# 099 - Sing of the Moon

Mittwoch, 15.08.2018

As I was talking to my dad yesterday, I again realised that my family has a tendency to not care about what I study. I don't mean to sound cruel or ungrateful, it is what it is.
But once upon a time, he introduced me to history; to dead people and the battles they died fighting in, to fallen empires and wars that lasted for decades. And now I can tell by the look on his face that he doesn't care.
Why doesn't he care?
I don't understand.
What I find beautiful in people is passion, is enthusiasm. I don't care what it is you love, tell me all about it!
Tell me about that reward point system your company implemented and you feel passionate about, talk to me about protein structure and why you find them so incredibly interesting. You researched different types of cameras and lenses for four hours? Amazing, what did you find out?
Talk to me about what you love.
I wish I could tell you how beautiful you look when you talk about something with passion, with raw emotion, with eyes shining and a face that lights up.

Why doesn't he care?
I don't expect my family to be enthusiastic about history. But this is my life, this is what moves me to tears, what I get emotional over and what I want to do for the next years and decades. And still I can tell that they don't care for what I tell them.

 

Start early.
I know this one is obvious, but at the same time I know many people who say they can't be bothered and submit their papers four days late every fucking time. It's ridiculous.
And contrary to accepted opinion, procrastinating is not cool and not funny.
People have a tendency to brag with bad grades nowadays, I have no idea why.
‘I scored 20% last time, ahahaha, can’t be bothered’
… why is that funny?
Making an early start means that you have all the good books to yourself, it means that you have enough time to email your tutor and ask questions. Don't wait, don't procrastinate. Start early and submit early. There is no shame in the tutors seeing that you handed in that paper three days before the deadline.

 

What northern wind blew us into the street
And what fatal one will we all someday meet?
Swept into a palace with no sign of a king
No court for us jesters, but we like to

Sing of the moon as it sometimes get shy
Running from lovers through starry-eyed skies
Morning comes quick bringing tragic goodbyes
Nothing ever really dies, right?

Sing of the Moon - The Collection

# 098 - The Sea

Dienstag, 14.08.2018

I'm back from Perth, back to the library although I don't get anything done.
For the past week I've felt like I might get ill, my shoulder hurts and keeps me from continuing shorthand practice. Also, I can't go to the gym and work out.
It sucks.
I need to get the flat-thing sorted, otherwise my shoulders will keep aching, my body's classic reaction to stress. But there is nothing I can do to speed up the process, I either find a flat or I don't.

Next week, I'll be off to Aberdeen for a few days, lets see how that goes.

 

Make friends.
Life is not all about good grades and studying, and you can't go through university without making a friends.
Take time off, go out for a drink, ask people if they want to hang out with you after the lecture.
Make friends and keep them around.
I don't care whether your friend studies law while you’re struggling with marine biology or sociology, I don’t care if they are two years above you or drop out of higher education at some point.
Make friends.
And when I say friends, I mean fucking friends! People you can count on, people who stick around no matter what. Not drinking buddies you meet every once in a while, not the guy who sells weed behind the bookstore and gives you a discount because he likes your ass.
Friends.
Look after them, make sure they're okay, check up on them if you haven't seen them in a while and feel like they're struggling.
Make friends to spend your free time with.
Make friends to sit in the library with and study.
University can be a lot, but you're not alone.
Your family in blood may be far away, in another city or another country, so make sure you have your university clan around. They will have your back when you need them to.

