Category Archives: Realisations

University- a hoax business?

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Sitting down once again to try and wade my way through more heavily worded critiques of a variety of literature I care very little for, I once again ask myself why, at the age of 18, I decided that a university education in Modern Languages was for me.

At that time, they said “Go study languages, so many doors will just open for you, the world will literally be your oyster”. Why is it then that four years later, I am very tempted to return to my school and demand my money back? Is it the illusion I was sold that after 3 years of intensive language training and a year abroad I would be a fully fledged linguist, able to communicate with all manner of people in any business setting? Already fully certain that I want to work in the ski industry, I have become astutely aware that whilst my good conversational level of French and German will almost certainly come in handy, the nearly £4000 a year I have paid to stress about essays which account for 70% of my degree, almost certainly will not.

The thing is, we are sold this illusion that “university will prepare you for the wider world”. We will develop analytical skills, partake in clubs and societies, become fluent in multiple fluent languages (insert other skill here) and employers will be begging for us to work for them, well maybe not quite.

At the moment, I think I am on track for a 2:2, not something that I am especially proud to admit, given the fees I am paying. However I cannot understand why I am paying approx. £150 a week for lessons which simply do not inspire. Is it my own fault for not being passionate enough about my subject? Or is it not understanding the product I was sold before signing the contract to buy it? The impression I was under, when I signed up for a Modern Languages Studies BA was that I would be studying LANGUAGES-the key word in my degree. Whilst  understood that there would be elements of essay writing, I did not quite realise that it would only make up for one third of the entire annual credits.

These “content module” credits are supposedly meant to be a form of cultural enrichment, but whilst it is all very well and good to know about issues such as immigration, gender power struggles and 19th century poetry, it is not teaching me about “real life” culture in France for when I go and visit.

On my year abroad last year, I was not equipped with the conversational etiquette needed for a casual conversation with French people my own age, nor, as a matter of fact with Germans. We were not warned that generally French people are not quite xenophobic, but a little hard to mix with. Breaking into a friendship group is the hardest thing you can try and do as a foreigner, and when your starting line is “how do you feel about gay marriage” or “what do you think about the current political climate of Europe at the moment” you are going to be considered a bit of a dick.

What I am trying to say, in a rather roundabout way, is that given the chance to study language again, I would just have spread my wings, gone abroad, and worked in a bar, whilst actually earning money and learning social skills. Throwaway the “flashy” BA in French with German and become an electrician instead. People need an electrician or plumber more than they need an analysis of Baudelaire.

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26 reasons why my life will never be a Taylor Swift music video…

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Image from: http://vimeovideo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/taylor-swift-you-belong-with-me.html

Let’s face it, the songs are catchy, the videos feature a lot of Swifty depicting a(n often failing) relationship with a very hot guy.

a) My hair will never be wavy and blonde

b) I will never look as elegant in a ball gown.

c) I can’t sing. Ask my friends/ house-mates

d) I’m not as endearing as dear Taylor.

e) I’m not 6ft

f) or size 8 for that matter

g) I am far more cynical than dear Swifty about all things men and relationships

h) I can’t play guitar

i) I don’t have any spare squirrel costumes

j) Or a wardrobe with that many pyjamas

k) If a guy dumps me, or just isn’t interested, the first thing I do is hit the wine/ chocolate, I don’t dance around my room singing about it.

l) I have had American people explain to me numerous times what bleachers are. I will never understand why they are called bleachers. Why can’t they just call them seating areas. It’s far more straightforward.

m) I can never see myself telling a guy “you are the best thing that’s ever been mine” without laughing hysterically as I do it.

n) My life isn’t set in a series of romantic lakes, forests or cafés.

o) I have never compared any of my relationships to Romeo and Juliet

p) and on that note, I think we are way past the age when men asked the girl’s father’s permission for her hand in marriage.

q) my family background is relatively stable and sound, I need a bit more sorrow in my life to make the cut for a Swifty music video

r) I don’t wear thick rimmed glasses with the lenses punched out, because I can accept that I have 20:20 vision.

s) I don’t have a band at my disposal every time I have a break- up

t) or a ballroom

u) my bedroom is a box. So there’s no  room for tantrums or angry dancing/ air guitaring,without sending my whiteboard/ noticeboard flying!

v) there is no hot guy neighbour whose bedroom window looks into mine, as we gaze longingly at each other, falling that little bit more in love every day.

w) There is a distinct shortage of elegant white ponies around here. Plus health and safety regulations mean I can’t keep one in my bedroom and play my non-existent guitar to it.

x) There have been times after break-ups when I thought… “well actually, we might get back together…”

y) When it’s December where I’m from, you can’t sit in the house in a skimpy vest top and bare feet. You need hoodies galore, fleecey pj’s and ski socks.

z) I don’t have edgy, cool, vintage furniture. Instead I have a mattress with broken springs, a broken chest of draws and a desk designed for toddlers.

Telephone manner.

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Telephone manner.

I realised today after several attempts at trying to make my voicemail box greeting a bit more employer friendly, just how northern I sound now, compared to a year ago. I don’t know how the transformation occurred, particularly as I have been away from the accent.

I have no idea where the hell this accent comes from, I can only guess that the reason was homesickness or actually using the accent as impersonation type humour, which like cross-eyed kids, will get stuck eventually.

I have a couple of American friends here and there, and although I have endeavoured to master this (sometimes frightful) accent, my attempts were often deemed too unconvincing or too offensive.

So a few nights in and several episodes of  Live at the Apollo and 8 out of 10 Cats later, I found myself turning up the Lancashire, more just out of empathy with northern comedians such as Lancastrian, Jon RIchardson (weird crush 2k12?) as a bit of Lancaster loving, then took it too far and I now sound to put it shortly, common Trying several times to make answerphone greetings , which were a) comprehensible and b) potential-employer-friendly,  is quite a time consuming task when you have the occasional telephone induced stutter and swear like a sailor. The latter is an issue to address which I must add to my  ever-growing list of resolutions.

I now make a promise unto myself that I will at least give Queen’s English a try and stop using the words “fuck”, “bollocks” and most importantly “shit”.

This could prove quite problematic as my favourite proverbial saying is “no shit, Sherlock” and “fuck” is my own vocal form of punctuation, with “bollocks” giving my speech a regular tea-bagging.

I think I may have to make a swear box, but I need some replacement curses, which are witty and catchy. Suggestions?

Hello world!

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Hello world!

Well, I am about to start on my final year at uni, and by gum, I cannot believe how fast time has gone over the last three years. Here are some things I have realised about my life…

1) I am now single (hurrah??!) in fact, I just deleted my ex off facebook and am feeling all kind of female and powerful.. (Though give it a few days and I bet I’ll be contemplating adding him back because I want to stalk)

2). I have gained about a stone. Not the direction I was intending, however I am working on it, and have been going to the gym and watching what I eat a bit more… (Resolutions to do with cutting down on drinking beer and eating crisps to come…)

3) I have been hmming and ahhing about careers

4)  I’m not quite sure what grades I’m on for uni at the moment, but I am trying to swot up on the reading list (as you can see, I am already failing by starting a new blog.

5) One of my new resolutions is to become money savvy. I realised that I kind of lost financial control on the year abroad, and need to learn to budget, cut spending and live more cheaply by 2013 or else I’m in trouble for life!

6) I am in fact a grown-up now.

 

Happy days? We’ll see!