university

A guy I knew from uni died two days ago.

A guy I knew from uni died two days ago. I only found out about it today and through Facebook of all things. I suppose I’ve learnt about friends getting engaged, having children or getting promotions at work through Facebook – it was only a matter of time before I learnt about someone’s death though I had thought it wouldn’t happen for twenty years or more. (more…)

Being a “Grown Up”

I was up in London for my Masters Graduation ceremony on Thursday (hence no blog post) so now I’m officially no longer a student. I suppose while I have been interning at a Film PR company since November I am still technically unemployed. It is a weird feeling going from being a student to being an “adult” because in some ways it’s like you regress to being a child again.

I’ve moved home from Uni and as I’m out of the house from 7am-8pm during the week due to my commute to my internship in London all I’m doing during the week is sleep so I haven’t really had any of the child/parent problems some people have when they move home after being self-sufficient for so long.

That being said, while I am out all week “working” I do feel more of a child at home because when I get home at 8pm and my clothes are washed and my beds made (because my mum’s awesome) – it definitely means there’s less stuff for me to worry about during the week.

It’s weird but I actually miss cooking for myself (and I am not a fan of cooking at all) and just generally having home-cooked meals. I don’t want to cook and eat a proper meal late at night just an hour before I need to go to bed so I’m eating sandwiches and biscuits when I get home. Don’t worry Ii’m not starving myself, I do eat at lunchtime! I miss watching films a lot. When I was at University I’d watch a film at least three nights a week. Now by the time I get home I’m tired and can’t get the energy to watch and concentrate on a film I’ve not seen before.

I am reading more due to my two hour commute to London each way so that’s a plus. But I’m not able to write reviews about the books I’m reading as I don’t have as much time to blog and I miss that. I guess with everything I miss now I’m out of the house for 13 hours a day, it’s just a case of learning how to fit everything in and making sure I make time for the things I want to do.

It’s also harder to see friends as a lot of us have work or internships or placements now so finding a day and time that suits a group of you is nearly impossible. I’m meeting a group of friends tonight and it’s taken nearly two weeks to figure out what we’re doing and when we’re doing it. Also even on weekends I find myself busy, I have to go shopping for Birthday or Christmas presents, or I have plans with friends and family or I have what I call life-admin – that stuff that piles up like chores and sorting out your bank balance. So even on weekends it’s very rare to have a completely lazy day – I do miss my lazy days. But I know lazy days are something I’ve got to have less of if I want a job I love.

Commuting, working and juggling commitments and friends seems a very grown up thing to do but I don’t feel like an adult. I’m sure many people say they don’t feel like an adult and then you’re in your 40s and are married with kids and don’t have a clue at how that happened. It’s a part of growing up and while I’m super happy to have completed a Master’s degree and thoroughly enjoyed my time in education I don’t want to go back to studying. That being said I do miss the fact I could stay up till 2am on a Tuesday and then have an epic lie in the next day.

If or when I move to London I definitely won’t have such a long commute so I will have time to watch films and cook food and have more “me time”. But until I’m employed and have an income I’ll be living at home, having an epic commute and learning more about how to be an “adult” and juggling that work/life balance thing.

Things I’m going to do once I finish my dissertation

Today I left my University’s Halls and moved back home (hence toady’s late blog post) which means the end is in sight and I’m very close to finishing and handing my dissertation. The deadline is 26th September but it’s got to be done and handed in before then as I will I be at my Dad’s in Spain on that date so the plan is to hand it in on the 17th

Once the dissertation is handed in (and I’m back from my Dad’s) it’s going to be full steam ahead with job hunting. I know it’s going to be tough and probably a long and frustrating process, so to keep me sane and to not get too disheartened I’m composing a list of things I’m going to do to take my mind off the latest rejection.

