Wednesday, 29 May 2013

I've eaten all of the cake.

In second year, my then-housemates and I were discussing how quickly first year had whizzed by. In terms that we could really understand, we drew the most apt comparison we could think of:

 "If university was a cake, we'd be a third of the way through by now. That's a lot of cake".

Eating a third of a cake seems like a lot, doesn't it? Well that's nothing compared to chomping down on the whole thing, barely coming up for air, being so busy relishing in the chocolatey-goodness that you don't realise that- wait- there's only crumbs left now.

I've gotten through it all, the late night word counting and the early morning hungover note taking. It was a pretty bloody tasty cake, and I might not have enjoyed every morsel (I'm looking at you, second year exams), but it was all worth it. I've had the honour of being taught by experts, of meeting people who have changed my outlook, and of scoring 10% off at Topshop for the last three years. You can't argue with that.
University = a cake. Duh.

I finished my final exam yesterday. That's it. No more lectures, no more assignments, no more cake. Now all I've got remaining of education is that final glass of champagne- ahem, graduation- to wash it all down with!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Leaving York

I'm throwing myself a leaving party next week (or in other words: making a self-pity curry so huge I have no choice but to invite fifty people round to eat it with). I've packed up my stuff, handed in the final essays, and just have one exam and a one-way ticket to the capital standing in between me and my new London life.

It's been a hellah busy week, and strictly speaking this blogging-time would be better spent revising sociolinguistic theories, so this post is just a teency offering to the internet to say sorry bro, I would blog properly but I've got stuff to do. See you on the other side!

(L-R: Congrats on my new job!; lunch at House of Trembling Madness, York; Revision provisions; packing up; shoe shopping with Jonathan; leaving presents from the LimeHouse; new motivational stationary!)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Out with the old: a nostalgic walk around campus

The walk through campus looks so different since I returned to my final term at York. 

Now when I arrive, walking past the Old Sports Centre, all I see is queues of Freshers eager to see what freebies they can glean from Fresher’s Fair. I walk through James College, past McQ’s filling up for the weekly pub quiz, and post-night-outers tucking into the CU’s free toasties. Past N Block, where I can still hear the geese alarms shirking the first years out of their hangovers, and over Vanbrugh Bridge, under construction still, where I once passed out after an unsuccessful bar crawl.

Across Vanbrugh Paradise, where we sunbathed with revision notes and watched fireworks across the lake. Heading up to the Courtyard, where we devour burgers, and through the hall I sat exams in. Wander through Langwith, dodge students filing out of lectures, up to the Quiet Place, where I cried and told my mum I was homesick in first year. 

Then up, back through Derwent, past the corner with The Charles, where countless quick pints turned into late night Chinese takeaways, or worse, Chinese discos. Walk along University Road, watching a duck cause a traffic jam. Nip into Costcutter for a cursory glance at the reduced section, then off to the library. 

No scaffolding anymore, through the puff of smoke into the Morrell. Discover the book that salvages your essay, then down to the Silent Study area, home of naps.  Retrace my steps to the exit, and over to Alcuin Bridge to see people trudging back from late-night snowball fights. Snaking through the Alcuin blocks, past the room where I was elected onto a committee and where I received my first ever fail.

Cross Derwent Bridge, past the poster advertising the house I lived in during third year. Trot down the stairs, back to the lake, and follow it to the Exhibition Centre. I fainted in there on my first day of lectures, was carried to the health centre by some startled strangers. The countless YSC films I watched in that building flicker, the countless student papers I read waiting for a lecture fade.

Sit on my favourite bench, outside the maths’ rooms, and watch friends graduate across the lake in Central Hall while I throw crumbs at the surrounding ducks. It’s me next. Then it’ll be you. 

Originally published 20/05/13 for The Yorker Nostalgia (print) Issue. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The home stretch: finishing my degree

I'm not really the kind of person who gets anxious.

I do panic and stress fine, better than most you might say. You should see me tip a house upside down in less than ten minutes because I can't find a pair of glasses and I'm already late for work. But anxiety? Nah.

I'm more of a last-minute-high-temperature-quickly-oh-god-the-printer's-broken-phone-my-mum kinda gal. Slow bubbling nervousness isn't really my thing. At least it wasn't until the joys of week three, term three, year three rolled around. Oh, and I move to London in just over three weeks. (Who was it who said "three is the magic number"? They can go to hell.)

I don't think I'm suffering from real anxiety. Not as a condition. I've just got this horrible rumbling feeling in the pit of my cookie-filled stomach that what if- what if- I mess this up? What if I blank in my exam, or accidentally plagiarise an entire essay, or just faint in a presentation? I know it's unlikely, but I can't get this fear of failure out of my mind.

Are we all feeling like this? Is this what people warn you about? I've not been sleeping because all I can think about is referencing, and I've been feeling kinda sick whenever I try and settle down to relax. I initially put this down to maybe eating a little too much calamari at my new favourite restaurant Lucia's, but I've not eaten any lightly-dusted Cajun squid in ages, so it can't be that.

There's nineteen days in between me and my final piece of work, and as much as I'm desperately trying to get it over with, it doesn't seem very fair at all. Why should our last days at university, our last days in education at all, be felt feeling sick at the thought of failing? Of dropping one mark in fear of changing grade boundaries? I've loved my time at university, I don't want to remember it as a montage of nervously checking word limits and freaking out when an important book is already on loan.

So, to combat this miserable outlook, I'm making a habit of RELAXING. I've started watching Game of Thrones (though as a means to relaxation I can't say it's particularly helpful, that show is tense), I went along to my wonderful Yorker's lifestyle meeting to catch up with the old gang, I went for a sunny lunch with Joanne and I've more or less decided on booking a hotel for my first few nights in LDN to take the pressure off. As cheesy as it sounds, having a little bit of time to yourself in between JSTOR articles, makes the world of difference.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

London countdown: 5 weeks to go

I guess I'd better go into this snazzy job then, hadn't I?

Last week, I announced/found out that little old me had been offered a job in the big city, and I'd be starting as soon as my exams in York were over. Once I'd been reassured that gravy does indeed exist south of Yorkshire, I accepted the position with relief and enthusiasm.

Relief because I now don't have to worry about life immediately after university; I can focus on my exams and not mix in job applications with essay deadlines. Enthusiasm because the job is way cool.

I'll be interning with the impressive and inspiring GoodPeople- specifically on their newly set up Pop Up Talent Project. Pop Up Talent's aim is to reduce youth unemployment (starting with me...) by giving them the opportunity to develop, show off and apply digital skills. I'll be doing the backstage stuff. And grinning constantly.

It's cool because I get to try out different aspects of the project, it's a pretty small team, and it's a cause I care about. I can't wait to get my teeth into it, which is a good job because I start in little over five weeks.

Still househunting (if anyone knows a room going in South West London, holla at me), and now armed with an employment contract, a load of TED talks/inspiring books/links about creativity and employment and the general yoof, it's all starting to feel real. And exciting.