Saturday, 25 January 2014

Manchester, PhD, and General Stuff

So I’ve come to the end of the first week of my PhD and of living in Manchester.
Here are some things:
«I’ve met some really awesome people this week: the people on my program are fascinating and really sweet too.
«A great deal of the Rock Soc are also pretty awesome; plus there’s a fair few PhD students in there, so I don’t feel like such an old lady. Well, I’m sorted for what to do on a Thursday night from now on :3
«Turns out I’m the only person in the group with a philosophy background and the only one to have never studied any law, which will be fun when I write the law portion of my thesis ("There's an awful lot of law in this law school PhD...").
«I got starstruck in front of one of my all-time academic heroes… who seemed a bit disappointed when I said I did my undergraduate degree at Roehampton …though to be fair it might just be he’s never heard of it.  :p
«Fresher’s Flu: It doesn’t just affect first years.
«I’m feeling really out of my depth and not at all ready for any of this… but I’m also incredibly eager to get stuck in. So hopefully a weekend with a massive pile of books will help deal with both of those sentiments.
«I’m still uneasy about living in Manchester, at least at night. I was starting to calm down about it after walking the mile home from uni alone at 10pm unmurdered… but then my classmate got mugged at 5pm on a busy street, so I’m back to being nervous.
«I’ve been told so many researching/writing deadlines this week I can’t remember them all, so my plan is to work like a woman possessed for the next 3 years and hope that that covers the bases.
«I’ve signed up for a day-long teaching assistant training course (if I get a job teaching here it’d be a very different style to at Leeds, so I thought I’d brush up), about which I’m already pathetically eager.
«I’ve lost 5lbs since Monday. Manchester must obviously be agreeing with me  :3
«I should be reading…

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Week In Pictures

In short? 

And it's not going to get much easier...

Sheffield tonight, Manchester tomorrow (collect keys, buy pillows, join the gym), then back to Sheffield, then an evening out with the Yeti, then back home, then a ridiculous amount of packing (even though I seem to have done little else all week), then working in Leeds, then back home to frantically do even more packing, then my leaving do, then moving to Manchester properly on Saturday morning. Probably with a hangover. Then settling in on Sunday before starting full time on Monday. Plus there might be a hike happening at the end of that week.

I also need to find the time to read the 12 new papers on Moral Enhancement that have been published since I last wrote a research piece. 

This ought to be fun :3 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Adventures in Working Full Time

At the start of November, I quit my job at the local pub. It had been my favourite job to date and had proved invaluable as a regular and flexible source of income throughout my Masters, but now the certificate was earned and the gown hung back up, it was time to pretend to be a grownup until my career began in the new year. And so I took inspiration from the Yeti's successes in his full time job... by which I mean I copied him and went for a job where he was working. That's not necessarily as creepy as it sounds: this company is huge. It's one of the biggest employers in my region and is based in two cavernous buildings - in short, except when we arranged to meet, we never saw one another.

I've worked full time jobs before, but never in a (semi) permanent role, and never for a corporation. That shit is weird. And very, very different. Here are some of the things I experienced and learned in my time as a headsetted wage slave...

  • A lack of lanyards can cause a mutiny. I've never had a lanyard before; I've only ever needed to carry around my student card (and my ID in case of crafty 'OK-just-the-one' type drinking sessions), and that itself only needed to come out of the wallet for library visits and scrounging discounts - so wearing it around my neck didn't seem entirely necessary. But it turns out there are some places where you need cards just to go to the toilet, never mind to get into the offices. At this point, when the company does not provide lanyards, shit will apparently kick off. Still, some of us cooler customers* made the best of it and sorted our own out. Check out my very professional card-holder, for instance...
  • Work canteens can be amazing. OK, there was that time where they served me a pasta bake that was so dry it was like eating sand... and there was also that time where everyone who'd worked the Saturday shift had gotten food poisoning... but £3 for a decent portion of very edible sweet and sour chicken and rice with a can of branded pop? Incredible. Also, the slices of cake were more like slabs. Awesome stuff.
  • It can, at times, be like being back in school. And I don't just mean the class-based stuff in training. On that note: people in their twenties shouldn't be in cliques, never mind people in their fifties...
  • People are awful. I thought I'd encountered bad customers from working in pubs most of my adult life (what can I say? Goes well with the student thing), but that was a cake walk to dealing with someone who doesn't understand their bill and has been on hold for 15 minutes. 
  • But some people are ace. I met some really ace people while I was there, and dealt with some really lovely customers. Faith in humanity: restored.

Now to enjoy a few more days of freedom before I go into the full time slog in earnest... at least this time it's in a career I actually care about and am therefore likely to enjoy.

*I realise that use of the term 'cool customer', or any variation thereof, inherently negates any coolness present (if any).

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Week In Pictures

Shropshire was a lot of fun.

Also, just 8 hours on and I'm already going stir crazy from missing Sam.