Deadlines & Extensions

Can we talk about the fact that I am so bad with submitting things before a deadline?

Within two weeks, it happened twice, and they both were essays. The first one was unintended. I had to write an essay out of the presentation that my previous blog post was based on. First of all, can we talk about the maximum amount of words allowed? If I have more to say than the maximum, then please let me do so. However, I had my first draft ready on the day of the deadline, and I was on the maximum already. A friend gave me feedback, and that included me having to change basically the whole essay. I, who leaves everything until the last minute, decided to do this half an hour before the deadline. Having finished exactly at the time of the deadline, I submitted my final version one minute past the deadline. I repeat: ONE MINUTE PAST THE DEADLINE. Don’t ask me how or why because I already hate myself for doing this. After e-mailing with the lecturer, which made me even more anxious, he accepted my submission. I did not dare to look at my essay again, in case I made a stupid mistake. The good thing is that the result was a 7.0 and I’m still wondering to this point how and why.

The second essay was a biggie. We had to work together in pairs, and although I was working with a really good friend, I hate group assignments, and I shall explain the reasons. The deadline was on Friday the 27th of May. It was my birthday on the 28th, the day my parents would have a funeral; my dog died that Monday; my grandpa had surgery on Tuesday; my anxiety got really bad; I felt sick on Wednesday; and I’m probably still forgetting things. Having had the first essay handed in one week before this deadline, I didn’t have much time. We already had a topic we wanted to write about, but I, being an INFP full with ideas, was a bit deliberate about our subject. In the end, we went with my friend’s plan, though to this point I’m still not wholly content with our choice. Anyway, she had already finished her part, whilst my part was still lacking. I did have the information, I did know what I wanted to write about, but I just couldn’t write anything down. It was Thursday when I had a breakdown between two seminars and I realised I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed a break. I asked for an extension, which was accepted, and everything seemed fine. I finished the whole essay, with the finishing touches of the combined parts. However, when my friend was walking through the hallway, she heard the lecturer saying that one of the extensions was ridiculous. I still hope to this day that it wasn’t ours, or else I feel really bad for my friend. The result was a 6.5, which is what I would probably have given ourselves as well, even though I was secretly hoping for a higher grade.

So, in the end, everything was all good and I’ve learned my lessons, and this has made once again clear that I cannot work with the pressure of deadlines. My suggestion would thus be to abolish them. For once and for all.

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Losing & Gaining: Presentations

I am that clumsy person who loses things. Last week, I apparently lost my new PointlessBlog necklace, which I absolutely adored and has a lot of meaning to me. I have worn it every day since I got it. Somehow, it disappeared, and I cannot seem to find it anywhere, but I have this feeling that it is waiting to be found. For my presentation, I wanted to wear this necklace so badly because I believe that wearing personal things make me more comfortable.

Now on to the real story. So, I had this presentation on Thursday for literary theory. I had to discuss New Historicism in Hamlet. Because I messed up almost every presentation that I have done in my life, I was quite nervous. The former presentations went not speaking loud enough, to several blackouts and some even included panic attacks. Having only started working on the subject intensively two days before the presentation was due, it was not an ideal situation.

Many people think that my nervousness is just something to overcome because almost everyone gets nervous about public speaking. They don’t understand that the obstacle, like the bar in the high jump, differs in height from person to person. In my case, that bar is so high that I’m on the edge of not even trying to do it because I know I will fail anyway. Additionally, all those tips, such as picturing the audience naked and practising in front of a mirror, do not help in my case. However, this week’s presentation was different. I was nervous, did not take my medicine because it is so aggressive and jumped up and down to get this adrenaline out of my body, but I wanted to do this presentation. I knew what I wanted to say. I was open for it. I wanted to get it over with. So I did.

Getting my way through the presentation with only two silences and some unclear explanations, I am one step further into public speaking. However, afterwards, the lecturer suggested getting help. A few days later, I still do not know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it is a good thing. Everyone here at university is helping and encouraging each other to get the best out of everyone. On the other hand, however, I do not know if I want help. I know it would probably be better to do something about it like going to a workshop or whatever, but I am already improving without all this, so I do not see that there is a problem.

