Alexandra

A little bit portfolio, a little bit clever & mainly moronic

Month: December, 2012

3 Traxxxx

The best thing I’ve pretty much ever done was download Spotify, way back in my first year, when it was free and there was no limit on the amount of times you could play a song.

I still have Spotify, except now I pay for it. Honestly though, I don’t begrudge them the £4.99/month because it puts great music at my fingertips.

I’ve recently discovered Frank Ocean. I know, where have I been hiding? 

Channel Orange is currently £5 on Amazon. If you like your Kanye West, but slowed down, if you like RnB and sampling, I think this might be the one for you. Ocean’s mad, but in a good way.

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Another beauty I’ve recently got into, thankz to Spotify radio, is Kings of Convenience. Cutesy and indie, think Sufjan Stevens & Belle & Sebastian, but with a little more…more…piazazz I guess. I’d recommend Quiet is the New Loud, which is also around the £5 mark on Amazon.

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“I’d never really known you, but I realised that the one you were before, had changed into somebody for whom I wouldn’t mind to put the kettle on. Still, I don’t know what I can save you from.”

 

If none of that appeals, jingly jangly indie with a hint of electro, might well do. Check out Miami Horror (not on Spotify *sob*). They’re fun, exciting, have crazed mixed up videos and every song reminds me of summer. Their album, Illumination, is a little more pricey on Amazon (£11) but it’s a great testament to youth, fun and love. 

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“I don’t know just where you came from, but I need you now.”

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Christmas via Co-Op and Poetry Books

“Maybe this Christmas, will mean something more.”

Maybe not.

I’m pretty much anti-festive. Not to be a downer or anything, but you’re about as likely to catch me wearing a Christmas jumper as you are to catch Victoria Beckham eating a full Christmas dinner, avec trimmings. 

I celebrated fake Christmas with my Guildford Family, aka the beautiful souls I share number 27 with, on Tuesday. We had 2 for Tuesday (thankz Dominos) and decked our kitchen out with crackers from Primark, stolen party hats, a stolen sign from Co-Op, and some 6 for £1 candles. 

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Here we are, pre-Dominos. We also did Secret Santa. Now, I can get on board with Secret Santa. I had Gen (not in photo) for secret santa. Our limit was a tenner so I burnt her a some CDs for the car, got her some cute fridge magnets and bought her Broetry. The ultimate Lit Student to Lit Student gift, a poetry book. She wanted it. I swear.

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Obligatory Christmas post out of way then!

The Crazy Club

“I’m really sad.”

“Don’t worry, there’s a pill for that.”

 

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In actual fact, there’s a lot of pills for that. And a lot of people on them. Being part of the crazy club is a weird one. I had one counsellor who said, ‘A lot of people find comfort in diagnosis. It makes them feel less alone.” This was just after I had been ‘diagnosed’ with depression. 

 

I wasn’t really bothered about being alone. I think growing up as more or less an only child (interesting how only rhymes with lonely, eh?) I’ve got used to my own company. For a social person, I’m fairly solitary. I’ve always been frightened of needing people (don’t take that to mean I don’t need people, I need people desperately and pathetically, in the way we all do) and I’ve always needed space and time on my own. 

 

In fact, I don’t really want to be like anyone else. I mean, I’ve been me for over 2 decades and it hasn’t all be plain sailing, but you know, I’m an old pair of hands.

 

‘Diagnosis’ is kind of like a doctor’s version of pin the tale on the donkey. Pin the emotional problem on the girl crying in my office. I’m not saying all doctors are like this, but I’ve had the (mis)fortune to meet a lot who are. So, whether, it made me feel better or not was kind of pointless. It made me feel like I’d been shoved into the depression box. It’s much easier to manage people who are ‘depressed’ than people who are just generally feeling like shit, right? 

