Skills I Wish I Had

We all have those things we wish we could do, but can’t. Here are some of mine.

Playing the guitar

This is something I’ve wanted to do for so long now – I’ve played piano since I was seven (although infrequently over the last two years due to tendon problems, A Levels and now living without access to one) – and I did actually get an acoustic guitar when I was about eleven or twelve but never got the hang of it. Guitar lessons were a bust as the teacher was bad, and the tendon problems I already mentioned lasted through almost all my teenage years, so I’ve never managed it.

To do presentations with confidence

I really think this is something that nobody truly believes they can do, and it’s just an illusion to the audience that the person speaking seems confident… but over the years I’ve done a lot of presentations. Mostly just ones in classrooms, if I’m honest (what other opportunities do most teens have to present?), but my first one was about age seven. My dad spent five minutes showing me how to use PowerPoint and I was off. And I think that was probably the most confident I’ve been doing presentations – it sort of went downhill from there… I’ve been getting better, I think, as I’ve improved controlling my nerves overall. Exams used to make me so nervous I was almost sick, but last month I walked into them smiling and clear-headed. But presentations are still a WIP.

Drawing/Sketching

One of my best friends is absolutely frigging amazing at sketching, right – her doodles are works of art. So much so that during A Levels, I developed a little collection of them, and they’re still on my desk at home. And most of the time, I’m not bothered about my utter lack of artistic skills. I don’t think I’d find much time to draw in amongst everything else. But the ability to do so would be nice… especially when trying to visualise things I’m writing about, just to play around with different ideas and suchlike.

Sending Emails without Cringing

If you know somebody (or are somebody) who can easily type an email, and press that send button without any hesitation whatsoever, I salute you. I can’t think of any method of communication that’s more awkward. Maybe it’s a younger-generational thing, because emails are sort of in the background for the most part, usually just serving for promotional things… but then you have to send one and you can’t be as informal as a text, it’s weird if you write conversationally, and then you end up going uber-formal. What makes it worse is you’ll write it like a letter, paragraphs and all, and in return, a professor will write “Sure, that’s good. -Lauren (Sent from iPhone)”…

Be Bilingual

wish I was bilingual so bad. I’d love to be able to switch fluently between the two, it’s something I’ve always thought was a skill worth learning – and the only reason I didn’t continue French onto A Level was because I was terrified of the speaking exams, which were bad enough at GCSE. I still plan on learning more French in the future, because I would really like to be at least at a good level, even if not fluent.

Katy x

Weird Flatmate Stories!

Most people, when arriving at university, end up rooming with strangers for at least the first year. I know elsewhere it may work slightly differently, but here in the UK you tend not to have an actual ‘roommate’, as in sleeping in the same room, but halls and flats are pretty common. And usually, in this situation, you end up with some strange stories about the people you live with.

I’ve been living with my current flatmates since September, and I’m not living with any of them next year. But I definitely have some weird stories. I have one other girl and three guys in this flat, and there’s not really all that much we have in common. For the sake of privacy I’ll call them by their rooms: we have rooms A-E, and I’m in room D.

The Tale of the Melted Fork

This happened roughly halfway through the first semester. I was washing some dishes in the kitchen sink, and Room A guy came out to put something in the oven. Except he opened the oven door, reached to put the dish in, and then said a slightly confused, “What is that?”, and put the dish back on the counter. We both looked into the oven to find what appeared to be a luminous green puddle of something at the bottom of the oven, and the same luminous green dripping down through the two shelves.

Given some prodding and scraping (oven turned off, obviously), we figured out what it was. Essentially, it turns out that Room B girl is afraid of shiny metals, and so uses luminous green plastic cutlery. Clearly earlier in the day she’d used the oven and somehow managed to leave a piece of cutlery in the oven which proceeded to melt. It was surprisingly difficult to remove from the oven shelves…

The Tale of the Reclusive ‘Shy Maths Guy’

‘Shy Maths Guy’ is the nickname I first gave the guy in Room C. He moved in after the rest of us, over half way through freshers week, so the rest of us had already been introduced. I briefly met both him and his mum when they were moving things into his room, and the sum total of what I learned from that meeting was his name and that he was here to study maths.

