The Return to Lancaster.

As most of you know, this weekend I headed back to my beloved university city of Lancaster for the first time since graduation! It was so strange arriving at the station but, within hours, it genuinely felt like I had never been away. The plans for the weekend were simple – catch-up with all my pals, go out two nights in a row and generally just act like a student again!

Upon arriving in Lancaster on Friday evening, I met my friend Lucy at the station and we headed straight to the Travelodge we were staying at (Lucy kindly let me crash in her room, bless her!). After a quick change, it was time to start having a few cheeky drinks before two of my closest friends from Uni, Sadie and Becky, arrived so we could all go out into town. We did our standard tried and tested route of Hustle, which is a small bar/club that’s a bit of a dive but plays decent music and sells numerous novelty shots (what more could you want!), followed by Sugar- the student nightclub which essentially became a bit like a second home to me during my time at uni. I had an absolutely cracking night with the girls and it felt so good to just let my hair down properly!

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Lucy and Me

The next morning, me and Lucy decided to head to The Borough, which is one of our favourite restaurants in Lancaster, so we could treat ourselves to a big cooked breakfast. I couldn’t appreciate it as much as I normally could but it still tasted pretty damn good and helped sort me out nicely. After that I pottered about town for a bit before meeting Becky so we could discuss the previous night and prepare for our next night out. Our preparations mainly involved heading back to her flat so we could snuggle up and watch Bridget Jones – perfect Saturday afternoon!

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Big Borough Breakfast

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Lancaster

That evening, me, Becky and Sadie all headed to our friend Adam’s 21st Birthday Party. I used to work with Adam so it gave me a great opportunity to catch-up with him and all my old work friends who I haven’t seen or spoken to properly since I left back in June. Although it was a slightly quieter night than the previous one, I still had a great night and absolutely loved being able to spend more time with the girls and everyone else.

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Sadie, Becky and Myself 

Overall I had a fantastic weekend and it felt so good to be back in Lancaster and to properly see everyone again. For a short while it did just feel like I was a young undergraduate once more and I have to admit, I felt pretty sad at the prospect of having to head back to Glasgow. Luckily though, tomorrow I’m heading back home for 9 amazing days. I actually cannot wait to see all my family and friends again and just enjoy being back in Nottingham with my nearest and dearest. My week is already looking really full and I’ve got a lot of exciting plans in place which I’m sure you’ll hear all about in many future blog posts – lucky you!

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A post I did for The Linguistic Experience Project – great blog for any Linguistics students or graduates!

The Linguistic Experience Project

Contributor: Carla

What?

Currently I’m a full-time volunteer with Share Scotland, a charity which supports adults with complex learning and physical disabilities. I graduated from Lancaster University in July 2012, with a first-class BA (Hons) in Linguistics and English Language.

Why?

I needed to gain valuable experience to help strengthen my application for the postgraduate MSc in Speech and Language Therapy. Also, I wanted the opportunity to move away from home and do something worthwhile and rewarding with my gap year!

How did you find the application process?

I applied through a charity called CSV (www.csv.org.uk) – they specialise in setting up full-time volunteer placements, anywhere within the UK , for between six months to a full year. Initially I registered my interest on the website and then received an email asking if I would like to come to one of the CSV offices for an interview. Prior…

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RIP.

Today marks the first year since my Grandma passed away. I can’t believe just how much has changed in just 12 months and I really wish, probably more than anything, that she could have been around to see me graduate and get my first proper job and then continue on with my dream career.  Everything I’ve achieved this year, in particular my dissertation and degree, have all been for my grandma and I really do hope I’ve done her proud. I’m missing her a lot at the moment and I suppose it feels particularly strange being away from home at this time of year as well.

