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Dear Ceilidh...


"I am delighted to inform you that the University is offering you admission to MSc Theatre and Performance Studies..."


Yay! I got back into Edinburgh! Now I just need the money to pay for it! 


Allow me a moment of smugness...



Dundee's my 2nd choice (after Edinburgh, of course) but having the back-up in place is a relief. Also, yay, further education!

Just got to find some money for it now. Anyone got £5000 free?

Hey, remember me?

QI Stephen
I keep saying I'm going to write a summary of everything I've been up to over these past few months but I'm always too knackered, too lazy or just too boring to get round to it. Well no more! 

I actually had to check my LJ to see what the last entry I'd posted was on. It's been a while.

None of this will be new to anyone who follows me on twitter, although I don't blame you if you don't since I'm an exceptionally prolific and extremely annoying tweeter who rants constantly about my hatred for David Cameron, live-tweets the Democratic National Convention until 5am and I think I'm funnier than I really am. 

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Spirited Away
Well, I'm back home and in front of the TV on the couch while dad's snoring away on the next couch, so I thought now would be a good time to finally upload those graduation pics. It's mostly me with my family looking awkward but snappy in the robes.

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Seriously, that's my range of smiles in photos. Smug weirdo or serial killer glee. The graduation photographer really wasn't happy about it and kept trying to get me to show my teeth, which was just never going to happen. That photo also includes my family. I guarantee it's going to look like something from the Addams Family. 

Kylie's looking pretty swish, eh?

Yeah, they got my name wrong when I went up get my degree. However, I still got it! 

I'll post more pictures when my family go crazy and upload them all onto Facebook. 

The dissertation of doom!

Brad Sherwood
I frequently make reference to my dissertation on twitter (by which I mean I panic and complain a lot) and all the things related to it that only I find fascinating. More and more people have been asking about it and my advisor gave me the go-ahead to actually begin properly writing the thing (EEK!) so I thought I'd stick this info dump here, taken from an e-mail sent to one of my twitter friends who wanted some more details. I got carried away.

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Lie down on the couch...

Spirited Away
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.
Mark Gatiss
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! 

It's been one of those days.

First, the positives.

I finished my contract with QMU on Friday then went out with my now former co-workers. It was a great night only slightly marred by being refused entry into the casino with everyone else because they don't accept invalid passports. The bouncer looked at me like I was a weirdo when I said I hadn't renewed my passport because I hadn't been abroad since 2008. Apparently the bouncer business is paying well enough to make foriegn travel a frequent occurence in his life. Still, the night was a lot of fun and there was much headbanging to be had in the bar to the live band. I'll miss them all a lot. 

Then yesterday I went to the recruitment day for the Edinburgh uni student association (EUSA). It's a strange thing for me to get a job interview so quickly after leaving another job. Usually there's a much bigger time gap between the two events, which makes me increasingly panicky. The event was like a team building exercise crossed with speed dating style interviews. I must have done okay because a few hours later they e-mailed to offer me a job! I was so excited I almost keeled over. This was exacerbated by my having found out moments after giving blood. Acecakes! My training day is tomorrow and I start on Saturday, the beginning of Fresher's Week. The Term begins on 19th. I'm actually really looking forward to going back to uni. It'll be nice to have a sense of normalcy after an erratic summer. I'm also rather itching to get going on my dissertation. I've been buying and reading a lot of plays in preparation, which isn't doing my bank account any favours (seriously, plays are so expensive!) I've never tackled anything quite like a 10000 word dissertation before so it's going to be one hell of a learning curve. I do get the feeling my choice of topic - post-Thatcher era British political theatre - will leave me feeling a tad depressed.

Then again, it seems that nothing leaves me feeling quite as depressed and hopeless as politics does. Yeah, yeah, I know you're all bloody sick of me talking about it on twitter and it feels like every 2nd entry on this LJ is me wangsting away like a tween with hormones on overdrive, but it is something I spend far too much of my time thinking about, and the vast majority of that time is me spent being angry, sad, confused, hopeless or a crazy mixture of the whole lot. I wrote about the age of hope being dead during the riots and while I may have been a tad quick to jump to such feelings, most of that still rings true for me and it feels like it's never going to get any better. It's all so seedy and bitchy, it's worse than high school. At least with high school, millions of people didn't get fucked over in the process. We talk about hope and change but where is it? There's so much smugness and behind the sickening smiles and self congratulatory backslaps, it all basically amounts to "We're shit but we're not as shit as them" from all sides. Denial, finger pointing, outright lies, smears... it's fucking stupid! I know it's fucking stupid and I know it's never going to change, so why am I so invested in it all? Is it really worth it? 

Maybe I'll just hang up my political socks and focus on something that makes me happy for a change. It's not as if I'm some beacon of insightful political commentary in the vein of Olbermann and Maddow anyway. I don't bring new shit to the table, just shit. I think it's something I need to outright cut out of my life. I tried taking breaks from it all, one day free from it all every now and then, but it's no good. I just get roped back in and the cycle continues. 

Having said all this, you'll probably see me getting angry about some Tory or something on twitter about 5 minutes after this goes up.



The great work begins...

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November 2012



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