So I’ve come to the end of my second year at Aberystwyth University, and I can honestly say that if my experiences were plotted on a graph; there would be a positive gradient.Of course there are low points, but they inevitably curve upwards. 1 year ago today I wrote a blog post in similar fashion, reflecting on my experiences, and I thought it would be fitting to keep it a tradition, so here’s my second annual University recap post.
So what is the most significant change? On paper, that would be my degree. A few weeks ago I changed my degree scheme from English and Creative Writing to just straight English. I did this so I that I could write a dissertation as opposed to a final writing project; I would say I much prefer researching and writing my own thesis to be marked, as opposed to having an 8000 word piece of prose being marked. In regards to work itself, I have had a fairly solid year. The work has certainly been stimulating, challenging, and often distressing. But ultimately I have pulled through with 2:1s, and I am hoping I might scrape some similar results for my most recent exams. My next challenge, which I will hopefully crack down on over Summer, is deciding on a topic for my dissertation.
This brings me on to the most important part of University, for me. One year ago I said I was disappointed with the lack of progress I had made with societies and socialising with students outside of my flat. Come December 2013, I was a lot happier with the progress I had made. I met a few people and performed poetry with the English and Creative Writing society [the one I wished to become more involved with]. Yet when I reflected upon it in December, I realised I hadn’t really done much socialising at socials. So from the beginning of this year I took myself to socials, engaged in conversation [even if I didn’t understand what the hell certain people were saying] and went to several events; including poetry readings, open mic nights and I even partook in my first poetry slam, which was great. More recently I decided to take part in the elections and run for the role of Treasurer, which I won! When I think back at the promise I made to involve myself in the society at the beginning of second year, and think of the position I am in now, I can’t help but feel quite proud of myself.
Speaking of Open Mic nights, I partook in my first comedy night last night as a stand-up comic. I felt this didn’t go as dreadfully as I thought it would, despite not being able to read my set list. Naturally with a first time, it went far from perfect, but I got a sufficient amount of laughs to consider doing it again, should these comedy open mic nights continue next year.
This year saw me head off to my first football match, which was certainly eventful. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the atmosphere much with people chanting and getting angry, but I blended in quite well I thought. I still repeat some of the chants now, as they are quite catchy. Unfortunately “we pay your benefits!” is not something that can be chanted outside of a football match. I saw Chelsea play Aston Villa, and despite my team losing, it was a great first experience nonetheless. I hope to, in the next year, get to Stamford Bridge and see Chelsea play at home, which I am sure would feel immense.
What else have I been up to? I’ll list off some other things:
• I was a Freshers Hero, which was brilliant. I really enjoyed meeting scared/excited freshers and their families, and sharing in their emotions.
• I was a Student Ambassador for the English department, which was great also; meeting potential new fresher’s and telling them everything they need to know about Aber’s English department.
• I’ve been on live radio on more than one occasion, with the local radio station RBFM. I will attach a link to their JustGiving page at the bottom of this post, and if you can donate anything then I would really appreciate it. They need funds to keep the station open for the hospital patients of Bronglais hospital, and a percentage goes to the children’s ward! With them, I assisted in their fantastic 24 hour broadcast, which involved running around doing little jobs and baking amazing brownies for the station workers.
• Watched and met Jimmy Carr, which was brilliant. Very funny man.
• Been to Birmingham to see [and meet with my VIP ticket] my favourite band of all time, Blue October. It was such an honour to meet the band, and in particular the front man, Justin Furstenfeld; a huge inspiration to me and my writing.
• Spending time with friends and appreciating life in general. There have been dark moments for me, and times when I thought I would drop out of University and stick to the shadows, but I’ve got through the nonsense and come out on top [for now!]
So as with the last post, I end with a question: what next? And what do I hope to achieve in the next academic year?
Well I would like to write a pretty good dissertation and get a good mark for my degree; I guess that’s kind of important. But mostly I really want to make the third and final year as memorable as possible. I am going to put all my effort in to dividing my time effectively between work, socialising and personal development. Writing and performing more poetry (and potentially comedy) is a must, as well as meeting more people. Getting to a Stamford Bridge game would be cool. But mostly it is important to leave an impressive memory of University, as I don’t intend on staying on at Aberystwyth for a Masters. If I were to do a Master’s, I’d like to think I’d go elsewhere for it. But this will all be planned some time next year.
Before I conclude, I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to the friends I have at University who have supported me: you’ve made me laugh, made me think about crying [I’m too manly], made me happy, frustrated me, and I think most of all – made me feel alive. For that, I thank you all. If you’re reading this and feel it applies to you, then you’re probably right. Give yourself a pat on the back.
I always promise to keep my blog posts regular, and then fail to, so I won’t say it this time. I will simply say: ‘Until next time, folks’ and leave it quite ambiguous. It will be a nice (I hope) surprise that way.