Education, Life Experience, University

Brains, Not Boys

When I graduated in 2014, I knew I wasn’t finished with learning. I always enjoyed schoolwork, and even when I didn’t I threw my all into it regardless. But to complete a Masters degree, like I wanted, I would have to fork out thousands of pounds that I just didn’t have.

And then came the wonderful news that a Postgraduate loan was going to be introduced, kindly provided by Student Finance England, that would add to any undergraduate loans already waiting to be paid off.

I almost didn’t apply for this year because I felt too busy and “there is always next year”. But we all know that tomorrow never comes. Luck would have it that I suddenly became single and was thrown into a pit of unknown. The only way out, I saw it, was to focus only on myself, to better myself and to achieve more.

I’m (hopefully if they love me) going to study at the University of Leeds, on a writing course because…well, as I’ve said many a time on this blog, I want to be a writer. Desperately, truly, it’s all I can think of to do.

If I get in, I’ll be the happiest girl in the world. I’m glad I have transformed into someone whose life is completed by education, rather than by a man*.

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*However, applications are still open, apply within.

 

Education, Life Experience

My thank you to my high school internship

Welcome to Brigshaw High School, where everyone is happy and nothing ever goes wrong.

What is ironic about this statement is that this is how I used to view school. When I was here as a student I loved it, the teachers were great, I had friends and I was getting good grades. Since coming back, however, it’s felt like a different story. I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but these last ten months have made it clear to me that I categorically don’t. I think as an ex-student it’s been ten times more difficult than it would be for a brand spanking new member of adult staff, because with some teachers, they have come across as if they can’t handle it. Without holding a grudge or becoming bitter about this last academic year, I have learnt a lot – it’s been an interesting and revealing experience and I don’t regret taking this opportunity for one second. Rather than take up a PGCE qualification and wasting a year of time, energy and money, I have earnt my way through a full school year, taking in everything I have learnt and feeling grateful that I have not thrown my life away into education just yet. Being at a challenging high school for a year has encouraged me to think that I might look into teaching one day, maybe when the age gap between me and some of the students is more than five years. One of the factors of not wanting to be a teacher is that I don’t feel wise enough yet, I haven’t finished learning and I’m not prepared to mould the next generation just yet; I’m still having my day.

I was afraid of teenagers when I was a teenager and that hasn’t changed. They can be pretty intimidating with their outrageous hairstyles, their strange language (like, what does dench even mean?!) and their absolutely solid attitudes. They’re not afraid of you and if you’re fresh meat with a nervous face like me, they know exactly how scared you are of them. There are only so many times that saying ‘I’m going to report that!’ in a squeaky voice is going to make them laugh before they become completely immune and deaf to it. But as we know from GCSE Media Studies (or mine 7 years ago, anyway), teenagers aren’t all bad; that’s just a nasty stereotype that The Mirror and The Sun have shoved down the public’s throats for years now. Some kids at school were lovely, mature and so easy to help and get on with. The ones I didn’t have to chase around the school, the ones I didn’t have to yell at in the middle of a lesson and turn myself into a shaking piece of meat, the ones I didn’t have to refrain from telling they would never succeed if they carried on in this way. Some actually wanted to be at school and they were the ones that made my days feel like they meant something.

Now, I’ve voiced pretty strong opinions since starting at school and I haven’t necessarily agreed with the way that they have run things. I didn’t agree that as a group of new members of staff, we were constantly referred to as the collective of ‘The Interns’ (and never in a positive way), even last week when some of us left. There was nothing personal about being in that group and it never felt like other staff truly accepted us because they could group us together and use us as one great big scapegoat. I also didn’t agree with having little to no training even though there were a whole five training days. In my personal experience, I was expected to work with certain students who had life-threatening conditions and being left alone with them before having training on their conditions and how to work with them was something that I could never quite understand or get on board with. We did have some training a few weeks into September, but by then it felt too late to me. And don’t get me wrong, the training that we did receive was good and well delivered by people that I eventually got quite close to, but I can’t really forgive the school for not giving it sooner, or even giving me (and us) a heads up.

