So I've sat staring at my laptop screen all day today, filling in application forms taking little tests and sending on my CV. I'm so close to begging for a summer job, my minute amount of cash doesn't seem to be stretching to a new deposit and rent on a new place. What isn't making my situation any easier is that when I was loaded and carefree with cash I paid for a twelve-day holiday in Spain. I am so excited but I didn't think of putting some money aside for spending money or travel insurance or sun cream or transport to the airport. My amazing holiday, which I've been looking forward to since last year, is now becoming a bit of a stress. But I know by Sunday when I touch down in the beautiful Valencia I will be carefree and ready to enjoy the amazing Benicassim festival then party hard in Barcelona. I can worry about the real world when I come back and as I like to think everything will work out, hopefully I come back to a job!!
So I fly to Spain on Sunday and need to be moved in to my new house on the Saturday. It is so sad leaving my house; the end of the contract is the end of an era. This house was where I finally settled in to the idea that I have left home!! Ok so probably three years too late but there is nothing wrong with having home as a safety net as you try and get steady on your new independent feet. I've stopped staying at home every weekend, stopped moving home for holidays, now I'm just a visitor and it feels so good to feel like I can go it on my own now. We have many leaving parties to attend in the next week. I've always been shy of making new friends so have found it weird when people reminisce about all the amazing best friends they have kept from uni but now I know it is true. I look at the people I live with and even though we are going our separate ways we all know that we will be in contact, nosing on each other's lives for many years to come.
The symbol of a real friendship is when you make them a present. Oh believe me I'm laughing at that sentence too! I've been lucky enough to meet the most talented and creative people at Kingston and for a scientist their minds are a mystery. For my birthday in December my super awesome housemate made me the most beautiful photobook of my time so far in Kingston. She went out with all the stops because I was going through a terrible time. Made me a tea party breakfast and spent the day in London with me!! So when her birthday comes around in June how is a useless scientist meant to compete!! All I can say is my mother's sewing machine and me have had a few obscene words exchanged but after a lot of dedication and I will admit it a few tears and tantrums I succeeded in creating a patch work Polaroid photo blanket. Created all by my own hand with no help from anybody. My one and only masterpiece, the sewing machine and me parted ways never to meet again!!
My next blog will be my attempt at a video blog from Spain! I am putting this is writing so I really can't chicken out as I always do!!
I'm sorry to do this and I have restrained myself for a few weeks but I can't keep it in any longer. I really didn't want to write a blog relishing in the freedom of finished exams while I know it's most likely that the people reading it (AKA you) will be probably still cramming in as much revision as you possibly can to get through the hellish A-level exams or getting workbooks and portfolios finished. But I worked hard and now I'm free to party harder. The books have gone, all that I have learnt has been expelled from my brain and I am living in a little tropical land of freedom, minus the tropics and the fact that an umbrella hasn't left my hand for about two weeks now. I cannot stress how relieved I am for it to be over. Time for the summer and time to get myself all fresh and ready for the dreaded third year; which I am planning for already- trying to read a lot of journals so I have a lot of materials to pull out a dissertation question from.
I personally found my A-level exams so stressful. I got to the point where I just didn't care about achieving anything I just wanted them over and done with. So I really do feel for those of you who have exams especially people who really need a particular grade to get on their first choice of degree course. All I can say is try and not let the stress get to you whatever happens as long as you put in your best effort you cannot feel disappointed with what you achieve. If it is not what you wanted then it wasn't meant to be.
Now after all that boring talk, which I'm sure, you've thought enough of with parents and teachers about exams and university offers. It is now time to look forward to the summer and to September, the party month for all fresher's. No matter what your idea of partying is, there is always something for everyone. So you can fantasize about the upcoming summer with me. It is less than a month before I head to my first festival. Yeah I am twenty-two and I haven't ever been to a festival and yes it is embarrassing! Please do not judge me I am an awful excuse for a student. So I thought if I am going to do it I'm going to do it properly I'm going to do it in the sun, no wellies for me, just sun, sea, sand and sangria. And lets not forget a bit of Bob Dylan and Florence and the Machine. As well as a festival, us girls and have turned it in to a little tour of Spain, a little bit of a girl's holiday. We fly into Valencia spend a day and night in the amazing city, camp at the Benicassium festival for eight days and then explore the beautiful city of Barcelona for three days. After the hard work I've put into this semester I think I really deserve the blow out. Well as much as a blow out camping can be! So we decided we would invest in renting a deluxe tent, which comes with beds, carpet, lamps and a buffet breakfast everyday. It is costing a fortune but I'm sure it is definitely worth it. I have to admit I don't suppose you can really call that camping but that is as close to nature as I'm ever going to get. I am sacrificing some of life's real necessities. I won't even have access to my hair curlers!! I'm really hoping the lion mane look is fashionable in Spain this summer. I'm not counting on it...
