William Beveridge and Other Old Men.

Hello! I haven’t updated this in a long long time. Who knows why? Maybe its because there just hasn’t been anything happening worth writing about, or maybe its just as expected, now that we are into the new year I’d lose interest in all this blogging. Anyway, as I’ve woken up nice and early on this very snowy Tuesday morning after being out last night, I thought I’d have a go at updating this. Sorry if it’s a bit shite as I don’t really have a clear plan of what I’ll be writing about like I usually do.

BUT YOU BETTER FUCKING READ IT ANYWAY!

 

So here we go. I ask myself, what has happened during this second semester of uni that started so long ago back in January? And either because it’s been awful and we haven’t done anything, or as Lewis would claim that I’m becoming more like an old man every day and  can’t remember anything, I really don’t know the answer to that question! Aye, there we go. I’m apparently turning into an old man. That’s something worth a mention. During the month of February, I visited Specsavers no less than 6 times. Might’ve been more than that but I can’t remember. (I’ll agree that that doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me I was fed up looking at the place). Basically, my eyesight is shite. In fact, it’s probably getting shiter every day. Another problem I have is my hearing. People will have conversations either in a group around me or directly to me, and during them I’ll either just not listen at all (not intentionally) or often have to interrupt with a “Whit?” or an “Ih?” as I haven’t heard a word that has been spoken. For everything I watch on the telly, I have to put subtitles (for the deaf and hard of hearing) on -which trust me, is a massive blow to the self-confidence every time. And just to make things worse, the volume still has to be up in the 60’s on the telly. This obviously applies to music too. I bought myself a new pair of speakers a few weeks ago (apparently they are very loud), and yet again I don’t even realise how loud the music is until someone comes along to my room and spouts, generally something like “We can hear that shite from the other end of the corridor!” or “Get that pish turned down a bit”. As you can tell, these comments seem to be just as much about my music taste as they are about the volume. Then, I’ll have to turn it down and sit in my own room with my ears up to the speakers to hear my own music. That was a joke. I’ve never done that. I’m exaggerating.

Obviously, I’ve still got this stupid looking beard too, which doesn’t really help with the whole ‘Old Man’ joke, does it?

Enough about that shite, I even got quite bored writing it so I can imagine how you feel. This is funny, because I’m sitting here, in my room, looking around myself thinking about what to write, when in reality I have a history essay about The Beveridge Report due on Friday which I probably should be continuing with. To make matters worse, this book is sitting right next to me as I’m typing.

I honestly never moved myself or the book to take that picture, I just took it with my phone. His eyes are fixed on me all the time, and his wee smile just suggests his unhappiness and loathing at me for ignoring him. “You should be doing your essay, mate” I can imagine him saying over and over and over again. I’ll do it later though, honest. I’ve got much more interesting things to be doing right now…

Okay then, so there we are. That has definitely filled up a good part of my Tuesday morning. Now I’m off to make some toast, then go a walk to Bridge of Allan, then maybe do a few other things before finally finishing my essay later today. I now plan to write another one of these blogs by the end of the week which will actually be about second semester and what we all got up to after I ask some people what we’ve done and take some notes on what they say.

As at the moment, I genuinely can’t remember.

 

 

Sad?

There’s something quite special about the wee three-piece band from Kilsyth and Banton in Scotland called The Twilight Sad. They’ve been going for about ten years now and released their fourth full length record ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave’ in October of last year – deservedly hailing much critical acclaim and several album of the year accolades. It’s definitely my album of the year anyway.

Many people will probably be fed up listening to me raving on about the band – as I’ve been doing so for about the past six months at least – however this post aims to be the pinnacle and culmination of my raving (it probably won’t be, I’m just saying that). Something about them just keeps me going back time and time again, and this has probably lead The Sad to being my most listened to band of 2014.

Sadly not one of those bands I can say I’ve “been there from the start with”, only having first heard of them in 2012 after the release of their third album ‘No One Can Ever Know’. Instantly I was hooked. There is something quite unique about the amalgamation of James Graham’s miserable lyrics sang in his thick Scottish accent – thankfully unlike that of Sam McTrusty’s – mixed with Andy McFarlane’s bizarre but fantastic guitar work, finished off nicely with Devine’s loud and precise drumming. It just works.

