A quick update…

Hello again! I realise it has been a ridiculous amount of time since my last post so I apologise. If truth be told, I’d started to find blogging a bit of a chore and so thought it best to just take a wee break from it all for a while.

It’s actually been almost two months since my last post and it’s safe to say a lot has happened in that time period. One of my uni friends Sazeeda came and visited for a girly weekend of shopping, I’ve been down to London to finally see City Uni and meet everyone on the course, I went to Warsaw for a wee city break with my pal Craig before heading back home for 5 days and then, last weekend, I was on an epic highland road trip from Glasgow to John O’Groats. Reading it all back, it’s a wonder I even had time to consider blogging!

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Me and Saz

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Warsaw

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Nottingham

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A few from the Roadtrip!

I’m now well and truly in the last three months of my project which is really quite upsetting actually! Over the past couple of months I’ve just become so attached to Glasgow and everyone I support and work with and the thought of leaving this all behind is not a pleasant one.  It doesn’t help that, in all honesty, I’m still dreading the thought of being a student for another two years. I’m at a point now where I want to be in a proper, grown-up job, earning money and looking at getting my first house and things – instead I’ll be living off very little for yet another couple of years and I’ll be almost 25 before I even graduate which is just plain scary! I’m still pretty confident that I’ll enjoy the course once I’m into the swing of things but Id be lying if I said I hadn’t considered the possibility of dropping out of uni (already!)

Life has quietened down a bit now (thankfully!) so I’ll mainly be spending the next few weeks just making the most of being in Glasgow (no trips planned as of yet, for a few weeks at least!). This Sunday is the Glasgow Mela in Kelvingrove Park so fingers crossed we get a nice day for it and I can enjoy a few ciders in the sunshine!

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Seven.

Yesterday marked the seven month anniversary of my moving to Glasgow which now means I’m well and truly in the latter half of my project and definitely starting to think seriously about what life post-Scotland holds for me. While I’m incredibly excited to be moving down to London etc., a big part of me is absolutely petrified about becoming a student once more. The thought of house-hunting seems daunting to say the least and, even once that is sorted, there already seems like so much to prepare and sort between now and September. I have a post-offer applicant day on Friday 10th May, whereby I’ll finally get a tour of the university and find out a lot more about the course itself. This is great but I’m slowly starting to realise just how much form-filling etc I’ll have to go through for my bursary,  disclosure check and medical clearance test – I’m stressed out just thinking about it all to be honest.

Financially, I’ve totally forgotten what it’s like to pay rent or bills or even a full week of food shopping to be honest so having to budget for all these different things will be a massive change. I’m very lucky at the moment as most of my small income is pretty disposable whereas next year I’ll have to learn to cut back a lot on meals out and clothes shopping and all the other things I waste my money on currently!

My biggest worry though is the thought of going back into education. I am far too used to being in the world of work now and the thought of having to write essays and revise fills me with dread – all the academic knowledge I once had has very quickly disappeared and I feel like I’m starting from scratch again. At present, I really don’t feel up to the academic challenge of a postgraduate degree but hopefully, with a bit of prior reading etc., by the time I start I’ll feel a bit more confident in my academic abilities!

However, despite what the above paragraphs suggest I am so excited to get my stuck into the course and finally start training for my dream career and, in my heart of hearts, I’m pretty sure everything will work out fine as always. Fortunately, I’m prepared to work hard to get to where I want to be so that should stand me in good stead at least (fingers crossed anyway!).

With regards to life in Glasgow, this has been my first month back since my wee visit home and it’s actually been great. I’m out and about more, meeting new people, trying new places, having friends to visit and just generally enjoying making plans for the next few months. Over the next few weeks, my friend Sazeeda is coming up for a girly weekend and then I’ll be down in London for a few days and then I’m headed to Warsaw on a wee city break with my friend Craig, which is shaping up to be pretty amazing in itself. I’ll also have chance for a few days in Nottingham at the end of May which will be lovely 🙂 All in all, I’m back to my usual busy self which is the best way for me to be really! Probably won’t be saying that after my hectic 13 hour double shift tomorrow though…

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!

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 🙂

Under Pressure.

My Newcastle interview is on Monday and it’s safe to say that I’m starting to feel the pressure ever so slightly. I’m not nervous for the interview as such, I’m actually more nervous about the wait afterwards and the possibility of rejection. Even though I still have four other universities to hear from, this feels like my last chance and it’s as if all my proverbial eggs are pretty much in the one basket. There are only 18 places on the Newcastle course so it’s really quite competitive and I’d love to be offered a place – the course sounds fantastic and Newcastle is a city I can most definitely see myself living in for the next two years!

Probably the most pressurising thing though is the weight of everyone else’s expectations. My friends, family and colleagues have all been absolutely lovely and said some really positive and complementary things to me which is great but also, for some reason, adds on a whole load of added pressure. People think I’ll do well or I’ll get onto the course and while that’s a massive confidence boost, it feels like everyone expects me to be successful and that for me just makes things ten times more intense. In theory, this is probably the easier bit for me – I’ve always said if I can get my foot in the door and get myself an interview, I should be alright as I’m pretty confident and I come across much better in person than I do on paper. However, that doesn’t make this any less nerve-racking.

In a strange way though, I’m a lot calmer than I thought I would be. By now, I expected myself to be fully freaking out and just generally having a bit of a panic. Instead, it’s almost as if I’ve managed to convince myself that this is a practice run for next year and I’m not actually going to get a place but I may as well just go in there and give it a shot on the off-chance. In a way it doesn’t feel quite right, not just yet, almost as if I do actually need another year of practical work  experience and then I’ll be fully ready to do the course and do it properly. Obviously, I’d love to get a place this year but I’d understand why if not and I’m slowly accepting the idea that a year back at home, in another related job could be good for me – if worst came to worst, at least I’d be able to afford a holiday next year! Fingers crossed though that it doesn’t come to that and I get to spend the next two years of my life in the North-East, being an extra on Geordie Shore!

