That Time in the Semester

…The home stretch…

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Ladies and Gentleman the week has come. That week in the semester where you just…just can’t. How else to describe it? I write stories yet my descriptive vocabulary has disappeared. Those academic papers stole them.

One paper down yet more blank pages loom ahead. The calendar clock ticks as finals approach.

Where on earth did the time go? Seriously. I’m pretty sure moments ago it was September and I blinked. Boom. More than halfway through November. I should avoid blinking.

November, the word that rhymes with NaNoWriMo. Except this year. So sad. I got so swamped that I had no chance to even think about my story or any others. I crave that moment that I walk out of my last final and I can breathe. Properly. And open my mind up to those shenanigans my characters like to get themselves into.

But right now? Force myself to write letter after letter, word after word, sentence after sentence, and hope that the editing process can be skipped. Oh, and avoid thinking about anything exam related (no one has time for that)….Possibly glare at people on residence who do seem to have time. (I think they stole it from me).

The semester’s nearly done…yet I can’t see the end.

Cheery, I know.

And I’m off!

Creativity in the Academic Year

Are you ready for more university? When will I write my stories?

It’s almost here.

Yes, the new school year is here.

Fall semester, 3rd year, here I come.

I get excited by reading all the various syllabi from my professors (still waiting for my last one). I get excited by planning out my reading schedule (because there is so much, too much, to read!) and when to start on my papers (not that I stick to that schedule, but a girl can try). I get excited by buying textbooks (hopefully used ones for low prices). I get excited by seeing office supply stores and back-to-school posters. I get excited by talking to my friend (who is equally as excited as me) about the upcoming courses. I countdown the days. Of course, I know that a couple weeks in I will be wishing for more holidays.

This semester will be particularly hectic (I feel like I say that every semester but it’s true this time!). I got a Tutoring job at the Academic Excellence Centre at the University. I sing in a small chamber choir that does worship every other week. I sing in a large community choir that has major concerts. I am the Academic Coordinator of the Psychology Association at the University. I am taking the full course load (5 courses/15 credits) plus an extra credit (new instrument: guitar), and, well, the courses aren’t getting any easier the higher you go. I volunteer every other week at my church with he kids. I might be volunteering for worship once a month at church which includes many rehearsals. I am auditioning for a school play. I’m getting a gym membership, so going to the gym more often.

Therefore, the big question is (drumroll): When am I going to write anything?

And I don’t mean writing papers for school. Believe me, there will be lots of that. I mean, my novel, my short stories, my fan fiction, anything in that realm. When?

It’s going to be a shock coming out of the summer when I had no job and hence had time for it to the school year where time will be precious to say the least (and mostly spent on sleep…and food…(and Netflix…I didn’t say this last bit)…).

I wish anyone else that’s working on stories and going back to university all the luck in the world. You will need it!…I know I do.

 

Thirst for Knowledge

Why do I read textbooks when I don’t need to?

I don’t consider myself to be of high IQ (probably because I’m not). I don’t consider myself to be of low IQ. I don’t consider myself to be over-average in intelligence or under-average. Unlike some people I know whose minds are brilliant (and secretly I want to steal or poke at their brains), I have to work hard to do well academically. However, because I do work hard I get good results.

This summer (late April-end of August) I decided to take a break. No summer school. No real work. Partially because we are moving houses, partially because I was so exhausted after my second year at uni that I needed it, and partially because I didn’t see any good opportunities work wise. However, I have found that not long after school ended (maybe two weeks?) I needed some kind of academic stimulation, such as ridiculously hard-to-understand dusty books where each sentence must be read at least three times or language-learning challenges.

It seemed weird to do school work when not in school but I couldn’t help it. I started reading a theology book we must read during the semester (September-December) to write a paper. I started learning the basics of a few languages in order to decide with which ones I want to go further (I decided for French and German, but I will dearly miss the others like Irish). I am using Spanish textbooks and videos/movies to not lose my good level of Spanish. I brought back my World History textbook (1099 pages!) to read…for fun (I used to hate history but this textbook is well written). I bought a book on Counselling and Psychotherapy (my dream job) to read…for fun. I have a long list of books I want to read (some include contemporary books, some include classical literature from all eras). I am working on writing my two books. I have written a dozen short stories. I’ve been reading articles and watching videos related to linguistics. This thirst for knowledge is never-ending.

