Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hanging on in there

What a week it's been - all over the country. The tragic events in Cork and Limerick have thrown into stark relief all petty day-to-day concerns. Who can know how those poor families are feeling? Worrying about the mundane is nothing compared to what they have to deal with. My heart and prayers go out to them.

I started out the week feeling like Atlas, with all the weight of looming exams on my shoulders. Everyone I talked to seemed to be in the same frame of mind, particularly my fellow mature students. Sharing the burden across the whole campus helped a lot so, after a couple of days, everyone's mood was lighter and the library and reading room were crammed all day, every day. We're just getting on with study and essay writing and doing our best to get good enough grades to pass. Roll on December 17th!

Still waiting for my English essay to be graded by the powers that be but have got some very positive comments from my tutor. The constructive criticism was expected and can be used to direct essay number two. This has to be in on December 2nd but there's a problem - one of the tutors has been absent and we've missed two important lectures, the contents of which are needed for the essay. Will have to see will they extend the deadline or if we are just expected to muddle through on our own. Was banking on last Friday's lecture to spur me on to starting writing. Oh well, it will get done somehow. Have started the Celtic Civ essay at least!

From now until the end of the semester it's going to be nothing but work, work, work. Tuesday we have a Spanish Oral; Wednesday it's a Spanish test. The same day as the English essay is due we have another Spanish test, this time on Latin American History and Culture. The exam timetable is up and I have four in three days from 15th to 17th - Spanish and Philosophy on the same day - UGH!

Oops! Just remembered that I've a Spanish essay to write before Wednesday - better leave off scribbling here and get my act together.

A good thing to remember - which I remind myself of every day - is that I'm so lucky to be doing what I'm doing. Passing my exams, rather than killing myself going all-out for Firsts, is what is important. I'm a mum as well as a student and am getting the hang of the balancing act. With the economy down the spout, there may be no opportunity for others to follow in my footsteps. Going to college THIS year was my last chance and will lead to a better future for the whole family.

Hold onto that thought girl!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Imagist Poetry

English was interrupted today, leading to a poem in the style of the poet we were studying -

High pitched
shrieks of
greet the
in the theatre

Monday, November 8, 2010

Piling on the pressure

Time to get really serious now we are in the second half of the semester. Essay titles are being handed out and in tutorials and lectures we are being told the topics that are most important for the exams. This evening got the date and location for a Spanish culture exam on December 2nd! There is no let-up from now until the end of term.

Going to do my best to get cracking on - and finish - the Celtic Civ essay this week (in addition to TWO Spanish essays due over the next few days). That will give me time to get to grips with the Philosophy essay the following week and, once that is done, we should have done enough in Poetry to make a start on English essay II.

On a brighter note, the courses are beginning to become a little easier to understand as we learn more and the subject-matter starts to form part of a cohesive whole. Celtic Civ (apart from the wonderful Wednesday morning lectures) will always be a matter of waffling about the few facts that we have been given. If I can't do well in 'waffle' it will be surprising LOL! Philosophy is certainly extremely interesting and I'm loving the module on 'Personal Identity'. Discovered today that I'm definitely a fan of Locke - at least his theories of human identity. An excellent tutorial today, plus an amazing insight by one of the class, has helped me to make sense of Descartes at last, so at least an exam question on his Meditations will be do-able.

Had a chat with one of the other mature students today. I usually see him head down over a pile of books in the reading room and he seems to be looking more morose by the day. He told me he is finding the workload too much (we are doing three of the same courses) and seems totally negative about the exams. Wish I could have cheered him up a bit.

Of course, life isn't all serious. For the first time wore my football shirt to college to celebrate Liverpool's win over Chelsea yesterday :-) As half of the text we read in Spanish class today was about Maradona, it was pretty apt and, even when returning books to the library, my top initiated lots of comment and craic. I know, I'm always going to be a football hooligan!

The rest of this week is going to have plenty of extra-curricular activity: It's music week; there's a special FanSci meeting on Wednesday and a Pokemon day on Thursday. Lots of other stuff going on as well, of course, so will probably be spending time on campus every evening.

I think I'm getting the balance right - working steadily and having fun too - it's keeping the pressure at bay and preventing me from blowing a gasket!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What a week! The pressures of essay deadlines and lecturers talking about exams is really starting to hit hard. Managed to submit my first English essay on time and fairly happy with it. Put myself under a lot of pressure to do as best a job of it as I could but discovered that writing an academic essay is very different from a feature article for a paper or magazine. Talked to my tutor about this - I am used to getting my 'results' as phonecalls from people saying how much they loved my articles... this time I'm getting GRADED. It's been a long time since I was so nervous! Must have spent two hours making sure my bibliography was perfect LOL.

There are only six more weeks before the exams - plus three more essays to be done before the end of the semester - and now moving into serious study mode. Everyone is feeling the sense of urgency about working. We all have essays to write and those of us studying a language (or two in some cases) have regular tests and assignments to add to the workload. Finally got the results of our last Spanish test and although I was hoping for a B, managed another A (my vocabulary let me down as expected but did fine on grammar). I feel that I'm giving myself too much to live up to as there isn't a hope of my remembering everything I'd need to get an A in the exams.

All the studying means that I've not being doing much in the way of having fun. It's just so nice to come home in the evenings, eat dinner and collapse in front of the tv for some mindless entertainment. Somehow managing to do a bit of housework and even cooked the dinner yesterday, but mostly it's all done for me. Yes, I'm well spoiled at home and loving it. The weather has been atrocious and I even get driven to and collected from college most days. My BH really is fantastic :-)

Today saw me attending probably my last afternoon Celtic Civ lecture. The Wednesday morning lectures are brilliant but, for me, the other two are just a period when I can nap in peace before moving on to something more interesting. This afternoon's offering by our lecturer was no better than usual but, just before we were finally released to attend something more riveting, he made such an awful error (in my judgement) that I almost shouted out a correction and came close to going down and punching him! As you can tell, I'm still fuming about his total inadequacy as a lecturer. Won't go into details but, suffice to say, his gaffe was on a par with Stephen Hawking mentioning that he knew that there was someone called Galileo and that he might have lived somewhere in Europe and invented some sort of useful tool for science but he wasn't sure what ... and then moving on. Yes, it was THAT bad! As it was a subject about which I just happen to have a huge personal library which I've read for years and the place he was waffling about happened to be somewhere I've been to and studied I DO know what I'm talking about. It was like sacrilege. However, I somehow kept my temper and just walked out.

Okay.... that's enough ranting for tonight. The weekend is beckoning and I plan to enjoy some family time before knuckling down again when we get three more essay titles next week. Liverpool v Chelsea on Sunday ... a tasty Sunday lunch in store :-)

'Tis late and I've a 9am lecture in the morning. Time to go and try and get some shut-eye.