• Once upon a time

    …I probably wrote faster than I could type. You know, the bumbling, two-fingered shuffle across the keyboard?

    Now it’s pretty much the polar opposite. I get frustrated when I physically have to write stuff down – it’s just so slow.

    Last year I even stopped handwriting my notes when it came time to study for exams. Instead, I typed them up in short bullet point or paragraph style. Much neater, faster, and easier to go back and insert bits and pieces as needed.

    So I thought my exam was going to be a real bitch because I would be spending three solid hours doing nothing BUT writing. Writing, by hand. On paper. Ouch. But surprisingly, the time flew by, my hands didn’t cramp up, and God must have been smiling on me because the questions were worded super nicely and once I put my pen to paper, the words flowed. Three essays? Done, in just over two hours. My writing started to taper off and curve back on itself once I got past the first three pages, but at least it was still legible.

    The weird thing? As I was writing, I would randomly picture in my head just how I would write that particular word in shorthand. Especially words with special endings, like ment or ange…because I could have inscribed those with one single short stroke. Pity we had to stick to strict English, but at least I wasn’t tempted to use txt speak. I didn’t even use the & symbol ONCE.

  • It’s a Monday, but it feels like Sunday…

    because I’m on study leave!

    Not that I’m doing much studying.

    It’s really, REALLY hard to get motivated. This is my only exam, and should be my last one EVER. Oh sweet, sweet relief.

    But….I just don’t care! I’ve handed everything else for all my other papers. This is a core paper that I need to pass to graduate; it’s the most academic of all my papers, and the most stuffy. At this point, as long as I pass, I actually don’t think I’d care.

    Well, as long as I didn’t get anything below a B-. I’m Asian. To get a C would be, shall I say, unthinkable.

    Had a good weekend, financially. Went shopping at Lim Garden (crazy Chinese supermarket in Mt Albert). We got all our meat and produce there – spent about $25 or something ridiculous on meat in total – and bits and bobs like noodles, sauces, sugar etc. If only they stocked everything a normal supermarket does…it would be perfect. We still had to go to Pak n Save for things like razors, tampons, baking soda and cereal. We spent $51 at Lim, which pretty much covered all our dinners and other important stuff, and then a whopping $60 at PnS! This did include toiletries and a fair few treats, to be honest. If we go back to Lim this week and spend a similar amount, I’ll try to make sure we rein ourselves in at PnS afterwards so we can really get that grocery bill down.

    One thing that has always been hard to manage is BF’s lunches. While he was working, I usually made him rolls or sandwiches – sometimes the odd pasta, salad or fried rice – and he had another $40 or $50 for lunches. I know, that’s a lot, but the physical work kind of calls for it, and the kinds of food places around his workplace were expensive. Honestly, it was just one of those things it was easier to pay for. Especially when he was on sites that didn’t even have any kitchen facilities at all. Since he’s been home, he hardly eats lunches, but he has had a couple of one off days worth of work recently and that’s been hard to account for – especially not knowing until the last minute. We’re just taking it as it comes.

  • Useless university policy

    Sometimes last year AUT did away with handing back assignments in the pigeonholes. Instead, they got returned to us in tutorials.

    This year it’s gotten worse. We get emailed a random block of time (usually 1.5 hrs) in which to stop by our tutor’s office to pick up essays and whatnot. These are usually Wed-Fri afternoons when I’m working. I didn’t go to the handback for the first MC3 essay as work was insane. I waited till my tutorial to approach my lecturer. Yeah…and he STILL hadn’t even marked mine. Was I glad I didn’t take the time off work to trek up to his office for nothing?

    Today was handback for the second essay – pretty last minute considering the exam is on Tuesday and we NEED feedback. MC3 is a core paper that you need to pass to graduate. It’s also very theoretical, dry and has a relatively high failure rate.

    I used my lunch break to go visit my tutor – I was confident I’d done quite well but wanted to see his comments in order to do as well as I could in the exam. Know what he told me?

    “Oh, I’ve got yours right here but haven’t put a final mark on it. You haven’t failed or anything, though. Can you come back in an hour?”


    As it turned out, no, I couldn’t. So I may email him to ask him to at least tell me what I got. Or I might just forget about it and head into the exam, and wait for next month for ALL our final marks to be posted. I really don’t care enough.

    Get it together. If you tell us our assignments will be ready for us between 2-3.30 on Friday, MAKE SURE they’re damn well ready! Maybe our time is not as valuable as yours in terms of the rate you command, but it’s not worthless.