Getting the chance to see the band live three times last year was exciting. One of these was a simple, stripped-back acoustic set and then signing in HMV and the other two were loud and exhilarating full band sets in Stirling and Glasgow. All three were superb and hopefully I’ll be seeing a lot more of them in 2015. Even though I never managed to get a ticket for the King Tuts show in February, I’m hoping to somehow still be there anyway.

I’ve tried to keep this relatively short as I don’t want to keep going on and on about it. If you’ve managed to read to the end of this post then all I urge you to do now is one more thing. Five more minutes of your time is all I ask. After you’ve finished reading this, go onto YouTube and look for Nil by The Twilight Sad. Put your earphones in. Put the volume as loud as possible. Let yourself become immersed in the music. Then go out and buy all four albums.
Nil was the first song I ever heard of the band and I was simply amazed by that entire album. That’s what worked for me, so it might just work for you too.

Finally, I do understand that this music will not be for everyone, and I would imagine that the band will understand that too. All I ask is that you give them a try. You never know, you might just like them.

Listen loud and enjoy!

2014

Well, here we are at the very end of 2014. Quite simply it’s been a phenomenal year for me. So much has changed, so much has happened and I have definitely progressed a lot as a person. This is my year in 1000 words and a couple of pictures.

This blog will be my final piece of writing for the year. There is no real purpose to it as such, more just a way for me to look back at the year I’ve had and as a recollection of some of the people and events that have made it quite a good one. Laura – my uni next door neighbour – inspired me to write this one the other day as she was doing exactly this and telling me all about her “Dyno June”. She always reads these, so thanks for the great idea.

Here we go then.

2014 was the year I left school as a mature ‘head boy’ with exam results I can be proud of and an abundance of life experience; it was the year I applied, was accepted and then moved to The University of Stirling; the year in which I finally turned 18 years old (Although some might say I’ve looked and acted this age for a few years now); another year in which I worked hard week in week out at The Royal Hotel in Cumnock where I gained even more great experience and some even greater memories, sadly leaving in September to go to uni. I’m back now though while I’m home and even working on Christmas Day – feel sorry for me; A year where I passed my driving test after my fourth attempt (I’ll not be saying much about that, basically because I still can’t drive properly); and finally, it’s been a year of achieving and learning, but also one of making mistakes and moving on. Obviously the list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that its been a year of gigs and beard-growing.

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I suppose there are far too many things to talk about, so I’d say a few of my highlights would be a suitable way to do this. I went to T in the Park for the first time and had an unforgettable first year (of many) with a great bunch of people. Elbow were definitely the controversial Saturday highlight, with Biffy Clyro stealing the whole weekend without a doubt. I had my sixth year prom in June this year too, at which, much to my surprise I was ‘crowned’ Prom King – something which sounds so insignificant but to me meant absolutely everything. As head boy at school, I had to give a Captain’s Speech at Prize Giving – probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. However, despite the nerves I got through it and delivered what I thought was a very insightful speech which rounded off my six years at Auchinleck Academy quite nicely. Very proud. Leaving school and the life and people you’ve known for 6 years or more is quite a daunting thing. One of the most common examples of this is drifting away from some of the people that you’ve spent every single day of those six years with. There are some people that I wish I was still in contact with but the reality is that only the people you were closest to at school are the ones who will be your friends for life. Even though I don’t speak to those people every day either, I am happy to still have them in my life and hope that they will be there for a long time. Hopefully you all know who you are. Klark is actually a wonderful example of this, me and him not having been ‘best friends’ at school, but coincidentally going to the same uni and living together now. He always reads these too and I’m sure he’ll be glad to get a more positive mention this time. Seriously mate, you’ve brightened up the last few months and made me realise that not everything is about washing dishes. Thanks. Gigs are something I go to and enjoy quite regularly so it might be worth mentioning a few of this years highlights. Amongst them include Owl John at Cottiers, Fatherson at Potterrow, Kasabian at The Grand Hall and The Twilight Sad at the ABC. Although not quite making the top list, I also managed to meet Scroobius Pip after his gig in Glasgow in January and although I can’t remember a word he said to me now, he did sign my ticket and I managed to get a photo with him. Top guy. Smashing beard. Talking about beards, I decided to try and grow mine a bit after leaving school. Some say out of laziness, others say out of style – but I won’t comment. I passed my driving test in July this year too! Took me four attempts and to be honest there are people out there who would probably argue that I still shouldn’t have that pink license in my wallet, but I’ve got it now and they’re not taking it off me… Yet! Finally, rounding off what might’ve been a seemingly never-ending list for you, I though it was fitting that I should end with where I am now. Muirkirk. Home. Although I say I hate the place sometimes, it has probably made me who I am today and even after leaving for a few months, I still smile as I return each time. My friends here – although massively unsupportive of this blog – will always be my closest friends regardless, so for that I am grateful. See you all in The Bull. IMG_3557.JPG

