Books!

Table Time

Someone somewhere slipped up and we don't have our exam timetables yet when everyone seems to. With my fellow Berlin class students discussing when they finish, it is rather irritating not to know the same myself. Or if I have clashes. I will have 7 exams (Berlin, Grammar, Oral, Listening, GDR Lit, Holocaust, Translation), so the possibility is there.

...of course I have to get there first. I have slightly less time before my dissertation deadline than I thought. I'm seeing Dr Muhs about it tomorrow, and I am certain he's going to be extremely disappointed in me given I am so far behind with it than I am basically sacrificing my grade. I do have reasons, but I remain convinced they are not good enough. April will be a mad rush of work, I feel, especially if he wants me to do the essays I haven't done, which technically are necessary to qualify for the exam. I'd have to rush them, since they don't count, but it would mean less time for my dissertation. I just feel over and over again that I'm in such deep trouble I cannot get out, which makes actually doing the work seem even harder than it should be, despite wanting to do it and get it done...

Seeing someone at the Health Centre about it very soon, see if they can suggest anything. I am so embarassed with myself. I have let myself mess-up so so badly. If I have cost myself a First, then I fully deserve it.

And it's clear things are coming to a head. This is my last week of lectures ever, or at least as an undergraduate. My biggest course, the Berlin course, ended yesterday in a 3-hour coup-de-force after which we went to Crosslands and all had drinks. I was suspiciously sober after two Malibus and cokes and a glass of Pimms, since I hadn't eaten anything for most of the day. We had a fun time, the most memorable part being making fun of a guy dressed as an 19th-century soldier, and asking him questions including 'why?', 'do you have a girlfriend?' and 'do you fancy Richard Sharpe?'. He won, though, since not only did he answer honestly ('yacht club social', 'no' and 'no') but he then got most of us to sign up for the yacht club mailing list with an interest to join. Although he clearly does not fancy Sean Bean.

But more poignantly, this is the end of my degree, or at least the teaching phase. I still remember my first seminar in October 2005. A lifetime ago. No, that's rubbish. Several lifetimes ago. Now all is coming to an end. My dissertation, my exams, and then freedom somewhere around the middle of May. If I didn't feel that I'd screwed-up so badly, I'd be feeling curiously optimistic.

The weather is absolutely divine again, after yesterday's wind and rain. I continue to feel that I am squandering it, although I did go for a nice wander through the woods on Sunday afternoon. The bright sunlight and blossom outside is lovely...although it does remind me that I need to be inside, working. Working hard. I'm in trouble.
Maiden

Into the Future...

Last week on Wednesday, I attended another careers evening, this one geared towards creative people rather than Modern Language students. I was late for it because I was dragging shopping back from Tescos, where I had visited because I was already in Egham to meet a good friend of ours who had left uni last year and seems to be doing really well (yay alatier!). Actually, she gave me a belated birthday present of a necklace and earrings, both of which I wore to the Tea Party in London.

Actually, while I'm backtracking, Collapse )

SO YES the careers evening. I managed to miss the only one of the speakers I was interested in, a freelance journalist and writer, and thus had to sit through an hour of PR and marketing people, as well as a publisher who, more than anyone else I have ever heard, took complete control of her audience. But I found the people I wanted to afterwards, with wine and olives of course. I knew I wanted to talk about my own situation, so I waited until those with more general questions (generally not finalists) had finished, and then spoke. I ended up being the last student there, in fact, chatting with the remaining professionals about technology and writing and so forth. I don't think I was that drunk at the time, thankfully, and so I was able to have some useful conversations, also with a more general freelance writer. They generally agreed that my experience with school and uni journalism, my Circle involvement, and my victory in the DAAD competition was a major boon, and their advice was thus mainly 'keep on going!'. Which made me feel really positive about my future, whatever happens after Munich this summer...

I'm a writer! ...or certainly will be. As for poetry, I'll write about that in a seperate post...

So what does my future entail? Well, I did spend a few hours last week looking up Postgrad degrees, and I've found a few that quite interest me. I've not looked over them carefully yet, and I'm so bad at making decisions like this, but there are a few courses that stand out, provided I don't simply want to carry on with History. Some of the most attractive unis include Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and UCL, and the most interesting courses include Gender Studies (in a Modern Languages context), German History, Modern European History, Gender, Sexuality & Culture and European Culture. You can see what sort of areas interest me here. I considered Comparitive Literature, World Cinema, Translation Studies and Creative Writing too, but I think I'd feel more comfortable with the former list. Incidentally, the list isn't in any specific order...