  • Postgrad

    Unlike many of my friends, I will not be pursuing postgrad study.

    I have zero interest in academia. It holds no lure for me.

    The thought of spending even a year or two doing research and writing a lengthy original thesis, at this point, terrifies me. Not to mention the prohibitive cost; it amazes me that the journalism post grads, who study alongside us, are paying the equivalent of our entire 3 year degree for one year…or pretty darn close. No way! Not after I’ve worked hard in order to graduate debt free (touch wood).

    Maybe one day that will change. And in the future I wouldn’t mind doing a few papers in something like political studies, psych or sociology. The one downside of doing a BCS is the narrow focus, especially in the earlier years. I loved my polsci paper and wished I could have done more like that (instead of crap like Interpersonal Comm…a paper in which you actually bust out your own everyday-life examples of, say, stereotyping others, which was just PAINFUL).

    So when people ask why I’m not doing something back at uni next year, and how I should be, whether it’s because of the economy or because I’m smart enough to, I say I want to be out there. I want to be working. Journalism, I think, is in the same vein as something like teaching or engineering. At some point you’ve just got to do it.

  • A topic close to my heart….


    Random pic that comes up if you search teeline shorthand!

    Random pic that comes up if you search teeline shorthand!

    One of those classes you gotta go to, because if you don’t, you’ll fall behind and never catch up. I think I’ve missed two classes so far – the first time I caught up from a friend’s notes, and the second I winged it from the guidelines.

    And literally everyone loves our tutor! There’s a Facebook group created especially for us, called “i heart shorthand” along with a treasure trove of quotes from our all-knowing sensei. She comes up with some real gems. I’ve copied and pasted some here for your amusement.

    • “Normally” looks like a wee animal you’d take for a walk or something.
    • “I’m like a little team all on my own”
    • “Don’t fluff around with vowels.”
    • “Faulty….” as in towers
    • “-ment and -tion all holding hands together and getting on marvellously.”
    • “You’re gonna amaze yourself, horrify yourself, do whatever to yourself.”
    • “You can go to bed listening to me. I can be in your ears 24/7.”
    • “You should be chanting these special outlines every chance you get.”
    • “I usually have a few tail-end-Charlies at the end of the course.” (Don’t know what this one was about….)
    • “I know your head is a heavy thing but it can hold itself up.”
    • “We’re getting the whole family group in here one by one.”
    • “If you hear it as a negative when it’s coming at you, treat it as a negative.”
    • “We really are old-fashioned, I even have a watch I have to wind up. We don’t even have the internet at home.”
    • “There’s no hope for me. I have a cellphone… but it’s never switched on – it’s 7 years old.”
    • “Has anyone heard of a pixel? There’s one in this thing here.” (points to computer)

    I realise that out of “context” (one of her favourite words) she might come across as a bit ditzy or behind the times. But I assure you, she’s LOVELY! The sweetest, nicest, and one of the funniest people ever.

    One more week of classes next week. And no more lectures! We’re going to be filling out those end of term evaluation forms for each class and my plan is to write mine in shorthand for her. Something basic, along the lines “sweet, patient, and so very funny. Don’t ever retire!” I’m sure she’ll appreciate my efforts.

  • So much to do. So little time

    Just finished a 2500 word essay. So weird to go from writing minimal, pared down journalese with ‘that’ treated like a swearword, and clean simple sentences with no extra or complicated clauses, to flowery, academic writing.

    I’m trying not to think about everything I have to do over the next month. Originally I was thinking that the two weeks I have after semester ends, but before my internship, I should use to try and get more hours at work.

    But I think that a) I’ll need to work on my shorthand and b) rest up!

    For MC3, I have another essay and an exam.

    Shorthand, another test which I need to pass to graduate.

    PAR, a media law test and a mixed group/individual project.

    Editing and Design, a three page design project plus 1000 word essay, and laying out the newspaper at the end of semester.

    News Reporting, a stats test, and possibly a style and grammar test, I’ve got to get some more photos done, and keep up with at least one finished story a week.

    Whew. I think I’ll take some downtime tomorrow, then get cracking on the weekend. Have to hunt down something local….

  • Day in, day out

    Back in the routine. Long days at uni, get home in the dark, catch up on news, email and blogs, work on assignments. Sleep. Repeat.

