There's a reason I'm not a poet

Archive for May, 2014

The finals countdown



This is exactly how I’m not feeling right now.

In previous years, exam term has been a worrying time, with adrenaline flowing pretty much all the time, trade-offs between hours spent sleeping and hours spent in the library, and hyped-up feelings of guilt when any time is spent not working. This year though it’s been playing games on my tablet, jetting off to Italy and going to formals. So just a little bit more relaxed.

In a previous entry I wrote about setting a target of how I wanted to do this year when it came to exams. I guess as the year went on I kind of decided that I wanted to aim high and do really well in these exams, come out with a shiny sticker saying Well Done. And I mean I do really like stickers, but over the past few weeks I’ve kind of changed my mind. I had an idea in my head of where I wanted to be at this stage: the things I wanted to know, the level of confidence I wanted to have with the material, the number of times I wanted to have gone through certain parts of my notes, the preparation I wanted to have done for the smaller, fine-tuned aspects of the exams. And I realised that while some others around me were at that stage, I very much wasn’t.

I was greeted with the option of working incredibly hard, probably harder than I’ve had to before, and I’d still not be guaranteed that I could do it; or else to instead keep working at a steady pace and pass the exams with a hopefully decent mark. Being a person who values happiness/lazy (delete as appropriate), I went for the latter. And so I’m feeling quite content, getting lots of sleep and not really one bit stressed. I’m still working a large number of hours every day, but I’ve changed my expectations and I’m not getting worked up about the exams.

A pessimistic interpretation would be that it’s like falling at the last hurdle. A more realistic analogy would be if I got to the end, looked at the final hurdle and thought “Nah, that’s a bit tall and I’m tired- I think I’ll just walk around this one”




So I’ve had a bit of a blunder.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been doing reasonably well with my finances over the past few months. I haven’t had lots of money, but I’ve been managing to get by on what I have got left. Being cheap, I’ve left my overdraft relatively unharmed until my final year of uni and I’d budgeted in my head for fun things (like Italy, or inter-railing this summer) in order to use up my overdraft just in time for starting work.

Coming back after the holidays, I opened a few dreaded envelopes and said a teary goodbye to a few hundred quid as I paid the bills I’d been putting off. But I didn’t mind too much, as I knew I’d have my student loan coming in shortly.

Or so I thought.

As it turns out, I’d forgotten about a minor fact. As well as reducing the total amount of student loan I got this year (again), they decided to give me it in two instalments rather than three. Meaning I’ve actually already had all the money I’m going to get from the lovely student finance people. My initial reaction was something like this

I’ve done some calculations though and HOPEFULLY I’ll be alright. Probably. With luck.


As one of my friends pointed out though it’s now coming up very close to exams (three weeks- aaaaaaahhhhhhhh) so apart from my birthday in a few days I shouldn’t be having any fun for the foreseeable future anyway. Huzzah.



Four days in Italy and I am happy. It’s not a bit of wonder that Italy was the location for the getting fat portion of Eat Pray Love- there was so much nomming going on. And in fact for the first time in several years I physically wasn’t able to finish a plate of food! Partly because the entire annual production of ricotta cheese was inside that calzone pizza, but still- koodos to Italia.

When we were looking to go on holiday, we checked out the destinations that our nearest airport flies to and picked our favourite. We flew into Naples but swiftly headed out of there- imagine what would happen if some people decided to make really nice architecture look dirty and unkempt; throw in graffiti, litter and a splash of ugly 1970s buildings and you’ve got a fair idea of the city.

We were however interested in a specific attraction of the area: Vesuvius. Before you get any ridiculous ideas, I was not looking to go on holiday and climb a mountain- rather I was excited about getting to see Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were both really impressive sights, and I was surprised at how different they both were: Pompeii is a vast city, with impressive monuments and buildings but sadly much of it has been destroyed. Walking around the city though gives you a fantastic sense of immersion and idea of life in Roman times. Herculaneum on the other hand, is a small town with less impressive buildings but due to different geological factors is much better preserved, and boasts intact mosaics and frescos that Pompeii either lost to the volcano or the museum.

My favourite part of Pompeii may have been getting to see the house of Lucius Caecilius Icundus, a banker in the first century who was used as inspiration for a textbook we used in school. Unfortunately, it was fenced off for some reason and you weren’t allowed to get in and explore. Millbag and I weren’t too happy with this, and may or may not have climbed over something that may or may not have been a gate. It may or may not have been fricking awesome to be in horto.

We stayed in Sorrento, as I mentioned in my previous post. It’s in a part of the world famous for lemons, in particular these massive oedematous fruits that looked more like film props than actual food. Growing so many, they naturally have to make them into alcohol, which is where the tasty limoncello comes in.
Our hotel was class- we were staying in the top floor with a balcony overlooking the street below, and our room and shower both had this weird (awesome) ‘chromotherapy’ ceiling lighting. The place was fantastic value, and right in the middle of Sorrento, next to the picturesque alleyways and gelateri. Meaning that ice cream for breakfast needn’t just be a dream (pistachio & dulce de leche, in case you were wondering).

On one of the days we had initially planned to go to the island of Capri, and pick up some shorts. But the boat trip was a bit more expensive than we thought it might be, and instead hopped on a bus along the Amalfi Coast. Here’s a photo I took-


It was beautiful. We were a little unlucky in that we were occasionally darting indoors to avoid rain showers, but as the day went on it cleared up. Aaaand if you have to go inside a place serving gelato it’s not exactly the worst possible thing. Positano and Amalfi both had the small sloped streets and alleyways that your mind associates with Italy, and they were both lovely to walk around. The bus ride back at night offered an equally impressive sight, with the cliffs illuminated by all the little houses perched on their edges.

All in all, the whole trip was bellisimo. And much craic was had with my friends, so it’s a bit sad to be back in the UK now and knowing that I’ve gotta go do some work… Va fa Napoli.