Blog

Did you really just…? Lectures, part 3.

Exams and Christmas holidays behind me, I can get back to my normal routine of people-watching in my lectures.

So I was in Psychology, near the back because I tend to fade pretty quickly about twenty minutes into psych lectures, and these girls behind me would not shut up. Simple chatter and whispering would’ve been annoying enough to document, but these girls were repeatedly whining “I don’t understand this, this makes no sense.” This is irritating to say the least, but as the lecture continued they got progressively louder and whinier “I don’t gettttt ittttt.” I think it’s fascinating that these ladies don’t understand it to the point of verbally expressing this to the neighbouring 5 rows above and below and yet when the lecturer repeatedly asks for questions throughout the lecture they don’t bother to raise issue.

Well done dears, nice to see we’re making good use of £6,000 a term. And good luck in your exams, not that you’ll need it.

One of the most noticeably embarrassing incidents that happened in a lecture was actually in a creative writing/poetry reading thing one night after most normal lectures had finished. There was some sort of mix up with the room bookings and once we finally found somewhere to gather we all sat down and the man leading the event started to speak and say his piece. At this point it became evident that a steady trickle of asian students began to leak out of the room, unfortunately for them the only exit path meant they had to squeeze through several makeshift rows of seats and skulk right past the man speaking.

This became increasingly amusing to watch, before long most of the room had switched off on the poetry at hand and were simply observing these reddening faces try to quietly shuffle their way out of the room, with each effort though they only made themselves more obvious to everyone who was intent on staying. You know it’s bad when the lecturer has to stop and declare:

Ok, everyone who wants to leave, leave now. That’s right, off you go, now’s your chance.

At this point a whole row of concealed asians rose from the back and in one massive sigh of relief they slipped out like some kind of comical Scooby Doo characters making their escape from a crime scene.

After a flurry of awkward waves and silently mouthed apologies, the poor guy at the front began to talk again. Such a train wreck from the outset. He then told us about a time when he was booked to speak somewhere and only two people showed up, not knowing whether or not this couple had travelled to see them he decided to carry on regardless. All credit to him he was certainly humbling.

One misfortune that happened to myself during a quieter tutorial setting (the difference being a lecture has upwards of 100 people, a tutorial has around 12-15). We’d all sat down, the tutor had begun to introduce this term’s topics and work schedules and, being the studious person I am, decided to open my MacBook to take notes.

In doing so I’d completely forgotten that while getting ready that very morning, I had shut the laptop in my haste to leave and so on opening it I was blasted with whatever I was listening to at the time, full volume. I think it was Paloma Faith’s Can’t Rely On You, the similarities to Blurred Lines are now deeply burnt into my memory banks as the embarrassment very quickly peaked and shattered previously recorded embarrassment levels in the space of seconds.

Lesson learnt, always make sure you close all windows before re-opening your laptop in an academic setting. I’m just glad it happened in a tutorial session with a limited number of people rather than the lecture straight after, that would’ve been so bad I might have walked out in shame.

Well, that’s all for this instalment of lecture shenanigans, hope you enjoyed! Hopefully there won’t be as long a gap between the next one now that I’m back in Uni mode.

#newyearnewme…well, not quite.

20140103-001209.jpg

It feels like this year there has been quite a dispute between those who want to follow tradition by wiping their slates clean and those that feel like reality needs to bite those people in the backside.

I feel like I’m torn between both factions. I’ve always felt like the turn of the year is quite refreshing, but I do feel that it is just another day like the rest of them. We don’t ultimately change at the stroke of midnight, we don’t undergo some kind of almighty transformation into more mature beings. And the same can be said for birthdays, I’ve never felt right, I’m older, I feel more mature on a birthday. Even when I reached 18 I felt exactly the same.

So even though nothing changes, it doesn’t mean we can’t motivate ourselves into a gradual change throughout the next 365 days. I feel that rather than conclusively saying new year new me we should focus on what we’re going to do to make that a possibility. Just because you sign up to the gym doesn’t mean you’ll go. Just because you make resolutions doesn’t mean you’ll keep them. It all depends on what motivates you for the next year.

I completely agree with those that say it’s a fresh start though, it definitely is. It’s a marker to start towards a goal you can take stock of when 2015 hits and reflect on whether it was a success or not.

I also think it’s worth mentioning my opinions on resolutions and goals. I feel they are different things (feel free to agree or disagree in the comments). I think a goal is something you achieve, a target weight or buying something and a resolution is something internal like deciding you’ll go to the gym twice a week or you’ll put 50p in a tin every day.