So, the days went by, and about a week later I’d not seen the new Room C guy since he moved in. I was talking to Room A guy, and it transpired he’d actually not even met him once yet. We first just put it down to shyness, and maybe he was nervous about living in a new place with new people. But weeks went by. Then months. Since he moved in, I could probably count the amount of times I’ve seen him on two hands. I honestly don’t know how he manages to avoid us so much, but clearly he does.

What’s more, we don’t even know what he eats – besides potato waffles and occasionally something resembling breaded chicken/chicken nuggets. He never seems to have any dishes, or anything in the fridge. It’s just really weird.

The Tale of the Snails

This is another about Room B. Apparently there’s a part of our tenancy agreements for this flat that we can’t have any pets whatsoever, but for some inexplicable reason, Room B girl decided to bring her two giant snails. This was kind of amusing at first, but then last semester they laid eggs. A lot of eggs. And these eggs ended up in a jar of soil in our freezer. It was weird, but what’s weirder is that she currently has no idea what to do with the hatched snails and at this moment has 67 – yes, sixty-seven – snails in her room. They’re apparently growing quite fast, so all I’m hoping is that I don’t end up waking up to a snail on my face (or anywhere else).

The Tale of the Chicken & Rice Continuum

Room E guy. Possibly the most ‘normal’ of my flatmates, but he has a weird food habit. Occasionally he does different things for dinner, and I’ve actually noticed that since we came back after Christmas he’s done this slightly less (possibly due to the chock-a-block nature of our one shared fridge), but he’ll cook a whole pack of cubed chicken and a substantial amount of rice one evening, then split it into four or five microwaveable containers and shove them in the fridge. Then he’ll just microwave them for dinner throughout the week.

This probably doesn’t sound like the weirdest thing, but it’s always the same exact meal. And he’s a lad who goes to the gym a lot, from what I gather, and they just don’t look like big enough portions. It just seems strange to me. But, whatever works.

Anyone else got any weird flatmate tales? Let me know!

Katy x

Hauntings in Chester!

Recently, I visited Chester for the first time! I was there on a day trip with my seminar group for a module I’m studying this semester, about the English Civil War. It turned out to be a really good day, though we were really quite cold the whole time… it even snowed on us at one point.

It wasn’t perhaps the most conventional day trip, considering we were being led around by our tutor, who was educating us on a very specific part of the city’s history – though a very significant and interesting part – but in the course of the day we did manage to go to Caffe Nero three times and an independent café once… We make no apologies, we all like cafés.

My favourite parts of the day (aside from the many and varied, bizarre conversations we all had together) were the ghost tales our tutor told us about various sites around the town. I won’t list all the details of all the stories, not least because I don’t remember all of it off the top of my head, but there were many that involved gruesome deaths, odd sex noises, and which featured thandmaidens. You might wonder why we’re studying ghost stories for a history module about a war, but it seems many of the stories very possibly had a basis in fact – and it’s just a way people remember the time period.

Most of us in the group hadn’t really met before we ended up on this module together, so the day also served as a sort of bonding day, I guess. Luckily, I think we all get on really well, so the project should (fingers crossed) go smoothly. Turns out most of us have a fair amount of Irish heritage, too, which was quite amusing.

I know I don’t normally post much about what I’m studying on my degree at any one time, but this was a cool trip so I thought I would. I like going to see places that have history, and when you’re looking for a specific part of history in a town with so much of it, it becomes even more intriguing – because it’s like people have, over time, selected which bits to remember or commemorate. Chester had a lot of celebration around its Roman heritage (and fair enough) but little obvious detail about the civil war.

Anyway, enough history chatter from me. I’ll be back with another post on Tuesday! (Feel free to click on the Instagram posts and follow me while you’re here, though.)

Katy x