Graduation and life after

I’m now officially a graduand (apparently that’s the term for someone who has finished exams but hasn’t officially graduated yet) and life is quite calm at the moment. I recently found out that I have a job that I will start in September (which I’m super happy about, it’s hard to get a job and it’s been a long road) and it’s more or less a perfect job for me (if I choose to accept the offer) and I just got my results today saying that I’ve passed and will graduate in July so I’m pretty happy right now 🙂

During this past year, I’ve had a feeling of uncertainty about everything. I wasn’t sure if I’d get a job or if I would graduate, but now I seem to have both things more or less waiting for me. In March after I got my first semester results I was really upset and down about everything since I’d also been rejected from three jobs by then too, and the future looked pretty bleak. I wanted to crawl into my bed and never go outside into the real world again. I was (am) lucky that I have my friends and family who were (and still are) exceptionally supportive and my personal cheer squad. There have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel and my friends would tell me not to give up, that they would have done the extra year with me had they been able to and that they thought it was a great thing for me to be doing. I’m grateful to all of them for sticking by me throughout everything, I don’t think I would have come this far without them, and I certainly wouldn’t feel so happy that I have if they weren’t there to share this with me.

tldr: I have a job offer, am going to graduate soon and am very lucky to have people who have been there for me during this tough year.

Now it’s on to the future and whatever new adventures this new job (or something else) hold for me.

When life gives you lemons?

I love lemons. Anything lemon flavoured I’ll eat almost definitely. I can eat lemon curd out of the jar, without bread or cake or whatever. I just scoop it out with a spoon and eat it. It makes me feel so good.

On that topic, I think life has given me some lemons lately. Although I’m not sure they’re lemons because…well, I guess they’re not major problems but they feel like it. I’m just busier than normal. Way busier than I was last year, if that’s even possible. I had an assessment centre on Wednesday (which I failed, sadly) and have tutoring once a week at one school and once a week at another school but they’re done by two different organisations. One where I get paid and one where I don’t. The kids are vastly different at each though, the school where I don’t get paid has the smarter kids, they’re on A/A* grades whilst the other school is on C, possibly B if they tried really hard. I do love tutoring though, it’s so great when they get a topic and they look so happy when they can do something which they thought was hard but isn’t really. However for the school where I don’t get paid, I have to do extra training because I’m working towards a qualification which I should hopefully get in March and will look good if I ever decide to go into teaching (which is weirdly enough the job that the assessment centre was for…) but I have a ton of that training to do and other administrative stuff to do for that. What have I signed up for?

Add to that coursework, project work and general things that I need to do before the semester ends in three weeks. Three weeks. Where has the time gone?! Am I getting old already?

Guess it’s time to make some lemonade!

Presenting my presentation skills?

On Wednesday I did some work for university, well, sort of for the university and it was sort of scary. A lot of my posts are about me being introverted and so I signed up for ‘revision skills’ presentations to get out of my comfort zone. I’m a student ambassador at university and signed up for a program within student ambassadors which is run with another university nearby where we go to schools and colleges (sixth form) and promote higher education to the pupils, sometimes as young as year 8. One of the newer things is going to visit year 11’s in schools and talk about revision.

To be honest, I’m not very good at presentations, the last presentation I did was in first year about a virtual fund and why we invested in the companies that we did and I had virtually no knowledge on the finance industry. I survived that and I have no idea how, but I put it down to my first year ‘syndrome’ where I signed up for everything and anything and did things that I wouldn’t normally do. I went to a finance conference with nobody I knew except for one person. By the end of that weekend I had made a dozen friends from universities across the country so that was great. I wonder if getting older has made me do less reckless things? I’ll have to try and find some crazy things to do.

On Wednesday I was nervous (but not so much that I wanted to be sick) and fortunately one of the staff members was with me so he did a lot of the talking which was a relief. I did most of the talking about revision strategies as I’m still at uni whilst the staff member graduated 6 years ago so he doesn’t have to do any revision anymore. Lucky. There were meant to be 3 ambassadors but 2 dropped out so it was just me and the staff member as he didn’t want me to do the presentation by myself, in front of nearly 200 year 11’s, which I’m grateful for. I didn’t do too badly, if I say so myself, I did stumble a few times and started talking really quickly but hopefully I’ll get better as I do more of them. It wasn’t too bad for my first presentation and I know what to do for the future ones, and hopefully this’ll help in the future. If I can get through a presentation about revision of all things to a group of year 11’s, normal presentations should eventually become easier, right?