So I suppose that’s enough about my year, eh? Hopefully there will be more of these in the New Year if I decide to keep writing. Regardless of what people think, I enjoy it, so that’s the main thing. All that remains to be said is Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who might be reading this.

Cheers!

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Saw, Snooker, and that other thing beginning with S.

Hello.
University seems distant to us know. What with me planning to be back home for a week (the longest I’ve been home since moving to Stirling) and back working a few shifts at The Royal, I must admit I think I’ll miss the ‘uni life’ quite a bit. Thinking about the final week of semester that we spent together, it was quite a weird but enjoyable one. That week – for me anyway – essentially involved 3 things: Snooker, Saw, and eh.. Socialising? (I only added that in because of the alliteration with the ‘S’). Now I do realise that at least two of those will need further explaining. Also, I realise that the keener alliteration experts amongst you will have noticed the omission of the term ‘Studying’ – arguably an activity most students should be actively involved in during an exam diet. So I’ll explain that too.

Here goes:

1. Snooker – Now bear with me on this first one, I’ll try to keep it short. (I know what your thinking, “a risky start” and all that but try to deal with it.) I like snooker. The UK championship was on. For a snooker fan, a chance to see live BBC coverage of the second largest event of the snooker calendar is one which cannot be missed. So for this reason, I had it on the TV in my room almost every single day. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I am proud to say that by the end of the tournament I managed to have about 4 other people sitting in my room for (the majority) of the final watching it with me, and had Klark tweeting about “that O’Sullivan character making snooker exciting” after he accomplished his 13th 147 break before going on to win the tournament with a broken ankle. A true genius. Anyway, enough about snooker. It took up the most part of my week so it had to go first, sorry about that.

2. Saw – Another weird one, yes? This concerns the 7 part franchise of Saw movies which have often been very negatively reviewed – however I decided to watch them all anyway. I had never seen all 7 of the films before, only having seen Saw and Saw II previously. Weirdly, what got me started on the notion to watch them all was actually my 75 year old gran. This came about on my previous visit back home a few weeks ago, upon visiting my gran and seeing her DVD collection. Somehow, Saw was there and I was encouraged to take it back to uni with me, so I did. (I’m not sure if she knows there are 7 of them but I don’t think the first one impressed her very much). Anyway, I found myself amidst the gruesome and gory ‘games’ of the Jigsaw Killer (often in between or after snooker matches) and whilst the films were not brilliant and enjoyable as such, something about them leaves you intrigued, confused and willing, to watch the next instalment. That’s exactly what I did over and over. Sometimes it was difficult to watch – for example, a man getting his skull cut open with a scalpel and then drilled with an electric drill, or a woman trapped in a pit of needles searching for a key to save her life like a “needle in a haystack”. However I continued watching, admittingly having to go and read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia after each film to find out what had actually happened. Overall, the Saw franchise also took up a good part of my week, so it deserved a mention here. These films can quite possibly be summed up in only a few words: Disgusting, complicated and shite. But they are definitely worth the watch, honestly.

