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You would think, after school, college, an undergraduate degree and finally a Masters, that the art of studying and preparedness would have been honed down to a finely chiselled point. I always presumed that Masters students were the cooler kids of the academic hierarchy, the ones who wear all black and huddle together to smoke those really thin cigarettes and talk in depth about politics and literature and social injustice and knew what they were talking about. They were experts in their fields. They had it together.

Or so I thought, until I became one.

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So, with uni deadlines looming, a busted, virus-ridden laptop, a distinct lack of employment, it’s not been the hottest start to 2015 so far. I was humming, hawing and rebooting my laptop while watching Nick Broomfield’s new film (I know how to procrastinate well), thinking that since it’s March, surely the year is worth some quarterly review.

Obviously that was way more work that I was willing to put in when it’s howling with sleet and rain and there’s imaginary holidays to plan. Poking about with blog settings and figuring out how to work Bloglovin’ seemed like a much better idea.

Then I found an old post from a previous attempt at a blog, that I’m not sure why I actually gave up. Apparently not blogging, and making up excuses for not doing so, has been an ongoing habit. This post first featured in January 2014 and it’s still more relevant than I’d like it to be…

New Year, New Start. Or New Calendar, At Least.

It’s the end of the week but I’m all about the new. New year, new post, new attempt at telling myself I’m ‘totally going to keep up with blogging this year’. I said the same thing last year with scattered and infrequent results, and I’m in no way promising myself that I’ll follow up on it this year. But still, if you can’t kid yersel’ on in January, when can you…?

I always make New Year’s Resolutions and rarely actually make any progress with them. Or they’re so broad (‘totally get fit’) that any attempt at completing them is a vague win for progress (‘sign up for one class a week. In September’). In any case, I’m most definitely not alone, as less than 10% of us actually make good on our promises. So, what’s the problem?

Mine was always that my resolutions were vague and impersonal. The same ones everyone makes. Lose weight. Get fit. Learn to drive. Luv lyf. 2013 was… lackluster at best. I sorted out my love life, but the rest has a way to go. Still, I made some headway. I done some exercise. I got trainers for Christmas to support this. I passed my theory test. I got Instagram like all the other cool kids who eat food and wear clothes. Totally onwards and upwards, right?

I decided to actually put in some research this time. 2014 was going to be a good yin, and the internet was going to help me, because as everyone knows, nothing is official ’til it’s on the internet (scientists also support this theory, as does NASA, and most journalists). I had a look at the most popular resolutions, and had a wee think about how I could adapt them for myself. Make them more personalised. That way, I couldn’t fail, no…?

1. Appreciate others and, in turn, appreciate yourself.

That’s a song we can all dance to.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the internet, it’s that if I dislike or disagree with someone or something, it’s because I’m rotten with jealousy at this snarling, empty hole in my life which this person or opinion is fulfilling in their own. To try and generate empathy I’ve started wearing those celebrity masks you get out the Newsbox and walking around with a giant hashtag of my own name following me wherever I go. So far some One Direction fans have built a shanty town outside my house and my mum’s super pissed because she can’t get her car out the driveway for work in the morning. I tried to explain that I’m just putting myself in other people’s shoes.
2. Let go of your phobias and fears.
My biggest phobia isn’t dying alone, or failure, or never spawning potential bone marrow donors. I don’t like cows. When I was a child I playfully clambered onto a country fence and mooed at some cows residing in a field. The cow mooed back right in my face and I fell off said fence, seriously winding myself and embarking on a lifelong fear of the bovine. It was also my first day of school, so the whole experience made me hate school too. It’s also a tiny reason why I became vegetarian.* I’m hardly going to start eating meat again, so I’ll have to focus on eliminating my fear of looking foolish in public instead. I could overcome this by mooing at some cows and nail two birds with one stone, but I don’t want to progress too much, too fast.
*This isn’t even any word of a lie. It’s a true story. Ask my parents.
3. Dance like no one is watching.
 
Whenever I hear someone say “I dance like no one is watching”, I don’t imagine them swooshing their hair in rhythm to that song from Hair, holding hands with a commune of other happy, dancing, free spirits. I imagine them furtively drawing all their curtains, pumping up the Q Lazarus and jerking around awkwardly wearing their next door neighbour’s scalp. This is perhaps one to take under advisement, because the thought of touching other people’s hair gives me the boak.
In saying that, people have worn less on nights out and gotten away with it. Hmm.
 
