Back to life

Back to reality…

So many an update are well over-due, but I would like to immediately digress.

Something I figured out a while ago is that life worth blogging about doesn’t often leave time to blog about it, which is sad because so many exciting things are happening that I’d like the world to know about!

But alas, I don’t have time to retroactively recount my entire year abroad filled with adventures for you all, though I have considered it. I am way too overwhelmed with trying to keep my head above water while being hit with the crashing waves of joy that are the final year of my degree. Not only do I have translation upon translation to do, por, para and the preterite tenses coming out of my ears (in Spanish and in Portuguese) but I also have a 40 credit super nasty lofty liberal thought history module (which is actually quite interesting, if brain-pain-inducing) AND applications for anything that has grad as a prefix or a suffix. All while trying to keep the creative cogs of my brain turning by attending life drawing sessions, joining the photography society, and knitting myself a scarf (if I’m lucky it’ll be ready for next winter). Phew!

But despite all the hectic-ness, I am overjoyed about being back. Not something I ever expected to say upon return from my year abroad. While my time away was like a dream, I know that that could be my reality if I want it to, and being away made me realise just how many opportunities there are out there, but also that I can go and get them at pretty much any stage. I can’t wait to finish my degree and I’m determined to do my utmost in making this year my most academically successful. I am also determined to make it fun. As my German housemate in Chile said to me the other day, “there isn’t much point if you’re not enjoying it”, and I must say I wholeheartedly agree.

Life has proven to me that adventure can be found anywhere, and I’m ready to take it on. 

Freshers: the time of your life!

I started writing this (and many other) posts in the beginning of my second year, when I really began to evaluate whether my university years, which I have often been told would be the best of my life, were actually all they’d been promised to be. ( I am also such a shoddy blogger that I only just realised that this post was still sitting in my drafts, but please feel free to enjoy – maybe it will be useful for re-freshers week?).

Week One, as it is known at my university is a huge, HUGE deal. Like, more massive than your nan’s 100th birthday rave and your guinea pigs anniversary. Exclusive wristbands which mark you out as a ‘fresher’ are distributed on the first day, and there are plethoras of second and third years dying to get their hands on them, in order to be allowed into the Week One parties.

In honour of the super secret events that they are, my Week One reps had us up at the ass-crack of dawn in order to buy the tickets, which were distributed in limited numbers to each hall. The faster we sold out, the more tickets would become available to us – it was a vicious circle and if you hadn’t arranged for a friend to buy your ticket for the next party while you lay with your head in a bucket recovering from the previous nights shenanigans, then you risked spending a night alone on your corridor while others partied Fresh style. While obtaining entry to these exclusive events may seem like a priority, there is much more that occurs during ‘the best week of your Uni life’.

Freshers, unbeknownst to many, is not just a week-long piss up. If you’re staying in catered accommodation like many at Nottingham do in their first year, then Freshers week is an opportunity to get to know your neighbours, before you inevitably befriend course mates, fellow society members and drunk toilet mates (you’ll make at least one of those).

You’ll also need to sober up enough to register for your classes, as well as attend Freshers Fayre, which is the highlight of every students freebie acquisition diary. You will be given, amongst many other things: pens, highlighters, pens, fridge magnets, pens, posters, pens, notepads, pens, menus, pencils, free pizza and probably a pen or three. Take all the pens and paper you can get, because later in the year when faced with the choice of stationery or new clothes/shoes/a night out, I promise you, pens won’t win.

Another great part of Freshers Fayre is getting a chance to see how what there is to get involved with outside of your academic studies. Nottingham, for example, has *** societies and clubs for you to sink your teeth into! From Cake Soc and Knit Soc to Pole Soc and Cock Soc (get your mind out of the gutter!) there is something for everyone and I would highly recommend taking this opportunity to try something you’ve never even dreamt about. Societies are a great way to make a varied group of friends who are interested in the same things you are, or even with whom you share a common culture. So far into my Uni career I’ve been a member of the African and Caribbean Society, Art Soc, the Caribbean society (disambiguation required?), Musicality (the university’s musical theatre society), History Soc (did I mention there are course related societies?), Brazilian and Portuguese Society and the Pole Dancing Society, to name a few! All have opened doors to new and fun experiences, cultures and events – I’ve even learned a skill or two ;).

