her post to the blogger who wrote the first comment on her blog was inspiring! It’s always good to appreciate the little things. So here it goes:

Dear Feather and Beads,

It’s almost a year ago since you motivated me with your little comment on my blog.

It was on my fourth post, back when I made that huge confessions about my trich. You were, and possibly still are, a fellow sufferer but your kind words really made a huge difference. I think, in all honesty, not only did it reassure me that someone was reading my blog (which is always a bit of motivation to carry on writing) but also understood what I was writing about.

Now, though I wasn’t completely new to blogging, my blogs never recieved much traffic. I’m nowhere near famous in the blog-sphere, and rarely advertised the fact that I even owned a blog as much as I enjoyed writing them. Indeed, I barely ever commented on anyone else’s blog prior to your own few words on mine. I was one of those quiet people, lurking in the corner at the house party, often pressing ‘like’ on each post that I read but never adding my own two pence.

The anonymous people who may drift across my blog were far less scary. Who knows how or why they come to read it, but it was satisfying enough at that time.

Suddenly I got an email saying someone had commented- and it wasn’t a spam account! The fact that a real, live person was bored and browsing blogs had come across mine. Not just come across it, but read and even taken the time to comment was a miracle. It wasn’t for a few more months that I began to appreciate what a community there is among bloggers, and I’ve even realised that there are also other people who don’t have a million followers, a personal Facebook page for their blog and get sent freebies and personal invites all the time.

Thank you for starting it all off.

I still come across your blog every so often, though I realise you stopped posting in May- I hope this post might encourage you to take it back up. Your posts were thoroughly entertaining to say the least! Not to least say they’re just long enough to provide me with just the right amount of procrastination time when I’m stuck in the university library.

For this, and many other reasons, I thank you.

Jade (Textbooks and Clichés)

 

 

Cheating on Facebook with Twitter

If any of you read my article on the Kettle Mag website the other week, you’ll understand my addiction to social networking websites- and if you haven’t, you should do here.

It’s a very personal account of the reasons I’m addicted to social networking site, but what it doesn’t cover is the positives of them. I guess that’s probably because I’ve only just started seeing that myself.

Now, currently I actively use Instagram (for pretty pictures), Facebook (for being nosy) and Twitter (for a million 140 character updates). Though I do sometimes overlap them- like posting some Instagram photos on Facebook and Twitter, I am more than aware that every social media website has it’s individual functions.

The main example of this is the whole Twitter vs. Facebook debate for me. People who link their Twitter accounts to their Facebooks, so that whenever they post a Tweet it appears on their Facebook feed. Not so bad I guess since many Facebook-loyal people otherwise wouldn’t see it and it saves you posting it a million times, but what about when you (like me) update your Twitter several times a day?

I used to get nagged about how many times I updated my Facebook status which is why I got Twitter in the first place.

But more recently I’ve seen many more advantages to the two social media websites. This is mainly from a professional and informal point of veiw:

Facebook is a private entity, by which I mean many people are far more likely to use this website to write about everything and anything. Uploading drunk photos from the previous night? You’d put them in a album entitled ‘University antics’ rather than posting them individually on Instagram. Need to write an essay to a friend- it’s more likely to go on their Facebook wall or their chat box because, in all honesty, how can you fit all of that gossip in 140 characters?

Even companies respond on Twitter

Even companies respond on Twitter

Twitter is a public entity. As in you can interact with celebrities, professionals and even Luke Friend’s hair (apologies for the X Factor reference if you’re a bit more cultured than that, but with over 4,000 followers it’s a business!) It can act as an introduction, you can learn more about them simply by ‘following’ them minus the stalking factor. I even know many lecturers at my university who are embracing Twitter to speak to their students and make them aware of upcoming events/valuable infomation.

Me, for example? I recently took my Twitter off it’s private setting since I realised the benefits of using it as a method of interaction rather than simply a tool to rant. This became especially useful when I had an article published in my student newspaper regarding the department of Social Work at the university having a book club. Within an hour the article had been retweeted, favourited and viewed by individuals not only with access to the paper copies available at the university but also by the online version in other universities. I had people ‘tweeting’ me about their thoughts on the article, and even had the author of the next book that the book club is focusing on, Lisa Cherry (@_LisaCherry), following me.

I can praise or critise businesses or individuals for their service on Twitter and have found that I am far more likely to get a response.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’ve finally given into the joys of Twitter. Though I still use Facebook, of course, I feel that I’m far more excited for any Twitter notifications that I recieve now rather than a simple like or event request on Facebook. Next step: getting to grips with Linkedin!

 

Midnight Woes: Money, money, money

I’m really getting fed up of money ruling my life.