Here is my advice for presentations and public speaking:
1. Be open for it. Do not fight against your nerves. You have to want it to happen in order for it to happen.
2. Know what you want to say. You have to know the text, and roughly knowing what you want to say is not good enough. Write everything down in the right order, read it again and again, and it will be fine.
3. Silences are not necessarily bad. Take a moment to breathe, pick up where you left, rephrasing it, and then move on to your next point.
4. Do not think too much about the audience. Do not start staring, change your gaze continuously. It is not scary to look someone in the eyes. Everyone wants you to do well and no one will judge you if you stop speaking for a moment.
5. Speak with a good pace. You cannot always stop a rapid pace, but please, try. The same goes for a slow pace, if you are talking slowly, you are probably hesitating because you do not know what you want to say. Avoid this.
6. Hope for the best.

I gained. I lost. I gained improvement. I lost the battle not being a good enough public speaker. I will be better next time.

Good & Bad Days

The picture is put there because it shows two things. On the one hand, it shows the exciting stage where The Vamps was about to perform last Saturday. On the other hand, it reflects emptiness, as there is no band playing. This is exactly how I’m feeling right now, happy and empty at the same time.

Even though my life has been quite hectic for a long time now, I’ve been trying to get it more organised. It’s getting there, and I realise that I am more often happy, although I do also have bad days. Two weeks ago, I felt like I was on a roll, everything was going really well. After a week, already feeling that something wasn’t right, I had a couple of down days. I wanted to book a holiday with my friends, but we ended up with nothing, I had a mock oral for English proficiency which didn’t go well, I didn’t like my volleyball practice, and so forth, and so on. My overall anxiety got quite bad as well. I wanted to take my medicine for my mock oral, but I knew it was better not to, in case I had to drive, and I didn’t want to be dependent on that poison. I was going to drive to Amsterdam (it’s a 2-hour trip) that weekend for the concert with a friend who cannot drive, but by that time, I would have had my driving licence for only one week, which was a bit scary to me. I hate the down days, and I wish I never had one ever again. I know that is basically impossible, and it would also be a bad thing. You have to have the bad days to be able to have good days. ‘Good’ wouldn’t exist if there was ‘bad’. The bad days should make us appreciate the good days and approach life positively.

After those few down days, things got better again, and I did manage to drive to the concert and have a good time there, and I only drove the wrong way once. However, I am having down days since the day after the concert, and I really dislike it. I’m trying to stay positive, but it’s so difficult at times. I’ve got plenty of reasons to be sad, but they shouldn’t overshadow my happiness that lies deep inside me. I’ve seen my favourite band live for the first time, seen two good friends in the last couple of days, and at uni it’s going relatively well. So even in the bad days, there are still small positive things to be found, but you have to notice them and make them stronger feelings than the bad things altogether.

My main point is that even though down days will always exist, don’t let them dominate your life. There will always be good days, and you have to appreciate them, and if you’re feeling good, you have to realise it. Realise that you’re happy, and spread that positivity, as it may help other people feel better, too. Don’t take the good days for granted, be grateful and don’t let the bad days get too down on you. Remember, after the rain, the sun will reappear.

-g.a.

Making Small Changes

I have been feeling a bit unhappy for quite a long time now. Having had a whole lot of setbacks, I never wanted to stop doing what I’m doing. But doing too many things is exhausting and I got to the point where I can’t go on, so I had to change something. I’m a full-time English Language & Literature student, and next to that, I play volleyball 1-3 times a week, work approximately 8 hours each week, and have my driving lessons, which take up another 2 hours of my week. It has been taking the lot of me, and I haven’t even mentioned the 10 hours of traveling. These are the changes that I’m currently making:

1. Quit my job

My job takes up whole Saturdays, and I need that time to study, thus the wish to quit was there. I have to work one more shift before I leave, and although I didn’t really enjoy it, it was surprisingly hard to make the decision to quit. It did provide me money, but money isn’t everything. The amount of money that I currently make is relatively low, and when the time comes I will eventually apply for a job again, so it’s not the end of the world.

2. Moving out

Ever since I started studying at uni, I had the wish to move out. However, I still really enjoy being home, I play volleyball at my local club, and I work in my hometown. Therefore, my plan was to move out at the end of the year, around April/May. The time has thus come, and I still cannot believe it’s getting real! On the one hand, I’m really excited, but on the other hand, I feel guilty for leaving home. It is a step further to independence, and I should be capable of taking care of myself.