Step one of attempting to be more extroverted – check.

Just have to make a step two…

Final year

Final year is in full swing. I feel so old all of a sudden. Why are there so many freshers around? They’re all so small and dress so weirdly…argh, it’s making me feel ancient 😦 On the plus side, I had an eventful first two weeks back in the UK (and a third not so eventful one). The first was spent working, a mere five days after I had landed back in the UK – most of the week was spent recovering from being ill though. I spend three months in America and am totally fine but when I get home I get ill. Typical. Work was fine though. I was a team leader this time which was interesting, there’s a bit more responsibility than the others but it wasn’t too much extra. Although one day I got a phone call at 10.30pm when the two working the late shift didn’t know what to do with the box (it has the phone and other important stuff in) but we eventually got a solution. That was on the second day too, my first day as the leader…

The second week was officially freshers and I missed it because one of my best friends from school and I booked a holiday to Disneyland Paris. We had been with school about four and a half years ago and decided to go back and be children again, now that we’re ‘adults’. I’m going to do an entire post on it as we did a lot of stuff.

I still have posts about America to do and put up the photos – I took a lot of them, my friend took over 100 photos in 14 days when she went to Hong Kong but I took that many alone in Boston when I was there for 2 days! (They’re not all good though, only the good ones made the cut to the flickr album :P)

Summer part 2 + uni starts!

In early August, my family and I went to Scotland 😀 Edinburgh was first, and we stayed in a nice hotel right next to a train station which went to the centre of Edinburgh so we got on that and made our way into the centre. The castle was in the background, I took a lot of pictures, my sister said I went a bit crazy and got into tourist mode…

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This was an arch-thing near the train station.

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We spent one day in the Cairngorns, near Inverness where we went up the Funicular railway almost to the summit of the mountain. We were going to get the train up and walk down but my mum didn’t want to chance it, she was worried we’d fall down or something like that. On the way back down, we met the same family we had seen on the way up, which was coincidental. We also went to a lake nearby and had a walk around, I would have really liked to go windsurfing/canoeing/sailing but we didn’t have time or wetsuits but in the future I’m definitely going! The sky didn’t look very promising though and we just missed the rain.

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ImageThis is a photo of the castle (I think it’s a castle) in Inverness. One picture I took of my parents looks like I green-screened it…which is weird…

When we were driving back to Edinburgh, we stopped off at Dundee and St. Andrews briefly. We had some really nice ice cream in St. Andrews, it had been mentioned in the Times newspaper so when we went there was a massive queue. Fortunately it was worth the wait and it was really creamy 🙂 The golf was on too, so that probably had an effect on how many people were there. It was really small though, I’m not so used to that kind of place but my sister liked it. She jokingly said she would apply to university there, to which my mum said no. Dundee was much bigger and more like what I’m used to, although the new roads/traffic signals totally confused us when we were trying to leave, almost as if Dundee didn’t want us to leave!

We then spent two days in London with my cousin and his fiancee. They took us to a nice Thai restaurant which was on top of a car park. Not under. On top. Which was really strange as we had to go up this slightly dodgy looking stairway to get there but the actual restaurant was very nice. We went to Bluewater which wasn’t too far from their house, and it is massive. It had an American-mall type of feeling, with tons of light coming in and a couple of outlet stores here and there. The frozen yoghurt was nice though and I bought a nice dress for my friend’s birthday party (her party was awesome too, on a side note).

And the rest of summer was spent watching movies with my friends/eating…I think I’ve been to far too many restaurants in a short space of time :/ How I still have money is beyond me.

