Thursday, 11 July 2013

Feeling old

Today at work I felt old.

I work at a leisure centre doing a bit of everything, and today my job was to supervise a school trip at the centre - my old secondary school.

Some of the same teachers were there, but a lot had changed about the school - which I could tell before chatting to the year 9 pupils. I was in their year group six years ago. I was last at the school two years ago, when I was a sixth former. And today I was in charge of them. How weird is that?

I'm no stranger to being in charge of groups of school children. Every half term I work at a kids club at the centre, and most weekends I run children's birthday parties at the centre too - but this was different, this was my old school. 

The kids were calling me "Miss", and not only were the kids listening to me - but the staff were too. The teachers who once had authority over me were now following my instructions. Any pupils dream, surely?

This isn't the only thing making me feel old at the moment though, my birthday is looming. 

I am going to be turning twenty. While that may seem like one of those insignificant birthday's to many, for me it's frightening. I realise twenty isn't actually old, really in the scheme of things it's the beginning - but at the same time it marks an end. The end of my teen years, and in turn too my childhood.

As one friend described it: "The next decade is when I need to achieve the most" - the twenties are important, which is frightening. 

Luckily, like the picture on this post says - I may be getting older, and getting more responsibilities, but it doesn't mean I have to grow up. As my Gran says: "You're as old as you feel."

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Procrastination - not necessarily a bad thing.

I procrastinate - a lot. 

At university my class know me as the Queen of The Last Minute Club, not a title I'm necessarily proud of, nor one I aim to keep - in fact I've tried avoiding it. Losing this title appears as difficult as losing any addiction.

Obviously there are some ways I could drop the imaginary crown, becoming more organised may be a start. I could stop putting things off, telling myself "That's next month, I have ages." only to find that next month starts tomorrow (I've done this more than once).

Organisation isn't the only problem. I often just put the problems off, leaving them for future-Shelby to deal with, then she puts them off for future-future-Shelby to do, who then panics and curses past-Shelby.

Sometimes, of course, living in the moment and being happy right now is great - but it's also stupid. I waste time worrying and stressing, when if I got things done straight away I would have nothing to worry about in the future.

BUT - sometimes procrastination is good. 

Sometimes having a break from endless work - voluntary, university assignments, or my job - is good.

Not only am I a university student, but I am also a part-time recreational assistant/bar staff at the local leisure centre, as well as being the MyUni editor of the Canterbury Christ Church (CCCU) page on HerUni, and a writer for the independent student magazine, The Medwire, and a publicist for my sisters upcoming charity event, Wales2Medway - it's hard enough trying to find a moment to breath while reading that list, let alone living it - is it any wonder I sometimes put tasks off? 

Procrastination in my case is often good as it means I can find a moment to breathe and fit a social life in between my busy schedule (I actually have to tell my friends "I'll check my diary" when they even suggest something as small as a lunch date). It also means I get a breather to enjoy 'me time' - quality time with myself is as important as any quality time with family and friends (without it I would appear even less sane than I already do).

Right now, for instance, I am supposed to be editing and uploading an editorial for CCCU MyUni - but quite frankly, I needed a break. One-hour-in-the-future-Shelby can deal with that one, because I am too busy writing my first personal blog for far too long, eating a dinner despite not even being hungry, and having an indulgent skim of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Giving the University Centre Folkestone the send-off it deserves.

In December 2012 I wrote two articles for my university newspaper, Unified, one of which was a comment piece on the closure of my university campus in Folkestone (UCF).

This article came just four months after the plan to close the Canterbury Christ Church campus was announced by email by the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robin Baker. His email, sent on August 3 2012, stated that the upcoming closure was to ensure students "the best experience" at university.

Initially there was uproar amongst the students. The email delivering our news stated that the results of the University Student Survey, carried out during the previous academic year, which we were all encouraged to fill out by the previous Campus Director, Chris Price, was "at the forefront" of their minds when making the decision to close the campus. This left many students feeling "resentful" and as though the Uni were "twisting their words", as stated in Facebook comments and posts in the UCF Student Facebook page, shortly after the email had been received.

Now, ten months after receiving the news and six months after writing about the decision and the effect in Unified, most students have got past the initial shock and are looking forward to their time in Canterbury, which has so much more to offer than Folkestone.

I've been wanting to write about the close again for some time now, but there was just so much to say that I put off publishing anything - whether it be here on my blog, or on HerUni - for fear of not doing UCF justice.

