It will be a shock to the system…?

As a student coming up to the end of my degree I’ve been getting a reasonable amount of comments about what it’s going to be like once I’m in this ‘real world’ that everyone’s been talking about for my 21 years.

But what really annoys me is the apparent competition between people about their workload. Like they ‘win’ if they work the most.

One family friend recently said ‘it’ll be a shock to the system when you get into a real nine to five job.’

Like I don’t work as much as a nine to five job now?

I’m on track for a first, and most of my friends are. I’m sure we’ll all agree that it’s a lot of work to stay at that level. It takes up your evening and weekends and most of your waking thoughts.

Especially when deadlines come up… Which is most of the time. You spend all of your free time either doing the work or feeling guilty if you aren’t.

No amount of ‘you should do something fun, get your mind off it, stop stressing’ will help.

I have friends who are doing a nine to five job in a year of work experience between years of their degree and every single one loves it. They are dreading coming back to the never ending work of a degree. At least in a job you get to leave your work there (in most jobs) and have your weekends all to yourself.

I assume, even in the busiest times of most jobs, you don’t have periods twice a year where you are working from dawn till dusk, barely getting any sleep, the sleep you are getting is still work and doesn’t really count, crying from the stress, and collapsing from pure exhaustion at the end.

I mean, not that I don’t admit that there are jobs out there that are as hard as hell, and do bleed over into your home life, but the ones I’ve been compared to are office jobs. The ones that I know for a fact aren’t hugely work intensive and are ‘leave at the workplace’ jobs.

Have people really forgotten so much what a degree is like that they now think it’s so little work?

Maybe the people that think it perhaps had a slightly lighter work load during their degree?

Maybe they didn’t work as hard for the top grades? Maybe they didn’t need or want the top grades?

Either way, demeaning the amount of work I do isn’t going to make you feel better about what job you’ve chosen. And admitting someone works harder than you doesn’t demean what work you do.

When I finish my degree, at least to start, I want to get away from my subject for a while. I want my brain to take a break, to not be having to remember everything I’ve been told for a test on it later. I want to not be literally pulling out my hair for a while. I want a rest. And a nine to five job could be that.

Anyway, my point is: stop telling me that I don’t do a massive amount of work, or that it’s not as much as any nine to five job. That’s rude and just makes me feel like my stress and hard work isn’t worth as much as I thought it was.

And, praise for people doing a degree. You all work damn hard.

‘Recreate your earliest childhood memory.’

So this post is one of I hope many more that are inspired by one of my birthday presents. It’s a book called ‘642 things to write about’ and basically gives you writing prompts based around anything it can think of. Just to boost your creative spark a bit I guess. They’re all up for interpretation, so really whatever comes to mind.

Anyway, I loved the present and I thought I’d join it up with this blog. It is supposed to keep me writing after all.

Here goes:

I clamber up onto one of the chairs that surround our dining room table. It’s not that high up but I’m quite small so it takes a bit of effort. I feel the heat of the candles on my face.

My sister sits in the chair beside me, normal practice for our joint birthday. But this year’s special: we each have our own cakes.

It might only seem like a small thing, but when you share what seems like your whole life with this one individual, it can seem like you don’t have anything that you can actually call ‘mine’.

They’re smaller than usual; better for the number of guests. Two full cakes would have been a bit much and kids on a sugar rush can be hard to handle. They have Dalmatians on them, like from the film that we’ve both fallen in love with.

We blow out the candles, making the obligatory wish. At least, I assume my sister does, but, unlike some might like to think, we can’t read each other’s minds.

My memory skips a bit then, normal for a then four year old I suppose.

A man walks in the room, faceless from my height. He’s wearing the blue jeans and red top I have grown to associate with my own dad. It’s like his own personal uniform in my young mind.

I rush to hug him, or rather his knees, it’s as high as I can reach.
‘Love you daddy!’ I say, as happy as someone can be.
Bubbles of laughter erupt around the room. Did I miss something funny?
‘Aww,’ my dad croons down at me, ‘I’m not your daddy, I’m your uncle. Your daddy’s over there.’ He points but I don’t look. The laughter was at my expense. My first remembered humiliation, no matter that it was a small one. It didn’t seem to affect me then, but it’s stayed in my memories so maybe it was a subconscious effect.

I release his legs from my grasp and carry on with my happy day. Another memory ends there.

I vaguely remember people joking about it afterwards but that doesn’t stick in my mind. The cake, the jeans, and the red jumper. That’s all.

In some ways four year old me was more self assured than I am now, but that’s not surprising. Most people are pretty happy when they’re four.

So that ended up being longer than I thought. And came out a bit dark I think. Anyway, any writing is good practice.

I think I’m going to like this present a lot.

Moving house

As the title suggests, I have just moved house. Well, my family has, and as I only live with them around half of the year now, I suppose I have only half moved?

As I write… Or type, I am surrounded by boxes. Lots of them. There are eight full ones just in my bedroom alone.

What I’ve learned is that hiring someone to pack and move your stuff is absolutely worth it. They did in less than two days what would have taken us weeks. It was seriously impressive. And all it cost us was about 30 cups of tea and a couple of pints of milk… And money.

It’s been a bit saddening for me as I’m leaving the only house I ever remember living in, but it’s a nice house. MASSIVE garden, at least, compared to our previous one. I’ll get used to it eventually.

So I suppose you can tell that I didn’t really have a good idea for this post. I’m mostly using it as a diary entry. But that’s okay, I need to stick to my one post a week goal. Keep on writing!