However, I doubt I'll be doing this next year. I'd have to rush things now, it's a lot of money at the same time as my brother is beginning uni, and I fear being burnt out since I'm struggling a little with the workload at the moment. So next year is a big black hole as far as my future goes, which unsettles me, but I'm trying not to worry too much...
  • Current Music
    Blutengel - Gloomy Shadows
Nao Claws

Stairwell Blockade

Thursday morning was rough. Not because of any hangover from the previous night, although I had ended up falling asleep on Holly's bed, and went back to my own in the middle of the night to try and attempt to get the work done I'd meant to do that evening. I didn't, and instead fell asleep on my own bed after a little while, waking up with only quarter of an hour until my German Oral lesson...and we were to have a mock exam, which I knew nothing about since I'd missed the last Oral lesson through my bronchitis.

But there were noises outside. Once I'd got some clothes on and scrambled a breakfast together out of fudge and smoothie, I went outside to find the corridor full of pipes and wires, with a generator humming, and a funny smell. I'd noticed the cold water seemed to be off, and I quickly realised there was a workman in the toilet, who gave me such a stare. As if I didn't belong in the flat I'm living in. Yet when I reached the end of the corridor, I found the stairwell blocked by more pipes, wires and a stepladder. I waited a little while, figuring someone would come and move things, but it was wasted time, no-one cared. I didn't want to try moving things myself, because I didn't want to send things collapsing on me, so I made use of my frame and squeezed through the gap, half-on-tiptoes to avoid catching on one of the pipes. Thank goodness there wasn't a fire, because that's the only way down from our floor.

When I finally got out, I rushed off to the exam. After the exam, I had to repeat the same procedure to get back into my corridor, where the workman gave me another stare. For the next few hours, there was the noise of the generator, hammering from the workman in the roof (whose movements had probably woken me up), bad whistling, and the sound of irritating music from either next door, or one of the workmen's radios. Not fun. I have no idea what they were doing either. But it could have been worse. After our flat, they moved onto another one, where the guy in the roof managed to mess around enough to cause the ceiling to collapse in one girl's room...

The Oral exam itself was messy. It was so hard...I understood most of the text being read aloud, and a majority of the questions, but I felt there were so many traps. For example, one question was 'So-and-so wants to be a tax consultant. True or false?' when the text said 'He wants to work as (something else), BUT then said 'once he passed the tax consultancy exam'. I am sure I tripped up a lot, and one question I just couldn't get my mind round. It was no fun at all. Plus, we were told 'one minute left' at the end of the exam, and as I hurried a final answer, was told I needed to put my pen down...it could only have been 20-30 seconds. Grrr.

What then followed was my sleeping patterns going haywire. I am pretty sure that from Thursday midday to Friday morning, I was sleeping for two hours, being awake for two hours, and so on. It left me feeling alternately exhausted and hyper during my awake phases, and my dreams were weird in my sleeping phases. It wasn't great, and I don't really know what caused it, but it meant that I ended up being online at 4:30 in the morning, and sleeping at 4:30 the previous afternoon. Needless to say, I didn't get any work done...again...but once I went into Windsor on Friday morning, things settled down to leave me merely feeling tired. But then I did end up sleeping almost the entire morning (2am-noon) last night...
  • Current Mood
    tired tired
Aerith

The Write Approach

I am finding it so so hard to do work still. I haven't been to see Rudolf despite everything because I haven't got his gobbet done, and turning up without that would make the whole 'hi, my dissertation is nowhere and my essay is still not done' thing much worse. As it is, I'm in deep water, and I need to just do things to get myself out. I've got an important project to do for the end of the month, the precis, which I previously felt quite optimistic about, until I recieved back my most recent mock, covered in comments that it was 'unclear', 'exaggerated', 'too detailed' or just 'incorrect'. It got a fairly decent mark, but the comments spoke far more to me. I'm not giving in to despair, though, because looking at it, the 'unclear' comments nearly all stem from by writing style, which is obviously too uncommon to be allowed in such things. I shall have to be careful to be dull in the final piece, clearly.

I meant to get work done last night: the gobbet, and the mock precis for today. I got neither done. To be fair, I spent most of the evening at Amanda's, talking to her about her family and about writing. She told me her novel idea, which lasted 25 minutes and blew me away. I want to read the unwritten book so much. I felt like my ideas were dim and pathetic in comparison. I need to work on my writing more, and understand what makes my writing my writing. We also had pancakes since it was pancake day, and those were gorgeous, although sadly not quite satisfying due to me having missed lunch and replaced breakfast with a large slab of chocolate and coffee. Eventually, I came back to my room, and Holly joined me, and we fell asleep.