I want to thank the school for giving me the experience that I gained; to be able to respond to an aggressive teenager without swearing at them; to be able to improvise when thrown in a room alone with thirty eleven year olds; to be able to find something to do when faced with sitting in an exam room; and to be able to smile when everything is gradually crumbling inside. I’ve been employed for a year, pretty much as soon as I finished uni (after working at Carluccio’s restaurant for a week – never again, dear god), and I’ve been able to pay my rent easily for the last ten months without much worry – something that is looking bleak at the moment. I’ve made friends all over again; people who I thought I wouldn’t see again and who have helped me through this year. I’ve made friends with some of the teachers, something that I wasn’t necessarily expecting and I met some awesome sixth formers who I hope to keep in touch with.

What I sometimes feel, though, as I start my new job in York, is that I’ve wasted the last year doing something that won’t further my career. I feel like I could or should have been putting my energy into something more relevant to me, and I just wonder where I would be now if that had been the case. I know, though, that teaching is not for me (yet) and that I want to be my own boss one day. I know more about myself and what I’m capable of so where it’s been a really difficult year, it has been enriching on a personal level and now it’s over and done with I can look back and see the positives rather than the extremely dark days.

Education, Life Experience

Little Knockbacks

A kid told me today that he hopes I don’t get another job. Not because he wants me to stay, which wouldn’t be possible on the temporary contract, but because he thought he was being funny. He saw me planning out a cover letter and said I should pay someone recruitment company to do that instead because – apparently – it’s stupid. And that’s how you get a job in this world. I replied saying that it’s actually an important job and his retort was, “I hope you don’t get it,” with a grin.

Don’t take things to heart is what I’ve always been told but it stung me. I feel like the whole world is against me at the moment for getting started on my career. A few comments from people who otherwise have no business in my career aspirations actually go a long way. It feels like every time someone says something, my confidence is knocked back. I am really intent on discovering my perfect job and I feel like I’m so close, but at the same time, so far.

Education, Life Experience

Fitting In

Being in the cool group at school was never my jam – I say that, I don’t think I would have been invited anyway – but when university struck, all of a sudden there were people that wanted to spend time with me. Sweet. Since then, for the last three and a bit years, I’ve been fine, I’ve felt like I’ve slotted perfectly into everything I’ve done with the people I’ve been with. Now, though it’s a different story. Because I now know what I want to do with my life and because I know that it’s not workinggallery-hsieh in a school, I suddenly feel out of place. I still care about the job (heck, you’ve gotta when you work with children) and I still do my best, but it’s as though there’s this bubble around me with a sticker on it saying ‘Odd One Out’ or something.

I’ve had a few suggestions from some teachers recently that they don’t even know I work here and I’m pretty sure some of them think I’m a student. One just this morning opened her mouth to stop me walking down the corridor and when I smiled, I got an unimpressed look back at me, as if I’d deceived her or something. It probably doesn’t help that I used to come to this school as a teenager, but I’ve got to say, the people I’m finding that are doing this most arrived here long after I’d even left, which gives them zero excuses.

The career that I want is entirely different to this and I’m waiting for it to come along any time soon. Trouble is as well, this is only a temporary contract, so whichever sector it was in, I think by this point I’d be getting antsy. What I’m most scared of is leaving here without a job lined up and I can’t keep going in these circles. I need something I can progress in because I’m twenty-two now and should start acting more like an adult. Hopefully I will find something where I fit in with the rest of them and don’t have to worry about being told to take my jacket off on the corridors…

Education, Life Experience

What I’ve Learnt This Week

The first week back after the holidays: it’s never going to be a breeze. But mine has been particularly trying and I’ve hardly even been here…

I had a job interview. I won’t say much, but it felt like it went well (I haven’t heard back yet) which did give me a confidence boost but as they always are, it was a stressful experience. It’s draining, thinking about yourself and questioning your decisions. Thinking about what they might ask and lmbwhat answers are appropriate. Contemplating whether to use big words or not and trying so hard not to say ‘like’ every three words. Not only that, but there was a mix up with the dates and therefore a drama when it comes to where I am right now. That all made me tired. And by this point it was Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday morning gave me a bit of exercise – I got a surprise hospital appointment which meant a brisk 2 mile walk to the other side of town at 8am. Of course, I then had to come all the way back (on my irregular sesamoid as well) to catch a train, a bus and then finally arrive at work. Woah. Energy levels are reaching zero boys and girls.