So much is happening in the next few months that I'm going to find it impossible to find myself a decent summer job that can allow me enough time off over the next few months. Lots of gigs next week, Chris Cornell in Birmingham then Pearl Jam the next night in Manchester! Then I'm moving house at the end of this month then Spain for nearly two weeks, then another holiday at the beginning of August then two exams at the end of August! I am not really sure where the summer pocket money is going to come from, oh well if worst comes to worst I will sell an organ or something...
Good luck with any remaining exams!! Keep calm and dream of your freedom.
P.S please enjoy my photo from my recent trip to the Zoo. I think being an ape suits me!!
Recently I have been reminded of the struggles I had with myself and with my friends over coming to university; And there are probably many of you out there right now going through the same thing: being torn between the world you know so well and the world you want to be a part of.
When I look back on home, I love home. I don't think of it as a deprived area, as an unlucky place for me to have grown up in. I quite like my home town, I loved my school, I loved the places I hung out as a teenager and I never felt like I was missing out on anything.
So a little background about me. I am from ‘the home of the British Army,' Aldershot in Hampshire. My mum's parents ended up here because of the army and my dad was from Northern Ireland and a soldier. My mum struggled to bring up three girls in a council house and my dad was useless in and out of work. Now I can appreciate how difficult it was for my mum but then I had no idea of why I could never have that wendy house I really wanted or the expensive trainers. I didn't feel poor, but I suppose we were. After speaking to my mum she said the income was just about matching the outgoings.
My sisters are a bit older than me, the eldest went straight in to work and left home. The next got pregnant at 17 - the same as my mum. There wasn't such thing as pocket money and I got my first job at fourteen. This was how it was and I never thought that it wasn't enough. Aldershot was home and I fitted in there nicely.
All this information becomes relevant when I started college, when I felt inadequate to everyone in my class. The sixth form is apparently one of the best in the country. In the same town as two private schools, that had pupils who wanted to go to that sixth form. I was left lost. Most people from my school dropped out even before the first year had finished and so I just felt alone. That's when I felt like university wasn't for people like me. I was in chemistry classes with people who wanted to be engineers and laughed at me for wanting to be a teacher. I would hide where I lived and what school I went to from people because they would always make a joke or pity me. I had always felt so safe in my surroundings at school, always wanting to stand out and be someone and suddenly I just wanted to blend in. Those feelings nearly stopped me coming to Kingston. The first time I applied to uni I declined all my offers. Luckily for me I had a brilliant mentor at my job on my gap year who gave me so much confidence, that I took the leap and never looked back.
Then I got caught up between what I wanted and where I came from. By even wanting to go to uni I became to my friends, the people I disliked at college. They thought I thought I was better than them, more important than them, ‘special'!! I think less than fifteen people from my year at school have gone on to uni. One has gone to Oxford and another is even training to be a vet.
Some of these people have cut themselves off from home, they have no desire to look back. I couldn't be one of them, Aldershot will always be who I am and I never want to change that. I'm so lucky that I always had my mum there behind me pushing me, I can't imagine what it is like for some people who don't even have their parents support. I can only say to people have faith in yourself, it is worth doing. University isn't just for ‘posh' rich people. It is for people who have a dream job in mind, people who have an ambition, a goal, and an interest in something. It isn't the be all and end all to be happy but no one should ever feel that they aren't good enough to go.
I lost some friends when I decided to come here and I'm slowly building bridges with the good ones again. Many people back home have negative thoughts about university but I've learnt to let them just wash over me. I'm proud of myself, I'm not doing this to be better than anyone or to prove a point, I'm doing this because the subject amazes me and one day I might be able to do something with it.
Course: Forensic Chemistry
Level: Third year
Other information: I came to Kingston University after taking a gap year during which I was employed. I am on the Compact scheme. I am a member of the Wine society. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... of the course. I couldn't find Forensic Chemistry anywhere else at the time. I loved that Kingston wasn't too far from home and if I wanted could commute. I love the size of Kingston, it has everything you need but isn't too big. It's so close...