 

And all our lives we're told
The stream will take us home

The Sea - HAEVN

 

# 097 - Cold Coffee

Montag, 13.08.2018

My friend Ruby is very interested in linguistics. I have a moderate interest as well, mostly, because I try to get rid of my German accent and instead adopt a Scottish one.
Still, sometimes linguistics can be very depressing.
While on the ride to Falkland Palace my Scottish family explained to me that only people from London (and those coming from the white ghetto in Dunfermline) pronounce it Sco-ish, Scottish people actually say Scott-ish. Shame. I just got into the habit of calling it Sa-ur-day.
Now this morning, I was told that the surrounding areas of towns in England and in Scotland, the so-called shires, are pronounced differently. In York one would say Yorksha, in Stirling it is pronounced Stirling-shire.
Whoever claimed that learning English is easy clearly never had the experience of being taught 'proper' English by ten people at the same time. One from Dunfermline, one from around Glasgow, one from the borders, one from Norway, one from London, one from Kent, one from Portsmouth ... you see where I'm going with this.
But I am extremely grateful for the effort all these people make on my behalf, I ask for help and they actually help me.
Still, potatoes - tomatoes?
Why would you do that to as non-native speaker? It's just cruel.

 

Treat the people working at university with respect.
Wave hi to the library staff when you're coming in, smile at the cleaning ladies and wish them a good night when you're leaving. Everybody around you has a life outside these walls, everybody has problems they're struggling with. So please: be kind, be respectful.
Being friends with the librarians might save your life one day when you're stressed and can't find that one damn book you need for your assignment, you never know.
And why not smile at the people emptying the bins and cleaning the bathrooms? They can see you, they know you saw them too, don't just pretend that they're not there. They are human beings and they are the reason for why the university buildings are not a shithole no one ever wants to set foot in. So thank them for their work.
Imagine the library team going on strike, shutting down the systems, closing the library right before exam period, not letting anyone in.
Imagine IT assistants and supervisors going on strike, leaving you alone when your notebook crashes, causing you to lose six hours of research on that paper that's due in 24 hours.
Imagine the cleaning staff going on strike, not mopping the floors anymore, not emptying the bins for two weeks straight.
Mayhem.
Tell people that you appreciate their hard work, say thank you and please, treat them with respect.
We’re all playing the same game after all.
And just like any other secluded place (e.g. prison) university is a microcosm, a tiny model of the real world: without connections you’re getting nowhere.

 

Outside the day is up and calling
But I don't have to be so, please go back to sleep
Stay with me forever
Or you could stay with me for now

Cold Coffee - Ed Sheeran

# 096 - The Work Song

Sonntag, 12.08.2018

Today, I got to visit Falkland Palace.
Unfortunately, taking photographs inside was strictly forbidden, but the palace is definitely worth a visit!
One might have heard of it as the place where James V passed away in 1542 or where David Duke of Rothesay died under mysterious circumstances in 1402. It is believed that he was starved to death by his uncle, the Duke of Albany.
Who needs enemies with an uncle like that?

Falkland Palace   Falkland in fog

   

Anyway, study tips!

The next point is a very practical one: Get yourself a flask or a reusable mug.
Students sure love their coffee!
Ever seen Voldemort sucking the blood out of that slaughtered unicorn in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'?
That's the average student in a 9am lecture with a cup of coffee.
Don't waste your money on buying coffee at Costa or on campus, it adds up faster than you know. And I know that getting a disposable cup from Starbucks (with your name on it) feels fancy and good, but can you really afford spending 3 bucks on a damn cup of coffee every fucking day? I doubt it.
Get yourself a decent thermos or a mug you like carrying around because it has cute little skulls on it (or kittens or stripes or whatever) and save the money for something else.
If you're stuck in the library during exam period and one thermos is just not enough, consider bringing a kettle.
It's unusual, it's weird, but it helps.
Check with the library staff though, you might not be allowed to use a kettle inside. I solved the problem by taking the kettle out to the atrium, using it there, and returning to the library afterwards.

 

When my time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I'll crawl home to her

The Work Song - Hozier

# 095 - Tell Me It's Real

Samstag, 11.08.2018

Ich habe ein schlechtes Gewissen wegen der Nachbarn.
Es ist halb zehn abends, vor drei Stunden habe ich die Waschmaschine gestartet, Dauer: 1 Stunde und 58 Minuten.
Das war vor drei Stunden.
What the fuck?!