I like being busy, and I like being productive which I feel this week has been – there’s nothing worse than feeling you haven’t achieved anything and it’s almost Monday again. But I have and the good news is, my foot is finally going somewhere, it’s gonna get fixed (one day) and I know that I can handle pressure when it comes to job interviews in a place you’ve never even seen before. I can hack it, I know I can and that is what I’ve learnt this week. Aww.

Education, Life Experience

10 Things I’m Grateful For

It feels ages since I last wrote. Truth is, I write when I’m happy – that’s when I’m most inspired and lately, well, things haven’t been as fantastic as I usually prefer. I’m at that stage in my life where I want more than what I have. I look at all the adults around me with their stable careers, reasonable salary and their own homes (sometimes with puppies and/or babies) and I’m genuinely jealous. It’s not attractive and I’ve always had a flash of jealousy in my personality – why can’t I have what they have, I’m ready? But that’s not how it works in this day and age, is it? Being 22 means that you’ve just popped out of higher education and you’re in limbo. Unless you’re super lucky and land on your feet in a career you actually want to be in, you’re stuck, confused, inexperienced and in need of an adult life right now.

Of course, there are positives. I watched an inspirational video last night telling me to write down ten things I am grateful for every morning – in fact, I could start posting on here about it. Anything to feel better than usual. Today, my ten things would be:

   

  1. I have a most wonderful and charming boyfriend who loves me and cares for me

  2. I have the greatest family with all the support I could ever ask for

  3. I’m grateful for having a job and some kind of income

  4. I am grateful for my degree and the experience that uni has given me

  5. I am looking forward to voting in the election

  6. I am grateful for the fact that I am old enough to buy a bottle of rose should I wish

  7. I like that me and my friends have been accepted to rent a new house in the summer

  8. I am grateful that the winter is finally coming to an end and the mornings are getting lighter

  9. I am grateful for my copious amounts of nail polish in a variety of colours that brighten my days

  10. I am grateful for my ability to cook when just three years ago, I was positively useless.

See, Brittany? Life isn’t so bad. I’ve got a lot of things going for me, I’m just trying to see them through the murky bleakness of the present. I want what I haven’t got and what I won’t get without trying super hard for. One example being that I want to drive my own car, but here’s a newsflash for ya – can’t do that til you’ve learned how to drive. How inconvenient, am I right?

And it’s true. I know that I need to lighten up and maybe stop plaguing my pretty blog with these miserable posts, but at the moment, this is one of my only outlets. When I write things down it makes more sense to me and I can usually figure out the problem after I’ve spread all my thoughts onto paper/webpage. One solution for me is to see a medium, I think. Please don’t scoff. I don’t necessarily believe in a lot of the stuff that mediums tell you – I don’t really think they can talk to your dead relatives and tell you what they’re up to – but I do think that they can really help you with advice if you feel like you’re drowning a little bit.

All of this aside, I’m fine. I am (keep telling myself this) but I know that everything will turn out fine in the end – it always does – I just want it to hurry the f*** up.

Education, Life Experience, Misc.

English Flurries

A mad flurry of snow smacked the cold window as though it wanted to burst through to the warmth of the classroom, followed by the obligatory mad flurry of children dashing to look outside. “Omg it’s snowing!!” “Everybody look, it’s snowing!!” “Omg will we have a snow day??” “I’m gonna go sledging!!”

Let me just stop you right there, dears. 1) This is England. Yup, it’s pretty chilly 90% of the year, but the snow is never that treacherous. 2) If it really got that bad, do you really think we’d let you outside? 3) It’s only weather, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen snow before, sit down.

I don’t get it. I don’t remember being that painfully obsessed with snow that I would jump out of my seat and press my nose against the window, steaming it up with my teenage breath. I used to like it, sure, it looks pretty, I guess and it was pretty fun to play in. But I’m 22 now, places to be, people to see, no time for fun and games of the outdoors variety. It’s a pain. The whole of England, even though we hardly get any, decides to come to a painful standstill when the shite* stuff falls and no one can continue with normal life. Public transport, roads, paths, any means of travel are history and it’s highly, ridiculously unnecessary.

Anyhow. Kids, ya need to calm down when the flurries come, it’s not that big of a deal. Seriously. God I hope it’s gone by tomorrow…

* typo that should have been white, but I decided to keep it because as I typed it I snorted and the other people in the room gave me sideways glance…

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