It’s been a long while since my last post, but as my first semester as a third-year Music student drew to a close, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and the need to share my thoughts with the world. Here they are, for your perusal…
Nothing in the previous 2 years of university has prepared me for my third and final year. This semester has been the most draining but, in equal measure, intellectually stimulating semester yet. I have been stretched every which way, have needed to read and try to understand texts that were vastly more complex than those that came before, but I have come out the other side. Rather than focusing on those dark days where I felt demoralised, lost, confused and overworked, I would like to focus on all that I’m grateful for… And what I’m most grateful for, are the truly great people in my life.
When you have busy or stressful periods you need the support of those around you even more. Due to the pressure of this semester, I have been undeniably irritable and in need of reassurance on multiple occasions. Each time, however, I have been surrounded by compassionate, understanding people that have helped me to keep the faith. At the end of November, for example, I had an interview for a PGCE place for next year. I have always wanted to teach and it’s been a bit of long journey to get this far, so I really didn’t want to fluff it up. On the day before my interview I had a complete crisis of faith. Convinced I was going to perform terribly, that my interview panel wouldn’t like me, I basically spent the whole day in tears.
I had support from my partner – a teacher himself – and my mum was sending encouraging texts at regular intervals, but I was floundering big style. I sent messages to my two oldest friends, asking them to give me any advice and support they could, and it came back in droves! I couldn’t ask for two kinder, more caring friends in my time of need. Luckily, I got offered a place – just have to pass the skills tests now… About a week and a half later, I received a Buddy Box from one of them, totally out of the blue. This random act of extreme kindness had me in tears – it was, as she had hoped, a hug in a box when I needed it most. Inside was an assortment of lovely things, including a book called Calm. In turn, the book improved my general feelings of positivity, made me want to be more mindful and grateful as I approached Christmas and the coming new year.
Reflecting upon my university semester, I am grateful to have benefitted from a new and inspiring module that has held me captivated for the past 12 weeks. The combination of the topic and the excellent teaching and support, has ignited a thirst for knowledge that had become somewhat dormant. University has always, for me, been a stepping stone to teaching. Something to get through ASAP to enable me to do what I actually wanted to do. But by the end of this module I was really sad that it was over! It has been so rewarding have learned new things, questioned my own thoughts and viewpoints and to felt inspired enough to want to find out more on my own.
In a similar vein, I have been learning both British Sign Language and Taiko this semester, the latter of which I have long been on the fringes of but never truly involved with. Taiko is a wonderful and exciting form of Japanese drumming and if you’re unaware of it I urge you to seek it out on YouTube. Obviously, the real, in the flesh experience is something quite different, but you should get a flavour for it online. Check out this video of Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers – a group based in Scotland who I have had the pleasure of meeting in the past. It has been fantastic to finally get involved, and the same is true of getting the chance to learn BSL. I have always been interested in learning but have never found the opportunity, so when I heard about a BSL society on the university grapevine, I persuaded a friend of mine to come along. Quite aside from the learning experience it has been a perfect excuse for she and I to have a weekly catch up, which probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise due to us being on different courses. Our friendship has grown along with our knowledge (although she tells me every week, without fail, that she can remember nothing from the week before. It’s totally untrue, of course!)
What stands out to me as I look back upon the semester – the whole year in fact – is the importance of people. In a world where everyone is rushing, attached to their phones or computers, too busy to talk, it is so easy to lose sight of who is around you. We all have days, I’m sure, when it’s hard to see the good. I know I have dark days when, for whatever reason, it’s difficult to find the light. As a result, we can overlook the people we live with or interact with every day, to take things for granted. My mission for this year is to hit pause each day to focus on what I am most grateful for. I’ll be documenting this in pictures as inspired by the site 365Grateful and hope to share my gratitude on here as a way of revitalising the blog.
Today I’m grateful for colour! Without it I’m not sure I’d get through my revision!
Thanks for reading! Wishing you all peace, joy and happiness in 2016…