Tag Archives: university

#1 ~ How To Pass Finals (and not Die in the Attempt)

This year was the first year I returned to University and it felt like home. More importantly I didn’t feel afraid. When I was a naive fresher the journey up the motorway oozed expectant possibilities, but by second year I had become jaded, by third year slightly cynical, yet this year, this fourth year I was pumped, because the end was in sight.

When I first started this blog almost 2 years ago and confronted the challenge to write something every day, I was candid, raw, experimental and most importantly, when living in a cyber era where privacy is a euphemism for extraneous publicity, I was anonymous. I was simply the Death of the Writer and I wrote for my own pleasure and in that time garnered some kind of an audience. My anonymity provided me with a cloak that allowed me to write about experiences, thoughts, ideas and issues without implicating anyone else, or myself. Yet this blog also opened up my own creativity. It became the scrap book of lyrics and poems that I would later perform, film and publicly own as mine. It became the platform for me to begin writing professionally as a freelance journalist, once more also publicly. It was used to raise awareness for my first ever theatrical production which we then performed off-broadway and which resulted in me getting twitter (??). And it now has a declaration under the banner image with my working name and a note not to steal my work. This is my blog, and I am its writer – and I also have one final year left of university to pass without dying.

A fan of hyperbole you say. Ironically not. Considering that during my exams last year I ended up passing out several times which disrupted my exam period and showed me my body was indeed frail, fragile and mortal, getting through this year, and more importantly coming out the other side if not whole, with as few dents in my body, and as few holes stealthily tacked up with plaster in my brain as possible, will be as much an achievement as achieving my long-awaited bachelors degree. So perhaps I won’t die in the attempt of surviving a BA, but let’s hope I don’t faint, fall ill or undergo any other kind of mishap.

This so far, is the longest introduction to a blog I have done, but bear with me, a lot has occurred since I removed my fingers from the keyboard of this so called scrap book.

Once more I throw down the gauntlet to academia and take up the challenge to write something, every day, from now until I leave these ivory towers, documenting my final year of University and all that it may entail.

But remember that note I left about anonymity. Well, perhaps this time round I won’t be able to be as candid. I’ll try and be honest, but sometimes obfuscating a situation or being dissembling can lead to more trouble – more than one person might think you’re writing about them!

So this will be an interesting attempt, because I will be documenting my year, whilst being consciously aware of documenting my year, whilst also trying not to care that people who know me away from the ether might be reading this – oh dear, the mind games have begun.

Well, here’s to scrap books and random thoughts and transformation and maturity, and expressions and fears and life. No doubt my thoughts and feelings will change as each day goes by and even after this blog has ended. I’m writing for myself and maybe for anyone out there who makes a connection, but this is a place of expression, of note taking, of learning.

And as I said all those years ago, maybe amongst the pile of shit you’ll find a spec of gold – welcome to this blog and to this new challenge to Pass Finals (and not die – or faint – in the attempt).

Walk with me this way —->

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#360 ~ Form

There are those days, when you look around at the friends you have and think – you are not my portion in life. In the sense that, people tell you your best friends are to be cultivated at University, and I’m sure some of them will be, but they often forget about the incredible people who walked with you out of primary and caught you at the gates of secondary. I think of those friends often, think about the huge portion of my life I gave them…and I feel nostalgic that I can’t see them…but i’m excited to see how we’ll keep feeding those relationships, and how one day, when I leave Uni and the same thought flashes across my head at work, i’ll smile and remember, you’re all part of my life portion, ’cause I bought the plate, with the knife and fork, I sat down at the table, i checked the menu and then we began.to.talk. 

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#350 ~ Miscellaneous.1: Sticks and Stones

(Written during my month long absence)

Sticks and stones may break my bones – but more often than not words really do hurt me.

They can be pernicious and penetrating wriggling deep into the crevices of your heart, your inner sanctuary, the hidden caves that even you are fearful of entering. Do you ever do that thing, when you send off an email or a text, and you know that you’ll be disappointing someone – letting them down. Maybe you have to quit an activity, pull out of a race or even miss a class, because you’re about to fragment into a million shards of flesh and bone, and you know without your glasses you’ll never find all the pieces or the thread to stitch yourself back together again. You gather all the courage that lingers like used up dregs of tea in your none assertive self, and click send. Boom – into the ether it zooms.

You wait – linger, hover on the thresholds of depressive anticipation, and then you get a vibration, or a new email pops into your inbox, and you wait, tentatively. Doing everything you can to not click open, at last your finger slips, or the dredges of courage somehow coagulate and you stupidly think you’re brave.