3. Eat healthier

This has been my New Year’s revolution for years, but still isn’t working out well. Eating healthier doesn’t mean I want to lose weight, it purely means that I want to replace ‘bad’ food by healthy food. I am eating more and more fruit, less and less meat, and I abandoned fizzy drinks, crisps, and other bad stuff, so there is a starting point. I am in doubt about going vegan; I appreciate the idea, but I like my ‘bad’ food too much to give up. However, the future may bring unexpected turns, so who knows what I’ll be eating in a year or so?

4. Do more of what makes me happy

The photo above was taken on a bike ride during the summer last year. It is one of my favourite places as it is very peaceful out there and I like nature. Taking bike rides is one of the things that I like to do to get my mind off of things, just like playing volleyball. I wouldn’t want to miss it, and it keeps me fit, which is another reason why I do it. Other things that make me happy include hanging out with my best friends. Although I’m introverted, I need to have social interaction every now and again. Reading books is another thing that I really like to do but haven’t got time for at the moment. I have plenty of books on my shelves that are still to be read and a whole lot that I want to get. So many books, so little time.

5. Study hard to pass the first year

I’m a bit behind schedule of getting study points. I received a letter that I’m in a danger-zone. If I don’t get 45 points out of 60 at the end of the year, I have to quit the programme, which is the last thing I want to do because I really enjoy it, even though I don’t like debating and essay-writing. This is still troublesome, as I’m currently writing this blog post instead of preparing for my resits and other exams. Realising this just now, it is probably better to finish this and resume revising Middle English literature.

Feeling Like a Failure and Overthinking Is Good

Writing this, I am not quite in a good mood. This afternoon I’ve lost a volleyball match with 4-0, which was horrible. The opponents were quite the opposite of sportsmanlike. They called us adolescents. Well, EXCUSE ME OPPONENTS, BUT I AM DEFINITELY NOT GOING THROUGH PUBERTY ANYMORE. This was after the match was finished, but it really upset me. And I’m not even talking about the biased referees. I shouldn’t worry about it too much, but I do because it really offended me and ruined my day. This is what you sometimes get within the sports world, rude opponents, while you and your team are trying to play a fair game.

And now I’m at home, overthinking everything, feeling like a failure. Not only because of this match, but also because of university. So far I got 15 points out of the 30 I could get, and I’m one semester in. This means that I probably should be working quite hard to keep up with everything and get ready for my resits. The fact is, I’m doing quite the opposite. I’m writing this blog post and I’ve watched a whole bunch of YouTube videos, while I should be reading articles, books, and poems. I am quite excited to do the latter one, but knowing that the boring stuff has to be finished first, I’m not getting anything done at all.

Overthinking literally includes everything. From wondering about why I have pain to questioning if I really should move out and live on my own. At the end of the day, overthinking isn’t necessarily bad, for it can be useful at times. Because you think so much, you create many ideas, and there could be a good one amongst it. For me right now, I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m going to do the things that I like first and then spend the rest of my time on the boring and difficult stuff, so I’ve done at least something. Thinking about it in this sense, it has led to a better mood, so I’m going to sleep well tonight hopefully!

See ya! x

Beginnings

Hello, world!

I’ve wanted to start a blog for almost a year, and now the time has finally come. It feels like this is a perfect time to begin because I am finishing the first semester of my first year at university, and exciting things are going to happen hopefully! I am planning to move out, as I still live at my parents’ house, and I will hopefully get my driver’s license soon after 8 months of driving lessons.

As I am just starting this blog, I wanted to tell something about myself:

My name is Gea, and I live near Groningen, which is located in the northern part of The Netherlands. I am studying English Language & Culture at university since September and really enjoying that. Besides from studying, many people think I have a dull life with absolutely nothing to do. This is kinda true, but not quite. My schedules are always quite full because I play volleyball at my local club, teach some little kids how to play volleyball, work at my local petrol station (which I don’t recommend, possibly more on that in another blog post), have my driving lessons, and lastly, I’ve got my weekly physiotherapy sessions. Apart from the official stuff, I ab-so-lute-ly loooove watching youtube (Zoella, Pointlessblog, ThatcherJoe, Jim Chapman, Oli White, Niomi Smart, ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Tyler Oakley, etc.), and I may or may not have an obsession for The Vamps (which I am going to see live in a few months) and former boyband The Wanted.

Well, that is it from me for now. I hope you enjoyed this first little blog post.

See ya!

x