Confessions of a Ginger

A day in the life of a ginger


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From Graduand to Graduate

As it approaches a fortnight since I graduated with an upper class degree in Psychology, it came to my attention that I didn’t ever mark the occasion with a blog post. [This partly down to the fact that I am a slave to all things school uniform for the third summer running, and when I’m not, I am sleeping.] Fear not, on a rare day off I have managed to find the time to dedicate a post to what it is like as a graduate!  I have decided to try something a little different and write a poem to sum up my experience.

*Disclaimer – I am in no way shape or form a natural poet!

Graduation Selfie

Graduation 

As I stand there still in line,

Gown all draped and hat just perched,

To myself I whisper,  “You’ll be just fine”

My eyes they scan, as the hall is searched.

I wish and pray that I don’t fall,

The last thing I want is to be the fool;

It’s a long way down to the end of the hall,

Just stay calm, and keep your cool!

My name it echoes all around,

The steps I then begin to climb;

This moment, really quite profound,

A precious moment that will stand still in time.

My hand he shakes, and wishes me well,

I smile and profess my thanks;

*Thank god it wasn’t me that fell!*

As we all return to the ranks.

Graduation

A photo opportunity of course,

Our hats are launched in their mass;

Laughs and screams until we’re hoarse,

An opportunity I’m glad I didn’t pass.

I stand back and take it in,

Astounded at what I have achieved;

Happiness glows , as I wear such a grin.

But above all  just relieved!

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Second Class, Division One

As many of you are aware, this year marked the final year of my undergraduate degree in Psychology. As you can probably tell from my very long stint away from the blogging world, it became an all consuming battle to keep my head above water. Without a doubt it is the hardest thing I have ever done, and my god did it take everything I had.

uni

My life, post dissertation that is, mainly consisted of 10 hours a day sitting at my dining room table (if you could identify it under the reams of paper!) trawling through my notes, hoping, praying and generally begging the information to seep into my skull. It was a rather dismal description of ‘living life’ as I certainly did not have anything that resembled a life, out of the four walls that I call home.

Despite my love of knowledge and learning being a part of me for all my years in education, it has simply never come easy. I always had to work 10x harder to meet my own expectations, that realistically have always been so high. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been elated with the grades that I have previously received, and I can’t complain as they have always got me to where I need/wanted to be, however, I felt that the effort I put in, was never quite reflected with dazzling results. Knowing this, you can only imagine how I felt yesterday when I was walking to get my results.

Now let me describe that fateful walk: My campus is stunning, it is green, home to some spectacular wildlife and a gorgeous trip into university. However, yesterday, raining and miserable, I saw none of that. As I traipsed along the path trying to avoid throwing up and bursting into tears, all I saw was the long winding path that would lead me to my fate (dramatic I know, but nerves just doesn’t describe it). I genuinely felt like I was walking to an execution!

Our grades are posted on a board, with our candidate numbers and grades all aligned. Do you know how difficult it is to distinguish your own number when all start with 2100 and you can barely see for tears! I finally found my number, and to my total disbelief, I had done it! I had bagged myself a 2:1 and could no longer hold back the tears! It has been a roller coaster of a ride, that at many points I have wanted to get off, but it is over and I have jumped that final hurdle, I could not be more happy or relieved. The stress of the last three years have been totally worth it.

Despite academically achieving the dream, the best thing about my university experience is the friends that I have met along the way – the ones who never doubted me. That alone made this experience 100% worthwhile, regardless of my academic outcome!

From undergraduate to postgraduate – let this crazy journey continue!


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When adulthood struck….

This week has been crazy and it’s only Tuesday!

On Monday, after narrowly avoiding complete hysteria I bound my dissertation …. I can’t get over how proud I was of essentially a wad of 60 pieces of paper… but there it was, after much blood, sweat and tears it was done – a quarter of my degree bound and unchangeable ….

I thought the moment I handed it in would be full of relief.. but the only emotion I got was dread. Knowing that that was it, it was bound and signed and there was nothing I could do about it! I felt what I can only describe as flappy, all of that hard work for 10 months boils down to 60 pieces of paper!

dissertation

After eventually calming myself down, and getting one of the best nights sleep in a while… I awoke to a graduation invitation …. at that moment reality hit me full force again and I realised that 7 exams were in between me ….and well the real world! I honestly have no idea where these last 3 years have gone and my god has it been a ride… but somehow here I am on the edge of finishing and one final push needed to jump that final hurdle!