So time to put my money where my mouth is, I guess. I’ve written several goals and resolutions for myself but here are some main ones:

Goals:

1. Read at least 30 books:

Last year I managed to read somewhere into the 20s, this year I want to push that into the 30s. Originally I thought I am going to read FIFTY books but then I think about it and that’s basically a book a week, and that’s really not happening.

2. Write and finish at least one short story:

So my dream for the future is to write something, get it published traditionally and be able to walk into a shop and hold my book in my hand. First step for me, growing as an aspiring writer, is to write a short story. Logically then I should be able to mature from then on in my writing through critique etc.

3. 5,000 views on this blog:

I had a few blogs before this one, and one of them amassed over 50,000 views before I deleted it and gave it all up as a result of a writing drought. I hope this year will start the ball rolling again.

Resolutions:

1. Take more pictures with people:

I’m prone to the odd selfie several times a day (sadly I wish that was an exaggeration). I never take pictures with people, and recently I was asked am I always alone; truth is I’m not I just haven’t felt the need to take photographic evidence. This year will hopefully change that.

2. Drink more water:

Most people usually make a resolution to do with their own personal health. I’m not a gym person, at all, heck if I saw myself in a gym I’d even laugh at me. Water flushes out all the bad stuff and leaves people looking really fresh, that’s a resolution for this year.

3. Look for pictures to support blog posts:

So far my blog has been strictly text based, and it’s worked well as far as getting a message across, but to help achieve 5,000 page views I want to help my writing as much as I can and visual aid will hopefully push it along.

So there you have it, I don’t think we change all too much but we can motivate ourselves with a new year rolling in. Good luck to everyone with goals and resolutions and I hope you stick to them!

2013, A Summary: Quotes of note.

Every now and again someone says something or I read something and it really resonates. It doesn’t happen often, not truly, but when it does it sticks in my head and I remember it. So here are some of the quotes from this year that have meant a lot:

Gatsby? What Gatsby?

I think I can speak on behalf of myself and a few of my friends when I say this was our mostly highly anticipated film of 2013. After studying the novel for a year as the first half of my A-Levels I felt a connection to the wonderful world of words married together by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a definite must watch and when I did, it exceeded all expectations.

I cried most of the way through it, either that or I was verging on tears. It was beautiful, not only were there a fantastic range of actors and actresses but the visuals were stunning. The story itself wraps around my heart strings and tugs for the full two hours and twenty minutes.

I could have very easily quoted the entire film because there are so many poignant lines, most of them spoken by Daisy, that really struck me. This one though umbrellas all of them. The thought of someone from your past suddenly falling back into place and being flung back to a time where you were truly happy, highlighting just how unhappy you are presently. The thought is heartbreaking, as is the entire film. But this idea sticks for me. Incredible.

Yes, you have a place.

This quote is an email from the admissions office in Glasgow University. Note the lack of social etiquette or any kind of professional trimmings you’d expect from a University representative. Results day had obviously taken it’s toll on all of us because the email in it’s entirety was simply the above quote.

This is because, in context, I’d been hounding the admissions office for hours on end. This was in the heat of results day, I’d been rejected definitively and rather harshly from Lancaster and within the space of a few hours my future hung in the balance. Everything depended on a yes from Glasgow. Evidently I got it, but for several hours I was sick with the thought of going nowhere.

I’d called them thousands of times, and that’s no exaggeration. I was sitting in the school library with a desk phone in one hand and my iPhone in the other and I was just constantly pressing redial every time it failed to connect. I couldn’t have expected anything more, everyone who’d failed to get into their firm choice was doing the exact same. Eventually I sent them an email in desperation, they replied with something semi-positive but vague like “you’ll hear officially from UCAS tonight” which wasn’t enough. I needed solid confirmation. So I asked for it to be spelt out and voila, that short, rather abrupt email hitched my wagon to a place in Glasgow University.

So the above quote encapsulates the ultimate feeling of relief and panic suddenly leaving my body all in one swift sentence.

You chose your heart over your head, and your head triumphed!

Of course I have to include a line from one of the most quotable figures in my secondary school. A past English teacher of mine, suddenly turned prophetic in a moment of absolute clarity in regards to my future education.

I’m not saying choosing Lancaster University as my firm choice was a wrong decision, but it was right that I ended up at Glasgow.

I’d fallen in love with the idea of Lancaster and what it could’ve held in store. It was remote and it was safe, security was definitely to be found in Lancaster, which is what I felt I needed at the time when I had to make the decision. Was it the right place for me then? I guess I’ll never know, which is for the best.

