The final year files: January

The final year files: January

Welcome back to The final year files in brand new 2018 fashion.

I hope the new year has been treating you well, and if it hasn’t, don’t worry because in case you didn’t know, January is on the free trial month.

Some felt that the month dragged, emphasis on the “dry” and boring aspect of the particularly long month. But I didn’t like feel this, and actually had a pretty spectacular month. In summary, I finished up working at my part-time job (P45 and everything), rung in the new year with my best friends, went on a holiday with my boyfriend, began the second and final semester of my final year AND got the exam results back from last semester. Hectic, to say the least.

I realise I’m speaking here about January and it’s currently February, and that’s my bad. See I only got all of my semester one exam results at the end of last week, (on the 1-2 of Feb) so I wanted to know where I was at, before I began to blog about such a theme. Pre-mature blogging is not something anyone wants, I’m sure you’d agree.

But this won’t happen again.

To fill you in. I was pleasantly surprised by my results, and I’m really happy with how everything went. I worked particularly hard in the exam season and brought up my grades a good deal. This ability to pull myself up has allowed me to trust myself a little bit more. Knowing I’m able and will make it through this last semester with good classmates around me is something encouraging. I know now, we can do it and we are ready for whatever will be thrown our way.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog. I know everyone seems to talk about new years resolutions, changing their habits etc for turning over a new leaf. What I’ve decided to focus on, to do with this idea and also not, is simply: not to settle.

If you’re not happy with how things are or how you think it’s looking things are likely to go, do your best to change them and express what it is you’re uneasy about. Essential is this practise, that I honestly think is a certain route to happiness.

This comes into every aspect of life, from jobs to relationships and can come into play at any stage of your life. I’ve seen how those who settled into something early have had difficulty in their future trying to give themselves a second chance at change. Now I’m not saying that avoiding settling for things exempts us from this happening, but it’s certainly a help.

I will say that although this semester has started off with ease, I’ve noticed that people are getting serious about things, which I suppose is most understandable. We all know, somewhere at the back of our minds, that this is it. We are in our final semester of an undergraduate course at NUI Galway and we need to get a bit of a loose plan together about what we’ll do once the final exam is handed up and the transcript is finding its way to our homes.

It’s key at this moment and in the months to come, that we don’t settle for something out of fear and find ourselves stuck for the rest of our 20s and so on. The world is a big place, we are brave, intelligent and ambitious people – we should use this to our advantage. We kind of have the privilege of having a blank canvas here that we can decorate, explore and make up as vibrant as we can.

I’ve come to realise that I want my canvas to be detailed and not easy to define. Artsy I know.

So to make this a reality, I need to trust myself and be a little more fearless. In the spirit of this, I’ve booked tickets for the end of this week to go to Holland and attend a masters courses open day.  You may ask why, and I may not have the perfect answer to that for now. But I’m going to give this option due consideration for my immediate future, for now.

I will of course tell you about that in the next post, whether this slight dream becomes a reality. My point here about not settling is that your future is yours, and yours alone. If you want to do the most illogical crazy thing, something that only makes sense to you – just do it.. as long as its yourself you’re doing it for. How can it be that wrong?

Just to add, the most crazy thing I did in January was hang out at a parrot sanctuary in Gdansk in Poland. Worth it? Of course.

All images are taken from my personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

 

 

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The final year files: December

The final year files: December

Hey there,

First off, happy NYE to you and yours.. I should let you know that I’m changing it to BYE though, in blaming 2017 for the little challenges of life and moving on.

Now before you begin to think that this blog post will be a negative one, think again. I’m going to show you how negative happenings can become fond memories from a simple concept: with the help of Superheroes.

I came to discover in December of my final year at college that I have some superheroes in my presence. I think, although I might be pushing this, I could even be one myself.
So I’ll explain that firstly. We had the exam season which brought with it given stress and also made us hyper aware of the study patterns and actions of others. While this was all going on, I realised everyone is very different in how they handle things. So comparing yourself to others, especially at this time is definitely the worst idea there is.