To top it all off, I received my DBS check for my PGCE in September… another reality check! All I have ever striven for is to become a teacher… now I am about to achieve that…. NOW WHAT?

Apparently at some point I became old enough for all this to happen!


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Dissertation Doom

I have well and truly sucked at this whole blogging thing, but in my defense, the final year of my psychology undergraduate is taking up all the brain power I have left (which is very little!)

I will now take you through the thoughtful process of thesis writing!!

1. “It’s great that I have a topic that I am really interested in, this is what I came to university for”

This is the blissfully ignorant stage, where you find your ‘passion’ and get to spend 9 months of your life learning everything there is to know about the field that has ignited your love for learning… I would refer to this as the honeymoon stage, because realistically, it is all down hill from here on out!

cone at me

2. “Everything is going wrong, is this what research looks like? How did I ever think this was a good idea!? 

This is the stage when you realise your passion doesn’t equal paradise, in fact it closely resembles one of those recurring nightmares you used to have as a child… apart from you’re awake and it’s real … REALLY REAL. However, you’re still keeping your cool in the lovely little bubble of denial so all is okay(ish).

3. “I have a month left and I still don’t have even half of my participants, what the hell am I going to do!?”

It isn’t until March hits that you begin to panic… you have until now at least, been aware of the computers breaking and the cancellations of participants, but somehow that flip of the calendar brings everything crashing into reality! You have nowhere near enough data to reach power and there are no people or time left to rectify the situation.

dissertation hell

4. “There is no literature to support what I am saying! It actually doesn’t exist!”

This is when shit really starts to hit the fan…. after hours of trawling through journal articles to support a comment you have made in your literature review, you begin to realise maybe said evidence doesn’t exist! Cue, complete new structure of literature review and less words than you had 5 months ago.

5. “NOTHING IS SIGNIFICANT”

If entering the world of statistics wasn’t painful enough, there is nothing more soul destroying than finding no significance in anything you have found. You are explaining correlations that are non existent and stating p values that aren’t even worth reporting…. oh and if you do find something vaguely significant, it will contradict the very little literature you have collected.

insignficant

6. “I’m not happy, I am going to rewrite it again – Dissertation Draft 25”

I don’t think I have ever re written anything more in my life, so much so I could recite the damn thing in my sleep. I say rewriting, most of the time it is copy and pasting the same thing into a new word document.

dissertation

7. “I’m so excited to put it all together!”

The sheer excitement at the prospect of seeing all your hard work in one document is one of the most satisfying feelings, you know the end is in sight and your about to see just how many thousands of words you have written – be proud!

8 “I HATE WORD, WHY WON’T THAT GRAPH GO THERE!?”

The excitement is short lived, when you realise that as you assemble all your hard typed work, Microsoft has a mental breakdown and decides to throw the graph you put on page 39 onto page 2…. shortly followed by your own mental breakdown as you spend hours dragging graphs and headings to where they were originally placed 5 hours ago.

“Be brutal!”

You finally get all the formatting sorted, and it is in a state where it can be distributed to some fresh pair of eyes. The best/worst thing you could tell someone who is proof reading your dissertation is to be brutal …. pride dented and red pen run out, you feel pretty crap about your efforts and start to rethink your intelligence and how you ever got to university in the first place.

proof

10 “It’s taking me as long to edit as it has to write it!”

You then have the pain staking task of trawling through adding commas, deleting full stops, changing phrases… all to keep the grammar police off your back for that final proof read.

11. “NOW MY GRAPHS HAVE MOVED AGAIN”

After feeling pretty accomplishec after making all your amendments, you realise your beautifully formatted pages have now moved AGAIN…. this point is where the laptop nearly makes a bid for freedom out of the window!

12. “YES! PDF COME AT ME”

Your worries about formatting are one of distant memories, as the PDF is firmly stuck and ready for binding!! You’ve made it!

13. “OH NO A SPELLING MISTAKE” 

Just as you think the hell is over, you notice you’ve missed that a out of appendix… but my PDF is uneditable! As you traipse back to your word document, praying the one letter doesn’t throw your formatting off, you hold your breath as it saves for the last time

14. “I’M HERE, I AM ACTUALLY HERE” 

This is your thought process at the binders, you’ve made it with everything on a memory stick ready to be bound into a document you’ve never been happier to get rid of your life!