3. Socialising – The most obvious of the three, so I’m not going to go on about all the examples of it. The one I would like to mention is the flat Christmas meal we all went out for last Tuesday. It is quite remarkable that 21 people who have only known each other since September can all go out for a meal and night out together. I’m not going to lie, obviously not everybody gets on with everybody and we aren’t all best friends all of the time, but generally we could have ended up with a lot worse people. Frankie and Benny’s was the choice of restaurant, and it really was a great night and a decent meal. We exchanged Secret Santa gifts, had a few drinks, and even had a cheeky wee game of ‘Guess the Bill’*. All was well, untill that bill actually arrived on the table… £592! To put it simply, the room arose into mass confusion and panic. It was like a riot. Some were running up to the bar to pay their own meal and others were handing me their money to collect it all together. It was a disaster. We reached the stage where some people had paid and left, and I had around £300 in my hand to pay what we thought was the rest. (I’ll be honest, the thought of running away with the money and avoiding all 20 of them for my next 4 years at uni crossed my mind) but alas, I did not. Anyway, I went up to pay, only to be told that we were “short”. Now, I work in a restaurant. When most people are short on a bill, it may be only a few pounds, a tenner at max. We were £137 “short”… Nothing else needs to be said.

However, what I would like to say is a massive thank you to Ilona for organising secret santa and the entire night. Without you, all 21 of us probably wouldn’t have even made it out of the halls together. If you get the chance to read this, each and every one of us is grateful and I’m sure everyone had a good night. I know I did. So again, thanks from us all.

4. Studying – I never did any the entire week. Quite simple really.

So, that’s how the last week of first semester went in my eyes. I am now looking forward to a week at home, then back to Stirling for my only exam on the 19th and two of my most anticipated gigs of the year, both in the form of The Twilight Sad (more to come on them in the future).

Cheerio.

*Guess The Bill is a game in which diners who are eating out at a restaurant quite literally guess how much they think the bill will be before it arrives. The person who guesses the closest to the exact bill is the winner and wins absolutely nothing. A game only introduced to me on Tuesday night by Lewis, it is one which I shall be playing at all my future dinner outings, and I urge you to do so too.

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Ahhhhhh, Stirling!

As we now approach the end of our first semester at university with only a few days remaining, I thought I’d take a look back at how things have progressed for us all. For a start, I’ve survived. So that’s good. In addition, Klark has survived too (I know many of you will be surprised) and it looks like he’ll be returning to Stirling after the Christmas break. So that’s also good. I still have to make him his dinner every night, wake him up for his lectures in the morning, make sure he knows where everything is and keep an eye on his spending – but he’s still here so we can’t complain. Lewis is a whole other story. I don’t know how, but me and him just seem to have bonded over the past couple of months. From the very fist week I think we both realised the we have similar interests and share similar opinions, and both seem to have the same awful sense of humour. Generally we just seem to get on really well. Some say we’re like a wee married couple sometimes – but we’ll leave those stories for another day. I can tell already that Lewis is one of those ‘friends for life’ I was on about in my first post, and I am now even looking forward to going to Aberdeen to visit him and his family in the new year – now I know what you’re thinking, nobody looks forward to going to Aberdeen. But surprisingly I am!

First semester at uni hasn’t all been fun, games and friend-making though…

There have been some awful lectures, some very tense and awkward history tutorials, a couple of deadline struggles and many problems with the delivery service of Lee’s house (the most local Chinese takeaway). Over an hour we waited that night. Shocking. It came eventually though and to be honest, it wasn’t even worth the wait. “Not as good as your cooking Rori” as Klark always points out.

In other news, the kitchen is still a mess. No matter how many ‘kitchen rules’ we stick up around the walls, James persists in leaving 4 or 5 day pasta, tuna, beans and other nasty foods lying in bowls in his wee corner next to the sink. It actually doesn’t even bother me anymore now, so I don’t even bother telling him to wash them anymore. However, as much as it pains me to say, me and Rachel may have to abdicate our positions as ‘kitchen captains’ for semester 2 and let other people do the telling off. The cleaner doesn’t really clean our kitchen much either, just incase you were wondering.