I'd been planning a late night, so waking up close to 4am led me to be a little jumpy. I had some lovely lovely vanilla milk (ice cold from the fridge) to wake up a little, and then embarked on an ambitious cooking spree, at 4am, in my pyjamas and dressing gown. TVP burgers, lemongrass rice, fresh peppers, jalapenos, peas and sweetcorn in a BBQ and chilli seasoning. It took a while for sleepy me to cook it, and I almost cut myself using my new sharp knife on the pepper, but it was worth it, I think, since it was very tasty. I took photos. I ate it slowly, complimented with liquorice tea, but I didn't actually get any work done, despite feeling good for being up so early. I penned the first draft of an article I'd been planning on writing, but I'm not sure how good it is yet. And then, at about eight O'Clock, I fell back asleep and ended up being late to the translation class at 10am...

Amanda suggested the possibility of doing an MA in Gender Studies. I must confess, I hadn't given that much thought before, partially because of the way it seemed 'obvious'. I don't know...I am really getting into the gender part of East German History (I'd have to be, it's my dissertation). So I'll consider it. I used to be so sure of doing MA Modern History, but...I worry I'd miss the creative, the artistic. I love studying literature, and I got deeply involved in my Romanticism essay back in second year, moreso than I did on all the more political history. Doing a Literature MA is probably not a good idea given my relative inexperience (German Literature courses are significantly easier to get good marks on than English Literature). A German MA would give me the chance to do a mini-phD, but I worry I may need the structure to get me to actually work. I'll need to decide on something soon...next year approaches.

Oh, and after 7.5 weeks, I have taken out the studs and am wearing lovely new earrings. Even if they're not very noticable against my hair colour. I'm still getting used to the dangly feeling there, but I love it nonetheless!
Hexentanz

Baths and Brothers

...but it was a really nice bath. I spent 90 minutes in there, and would have spent longer if I wasn't both hungry and feeling guilty over not doing work. I'd felt like I really needed a bath since Saturday, but I didn't want to treat myself until I had got some work done, and the translation work took longer than I expected because the German was a little old-fashioned. I didn't actually do it that well in the end anyhow, but eventually, I just ran the bath. I'd been wearing my new dressing gown and pyjamas all day, which I suppose I ought to feel a little guilty about, but they were really comfortable, and made lying in bed and thinking about things really easy. The bath itself was a Lush 'Floating Island' bath melt, which meant the most heavenly bath, full of lovely oils, and smelling of vanilla, lemon and sandalwood, which not only smelled lovely but also helped clear my throat a little.

On that front, the tablets are definitely working. I'm still coughing, and expect to have at least one coughing fit during my presentation, but the coughs are shallower and don't hurt as much. Hopefully, they'll be gone entirely when I've finished the full five day course. I am tired of coughing so much.

---

My brother is hoping to go to York to study Economics. It's nice to see him trying for once rather than accepting the easiest option he can get. Although, in that surreal conversation when he phoned me from Golder's Green ("which is near you, right?", "not really"), he did make it clear he just wanted to get rich quick. He could probably do it, if what his economics teacher has said is true. It's still hard to see him as anything other than too lazy. I suggested I should go to York for my postgrad just to keep to an eye on him. Weirdly, he wants to spend a year in Oslo as part of his degree, for which I entirely blame the strong friendships (and more, I think), he's made with several small blonde Norwegian girls. He was near Lillehammer all week, skiing. Ah, maybe I'll have something to be proud of him for afterall.

---

Trying not to think about the future too much. Too uncertain. I have plenty to deal with in the present...
Books!

Study Stress

This is difficult. For the past two weeks, I have been pretty much out of it as far as work goes. Bronchitis and flu left me bedridden for a while, and then came all kinds of emotional craziness which, like the bronchitis, is still lingering. But I don't have a choice anymore. Reading Week is over, and I have done nothing towards my workload.

It's been getting me extremely stressed. I honestly cannot see how I am going to manage the workload of this term. I could handle things if the dissertation wasn't there, looming over all and demanding that I work on it before it's too late. I could also handle the dissertation on its own. However, I keep getting torn between which things to do, and with continuing emotional crazies, I can't see myself being in top essay form regardless. I have so so much to do and I'm not at all sure I can do it. Everyone else has started writing their dissertations, or have pages of notes, but I am nowhere, or so it feels. It's hard to see anything other than doom in store.

