They think it’s all over… it is now!

And so my university life came to an end. Only graduation to go now.

It ended with an interview with two of the lecturers (Dr. Saker and Dr. Penman) about my project. I didn’t quite know what to expect, and some of the questions they asked were more mathematical than I had been prepared for (maths lecturers asking a maths student mathematical questions?! Whatever next?!) – I had envisaged that I would be asked to explain aspects of my project that weren’t clear – instead I was asked about things related to my project which I had never even seen or thought about before. However I managed to answer them all, even though I needed to be led through a couple of them by Dr. Penman. I was warned at the start that I would have an overly negative impression of how the interview went due to the fact that they wouldn’t be asking any questions on things that I had made clear in the project, and so all the questions would seem hard, and I would probably leave feeling I had made a mess of things.

My presentation, done the day before, went quite well. I managed to keep almost perfectly to time even though I thought I was rather rushing through it at first. I even succeded in making the half-dozen lecturers and students in the audience laugh on a couple of occasions! I might be over-estimating how well it went though – Dr. Penman hinted today that I would have done better to outline what exactly I was going to prove before I proved it in order to give the people who had never seen this area before a better idea of how the proof was progressing as it went along. I’m balancing this against the fact that as I finished my presentation, he made a comment along the lines of "That’s a pretty good note to end on" which I think was in reference to a comment I made at the start about peoples’ university experience ending on a low note (my presentation was the last of them all, and as such was many peoples’ last lecture/talk at university).

On the whole I think there have been more positives than negatives over this exam period (though I reserve the right to alter this opinion without warning depending upon my exam results). I know for a fact that some of the exams were disasters, but by all accounts these will be scaled and perhaps turn out to be less of a disaster than I first thought.

Now comes the daunting part – deciding what to do with the rest of my life!

The end is nigh!

At midday on Saturday, I will walk out of my final university exam. After that, I still have a presentation to give on a project I have done througout the year, and an interview with the two markers of said presentation. In between the final exam and the presentation/interview, I have the Summer Ball, and then all that remains of my university life is my graduation.

Am I happy to be so close to finishing? No. Am I sad? No. I’m somewhere in between, slowly oscillating back and forth between these two emotions whilst touching neither of them. In reality, I’m rather daunted by the whole prospect of leaving university. This summer will be the first summer of my life where I have no idea of what I will be doing in the future. In all previous years (even going back to the days when I was too young to go to school, or too young to contemplate such matters as my medium- or long-term future), I have known to some degree what I will be doing in six months’ time. Mostly, it has been school, or in recent years university, but now I have no firm idea.

As you may already know, I am intending to apply to join the Police. However, at the moment, the application procedure is closed, and I have read that it can take between six and nine months for the Police to make you an offer of a place on their training course. In other words, unless their application procedure opens in the next couple of months, in a year’s time I will still be waiting to hear whether or not I am to be offered the chance to become a Police officer. I am concerned that, having waited a year to get in, I may either be turned down, or get in and then hate the job. I haven’t even thought about what to do in the meantime, let alone what to do if either of those scenarios transpires.

I suppose I feel slightly pressured by the fact that three of the five people I am closest to at university have jobs, and good jobs at that, lined up for next year, and the other two have plans which will almost certainly come to fruition. I’m the only one without a definite plan and I feel like I’ve missed the boat. I just need something to reassure me, and maybe some inspiration.

My very own house!!!

OK, it’s not actually MY very own house. I share it. With three other people, so it’s our very own house.
 
OK, it’s not even that. We rent it, and only for a year (guaranteed), possibly two. After that, someone else gets it.
 
BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT!!! I have a house in ‘the private sector’! One which I, along with the others, chose to live in! I wasn’t allocated it by someone with a title along the lines of ‘South Campus Accomodation Secretary’. My mum had no say in which house I chose. It was a decision we made all by ourselves.
 
Have I told you I have a conservatory in my bedroom? No? Well, I do. It gets very warm during the day, and quite chilly at night. I also have a lovely laminate wood floor, and a bed which squeaks terribly. That’s the worst thing about my room. That and the crummy dado rail going round two of the four walls (one of the walls was added later to reduce the size of the living room, and add another bedroom, so has no dado rail). I also lack a mirror in my room, and so have to relocate to admire my reflection, which I do all to often.
 
We also have a very nice kitchen (though the oven broke down after about 10 days). There are cupboards everywhere, and a well-hidden fridge. 
 
The house has provided us with our fair share of obstacles however. When we first moved in (it was just Yoon and I, back in the day), there was no gas, and so no hot water. We also lacked much in the way of electricity, and a fair bit of other stuff. So, we sorted out the water bills, and the electricity, but the gas had to wait while we got ourselves a gas card. Then, we couldn’t work out how to turn on the gas boiler. Still no hot water. Then we did get it turned on by our agent/landlady, but the water was only lukewarm. Then the boiler went out, and wouldn’t relight. So out came the grumpiest gasman in Colchester, and we now have everything up and running, including the internet. All we need to do now is get that networked round to all our rooms…
 
Ah, the joys of having your own house(!)