15 “HOW MUCH!?”

” £20!!! I pay £9,000 a year…. why is this costing me, have I not been put through enough pain, without piling onto my overdraft!

16 “Look how beautiful it is!”

You have never been proud enough of anything more in your life! Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this (literally!) and after stroking the laminated cover several times, you realise that your degree is nearly over!

done!

17. “I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE”

You realise this momentous occasion, also marks the penultimate hurdle of your university career, and you have soon got to go out into the real world, where eating out of saucepans is a thing of the past and disney marathons become a once loved memory

blanket fort

So there we have it… the emotional roller coaster that is thesis writing, the rollercoaster that you can’t wait to get off, until you find yourself begging to stay on!

Bring on those final exams!


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Procrastination Fascination

Procrastination – The action of delaying or postponing something

 

If there is something that I have learnt about myself over the past 6 years, is that if there was an Olympic sport in procrastination… I would undoubtedly win… every time!

Why is it that this delaying the inevitable is so appealing and so easy to do!? I am approaching my final year undergraduate degree in psychology, and fastly approaching dissertation dooooooooom! So no, no I’m not completely unaware of how much I need to do, but my time to do things seem to have been stolen!?

Thief

 

Oh! So that’s where my time is disappearing to! But but… tomorrow just seems so much more appealing! I mean I don’t technically have to get it done by September right!?

Who am I kidding, I am going to be in the biggest mess ever in September if I don’t get this done!

 

Procrastotips

 

Or…. Reasons to Procrastinate

  • I’ll do it after work tomorrow – The trouble is I never want to do it after work, whether it be tomorrow or any other day of the week!

  • I’ve thought about it… that counts right!? –  I have thought about/compiled a list of what I need to. That’s enough for today, I’ll do the rest tomorrow

  • It’ll be better if I do it when I actually want to – Great sentiment, but the fact is I NEVER want to do it

  • I’ve got 9 months of working on this dissertation, I deserve a break – Apart from I’ve been using that excuse since June!

  • It’s not actually a big task in the scheme of things – Apart from it will be if I get back uni and still haven’t done itProcrast

  • I work better under pressure- Yes, because I have no choice when it is due in the day after… *note to self* there is proof that this isn’t a good idea because when you get a migraine and still have to complete a deadline… this is the result.

Me


  • I’ll have a better understanding of it if I give myself more thinking time – Truth is I can’t remember it as well as last week, let alone in September

  • I work 9-5, the evenings are my time – Well I’ll be working 7-Midnight in September if I don’t make the most of this time I have now!

 


  • I need to think of a good WordPress post, I haven’t posted in agees! – Well if that’s an excuse then I am most definitely procrastinating from procrastinating, because I’m not doing well on the work front or the blogging one! But thinking about blogging is just so much more fun!Procrastinate

  • I’ll start on the hour – Oops it’s two minutes past .. I’ll have to wait until the next hour now

This is forever my mental battle I have with myself, I am so unmotivated it is unreal! Despite perfecting the art of procrastination my life isn’t very productive at the moment… apart from working and spending lots and lots and lots of money I don’t have on my one day off a week….

See Charlotte this is why you need to do your work… without a degree, you have no job, you have no money, and you can’t procrastinate by playing game of life and kidding yourself that you are investing in your future!

So there we have, another 45 minutes worth of golden procrastination completed! And still no work done!

 

What are your procrastination problems? Do you struggle finding motivation? What are your tips to getting yourself back on track ?

Charl x

Under Pressure

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Cue very cheesy number courtesy of  Queen!

It’s been one of those day’s today … in fact one of those months!

Everything I seem to do at the moment comes with a warning label Caution: Contains Pressure. If it’s not one thing it’s another. It has made me really realise that everybody is under immense amount of pressure in some way shape or form!

These past 4 weeks have been particularly stressful however, for many a reason! And sometimes I need to take a step back and remember that however important something is, it’s not worth breaking my back for!