 

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The Smiths and Love or Like

 

‘When you cycled by, it began all my dreams, the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. And you never knew how much I really liked you. Because I never even told you. Oh, and I meant to.’ Back to the Old House- The Smiths

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I’ve never been seduced by flowers or chocolates or even love poetry. Poetry about love tends to leave me cold, or worse, wanting to vomit. Especially John Donne. But for some reason, these lines have always struck a chord in me that vibrates endlessly around my heart when I hear them. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t mention love at all. Love is such a big abstraction that it’s kind of not really there. I have no idea what love is, or even if it’s real. You can’t hold love, you can’t turn it over in your hands. But ‘like’ has currency, it has fluency, I can see like. I can envisage the light blue of ‘like’. Love is passionate and glamourous, ‘like’ is oddly melancholic. ‘Like’ rings true. I’ve ‘really liked’ so many people, so many people who will never know. I can imagine what ‘really liking’ someone is. I don’t know what ‘really loving’ someone is. Love is just something we say to the sound bigger and better than ‘really liking’. Love is greater than like, but like is what I relate to better.

Where We Came From

This blog was previously at: http://www.alexandraisonfire.blogpost.co.uk but it was a bit shit.

We’re The Customers Now

Normally for this type of article I’d use The Stag, but unfortunately, I really can’t on this occasion. I’ve not been expressively told not to slag the University off, but I feel it would not be met with positivity. 

Universities have suffered a slump, with applications in England falling by 10% (BBC News) from 2011 to 2012. The University of Southampton’s vice-chancellor revealed in, The Independent,  that UK student intake had fallen by more than 600. This comes after little surprise after the coalition’s controversial decision to raise undergraduate tuition fees to an eye watering £9,000 a year. This legislation came after Clegg promised to cut student fees, leading to student protests in Autumn 2010, culminating in the storming of Millbank’s Tory HQ. 


Here at Surrey we are feeling the slump too, with applications down significantly down on last year (I have found it very difficult to find exact figures, I wonder why?) and rooms being still available in student accommodation. Southampton’s Vice Chancellor describes the slump as a ‘wake up call’. This slump was blamed on the rules surrounding admissions, currently the government caps the number of students a university can recruit with grades lower than AAB. 
However, perhaps universities should be looking closer to home. Surrey prides itself on its impressive employability rates, even though they have fallen on last year. In the current economic climate, coupled with the huge amounts of debt graduates face, employment is paramount. More and more, students seem less interested in furthering their knowledge of their degree subject, but see the degree as a means to the end. The end being a graduate level job.
These grad jobs have become harder and harder to come by. We have been forced into a culture were the degree subject is becoming more and more irrelevant, and the thing that really matters is a full CV. University is a great place to fill up your CV, getting involved in a society or with the Student’s Union will put you in good stead. The long holidays allow for a plethora of paid and unpaid work experience. But what about work experience during term time? Surrey focuses heavily on work experience, with the Careers service more than willing to help out with CVs, and even to help students source companies to apply to for a placement. However, academic studies come first surely. Students shouldn’t have work experience during term time as then they can’t attend lectures.
Well why not? When I was offered work experience at The Times, during term time, I was met with a stiff response from my Programme Director. They couldn’t stop me from going, but they could not condone it. Universities need to change their perception of the nature of a degree. If Surrey was really savvy they’d support people who want to conduct work experience during term time, a cap could be placed on how much study time can be missed, and Lecturers could e-mail notes round. Particularly with subjects with very low contact hours, such as arts based ones which have been hard hit by the fee hike, this could be a brilliant way to hook students in. 
Work Experience could even become a vital part of the Degree experience, much like the success of the Placement Year, which is not viable for everyone. Two weeks work experience could be a mandatory part of your degree. Regardless of whether students have their hearts set on one career or aren’t sure, no can argue that work experience isn’t useful. 
If you went into a shop and they weren’t selling what you want you’d simply walk out. We’re the customers now, and universities aren’t selling us what we want.