But, for now, it's lesser projects that are being tricky. I did some translation work which needs to be in Wednesday to begin with, and it took me so much longer than I had expected, because I am out of practice. I eventually got round to doing the corrections to my German essay for this morning, but I haven't got much further than that, and I still have to write a gobbet for this afternoon's History seminar. That would be doable, as it lasts only an hour or so, but I am also giving a presentation on The Berlin Wall. And I'm terrified, because it's assessed, and because it's Rudolf, so simply remembering the Wikipedia page, merging it with my own knowledge, and blagging for ten minutes (which I can do quite well) isn't an option. I don't think I'll mess up, but it's a lot of preperation work, and it's so hard to concentrate, especially now it has got so late and I need to be up early to head to Windsor for that appointment.

I have got chocolate and my hair feels great after my bath earlier and I'm feeling otherwise quite relaxed and upbeat, but the worry over the workload, and how little I have done over Reading Week, won't go away. Ironic if things finally slip out of control in the final half of the final term. I don't want them to, and I'm pretty good at slipping out of tight situations, but I am really feeling the strain and just want to scream at my unread books. Doing what I am doing towards the end of your final year at uni is not a good idea in terms of getting things done, even though I actually view it as more important than my degree.

...I'm going to try writing something for myself, an article for something or other, rather than something academic. I'm not sure I can quite focus on doing the gobbet now, despite how late it has got. I'm just going to have to plan the important presentation in the tight gap of three hours between German and History. I have almost no time to stop, so I guess Writers' Circle this evening will be a little intense on me. Yes, I know I should get some sleep, but if I go now, I know I won't get both the gobbet and presentation done in time. Ah, maybe I'll just do that and do the gobbet in the late evening, since I have no chance of reading enough Stille Zeile Sechs for GDR Literature on Tuesday. Blagging it again. I feel like a bad student.

Get the assessed precis out of the way by the weekend, and make sure that blasted everlasting Catholic-Nazi essay is finally out of the blasted way by next Monday. Bury self in sources on Unvollendete Geschichte and get that essay done by the next weekend. Then back to the Holocaust for the next weekend. Somewhere in all this, get a plan for the dissertation. There's another History essay somewhere in that mess, but it can *wait* before I feel utterly crushed.

Realistically, everything is going to be rushed. After this term, I must focus on the dissertation, and then come all the exams. When July rolls around, I will be exhausted. I am ashamed of myself for letting things come to this, but I'm not going to pretend I can cope better than I can. I'll do my best, and hope that, somehow, it will be enough.
  • Current Music
    Das Leben des Anderen - Das Leben des Anderen
Hexentanz

Cardigans, Chopsticks and Cocoa

I have spent too much in these past few days. I find it a little hard to justify it all, but I'm trying not to think about it too hard. Most of it has been well worth it.

Collapse )

Collapse )

And now I'm here. Needing to do some work, but basically wanting to do what I didn't do last night: hot chocolate, warm Lush bath, dressing gown, warm comfortable snugness. I'd say 'a good book' would complete the picture, but I am badly out of touch with reading, for which I blame the corrosive lure of the Internet. I hope to regain my relationship with books which I lost around the age of 15/16. But I can't now. If anything, I need to be reading textbooks relating to my dissertation. But maybe that will go with the gown and the cocoa.
  • Current Music
    Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines
Blumenmädchen

Dreams of a Bavarian Summer

In further desperate attempts to deny the reality of my crushing workload, I have been thinking forward to this Summer. I'm about to e-mail the guy from jetzt.de who offered to find me a place to live, because knowing where I'll be staying will help make the whole experience more tangible. It's going to pretty much be the month of August and the first two weeks or so of September, unless I get an extension which is unlikely but possible. High Summer in Bavaria, what can I say? I plan lots of having fun in the English Garden and day trips to Austria, Liechtenstein, and possibly further afield if there's time.

It does override two events, however. Laura's wedding is too important for me to miss comfortably, so I'll do my best to fly back for that. Ayacon, on the other hand, won't be happening. To be honest, as much fun as I've had at cons these past few years, it's been meeting friends that has made it worth it, and I don't feel much connection to the whole scene anymore. The only animes I'm still watching are One Piece and NANA. So, Zalia, Dark Squall and people, I don't think I'll be seeing you this Summer. Unless you come to Munich. You are all invited to Munich, for that matter, and we can sit and drink beer together. Well, I won't, I don't like beer, but it's what Munich is perhaps most famous for.

Things probably won't turn out like that. Living in Eutin was very different to how I had assumed. But I'm entering the big wide real world this time round for real. On which note, I really seriously need to be doing major research into Masters degrees now before I have to leave it a year and find some other way to sustain me into Summer 2010. And a lot depends on how I finish this degree I'm on now. But it's easy to gaze over the papers needing doing to the distant horizon. Oi vey. Poke me if I'm still here on Friday with nothing done.