4. Ditch the car and fit in more exercise!
This one seems to be pretty popular in that it’s often cited as the easiest way to squeeze exercise into your busy, busy, busy lifestyle. Everyone seems to have one these days, amiright? I for one just don’t know how I’m supposed to find the time for exercise in between The Real Housewives of New York and their counterparts in Beverly Hills.
This one also angered me because it felt like it was actively trying to mock me. I walk pretty much everywhere that doesn’t require transport. Also, I was so successful on my first attempt at a driving test that they want me to go and do it again. I then realised it was myanger that was holding me back. This is the year of letting go, I thought to myself. Instead, I would face the elements with a smile, rain lashing my face and ruining any attempts I’d made at taming my hair or hiding hormonal face breakouts, and grin like a sweet natured simpleton at all the fools with cars then can afford to run because they have jobs, as they roll their way to an early grave. And a double wide coffin. Joke’s on you!
5. Go after your dream job and stop living to work.
I don’t live to work. I would very much like to. I like to think of myself as a professional interview attendee. I’ve gotten quite good at it. I’d like to go after that big promotion, which in this case means actually getting past interview stage. There’s apparently an economic upturn, from here on it’s going to be like the old glory days, when recent graduates walked into CEO positions and blew their noses with £50 notes and tramps and aristocrats discussed their favourite caviar because everyone was equal and better off.
That being said, maybe I shouldn’t wait for the opportunity to come to me. Maybe I should just make it happen myself, become a self employed business type. I watch alot of films and frequently binge on TV shows, mostly once their popularity has waned (I’m only just feeling the horrific loss of the Firefly crew). I could become a professional lamenter, telling people how much better things were back in the day. Or I could take a tip from Breaking Bad and start punting drugs. I live near several schools and underpasses, so it’d be easy money. By this time next year I might even have my own caravan!*
I also own a hat like this and it makes me look both super professional AND #ootd cute.
*I may be missing the point of Breaking Bad, I’ve only ever seen half an episode, and it was the second one.
I felt like 5 was a decent number to round up on. Making ten resolutions seems a little far-reaching at this moment in time. Baby steps. Don’t run before you can walk. Make small changes and the big changes will happen themselves. You get the jist. By next Hogmanay, I’ll be such a new and improved specimen that resolutions will be a daily occurrence, I’ll be a walking good deed and a powerhouse of physical and mental strength. I will be actualised ambition in human form. And I’ll have done it all without once resolving to quit smoking. SUCCESS!

Well, that was quite a week.

After starting off somewhat middling- I’m about 2/3 of the way through my middle semester in uni, it is what it is- I was finally feeling a little smug about getting assignment work started early. I have six assignments due in the space of two weeks and I tend to fly pretty close to the deadline. For the first time since I’ve been in education I had started on three of ’em and was pretty proud of myself.

Then BOOM. I went home, tipped my bag out and my USB drive- the device upon which my life depended- was gone. I spent a full evening and the following day checking everywhere: the security office, every classroom I’d been in, every reception desk in Caley Uni- which is a lot- and even walked up and down my route to the train. I’d done a dramatic sweep of all the crap off of my bedside table and achieved an awesome sense of drama, but not much else.

In the meantime, I was also getting a bunch of job rejections, which sucked. Since finishing up at the film festival I’ve been looking for something, anything, that I can fit around uni for at least the next couple of weeks. Dissertation term doesn’t count, obviously, that’s like free time. I didn’t have a whole lot else to do with my time since I couldn’t exactly go out spending money. Plus the weather was shit.

Underwhelming eclipse photo.

Underwhelming eclipse photo.

It took a full couple of days of walking around in a grey cloud- in my mind and, y’know, the weather- before the sun broke. Walking around feeling crappy wasn’t making me feel any better. It just made me feel more crappy. Moaning about my lost USB wasn’t going to get any more work done. I looked at how much work I had lost, and it was nowhere near as much as I thought. I was a week behind at the most. I got a call for a job interview. Not such a bad humpday after all.

Slightly more whelming eclipse photo.

Slightly more whelming eclipse photo.

Then, today, there was an eclipse, and that was kind of cool. It was officially the first day of spring. After a long ass winter, it was nice to feel some warm sunshine and not that lying bastard winter sun that just makes driving hard. Then, out of nowhere, I got a phone call from uni saying my lost USB had been retrieved. I’m not one for getting all deep and writing down feelings, but it’s always nice to end on a high note. There’s definitely a shift in the air. Plus once it gets heavy into spring, I can crack out my pastel lilac skinny jeans again, they’re just not a valid winter option. Happy Friday!

Words to end the week on indeed.

Words to end the week on indeed.

Here we are again.

Once more I find myself guiltily apologising to no one in particular about my lack of activity on this sweet little blog of mine. A quick swatch of my last post notified me that it was written on September 8th 2014.

Didn’t seem like too long ago, right? WRONG.

September is not, as I though, ‘just a few months ago’. It is in fact SIX MONTHS AGO. It’s partly my own fault- I’m of the opinion that it was only New Year a few weeks ago. I’m still bearing the brunt of holiday weight and have been telling myself it’s OK, it’s not like I’ve had THAT much time to recover. Turns out I have.

I’d actually written a lengthier post that I was going to drop, detailing my whereabouts the last few months and why, when it comes to making myself write for fun, I tend to fall apart like a bad sandwich. I thought it had autosaved. It hadn’t.

So here we are again.

The point of the last post, for fans of brevity, was that previous efforts at blogging have faltered because I tend to get distracted writing about just one thing. I loved blogging about film at uni, back in 2009 when I still had to explain that it was short for ‘weblog’. When I graduated, I stopped, because quite simply my cinema habits had dried up in the last dying light of my degree.

When I rebooted this bad boy, I was committed to being vegan for a while. I tried hard, I really did. This was great for keeping myself on track, sharing recipes, making admittances to finding things hard and how I resolved cravings for cheese (at original time of writing, nothing. Now, Violife. Violife is queen). Once I started juggling a Masters degree with two jobs, I had less time to cook things from scratch and, yes, fell off the plant based wagon on occasion.I was tired of feeling guilty about it, and foodie things were taking up less of my time, so I stopped.

That’s basically what was a 600 word apology condensed into two paragraphs. The final thought, then. Why now? Why kick start a dormant blog? I believe the answer lies in the previous paragraph. “Masters degree”. I’m hurtling towards the end of my second trimester. The D-word is becoming a very real threat (starts with D, rhymes with shmissertation, don’t say it out loud). I want to be a good student and say I’m casually picking up my blogging habit because I’m studying journalism and it’s good to write.

This is partly true. But, like all of my assignments this year, it’s split 30/70, and it’s 30%. The other 70%?

I have five assignments due in the next month. Don’t say I don’t know how to do work avoidance properly.