Egal.
Unsere Nachbarn von unten hämmern zu den unmöglichsten Zeiten, und zwar seit drei Monaten. Mittlerweile glaube ich, dass sie entweder einen Tunnel zum Gefängnis graben oder an einem Bunker bauen. Vielleicht beides.

Hah, die Waschmaschine ist fertig! Dafür wurde unten eben kurz gehämmert. Traumhaft.

 

Back to study tips.

Study something you love!
What is the point in obtaining a degree in a subject you don't even like, what it the point in studying for years and years if you have to force yourself to picking up those books every damn time, if every hour in the library feels like slave labour and all you want to do is smash your fist against the wall.
Don't do it.
Instead, study something you love, something that makes you feel alive and enthusiastic!
Don't study medicine or law just because you can and you have the grades, study something that makes your eyes shine and that makes you laugh out loud because it's so beautiful.
Yes, lawyers and doctors make a lot of money, probably more than a teacher in elementary school does. But if teaching kids is what makes you want to jump up and down with excitement, then go for it! You will make a difference in the kids' lives, and you will be happy. Isn’t that worth something?
What is the point in being a doctor if you're miserable and hate your job?

 

And I never really thought about it, no I never really thought about it
It's because of you that I believe in me for first time
I know, love's always been sink or swim so I won't
Say it's over just as it begins,
So tell me it's real, just tell me it's real

Tell Me It's Real - Seafret

# 094 - Can't Look Away

Freitag, 10.08.2018

You wouldn't believe how often I've started writing # 094, only to delete every word a few minutes later, erase them from existence.
(Which makes me wonder, does anything I'm writing on the computer really exist? Or is it only a metaphor? After all, whenever I submit a paper like this, I don't actually hand over a piece of paper, I only send over lines and lines of computer code. Nothing I can touch, nothing I can really comprehend. Just shower thoughts, I guess)

Anyway.
The new semester is about to begin.
And as I am bored, I decided to write down my personal study tips.
Not even for anyone in particular, not for any new first-year students who might read these 'metaphors', just for myself. But feel free to read them and shake your head, feel free to think, 'Oh no, not another set of study tips and hacks. Who the fuck would need them?'

So here we go.
This is number one in a series, lets see how many we end up collecting!

First of all, please, whatever you do, Don't skip class. You may say that the tutor is crap, that you don't learn anything, that you know all this already, that your classmates are stupid as fuck, so why the hell would you spend an hour of your life in that seminar room?!
Go anyway.
Go because this may be the one time your tutor says something helpful and important about upcoming assignments or next year's modules.
Go because this is your opportunity to leave a good impression. If you know your shit and participate in class, you will stick out, and this will help you later on, I promise.
Go because the person teaching the seminar or holding the lecture will know something you don't, so use this! Ask questions, speak up, learn!
Go because you love your subject.

Extra point: don't miss out on the semester's final seminar. I know you're tired, I know you have shit to do, but whatever you do, go!
People generally consider the last seminar especially useless and a waste of time while really it may be the most important one! This is your chance to ask questions and get some words of advice, also, your tutor might give you more details on the upcoming exam. The people showing up to the final seminar are usually the ones who care, so make sure to be there, raise your hand and ask questions.

 

All the love you gave me
You know it made me strong
Feeling alive, now back to life
I know where I belong
I'll never let them break me
I'll never do no wrong
We're on fire, we're on fire
And we're burning up

Can't Look Away - Seafret

# 093 - Where Does The Time Go?

Freitag, 03.08.2018

Tomorrow, the International Summer School 2018 will end.
I have moved back to Cornton for the most part although I am not looking forward to living there. The past weeks in student accommodation have once more established that I actually really like living on my own, I don't need flatmates or even a pet.
Spending my days on campus, surrounded by people (some of whom I like, some of whom I very much dislike), and then returning to a flat on my own in the evening works just fine with me. I have enough time to recharge and enjoy my own company, everything happens the way I want and need it to.

