Course, Study


“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

James Michener – American Author

One of the biggest things I’ve learned from my first year of American Studies is how important it is to give yourself some extra time before an essay deadline. Checking the work over before the hand-in never fails to reveal things which need to be changed or edited. Trying to make alterations ten minutes before the deadline caused the greatest amount of stress for me!

In my blogs, as in my essays, I have found that the first draft is never what ends up as the final version. Very often, much of what was originally written is altered and moved around so that little really remains of the first draft. Perhaps you would think this is just time wasted, rewriting essentially the same thing. Sometimes this feels like the case, but I am never satisfied until I convey what I really want to in my writing.

Often, I realise that I have overcomplicated my sentences and therefore lost clarity. I would rather present a good, clear article which has been thoroughly edited rather than submit a jumbled piece of work. Getting to the point in a clear and concise way is the best way to write.

Commencing a piece of writing is often the hardest part. Once you have some ideas ‘on paper’ at least you have a starting point (who writes essays on paper anymore?) From there, you can start editing, changing and adding to the work.

I suppose the trick to good writing is not actually being good at writing – it’s being good at rewriting what you’ve written!

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Blake's View, Course, Free time, Study

Blake’s View: A Rainy Wednesday Afternoon

Last week, as the rain lashed and the wind gusted outside, a dry tavern provided the perfect space as a friend and I pondered a frustrating question: Why had we decided to spend more than three additional years in higher education?

Perhaps this is a question you might be asking yourself. Although to some the benefits of a degree are obvious, others might rightly ask why one would pay to spend further years in education and out of work. This is especially true for students such as us, who have no definite plans to be doctors or lawyers or any other such profession which directly requires a degree.

Some initial ideas sprang to mind: our friends and classmates were doing it, so it only seemed natural to do the same; our parents encouraged us to continue in education and so did our teachers. But why? Why did those around us encourage us to carry on? Many would say that University is worthwhile for the social experience, and although this may be true, the social experience was not the primary draw for us.

We then fell upon the often claimed financial statistics – conventional wisdom says that graduates will earn more money than non-graduates. This may also be true, but as my comrade pointed out, this is offset as time spent in education prevents one from taking a full time job – thus one forgoes the opportunity for earning during that time. Then you have to factor in living expenses, tuition fees, travel and many other costs besides. So even if a graduate does earn more, they must first accept that their financial situation is likely to start in the red.

Nonetheless, over a lifetime perhaps the graduate will still make more cash. But still, was this the real reason? Some of the best known business tycoons are not academics, so clearly financial success is not guaranteed by a degree.

Outside the confines of the tavern, the ominous clouds didn’t appear to be shifting. “We should be at work!” we both joked as we remained at our wooden table, draining our pints. And then a strange thought occurred to us. A good understanding of the world, decent career prospects and a good salary were all important to us – but perhaps there was something simpler.

We realised that what a degree would give us was greater options for the future. Maybe we weren’t going to be doctors or lawyers, but a degree would allow us to work as academics or as teachers, which are positions we would both consider. Also, degree qualification could allow greater career progression in any employment, and it would facilitate our travels of the world. For us, higher education was about the lifestyle we wanted for ourselves. A freedom to go further in the world than a 9 – 5 routine. The freedom to have greater choice in our careers. And most importantly, the freedom to be sat in a pub on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, with nothing better to do than enjoy a pint, some good company and the promise of a cold, wet walk along the coast.

Course, Free time, Relationships, The city, The Galleon, Travels

Journalism & life as an SMA.

For me, this summer has been a bit of a washout, in more ways than one. The weather is awful but, more importantly, I’ve been struggling to find a balance between work, my social life, and attempting to get ahead on my reading for my final year at uni.

One thing I’ve been working hard at is getting as much writing experience under my belt as possible. Since I came home I’ve been writing for a few web sites and online magazines and I’ve received a lot of praise for my work, which is always nice. I’m trying to spread out my writing to a wider field as well and, although I primarily focus on music journalism, I have been dabbling in other areas such as lifestyle now too. I’m really looking forward to getting involved with The Galleon again when I get back to uni (I’m still really hoping I get the Music Editor position) and it’ll be cool to meet some new writers as well.

Last week I went back to Portsmouth for a week to work both of the university Preview Days. As I’ve previously mentioned I got a job as a Student Marketing Assistant so I worked my first couple of shifts and, I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about it. On the first day I was supposed to be helping register prospective students but the area I was in was so empty that I ended up outside as “human signage”, helping people find their way around and asking them questions etc.

On the second day I was the walking tours co-ordinator which meant I was in charge of the walking tours (obviously). I even got a radio for the day (cue: me feeling really important). I have to say the job as a whole is really fun and it’s made even better by the lovely people I get to work with, especially my fellow SMAs. The weather was terrible on both days and after 9 hours outside I was soaked through, but it was really cool meeting possible future students of UoP and helping them out.

I’ve been home for a few days now but I’m going back to Portsmouth tomorrow for a week working at Graduation. It should be good fun but I’m also pretty terrified that that’s going to be me in one year! I don’t want to leave university! Eek.

Free time, Other University Factors

Time …

Liquid Sunshine just isnt cutting it for me, I mean its Summer for goodness sake! However this nice long break is really chilling me out. I have a small job which is keeping me afloat for summer and allowing me to see as many people as possible. But I cannot wait until September! Moving into our new house, a fresh start at university, a time to really concentrate on what I want from life.

I am really missing the university lifestyle and being able to do what I want, when I want. Being at home outlines how easy it is to get around Portsmouth! I mean its flat and everything is within reach, at home, if you want to go anywhere you need a car and that costs money! Also parents – dont know if anyone else is having this problem but they are starting to drive me crazy! I’m 20 now and successfully feed and looked after myself fine for 9 months but since being home its like I have to go back to being a child again. The trick is to stay out of the house as much as possible 😉

On another note, I wanted some help and to see how many people actually read this haha. I recently broke up with my “boyfriend” and Im really feeling the heartache at home. I guess you could say the distance was too much for us (well me anyway) anybody got any tips on how to deal with this pain or even how to win the guy back? Feel free to leave comments below 🙂




Portsmouth Preview Days.

There are two University Preview Days on the 7th and 11th July and I am working on both of them so, if you see me around, please feel free to say Hi. I’ll be around to answer any questions any prospective students have and, if you have read my blog, it’d be great to know about it. Hopefully I’ll be seeing lots of you around!

Course, Free time

Summer Dreaming

Though I can’t say the weather is particularly summery, I have been enjoying a few very quiet days at home, which makes it feel like a summer holiday as far as I’m concerned!

I’ve met up with friends, been on a few excursions and taken on extra hours at work, which has made the time pass more quickly. I’ve written a 2-page list of things I want to do over the summer, but so far not much has been accomplished! Though I’m not concerned as there is plenty (if not too much) time until classes resume in September.

I’ve now received the official results from the University and am pleased to report that I’ve passed all my units with over 60%. I am very happy with my results, but I’ll have keep this up in the Second and Third years if I’m going to get a First.

Many of my friends are now graduating, and hearing all their plans for the future has made me feel a bit restless. I want to get on with the Second Year so that I too will be able to move on to greater experiences with my degree in hand. I have already started to imagine myself with a scroll, gown and cap – and I must admit, the idea is becoming increasingly more appealing. So I bid good luck to my graduating friends, and everyone else getting their degrees this year – I hope to be joining you soon!