Anyway, two weeks ago I was working for International Orientation at University which was awesome! I was in halls so I just helped them take their stuff to their room, but our main job was to get students from the shuttle bus that came from the airport. The bus manager is supposed to ring us and we sprint out (they say 5 minutes but they mean 2…although one says 5 minutes and she means 10 :/) to collect them. One bus manager was pretty useless though, she didn’t know how many students we were collecting and which hall they were going to, she didn’t even get off the bus to help with the luggage and check we had the right students! That was slightly worrying but fortunately one of the students helped with the luggage, they were all so nice! Thursday was our busiest day, we had 19 students from one bus and I took 3 to a different hall a long, long way from where the bus dropped them off. Fortunately they didn’t have too much luggage, and most of the suitcases have wheels so we can just drag them along. I have a hoodie too, which says ‘ask me’ and so people asked me all sorts of questions about university and mostly directions, even when I wasn’t working, they just came up to me because of the hoodie. I’ve had to take students to all sorts of places because of this, but I don’t mind, I enjoy helping them; they’re also so thankful which is great 😀 And I even met someone who is on one of my courses this year, which was funny and a triumph, the first mathematician I’ve met! (He hasn’t forgotten who I am either, we had our first lecture today :P)

So the university semester is in full swing, sort of, tutorials don’t start until next week but we are all in ‘work’ mode now, no more lazing around at home XD Hopefully this year will be better than the last! 😀

A good week

Last week was a good week, not to mention a busy one. I felt far busier during that week than I should have, considering it’s summer and I’m free! (until September)

On Sunday my friend and I went to a dragon boat festival held at the city quays. We both study Mandarin together and our teacher had told us about it, and we were prepared to row in the dragon boats. We were so disappointed when they said they could only have one team of 11 rowing so we just watched from the sides. The performers were really cool though, and there was a group of little children doing a dance, it even included Gangnam Style! ImageOne of the boat races, the drummer looks like they’re going to fall off!

Monday was socialising with my friends from university, which consisted of bowling (where I got 4 strikes!) and these little tickets came out of the machine where the balls were stacked. We eventually worked out they were for getting spares/strikes but we only had enough for a measly packet of sweets, which I took since no one else wanted them. I also drove there! Without killing anyone and parking within the lines, and on a motorway. As a sort-of-newish driver, motorways scare me slightly as everyone’s really fast and it’s like ‘what if I miss the junction? what if I go over the speed limit and hit the car in front?’ Fortunately my dad went with me the first time so I got over some of those fears.

Tuesday was meeting a friend from school for a catchup. She lives at home where I go to uni but goes to another university so she’s commuting a lot of the time meaning I don’t see her as often as I should. She chose this poshish restaurant for lunch – it’s based in the posher shopping part in the centre of town and we ended up sitting inside as the sun was really hot. That and I couldn’t read the menu as it kept reflecting the sun…A few mocktails (she doesn’t drink, I didn’t feel like it) and then the food came. I had ribs…and a paintbrush, which was bizarre. You got to paint the sauce on the ribs…it was so strange. But slightly therapeutic. ImageThe paintbrush is tucked behind the chips but it’s there!

Wednesday was helping out at university with an outreach day, trying to encourage year 10s to take maths beyond GCSE level. We just helped them with some puzzles (some were really hard) and then took them on a tour of university. I even got lunch 😀 Then I had training in the afternoon for the university open days at the weekend, which was quite boring. I did get told what I was doing though, and was glad I would be inside and wouldn’t have to move much.

Thursday was a day to restup before my final Mandarin lesson, our class went out for a meal afterwards at a Turkish restaurant in town. It was very nice, I’d actually been before for my friend’s 18th but I had some other food this time. I also spent some time outside in the garden as it was actually sunny! The sky went from this:Image

To this: ImageNot sure if it’s clear/that good but I wanted a shot of the sun.

Friday was the first university open day, and I woke up late. I was supposed to wake up at 6am to leave at 6.30 but ended up waking at 6.25 and leaving at 6.35 I still made it to university for 7.15 and had just enough time for breakfast. Then we had to setup the signs and tickets – I was in charge of giving out tickets for the dentistry talk later that afternoon. It wasn’t that busy as it was Friday and a lot of people still had work/school and it got boring after the talk had started and I had no real use anymore. I got to leave early though, and it was sunny 🙂

Saturday was almost exactly the same as Friday, but I woke up on time and was waiting for the bus when I realised that there were hardly any on Saturday. Fortunately one came past and I didn’t hesitate to get on. What was really strange was seeing one of my friends on the way, at 7.10am. He was on his way home! Must have had a fun night.

On a final note, I finally found a coke bottle with my name on 😀 I was probably too happy about that and my sister thinks I’m crazy but we’re waiting until her name comes out and then she’ll be the super happy one.