One of my favourite things is to be alone. I like being alone in public, but a part of me is always afraid to be so. I like sitting alone in a café with a book and a coffee. I like sitting alone in a park, again with a book or a coffee. I like walks by myself. With a coffee. In fact, my favourite moments involve solitude, books and coffee. I have always felt the need to hide when by myself, however. The thought of being alone in the open, of having my solitude interrupted scared me. Maybe this was due to being young, or the fact that Dublin is small, or just caring too much about what others think of me. Being put in a situation where the only option was to be by myself was liberating. There was something so nice about sitting on a bench in St James’s Park, watching the passers-by, reading, being completely and utterly by myself. I entertained brief fantasies about meeting the love of my life, but they remained nothing more than fantasies. The fact that my friends were unable to answer my calls made me think about how our attachment to technology makes it difficult to be alone, and perhaps this is why I have always been so wary of sitting in a café by myself. We are always so accessible, a brief text of “hey, are you around at the moment? x” prevents us from having to be alone for too long, keeps the fear of other people’s opinions of our popularity at bay. During my five hours where the only people I knew in the city were uncontactable, I wandered around Westminster, The National Gallery and Trafalgar Square, catching glimpses of myself in my reflection in windows, and feeling happy and proud and wonderfully, blissfully alone. At one point I wrote the two of them a letter, just because it felt like the only means of contacting them, and it was so nice and pleasant, to be away from technology, as I sat there with my day planner, wristwatch and pen, all remnants of another time that I sometimes desperately try to recapture. By the time the three of us met again, I had vowed to wander my own city by myself more often, and make use of the novels I always have in my bag in case of solitude.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Thoughts that went through my head whilst pulling an all-nighter:
- Who needs sleep? This is what college life is all about. Woo! So pumped. This will be done by 6am.
- More coffee.
- Wow, I've written 300 words in 3 hours. Only 2200 more to go...
- Why is Film Studies even a subject?
- Maybe I could drop it.
- Oh god, I'm going to have to drop out of college.
- Dropping out wouldn't be so bad.
- I never want to see another film again.
- I need a Nutella break. The sugar rush will help me.
- Get off my keyboard, cat.
- The cat would probably write a better essay.
- I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE.
- OK, just push on through.
- Brick wall.
- OK, I'll sleep for two hours, go to my lecture, THEN finish the essay.
- What time is it?!
- I'll stay at home all day and miss my lectures and write this essay.
- I swear to god I'll become more organised.
- Oh look, I'm going to GO OVER THE WORD COUNT. AAGGGHHH.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
I have adjusted to college life, and by that I mean I have stopped going into overdraft, not that I do my essays in a timely manner or anything. I figure I might as well get used to being broke seeing as I'm studying World Religions & Theology/Film Studies, so even without the whole recession buzzkill my career prospects are quite laughable. (I'll make religions? I'll write film reviews? I'll direct Scientology indoctrination videos?) However, I still regularly Google "how to still have fun when you have five euros for three weeks" at 2am and find nothing useful ("make a budget", budgeting materials COST MONEY), so here are my philosophies and tips on being broke:
- Don't be afraid to joke about being broke. It might make some people uncomfortable, but that's half the fun, and I refuse to feel ashamed about the fact I live off student grants, so I joke about it. Walking up to ATMs with your fingers crossed will just make you seem QUIRKY.
- Use being broke strategically. Example: people try to get you to sign up to charities to help drowning dolphins, shout at them that you're in overdraft already. Avoid awkward social events by not being able to afford them. Etc etc.
- (a) My friends love how I am constantly clued in to any and all free things/sales/discounts going on. My Internet addiction is to blame. Like all your favourite clubs/restaurants/shops on Facebook or Twitter or whatever social network you favour and you will learn of all their wonderful offers. (b) Google "free stuff", "free events" etc for your area. You'll find a load of boring stuff but you'll also find gems such as First Thursdays (ALL of the free wine. And culture, but mostly wine.)
- Volunteer, but volunteer wisely. I made the mistake of signing onto a load of things I didn't really want to do for "experience" or to be "a good person". Now I just volunteer for theatre festivals and the like to get experience in something I actually enjoy, as well as possible free tickets. Music festivals seem like an obvious choice, but be warned, you will WORK for your free pass, and it's highly likely you'll miss an act you love because your shift for picking up rubbish is on.
- Have some balls. Ask for discounts, send back food you're not satisfied with, ask if you can work for free in exchange for some clothes at your favourite vintage shop, basically just take chances.
- Watch Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. Just do it.
- Become a leader. I tend to organise things to do with my friends to make sure I can afford it. Such as going to a gallery opening (free wine), to a club that's free in before 11, near a friend's house we (I) can crash in.
- Have rich friends. They will buy you alcoholic beverages.
- Have poor friends. They will buy reduced-to-clear cookies with you.
- Packed lunch. Get over your fantasies of having sophisticated lunches with your charming friends.
- Hip flasks are your new friend. You can't afford to buy drinks in clubs.
- See what financial assistance you're entitled to. I'm typing this on a laptop my college paid for.
- Speaking of laptops, the Internet is another great friend. Skype, Spotify, Netflix free trials, online concert streaming, Google Books, all of these will make you feel less poor.
- Don't let money hold you back, that's the most important thing. I can't afford to travel this summer, so I'm applying for every job abroad I have a hope of getting. I guarantee you can find a way to do pretty much anything, even if it's in a roundabout way.
- Hugs, kisses, chats, walking down a street with Christmas lights at night: they're all free. To be cheesy.
- Get a travel mug that looks like a coffee cup. You get the glamour of looking like a busy young professional, and your caffeine fix, even if it's instant black coffee.
Sunday, 18 November 2012
Savita Halappanavar case, but feel that I am not as eloquent as my peers in discussing the matter. Because I used to care desperately about fashion and appearances, and now such things tend to make me angry. Because sometimes I wonder if I'll have anything to show when I finish college.