– Finish the Power of Five series by Anthony Horowitz. I’ve read the first four but then there was a gap of 4 years between book four and the fifth and final book so naturally I’ve forgotten pretty much everything about the story and characters. I know I could probably look up the plot synopsis of the books online before reading the fifth book but this series was a favourite of mine when I was a teenager so I really want to appreciate the finale properly.
– Watch the Lord of the Rings extended blu-ray edition. I love Lord of the Rings but I’ve never watched the extended edition, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen pretty much all the deleted scenes via YouTube but I really want to see them as a part of the finished film.
– Watch Young Justice
– Get a better sleeping pattern
– Watch Slumdog Millionaire – this might need a bit of explaining. Basically Slumdog Millionaire has been sitting on our DVD hard drive since we recorded it off the TV in January 2010. My mother and I have still not watched it – that’s 4 and a half years! We really need to watch that damn film if only to get it off the hard drive.
– Finally get Netflix. Yes I’m probably the only person in their early twenties that does not have Netflix. There’s so many shows I’ve heard nothing but good things about such e.g. Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and many many more. And then I can watch even more films via Netflix.
– Read. I’ve got over 70 books on my shelves that I’ve never read and post-dissertation would be the perfect time to read for fun. I have been reading this year during University but the majority of it has been short YA books or comic books and graphic novels as they are much easier and quicker to read and can give me a short break from the dissertation.

So yeah, they are just a few of the things I want to do when I’m no longer writing my dissertation – it’s going to be weird to be no longer working on my dissertation but I’m definitely looking forward to having a bit of rest.

U is for: University

I am over half way through my fourth year at University. I studied a BA in English and Film for three years and then (after probably getting disheartened too quickly about the lack of replies to the many job/internship/grad scheme applications I sent off) I returned to the same university to do a MA in Media and Public Relations. Like I said, part of my reason for doing the MA was because the job thing wasn’t happening as quickly as I expected, the other was because I wanted to continue learning and make myself more “employable.”

But what does “employable” mean? Yes university has given me a degree (and hopefully in December I’ll be graduating with another one) but it has given me a whole host of other experiences and skills that I wouldn’t trade – not even if trading meant that my many loans would be paid off like that *snaps fingers* I’ve learnt to manage money, learnt how to deal with stress, I’m a better public speaker and I’m generally more confident and outgoing.

Because the thing about University is that it helps you grow as a person. You’ve got to be responsible for yourself, got to learn how to cook (I’m still not a great cook), got to do your own washing (I still have never used an iron) and generally learn how to manage your time between academic stuff and socialising.

You meet new people all the time at Uni, some you stay friends for the entirety of university and beyond, others you may only be friends with for the year you live with them – but that’s OK.

Everyone has different experiences at University, some may love it while some may hate it, and that’s OK – we can’t all be the same. I’ve really enjoyed my time at University and while I am a bit nervous about working on a 15,000 word dissertation over summer I’ll be sad to leave. I’ve met some of my best friends at Uni and for that alone I wouldn’t change a thing.

REVIEW: Triumph of the Will

Today in my Propaganda and Spin class we watched Triumph of the Will – the infamous propaganda film of the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, Germany. I have learnt a lot about Word War I, World War II, and Nazi Germany thanks to studying History for GCSE and A-Level but I’ve never actually seen Triumph of the Will before.

It’s not a film you can particularly enjoy since with hindsight we know exactly what will unfold in Germany. It’s sometimes a bit dull with the never-ending shots of crowds and members of the SS marching in the street, but I did find it incredibly interesting.

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What I’m going to be spending the next 8 months working on

For my Masters I’ve got to do a 12,000 to 15,000 word dissertation on any subject on my choosing relating to Media and Public Relations. The plan for this piece of work is due a week on Friday and for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to figure out what I’d like my dissertation to be on.

I had an idea that could be applied to both comic books and Young Adult novels so it was just a case of figuring out which one I wanted to do more. The basic jist of both ideas was looking at how the marketing materials and techniques differ for comic book/YA books film adaptations when targeting the fans of the source material and the general cinema going audience. So it’s the same area just different focus points.

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Listen while you work.

I’m writing a 2,000 word essay at the moment – it’s about independent film marketing techniques if you were interested – and while writing I have been listening to a lot of music.