  1. Thursday is results day; words cannot describe how much I am dreading it! The pressure that I put on myself far outweighs the pressure put on by anybody else; but it doesn’t make it any easier, I am so desperate to have done well! I was always that kid at school, that if it was graded on effort alone I would have aced everything that I did.. but unfortunately my grades never quite reflected my efforts… Don’t get me wrong, I have been proud of the grades that I have acheived but my god! did I work for them! They’re never quite as spectacular as the brain box sat beside me, or the happy go lucky, ‘I don’t need to revise to do well’ kinda kid, but I was okay with that, because I knew I had earned what I got. This is my 6th year of results,and it never gets easier … I can only imagine the ball of anxiety that will fester for my final results next year!!

  2. The inspiration for this post, was when I was on a bikini hunt; literally my worst nightmare. I haven’t got the most hideous figure in the world, but it is a huge insecurity of mine! Now I love food far too much to care enough to do something about my weight, but it did make me think of the pressure that women and young girls are under in relation to their body image. My sister, is a typical example influenced by size 2 models in magazines, and is forever complaining that she is fat (she is a size 6/8 may I add!) I find it so heartbreaking that someone as beautiful as her ( she DEFINITELY got the better pick of the gene pool!) can be so unhappy with the way she looks! something that the media is solely responsible for. What happened to the days where a size 14/16 was considered beautiful!?  the icon that is Marilyn Monroe, sporting a beautiful curvaceous figure was the dream goal… And now anorexia and bulimia is more prominent than ever, because of the pressure that is put on body image (the psychology student is coming out now!) Why can’t we all embrace who we are and enjoy the prospect of shopping for bikinis and slim fitting clothes!?

  3. As a student, it comes as no shock, that I am forever under financial pressure, now I’m a pretty savvy saver, but a few more pennies thrown my way wouldn’t hurt. This made the short list after my rent got taken out twice this month – it is safe to say that I nearly had a heart attack when I harmlessly checked my bank balance today! It was a mistake, but still didn’t take away the harsh reality that is my ever increasing debt and need to work for money to pay rent for over the summer. Let’s just say my dad won’t be winning Dad of the year, and for reasons I won’t go in to, financial worries is always a big one, and I fear will be for the foreseeable!

  4. JOBS… FUTURE… STRESS: Need I say anymore!? The thought of the future terrifies me! I don’t enjoy change and I like to know exactly what is going on … the future is something that I have very limited control over and I really don’t like it! Job seeking is fastly approaching and this became suddenly more real when “Plan A” got thrown out of the window after being rejected from my only really thought out plan (Teachfirst), so it’s back to the drawing board… time to explore a new avenue… time to stop being scared and to just go for it!

  5. Ironically, the last pressure to make the short list comes in the form of that wonderful thing called a dissertation. My deadline for my proposal is Friday (GET ON AND DO IT THEN! I hear you shouting) but this is just it, my dissertation partner bailed on me this week and is going to work a placement year, leaving me with the mammoth task of changing the entire plan and essentially going solo! Writing it therefore is proving to be a huge issue, and is driving me insane… I am just hoping that it will all be worth it in the end  !

So there we have it, a few thoughts on the world and its pressures. I know it’s all part and parcel of life’s rich tapestry but sometimes I just wish life was calm enough to enjoy the simple things in life – I do try, I really do!

At this point, it only feels right to take the time to thank all of the people that continue to support me in everything that I do… in particular one very special person – who in fact is a blogger her self (why not check out her blog here) who too is under ridiculous amounts of pressure with her job (I can’t really complain in comparison), who genuinely means the absolute world to me, she is amazing! Without her, who knows where I’d be (in a corner rocking back and forth probably!) and I owe her more than I could ever describe!

On that note, I should probably return to this dissertation that pressure that only procrastination can resolve 😉


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A Newbie’s Welcome!

HI! 

I suppose this is the part where I am supposed to pretend that I know what I’m doing…. “Blogging, Easy!”

But this is also the point where I will happily admit I am a total blogging novice, with not the foggiest of an idea of what I’m actually doing, but we can roll, blag and well …. pray that this new adventure is a success.

I’m Charlotte, I’m 20 and am about to embark on a roller coaster that is also known as final year at university! Yes you guessed it, this is a perfect procrastination excuse (in fact I have a dissertation proposal due in 3 days!).

I am also Ginger, which is always a great ice breaker… for other people! So with the introductory out of the way, I look forward to joining the blogging community and hope that I don’t disappoint you all too much!

Until next time!

Charlotte