The Third Month.

Tomorrow marks my third month in Glasgow and, rather shockingly, means I am now already a quarter of the way through my placement – literally insane how quickly the past few months have gone.

I feel like I’ve spent the majority of the month filling out numerous postgraduate applications, with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately I’ve had rejections from both UCL and Sheffield University. I’m particularly gutted about Sheffield because that was my second favourite, due to the excellent reputation of the course and the proximity to home (it’s about 45 minutes on the train). However, as always, it’s not all bad! I did manage to bag myself an interview for Newcastle University which I am so so pleased about as that was another of my top three choices. The interview is a group affair and sounds pretty gruelling, we’re there all day and have to prepare a five-minute presentation which we’ll also have to answer questions on, but I’m excited to take a trip down there and give it my all. As much as I hate rejection and as upset as I was yesterday (I was crying down the phone to my stepdad, bless him!) it has definitely been a much needed wake-up call. I’ve realised that there is a very real possibility that I may not get onto a course at all next year and I may have to have another year out to re-apply and gain some more experience. Equally, it’s also made me even more determined to work as hard as I can to do well at the opportunity I do have, as I would absolutely love to go to Newcastle!

I’m still waiting for replies from Reading, City University in London, QMU in Edinburgh and Essex so hopefully I’ll get offered another interview somewhere along the way – in fact, City actually don’t interview so I may even get offered a place outright (although I highly doubt it!) If all else fails, I can also apply to Greenwich University for entry in January 2014 so it’s definitely not over yet. As a wise person kindly told me the other day, while rejection may be discouraging it only takes one offer to change everything 🙂

Aside from all this postgraduate hassle (how can I be stressed before the course even starts?!) I’ve had a great month. The festive season is now in full swing and I’m feeling pretty smug about the fact that the majority of my shopping is done and wrapped and even delivered  or well on its way at least! We had the staff Christmas lunch at work this week where I was very very spoilt – I received a pair of festive pyjamas and a tartan scarf from my secret Santa, as well as a tin of shortbread and a tin of Miniature Heroes from work and a £50 shopping voucher from Head Office. Actually cannot believe how generous everyone is here – it really is a great placement and a fantastic charity to be involved with.Also, tomorrow night is the staff Christmas party -we’re headed to Celtic Park for a three-course dinner-dance which should be pretty good. I’m so excited to get all dressed up (I’ve treated myself to a shiny new frock for the occasion!) and let my hair down and, quite frankly, get absolutely steaming for the first time in far too long!

I’ve got a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks – I’ve finally finished  all my applications so I can fully concentrate on getting into the festive spirit! Next week I’m finishing off my Christmas shopping and then I’m headed to Edinburgh to meet up with my friend Hannah, which I am so excited for. We’re planning to spend an afternoon round the Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, which will be absolutely lovely! Then it’s Christmas which I’m excited for (although I’ll miss home a ridiculous amount), followed by a day round the January Sales to spend my gift vouchers, before making yet another trip to Edinburgh for Hogmanay! Cannot actually wait!

The Second Month

Today marks my two-month anniversary of starting the Glasgow adventure – it seems like only yesterday I was writing about the end of my first month, let alone my second! I definitely feel very settled into a routine now and, consequently, I suppose I’ve lost that initial sense of excitement. While I still love the city (and work in general) everything has become quite static, not boring but not necessarily that exciting either. I feel like I’ve established a life for myself up here and it does in a weird sense feel like home, for now at least.

I’ve been feeling really homesick this past week (although thankfully it’s finally starting to pass now) and I did even consider packing it all in and going back to Nottingham permanently. I would never actually do that, I’m enjoying myself too much, but being so far away from home and suddenly finding myself in a full-time job and having to be a grown-up has actually been really difficult for me. For the last three years I’ve had very little routine, no real sense of responsibility and, basically, I’ve just been doing pretty much whatever I want whenever. I mean don’t get me wrong, I worked very hard for my degree but, equally, I played even harder. Suddenly my whole student lifestyle has gone and now I’m very much living in the real,adult world and its just crazy. I miss being a student so much it is actually ridiculous and I think it’s only started to dawn on me this month that I’ll never have quite the same sense of freedom again and it’s a weird transition in my life. It doesn’t help that the last couple of weeks have seem to be all work and no play as I’m currently trying to juggle applying for my masters while also working full-time.

However, the last month hasn’t been all bad, far from it in fact! I had a lovely visit from one of my closest friends from uni and this kicked started an excellent week of birthday celebrations –  I was spoilt rotten by all my lovely friends and family and everyone at work as well which was a lovely surprise! Then I had all the fun of bonfire night, started to get fully in the festive spirit and generally just had a great time with everyone up here, seeing more and more of the city.

The next week, while very busy, is going to be fab – the Glasgow Christmas market opens this weekend and I am SO excited to have my first mulled wine and go shopping for some cute presents for the friends and just generally be even more festive! Plus I have not one but two visitors joining me over the next week  – a friend of mine Emily happens to be in the Glasgow area on Monday and then next weekend my friend Nicole is coming up to visit which will be great. So excited to show them both the delights of Glasgow! I predict lots of cake and cocktails. On top of this I obviously have work and I need to finally get round to finishing my application for Newcastle uni before then starting my application for Reading. However, once December hits I have a ridiculous amount to look forward to – my parents are coming to visit, there are lots of Christmas celebrations at work, actual Christmas and then Hogmanay in Edinburgh!! Maybe adult life isn’t so bad after all 🙂

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