In the real world, surely no-one cares about individual results.

Being a current university student who is half-way through a four-year Bachelor of Education (Secondary) degree, there comes a moment at the end of every semester where my heart rate increases, my palms get sweaty and I look back and think “I could have tried harder”. That moment is when the end of semester results are released and coincidentally, that day is today. Anyone who has gone through tertiary education knows what I’m talking about. We put in so much effort throughout the semester to achieve a good grade and luckily, a lot of the time, it pays off. I’m in no way a perfect student and I could definitely spend more time studying (my version of studying is waiting maybe three days before an assignment is due before starting it and constantly procrastinating by watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop rather than going to class but in the end, are employers really going to be looking at my transcript and saying “Oh well, in Semester 2 2013, she only got a 4 for her core education subject. There’s no point employing her. She’ll be a terrible teacher.” (I actually got a 6 by the way. I swear I’m a decent student!). Yet despite all of this, we put ridiculous amounts of pressure on ourselves to perform and achieve those coveted 7’s.

My question is, is there really any point? Are employers really going to care about our individual results or our GPA? I think not. Well at least not when it comes to working in the education industry. Final results and your GPA probably will have an effect on future career prospects if you’re training to be a lawyer or doctor but I’m not, so it doesn’t count. All employers want to know is that you have a degree and can do the job effectively while also creating and contributing to a harmonious working environment.

Another point I would like to make about those jobs requiring a degree of some kind is the simple fact that if you want to progress and get that long awaited promotion, you have to have completed even more study. It seems to be that a simple Bachelor’s degree is no longer enough and you have to fork out the time, effort and money to get a Masters degree. A Masters is in the new Bachelor and a PhD is the new Masters. What is the world coming to? Now I have nothing against furthering my own education to enhance my career but getting a Masters degree or God forbid a PhD, would potentially be an extra two full-time years of study on top of the four full-time years I’m already doing. It just all seems a bit much at the moment. Perhaps it’ll be worth it down the line.

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The Twelfth Wheel.

We all have friends. Our friends are there for us when we need them in times of peril, heart-break and elation and in turn, we’re there for them. If you don’t have friends, you’re either a sociopath, who is incapable of forming any kind of relationship outside of their own severely decrepit and unfeeling minds, or so socially awkward that even the socially awkward kids avoid you in the playground. For those of us who (thankfully) don’t fit into either category, our friends are our lifelines and without them, we’d be lost.

Now I think I have some of the greatest friends on the planet. I love them all dearly and am inexplicably happy when we all get together to catch up. There’s nothing quite like meeting up with a group of people who have shared in so many experiences with you and are so comfortable in our lengthy companionship. Nevertheless, despite my undying love for these people, being one of the only single people can be shall I say, a little discouraging? Depressing? Draining? The majority of my friends are in long-term relationships (5+ years) and are in the process of planning their lives together. They’re moving in together, buying houses, getting engaged and doing all of the coupley things that couples do. Don’t get me wrong though! I love that those closest to me are steaming ahead with their lives and careers but it sometimes leaves me feeling rather deflated. I’m a 26-year-old, second year university student who lives at home and is single. I really don’t think my life can get more pathetic and it doesn’t help that when I get together with my friends, they’re so clearly in love with one another that I feel out of place. I feel like a twelfth wheel. As well as this, I also feel like I’m not able to share in a lot of the couple dramas my friends are going through because I don’t have a partner of my own and can’t complain about my own man dramas. At most, all I can do when my girlfriends complain about their boyfriends is nod, look concerned and say “What an asshole!”. It’s been years since my last real relationship and so I think I’m pretty out of touch. I try to give advice based on my own experiences but I don’t know how effective it really is. At least I try, right?!

Anyway, this then brings me to the idea of dating. I don’t even know where to begin! I’m told “Just go on a night out and you’ll find someone” or “Try online dating” but to be honest, both options have me running for the hills at break-neck speeds. I really don’t think I’m going to find my perfect match in a bar or on a website and thus lies my problem. Why is it so hard to find the right guy? And why is it that you think you find the right guy and it turns out that he’s gay, taken or just plain unavailable? I say, WHERE HAVE ALL THE DECENT MEN GONE??!! It’s a debate that single women everywhere are grappling with but the question remains: Is there any hope left for me and my seemingly-everlasting singledom?

But it tastes so good.