While there are odd things I regret (not spending enough quality time with her and especially not making it in hospital in time to say goodbye), my memories are mostly good and it’s those that I’ll try and concentrate on today. She was definitely one of my biggest heroes and has been a massive influence on my life. I always remember thinking that one day, when I’m a grandma, I’d like to be just like her and make sure I’m still as feisty and independent as she was in her old age. Admittedly neither of us were perfect but,  at the end of the day, she’s still my grandma and I’ll always love her to absolute pieces.

No matter how upset I get, I take great comfort in the fact that, wherever she is, she’s now at peace and she’s probably looking down at us all and smiling (or grimacing sometimes!). Deep down I know she would be so happy at how everything has turned out.  Rest in Peace Gran, this one’s for you.

Spring has sprung!

I decided to take full advantage of today’s glorious sunshine and go for a wander round Bellahouston Park, which is only a short 10 minute stroll from my house. The park itself is quite extensive and is also home to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s  House for an Art Lover, as well as some formal gardens and lots of leisure facilities. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go round the house itself but I did manage to take a nice wander round some of the park and the walled garden.

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House for An Art Lover

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I imagine that, when spring has fully sprung, Bellahouston will be lovely and I look forward to heading down there more in the summer (if Scotland actually has one!). The park also host big outdoor concerts, with Eminem playing in August, so fingers crossed they’ll have some decent artists on that I can go and see. All this recent sunshine is making me very very excited for summer – I can’t wait to no longer have to wrap up every time I want to leave the house and spend most of my time in various beer gardens or parks! I already have some exciting plans for summer including a weekend in Edinburgh in August to hit the Fringe fest amongst other things. I’m also hoping I might be able to fit a cheeky city break abroad  into my schedule although I’m not sure how realistic that’ll be (plus I need to find someone to drag with me!) Either way though, I have a feeling that this summer is going to be pretty good 🙂

The Fifth Month.

I have now been in Glasgow for exactly five months – yay! This month has in many ways been a weird one. There have been a lot of changes, most notably the fact that both Eujin and Rosie have now left. It’s really strange not having either of them about and I have to admit, I’m missing both of them loads – things just don’t quite feel the same up here any more and if I’m being totally honest, I’m just not really enjoying myself as much at the moment. Equally, while finding out I’d been accepted onto a postgraduate course at City University in London was undoubtedly the biggest high of the month (if not the whole year!), it’s really affected the way I’m viewing my placement. At first, it was a relief that I’d been accepted as it meant I could just massively throw myself into life in Scotland as a whole, without having to worry about the future. However, the more I research the course and flats and London life, the more I just want to be there now and I find myself sometimes wishing the next six months away which, of course, I know I shouldn’t do –  I can’t seem to help myself that the minute though!

I think the main problem is that I’m a bit bored of Glasgow now. While there’s still so much for me to see and do, in the city and beyond, I’m starting to get a wee bit fed-up. I’m really really missing home at the moment and especially spending time with all my friends, both back in Nottingham and the Lancaster lot. Thankfully, I’m heading to Lancaster next Friday (SO EXCITED!) and then I have a ten-day holiday on the 1st March when I’m finally getting to head home. I actually can’t wait and I’m hoping it’ll do me the world of good and I can come back to Glasgow all refreshed and with a much more positive attitude. However, I am slightly concerned that I just won’t want to head back to Scotland at all but, fingers crossed, it won’t get quite that bad – my mum will force me on the train anyway whether I want to go or not!

In other news, last week I started volunteering at a new charity shop on Byres Road, in the West End of the city. I happened to see that they needed volunteers and, having previously worked in retail for five years and having volunteered in an Oxfam shop, I decided to give it a go – it’ll help keep me busy and I’ll get to meet some new people hopefully. Unfortunately, I never did hear back from the Communication Support Volunteer role I mentioned in a previous post but not to worry, I’m sure this will be good in a different way!

