Quick Takes: Two Weeks

I fully meant to be part of the blog-hop last week, but, somehow, it escaped me, and this I guess this is a culmination of last week’s and this week’s adventures.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

I must say it every week, but my time is being swept away from me now, though not necessarily in a bad way. This week, I mostly focused on my schooling. Plus, I’ve not done that much.

~2~

Though, of course, it was the obligatory All Saints Day on Tuesday (1st) and Newman House, the university Chaplaincy in London held a beautiful Mass with the Bishop presiding. It was all very exciting.

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The Bishop also blessed the new cross out the front of Newman House.

~3~

As it was, I chose not to do anything for Hallowe’en. I’m not much into deliberate drinking when there’s nothing to do or no point, and I have never been into asking for gifts door-to-door. Besides, getting a costume together is something I don’t have the time for, nowadays. Everything is just too complicated at the moment.

~4~

I’ve had experimental participant credit to gather, and it recalls to me my days as a first and second year undergrad. There’s a certain vulnerability at being a participant or other people’s research, particularly if it counts towards a mark or their degree. Nevertheless, within that vulnerability of stepping into something created by someone else, for all that we are ignorant, is an inspiration for my own work. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential experiments one could create to test for all sorts of unique aspects of humanity.

~5~

Tomorrow sees me for the third year at Steampunks in Space, the unique convivial in Leicester Space Centre. With astronomy and space having always been one of my favourite sciences, I love that we get to explore this museum and its exhibits whilst also in some of our best garments.

~6~

Have I been editing? Well, yes, I have. Cathy’s now in Italia, which I suppose is progress, even if I can echo the sentiments I made on Monday about NaNoWriMo.

~ 7~

Cathy opened her eyes one at a time. Dull afternoon clouds, grey-tinged, yet exhausted now of their rain, lay above her. A second passed before she realised that the world looked sickly due to certain goggles pinching the bridge of her nose.

She willed herself to whip them off, but her arms ached. A thousand bruises pinned them to her sides.

In Which I am a Graduate

It’s been one of those long journeys that passes in the blink of an eye, but yesterday I stood in front of a hall of people and shook hands with The Chancellor of Reading before accepting a scroll of paper from him, otherwise known as a degree certificate. Yesterday, I officially graduated from the University of Reading with a Bachelor’s degree of Psychology and Philosophy. It’s a weird feeling—I guess, now it’s really hit me that I’m not going back to Reading for another year, that I’ve finished my work on my undergraduate, and everything I had from that degree is ultimately in the past, reset to zero.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had a good time. There have been many aspects of being a British university student, and one of a joint honours in arguably controversial subjects, that I have not had the time or gall to ever blog about. There have been many ups and downs, of course—but that goes without saying when one spends three years of one’s life in a single place with the same sorts of people.

Eventually, though, I know I have to move. For secondary school, it hit me after five or six years. The feeling is kind of distant from the self, but more as if a knowledge of what needs to be done. I have done a lot of what I needed to at Reading, and experienced so many, but it’s not a town in which I want to spend the rest of my life. Nothing personal, just opinion from having lived around the gossamer spires of Oxford most of my life.

What a feeling it is to be moving on to academia new. Indeed, I would be lying to say that that has been the best thing about graduating when in fact it is such a gratifying feeling to be justly rewarded for three years’ hard work. However, it is good to know that I have something more after graduation.

So, there it is. I am a graduate now. I officially have a degree. (This is where I scream “hire me!” at you. Just kidding!) And the obligatory graduation photo? Oh, go on then. 🙂

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Looking professional in my gown and mortarboard!

Have a blessed weekend.

 

Life Update

So, I’ve been doing a lot lately – not exactly extra curricula stuff like last year, but in terms of uni/school – and, as such, I’ve not been blogging as much. I’ll keep up with the Photo of the Week segment and the Weds/Thurs reblog, but posts that require a lot of thought and writing I might have to push onto a back burner for the sake of my work. And, I don’t mind that. This evening, for instance, I’ve been spending time working on my dissertation, and trying to piece together my introduction. I have a lot of background research and it’s fallen together without order. So, that takes daily pulling apart. But I don’t mind. Research is research. And fascinating. I can’t say much about my dissertation research project, but the working title is Increasing Cognitive Load Reduces Interference from Masked Stimuli in Working Memory Tasks.

My writing focus for the moment is just working on The Novel, editing and polishing it. I am currently spending about four or five hours a week going through new notes from a Critique Partner. I am also aiming to run through H for another friend/CP.

