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Lie down on the couch...

What with the first semester of my final year quickly coming to a close and the rest of my life approaching on the horizon, I've been reading a lot of graduate and internship applications, trying to sort out how I move from student life to the real world. It's been interesting but mostly terrifying, but that's only when I really have the time to think about it since I have so much other stuff to do. Pretty much all of them ask for a few paragraphs on why I feel I am suitable for the position or what I hope to achieve or what unique skills and talents I could bring to the table, and I'm reminded frequently of how bad I am at selling myself on that level. I'm getting a lot of personal statement flashbacks from high school (holy crap, how was that 5 years ago?). Luckily I have more jobs and experience to fill out these things with nowadays but the sentiment is still the same. I'm just not very good at complimenting myself at the best of times unless it's sarcastically. It always feels so smug to me to do so. Not that I have an issue with others doing it, nor do I think it smug when they compliment themselves, I've just never had that much self-confidence. I have no idea what I'm getting at here, I'm a bit too frazzled to say anything entertaining. 

I'm volunteering with the higher education programme again tomorrow but this time it's with primary school kids who will be about 10 or 11, which is a new thing for me. I do enjoy doing it all and I think it's an extremely important programme, especially these days with higher education being seen more and more as something not for a specific class of people, but I don't think I'm selling the experience very well to them. The spontaneity of it all is interesting and does force me to keep thinking and on my toes but I'm sure I'd be a lot better at that if I could get a decent night's sleep. I couldn't sleep until after 6am, although this was also due to some internet worries I won't delve into, and the only reason I didn't sleep until dinnertime was because I had a student rep meeting to go to. I just can't turn my mind off any more. I don't know if it's stress from studies and such or if it's the big you-know-what threatening to rear its ugly head, but whatever the case, it's fucking me up badly and the doctor won't help. Herbal sleeping tablets don't work either, haven't done so for a long time, and googling for advice just leads to a lot of homoeopathic bollocks. I got some suggestions from twitter a couple of days ago but if you have any more I'd really appreciate them. I know there's no quick-fix solution, as much as I'd like one, but at this point in time I'm pretty much willing to try anything. The lack of a decent schedule is fucking with my studies more than the average student should have to deal with. 

I don't want to end this entry on such a downer so here's the Time Warp put to the Batman cartoon.

Adventures in CV Padding.

I was on Facebook a couple of nights ago talking to my friend Eleanor and she was asking when she'd next see me, and proceeded to start naming days, which I crossed off one by one because of things I had to do. I realised just how much stuff I have to do over the next few weeks which is brilliant for my CV and not so great for my failing attempts to get a decent night's sleep. 

A couple of weeks ago I managed to drag myself out of bed at 7 (don't laugh, this has become increasingly difficult for me over the past few months!) and go to a higher education event at a high school in the city for this volunteer programme I signed up for. Essentially, my job was to sit with a bunch of 4th years, of varying enthusiasm and attitude, and talk to them about the amazing adventure that is higher education. It was an interesting experience since the other volunteers and I genuinely had no idea what to do! We were given a basic outline and told to go for it. The spontaneity was a bit terrifying but I think I coped okay. No complaints anyway. I'm doing it again tomorrow morning but with 5th years instead. I'm also supposed to be helping out with the primary school version of the programme but haven't heard any details back.

Last Saturday I volunteered at the Scottish Poetry Library which was several kinds of epic. It's the most gorgeous building (and architecture students hang around outside trying to take photos without us noticing) with some beautiful artwork inside and just being in there was a lot of fun. I did a lot of shelf stacking and alphabetising which is my idea of geek heaven, plus you can have as many free cups of tea as you want! I'm hoping to do it again sometime in the near future. The woman in charge (with the same name as me) said I could come back and help with some events and such. Looking forward to it.

I've already squealed excitedly about this on Twitter but it bears repeating. On Friday night, after an afternoon of catching up with my friend Dara who I hadn't seen in months, I went to help out at the National Museum of Scotland's late night event. Suffice to say, it was amazing. It was essentially a children's museum party for over 18s, with booze instead of juice. There was face painting, a silent disco in the kid's percussion section, live animal handling, dress-up (I do question the ethics behind a Colonial theme dress-up in the section with the stuffed animals), bracelet making, live music and Hungry Hungry Hippos (which was harder to set up than it should have been). Essentially, the volunteers were there to join in with the fun, just on a slightly less alcohol driven mode. It was some of the most fun I've had in ages and I'm definitely signing up to help again at the next event next year (which coincides with the museum's Egyptian exhibit so you know that's going to be epic!). Here's me with my face-paint:

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I also joined something. A party. A political party. That likes red. Feel free to mock me but I've been working up the nerve to do it for months.

So I feel pretty good about the fact that I can pad out my CV without lying (I was also the Medieval honours class rep for the Celtic department which required me to complain about my course to the face of my course lecturer. He was lovely about it so it was okay.) There's also my job (I was working until 4am last night so at least I have an excuse for sleeping in stupidly late today) and my studies, which I'm pretty content with. I handed in my essay early (SCORE!) and got confirmation back that my dissertation is good to go, which is a relief. Overall, I've got lots to do but I like it that way. Luckily all this volunteer and work stuff never really requires much commitment beyond a few hours so I've still got time to concentrate on the dissertation of doom and the semi-dead language translations that relax me more than they should. As long as I still have Monday nights free to win the pub quiz with, it's all good.
Yep, insomnia's back. Crap.

This is, as you can imagine, extremely inconvenient for me. I, for lack of a more eloquent term, have shit to do and I can't reach the amazing potential people keep telling me I have when I'm constantly exhausted. Even if I go to sleep at 5am and wake up at 2pm, which is an increasingly regular occurrence, I still feel constantly knackered and unable to concentrate properly. After a reasonably successful Restoration lit tutorial today, I headed off to Medieval Welsh and just hit a blank. The lecturer wasn't explaining things too clearly in my opinion but since everyone else seemed to be doing a bang-up job, maybe that's just me. I just ended up staring gormlessly at the Power Point presentation as she repeated things in an increasingly louder and slower manner, the way one tries to train dogs. Things certainly weren't helped by the smug twunt next to me who smugly sniggered and made sure we all knew that he had no problem with what we were discussing. He was an inch away from having the Mabinogion shoved up his arse.

I know I can do all this stuff perfectly well, although certain Welsh pronunciations will always be tongue twisters for me, but the lack of sleep is beginning to fuck me over. Usually the bouts of insomnia hit me a little later in the term. So I'm seeing the doctor in the morning because I do not need this shit. I have a lot to do this year and I intend to do it well. I've got two English lit courses, a 40 credit Medieval Welsh class, my dissertation, my part time job as well as several blatant CV padding adventures (2 class representative positions, volunteering at Scottish Poetry Library, peer support training, education representatives in schools) to try and make myself more employable before I take the terrifying leap into graduate applications. Sadly the vast majority of them are for law firms and accountancy training. I can't change the world as an accountant! I got an e-mail starting with the phrase "Would you like to work for Goldman Sachs?" No. I'm not evil. I'm still not sure what things I'm going to apply for. I know I want to work in some field of charity research or fundraising but it's still touch and go. There's also the worry that the whole panic disorder thingy may come back in full force. I last had one at my summer job in QMU, which was embarrassing for all involved. I can keep things pretty controlled and while I know the risk is always there, or at least the threat, I can recognise the warning signals. At least I hope I can. May be a bit different if it actually happens. I know I'm perfectly capable of doing my course, my job, my social life, my extra curricular activities and my blogging at the same time. I just need to fucking sleep! 


The great work begins...

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November 2012



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