The end of a year (warning: contains prevarication)

It seems like only yesterday that I was nervously sitting in my new room having been dropped off by my mum, and wondering what life in Essex would be like. I hoped that I would like the university, that I would get on with some (if not all) of the people on my course, and that I would do well at the subject. I was also hoping that my flatmates would turn out to be normal people, but then you can’t have everything (only joking Chris). Moving out again seemed too far away to even contemplate, and yet it happened, that room, which was my home for the last 10 months, is mine no longer, and never will be again. I doubt I will ever enter the building again, let alone the room. This made me think. I’m the sort of person who gets ridiculously attached to stuff fairly easily (anyone who has seen the amount of clutter in my room will be nodding furiously, and my mum will be rolling her eyes in agreement, or would if she were ever to read this), and so it was with this room. I had reason to like it straight from the off, as it was massive, and in fact the largest one in the flat. Chris labelled me a ‘scumbag’ for this, and I suspect he hasn’t forgiven me since. Also, it became my base (so to speak), the one place that was mine in an area I had never really been to before. OK, I had visited for an open day, but that doesn’t really count.

As I was sitting in my room on friday night, surrounded by bags and boxes full of my stuff, looking at the bare walls, exactly as they were ten months previously, I realised that come October, someone else will be going through exactly the same thing. They too will regard that room as their home. The thought of someone else living there before them, and indeed after them will seem stupid, but at the same time they will have accepted that idea, and it will not cross their mind again, until they too are moving out, passing the baton to the next person who will probably go through the same thing once again.

The strangest thing about moving out was how quickly I managed to pack everything away, and erase every trace of my presence, insodoing, wiping it clean of all the personalised touched which had built up since the previous autumn. The desk lamp was back on the desk, and not in the corner where it had been moved to make space for my computer and free up a plug socket. The inflatable sofa was gone, never to squeak embarrassingly in that room again. The posters, which had been rearranged a couple of times until I was completely happy, were gone, leaving only blank walls for the next person to smother with whatever they wanted. My duvet cover no longer gave the room a splash of blue, and the bathroom was now completely empty, apart from the scummy bar of soap I left behind lest I smear it all over my neatly packed towels. The stereo, which had probably driven the person above me mad frm time to time, was now back in its box, as were the CDs which had occupied an entire shelf. Would the next person use the shelves for their CDs, or would they bring a rack from home? What would they put in their drawers? Would they leave the bed as it was, or move it somewhere? Would the maintenance people have go round to oiling the groaning bathroom door by the time they moved in? Above all else, why did I care? Why? Because it’s MY room, and they will just be a lodger I have allowed to stay there. It will always be my room.

The person before me probably said the same.

The Summer Ball

Hard as it is to believe, a whole year at University is over. First year exams are in the past, and the end of the year has to be signalled in some way. The way it is signalled here in Colchester is the Summer Ball.

The Summer Ball is very difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it, and if they have, there’s no reason to describe it at all. Those of you who’ve experienced a HGS/FSG Leavers’ Ball will have a vague idea, and therefore a better starting point than most. Imagine the Leavers’ Ball. Multiply the number of people present by 10 or 15. Move them outside onto a massive field. In this field, build a marquee the size of a football pitch, and put a stage and dancefloor inside it, as well as a load of tables and seating. Place other tents around the outer edges of the enclosure, and scatter some fairground rides liberally in the spaces remaining. Then bring in some live acts, and DJs, add alcohol, and you’re getting a rough idea of what the Summer Ball is like – a cross between black tie dinner, fair, and festival.

And so it was, we bought our tickets, and prepared for the night. (‘We’ is Emma and I, just in case you were beginning to think that I had got all pretentious, and was using the royal "we"). Had we been a little more adventurous with our money, we could have bought a ticket for £55 which entitled us to entry (no surprises there) a portrait photo, a ‘Survivors’ photo, a raffle ticket, entry to the casino, and the three course meal. This would let us in at 5.30pm and allow us all the fun we could possibly have for a whole 12 hours. Instead, we chose the tickets which meant we didn’t get the meal, and were let in at 9pm instead. This saved us an impressive £15, woo!

This is the point where I would ramble on about all the great things we did during our nine hour stay at the ball, but I won’t. All I will say is that a splendid time was had by all, and we survived, to stagger home bleary eyed as the sun rose above the horizon. I would also post photos, but they’d all be nicked from other people, who would then get very angry, and probably hit me, or at least look disapprovingly in my general direction, which is the last thing I want.

Just use your imagination. And ask politely if you want to see the pictures.