Someone asked me why I would read a textbook when I’m not getting any credits for it. Why I am using Spanish workbooks when I’m not getting a diploma at the end of the day. Why I am reading the theology book now when I will have plenty of time during the semester (btw: there’s never plenty of time during the semester, no such thing). Why I am reading a Counselling and Psychotherapy book when I can barely understand it yet (I’m only 3rd year psych). Why I am starting two more languages. Why I am reading a history book when I’m not even studying history. Why I am reading classical books when I no longer have to (not in high school anymore, nor am I an english major). Why am I watching linguistics videos instead of the newest movies (let me tell you, I do both. Netflix is a very dear friend of mine).

I am always on the lookout to learn more. Sometimes I understand, sometimes it’s beyond me. But I thirst for it, no matter if the end result is a certificate or not. I am lucky enough to have time to do all this. Next summer I won’t (internships, jobs, etc.). I am taking this wonderful opportunity to absorb the beauty of the knowledge around me. And I let it affect my view on life.

Moving…again

…Or is it spring cleaning?

I walk through the labyrinth of suitcases and watch the boxes overflow. The sweat on my brow is there. I am more conscious of stepping into each room as I realize these are my last days in this house. I’ve moved A LOT in my life and this house wasn’t special, it was in the middle of the invisible scale of places I’ve lived in. Maybe helped along by the ‘meh’ experience at school during my one year here. I would say that the two years after when I no longer lived here but my family did were more interesting. I warmed up to the house, to the town, to the way of life.

Now I watch my family and myself pack up yet another house ready to move on to the next adventure. It might be the least adventurous for me because I’ve already partially moved out two years ago for university. But fully moving everything out of this tiny room, finding all the lost objects, deciding what to throw away…it’s different.

It’s a nice sort of spring cleaning! Going through everything and deciding what must go to charity, garbage, storage, suitcase…On one hand I want everything to stay as it is, on the other it’s liberating.

Goodbye Teddington, London, United Kingdom. Hello next chapter.

Challenge #1: Arabic letters

One of the challenges I am giving myself (for fun) is to learn the Arabic alphabet. I started yesterday and the first stumbling block was realizing that I have to write the letters from right to left. Second stumbling block was learning to pronounce the letters. Some of the sounds are similar to each other (for an English/Czech speaker) so after about 10 audio recordings I managed to get the differences straight in my head.

Halfway through the car-ride I realized I was writing invisible Arabic letters in the air when she asked me what I’m swishing my fingers about for. She was thoroughly perplexed as you can imagine when I told her I was writing Arabic letters.

I was positively surprised to find there weren’t as many letters as I had imagined!

Giving Myself Challenges

Keeps life interesting…

I like to randomly give myself small or big challenges throughout life. These can range from anything but are usually related to my favourite topics: Psychology & Sociology, Creative Writing, Music, Linguistics & Languages.

I decided to start blogging about some randomly, depending how interesting it is to blog about really.

Up next: Challenge #1 (learning the Arabic lettering system)

Reading Out to Human Beings

Fear of reading your work aloud to others

When it comes to my writing I am very private, at least in non-cyber space. I write my novels on my beloved laptop on my beloved Scrivener and not one human being sees it because I couldn’t bear to have anyone read it until it is perfect. I post my fan fiction on semi-anonymous sites where people don’t actually know who I am. But the thought of a friend (that I know personally not just online) or family member reading something I wrote, whether original fanfic is…terrifying.

My friend was injured and we were helping out my dad with my little sisters birthday party. When my dad didn’t need us we spent our time in my bedroom just hanging around. At one point I thought I could read out some of my fan fiction and random scenes from my original fiction to her, either to calm her, show her, or maybe just to put her to sleep (it was a hot day).

Soon I realized this was the first time I was reading out my work out loud. To a fellow human being (as opposed to the other times when they were alien werewolves of course). It was very refreshing. She isn’t a writer which made this a calm experience, no judgement or constructed criticism (a good thing but not for relaxation). It was nice to read my work out loud but to more than an empty room or the closet. I was more aware of my writing style and somehow it gave me a new perspective.

This doesn’t mean I will jump into constantly reading out my work to other people but it was definitely a novel experience for me and I learned something from it.