The thing is, to be able to do everything I want to, I do have to give up some things. The eternal uni juggling act, as some might say. Blogging isn’t last on my priority list, but it’s not high. I have my editing to concentrate on.

As such, I’ll see you when I see you!

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7 Quick Takes – 6 Types of Assessment

Since it’s been a hectic couple of weeks for me in my third year of uni (at the fabulous University of Reading in the UK), what with this being my dissertation* term and having deadlines Friday, Monday, and Thursday, I thought I’d take the opportunity of the Quick Takes list to describe a bit about the types of assessments I’ve had to do, particularly over this year**.

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7 Quick Takes is hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

~1~

The straight-up essay

This is the assessment I get the most – it covers both Psychology and Philosophy modules, and I suppose, is a good way to tell if someone has done the required reading. There is a difference between Psychology and Philosophy essays – namely, the amount of research reading one does for the essay. Because Psychology encourages the scientific use of background studies, we are required to at least provide one original source.

~2~

The presentation

Leading a seminar and teaching one topic of the module is a type of assessment. Some may think that this is one of the hardest types of assessment to do, but, actually, I’m a big fan of presentations – I seem to have a knack for them, at least. They’re less stressful than essays, and take less time, though still involve the same level of research and interpretation of facts. I enjoy educating others, so this style of assessment helps me do just that.

~3~

The alternative assignment

This is a tricky one to describe, as it depends on the seminar leader or lecturer themselves as to what we end up doing. Most are of working on developing independent research ideas. For instance, the most recent alternative assignment I did required me to raise a project proposal/report – just like that of my dissertation, though with less stress! – on one of the many topics we went through during the term.

~4~

The lab practicals

Psychology all the way! Practicals can range from white-lab-coat conical flask awesomeness (!) to puzzling over statistics for hours on computerised systems. (This has happened to me.) University is a prime for the ‘real world’ – apparently, in some eyes – and practicals help students to expand from the theoretical side of what they’re learning to the working side side.

~5~

The Online Quizzes

These are marked, too, often as a first- and second-year assessment level to encourage background reading for modules that cannot be fully explained in lectures. They consolidate knowledge and prime for exams.

~6~

The non-marked

Often, these are essay plans or little one-page to test for writing skills. Practise, so to speak. So, technically, I’m cheating with this being a type of assessment, but these types of work, called by some ‘formative’, are as crucial to build skills and knowledge towards other assessments. Not as often given out, but as necessary as any other assessment.

~7~

I pray for those with work to or who feel overwhelmed, particularly students. May God’s light guide them to knowledge.

*Of which there is only four weeks left.

**This also counts as a type of assessment, but is ongoing and far more complicated and layered than a simple paragraph will do justice.

7 Quick Takes – Essays, Time-Management and God

Let’s pop over to This Ain’t the Lyceum to see how everybody’s been doing this week.

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~1~

Firstly, it is this little blog’s fourth birthday! I’ll admit that it’s been a less-impressive run than the last couple of years in terms of blogging, but on the other hand, I have got things done and my life has been rolling along as steadily as it is able.

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It almost matches my blog layout…

~2~

Unfortunately for the blog, this has meant that even the best well-meant of posts have got lost at the wayside. Nowadays, I have an idea, and it barely gets further than halfway before I have to transfer my efforts to another activity. I meant to post yesterday, I swear. I’ve even moved reblog Thursday to a Reblog Weds to accommodate my hectic Wednesday timetable this year. These things just haven’t happened, though.

~3~

It’s the weekend! And it truly has been a “thank goodness it’s Friday!” day for me. One of my research participants cancelled last minute yesterday for this afternoon, which meant I was able to actually get some of my – shock horror! – dissertation done in the time of their absence. The thing is that, with (so far) 600 words a day, I’m getting there, but I have more to do than I can afford to have a dissertation report and its progress on my back, too.

~4~

I was going to go to a dance class tomorrow, but that too has been cancelled. The good thing about Lindyhop is that it covers so many different styles of dance, and my group in Reading have recently become more interested in getting together a chorus line. The video below is a chorus girls group performing a piece they choreographed – Greece’s premiere chorus girl group, actually, A Bowl of Cherries.

~5~

Life is about balance. And there is no truer person who knows this than the [current] university student. At the moment, I’m pretty sure I’m out of balance – but that’s okay. I live with that. See my point #3 – I definitely have to make my time. Who-ever says that time has to found in a day? One has to dig it from the ruins of the hours.

Nevertheless, we must take heart – for God knows His plans and handles our plans. This Isaiah quote is encouraging for anyone in the midst of working and striving, those who feel as if their hopes and wills are fading. God has the strength. Do not be faint in His palm!