Shot down like an enemy plane, even the most polite response blows you apart. And English people have a way, a very tricky and sly way of phrasing reproof in a cold, polite but detached manner which encourages you to implode on your own – with no promise whatsoever of Red Cross aid.

Once the initial damage has been done, and you realize what a complete failure and disappointment you are in the eyes of whoever you had to let down, when you are aware that your excuses seemed like puerile dribble in front of their retina, and they are not in the least bit understanding, but rather more incensed or even pissed off by/at you, you begin to wilt faster than watercress in a nursery kitchen. Even after you’ve rationalized and played their argument over, seen it from their side of the fence, and even, to a marginal degree, agreed with them, all the confidence to keep trundling along and getting the rest of the work completed evaporates.

You find yourself writing a blog post for a 365 day blog that you have neglected for these past 40 days or so, instead of focusing on the presentation on poetic symbolism which is due in 30minutes. You get frustrated, and begin scratching your well oiled scalp until the coconut lubricant builds up under your fingernails, and your head is once more exposed to the raging elements which have washed your university city in a cluster of unromantic water pellets and dirty puddles – and all the while you’ve allowed somebody to make you feel shit.

You are fearful of the impending meeting in 48hours, trying to work out whether you should try to bold face your’e way out, put on a nonchalant attitude of –  Dude, it was in the past, get over it, and hey, this is life, people be busy – but you know that any balls you might’ve had at conception certainly never dropped. You aren’t like that – you’re a crowd pleaser. At your best this is wonderful, at your worst it makes you cower, fearful of even attempting to be assertive. You hate letting people down, because you have sold yourself into the fetters of someone else’s opinion – someone you don’t even know well enough to truly care about, but because they have a title, you submit.

And you’re angry. Angry as you realize this is a constant feature of your character, but the whirlpool of depression still hangs round you, tainting the edges of your being. Could you have done it any differently? Well, no. You were exhausted, you woke up 20minutes into the class and hand’t done the reading or the essay that was due in 3 hours. It was never going to happen – but you still wish it had, even if it was just to please them. Will you make promises and denigrate yourself even further as a worthless fool who shouldn’t be participating the extra-curricular activities which actually give you a reason to live (and might also provide a job in the next few years), you probably will say Yes to that.

Will you always be fearful of someone else’s words? Or will you get to a point where you acknowledge them, but can ultimately move through them, the sticks and the stones to create your own words, your own works and one day, be the writer whose texts are being discussed – and smile benignly on the student who won’t hear them, as their too busy doing their own stuff.

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#346 ~ I Made this For YOU….with love

I have never desired to be a culinary goddess. In fact, I remember at the ripe old age of nine, my father calling me to help my Mum in the kitchen. I wasn’t averse to helping her, but wondered why he hadn’t asked my brother, who was older and probably closer to hand. In a benign manner he, I can now see in retrospect, replied:

“Ah-ah, who will marry you if you can’t cook?”

Indignation flared instantaneously and my stubborn nature shot back, quick as:

“Well fine. I won’t get married then. Why shouldn’t my husband cook for me?”

Suffice to say I spent a good seven years refusing to help in the kitchen. I didn’t mind washing up, and of course I watched how my mother was cooking and more importantly what, but I didn’t offer my services. When I was roped in as part of my familial duty I did it, but I didn’t love it, like my sister. My culinary standard became – is it edible? Yes? Then that’s fine. And edible can have a range of qualities…

However now at University, without a microwave and a finite budget it is suprising how expensive food is. A loaf of bread, which I could easily devour in three days, sells for £1 or so, whilst plain white flour is only 69p. So, I decided to turn my hand to some culinary delights.

Now whilst my African dishes are way below par, and I have sadly been forced to feed some friends some poorly cooked jollof rice (I blame the basmati), i’ve learnt that what makes Mama’s dishes so sweet isn’t really the scotch bonnet or caramelised onions, but it’s that she cooks with love. Sure, sometimes it’s a duty and a hassle, but it’s something she does for her family out of love.

Being now a near expert bread maker, i’ve made two perfect loaves of white bread and a loaf of wholemeal brown for a friend in just over 72 hour; and trust me they are gooood, I’m currently sitting whilst I make chicken, mushroom and potato soup, for myself and anyone who wants to come by and get blessed. And I’ve realised, cooking can be such an act of love, joy and service.

I absolutely expect my husband to cook for me and our family, just as I absolutely (she says tihs now whilst unmarried and highly romantic), will cook for my family, but not because i’m a woman, but because when I make things, I want to make them for you, with love.

