Tag Archives: university

On Finishing Things

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On Finishing Things

or, What I Think I Learned from Moving to a Different Country to Go To University

Be selfish. Because it won’t be enough to remember to take care of yourself. But also connect, to friends, to students, to colleagues, to staff, to people living around you. Be thankful for them, for their help, for their presence. Be thankful to your closest supporters, to your steam valves. Be kind. A little goes a long way, and you will feel much better for it.

Watch Liberal Arts, and prepare to scoff – but even so. Watch Whiplash and prepare to shudder – but even then. Watch Community, season one episode one, season five episodes one and two – watch it all, in fact. Watch Monsters University, despite it not being as good as Inc, and watch Inside Out [I’ll come back to emotions later, too]. Watch Dead Poets Society, if you feel you should, I suppose.

Learn to meditate, and breathe, and sleep. Learn to read as much as you want of anything you want, and that it’s ok to abandon it for a year if something else comes along. Learn to bingewatch with other people, and bingewatch alone. Learn to listen, but also to talk, and it doesn’t always have to be about that much.

Read Ali Smith’s Artful and Deborah Levy’s Things I Don’t Want to Know. Read William Letford’s Bevel and Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness. Read Vaughan and Staples’ Saga and Luiselli and McSweeney’s Sidewalks. Read Comme un Roman, by Daniel Pennac (or by Sarah Ardizzone), or maybe Journal d’un Corps (or Diary of a Body, by Alison Waters). It helps to know your limits, of the page, of the body, and others have explored those edges. Read Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body, too, and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen. Read Gillen and McKelvie’s The Wicked and the Divine and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona.

Find something to become passionate about, and abolish the guilt from the pleasure. [Mine is Transformers, but you already knew that.] Be aware of what is flawed about your interests, do your best to come to terms with it and try changing it where possible. Learn from the mistakes it makes. This also applies to yourself.

Because what you must remember, what you need to make sure you never forget, is to have ambition (cue Atanas Valkov). To be curious (cue Melodysheep). To remember that emotions are allowed, they are natural, they are yours. Because being strong can be a weakness, and showing weakness can definitely be a strength. Accept both. Allow both. Get angry. Make it count (cue A Monster Calls).

You will cry. You will laugh. Sometimes there will be little difference between the two. You will feel lost as everyone is younger than you or looks trapped too early. You will meet people and they will leave, and you won’t. And then you will, too.

So take time to say goodbye. To say thank you. To say sorry.
And do it all with a smile, where you can.

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NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 28 – Notes

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I* once knew a young man* in Norwich
who enjoyed** teaching classes*** in college****
I liked a good rhyme*****
if a few at a time******
flurb******* flergle flarg fliggle floridgh********

—-

*actually same person
**broadly
***seminars
****university
*****debatable, both the good and the liking
******is this even English
*******..wha?
********You just gave up, didn’t you?°
[°but you rhymed, well done. I guess.]

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 27 – End of Term

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Collect
module evaluations,
write a report.

Send
students emails
to check in.

Tweak
teaching portfolio
for future posts.

Open
neglected work,
stare and sigh.

Check emails again:
‘Ready to collect’.

[A hay(na)ku sonnet, as per prompt from Napowrimo.net.]

UEA140Story – The marking edition

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It’s marking season at UEA, and as tutors, we’re all losing our minds a bit. So here’s a story based on real life events,* courtesy of the microfiction account UEA140story and co-authored in marking delusions with fellow marker Kim Sherwood. Marking.

*Not based on real life events.

R-Evolution

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So you say you want a revolution?

Prove it.
Prove what you are..

..are you a man or a mouse?
A student, or rodent?

We have been revolting
for too long, by our own intoxication.
Puking, rebuking, flunking
THUNK
We fall.
We are revolting,
disgustingly
discussing.

It’s time.

Re-claim the night,
re-claim the day
re-claim what is ours.
You want a revolution? Then start the re-evolution.
Show them it’s not just Education
they are cutting down.
They are putting us down..
Stop going to the pub. Stop eating out.
Stop going to the cinema. Stop going to the club.
Bowling, Pool, Gym, Shop.
Stop. Stop. Stop. STOP.

Step-up, onto the podium
speak from the mess
to the mass

Celebrate!
Cerebrate creatures
will understand
as you up-stand.

Stand-up, sit-in, sleep in.
Discuss over a pint, let’s go for drinks.
We’ll create slogans over sloe gins.
Our banter will produce banners.

But where is the education?

Open the doors! A Really Open University.
Drafting essays and papers
Lectures in the cold, seminars on the steps,
the draught does not enter through the door.
For the door is ajar.

Open the roofs!
And shout our civilised YAWP
(barbaric no longer)
over the noise of the traffic.
Let the knowledge flow
Let it seep in
Let it fly free
Let it be increased
ET AUGEBITUR SCIENTIA!
A cry forgotten, by University itself.
We have a tower now.
A new order, a new time.

A new white tower, to replace the ivory.
A new clock, tock-tock-tock
ticking boxes off.
In the multiple choice quiz
that is the new degree.

‘Please lean forward
at ninety degrees.
It won’t hurt
I promise,
we’re good at this by now’

It’s time.
Crack the clock to pieces.
Blow the roofs off.
Tear the tower down

We will make it shudder
Through the words we’ll stutter, for
Eloquence is lost, with rhetoric and form
Inform everyone, open the shutter
the venetian blind.

OPEN
YOUR
EYES