It’s a beautiful campus we live on here at the uni. Stirling is a beautiful city too with so many touristy attractions for students and visitors alike to visit. There’s Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, the – well that’s actually all there is really, and we haven’t been to either of them yet. Beautiful place though, honestly.

The union is a lovely place during the week. With events running every night – Monday through to Friday anyway – we always have a place to go. From pub quizzes, to karaoke night, to the open mic night, you could say that there is something for everyone. We won the pub quiz once too. As I recall, ‘The Quizlamic Extremeists’ was our team name. When I say ‘we’ won the quiz, I really mean Lewis won it whilst Chris, Lisa and I sat at the table drinking and providing moral support. I did help drink the crate of beer that we won as a prize though, so I still count myself as a team player.

Weekends are weird in Stirling though. I’ve heard the phrase ‘locals night’ flying around (meaning Fridays and Saturdays). These are nights for – yes you’ve guessed it, the local people of Stirling. Apparently us students get out own nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays for venturing out onto the mean streets of Stirling town. As if they need to segregate us more than they do already: sticking us all in our own wee contained campus four miles from Stirling City centre. The campus seems to empty at the weekend anyway though. With no enticing events at the union (like the weekdays…) and with weekends being the only chance some people get to travel home to see their families or for work; living in university halls at the weekend can become somewhat lonely. For example, during the weekend just passed, I only left the building a couple of times – one being a 2am impromptu drive to the 24 hour Tesco in Alloa for a “massive scran” as Klark called it. Tesco was shut due to a break in. And let’s just day we’re lucky to still be alive…

It really is nice to wake up every day and be around so many great people. Even if it is Chris who only seems to turn up when someone is cooking or ordering food in the hope that he can get some. Or Iona, who will be looking to scavenge, well almost anything she can from anyone, anytime. Then there’s Lisa who is so nice she couldn’t even tell Klark his feet smelled awful as he waved them around one night. There’s James who is literally scared of washing dirty dishes. Or Rachel who is apparently so ‘massive time’ we rarely even see her anymore. Chloe is too busy specialising in mattresses at IKEA that she has to leave us every weekend. Craig is from Longniddry and has a habit of losing jackets in clubs. For Laura, everything is either ‘pure dyno’ or ‘pure raj-mahal’ – there is no inbetween. Lewis is just Lewis. Kevin probably hasn’t even realised he’s at university yet. Zoe lives in room 19 (and rarely leaves). And finally there’s Klark who’s – well he’s still here and we’ll leave it at that.

So, maybe now it’s time to recap on my first semester at uni. Stirling is beautiful and there’s lots for us to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the weekends are quieter; the union is ‘great’; the kitchen is untidy; we all still get on, and Klark is still here.

Until next time, cheers!

The Gig.

I think I might be getting the hang of this now. Although it’s taken me quite a while, I may finally have decided upon something that I can blog about. Although I don’t really watch films or TV, don’t vigorously (or really much atall) play any sport, don’t read all that many books, and don’t go travelling (although I would quite like to). What I do do however, is listen to a lot of music and go to quite a few gigs.

A gig is a wonderful thing isn’t it? That ability to stand in a crowd of hundreds or thousands of people who all share the same love for the artist who is about to grace the stage is quite simply majestic. The anticipation of that half an hour or so between the end of the support act’s set and the beginning of the main event is enough to send shivers all over your body. The chanting of the crowd and the often sing-a-long tunes that blare from the large speakers around the room can quite simply get you buzzing. Then, all of a sudden, the lights go down, the crowd erupts, and simultaneously a smile sneaks onto your face. It is time. From the minute the artist steps onto the stage until the minute they leave, that smile stays fixed and you are enthralled by the talent displayed before you.

Glasgow has a great music scene these days. From the small venues that hold only a few hundred people, to the new Hydro arena which holds around twelve thousand; bands from all over the world have been lucky enough to say they have graced a venue in Glasgow at some point in their careers – many often returning several times over. I’ve graced a few too. Since moving to Stirling in September I have attended fifteen gigs. With the short half hour train journey to Glasgow, I might aswell take advantage of the opportunity. For this blog however, I am going to focus on my recent two visits to The Hydro on Tuesday and Wednesday of the week just passed.