I’ve also decided to apply for editorial jobs, mainly in educational areas so I can use my maths skills. I think I’ll enjoy it, if I get the chance to start, but it does worry me that I might not have the experience of others with editing and grammar etc. One of the downsides to trying to break into writing without an English degree I suppose.

So this has been a pretty short post. Hope you enjoyed it anyway.

Real life is catching up, only a few months left before I get thrown into it. Wish me luck.

How can you possibly know?

I do a maths degree. I’m just about to finish it, then I’m out into the big wide world and I have to get a job.

But, what if I don’t like maths as a job?

My point of this post is: how can you possibly know if you like something as a job if all you’ve ever done is learn it?

I mean, I know I like learning maths, new things all the time and I’m pretty good at it which is nice. But that in no way prepares me for what a job doing maths would actually be like.

What if I hate it? I have no way of knowing if I will or won’t.

And that’s scary.

People seem to expect you to at least have a vague plan of where you’re going by the time you’re finishing university. They ask ‘What are you going to do next?’ And I reply ‘Maybe something to do with maths, and maybe writing, I like writing so if I can blend the two then I think I’ll like that.’ And I think that’s a reasonable response. But sometimes it can feel a little ‘fluffy’, like I’m not really answering them.

I feel a pressure sometimes to want to go into maths and a reasonably high paid job, like I have to live up to my abilities with the return I get. But what if what I really love doesn’t earn me that much? Should I feel guilty? What if I don’t love maths outside the classroom?

You see, my dream job (or at least what I think it is right now) is to write. Novels, possibly magazine articles for science magazines, but at least write something.

The problem is, I don’t know if I’m good enough at it. There’s never been a definitive test to say ‘yep, you’re this good at writing.’

That uncertainty makes me nervous.

And, it’s only vaguely related to maths. Which can be an issue when you’re still dependant on other people and they want you to go into maths. They still have power over you. As my dad says: ‘When you’re still dependant on people, they have a say in what you do. When you’re independent, everything’s up to you.’ (That may not be a direct quote but you get the idea.)

So really I just have to figure myself out enough to gain independence, then I can decide for myself. Guilt be damned. Eventually I’ll discover if I’m good enough at writing, or if I love something completely different.

And really, I shouldn’t feel bad if there are no maths jobs out there I like. As long as I’m happy and can support myself I’m okay, right?

This has apparently been a ‘thought for the day.’ Thanks for reading.

It’s not all about you.

So this first part isn’t actually about the topic of this blog post, but I have some explaining to do.

I apologise for not blogging every week as I said I would do when I started this back up again. But, I have a good excuse! I had surgery.

Not major surgery, just a tonsillectomy. Though I doubt the word ‘just’ has any place in that sentence. And I have been in a LOT of pain for a week now. Like, ‘shoot me now’ pain, at least in the morning or during the night when it’s at it’s worst.

Today, all of a sudden, I can swallow without it feeling like I’m eating pieces of glass and knives instead of whatever ‘normal food’ I should be eating.

Did you know that you’re not allowed to just eat jelly and ice cream during recovery anymore? Me neither. Until I was informed that if I didn’t eat ‘normally’ I would most likely get an infection in the second week of recovery and start bleeding. Fun.

So I’ve been especially good and haven’t deviated from my usual diet or what the rest of my family is eating, all except snacks. I think this reprieve from the extreme pain today is probably a reward for that. (Or maybe not, just as I typed that my throat decided to randomly stab itself in pain. Ouch)

Anyway, that’s my excuse. I think it’s a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

So, back to the topic.

Recently, me and my twin sister got our hair cut. I just got a normal straighten out the fringe, some off the end, neaten up. She however, decided to get her hair cut shorter, into almost a bob. It looks lovely.

Now my first thoughts were along the lines of ‘Oh, she looks really good with a bob. That means I’ll look good with a bob. Cool, new hairstyle I can go for. Now, how many people are going to ask us if she got that so that other people can tell us apart?’

It was one of my first thoughts. Which made me think. We get asked that a lot.

Pretty much any time either one of us gets a new hairstyle, or changes something about our appearance that makes us look more different, we get asked that.

Now, I suppose it’s a fair question, but it does annoy me for a couple of reasons.

1. It makes it seem like everything I do in my life revolves around my being a twin. Where I go to university, what job I get, (a lecturer actually asked us ‘how we would handle it’ if we didn’t manage to get jobs in the same company… Like we would have to be with each other all the time to survive or something) or anything else.

And 2. It makes it out like you (the person who’s asking) thinks that we should focus all of our changes on how to make it easier on other people who barely know us to tell us apart. Or how we should think of you AT ALL when deciding how to most make us look different.

I know I don’t have to try to look different to the people that matter. Most, if not all of my close friends say that, though they thought we were absolutely identical when they first met us, now they now us better we look completely different. Sometimes they’re not even sure that we’re identical.

You see, we don’t do it to look different. We do it because we want a change. Just like any other singleton would.

I mean, we do have a rule that if one of us has a big change and the other likes it, we have to leave a fair amount of time before we do it ourselves. But that’s mostly down to how other people will comment on us ‘doing the same thing because we’re twins’ or that it’s just nice to get sole attention for a big change once in a while. Like the spotlight is on you, not both of us, just for one moment. It’s nice.

Eventually I would like to get a new haircut without getting those comments, and maybe one day I will. Probably when I don’t live with or near my sister any more. But for now, I just have to keep on grinning and replying politely.

Ah the life of a twin.