Also, yesterday I attended a special CSV workshop in Edinburgh which was actually really good. Obviously, I never pass up the chance for a free trip to my favourite city and I had a great day. I got to meet some of the new CSV volunteers who have just arrived in Scotland, as well as meeting a few others that I haven’t had chance to see previously because they are based up in Edinburgh. All the newbies seem really nice, if not maybe a little shy at the moment, but I’m hoping that with time (and alcohol) that will pass and we can arrange some more frequent meet-ups.

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The month ahead looks great, mainly because I’ll spend most of it either at home or at Lancaster (which is practically my second home!). There’s a lot of good stuff planned – it’s my Nephew’s Christening at the beginning of March and Mother’s Day as well so I’ll get to spend lots of quality time with my family which is always good really. Plus I have lots of trips and meals out with my friends planned as well as a few cheeky nights out in Lancaster for me to look forward to – now all I have to do is put some plans in place for Glasgow and I’ll be laughing!

Me, Myself and I.

Yesterday I decided that it was finally time to spoilt myself a bit, be pampered and indulge in some much-needed retail therapy. My day of treats started brilliantly with a lovely 30 minute Swedish Massage at The Residence, Park Circus which is a nice wee spa in the West End of Glasgow. The best part of this, apart from the luxury of being pampered, was that it was actually complimentary – I found an offer in a free local magazine (i-on), filled in my details and ta-da! I can never usually be bothered with such things but, being slightly poorer nowadays, I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did! I’ve never actually had a massage before but by the end of it I was feeling so relaxed it was untrue.

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The Residence

After my massage I decided to have a mosey round the West End, do some window shopping and grab a wee bit to eat. I ended up in ‘Little Italy’, which is a small place on Byres Road. Although fairly basic, the food was nice (I indulged in a focaccia to remind me of my trip to Italy) and the opportunities for people-watching were ample – always a fun way to pass a quick half hour or so!

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Parma Ham, Tomato and Mozzarella Focaccia

Unbelievably I still had some gift vouchers from Christmas to spend so my next port of call was Buchanan St. to treat myself to a new outfit (or two) for my upcoming trip to Lancaster. I managed to get a gorgeous grey dress in the Miss Selfridge Sale for only £20 (I only paid £10 myself because of my vouchers, bargain!) and a nice black and white number from H&M – I’m sure you’ll all see pictures in future posts!

All in all, I had a really good day. It’s been a while since I’ve actually taken the time to have a day purely to myself and just spend some time on my own wandering around and taking in the city and I really enjoyed having that “me time” again. Also it has been far too long since I’ve treated myself to some new clothes and things and that always puts the smile on my face – definitely the best way to celebrate my recent good news!

London Calling.

Last night I got some of the best news I had in a while – I’ve been an offered a place on the PGDip/ MSc Speech and Language Therapy Course at City University, which means I’ll be moving to London at the beginning of September!! AHH. I am literally so excited, although the news still hasn’t properly sunk in. I can’t actually believe that in just 7 months I’ll be living down in London of all places. I’m a little bit apprehensive because the cost of living down South is just ridiculous but it’s just such a good opportunity I just can’t say no. I’ve always wanted to live in London so the fact that I’m actually getting chance to do so is just insane!

The course itself sounds really good. It’ll take two years to achieve my postgraduate diploma and after that I’ll be a fully qualified speech and language therapist. Additionally, I can choose to stay on for another 6-12 months and complete a research project and then obtain the full MSc qualification, although I’ll have to pay additional fees so I think, for now at least, I’ll stick with just the diploma and then see if I can maybe head back to uni a few years down the line to get my masters qualification. That’s obviously a very very long way from now though so I suppose we’ll see how things develop first!

Now that I actually have a plan I just feel so much happier and a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I admit that I was actually really starting to panic about life – I received a rejection from Reading University earlier in the day so it was a welcome change to finally have some good news. I’m now free to just enjoy the rest of my time up here without having to worry about what the future holds or being in some sort of weird limbo. I think this definitely calls for a few celebratory drinks tonight 🙂

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