(Found on Nurse-buff)

~6~

I’m hoping to get to you some writing tomorrow, just something small I decided to do without giving it much thought. It’s set in the world of WTCB and features a couple of characters from LSOT, but apart from that, it was just me playing with dynamics.

~7~

She’d written three times in as many days.

Gabiee twisted the letter between her finger and thumb until it had rolled into a tube she’d easily hide up her sleeve.

As if on cue – and an ominous cue at that – the grandfather clock in the atrium struck. She unearthed the chain from around her neck – from it dangled a pocket-watch, battered but carefully strung. A gift from her husband, and from his father to him.

Seven. Home-coming, for the best of words.

7 Quick Takes: In Which Research Takes over my Life

It’s time to pop over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for Quick Takes Friday. 🙂

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~1~

Well, my week dashed past. Anyone else feeling that? I have so many tasks to complete, including a presentation for next Weds for which I have a block load of reading anyway. *phew*

~2~

I have started my Psychological testing! It’s very exciting, because this is part of my third year work, and entails a great deal of my final mark.

Plus, as I was reminiscing with my lab partner earlier, it was a long two years ago that the tables were turned, and I sat in the cubicle room, working on computer tasks. Now, I’m here. Wow.

~3~

It does, however, feel like all I do is work, dance, and watch murder mysteries. Which is frustrating, to say the least. Not the murder mysteries part, just the whirlwind of readings, submissions, and swing responsibilities.

~4~

Speaking of Swing, you may have heard (or not) of Scott Cupit, a swing teacher who runs the London scene. Reading University are very excited (and blessed) to have him teach us tonight in a one-off guest workshop.

Scottie was the one who ran the World Record Charleston – for which I am an official holder now – and it’s fair to say that I am in awe of his skills, especially as he’s been taught by the legendary Frankie Manning.

Here’s a clip of him dancing.

~5~

I may not remember to talk to Christ every day, but I know that he is here beside me, guiding me. When I have a rough or busy day, like yesterday, with multiple things not going my way, it’s definitely comforting to know that His plan is leading me somewhere. I just don’t know where. Keep the faith, wanderers. Deus vobiscum.

~6~

Editing. I did a bit more this week, yippee! *insert jumping animal here*

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Thank you, Facebook stickers! 😛

Granted, not much has been done, amount-wise, and most of my thoughts have been on structural edits/upping the tension.

~7~

Here’s a favourite new line of mine. It’s probably the most explicitly aggressive Rion has been to his family. I never thought he would actually pull a pistol on anyone, but – innuendos aside – considering the amount of warfare training he has, raising a weapon is actually a natural reaction.

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7 Quick Takes – Death, Work, and Lipstick

Look at that Oxford comma usage. Alex is happy. ^_^ I guess it’s time to formally resume my weekly posting, though my university work is a precedent. So maybe you’ll see me, maybe you won’t. 😛

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~1~

It was a shocking week for culture this week as both David Bowie and Alan Rickman were defeated by cancer at the age of 69. Another legend to add to the list of those who have passed us. They are worthy of giving a thought to as I start this post.

~2~

I’m doing a lot, academically, and somehow, I don’t mind that. I am almost at the point where I start collecting data for my dissertation project, but that also means I am almost at the point of diving into my written report too. Boo.

~3~

My Psych work is yet again being useful for writing – this term, my module is Cognition of Nonverbal Behaviour. Today’s seminar, we concentrated on the basics of gestures – different types, such as beat gestures and indication gestures, how they aid communication, and ‘proxemics’ or use of space.

In WTCB, I have some really aggressive characters in terms of non-violence. What I mean is that the upper-class would never risk scandal by explicit murder, but they are still likely to lash out in a ‘socially acceptable way’, such as showing dominance by posture. Imagine a mob-boss who has his hench-lackies to do the dirty work for him.

~4~

So, apart from that, my week has been pretty usual. Swing dance, creative writing, choir. Lectures, seminars, and meetings…

~5~

I’m still raving about my vintage stuff. The three lipsticks I bought myself for Christmas… The petticoat-and-swing-dress combinations. Maybe I will get round to doing a couple of reviews one of these days.

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And my hair is doing something completely different today… (Using Beet it, the pink lipstick.)

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~6~

However, this has left new writing by the wayside. All of my new is academic or contemplative, but not fiction. If you follow me on Twitter, however, you’ll get the daily update/rant about how my editing is going.

~7~

A little thought for the coming week. Have a good weekend, all.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”