    I’m thankful BF is here to help ease the load and take care of things around the house. And I’m SUPER grateful that he’s not studying as well. Imagine how he’d get under my feet if we shared a computer for assignments. Luckily, he can use the laptop all he wants next year, as I’ll be at work during the day and can get most of my internet stuff done there as well. And I’ll be free to help him with assignments and so on – I imagine I’ll find myself giving him tips next semester when he enrols in New Start, but I definitely won’t be able to give that my full attention.

    Right now, our workload is crazy busy! I’d say it’s doubled from last year, and a lot of the coursework is assessed in this half of the term. I’m finding myself constantly hungry – I just can’t eat enough! Nothing keeps me going for long. By the time I get home I’m starved and lightheaded and just want to inhale my food. And I invariably get frustrated while eating because dinner is too hot and burns my tongue. Dumb, I know, but I don’t have the time or inclination to wait for meals to cool down…need to learn to relax.

    Still, at least I don’t have the Mondays from hell anymore. Back in first year when I was working 20 hours a week over four weekdays, along with classes, I was stretched ridiculously thin. Mondays were a 12 hour day, plus two hours of commuting. Work from 8.30 to 12, a one hour break from 12 to 1, then three straight hours of lectures until 4, then a dash to my second job from 4 to 8.

    You can imagine how fast I wolfed down my lunches during that precious one hour!

  • Future plans

    BF might be studying next year.

    Yep, just as I graduate, he might be entering uni.

    He’s thinking of doing teaching – primary, intermediate age. Maybe secondary later on – apparently with a B.E you can also apply for certain secondary positions, and I’m trying to get in touch with the faculty to find out more.

    If he did early childhood instead, he’d get a free ride plus spending money. ECE is an area of major shortage at the mo; or he could do a technology degree, then a one year grad. dip., and get that paid for as technology teachers are also in demand.

    But he doesn’t want to do either of those, so we’d have to look at other scholarships. And of course, student loans.

    I know in the States there are lots of grants for First in Family….people who are the first in their family to attend uni.

    Can’t find any in NZ, although I’ve only had a cursory look.

    Anyone know  of anything like that?

    (I think because anyone can finance their degree with a loan here, scholarships are way less common….)

    He’d probably do the New Start course part time next semester, to ease him into the routine and get him entry into next year’s intake.

    It’s just over $300 and is only one day a week. It also covers a range of topics, so it should be fun and somewhat¬† interesting. I’m sure he can achieve a B+ with some work. It’s held at the city campus, although they also hold classes out west in Te Atatu at Rutherford College, which will probably suit better…free parking…closer to home, possibly. Although, who knows about traffic….he’d be in rush hour, going the wrong way…

    Apparently they’re having record numbers sign up though – with the economy the way it is, everyone’s wanting to retrain.

    The administrator said there are so many showing interest, they may have to cap their numbers! So he should enrol early.

    So, exciting prospects….

  • Got my first story in by deadline this week…oh, the stress. There’s no down time either. It’s straight onto the next one – no time to breathe, it’s all go go go, gotta be AHEAD because you’re relying on other people and sometimes they won’t get back to you and the whole thing falls through.

    I’m SO paranoid about misquoting people though. That and maybe implying attitudes that are stronger than they are, or putting too much of a negative spin on things.

    This stuff isn’t easy.

    Hunting down stories is another whole thing; I used to think stories just came to you, tipoffs, events, etc. Nope, you gotta find them. Especially as we’re on community papers – lots of human interest, and vital local news is usually already covered.

    I’ve got one brewing for next week and another on the go. Next week’s one is sort of following up on one I did last year that got butchered by the mag, and I want it to have a fair go. I’m hoping I can still get in touch with my main interviewee – I’m not sure if she’s still teaching at the same place, and I get the feeling she’s not. That’s a hurdle for next week methinks.

  • drowningFeel like they’ve chucked us in the deep end right from day one – terrified I won’t have my first story in on time. It’s almost 10 on a Friday and I’m going through shorthand exercises. I’m just so busy; between classes and work that’s almost a 40 hour week alone.

    Today we had a spelling/grammar/style test. There were 25 errors to pick out. I found 23. Nobody else got more than around 15.

    Nerd power to the max!

    I honestly don’t know how I’m going to find time for a relationship as well. BF already feels neglected. He’s been lovely and picked up the slack at home, doing all the cooking, dishes (which he HATES – at least he remembers the detergent now) and cleaning.

    We also went past a store and he pointed out the bracelet he’d bought me and that got lost on Valentines Day. There was one left.