Updates / thoughts - Start of September 2016

So I've not written / posted on here in ages, and it's because I have been busy and distracted and lots of other things. But now it feels right to ramble.

I am just back in Edinburgh (home) for the weekend, and am currently packing for London to then go on to Berlin.

I will be doing the Royal Holloway University of London's Global Leadership Programme which is run by the CeDAS department (Centre for the Development of Academic Skills). I am really excited about it!

From the 6th-11th of September we will be going to various talks, presentations, work places, cultural events and so on - and I will definitely be posting a full and detailed write-up about it afterwards. I've been to Berlin before briefly, and I would be keen to see more of the work side of it / the history / the types of industries there, rather than just staying with a pal.

I am a little sad, as today I realised that The Designer Index -who I used to write for - are no longer a thing, and I didn't have time to make copies of the things I wrote for them.

The past two days I have been on a training course for Teach First in London, for my new part-time job as a brand manager for them. It was very thorough and intense but it was lovely to stay in LSE accommodation opposite the Tate and with a view of St Pauls. It's lovely when everything is paid for, and we were treated well - with a Pizza Express dinner at bankside, and never-ending tea and coffee. I was happy to meet my team and others from other unis and excited to get going!

Previously I caught up with some old friends at the Edinburgh Festival and saw a few really good BBC Radio 4 Shows (Front Row and Open Book). I visited some family in Aberdeen, went on a ferry ride to Anstruther (post coming soon), and had some nice visits to cafes and bars.

Before that, I was away for around 6 weeks - firstly working near Madrid at a kids summer camp, then travelling the north of Spain, then to Munich and East Germany, before coming back to Edinburgh around the 10th of August. (Again, I will post pictures and a write up about all of that)

(And before that I was in Japan (!!!) and then Dresden in Germany - which also need posts of their own).

I am now 24, and going into my final year at Royal Holloway.

We start back on the 23rd of September.

It only just hit me quite recently what the reality of not 'having' to be somewhere might be like. At the moment I can use the 'grass is always greener' trope, complain about where I have to be. After graduation I won't have to be anywhere. I will have to take responsibility for where I choose to go, and responsible for my own happiness and choices. I know that this is also the case now - but it's very easy to rely on "ugh I have to be at uni on these particular days", "ugh I have an assignment" and "ugh I just need to get it over with so that I can start 'real life'".

I am more confused than ever about what I want to do.
At school when I was younger I thought about being a ballet dancer, a fashion designer, a Blue Peter presenter, a writer, and probably famous. (ha.) During high school, by the time I was about 14 - I was sure that I would go to art school (probably in London), as I was so heavily encouraged by my art teachers - one of whom died this August and I am terribly sad about it. In my last years of high school I had seen my friend going to an international school, and was obsessed with the idea of moving abroad and learning more languages and being with people from different cultures. I had always studied French and loved the feeling learning foreign languages gave me. Since I was very very small I was obsessed with meeting people from around the world (one of my kids books was called something like "Around the World") and I remember my classmates at nursery and primary school having family members coming in to talk to us about their cultures and absolutely loving it - I particularly remember being shown how to make some sweets from Pakistan by my friend's mum, and about the dreidel by another friend's mum who was Jewish, in particular - and travel, different ways of living / doing things, and languages were always close to my heart. Anyway, I digress.
Nevertheless, I was also persuaded with ideas of 'prestige' which were not-so-slyly drilled into us at school - the idea of the 'best universities' and most 'talented and intelligent' students. That combination led me to fill out my UCAS with a combination of prestigious English literature degrees and prestigious art schools, whilst I also looked at applying to art school in Paris, and international degree programmes in places like Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands. (Although don't get me wrong, I am not a rich kid so had to fund whatever I did myself) The latter was the one that I ended up with (University College Maastricht in The Netherlands), and recently - and 3 years since I left - I find myself missing it terribly. I hope to return to Maastricht this year or next. During my time there I was sure that I would go into academia or do a film-y/visual culture-y/art-y masters - probably in France or London. I never did do that. Although I am currently doing a film & TV degree at Royal Holloway so I suppose it's not so far away. I was keen to get experience in media and journalism and pursued that throughout my first two years there. However, I am now feeling more than a little confused - and having worked the whole summer with children in Spain, I found myself thinking about primary school teaching and nursing amongst other things. Or about doing a TEFL course and teaching with that, or doing a media-type project with youth groups, or social work with art therapy. Or even becoming a politician. I suppose I have always been passionate about political and social issues (working with Amnesty International and so on), and maybe I need to incorporate this into what I do - rather than keeping a "media career" entirely separate from it. I am unsure whether to apply for a masters or not, and if so - what and where. We will see where this year takes me - but I am trying to look at it as a last year as a student in (/near) London and to take advantage of all the opportunities it can afford me:

Amazing art galleries
Media centres and big media companies nearby
Work experience / unpaid or low pay internships that I would not be able to do if I needed to work for a living as a non-student
Cool arty events and strange new cafes and gigs
National art schools
National dance schools
A diverse range of people and things to do, projects to get involved in
An opportunity to live in a building that looks like Hogwarts, and to study in a Hermione-worthy library
To chat to professors passionate about their field
To work at my two very very enjoyable side-jobs (Teach First brand manager & senior digital engagement ambassador for Royal Holloway - woohoo!)
To meet new people
To do more radio shows
To use my position as the National Student Television London Regional Officer to great effect to meet people and make a useful and fun event for lots of people!

I am going to make a sort-of "London Bucket List" (even if I do end up in London afterwards, I thought it would be worth trying to do a bunch of stuff that I have always wanted to do in London, in my last year of my degree).

For now, I need to pack my bag for the sleeper train back down to London, and sort how many liquids I can fit in my hand luggage (ha).

I will be posting my reviews of the beers I was sent, and the ferry ride that I was given - over the next days, and the Spain / Japan / Germany posts in the next weeks. Oh and I want to write about Ru Paul's drag race (haha!), some film reviews, and ponderings.

So much has been happening in the world, it's difficult to know where to start.

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