I don’t know what it is about me and junk food but lately, it feels like I can’t get enough of it. Chips, chocolate and unhealthy take-out food are slowly clogging up my arteries and filling my belly to provide me with momentary tastebud satisfaction. I don’t know what it is, but I just love it. Now this doesn’t go to say that I don’t eat properly and that I’m obese. I eat salads and protein for dinner and exercise regularly like any other health minded person but it’s those in-between snacks that get me every time. I have no self-control and so when there’s a chocolate bar in front of me, I’m definitely going to eat it. There are no two-ways about it. It all just tastes so goddamn good!

I seem to go through good and bad eating phases every couple of months and fairly recently I went through a 3-month phase where I was strong willed and able to successfully avoid eating badly. I didn’t feel the need to eat that bowl of chips or that ice-cream and so I didn’t, but then one day, I ate a Twix. How was I suppose to know that it would be my food downfall? The chocolatey, caramelly and biscutey goodness released my inhibitions and I fell off the wagon and haven’t been able to stop. What’s wrong with me? Is it that I just love to eat food that’s really bad for me or is my self-control so non-existent that I just can’t help myself? If I’m completely honest with myself, I know that I’m just making excuses. There’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get out of my junk food funk and start eating better but, I repeat, IT JUST TASTES SO GODDAMN GOOD!

I have no doubt that for some of you reading this post, you’re going to want to (maybe) give me some advice on healthy and delicious alternatives to junk food. There are delectable protein balls, gorgeous summer fruits and crunchy nuts and so, in advance, thanks. I know that there are multitudes of alternatives out there that are just as equally satisfying as stuffing my face in a tub of ice-cream but right now, I want what I want and there’s little you’ll be able to say to deter me. Hopefully I’ll be able to wean myself off of junk food before I’m 100kg overweight and depressed.

The dreams of a dreamer.

We all have dreams. We have them while we sleep or when we’re awake. We daydream. They’re things we may never accomplish but that’s why they’re our dreams in the first place. Imagining that we can accomplish near impossible feats of strength or perform skills we never thought we would be able to do are but a few of the kinds of things we dream of doing. Going on grand adventures to battle evil and save those in peril are ideas of grandeur which seem to be inherent but my dreams, these days, are a little closer to home.

I used to dream of being a badass superhero who beat the bad guy to a pulp and fell madly in love with the man of my dreams. I used to dream that my life was not my life and that I would wake up one day to a world transformed where I was a hero who has magical powers and saves the day (thank you J.K Rowling). Nowadays my dreams are simpler. I dream of one day writing a novel or series of novels that are loved just as much as those written by J.K Rowling (Harry Potter), George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones) or John Marsden (Tomorrow, When the War Began). I dream about using my own experiences and my own knowledge to create a world in which people can escape the mundane and be transported to another time and place. I dream of creating complex characters that engage a new generation of readers and inspire them to write stories of their own. Dreaming of being an author also appeals to my more romantic side. I’m not entirely sure what it is about the lives’ of writers but they always seem to be rather romantic and inspiring. Well some of them at least.

The only thing standing in the way of me accomplishing my writing dream is my current lack of a story. I’ve written a load of excerpts for uni assignments and when I have nothing better to do but I’m unable to put together a cohesive storyline where I can build characters and their world. I just need that one unique character or plot line or world and then I know I’ll be able to write. Perhaps I should take up meditation. Maybe it’ll help.

Distraction for the sake of distraction.

Distraction is (according to the most reliable of sources, Wikipedia.org) the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. While this explanation for distraction is comprehensive and informative, does it mean that distraction is a good or a bad thing? Can distraction be used to enhance our otherwise mundane lives or does it provide us with the means to avoid living our lives to their fullest potential?

For example, being distracted in the workplace is something that is, more often than not, frowned upon but what if being distracted (at appropriate times of course!) increases our productivity because it gives our brains a much needed break from the often strenuous and frustrating tasks set by our managers? As I mentioned in my previous blog post Why do all my good ideas pop into my head when I’m trying to go to sleep?, being distracted can be beneficial to our creativity and I think that it can be applied to our productivity levels as well because it allows for our over-worked brains to process information and solve problems more effectively while also perhaps considering solutions we hadn’t thought of before. Maybe distraction encourages that ‘outside of the box’ thinking that companies are so often asking for?