For me, just writing one article on the subject wasn't enough. Thankfully, the Deputy Editor of The Medwire, Matt Charles, has a soft spot for the campus. On behalf of UCF he has set up a page on The Medwire's website.On this page a different opinion piece, written by a different UCF student, will be uploaded every day of this week, starting today. This week-long series is our way of saying a farewell to UCF, and having our say on the close. The series will also consist of news and interviews about the move - starting today with an article about the reasons behind the move, and developing with staff interviews.

Seven UCF students are getting to have their say, thanks to The Medwire's week-long series.

The articles on The Medwire: 

Matt Charles: Former Vice-Chancellor 'UCF closure was to further student experience'

Montana Allen: 'The dull and slimy image I think about'

Celine Cuddihy: 'It felt as though the wool had been pulled over our eyes'

Matt Charles: 'UCF in number (may contain sarcasm)'

Matt Charles: 'UCF campus director insists move is a 'positive' one'

Edd Hodson: 'Canterbury will be better - much better'

Lauren Hewitt: 'UCF reaffirmed my love for singing ... and being centre of attention'

Nick Duffy: '#SecondCampusProblems'

Joe Morgan: 'Folkestone is fantastic and ever so slightly seedy'

Follow: @the_medwire and like their Facebook page: The Medwire to keep up-to-date with the articles uploaded each day.

Follow the whole week on twitter and voice your opinion with #ByeByeUCF

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Make Mistakes - Regret Nothing.

I have grown into the strong belief that there really is no such thing as a regret. We only regret mistakes, and mistakes are there for us to learn from. A mistake is just another category of 'lesson', taught by that teacher everybody likes to moan about - life. 

Watching 'This Means War' recently a character, FDR, says how "Mistakes make us who we are" - and he instantly managed to par the physical attractiveness of his co-star, Tom Hardy, because of this intelligent remark. 

I think about all of the things which I could class as regrets or mistakes, then realise how much they've taught me, and how much I have changed as a person because of them. How can I regret anything that has made me who I am today? 

Bad choices in men and friendships, unwise spending of money and time, exchanging mean words and poor attitudes. As with most people I have done each of these, but all have taught me and moulded me into who I am today.

If I hadn't made bad choices in men and friendships, I wouldn't know how to pick the good ones. If I hadn't spent my money and time unwisely, I wouldn't know how to spend it more sensibly. If I hadn't exchanged mean words and acted badly toward others, I wouldn't know the consequences.

You can't make a perfect pancake without tossing a few away in the process, just like we all must make mistakes in order to better ourselves. That's just how lessons work - and life never stops teaching us. 

Make mistakes, regret nothing. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey, film review.

An Unexpected Journey is the first in a trilogy preluding the ever famous Lord of The Rings. Based on the prequel-book, The Hobbit, which was written by J.R.R Tolkien before the LOTR's, which has been divided into a three-parter in order to include as much detail from the book as possible. As a fan of The Hobbit book, and a fan of books in general, this is something which has made me very happy, as key scenes which are often cut-out in the transition from paper-to-screen have been included.

The film tells the story of a young Bilbo Baggins who defies the expectations of a Hobbit and goes on an adventure, which he has been coaxed into by Gandalf The Grey. Bilbo signs a contract to join the company of Thorin Oakensheild, King of the Dwarves of The Lonely Mountain, and his mixture of 12 loyal companions, as their burglar. Their quest is to travel to The Lonely Mountain and reclaim the treasure taken from the Oakenshield family by the dragon Smaug the Magnificent. This task however, is not as simple as it sounds. Throughout their journey many things stand in their way, as a journey through Middle Earth is never going to be an easy one. Many enemies stand in the way of the company of fourteen, from dim-witted trolls, vengeful orcs, and a nine-toothed creature who features in The Lord of the Rings - Gollum. All of which provide for spine shivering battle scenes that will leave you perched like a Great Eagle on the edge of your seat.
Thorin Oakenshield and his company of 13 Dwarves. 

Martin Freeman has stepped away from his side-kick position of Doctor John Watson in the BBC's Sherlock, and into the starring role of the films namesake, in what I can assure is his best performance to date. In an interesting twist of fate, and a move by Peter Jackson which has overjoyed nerds like myself, two of the films antagonists have been portrayed by Freemans BBC co-star, Bennedict Cumberbatch, although we only have glimpses of his characters in this, the first of the trilogy. 