It’s 00:37 (twenty to one in the morning for any of you who don’t speak military) and I’m sat here in my PJs and sheltering under my pink throw. I should be in bed. In fact, I was and have been for the past few hours. I stayed up to read a little on my Kindle Fire, watched the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix and then it set in- the worry. Specifically, money worries.

Which is kind of odd since I get paid in a few hours.

But I have literally gotten to the point of panic. Currently, I have minimal to get me through to my January grant cheque, and by minimal I mean less than £20 a week kind of minimal. I daren’t look at it any more closely than that. Currently, my options seem to be:

  1. Dropping out of university and moving home
  2. Moving home and sailing in for the two days of lectures I have
  3. Staying on and not eating, drinking, buying anything
  4. Finding someway of selling my life for a reasonable price

… Or I guess I can become an extreme budget-er?

Honestly, I never thought I would get to the point I would be considering dropping out of university. The main reason I am here is for the investment, my time and money in exchange for a career and financial stability. But it is ironic how many students will find themselves anything but stable throughout their university lives.

I was lucky,

I managed to get a job in my first year at university. First, I worked at my local pub back home over the holidays which paid well. Then I was lucky enough to be hired as a Student Ambassador which gave me a job over the summer. My job at the pharmacy, which I got at the start of my second year, was purely due to my previous experience working for the same company during my time in sixth form- which led to a lovely couple of years of having money. Then I got a casual position on the university switchboard before being offered a job in the Student Union’s Atrium- I was actually juggling three jobs for a few months.

Then I applied for the STEP program back home. It’s a program which assigns you to a specific job, depending on your skills, for an eight week period over the summer. It was paid, but it did mean I had to take a long break from my current jobs. The pharmacy was my main one at that point and my position looked unstable. The switchboard and Atrium were mainly term time so that didn’t worry me.

Eight weeks later and I was back- and in fact, lucky enough to be offered more hours at the pharmacy to cover a maternity leave. Brilliant.

Then I went to America and came back to only one job, the switchboard. Obviously, no-one can expect to leave for three months and come back to find their job waiting for them, especially not in this climate and it was a risk I’d fully accepted. Anyway, working in America was much more relevant to my career plans so it was an investment in itself.

But that leaves me here.

I guess suddenly having no income is a shock to the system to say the least, and since they cut my overdraft unexpectedly I’m suddenly at a loss. I’ve had to make a few tough decisions, to find cash quickly. Though, don’t worry, I’m not talking illegal! I mean as in finding all my spare dollars to get them exchanged (for the little that they’re worth now) and selling my phone to get a cheaper contract or PAYG deal. I’ve cancelled my Netflix (I have about a week left on this month before it’s gone) and my Spotify Premium. I’ve gone out once in the past three odd weeks, and even then I only bought a single drink and I’ve set myself the rule of not paying on my card- it’s far too easy to lose track that way.

Despite this, I can see how skint students can get dragged into credit cards and exciting payday loans.

The stress and worry that keeps me up every night may not quite be overtaking my common sense, but I’m lucky enough to have a slim amount of money coming in and a helpful landlord who’s willing to give me a bit of leeway for a couple of months. I dread to think how I would react if people weren’t so nice to me.

“But I never thought you were into…”

Have you ever looked around at your friends and realised you knew very little about them? Or, in fact, that you had assumed that you knew everything until they corrected you?

The realisation came to me today while I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. We were discussing our student newspaper, Pluto, since I had noticed she’d written on the Facebook page about wanting to go to the meetings. Now, two years ago she was a keen news reporter for the same newspaper and last year she went away to study Journalism in China. She is a journalist. I’ve never really seen her as anything else, well career-wise I mean. She studies international journalism, she can write in shorthand (I assume) and she’s constantly posting her latest articles.

But when I told her I also was writing for the Pluto this year, she was shocked.At least she wasn’t horrified, but she did seem relatively surprised. I wasn’t a journalist, and have no dreams of becoming one. Journalists, I think, are a special breed of person. You need to have that killer instinct at being able to spot a story within what might be a bland announcement, to have to urge to dig deeper or to come at it from an exciting angle. Me on the other hand? I enjoy writing. Give me a topic and I can research about it all day, and yes, sometimes I find a good angle. I enjoy talking to people and I have no problem in making sure the right people know.

Tell me to find a front page headline though and you’ll probably be stuck with the latest “cat stuck in a tree” story.

I doubt that’s why she didn’t think I was a journalist though. To her, I’m the go-to when anyone has a problem at the university, I’m a good listener, an okay talker and extremely nosy. I spend most of my time between the pub and the library being the typical student that I am- though more recently, it is becoming much more the latter. In the past I have juggled jobs ranging from pharmacy, to retail, to reception work. Future journalists, I find, live and breath their career.

I guess, in all honesty, she probably had no idea what I wanted to be.

But then again, niether do I.