 

It’s true that everyone has to be their own hero in these circumstances. Let’s face it, it’s just you in the fold up chair in the exam hall. Although you can look across to a familiar face up ahead or a kind looking invigilator, it’s only yourself you can trust to defend you to the last in this situation.

We need to power through the battle in those hours of a challenging exam. We have to become heroes for our own sake. We can then reward ourselves to eating and drinking like Kings after our valiant efforts, which I will admit I enjoyed more than the exams themselves.

So to sum up the exam season until December 15th, I’d say the emotions were mixed with a complete ending high after a beautiful last exam. This final exam of 2017, presented us with a question where we were asked to imagine our own exam question. Like seriously, it was class, even enjoyable if I do say so.

Then December 16th happened. After my amazing high of finishing my first set of final year exams, a little disaster happened. In Galway city centre my purse containing various very important items from cash and cards to keys was taken. From this experience learned that I put too much of my life into one place, and so the loss was fairly substantial that day.

But on that day, a friend/hero saved my despair. Helping me while the incident occurred, lending me cash in order to get home and checking up on me afterwards. I mean, what a hero! I’m also thankful to the friend I met for coffee who helped me chill after it happened and all those who listened to my story via phone/messenger. So a mixed bag of emotions was certainly true at this time.

But we powered through.

Managing to get home in good time, I was met with family kindness also. I think most can recognise that having your purse stolen a week before Christmas with little to no presents bought is a bit of a mess to say the least. I am truly grateful for these heroes coming to my rescue.

So in looking to 2018, whatever the year may bring. I know I have my own certainty in trusting those I hold dear around me. So in terms of a resolution, I want to fix any cracks I begin to notice from the early stages and not find myself with no stable ground to stand on. I must value these heroes and never forget their worth.

This Christmas me showed me that times are changing and that my family Christmas will contain more than one set of family from now on, potentially more even as I spend Christmas in three different houses in 2017. Going forward, I know I’ll have to accept this new reality and leave myself open to whatever this will mean. This personal expansion was a little unexpected and I think maybe I had to lose to gain (literally and figuratively).

I’m prepared for the season to change, my college modules to challenge me and to expect the unexpected in general.

In 2018, I feel it’ll be a year while a lot of things change and the majority of people move on. I’m prepared to follow suit, whatever what might mean for me and those around me. This blog series will soon end along with my college experience, as we are half way through final year if you can believe that.

I hope that you’ll follow me to the end of the journey, wherever we end up.

 

 All images are taken from my personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

 

“The dust and sweep of the city” (2014)

“The dust and sweep of the city” A Descriptive Essay about twenty-four hours in the life of a city:

Have you ever felt irrelevant within the goings on in the world around you? As if it wouldn’t make much difference if you were present or not. Well, most would say that’s what being part of a city is like. I however disagree. You see I’m the square-shaped clock with the discoloured face that perches above the Eason’s bookstore in Dublin’s city centre. I see your apparent irrelevance every day. I see everything really: the 4am silence and the junkie that phases out beneath me, the early morning rush hour as you all frantically attempt to get to where you’re going to, right up until the eccentric nightlife in our capital city. Maybe I’m the one who is irrelevant because, to me, it is the life in it that makes the city what it is.

The contrast I witness in this city in twenty-four hours is something extraordinary. For example, it’s 9am and the city has life again. It’s Friday so everybody has that ‘Friday feeling’ they all seem to strive to get. I notice a man and woman walking happily together. They are dressed in suits and discussing the business headlines. The man stands out for me. He is dignified sure, but I notice the trickle of the ink of a tiger tattoo running from the back of his neck downwards as they pass. Next comes a young schoolgirl. Her body is weighed down from the weight of her schoolbag. She takes out a cigarette and lights it before checking me for confirmation of the time I provide her with. She is satisfied now but stressed. I constantly see the tension of the youths as they cope with the pressure of exams. I don’t know whether I pity or envy them, as sadly an old clock never gets educated. She stubbed the cigarette into the brick wall and I watched it fall to add to the dust and sweep of the city floor.