When I left student accommodation in the morning, I knew that everything would stay exactly the same until I came back in the evening. The fridge more empty than full, the clean dishes by the sink, my university material where I left it, untouched by anyone but me.
Knowing that nothing changed in my flat unless I changed it calmed me down for some reason.
That doesn't mean that I am unable to share a flat with another person, but as I currently live for my studies and sometimes work, returning to a well-maintained flat took a weight of my shoulders. I can get up whenever I want, I don't have to argue over who gets to clean the bathroom next or who's turn it is to buy washing-up liquid.
The tiniest details.
The whole principle of 'nothing is done until I am the one doing it' - I like it.

Living with Cassia was therefore not the best idea.
I remember a friend of mine looking at me for a few seconds after I had told him that Cassia wasn't exactly my dream-flatmate, then asking, 'But why are you moving in with her then, Kat?'
And I remember saying that I didn't really know, that it was the best choice I had, even though it wasn't a great one.

But now I think: why didn't I look for a place on my own?
I can afford a nice studio flat or even a one bedroom flat, especially if I keep working for the department and safe up over the summer.

So I decided to start looking again.
This time on my own, without any flatmates.
Well.

But back to nostalgia; my students are leaving.
I will miss them. Like, seriously, some of them are just lovely!
And I will miss walking around on campus and people waving at me, shouting, 'Hi Kat!'. Scottish people rarely do that.
Although, some of the librarians are actually close, they also wave and get excited, and so do I.
It's great.

As mentioned before, I will keep working for the International Department for a bit longer.
Tomorrow morning, I will leave my flat at Juniper Court for the last time and take a bus to Glasgow Airport to meet a group of students from Japan, they will be here for about four weeks to learn English.
Obviously, the new project will be quite different from what I have done over the last weeks as most of the students don't speak English and come from a different culture. But I am looking forward to it, I'm sure it will be an exciting experience.

Still, I wish the ISS programme would continue for a bit longer.
But, and this is amazing, some of my students will come back to Stirling or at least Scotland next year.
Three people have actually told me that they will either transfer from their respective universities in the States or come to Scotland for a master's degree. Apparently, studying in Scotland is way less expensive for them than doing a degree in the United States.
And I can only encourage whoever considers studying here, Scotland, and especially this university's campus, is beautiful!

Where does the time go?
I don't want this to end
Where does the time go?
Let's hang on to the moment we're in

Where Does The Time Go - A Great Big World

 

# 092 - Operation Gomorrah

Donnerstag, 02.08.2018

I don't want to write a long text today, instead, I want to recommend an article posted by the BBC.

In 1943, the Royal Air Forces flew an attack on Hamburg: the Operation Gomorrah.
It was the deadliest airstrike throughout the Second World War, worse than Dresden even, leaving over 40.000 civilians dead and 37.000 wounded. With firestorms blazing through the streets, '[s]omething akin to the wrath of God was visited on the city'.

For those who are interested, I can only recommend reading this piece of writing by Mr Watson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43546839

 

# 091 - Youth

Mittwoch, 01.08.2018

Es regnet.
Ich persönlich mag Regen (insbesondere wenn ich Zeit habe mich mit einer Tasse Tee und einem Buch irgendwo hinzusetzen und zu lesen, warm und trocken, während draußen die Welt untergeht), meine 5-Minuten Pause von der Bibliothek verbringe ich gleichzeitig zu gerne damit, draußen im Regen zu stehen oder, je nach Jahreszeit, im Schneegestöber.
Meine Freunde haben sich mittlerweile damit abgefunden, dass ich auch in dieser Hinsicht sonderlich bin, meistens ernte ich nur ein spöttisches Kopfschütteln, wenn ich leicht angeregnet wieder nach drinnen komme oder jemand die Regentropfen auf meiner Brille bemerkt.
Es ist wundervoll.

Wenn ich nachmittags auf den Bus in die Stadt warte und es regnet, stellen sich die meisten Passagiere beim Eingang unter und beäugen von dort aus das Geschehen, sie gehen erst los, wenn der Bus bereitsteht. Ich hingegen stehe einfach nur da, sehe zum Himmel hinauf und lächle.
Schottland ist nicht grundlos grün..
Also warum sollte ich mich beschweren?
Ich kann auch morgen noch spazierengehen.

