Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What You Get Up To

Yes, it took a reminder e-mail to guilt-trip me into posting this.

But overall, I'd say we can apply the rule most parents use once their kids have flown the nest:
As long as we don't hear anything, we can safely assume everything is alright.
(I think I might even have called my father once and he was so shocked he asked me five minutes what was wrong.)

So - yes! Uni is great!
It get's harder the further the term progresses (yes, I know, who'd have thought) - but it also gets a lot more fun.

You finally manage to swipe your student ID and walk through the gates in one swift motion without spilling your coffee. When people ask you where they can find the reception, you don't have to get a panicked expression anymore but can smoothly say: "You've just passed it." And you just know that you have time to go to the loo, get a sandwich and take the stairs instead of the lift, even though your lecture technically ends the second your seminar starts.

And I guess if I hadn't left it until Reading Week, then I also wouldn't have to write two essays just now - but alas, there was so much to do!

Going to a concert. Going to a silent disco. Doing the 15 essential readings for my presentation. Far too many movie nights. Library meetings. Taking a stroll through Kensington Gardens despite freezing temperatures. Shivering on the way back home from the cinema. Smiling.

Can't really do enough of that last one, though :)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Guess who's back

... back again. (Sorry, not really an Eminem fan.)

First of all: Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, that your New Year's Resolutions have worked out for you so far, and if you're applying to uni this year: Good luck! You're gonna make it!

I haven't poster over the Christmas break, I was back home, I didn't do all that much uni related stuff (except for finishing my essays, but oh well, they're only ever so exciting).

From the looks of it, though, this term isn't going to change all that much from that. I guess the rumour that the first term is only ever to settle in, and the second is when uni really begins is true after all.
I mean, last term I had a plan, almost a schedule I was posting after, but I don't think I will be as well-organised this time.

Because it won't just be my first year of University I'll be finishing, I will also have to be on the look out for modules, a flat and internships I can do next term. (Although "flat" might be a bit ambitious - this is London after all.)
I like to believe I have a pretty good idea what I'm doing, but let's face it, the unknown always makes the bygone troubles look a lot more appealing: Why not do finals again? Or plan my move? I mean, it worked out in the end, didn't it?

But then again, I guess 2015 will as well. It always has somehow, after all.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." --- Søren Kierkegaard

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Making it worth your while

Not like we haven't always known that uni is soooooooooooo much more:
(a.k.a it's the last weekend of term so here finally have some photos I'm horrible I never take photos I fail at youth culture have fun)


Me and my Appeal Caller Fundraising Team! Together we got people to donate £78,787 for our Alumni Fund!!
(never mind my face, though.)


Classic College Nando's Fridge Poetry. (I did mention I'm on a creative campus, didn't I? *cough*)

New experiences:

Baking Halloween Pumpkin Cake only with borrowed appliances...
... and this is pretty much self-explanatory but also disgusting. #college
Truly funny lecturers:

Who encourage you to tweet during their lectures! Awesome.

And these weirdos you at some point just start calling your friends:
Fanks, sweeties.
You here more from me when this term is over! 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Essays, Essays, Essays

Will you tell me I should just stop posting random blog posts every few days if I start complaining about coursework now?

That said, yes, there are essays, and portfolios and case studies; the end of term is in two weeks and there's only ever so much coffee.
And especially in busy times, it's sometimes hard to stay grounded. Or healthy.

And compared to my exam phase last year around that time, this little bit of essay writing that doesn't technically count towards my degree is like riding a pony. (On second thought though... Not like riding a pony. I wouldn't even know how to saddle a pony.)

And on top of all of that, last year I was also worrying about my unit application and how it would be processed and whether my English and my grades would be good enough to get in and... oh well, it was just not a nice time for my parents.

But today I was sitting on the tube and put my "2014" playlist on (yes, I have a playlist that I add favourite songs or meaningful songs of every month to) and I just thought... well, there' actually quite a few things I did this year that I can be proud of.