So go, be adventurous and try your hand at making something. Maybe you’ll never get your dough to rise, but you could be an incredible pastry maker.

Be blessed.

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#342 ~ So that’s what Love is…

3 bouquets of flowers: one of pink roses, another of yellow roses, a third of pink tulips. A one person teapot and matching tea set. Raspberry and Apple Herbal tea, tickets to an acoustic concert, a beautiful edition of Herbert’s poetry, a pair of shoes, stunning earrings, 4 chelsea buns, 2 cakes from Patisserie Valerie, an empowering book on faith and inheritance, a cooked breakfast and numerous cards with countless messages that I cannot quite fathom in their depths of love, admiration, kindness and hope. So that’s what love is? I don’t deserve it.

In a most honest manner, I thought I didn’t have friends at Uni. How could I? I didn’t have the time to invest in friendships as I did when I was in school, stuck with 180 students for 7 years of my life. Now free from that I entered University and believed I couldn’t make friends – real friends at least. I barely went out, I was notorious for poor communication, I study English which means I don’t need to leave my room…and yet at least 20 people from all parts of my life surprised me and welcomed my birthday in with singing and laughing last night. Then I woke up to presents, cards, messages and love.

I don’t deserve it – but I suppose we don’t deserve love. It’s a gift, given out of love, whether the receiver believes themselves worth the price or not.

Considering I run a blog and study literature, words are obviously important to me. They are me. I see my world though the matrix of language. And the words…the words of inspiration and love…of encouragement…I didn’t know I meant that much to people, that they’d take the time to build me up.

But that’s what love is, a firm foundation in order to elicit growth – everlasting growth.

Maya Angelou stated famously, and it has become my hopeful mantra for life:

‘My great aim is to laugh as much as i cry, to love someone with all my heart and have the courage to accept love in return’.

I suppose being a woman, is learning to accept love when you recognise it. This time last year I was moping about being separated from my sister, this time this year I am excited to realise…I love accepting love.

Happy Birthday,

with Love

K

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#274 ~ Crowning Fear

I’ve never seen someone so drunk before

Dressed in an ivory silk blouse, sleeveless, with slightly smudged mascara eyes, her upper lip wriggling slightly over her teeth, Fear’s perfume wafted over the cold, hard, pavement and tickled my skin. Terrified. A fortnight in Uni and dark brown eyes are fixated on the wraith like body shaking and shivering in a futile attempt to get warm, as alcohol pulses through the bloodstream, vomit trickles colourful globules over tarmac, and proactive yet inexperienced friends babble on, rubbing pale hands over a school-uniform clad body. Back2School turned into Back2Basics.

Learning limits and limitations is an ongoing process in the race for life that humans are, unwittingly, without consent or choice signed up to once their heads crown between squeezing legs and certainly after the placenta is birthed. There is no going back, no pulling out, unless the fleshy paw of Death is a welcome presence, come to smother your very pores.

Yet, as limits are broken, readjusted or discarded, Fear is always present. The fear of what if? What if I get in trouble? What if s/he doesn’t make it? What if s/he was going to be my friend? What if it was me?

Those were the unspoken questions that danced behind made up eyes and brave faces as the Fresher’s acted out what they saw on T.V. and realised just how unglamorous spending sunday night outside da Club with an unconscious friend really is. How painful, worrying, frustrating and tiring.

And the world-weary of us? The second years, who had seen it all, spent a year coming to terms with it, serving it, growing angry at it, laughing at it – as we shushed the uncontrollable babbling, enforced the recovery position and waited patiently for the ambulance, we realised –

we had grown up.

And we wondered – what kind of form would Fear take on for us this year?

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#272 ~ Will the Sun Come Out?

Most people find their first year of University an out of this world experience. I found it a brutally humbling and disorienting experience. And now, as I sit here preparing to return, I am questioning what kind of an experience I will let it be. Part of me is excited to tread the familiar paths to lectures, to struggle to wake up in the morning, for the late night essays. I’m hoping I will have matured and grown from previous experiences, maybe i’ll even start my reading on time. Yet trepidation is also itching at my sides. I know people from my school are joining, friends from a former life, and I’m questioning how i’ll integrate with them, or allow them to integrate into my life. I’m wondering whether at last an excitement will burn deep into the crevices of my heart, whether my eyes will grow bright with expectant wonder. If the popcorn yellow hopes and dreams will come to fruition, or if a grey smudge will taint the boarders of my framed vision. Because I have to go back, I have to seize the day and make it mine; it is both necessary and important. I cannot live in a memory, but in a present reality. Yet, change…can be bittersweet. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and I worry that I am worried.

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