“Third year already, hasn’t that gone fast?”

I’ve heard that line plenty of times this summer. Most Sundays at church every conversation with anyone over 40 plays out like this. And then comes the inevitable, “so what are you going to do after that?”

It’s not a new question, but the percentage of times it gets asked has gone up a lot (probably to almost 100%) now that I’m going into my last year of university.

My answer is always vague, because I still have anxieties about how to answer the question, and anxieties about the subject itself (that’s probably not good):  “something with publishing and editing”.

It’s just an area of life I want to sort out on my own, in my own time, with no questions asked. I’ve had anxieties around it for years and I nearly always betray some of it when people ask me about it.

But on the other hand, I can see that it’s just a natural path for small talk to follow. When people ask me what kind of work I want to do, there’s a social anxiety-induced voice in my head asking what do they think I’m capable of, and what if I sound too ambitious and then they look at me sceptically… and what if I don’t end up fulfilling my ambitions and then Jill Bloggs who asked me what I want to do when I grow up multiple times from 2008-2016 will see that I didn’t achieve that.

It’s not like I overthink things or anything.

Yesterday at church I had to laugh when Mrs H did the “Wow third year already” line and then followed it up with the bluntest form of this question that I’ve heard so far: “When are you going to start looking for jobs then?”

Context: Mrs H was my teacher when I was 12-15 years old at a small independent school run by this church (so a lot of the people there are my old teachers!) and was obsessed with using our “daily devotions” time to go around in a circle and ask each of us what career we aspired to on a near-weekly basis. She’s always been known for her blunt honesty which, at school, could be either entertaining or terrifying, depending on the situation!

 

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First Group CBT Thing was Today

…Technically yesterday, because I just looked at the time and it’s 1:30am.

So yeah, I didn’t really feel nervous in the build up to it. Frankly I was looking forward to the openness of being around other students at my uni with anxiety. Although I may have freaked out slightly about 10 minutes before when I wanted to just triple check the lecture theatre it was in on the uni emails and the system was glitching and not giving me access. But after going to The Base and uncomfortably asking the receptionist to double check, I got to the right place and was on time.

I put on a very collected demeanor and walked into the lecture theatre. I noticed a lot of students sitting there looking absolutely on edge. I didn’t see anyone I recognised, which was a bit disapointing. I wrote a name badge and took a questionnaire and sat down on one of the front rows. There was a girl sitting on her own there and I internally debated whether to go by the usual unspoken rule of l Continue reading “First Group CBT Thing was Today”

Being Put on the Spot in Class

In what’s-your-favourite-poem class (conventionally known as English Literature):

Seminar tutor asks if we’ve all picked lines of Wordworth’s The Prelude which we liked to talk about in class, as requested in an email nobody remembers from before the Christmas holidays. Up until this point I’ve been thinking I’m fairly well prepared. But no, I haven’t picked lines, poem too long to relocate the bits that stood out to me now. Try anyway. Flick rapidly through the pages of this poem as quietly as possible. Everyone else sits in silence also hoping they won’t get picked to talk about something. Creeping gut feeling she’s about to pick me.

“Did you pick anything Charlotte?” Gut feeling confirmed.

Me: “I remember seeing lines that I liked…” flick even more desperately through The Prelude, hating the uncomfortable class silence, ‘I’ll find something…’

Keep scanning pages for something, why do none of the bits I annoted earlier on the bus seem verbalisable to me? Dilemma what to pick. Th Continue reading “Being Put on the Spot in Class”

On To Term Two!

So it’s the second week of the second term back at university now (how poetic) and also the start of a new year.

We had a whole month off for Christmas, and in that time I went to Iceland with my best friend and then spent Christmas at home. I had the time of my life in Iceland, especially seeing as it was my first time abroad. Taking off on the plane was really something, and I spent the entire journey there gawping out the window. When my friend suggested bringing earphones for the flight there to watch a film I was like “Are you crazy?” In Iceland, we saw the northern lights, geysers, and lots and lots of snow.

Christmas at home was the usual, quiet Christmas, which we’re okay with. Sometimes I feel a bit wistful about the fact I have a whole tonne of extended family who we’re not well enough aquainted with and/or geographically close enough to to ever see at Christmas. But on the other hand I certainly don’t envy people who have umpteen Christmas dinners and parties to go to every year. Besides, I met up with some friends on New Year’s Eve.

Now that I’m back at university I’m not quite feeling the same heights of confidence that I had in Term 1, but that’s probably something to do with it being cold and dark January. My main freak-out was last Friday, when I had my weekly Creative Writing workshop and a lecture in the same subject afterwards. I guess Friday is usually my panic day for this reason; I’d probably have skipped a few workshops by now if not for the fact they are compulsory.

We submit our bits of writing online on a Monday and then everybody else prints off these pieces and marks them in order to give feedba Continue reading “On To Term Two!”

Little Awkward Moment

It was a quiet Saturday morning and I hear one of my flatmates and lots of unfamiliar voices in the hall. A minute after they go out I emerge from my room to go to a society. When I open the door of the block to go outside I see my flatmate with grandparents, parents and a couple of other relatives dawdling about. So all of them except my flatmate initially turn around and just stare at me suspiciously for some reason I can’t comprehend. I smile awkwardly back and no one says anything and then my flatmate looks around and waves, saying “Hey” uncertainly. I smile properly, wave and say “hiya” back but it’s weird. Then I walk in the opposite direction to prove to said gawping relatives that I’m not a stalker or undercover criminal.

What even was that?

I have also made several new discoveries today.

1. Sitting on the desk is way more comfortable than sitting at the desk.

2. There are 2 spiders living in my window (on the outdoors side), not just 1 as I originally thought.

3. And I totally started writing a new story that I got inspiration for yesterday and I wrote tonnes and tonnes of ideas for it in bullet points. I don’t usually write dystopian stuff but this idea has a sprinkling of that element to it. It’s in the future and people live underwater because earth got too dangerous/overpopulated, but then this one girl reads a book and finds out there is in fact a world above water which people originally came from. So she’s all like “I’m going to find it” etc etc. I promise it’s more exciting than it sounds.