And because I'm a fan of lists, find one attached:

Things to be proud of 2k14
  • Applying to uni all on my own (and getting in!)
  • Starring in a student-directed play that we could present in an actual theatre
  • Finishing school (although after having my results I really mustn't have worried as much as I did)
  • Writing a couple of short stories that don't read to bad
  • Getting my best friend to follow her heart. This was also probably the hardest thing I did all year.
  • Giving a speech at my graduation ceremony and making people cry. (Well, the last part is not really something to be proud of, I admit that.)
  • Realising that some things and people really matter  - and other not at all
And I know that I'm not the most inspiring human being, that my life is always surprisingly normal (but still very precious and special from a first hand experience, believe me), but I hope that maybe doing the same thing, just compiling a small list of things you are proud of, can help you a bit to hold your head up high and face the future a little lighter-hearted. Not all is bad.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

And the doubts come at night

Are you the kind of person that can make a decision and stick to it?
If not, then you might be a common sufferer of "Buyer's remorse", a post-decision form of cognitive dissonance - like me.
This basically means that even after having made a decision, e.g. buying a hoover, and having taken into account every aspect of implications on your life it might have before making it, you can't help but question whether it was the right one, or if another hoover for the same price would might have done a better job.
What I'm getting at here is, that I have clearly spent hours and hours, if not years, deciding on which course to take, what to do with my life, which uni to attend, and still I find myself wondering, sometimes, if it would have been different somewhere else, and if it would have been a better kind of different.
There is obviously nothing wrong with my course choice.
Attending my modules, I realise everyday that this is pretty much it for me. I am excited about and want to work in the media industry, and I know it's competitive but I can't help it.
It's just that whenever people say this about a subject that's not medicine they get weird side glances.
But believe me, even if saving people's lives would give me utter fulfilment and I would've picked medicine, I would by now be asking myself if it was the right decision, even if I had "society's approval". (Regardless of the fact that I would look at my notes for chemistry or whatever science of the week and die in the process of trying to make sense of them.)
There is also absolutely nothing wrong with my uni.
I especially picked it because it's the top #1 uni in the UK for my kind of choice, and this reverberates from my lecturers. I once attended a lecture by an economics tutor at Globe College Munich, and I remember myself saying to my friend afterwards: "You know, I think it really doesn't matter what you study as long as you have lecturers who are as passionate and engaging as her."
And it's true. My lecturers and tutors are all brilliant, experienced in what they're teaching us and urging us to be as passionate about their subject as we are.
Yes, the common lecturer syndrome of forgetting that their course is not the only one that's being taught is still very much apparent, but who can blame them?
I rather have a lecturer like this than someone who looks in the eyes and says with a thin voice: "The sector of your study is dead."
Even my fellows are exactly... like I would have expected?
I mean, I obviously knew that it's neither possible nor desirable to be friends with each and everyone. It's just this little paranoia that comes up every so often, when you're convinced that everyone is already better friends with someone else, which leaves you excluded. (Usually not the case at all, by the way, but I think a few people can relate to that.) Especially when you never had to worry about making friends... for the last ten years or so.

And when these moments come, it's important to remember why you came to uni, that yes, you do have friends who are there for you anyway and well... cognitive dissonance might be a bit of a pain, but hey, this only means that you've already mastered the Critical Thinking they always expect you to engage with in your modules.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

British enthusiasm

Personally, I love me a good oxymoron, but saying that the title was one would be mean.

Because if there's one thing in the world I for some reason hold very dear to my heart, it's britishness.
I do realise that this doesn't really make much sense for the next person, and especially when looking at the foregone by-election I understand why people would start to question if "britishness" is such a good thing after all, but... If you look at how one of the most powerful countries in the world - well, the empire, really - could become such a lovely, quirky nation, that is most well-known for its fictional characters and knitting patterns, then sorry, I can't really find it in me not to love it.