Jack White was my visit on Tuesday night. Already buzzing from the car journey from Stirling, where Ross and I raced through the tunes of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs – along with White’s two solo albums. We finally reached The Hydro, and having missed the support act due to heavy traffic (probably due to that football that was on) had to push our way through the crowd to get a decent spot. With two drinks in my hand and only around fifteen minutes to wait for the appearance of Jack White, the anticipation was building in me. The curtain opened and White and his five bandmates pounded onto the stage. From the opening words “Dead leaves and the dirty ground when I know you’re not around” I could tell he was going to be entertaining. Full of energy and bouncing around the stage, collaborating with the rest of the band on every tune, he screamed out hits such as Hotel Yorba, Fell in Love With a Girl, Steady as She Goes and the recent Lazaretto, obviously ending his run with the ever popular Glasgow chant, Seven Nation Army. Afterwards, all six musicians united at the centre of the stage and bowed together; “I’ve been Jack White and you’ve been incredible. God bless you Glasgow” he shouted. The crowd were dull throughout – to say the least. No doubt an extremely talented fellow – from his guitar solos to his vocal range – something about that night was just lacking. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. Something special was just missing, for me anyway.

The following evening I returned to The Hydro again, this time for Kasabian. Block 234, row P, seat 320. Sitting at a gig is never as good an experience as standing and I’m probably not the only person who would tell you that. Arriving late again, (without even any time to go to the bar) we made our way to our seats. Just in time as the pink 15 minute countdown timer appeared on the large screen behind the stage. “5, 4,3,2,1” the crowd bellowed from below us as the timer reached its end. The room fell into darkness, all but two spotlights at either end of the stage – showing Tom and Serge, seemingly opening the set with an acoustic ‘Bumblebee’.  After a few tunes, the band “took us back to 2004” as Tom Meighan pointed out, with an unusual appearance of ‘Cut Off’ in the set before sliding through hits such as Eez-Eh, Fire, Club Foot and Empire. The encore included the crowd pleaser Vlad the Impaler (sadly without the appearance of Noel Fielding), before the modern Kasabian tradition of their rendition of ‘Praise You’, leading nicely into the finale of Lost Souls Forever. All in all, a good gig. But when considering having seen Kasabian in the small Grand Hall, Kilmarnock only a few months before, coupled with the seating issue in The Hydro, there is simply no comparison in my opinion anyway.

So there it is. My take on the gigs of my week. If you have managed to read through to the end, thank you. If not… well maybe I should just have stopped at two blog posts. Cheers!

A Dirty Habit?

Hi. I know it’s only been a few days since my last blog. However I quite enjoyed writing it so tonight I just thought “fuck it, lets do another one!”

First it came down to deciding what to write about, bearing in mind I had to find something interesting. With this I struggled.  It’s not that I’m not an interesting person (ofcourse I am), maybe that I just don’t have the inspiration or the incentive to write. However after long consideration and discussion, I have decided to write about ‘the pub’.

The pub – or public house – is a funny auld thing isn’t it. I realised this during the weekend just passed when I returned home to Muirkirk from Stirling. Whilst stuck in traffic during the long journey back home, I decided to text my friends: “I’m coming home tonight, what are we doing?”. There was really no need to wait for the reply. “Pub”. I don’t think I was really looking forward to going to the pub, and even contemplated staying in the house for the weekend.

Anyway, I ended up in the local pub on Friday night. The football was on, so it was inevitable really? With a pint of Tennents in my hand and surrounded by old men furiously shouting at the multiple TVs around the room, I felt right at home (If you remember from my last post, I’m not really big on the football). The highlight for me however, has to have been that goal that was scored on the 74th minute (had to google that). Every other person in the pub – except from me – jumped to their feet instantly when Sean Maloney put it away. “YAAAASSSSSSSS!” they shouted. I don’t even think I was watching. I stayed in my seat.