It’s evident to me now that Glasgow University was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I needed out, I needed escape, independence and Glasgow was my clean slate with no dirty laundry or skeletons in the closet waiting for me.

This quote taught me that I know what I want, but what’s important is what I need. I think this is a battle a lot of is face at times, when what we want is right in front of us but to grow we need to turn to the thing that’s farther away and go for that which we need.

I made it.

These were the first words uttered in my new room, my new life, in Glasgow. I’d spent all day travelling and I was knackered. Most people who know me will know I’m not one for crying in front of others. I like to stay strong in the moment and deal with the emotions later, privately. So when I said goodbye to my mum and my sister I kept it together and held it in. After a stressful couple of hours on the road, however I was ready to break. And so when I burst into my new home, I dumped my bags, called my mum and I burst into tears.

I couldn’t even say it at first, but she knew what I wanted to say: I made it.

Not taking shit from anyone, not depending on people, this year is my year. Bring it on.

These were the closing words in my very first diary entry on the 31st December 2012. I’d decided the year just gone was a complete and utter write-off and that 2013 was going to be better. I think I can safely say without a doubt that it was. It took a while to turn it around but it blossomed into an amazing few months from the beginning of summer onwards.

I felt it was poetic to end this post with the quote that began it all in 2013. It was a year of self-discovery, a year of independence, and most importantly it was my year.

Losing my glasses.

My sight became an issue a few years ago, suddenly I became aware of the fact I had to squint to see anything that wasn’t directly in front of me. This then became annoying to the point of seeing an optician and so on and so forth. Since then I’ve had glasses which do their job, can’t argue with that.

What’s annoying about glasses, though, is that they go walkabout sometimes and leave me stumbling around trying to find them. They do this on purpose, they play the most cruel game of hide and seek. They know I can’t see, so how am I supposed to find them if I can’t see them?! Setting me up for failure from the start.

I don’t like short-sightedness, it leaves me feeling vulnerable or somehow of less value than people who can see normally. Sometimes people instantly turn off on someone as soon as they don their spectacles and this is why I go without sometimes. I personally think I look better without them, and after long periods of time without them they give me headaches from straining to see so it’s a losing battle.

When I’m stumbling around, trying to find them I can’t help but think this is life taunting me. This is a physical representation of what goes on in my head every single day.

I’m an over-thinker, I always have been and right now I can’t see that changing without some severe mental-reconstruction, if that’s even possible. I’ll stumble around in the dark and construct scenarios with only the tiniest shred of evidence to go on and I’ll end up in an elaborate world of a million possibilities, all worse than the one before.

I’ll play out future conversations, interactions, arguments, failures, uneasy situations over and over again to exhaustion with no real conclusion other than:

I’m blind.

No one can see the future. No one can precisely pinpoint exactly what’s going to happen in any given situation, this is the blindness that frustrates me most, and losing my glasses plunges me into this turmoil every single time.

When I lose my glasses I realise how futile it is to worry, how pointless it is to squint to try and catch a glimpse of details just out of my reach. Eventually they’ll come into focus and everything will play out when it’s meant to.

I think it’s going to be my life’s struggle to battle with the fact I’ll never quite find my glasses in that respect, I’ll always feel that little bit more vulnerable because inside this head of mine there are a million and one of me finding new ways to screw up before I even get the chance to.

Seriously? On the subway? Part 2.

After quite a considerable length of time where nothing happened at all I found myself leaving the subway a few days ago in stitches. I was worried the subway had dried up of hilarity, I was so wrong.

First up there was a girl eating this big chocolate thing. Don’t ask me what it was because I honestly don’t know, it was big and round, just generally chocolate heaven. Anyways, she was munching away on this big circle of chocolate and I was getting increasingly jealous to the point of planning an impromptu trip to Gregg’s, when she screwed her face up all of a sudden. Now, I certainly wasn’t expecting this, and I had my earphones in so without any added sound to help the image this was quite funny.

Then she sneezed. Visible snot, everywhere.

I mean this lassie covered herself and her chocolate thing, extinguishing all feelings of chocolate envy and appetite in an explosion of mucus. Imagine seeing that happen right in front of you and then watching this girl stare at the very thing she was loving so much, now in absolute disgust. It couldn’t have been funnier, it would’ve been physically impossible, it was perfect.

