Long time no write. I’ve been a very busy chap.
Nothing too much out of the usual, except graduating from my degree with first class honours, developing a peculiar penchant for copious amounts of alcohol and getting stuck in the limbo that is having to move back to my hometown in between tenancies. Man, that’s weird and something I could write another entire piece on. BUT that’s not the reason I’m writing this; the focus of this piece is going to be the consternation part of the title, and the other bits are going to take up a relatively smaller amount of the body.
So, graduation. Technically future tense — I am, currently, a graduand: my graduation is not until the 12th — but with results solidly in hand, I’ll shortly get a piece of paper that tells people how I’ve done over the previous three years of my life. I initially went to University thinking, albeit secretly, that I didn’t want to graduate with anything but a first. This was a terribly big-headed thing to think, and after applying myself probably a little too much I found that it didn’t provide the desired results. My grades were mediocre when I was only thinking that I had to get the best classification possible, and obviously my social life wained too. Really, the grades weren’t bad; I never averaged below a 2:1 in anything and this isn’t something to be upset about, but I was. It was only when I relaxed a little and chilled out that my marks started improving. It was odd, honestly, but the moral of this (if there really is one) is that University isn’t all study and neither is it all play. It’s finding the middle ground that really allows you to excel and develop; a good grade encapsulates a healthy mind, and health is just as much social as it is biological and psychological.
This took me a while to realise, though; I learned quite a few things before that. Things like how I enjoy all my hangers and clothes to face the same way in the wardrobe, how fours and threes (safe and not-so-safe numbers) are preferable to others, and a whole host of other baggage about how I think and how I feel. I learned that biting my fingers and finger nails actually has a name (Dermatophagia, however I’ve got no plans to see a doctor about it). I learned about, before I get too ahead of myself and pretentious, love; both realising how lust is very easily mistaken with it and how it feels to actually fall into the real thing. But most of all I learned me. It’s almost similar to learning a new programming language, understanding yourself. You are a syntax that isn’t consciously spoken, experienced through a parser that translates the abstract into understandable forms. I’m still learning, and I’ll probably continue to do so for the rest of my days. It’s not something that’s just “got”, it’s something that’s struggled with, but understanding it really brings a serenity to life that wasn’t there before. Other people play a huge role in developing and understanding this state; it is not something achieved alone, even if a person is (like myself, no less) introverted. Mind you, introversion and extroversion aren’t even terms I appreciate: we aren’t binary beings and these phrases associate us all in that way. But alas, that’s another story for another day and if, for now, structuring it like that helps convey what I mean then… /shrug
However, where we are now is another issue. So, I mentioned that I’m in the limbo that occurs between tenancies. To add to this, is the worry that occurs between funding. Academia is by no means an easy field to get established in, and it’s hard enough to find money to study beyond the undergraduate level as-is, although it is remarkably easier at PhD level than it is at Masters. To this end, I’ll be financing the coming year through a career development loan. If we ignore how frightening it is to start repaying this beast — a 9.9% APR?! — then just actually acquiring the bloody thing is difficult enough. One specification that’s causing me a problem is the rule of working in the past three months: if you have done so, then you can only gain funding for 80% of the tuition fees. Fortunately for me, I qualify for a 25% discount on the course because of the grade I’m graduating with, but this still leaves me with a significant amount to locate myself.
Wait though, rewind: what was my employment? I worked part time in a store as a sales assistant polling minimum wage (£6.19; 9.23USD; €7.19 an hour). My contract? Twelve hours. Now I stand at a dilemma: I can continue working at the place and earn £296 a month, hoping that I can scrape enough to pay my place of learning for the education before the end of the academic year, or I can quit my job and scrape by on the little money I don’t really have to spare. Either way, I’m committed to the Masters course, academia is my bag, baby, and the tenancy I have in Newcastle for the next year already has the deposit paid (not to mention how if I bummed out my girlfriend wouldn’t have a place to live) so not doing it is not an option. Hands down. What do I do, then? I don’t know, really. It’s a tough choice
I don’t think this is the kinda forum for a solution to present itself, more just one for me to vent out complexities. This is something I want to do; these are some hurdles I have to overcome. It doesn’t mean that I can’t complain in the process, however. Times are real rough, and I can’t see them getting easier any sooner on that front. It’s a good job that I have friends that understand, and in some cases are going through, the things that have to be dealt with. I’m going to meet with some advisors on monday to talk about things, and press on from there. The only unfortunate side of things, at the moment, is that I won’t have the money until September, meaning I’ll have to pay a months rent myself, which also translates to losing out on a potential 5% discount from my rent that was offered by the letting agents. Still, just more hurdles.
Despite what I’ve said though, I’m happy. I’m in a good place still, sorta, it’s just there’s darker clouds on a part of the horizon. But it’s not a part I’m going to have to traverse. Instead, I’m sailing towards nicer places on a ship filled with people that I appreciate and, in turn, appreciate me.