Posts Tagged ‘education’

Another good week at university. The main focus this week has been the dreaded dissertation. I must admit I have been very worried about it as most students are and with good reason. Doing your dissertation is one of the most daunting experiences you can face at university. It’s your final year and you have the choice of what to do for your dissertation. There is so much choice in what to do and then so many other parts of it to think about such as your research methods, ethical considerations and how you are actually going to write it up it can be very overwhelming and take over your life.

But somehow I have managed to navigate all of this successfully so far. What I have done is to think small and focus on just one small part of a larger structure. I am doing my dissertation on disability but I am focusing my research on contemporary attitudes to people with a physical disability post 2012 Paralympics. By doing this I have a focal point from which I can start from and end and an area I can breakdown into its various component parts and decide which part I am going to concentrate on.

Attitudes to disability, is a very important area to many people and for society in general because it can affect a person’s quality of life and how they view others around them. If people with disabilities are treated fairly their outlook and attitude to life will improve and have an effect on their overall wellbeing. If however they are treated badly this can destroy a person’s confidence and have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. This is why attitudes to disability is so important to me.

The reason I’m doing physical disabilities is because I feel it is an easier area to research because it is more in the open than mental health issues and hopefully I will get more responses for me to draw my conclusions from. Also whilst 9,000 words sounds a lot in practice it isn’t that many when you take into consideration I have to do sections on my abstract, introduction, research methods, ethics and conclusion. All of these sections eat up the word count and for that reason I feel it is vitally important to focus on one small area of a much larger picture and stay focus on it or you run the risk of going over your word count and more crucially not getting your point across and losing marks.

Not a lot has happened this week on the poetry front. The open mic sessions are usually one a week but last week was an exception with two in one week followed by none. I did go to a workshop run by the renowned and immensely talented Kim Moore. The subject was the body and Kim had some great exercises for us all to get our minds thinking about how we use our bodies and all the stresses we put them thorough. It was a time of reflection for something we take for granted and only notice when something goes wrong, we break a bone or have an infection. It’s always lovely to hear what everybody else has written from the same prompts and everybody writes something very different. Another writing friend of mine Keith Hutson writes some very funny and witty material and always makes everybody laugh. Keith has a gift for taking a serious subject and finding the humour in it without devaluing or demeaning the subject in any way.


Afterwards I went for a walk around Ilkley with my follow Igniting the Spark writer Louella Ramsden and ended up buying Ted Hughes Collected Poems and Simon Armitage Paper Aeroplane. Something for me to read when I’m not doing my university work. It’s always good to have a distraction from the pressure of a degree.

This upcoming week is very busy. On Wednesday I visit the eye doctor to see what damage has been done to my right eye. I will admit I’m not looking forward to it but these things come along in life and we have to face up to them and see what the outcome is. Hopefully the news won’t be too bad and all I’ll need is a stronger prescription!

Tuesday I’m back at Igniting the Spark for one night only as I have no lecture this week at that time and I’m looking forward to catching up with everybody there and seeing what Gaia has in store for us to get our imaginations working. I’m looking forward to Friday immensely as there is a special event at Hebden Bridge Town Hall celebrating the poetry of Ted Hughes and a special open mic Shindig where as long as I get a spot I will be reading some of my favourite Ted Hughes poetry. If your around Hebden Bridge on Friday night get yourselves to the town hall for what promises to be a great evening of poetry.

Have a great week everybody and take care.

Well this week was my first week back at university in my final year of undergraduate studies. And all in all it was a pretty good week. The shock of having to get up early on a Monday morning to join everybody else in the car park grand prix was something I had been dreading and it didn’t disappoint. Monday morning, 6.30am and the alarm goes off and keeps repeating until I can find my phone to turn it off. Up and out though I went for my first lecture at 9.15am and to be honest it wasn’t that bad once I got into the car and set off and you realise that you’re going through the same routine as millions of others.

Huddersfield is a lovely town, so many fine Victorian buildings in a compact setting which makes it very easy to get around. One other thing I love about Huddersfield is the variety of shops it has for such a small town from trinket shops to a great Oxfam book shop where I have bought many bargains to a West Indian food shop which one day I must go in to see what I can buy to make a stir-fry, Huddersfield seems to have something for everyone and is a great alternative to nearby towns and cities. Bradford in my opinion has gone downhill since I was a small child in awe of its charms and history. Where once there were grand buildings, a great fish and meat market and a city with life, now there is only betting shops, mobile phones shops and pound shops. The reasons for this are many and complex but to me it’s about trying to compete with it’s much larger neighbour, Leeds, rather than trying to establish its own identity which Huddersfield and Halifax seem to have done. The aforementioned Leeds has gone from strength to strength and is now a powerhouse of industry in the North, up there with Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle for importance.

However I digress and suffice to say that walking to university on a crisp and sunny October morning, is for me one of life’s little pleasures, made even better once the university itself comes into view and the feeling of learning, teaching and hard work comes wafting through the air like the smell of the freshly baked buns my mum used to bake for me and which brought me running back home from wherever I was. I had been to the university over the summer and at that time when it is empty of students it does seem a desolate place and reminds me of a ghost town with the odd person wandering around as if they had stumbled across it by accident. Come September though and it begins to come alive with noise, smell, colour and you realise the purpose behind any university which is not only to learn the subject you are studying for but also to experience life and culture in a unique setting safe from the usual pressures of society.

This was brought home as my lecture that day was Film and Cinema and looking back at classic British films, in this case Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and looking at the culture of that period which inspired that film and comparing it to contemporary society and seeing what has and has not changed. Much has changed of course, but a lot of things haven’t and some of the ways in which people are portrayed in the film are very similar to today’s society. Angry young men, going out drinking, illicit relationships, still go on and always will. All that’s changed is the setting because so many places have been demolished and rebuilt and the scene with different music, television and fashion. Strip all that away and you still have the same lives being lived, the same mistakes being made, hearts being broken and a myriad of other situations that make life what it is. Watching an old classic film such as this and reading the newspaper headlines from that era drive it home even more for me. We all think we are inventing life when in fact all we are doing reliving the lives of these who have gone before us.

It was of course good to see familiar faces and catch up on what people had been doing over the summer break. Most people hadn’t been doing too much by the sound of things, but still had a pleasant summer away from university. The rest of the week was a gentle easing back into university life, although there is always that undercurrent of seriousness to be read into what your lecturers say. I’m under no illusions that this year will be very hard but ultimately very rewarding too. This was emphasised by the meeting I had with my dissertation supervisor who set me a few tasks but also warned me about taking on too much over the coming year and concentrating on my studies. This was further driven home when I decided that I could still stop up late, get up early and do my lectures and very quickly discovered I could not. Lesson number one learnt!

It has been a very good week back at university, but now the hard work starts as I move into week two and doing some actual work!