Often when a person is as excited to see a film, as I was, their expectations can lead to disappointment, with The Hobbit this was not the case. I watched the film with a smile on my face - enjoying being back in Middle Earth, being reunited with beloved characters, and happy with how little of the stories origins were lost through the paper-to-screen-transition. Commonly it is the case that films based upon novels have made changes in order to adapt to the restrictions of the screen, an example of this is The Hunger Games, in which many adjustments were made so that aspects of the story were as clear as they were in the novel.

Most of the criticism that I have heard about the film, is from those who have not read the book - and who have probably never experienced the frustration of a beloved book losing its original essence when a film 'version' is produced. I have heard people describe the film as 'too long', but I feel it is just long enough - fitting in key features from the book and ending in an appropriate place. 

I personally feel those who say that this film is rubbish don't know what they're Tolkien about. 

Martin Freeman as, The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - Film Review

Of all the apocalyptic films that I have seen, from Armageddon to I Am Legend - none have been more thought provoking than Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. This is probably because it takes the piss out of the situation. The film sees the unlikely pairing of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley when the Earth is given an exact day of death - three weeks from the films beginning. The neighbours, Dodge and Penny, pair up to achieve their pre-apocalypse dreams.

Dodge is on a mission to re-unite with the first woman he ever loved (awww) whilst Penny has the simple desire of getting home, to England. The pair have quite a journey in the now chaotic orgy-fest world, there are twists and the film is completely hilarious at points - other parts are tear-worthy and the ending was pretty lame ... well it's kind of Marmite-esque - It creates mixed opinions. One thing I was shocked at is that for once I found neither Steve Carell or Keira Knightley annoying. In the case of Carell he is not his usual try-hard self, and in the case of Knightley I realised that it is because she is not her usual pout faced self! - she has learnt other facial expression, I kid you not. 

Thoughts Provoked...

The film provokes thoughts by not only taking the piss out of the situation, but looking at it from another angle. Most apocalyptic film see the point of view of the President trying to save the day with a spaceship loaded with the worlds leading astronauts and sciencey people. This film however, sees an average bloke whose wife dips out of their marital contract three weeks before she would have achieved her vow 'till death' who struggles to take in the fact that the world is ending, and continues to go to work each day. This is where the thought provoking begins. 

In the film Dodge continues going to work for a week or so, he drives past men mowing the lawn, and visits friends who encourage their child to drink alcohol. In reality, who the hell would go to work? Nobody would need money and would have nowhere to spend it because nobody would be going to work. It would become a dog eat dog world, imagine the supermarkets when snow is predicted - except it is a snowstorm for three weeks long. Chaos. And this is the point where human kind lose their morals. Morals are only really needed in a civilised society, and society will be far from civilized. Like with the film, people went crazy doing things you never usually would - drugs, orgys, giving kids alcohol - just because you now can. 

If a person considers all the things they want to do before they die, their bucket list - ideally these are things that in a situation where you are given a period of time until your untimely death, that you could complete. However, in a situation where EVERYBODY is dying - your list will become irrelevant. Perhaps too, even the point in living - why carry on when you can't even achieve any of those lifelong dreams. There would be no laws in this time-bomb world, the biggest crimes such as murder would barely matter, as soon -you will all be dead. 

Little bit of positivity in the evening, but these are the dark thoughts provoked by a comedy...

Making pre-apocalyptic dreams come true? 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Whore - Short Story

When she walked through the front door to their house, she was the most surprised she had been in their 8 year marriage. Greeting her was a trail of rose petals – red rose petals. She had to catch her breath. ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ she thought. She set her handbag down on the dining table and hung her coat on the rack, then took a look in the mirror, re-touched her make-up and undid the first three buttons on her blouse to reveal some cleavage.

She took a deep breath and with bated anticipation began to follow the spontaneous trail, which as she discovered led to their bedroom. She took another deep breath as she reached the door, and settled her hand upon the handle as her heartbeat quickened at the thought of what was waiting on the other side.        
The door swung open. The coming events were not drawer dropping, but jaw dropping. Her eyes settled upon her naked, sweaty husband – who was apparently not naked for her benefit. Then her eyes examined the body beneath his. Skinnier than her, younger than her, and as she quickly noticed more flexible – the question on her lips was why, but by what she was quickly noticing, there was no need to ask.  But that however was all she managed to say, “Why?” at first she said it quietly – not heard over the screams of her husband’s whore. Then she screamed, “WHY?!?”