Monday, 28 November 2011

Thinking about the future, a place where your thoughts remain in the past...

Deciding on what to do after a comfortable five years at University is pretty daunting. This is the situation I am currently in. A situation that has caused me to go the dentist due to grinding my teeth at night through stress. Yes that’s right, I am going to join the mouth guard club, only I can’t be something cool and fit like a rugby player.

It seems that everything has a deadline attached to it and I have no time to meet additional responsibilities. I have only recently found the time to get my CV checked, to find that 3 years of neglect means that it now needs a lot of work on it. With all this future talk I need to invest in a suit, which means I also have to find the time to get one fitted. I keep asking God for another day in the week but no agreement has been made as of yet. Positive thoughts and all of that.

I think one of the reasons I am finding it so hard to decide on a future is because I really do not know what I want to do. I would like to work for the civil service, I’d also like to apply for a PGCE through the TeachFirst scheme, and finally I am fixated on the idea of working for the Paralympics 2012! Oh and that is even if I decide to stay in the UK, as I’m not even sure if I’m ready to settle... If I was someone else hearing someone complain about all the above, I’d tell them to do a mind map/colourful spider diagram of pros and cons of each option and make sure they do their research. However, I don’t have the time for all of that so I’m hoping I’ll wake up one day with an epiphany. This is unlikely to happen so I’m going to dedicate a Sunday to it before I miss the deadlines...

...A "dedicated" Sunday later and I am still behind. I decided to have a pyjama day on Sunday and organise 'other' things; which we all know was a distraction from doing the actual task I needed to do. The deadline is on the 30th of September (did I mention that already? The date is constantly on my mind) yet much like coursework I'll continue to do everything, a bad habit which I really need to break. I did do some general research on the internet and found out that there is a new head of the Civil Service... can't remember his name... I also read through a type of self help book on the civil service fast stream, which helped in some ways but mostly scared me on the approaching application process. All this stress could be another excuse for a spa weekend in Jersey, which I highly recommend by the way...

picture from
If I was Richard Branson I'd definitely ban all technology from my island, rescue missions, room service, and other needs would have to be sent via morse code or messenger. You know those days where the thought of looking at a computer screen any longer makes you feel sick? That's pretty much every day after work for me, which reminds me I really need to get my eyes tested.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A different but honest approach to completing my MA Dissertation

On the 30th September I submitted my final piece of work for my MA in International Politics *emotional*. This doesn’t get marked until December and then I don’t graduate (if I pass it) until next year. Strange, but at least it is giving me time to save up some money and apply for the civil service, which I’m told is a looooong process.

I was surprisingly pretty relaxed about the whole dissertation marlarky. It was on a subject that was important to me – Disability; an international problem rather than an international concept. I think because I knew a bit about it already and I had a clear idea on what direction I wanted to take, I took a laid back approach to it. Probably not the best idea for a 15,000 word dissertation... but hey it’s done. On speaking to my tutor about the work I was doing and my progress, she’d often say “you sound scarily relaxed Louise” I replied, “well yeah I am, its fine, all I can do is work on it day and night and enjoy the process... you sound more worried than me” My tutor replied “well yes I am, I can’t even sleep!” I, feeling bad, started to comfort and give my tutor a pep talk on how it is our responsibility to get our work in and do it well...because I had all the time in the world of course.

I do wish I had started the writing process earlier than I did - as I only really scratched the surface of such a complex subject.

As I was saying everything was going swimmingly until ‘hand in day.’ At the very moment that the dissertation was taken out of my control and into the hands of another did things go wrong. I was actually under more stress than throughout the whole month I had been working on my dissertation.

Here is why: so that I didn’t have to deal with the stress of London transport, I ordered a taxi BUT the taxi company forgot to send a taxi. When I rang to see if it was on the way, they said “yeah it’s just round the corner”... still no taxi. 10 minutes later and my patience had run out. They said there were really sorry but had made a mistake and now ‘definitely’ dispatched a taxi. When the taxi did arrive I was in a terrible mood *poor taxi guy*.

A 20 minute journey took an hour and 20 minutes! Due to road works and me having to get cash out to pay for the taxi! For this I was charged £1! £1 for the privilege of getting my own money, out to pay for a taxi that was late...? Plus how am I meant to pay for something without getting money out?? I had this argument with the taxi cab who (in a joking manner) said that I should have had cash on me already... he should have known that I was not in the mood for jokes. *insert appropriate debate here*

My class and I had been told that the deadline was at 4pm – this was a ‘white lie’ by my tutor, in the hope that it would ensure that we were all definitely on time. This type of reverse psychology is not really appreciated by me, I prefer to know the real time as I knew that the humanities office was open till 5pm – by the time it got to 4pm and I was still stuck in traffic, I thought it was alllll over. Nope, when I rang the humanities office they said 5pm was fine.

I finally got to the library and printed out 2 copies, 50 pages each. The second copy came out smudged! I did not have any more printing credits. I frantically went to the help desk and told them what happened, they in their calm ‘stress free manner’ got someone to come down and print me out another copy – with my eyes constantly on the clock, I still had to bind the copies. As if I wasn’t stressed and impatient enough; the machine that binds your work needed to warm up! It was at this point that I thought; ‘is it really worth it?’ Silly question Louise, of course it is. So I stopped stressing out and from then everything seemed to go smoother. I managed to hand in my work 15 minutes before the deadline and saw my friend on the way who had only handed in 1 copy, so I saved her dissertation butt too.

I had handed in my dissertation. It took a while for it to sink in and I was not completely happy with the end result but I always think I could have done better. I sat down and had a moment to myself, I was happy. It was time to celebrate. I met up with some friends; we went for shisha in the remaining hours of sunlight and then off to the comedy club in Greenwich, which turns into a nightclub in the evening, party time! All in all, I woke up the next day, smiling and with a headache from fun rather than one from handing in a dissertation. Phew.