Santa Baby..

Following last year’s Christmas list, four(ish) out of five was not bad at all. It does not bother me that I did not receive all the things I wanted on Christmas day per se, as they became treats throughout the year. I received the white gold stud earrings from DH and we went to see Les Miserables for our wedding anniversary. The Mulberry MacBook Pro sleeve and the MacBook Air was dismissed for and even better upgrade and ol’ Lizzie has since become a good friend of mine.

I am not avaricious enough to write endless blog posts detailing each and every item I wish to buy, so similarly to last year, I have narrowed down to my top five most desired items. In no particular order..

1. Mulberry French Purse in Fudge Glossy Buffalo

I would love a matching purse to my Mulberry bag in the same glossy buffalo colour. I would prefer Holly but my current purse is busting with random loyal cards, debit cards, discount cards and whatnot, I fear having a zip purse just would not do. I guess I should think about removing that (probably expired) gym membership card.

2. Generally more clothes

I find it difficult parting with my cash selfishly and am always keen for the money to be spent on DS instead. I also detest paying more for something at retail price, when inevitably it will go on sale. I mean, there is no one item of clothing I am so desperate to have that I cannot wait, or just get over if it is no longer available. Buying into what is in season is just a con – the same item as the previous year with a different bar code. Knitted jumpers in season this year? No one has ever thought of that before.

3. iPhone 4S

I am very much an Apple geek, so it is pretty shocking I do not already own an iPhone. Unfortunately I have another year with the ol’ Android phone, so alas, this will definitely not be in my stocking.

4. prescription glasses

This is an odd one and not really an item ‘wish’ for, just I am too stingy bitter to purchase glasses myself. I have two pairs already I purchased in my first year of university; I did not want two, I bought the second pair upon losing the first, only to find them later in a drawer. What’s worse is that Specsavers managed to get the prescription in both pairs utterly wrong, thus causing me to have a complete lack of spacial awareness when driving, which I think is pretty crucial. I am so bitter about the whole thing, having spent a fair amount of dosh on both pairs. After many years, I am still having a not-so-silent protest about buying my third pair.

5. A Spa

I would have said tickets for the theatre or some kind of gig/concert, but given the fast pace of my life these days, it is not really viable. A holiday would be up there too, but with DS so young and the stress embodied even within the word holiday, I am not sure we could handle the actual thing. Thus I have opted for a spa break just for myself on my wish list. I am in dire need of some pampering and relaxation.

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First Class.

My amazing husband achieved a remarkable First Class BSc Honours in Politics and International Relations today and I am ever so proud of him. I had it hard when I finished my degree, what with the birth of our baby boy during the Christmas break of my final year and managing to continue without taking time out. However, my husband’s experience proved even tougher.

During my final year and DH’s second year, DS only needed to be fed, changed and put to sleep; it was difficult but fairly manageable with dedication and team work. DS has topped that by single-handedly juggling the role of stay-at-home dad to a demanding toddler, whilst finishing his final year. I helped as much as I could when I was not posing as the breadwinner, but ultimately DH has had the bulk of DS’ upbringing. DS’ constant need for attention and play gradually lessened his available study time, so it has been a worrying few months for us.

I am so overjoyed that he has been awarded a First Class, not only for his academia, but for all his extraordinary effort. First Class father, husband and academic. He really and truly deserves it.

Back to School.

As term two commences at University for DH, DS is also returning to nursery. I have been dreading this side of Christmas for some time now, as DS will pick up Friday all day, on top of his two half-day sessions. It has taken a while for him to settle in and I blame it on their incompetence. Harsh? Not really.

The nursery workers are not the Mary Poppins cliche I had wished for. When he first started nursery there was a series of events which lead to me disliking them; I am not just being unreasonable. On numerous occasions they forgot to make him lunch as they assumed he would not need it during his five hour stay; even I need feeding in a five hour period. They are unable to put him to sleep so he remains tired and moany throughout his whole stay, itching away anxiously at his eczema. When one of us picks him up he is sniffing with red eyes, sitting on one of the worker’s laps. The worker explains, ‘he has only been upset for the past five minutes, he has been happily playing by himself all afternoon’. Lies.

DS does not attend nursery as much as he should, because each time he goes he picks up an illness and is too unwell to go the following week. Which is just as well, I hate him going in that place. It does mean that DH has to miss his lectures and we end up paying for nursery fees kind of like tax; it is nonnegotiable, it comes out automatically and you end up feeling bitter for not receiving anything in return.