I know that different people work in different ways and whether or not you listen to music while working is often something people debate about. For a long time I was one of those people who needed dead silence to work but nowadays I’m almost the complete opposite.

When I’m reading I need quiet. Whether I’m reading an essay, an academic book or a novel I need quiet when reading. When it comes to writing though I do prefer as much noise as possible – it does have to be the right type of noise though! I do hate being able to hear other peoples conversations when I’m trying to work so sticking my headphones in and listening to some music definitely solves that problem.

I find that it’s only certain music I can scribble away to though. For instance, I’m really bad at writing with upbeat pop music with catchy lyrics playing as I find myself singing along instead of writing. I love listening to soundtracks – I’ve got a whole playlist composed of the music from such films as The Avengers, Lord of the Rings, X-Men: First Class, The Dark Knight and The Pirates of the Caribbean – because they have no lyrics I find it very easy to just write.

I do like listening to certain artists when writing though. I do love listening to Matt Cardle, Take That, Matchbox Twenty and Marianas Trench. I think part of it is, is the sound of their music – I’m not saying it’s all “Easy Listening” but I don’t feel as if I have to 100% pay attention to the lyrics to get the feel of the song. All of their music is great for just being background noise while I let my mind focus on the essay at hand. One of my absolute favourite artists to listen to when writing is El Canto Del Loco. They’re a Spanish band and I think one of the reasons that I write so well when listening to them is the fact that they sing in another language. As I’ve said before I have a basic understanding of Spanish and while I generally get a rough idea of what each song is about, there’s no way that I’m listening to the song as much as I would if the song was in English. It’s the perfect type of music to write to in my opinion.

Procrastination.

We all do it. I for one am doing it now by writing this blog post. But why do we do it?!

This afternoon for instance, today I’ve moved back to Uni, my mum had left by 2pm so I was thinking to myself “Right, I just need to have a final read through of this essay, maybe edit it a bit (won’t take longer than an hour) then print it off ready to hand in tomorrow. Then I’ll have the whole afternoon and evening to chill out and read or watch a film.” What did I do? I ended up napping for two hours and then mucked around on the internet for almost an hour. While I do think that nap was needed and I feel a lot better for it, why did I not just get on with finishing off my essay first?!

I often despair when I realise I’ve wasted pretty much a whole day just googling random things, going from link to link on Wikipedia or have spent the whole day on a variety of social media sites. This is why I often use this software to block certain websites for a few days when I know I’m supposed to be using the internet to further my education and not for fun and really need to get on with my work. That application has truly been a life saver, but why do I need an application? Why am I not self-motivated enough to just leave twitter alone for an hour and do some work? I suppose my mind likes to wander, especially if what I’m supposed to be doing is boring me. For instance, I’ve been working on this essay for over three weeks now and just really want to get rid of it and never read about the Leveson Inquiry ever again – but in order to get rid of it, I need to spend this final hour just having a read through and edit it. I still don’t want to spend that hour on this piece of work though. I think I tend to procrastinate more when whatever I’m working on is nearly finished, which is just madness as you’d obviously think if it was that close to being finished I’d just bite the bullet and get the stupid thing done!

I guess when we’re just not that enthused about a subject, anything will seem more interesting and worthwhile. I have found ways to make me procrastinate less, for instance when I really need to start researching or writing an essay I go to my Uni’s library. I feel as if other students or the libarians will be judging me if they see me using social media so it makes me less likely to muck around. But really if I’m on my own in my room, it’s only a matter of time before I start watching cat videos if I’m not enjoying whatever I’m really supposed to be doing.

This whole situation reminds me of the preview for Aziz Ansari’s new stand up show. I think that I have never related to something as much as I do to this video.

Now I’m going to sit down and get on with finishing this essay… I hope…

Back to University

So I’ve moved back to University today. In some ways it feels quite similar to the previous times I’ve returned to university after summer; I know the place and the lecturers, I know the layout of halls, and I know a lot of people around campus. However some bits are a little different. I’m going to be taking a brand new course where I will not know near enough every single person when I walk into the class, I’m living in a halls where I don’t know anyone (in that way it’s kind of like being in First Year again, but at the same time I don’t feel the pressure to make friends with my flatmates), I know less people than I did last year as many of my friends graduated with me but decided to do the much more grown up thing of looking for a job/going to explore a different university to do a Masters.