 

Außerdem habe ich das Steckenpferd wiedergefunden.
Vor einem anderen Gebäude.
Creepy.
Gleichzeitig bin ich beeindruckt, dass es seinen Weg zu den übrigen Transportmitteln gefunden hat und sich ordnungsgemäß dazugesellt hat. Aus eigenem Antrieb oder mit fremder Hilfe, ich weiß es nicht.

This thing (is it called a hobby-horse?) is either magical and moved from one building to another or someone carried it. I'm not sure which explanation I'd prefer to be honest..

 

Seit ein paar Tagen laufen hier auf dem Campus ein paar sehr interessante Menschen herum, jemand hat mir erklärt, dass es sich um eine Gruppe von Orthodoxe Juden handelt. Ich bin ihnen im Supermarkt begegnet, am Loch und in der Bibliothek, meistens nicken wir einander höflich zu und lächeln.
Die Herren kleiden sich in schwarz und weiß, viele von ihnen tragen einen zylinderartigen Hut und erinnern mich ein wenig an Charaktere aus Charles Dickens' Büchern.
Die Damen tragen Röcke und sind meistens damit beschäftigt, eine Schar Kinder zu beaufsichtigen.
Mir persönlich sind sie deutlich sympathischer als die International Summer School for Teens Kids, die uns nachts mit Karaoke wachhalten, den Campus verwüsten und generell sehr unhöflich bzw rücksichtslos sind.

Oh, und die Schwäne sind gewachsen, es ist unglaublich.
Sie können noch nicht fliegen und sehen aus wie übergroße Suppenhühner, aber insgesamt sind sie doch ein netter Anblick.

Stirling Campus 8

 

Außerdem bewerbe ich mich auf einen weiteren Job auf dem Campus.
Die University of Stirling beschäftigt jedes Jahr ein Team von Studenten, die sogenannten Wi-Fi Wizards, um neuen Studierende damit zu helfen, ihre sämtlichen Geräte mit dem Wi-Fi hier auf dem Campus zu verbinden.
Zusätzlich bekommen wir dieses Jahr ein neues Programm um Vorlesungen aufzuzeichnen, die Wizards werden also mit der ehrenvollen Aufgabe betraut sein, in Vorlesungstheater zu gehen, und den Professoren dabei zu helfen, das System zu starten.
Jahu!
Und das will ich machen!

Wi-Fi Wizard

And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones
'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the loers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong 

Youth - Daughter

# 090 - Light Of The Seven

Sonntag, 29.07.2018

Today is not my best day, but I have decided to be happy.
It is one of these days when I don't walk around in Kat-style (aka black, hopefully reasonably elegant) but in comfy-style (aka jumper and jeans), hoping to just have a bit of time on my own.
I miss my Hogwarts jumper, but it is in Cornton and I am currently avoiding my flatmate. Hm.

'appreciate this moment. stop and look around you. be thankful for all you have and where you are because this time next year, nothing will be the same.' - r.h. Sin

Over the past few days, I have smiled a lot.
Not because of what other people said or did, but because I am happy.
When a good song came on whilst I was exercising in the gym, I smiled and closed my eyes to not only hear the lyrics but feel them. When it started raining today, I left the library and stood outside for a few minutes to feel the rain on my face, I love doing that. And when I scribbled down my shorthand dictation passage without making a single mistake, I felt at peace with myself.
I don't get much done today, I am a bit pale and look sickly, but I am happy. Just because.

Where will I be this time next year?
Will I be in the library, studying? Will I be working for the international department again, will I still hang out with the same people?
Where will I live, will I still look out of the window and smile because Scotland is so beautiful and studying here is all I ever wanted?
Will I still say, 'This is the happiest I have ever been in my life'?

 

Light Of The Seven - Ramin Djawadi

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