The usual morning hours passed with lack of any definite level of busy intensity. Buses came and left again, tourists snapped photographs of the Spire and one even stood beneath me for a photograph. I noticed the bland and vibrant colours that differed from person to person, styles and fashions clustered together into one city blur. The collection of people really accumulated at about 12:30pm. The midday sun beamed as people surrendered to their bodily needs and swarmed the city in search of nourishment. It really is a time of rush when everyone is hungry. The food differs from the savage ‘BigMac’ to the petite garden salad. The name of the game seems to be to eat your daily catch as quick as possible, while on the move to the next thing on your agenda. One must wonder ‘while there’s a breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around?’

There comes a time in the city day when the clouds dim and evening appears to roll in. Everyone I see is on edge as they attempt to flee from the city chaos, all at once in want for their weekends to start. The public transport systems are compact and clogged, filled tight with indifferent people thinking of their own destination alone. The fumes of exhaust unravel from these moving boxes and I notice the discomfort of the surrounding city people. Those in cars drag themselves slowly, hardly moving, through the packed streets. The traffic warnings boom loudly from the car radios and although each person is to their own, there seems to be a sense of commuting community as everyone is stuck together, trying to break free from the city hold up. This finally dies down at a time close to 7pm. There is a sense of ease and calm as doors of shops are shut and the sun disappears to its final resting place after the working day.

What surprises me really again is the contrast. The hours drift into night until finally the second world of the city is upon us. At about 10:30pm, that’s when the city begins to flourish again. The demand to be here in the ‘in-scene’ is huge. The nightlife is peculiar to me. People surround themselves in the dark atmosphere of a pub or nightclub and light up, chug down or snort some awful concoction and tell themselves they’re having a good time. I hear the high-heeled shoes click by me again and wonder how girls are immune to the cold night temperatures. Some fall and skip and trip below me but laugh it off like its all part of the fun. This is a new life form than the daytime one. I see the same humans but there is a definite difference. Like the chameleon who can change colour but remain the same creature. I, the clock, am disregarded as these few hours of the Friday night drunken slander roll into one combination of a ‘good time’.

Ice forms above me on the roof of the building I’m attached to. As the night turns to morning of approximately 3:30am, I recognise the man. The tiger tattoo printed on the back of his neck. He is still being the man of business at this hour, but I feel it’s probably a different line of work than his daytime regime. He pushes the girl around a bit as she doesn’t seem to take him seriously enough. She appears dazzling in a short sparkling dress but more dazed as I notice her distant eyes.  A black car pulls up in front of us. The woman smiles as she is rushed into the car. Money exchanges hands and our pimp walks away with the lout. The car turns and vanishes as I see the obliviousness of the woman, as the man rests his hand on her thigh.

It’s a rare time when I experience silence. I can actually hear myself tick. It never does last long, but it’s a time I treasure. See, I don’t get to embrace the beauty of the flowers in St. Stephens Green or the treasures of the libraries or museums. I rely on the views of the life of the city. Twenty-four hours goes by quickly to me, maybe it does for you too I don’t know. The life starts again for me at about that time just before the sun rises. The woman who was earlier sold returns to shoot heroin under the shelter I provide to her. Her face is tear-stained and desperate. I watch for the few minutes it takes for her to gain her desired feeling. Her pimp returns momentarily to provide her with some damp cardboard and a sleeping bag – he needs to keep her alive at least. She finally loses all sense of this city we’re all a part of and passes out below my place of stance. The sun comes up and the man clears away, not before spitting on the helpless girl and mumbling an insult. I savour the final moments of quiet before my twenty-four hours begin again.

You see, they say the city never sleeps but here, I’m the only one who can’t rest. The injustice I witness in daily life is something of strangeness that I can’t help but notice about the human lives in the city. The man goes to work at the beginning of the day discussing business headlines and ends it spitting on a prostitute he sells for profit. If you look deeper into the hustle and bustle of the dust and sweep of the city, you may not see the twenty-four hour detail I see, but the fact of what the reality means in our beautiful, yet tainted, capital city. Time is the essence, I as a clock would know, but a lot can change in a little over twenty-four hours.