I rant and rave about the nursery but there is no other solution. I am hoping the situation will improve the more DS attends. The workers will get to know him and he will feel comfortable around them, playing with other babies and not grow up being shy. Apparently in the last session, DS and another baby were chasing each other around the room and playing with a ball. Things can only get better..

They had it comin’

They only had themselves to blame
If you’d’ve been there
If you’d’ve seen it
I think that you would have done the same..


Okay, enough of the Chicago Soundtrack.

It is very easy for me to position myself with the students and to recognise their anger towards the Tories; after all, I was one not long ago. It seems to me that the students are fighting their own corner, dismissed by elders and unappreciated for what they will provide to our society in the future.

 

'The Guardian' - A student dressed in bank notes before the start of the protest march in London.

Those who opted out of university appear to have taken the higher ground and are disgusted with the violence from the minority of protesters. They chime ‘university isn’t the be all and end all’, ‘I worked my way up and now I manage graduates’, ‘what’s the point of non-qualifying degrees anyway’. The argument is not whether university is a necessity, whether a particular degree is worthy of honours, nor is it a comparison to progression through work. It is that the opportunity is being robbed from the poor; people who once wanted to take this route are having second thoughts. It should not be that only the middle-classes and the rich can aspire to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, everyone has the potential to be whoever they want to be. Yet no matter how hard one works, without a degree professional jobs are limited to the ones who can afford to take out a second mortgage.

If the future means students will only study professional degrees, thus leading to professional jobs and hopefully earning a higher income; what will happen to teachers, midwives and nurses? We all know these professions are poorly paid and overworked. The banker who is to blame for the economic crisis pockets all his hard-earned cash, whilst a midwife who is working night shifts trying to pay off her tuition fees and her mortgage is left penniless.

‘According to analysis by Institute for Fiscal Studies and the National Union of Students, the total cost of repayment for those earning £35,000-£40,000 per annum would be £37,800, assuming a 30-year repayment period. For those earning £100,000, the cost would be £31,849, based on a repayment period of only four years.’ (Target Courses)

Yes we want professionals who look after us, fight our court cases and whatnot. Yes we also want labourers who fix our pipes, heat our houses and sweep our streets. On top of that, we want social mobility and justice for those earning average annual salaries in a career they enjoy, which they probably acquired from their ‘mickey mouse’ degree.

By ‘we’ I am speaking in reference to society. We should be fuelled by aspiration, not greed.

Those who can.

September 24th; this means we are only a few weeks away from reaching the end of our recruitment cycle for the academic year 2010-2011. For those who decide last minute they want to come to university, it is a mad dash to find the information to start the course they are already late for and to find somewhere they can call home. It would be very interesting to know the reasons behind the applications; whether an applicant genuinely wants to study the course of their choice, or whether it is to postpone working life. Either way, a willingness to learn is never a bad thing.

I grew up with the desire to go to university and often find it difficult to understand when others do not have the same inclination. I do understand those who seek to work in a field they enjoy, in whatever industry. But for those who spend years in hope that life will some day throw something at them, and for now they will just wait for it, I cannot comprehend. Some would argue, studying a degree that does not lead you directly into a specific role is ultimately a waste of time; and it is for the minority who cannot successfully pass that degree. For the majority though, it gives you a trump card that says on paper, you are better than someone who does not have a degree. Thus, having the ability to obtain better jobs.

It is known that a degree is not necessary for many job roles, yet recruitment agencies and employers ask for one. I see getting a degree as a natural stepping stone and it is essential for employers to ask for one to enable them to vet their staff. I know I most probably would not have got my current job now without my degree.

Doesn’t the saying go: those who can, do; those who can’t, teach work in retail.

Freshers Week.

So another year has passed and the students are flooding in, except this year I am not joining them. It is such a strange feeling. Finishing over four months ago and acquiring a job since means I should have already come to terms with no longer being a student, and I have, it is just mentally letting go is harder than physically.

I suppose in my third year I was hardly living the typical ‘student life’. I do miss learning as geeky as it sounds, but that is not to say I do not appreciate the break. I am not sure I would have had the stamina to continue being a student/parent. Working now is definitely the best decision and it gives my brain a much needed rest. I like to think that one day I will return to education and study for a Masters degree, I am not completely ready to resign myself to the daily grind.