finishing my masters in quarantine…

2020, mental health, student

Hello!

Everyone’s been effected in so many different ways by the corona virus pandemic , but as someone who is only a couple of years out of their undergraduate degree and trying to finish a masters degree, I’ve seen a lot of people who’s studies have been negatively effected by the virus.

Graduation ceremonies have been cancelled, deadlines have been shifted, ‘safety nets’ have been brought in so people’s grades can’t be negatively impacted, student loans have been spent on accommodation people aren’t living in and all in all, it’s been a mixed bag.

Post graduate loans are a joke so my last instalment came in at the beginning of April and more than half of it went on course fees for a course that’s been not cancelled but there’s no more teaching just a bunch of online tutorials and self teaching (which isn’t that different to usual… the whole course has been a joke but I could do a whole blog post on that on it’s own but I probably won’t in case they see it and decide to fail me lol). I’m really hoping for a refund otherwise finances are going to get really bloody tight in my house because I can’t get a job when everyone’s working from home and no one’s hiring so a little £2,000 refund would be lush.

Aside from finances, the whole thing has been weird – over my third year at uni in Southampton and the whole course at Oxford Brookes, I’ve worked really hard to develop a routine where I work on campus and I relax at home. It’s not always 100% solid but it meant that when I came home, I could almost leave my stress at the door and know that this is my place to chill.

Then everything closed and I had to completely rewire everything in my brain about working from home.

That was the biggest obstacle, but this was mid-March when it all kicked off. 4 of my 7 semester 2 deadlines had been pushed back to the end of April, with two more on May 1st and the last on May 7th. With about six weeks to work on these four big assignments. Once I overcame the initial ‘omg I don’t know how to work from home’, I flourished having something to focus on – I made myself a schedule, I did a little bit of work every day and I actually finished all four assignments 2 days before hand in and ended up having the big ‘four assignment hand in day’ completely off because I’d submitted everything by, like, 9am.

I thought my student life had been revolutionised – I had become one of those students I always envied and I was feeling very smug, I’ll be honest.

Then I crashed, my anxiety hit me like a truck, the two written assignments I had due for May 1st were a real ball ache and the assignment I had due on the 7th where I had to teach myself more about motion capture, animation, working with a group member who is currently at home in Poland all within less than 10 days? It all fell apart a bit.

I realised early enough in advance that there was no way I was ever going to be able to finish the animation project by the 7th and my uni is doing a ‘two week grace period’ extension with no questions ask, so that one’s still ongoing. But the two written assignments should have taken me a day, maybe a day and a half tops and my brain was in such a poor state that it took me a week, several edible rewards and a lot of coaxing from my boyfriend and my mum.

Because between corona virus, lecturer’s that either never give feedback (or are incredibly nit-picky) and the graduate job market as turbulent as it is, finding the motivation to care or to see a point in all of it is seems impossible. When they’re talking about the world taking possibly years to stabilise after this pandemic and the thought of starting a career and really starting adult life (saving for a wedding, house, kids etc) is just so big. The world feels too big and I feel so small and insignificant.

I wish I had a nice conclusion like “I suddenly realised XYZ and now I’m a-okay again!”. I got my two written assignments in, I’ve now got over two weeks to work on my animation and I’ve just found out that all my dissertation deadlines have been pushed back and there’s an option to delay the unit and pick it back up when uni is open again, so the pressure has eased a bit there.

My masters is ending in a way I never thought it would – this course has introduced me to four girls that I know I’m going to treasure for the rest of my life and we didn’t even know our last day at uni together was our last day. In theory we’re all due to graduate in Summer ’21 so we’ll all get to do that together but right now? It all feels very uncertain.

I have a lot of work still to do and I’m focusing on that as much as possible – giving myself a routine, trying to stay productive and fill my time with new skills and learning as well as working on my masters. I’m going to write a post later this week all about my weeks in isolation but uni wise, this all feels like it’s not real.

I really hope we get to go back to campus to work on our dissertations and I get to spend more time with the girls in the edit suite, gossiping and snacking more than working. I love being a student and whilst I now feel I’m definitely ready to move into a career and start properly making a life for myself, I loved the student experience and I’ll miss my commute to Oxford to see my friends.

It’s not the ending that any of us finishing our courses this year wanted, but we’ve got to make the most of what we’ve got. I’ve got somewhere to quarantine, I’ve got my boyfriend home which doesn’t happen this much ever, we’re financially stable (for now), we’ve got food in the house and we’re healthy. Sometimes it’s hard to remember all that stuff when your laptop charger’s broken and you can’t work on anything normally and you’re anxiety is bad and you’re putting on weight (you=me), but things are okay really and practising the gratitude will make things easier.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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starting my masters!

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been a long few weeks leading up to this and I still feel a little like it’s not real because I’m not in the new flat yet, but I’ve officially enrolled and I’m officially a student at Oxford Brookes University! Here begins my journey as an MSc Digital Media Production student.

I’ve already tried so many new things – I’ve driven on my own on the motorway for the first time, I’ve figured out how the park and ride system works in Oxford, I’m learning about buses and I’m trying to navigate my way around the campus. It’s a lot to take in and I feel like I haven’t really engaged with half of it.

It’s only been a couple of days – Monday I was just scoping out the route and getting to know things, Tuesday was my first proper course induction, but there’s still sports and freshers fair,  module induction and then the real thing begins!

It’s all very overwhelming and I don’t quite feel like I’m really a student again, I need a bit more information before I can truly process and plan what I want from the end of this course, but I’m excited.

I’m excited to get back into learning, planning my time at uni and having something to work towards and get stuck into. I’m not so excited about having to budget super tightly and figuring out getting a part time job and eventually moving into our flat, but I’m generally trying to balance feeling excited with being mildly terrified and focusing on keeping ‘excited’ on top.

At the end of the day, I’m still trying to convince myself that going back to uni instead of being able to get a career relevant job as a failure or second choice – I’ve been talking about doing a masters since I was in second year of my undergrad because the long term plan was to always develop and make it so journalism wasn’t my highest qualification, but if I’m being honest – if I’d been able to get a job I probably wouldn’t be here.

But if I keep treating myself like a failure for being here at all, it’s going to be a really tough year. I’m bettering myself, furthering my education, refining my skillset and career field. I’ve got time to secure relevant industry work experience and I can push myself in ways I’ve not been able to from my home in South Lincolnshire.

There are lots of positives – I’ve got lots of skills and positive traits, I just need to work on believing them and believing that I’m worth anything at all.

This year is going to be hard and there are going to be challenges along the way, but I’m really excited to be a student again and can’t wait to learn all about digital media production.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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