On the same train journey another girl made a fool of herself. We were pulling up to Hillhead station, everyone was preparing to disembark in the usual disgruntled shuffle  and this girl stands up preemptively. This in itself wasn’t funny, then the train chugged and she was thrown face first into one of the poles you hold to steady yourself.

It was another brilliant moment, by now the snot girl had mopped herself up and had left a stop or two previous, I’d barely recovered in time for this new point of hilarity.

She hit it cheek first and contorted her face in spectacular fashion. Her hair was loose too so there was a fantastic flare going on there too, it went everywhere. I left the station looking like I’d just been shot in the gut, with a bullet made of pure laughs, obviously.

Last example of stupidity for this post was a weird one, whereas the other two were body related malfunctions, this guy was purposefully being weird, rude and just generally a “how did you get out of your enclosure?” kind of a man (to put it bluntly).

Basically, we’ve all seen a train pull up to a platform, it approaches while slowing down and those on the platform get a better gauge of where the doors are going to stop, thus aiding getting onto the train. This lug thinks it’s completely acceptable to stand at the very edge of the platform where the train comes from, claim a door, and drag his wife halfway down the entire length of it so he can be the first to grace it’s welcome.

And that’s not a word of exaggeration, if anything I’m dulling it down.

He held his arms out wide and cordoned off the door and at least two feet around it by pushing people back out of the way. His poor wife, though, she was the one I really felt sorry for. He ushered her in, more like pushed, after the train had stopped and she looked as unamused as the rest of us. I think it’s always great when things happen like that and you can turn to any number of random strangers and share in a look of “what did we just see?!”

So there we have it, part 2 of shenanigans on the subway. Let me know what you think and I’ll be sure to let you know what happens next!

Reflection.

I look into the full length mirror, looking completely crestfallen and exhausted I study myself. Hair hanging over my face as if the life had poured out the ends, eyes flickering between hopeful and defeated, I thought whether or not I could face another day. This thought warmed me inside to know that this day, thankfully, was over. I begin to remember the headache which haunted me earlier only to realise it never actually left. Now with a thumping head and steadily weakening legs I turn around only to be met with the impossible.

My reflection.

Clothes torn and tattered, leaning to the left suggesting the right has been injured and panting as if he’d ran for an extensive amount of time. There he was, standing there, staring at me as I was to him but with a fire in his eyes that mocked my own defeated hue. He wasn’t finished.

“You…did this. To me, to us.”

And in that moment I realised this day was far from over.

There’s another snippet I felt I was ready to publish here, let me know what you think. This and anything else similar are simply ideas for now, I enjoy playing with certain images in my head, enjoy!

Did you really just…? Student canteen.

So there’s a student canteen near my lecture halls, it’s becoming quite a crutch to the success of a day. If I don’t get my cup of tea between lectures I’ll fall asleep, period. I’ll just konk out mid-sentence and my nose will press the ‘g’ key and fill the page with a billion of them.

Anyway, the stuff I see my fellow students getting up to. Some of it I even find it hard to believe…and I’m sitting watching it!

Like this one girl, she was on the phone to a friend of hers explaining why she didn’t go out the night before and this is how it went:

so yeah I didn’t go out last night because my friend, well, her friend died. Yeah, she was our age. Basically, she got hit by a lorry. I know, right? Anyway, so that’s why I didn’t go out because my friend wanted to stay in. So I had to stay with her…I know. So annoying.

I was stunned. I was listening in on this in absolute awe at how completely ridiculous this girl was being. At the same time though it was absolutely hilarious, you couldn’t make it up.

Then just as she finished, a guy sat down at the same table as me but on the opposite side and opens a rather large Tupperware box. Inside this box was a chicken, this guy just whaps out this full chicken and starts demolishing it. This chicken was getting destroyed, completely annihilated. Just…what can I say? I think I have to just leave that one there. Massive chicken, devouring, end.

Another thing I see LOADS of people doing and not just in the canteen but mainly for a toilet trip; people leave their stuff wherever they were sitting and dander off to the loo for five to ten minutes. This leaves their laptop, phone, bag, coat, all the things, just lying there for anyone to take.

Just, WHY?!

This isn’t even being trusting, this is being stupid. Just stupid, I should be obligated to take that girl’s belongings simply because she leaves them there for the world to pinch. Stupid. I don’t understand how anyone can leave a laptop of any kind just lying on a table in a canteen full of strangers who could all benefit from the additional infusion of cash they’d get from trading that in to a pawn shop.

So, in closing (for now), rude girls, monstrous men and stupid people. The student canteen. I thank you.