Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Year In Norwich: A Week in the Life (UEA) III

Here are my last Tuesday and Wednesday... they're not as immediate as the others were but I think I've remembered most things! 

Tuesday, 18th October 

I don't get to uni until about 12 noon today, but since I will have to be on camps til about 9pm I feel this is OK. The morning is a rush as I am keen to get going but oversleep. I end up spilling some coffee on my bed and hoping it doesn't stain too permanently. This sets a precedent for the day. I get the bus to Uni and manage to get my printing done at the library - at last. I read my medieval gender and sexuality literature for a few hours, during which I am sent a text informing me I've been rota'd in to work at a pub I've done a couple of shifts for at 5pm. I won't be there, as I'm working my calling job from 6-9pm. And also, said pub may or may not be the pace beer goes to die.

All this, coupled with the fact that in attempting the simple feat of crossing one leg over the other, I tear a ladder in my tights, prompts minor library breakdown. The library breakdown is interesting in that of course, you have to be very quiet. Heavy breathing sometimes permitted. Head in hands. But absolutely no crying. I get over it in a matter of moments, enough at least to read more medieval literature.

I nip out to take a break and when I'm back I move on totally to work on my dissertation instead - it's nice that I love both of my academic focuses at the moment so can alternate when it all gets too much. I find several new exciting sources and this cheers me up. I then decide to watch some vidoes online about the campaign I'm going to be calling about today. Come 5.30 when we all meet for tea and biscuits before the calling shift, I do not feel any more prepared.

The shift goes well. it's most people's first time so we're all a bit nervous but this dissipates as predicted after the first dozen or so answer machines. I speak to maybe four people properly in three hours and am flustered but they are kind. I just need to remember to follow the script, a necessity which I struggle with somewhat.

After my calling job I go home, noting how cold it gets now after 9pm, and finally get to chill out somewhat and enjoy life, and contemplate the fact that work/academic/society/social/love/sex lives are going to have to be neatly timetabled and colour-coordinated from now on, or else something will have to give.

Wednesday, 19th October 

I feel a lot more relaxed today. I get up at about ten, shower and then clean down the bathroom because our house will be inspected by the landlord today or tomorrow and my housemates cleaned everywhere else last night. I quickly gather my materials together for the workshop I'm running in the Hive I need to be on campus before noon to secure a table because delays with forms and the union mean one mightn't have been booked. I arrive, grab a coffee and panini from the café and commandeer a table which is promptly filled with people working on a group project of some sort or another. I use my limited artistic ability to make signs for the workshop: it's a zine-making session based around Asexuality and Aromanticism. I am straight, romantically and sexually, so am not an expert on this, but I know my way around a zine and have run lots of workshops before so this shouldn't be a problem. Also, to use a common privileged phrase: actually, I have friends who are Ace/Aro. at 12, I'm joined by Eliott and the lovely Juliet and Sharmin, who commandeer a proper table (and chairs, if you don't mind) for me and help to set it up with pride flags, flyers for the week and flyers for UEA Pride. It's a slow start, but I use the time to think about things like equality and diversity training and how best to put together this publication. We decide on twelve pages and I get everyone to make a nameplate, with their preferred pronouns and also why they are interested in coming to the workshop. from this, we gather some ideas. The centre spread is a series of hearts upon which we write about what we love in non sexual or romantic ways. Mine reads: "I don't know if I'll ever love anyone as much as my mum." It's a constant worry of mine.

As the workshop progresses, around seven people show up. Some are from Pride, some from Egg Box publishing, and some who are just interested in what's going on. It's a good number to work with. I make the cover, Amelia (my former flatmate who first introduced me to asexuality as a thing) makes some maps to show the spectrums (spectri??), and people submit pieces about how they were first aware of Asexuality or Aromanticism. We also make a back cover and by the end of the workshop have about 8 pages sorted out. I'll finish it at the weekend.

I find out from Abi that the landlord has indeed come round, looked round the house, set a timer so the heating is on for ten hours a day - ridiculously hot when I get home - and left.

I'm meant to meet my friend Kat at 3pm to talk about our medieval literature reading but instead I push this back an hour and go to get some food with Eliott. It's the first time we've sat down together properly since the summer holidays so there's a lot to catch up on and it's much needed. we reassure each other over left-behind coursework and he tells me not to panic too much about my dissertation, as I will inevitably end up with some days of zero productivity followed by huge bursts. These are wise words indeed.

It's about 3.45 by the time Kat and I get together to discuss such raunchy verses as "I have a gentle cock" and a story on "the meaning of marriage" about a medieval priest who decides the only way to spice up a woman's marriage is to have sex with her himself. Obviously. Afterwards, I pop to the library, message my sisters-in-law and look up some more information about the call campaign, which I still somehow don't feel versed in. At 5.30, I head over to start my shift with some tea and biscuits.

Today goes slightly better than the previous day, I'm more in the swing of things and am having much longer conversations with people who are both interesting and interested. However I feel more rehearsal is needed and I need to memorise some more information on the campaign. I just need a bit more practise . I talk to some people who've done or gone on to do similar things to me, and they seem really happy to give advice and chat. Nobody, however, can afford to donate as many are students or have just graduated. All the rich people are out earning their money, it seems.

I finish at nine again, chat with a new friend on the way home, and make a curry using quorn instead of chicken. It is not the worst. I then catch up on the Bake Off with Sam, put on my electric blanket and sit in bed to write about the last two days, which I now realise have become a little muddled in my head...