On the other side of the same coin, there are definitely downsides to distractions. Being distracted whilst operating heavy machinery is probably something best avoided. Lost of limb or a maimed appendage due to distraction is generally not accepted as grounds for a worker’s compensation claim. Additionally, if you’re in a constant state of distraction there are wonderful moments in life that you’re going to miss out on. Missing a dog freak out while eating a piece of lime (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JXtGhtnkBo) because you’re too busy being distracted by something on your phone is possibly one of life’s greatest travesties. Inevitably you will miss something, but at least if you’re present in the moment, it’s less likely to happen.

So whatever you think in terms of the pros and cons of distraction, maybe all you need do is just take a moment and get distracted anyway.

The lack of an idea.

It’s been a few days since my last post and so I think that it’s high time that I push one out. My only problem, at the moment, seems to be that I’m having trouble focusing. There are a multitude of stories, experiences and general issues that I could write about but they all seem to be colliding into one another and emitting an explosion of unfocused energy. I’ve thought about writing a post about my exercise habits which turns into my eating habits which turns into the food I ate while travelling which turns into my travelling adventures and it goes on and on. As a result of this monstrous collision, I don’t seem to be able to put together one single, cohesive strand of thought to produce a blog post in response to. As such, this riveting blog post is going to reflect my current inability to think creatively or perhaps just the difficulties inherent in creativity. Then again, it could be about neither. I’m unfocused.

Now despite my current prose being creatively challenged, there’s something in that thinking creatively can be a bitch at times. So often there are amazing ideas that flow through our brains like liquid gold and then other times it’s like our creative brains are a barren desert where, try as we might, clutching to the idea of an idea is about as far as we get in the process. Sure there are ways to try and get around this like distracting yourself with other things (watching something on my laptop, exercise and baking are my top three) to get the creative juices flowing but when that fails, what do we do? I’d really like to know because I’m failing at this blog post right now and I’d like to knock down my current creative block.

Creative blocks are common and I don’t think that there’s any one way to break free of the constraints and get out of our own way. Trying to tease out an idea can be like pulling teeth but when the right idea presents itself, hallelujah! It makes all the struggling worth it in the end and then, out of nowhere, ideas start gaining momentum and before we know it, we’re flooded with great creativity-driven  ideas.

In the end, I suppose that it doesn’t really matter how we overcome our creative blocks so long as we overcome them.

Holy crap! Was that a ghost? Quick! Call the Ghostbusters!

I’m sure that you’ve all heard the stories. A young woman dies a horrible death and forever haunts the spot where she died. People visit the haunted locale and either disappear or turn up bloodied and screaming. The stories are nothing new and least of all scary but what if you really did witness a supernatural event. Would you believe it or would you disregard it thinking that it’s just your over-active imagination playing tricks on you? I suppose that I’ve always had a predisposition that leans more towards believing in the weird, wonderful and mysterious. There’s something about the unknown and the possibility of the fantastical that speaks to me and my imagination. Information about the supernatural is readily available to anyone who owns a television, computer, smart phone or tablet. The entertainment industry has gone above and beyond to capatalise on exposing the supposed unknown and so people have become so desensitized to it that every ghost sighting can be explained away as being a fabrication and definitely not real. Can anyone actually prove the existence of the supernatural? I have no idea how someone would even begin to establish some kind of proof but I know what I’ve seen and I have no doubt that it was real.

The day was like any other. I was in my bathroom getting ready for work when, out of the very corner of my eye, I saw a weird kind of shadow. I turned to have a look but there was nothing there so I ignored it and continued to put my make-up on and do my hair. After a couple of minutes, the shadow returned but the outline was more distinct. It was most definitely a woman and she was staring at me. Now I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking “Yeah right!”, “No way!” but I swear that I’m not lying. The woman was wearing a long dress and has longish dark hair (typical right?). She wasn’t doing anything but standing and staring but I knew that she was there. I eventually got up the courage to look at her but as soon as my head turned, she vanished. I was feeling severely creeped out so I got out of there quick smart. I told the story to my Dad who then informed me that before we lived in that house, the family of a policeman lived there and that his wife committed suicide in my room. She hung herself from the ceiling fan. Terrifying right?! And no, I’m not joking.

Anyway, I think that by not being able to explain everything, our world is that little bit more interesting and perhaps even more unpredictable. What do you think? Share your ghost stories.