With all that fun going on, it can be difficult to make time for the boring, admin bits of becoming a student. Living away from home, it’s important that you register with a local surgery for when you inevitably develop Fresher’s flu (or worse!); the dentists, and not to mention finding out when those lectures you’re paying for are meant to happen!

All in all, I do believe my Fresher’s Week was one of the best of my university life. I met some of my greatest friends, tried a million new things, survived an extreme vodka allergy (true story) and stomached canteen meals. It was a foundation of fun for a few years of hard work, and you definitely get out what you put in.

So, take a deep breath and nose dive into the fun, if you do, I promise it’ll be the best week of your life.

Looking back.

I wrote this over six months ago, but reading it back makes me so glad I have a year out of formal university life. It also reminds me that I can’t let things get that bad again!

It also reminds me that I’ve well and truly fallen off the blogging wagon. But I have lots to write, so keep your eye out!

 

 

Lauren

In response to your request….

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Leading a life exciting enough to blog about, unfortunately does not leave one with much time to blog. Between studying (sort of) and sleeping, I’ve run two half marathons, one in Cambridge the other in Berlin (with a PB of 02:15 in Berlin), quit my job, been both makeup artist and costume maker for my university’s annual musical: Curtains, made a new best friend, gone to a vintage fair in Leeds and a sports tour in Italy, and seen Drake in concert. I’ve also been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but I’ll refrain from talking about that, for now.

Something had to give so I dropped out of the Inter-Uni Pole Dance competition and abandoned the blog.

So why am I back?

Well, because you asked!

 

I say this because, other than my mom (on occasion), I reckon Rianna and a few of Team Bangs are the only people who ever read this blog.

I find it hard to publish my thoughts on the internet, especially with the backlash of (mostly) random tweets getting me into hot water on more than one occasion. (I won’t deny a few indirects but what else is Twitter really for?) But I’m gonna try and give it a go.

And of course, you know that if I’m blogging, naturally I am also procrastinating. It’s exam season, I need to get my kicks somewhere!

 

Peace out.

Night #3

This is my third night in the library.

Technically I shouldn’t be here. My essay should have been done and dusted at 4o’clock and that should have been the end of it. But it is not. I have a serious problem with concentration.

If there is a dragon breathing fire over my shoulder, I can crank out a 2000 word essay easy. The second I don’t have the imminent threat of pain (hurting my pride, mostly) forcing me to complete the task at hand, I go off the rails. Today I even managed to Google ‘washing your keyboard in the dishwasher’. I kid you not. Check it out for yourself here.

Anyway.

Here are some handy hints* if you fancy taking up residence in your local library.Image

*I’m giving you these hints in the hope that I will follow some of them too.

#1 Keep Cool

Cold water works particularly well. It keeps you alert, your brain hydrated, and generally just feeling fresh, in contradistinction (I’ve been reading history books all day) to the groggy horrible feeling after your 48395th coffee. (Need I mention there are no calories in water? Cool.) Sitting near an open window is also pretty effective, but can be uncomfortable. If you’re hard enough – go for it!

#2 Aim High

Set yourself some reasonable goals, so that you can see how you’re progressing, and that you’re not congratulating yourself for having written 500 words in five hours. Nice 300 word intro in 45 minutes to an hour? Not too shabby!

#3 Log Off

Log out of Facebook, sign out of Twitter, leave Bebo (permanently), and delete your MSN account. Talking to people when you’re meant to be studying is not productive. Especially not if you’re talking about how much work you’ve yet to do. No, it’s not!

#4 Take a Break

Don’t think that sitting staring at the same page of text for forty minutes is gonna help the fact that you’ve exhausted your mind. Get up, walk around, have some more water, maybe even set yourself a limited time to go back online. Just make sure you stick to your set time. This blog post is my break – I have two minutes to get finished!

#5 Be Prepared

For the hunger pangs! (And other excuses to go home before you’re finished). Take provisions with you, so that leaving the library for food/because your phone’s about to die/you forgot your lipgloss is unjustifiable. Be prepared for all situations.

And with that, its time to go back to figuring out if the abolition of the slave trade was a “moral victory” for the British!

Night x

Ps – and next time, start early so you’re not stuck here for three nights, like me!