Monday, 17 October 2016

A Year in Norwich: A Week in the Life (UEA) II

Monday, 17th October 

I give myself a lie-in, half by accident and half because when I notice how late it is I just accept that this is a thing that needs to happen in my life. I get up about 11.30, make some coffee and start on my to-do list for the day - this while still in my pyjamas. My "personal admin" includes sending a picture of damage to my wall from before I moved in to my letting agent, filling in a slightly late council tax certificate, and filling details of work and meetings into my handwritten diary, which seems the only way I can keep track. I also email my dissertation supervisor to explain I've been ill for the past couple of weeks and to arrange a meeting. We are expected to meet with them 5 times before the April deadline, I suspect I'll meet mine slightly more as she's very helpful and I'm very stressy. Jess, Libby and I discuss options for energy bills which we are finally getting sorted. When my admin's done I get the bus to uni and print some reading out along with my tax certificate.

On the way to the library, I run into my friend Eliott. It's Asexual Awareness week so he's running a stall. I buy a cake to show support - but I end up accidentally buying two cakes because there are two stalls and I purchase a brownie at the wrong one first. These things happen. Although when I spot the guys from the first stall trying to sell their cakes in the library I regret my purchase - this simply isn't on in my book. I also elect to "give a squashie to my squish" as part of the campaign which is when you give a squashie sweet to your platonic crush. Obviously, mine goes to Eliott. After I've done my printing the library is pretty crowded so I sit in the "Hive" and read some of my medieval literature for a gender and sexuality module. At some point a handsome French man asks me for directions but sadly the conversation progresses any further. At 3pm I'm joined by Sophie and Hugo from my Egg Box publishing committee and two members of Octarine, a magazine at UEA. We plan deadlines, ideas and format for our new project, "Prompt", which will result in a zine made by both of our societies. It's a successful meeting and we realise they know lots about print which we'll find really useful.

I get the bus home with Sophie and we chat about more ideas. We started a publishing society last year and in September, we rebranded as Egg Box, and took over the running of the UEA-based publishing press of the same name. Egg Box was run by lecturers and publishes the annual Creative Writing anthologies, but this year it's going to be run by us. Er, me. My co-president who oversaw the anthologies last year has resigned and the other night I realised that basically I am now president of a real-live printing press as well as a society. Feeling slightly like a grenade has been left in my lap. I express this to Sophie on the bus and she reassures me a lot.

When I get home I go to my room and do some dissertation research for a couple of hours, which means I can colour in two circles on the "dissertation reading wall chart" I've made, because I am that person. At 6pm I Skype my brother and sister-in-law, Rhodri and Julie, in California. It's the first time I've Skyped them since they moved last year and we talk up until I have to go for dinner. Libby and Sam have made bolognese  (meat and vegetarian respectively... Sam is a "fair weather vegetarian") and we eat it together with Abi. I don't mean we eat Abi. I mean Abi is also there. After dinner I actually wash some things up and we play a new game we're obsessed with called "Quip Lash" in Abi's room. Sam goes to do some reading and I say I'm going to but end up watching Friends.

I write today's blog post on Abi's bed with Libby constantly asking me if I've finished writing and potentially go upstairs to read, but there is also talk of watching The Holiday.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Year in Norwich: A Week in the Life (UEA)

A breakdown of a week in the life of a student in Norwich. Might be of interest to you if you're planning on going to Uni, are looking at UEA, are moving to Norwich or are my parents and want to make sure I'm eating properly. 

Sunday, 16th October 

I oversleep immensely so the morning begins in a panic. Yesterday, I worked 9.30am-4.30pm doing training for a new job on campus, and then worked 6pm-1.30am in the pub where I bartend, so this probably explains why I was deaf to the 7.45am alarm this morning. I have the training again for the same time today, but when I do wake up it's a couple of minutes after nine. I  decide forking out for a taxi is my only option, especially considering Sunday buses (I've been stung before), so I call for one while I'm pulling on my jeans with one hand and somehow, miraculously, I arrive on campus at 9.27am. The taxi driver does not chat. I have not showered.

Training is more interactive than the previous day- it's for a telephone campaign to raise funds from alumni, which appears to be a more ethical, less soul-destroying version of what I've done before, with shorter shifts and better pay. We do role-plays and a quiz so it's easier to stay awake than yesterday when I found myself flagging around the 2.30pm mark. It's in the council chambers for the most part, in a ridiculously warm room with ridiculously comfy chairs, and I worry that my eyes will slide shut as they are wont to do and Kelly, the lovely lady running the session, will think I am bored of her. However, lunch is provided and this is done in style with a very nice buffet which includes all the usual suspects plus some plastic pots of fruit salad. I put one in my handbag.

We get off a little early, at about 3.30, and I bus home after figuring out there is a knack to not getting trapped in the Arts building on a Sunday. When I arrive, my old housemate Jay is visiting Abi (housemate of two years and counting), so a few of us have a cup of tea together. Jay goes home, Abi leaves for work and I have lots of food in so I make my oven-baked version of a ratatouille. Libby (housemate) gets back from campus and we have the ratatouille with some cous cous. At some point Jess (housemate) gets back from work and goes to lie down as she still appears to have the plague we thought had finally left the house. Sam (housemate) returns from wherever he has been with Alex (friend) in tow, and we drink more tea. I inform Alex he will have to go to a committee meeting to represent our course (Literature and History) as my new work hours mean I won't be able to make it.

I shower away the sticky beer and regret of the past 48 hours' work and get into my pyjamas while the others watch a documentary together. I then answer some emails, forward some info to various people who've asked for it, and catch up via Facebook chat with my sister-in-law Julie in California and my schoolfriend Rebekah in Spain. I begin the draft of this blog post, and watch some YouTube videos from my laptop. I decide The Apprentice on iPlayer is too much effort and to watch it another time when I'm less tired, so I switch on Gossip Girl instead as I tidy up my room. I'm on season 4 and still can't decide whether I like it.