At the moment I’m sitting on my bed writing this. I can hear some movement in my flat and am considering venturing out to see who’s about and if they’re friendly. When moving into my flat I realised that there were at least three people who had been living here all summer (most probably international students) labels were on microwaves and freezer draws. These people may already know each other and have their routines and now I’m going to have to fit it in with mine. This probably won’t be much of a problem to be honest; I am someone who is quite content to be in their own company and to do their own thing.

I may wait till tomorrow morning to meet any of my flatmates as tonight I want to get used to having my own space again. Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home! I love being with my mum with all the home comforts, but home’s been a little crazy recently what with a temporary addition of a couple of dogs. But it’s still very nice to have my own space and to do what I want when I want and (to perhaps sound a little selfish) not to have to think about anyone else besides myself.

I’m looking forward to getting into the swing of classes and work so I can get a routine going and then my room can be my own little bubble of me-space. I discovered in the last few months of term last year that I really enjoyed and benefitted from having a routine. While I love sleeping in till noon and just chilling out in front of the TV, it can get rather boring doing nothing – thirteen-year-old me would be shocked to hear me say that. Who am I kidding? Nineteen-year-old me would be shocked to hear me say that. I guess I am growing up after all.

Watching people get jobs while I sit here in my PJ’s

It is August and in almost exactly a month’s time I will be returning to University to study a MA. During the summer I’ve done some exciting things, I went to Edinburgh Film Festival and managed to see seventeen films in four days. I travelled around Italy for two and a half weeks, seeing some amazing sights and getting a little sunburnt along the way. I’ve enjoyed this summer but now I’m in a bit of a no man’s land. I’ve got nothing really planned bar a few days out with friends over the next five weeks, as I sit at home in my pyjamas, hearing about how well some of my friends have done with internships and grad jobs via social networking sites I wonder if I made the right decision about doing the MA.

There is no turning back for me now as I’ve paid my fee’s and arranged accommodation. The MA in Media and Public Relations is perfect for me and I’m definitely looking forward to studying something new. I’ve never studied any form of business and as someone who wants to be a part of the film business, the MA could be one of the most useful things I’ll ever do for my career.

I think the main thing I’m feeling is not necessarily jealousy, rather disappointment in myself. From January 2013 till April 2013 I applied for over thirty different internships, placements and grad jobs and only heard back from two of them. The two I heard back from were both rejections but at least they both gave constructive criticism. I’m starting to think that I was too quick to get disheartened about a lack of response at all let alone a positive response and that is what, in part, drew me to the MA. In today’s economic climate it’s always going to be hard to find an internship let alone an actual job and I think one of my biggest problems (or it could be a positive thing) is that I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to go back to my job in a local shop that I know I can just walk into. I want to work in media and in PR and in Film and I only want to get a job or an internship in that field.

Many of the positions I was applying for wanted the applicant to have some experience in business, sometimes this was through work and others it was through education. Like I said before I never studied business before because for a long time my aspirations were in a completely different area. When it came to business experience in work, I have a little office based experience for instance answering telephones, doing mailshots and working on reception but I don’t have any experience in a large corporation. I hope that having the MA on my CV will help show prospective employers that I do know and understand the big world of business.

I think I’m also not ready to be an adult, to not have that comfort blanket of still being a student and to have to work a nine to five job five days a week. Also if or when I ever got a job I know I’m going to have to leave home as London is where I want to be and where I need to be if I want to work in Film. The whole situation is big and scary and while I’m perhaps a little envious of my friends who are out there and doing something, I’m pretty sure that doing a MA will make me more confident and able in any future job. Perhaps I’m going to have to “settle” but right now I want to work towards my dream job and hope that I won’t have to settle for anything less.

I’m proud of my friends who have found themselves jobs or internships and I wish them all the luck in the world. But it’s going to be another year until that’s me.