And all of this, although I'm very rarely exposed to Brits in action. Which is why it is a little hard for me to describe what it is about Britain in detail, but bare with me, I'll try.

My exposures to 'proper Brits':
My flatmate. There's the one who is just it. The one who cherishes tea like ambrosia and raises her eyebrows at my "caffeine addiction". (One cup of coffee a day is not the end of the world. I think.)
The one you can have chats about Remembrance and how cute the Queen is with. (The Queen is pretty cute though.) The one you'd always turn to if you just don' understand how something works in this country.

The old gent on the tube. There is literally always this one guy who reads the evening standard like it's the bible, or holds like it's his shield that will eventually prevent him from forming any kind of relation to anyone around him. This guy is usually around 50 and wears "the British cap". (Like the cabbie in the first Sherlock episode does. You know the likes. Just google British cap. Trust me.)

This one guy from my seminar who complains about everything. And the funny thing is, there's one in all of my seminars, although they're not the same person. I always thought Germans were bad when it came to complaining, and that a German person couldn't be happy until there was something off they could complain about. Now this is probably true - but this kind of British person can't exist without anything to complain about. I just dropped in a conversation once that I would consider working as a barista - and I got to hear the most hilarious 15 minute rant about snotty coffee drinkers.

Which is why the certain characteristics I listed above are the only 'typically British things' I can think of at the moment, and probably the only ones you'll encounter when you choose to study here. I mean, sometimes you sense the much-rumoured traditionalism, but then again... isn't everyone at least a bit proud of where they came from?

And to come back to British enthusiasm - I always thought this to be an oxymoron.
That was clearly before I was introduced to the Great British Bake-Off.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Growing Up 101

Let's be honest: The scariest thought about uni is not about the stuff you are going to be taught (I mean, most people do pick a subject they're passionate about, don't they?), it's about moving a way from home and suddenly having to manage a life without mummy to turn to.

And while I would say I'm doing quite well so far, I can also not stress enough how much I am looking forward to returning home and have three course meals (well, sometimes, I mean, it's Christmas) prepared for me, my laundry turning up fresh and clean in my room and the hoover available without having to turn my student ID in.
Because my parents are the best.
And I think, well, if I was living in a college that maybe was housing about 20 people, there were a lot of obstacles I wouldn't have to face, but here are some things you should be able to do on your own without having to consultant an adult first, before you consider moving away from home ultimately:

This chart from Esquire is also extreeeemly helpful.
  1. How to work a laundry machine : My personal favourite. Not just because my best friend was always raising her eyebrows at me for "being 18 and never having done my own laundry in my life", but also because it makes you feel like... such a proper adult when you hold your first bag of clean, warm, fresh smelling laundry in your hands. Figuring out how much washing liquid to use for which garments and why better not to put a bra in a tumble dryer definitely makes for less disappointment when you run out of clothing at some point of your first college weeks.
  2. What can put a smile on your face when nothing else can : Unfortunately not as self-explanatory as it seems, but... It's not just that you're finally flying the nest, it's also that your friends might as well be a bit far away and the people in your seminar can be weird and the amount of coursework/your new part-time job are a bit busy so when times get hard, it is better to already know what can help you. (Because believe me, they won't give you extra time to figure it out.)
  3. How to live with a little less luxury than you're used to : Okay, there are these guys who return home every weekend. But most of the students are living on a rather tight budget, and that means sometimes saying 'nope, sorry' to going out with friends, this new pair of jeans your mum would usually have paid for or even just this really delicious looking cupcake. This doesn't mean that life suddenly becomes joyless, it just means that spending money becomes a little less carefree. (And the child in you vanishes a little more. *sniff*)
  4. How to cook your favourite meal : Simply because no one else will do it for you and you can have cereal only so often before it makes you want to throw your bowl out of the window.
  5. How much sleep you need. Goes without saying.