Soon however, the football finished and life was good again. We all moved on to normal conversation (and on to vodka too). A few hours and a few measures of Grey Goose later, we were all essentially pished. The pub closed and then we all went back to our own houses. That’s how it works isn’t it. Luckily for me though, Scotland are playing England on Tuesday night. So guess where I’ll be going…

Anyway, I thought I’d keep this one nice and short as I’m just heading out to the pub with my flatmates. Cheerio.

Reflections of a university ‘fresher’: my first blog.

A blogger is someone I have always admired. One who is interesting and intelligent, yet has wit and humour; The blogger can outlay strong thoughts or emotions on a particular topic in only a few short paragraphs. This, for some (like myself) is often seen as a relatively tricky task. For years I have aspired to write a blog, but often the reply in my head shouts “you have nothing interesting to say”, or “do people really want to read about this?”. However with my recent move to The University of Stirling, I feel it is time to let some of my thoughts out.

61 days into my university career, the time has come to reflect on how I see myself fitting in. The ‘banter’ started in Andrew Stewart Hall from almost day 1 with the meeting and greeting of new friends, enemies, and the other few that don’t really say much. Generic questions flew down the corridor such as “What are you studying?” and surprisingly, the unusual “What is the weirdest experience you’ve ever had?”. By the end of the first night, September 13th, it was clear to me that university life would be somewhat different to the quiet and lonely streets of Muirkirk, where I had previously lived my entire life. As freshers week progresses we see the coming together of 22 flatmates (almost) who are all preparing for the 37 weeks – or more –  they will spend together. By the end of the week, friendships ‘for life’ have been made, and rivalries formed. Freshers week was a funny occasion, for me at least. Not something I was looking forward to in its entirety, (the loud excessive beats of DJs, the obsession with the nightclub, and the over-consumption of alcohol) it did not turn out to be ‘the best week of my life’ by any means. A highlight however, could be the unique Hot Dub Time Machine, Friday 19th – a race through the music of almost every year from 1950 to the present. Something which I enjoyed thoroughly, until we reached the year 2000 at least.

On to the second week, and the real beginning of all our university lives. The lecture is an awkward experience, some might say. Around 500 young, enthusiastic (yet probably hungover) students sitting quietly in a large room, furiously scribbling down notes on what that guy standing down the front is saying. Not necessarily a ‘guy’, but the lecturer is usually an older, intelligent person who is also so enthusiastic about their chosen area of research that ironically, they can almost convince you it is boring. These lectures go on and on and on, several (five for me) times a week, essentially until you cannot take anymore. As a history student, it can be difficult to stay focussed upon hearing a clearly intelligent man ramble on about a topic as dull as the economy, or an older lady who is enthralled by the idea of social change in Britain encouraging you to take on board her viewpoint; yet I somehow mange to get out of bed for these every week – and I still say I am enjoying them when they end.

Looking back, its been a funny wee two months. Some of the things I’ve seen and the experiences I’ve had might make for good comedy. Never did I think that me – the not so massive football fan – would be attending the home matches of Falkirk Ladies Football Club almost every week; An ‘ultra’ they call me – although I’m not exactly sure what that means. Further, surprisingly in this short space of time I’ve already loaned over ten books from the library (more than I ever did over my six years at school) and even managed to open a few of them! There have been experiences of laughter, drunkenness, happiness, anger and guilt – hence the reason why I’ve only been to Fubar once. Interestingly, I have also learned ‘twartree words i’da Shetland dialect, learned that cleaners rarely do any actual cleaning, that haircuts are expensive in Bridge of Allan, and finally that Klark might even be able to last at least until Christmas. Last but not least, realising how much my interests have grown and watching my new friends embark on their own journey through uni, wherever it may lead, has been special.

As my university career progresses now, it is clear that not everything or everyone are as they first seem. Having only met these people for two months, it is important to realise that we all come from different backgrounds, all have different outlooks and interests, and all act in different ways; thus we are not all destined to get on all of the time. For the most part however, we do, and we do enjoy learning, socialising and living together, which some may say is an added bonus.

University is a great experience, and I can tell already that it is for me. The balance of the social life, the essays, the lectures, the seminars and the pub is one which may be hard to grasp. However, I know by now that nobody lives the perfect life, so we might as well all try our best whilst we have the opportunity.