Signup date: 24 Oct 2006 at 11:45am
Last login: 04 Jun 2009 at 12:01pm
Post count: 274
What are you interested in, specifically: is it prose, poetry, screenwriting? It might be a good idea to submit some stuff for publication or awards (the Eric Gregory is a big step to publication for young poets, for instance), join a writing group to get used to receiving and offering feedback, and getting a portfolio of published and unpublished short pieces together to submit to a possible agent or to a creative writing course. All that stuff can be done for free and then, if you do decide to go down the MA route, you have a really strong grounding and will have a better chance of getting on one of the more prestigious courses (and therefore get better value for the money you'll be shelling out for it).
You might find that you don't need to spend the money on the MA anyway, or at least be much better prepared to make use of the opportunity if you're accepted on a course. I have a PhD in English Studies, and there's a lot of worry that some of the Creative Writing courses out there are not great value for money for the students (although excellent money-makers for the universities, especially at post-grad level): if you're going to do it, get on a course somewhere with a good reputation, like UEA or Newcastle, because the opportunities for networking and contact with agents are going to be much better, and that's what you really need to get out of it.
I wore a horrendous outfit for my viva. I had stress-related chest acne, so had to wear a high-necked top under the blouse I'd ironed, which ended up being held together with a pin because the fastening broke at the last minute. I also wore my ever-uncomfortable teaching trousers which are really itchy. I was overjoyed to pass, but there was no feeling like getting those horrible trousers off at the end of the day.
Ok, please stop being so defensive. I understand this is stressful for you, but we're communicating on the internet where, if English isn't your first language, it's especially hard for me to understand your tone (I was particularly thinking of the post where you were maybe joking about escalating a passive-aggressive war with her). I'm not saying the whole situation is a joke, but I'm saying that 1) you might not be familiar with cultural mores and expectations for flat-sharing (which is completely ok, and doesn't mean you have to live in a situation that you find uncomfortable) and 2) we might be misinterpreting each other in this medium.
This ultimately all comes down to cultural issues: you said it's normal for you to have friends over, to have parties; someone else might think it's normal for their boyfriend to stay over a few nights a week. If you decide that you are not comfortable with your housemate's SO staying over multiple nights a week, then you need to make that clear to your future housemates because, as Pamplemousse has said, it's normal behaviour and not in breach of the tenancy agreement (as evidenced by the fact that the landlord doesn't care). I appreciate that you're not happy with the situation but, legally and conventionally, it's you who will have to deal with it because your housemate hasn't done anything unacceptable. The conversation is going to be pretty awkward, because you're essentially going to be telling her that you don't like her boyfriend. Seriously, though, good luck with the situation because it sounds like a right pickle.
Eugene, I think maybe English isn't your first language, so I'm not sure if you're being serious at some points in this thread. I've lived in shared rentals for years and years and it's completely normal to have people to stay. The difference in your bills will be negligible, so it's not worth stressing yourself about. You'll be so much happier if you just accept that some people like to take two showers a day, some people never cook, some people never watch TV, and some people have people over a lot, so the bills even out. If she'd suddenly started taking two showers a day and leaving the lights on when she went out, would you have wanted her to pay more of a bill contribution?
I don't really understand the safety issue, because you said, "It was ok for me until he started to spend 3 days and nights in a week in the property." What would your ideal outcome of this be, then? If he agreed to pay bills, or only came over two days a week, you'd still be feeling unsafe, surely? If he's actually threatened you, I agree that it's sensible to leave ASAP, and contact the police, but if you're just feeling uncomfortable around them because you've tried to ban her boyfriend from the flat then you might have to think of some more pragmatic options.
I think you can either find someone to replace you in the flat and move out or, if it will make you feel more comfortable and able to live and let live, ask your landlord if you can pay him to fit a lock on your door. If you want to leave your tenancy early, you usually have to continue to pay rent (for at least three months: it will say in your contract), or find a new tenant to replace you, because otherwise your landlord will be without rent and (ironically) your housemate will be left paying all your bills too!
======= Date Modified 27 Mar 2009 21:01:06 =======
Thanks for the congratulations :)
Smilodon: yep, as far as I know you're allowed to bring anything you want in with you. My thesis was covered in post-its and annotations, but it was to reassure myself more than anything. I'd even flow-charted out an answer to where my research was going next on the front cover in case I got in a panic and forgot how I was going to explain it. I really didn't use most of it, but it made me feel much more in control.
edit: also, yes, I'd already used a lot of my external's work in the thesis, so I knew which parts he would be interested in. I didn't add anything in just for them when I was writing it, although I double-checked everything I was quoting or paraphrasing so he didn't feel like he was being misrepresented!
I passed my PhD this week with no corrections. I was pretty much gobsmacked (I'd got myself all worked up thinking I would fail) but I thought I'd do some tips. My PhD is in English Lit, but I think these are generalisable.
I used the book 'How to Survive Your Viva' and had a think about different ways of answering some key questions (like what other ways I could've approached my research, where I wanted to go next with the work, how I'd come to this topic and so on). I also read my examiners' work beforehand so I knew which sections they'd be most interested in, and had notes on pretty much every paragraph of those sections, plus on the sections I thought were most important so I could steer the discussion in that direction.
My top tip was using post its to highlight key features of my thesis, and then noting down keywords of that part of the argument on the post it, so I had the vocabulary to hand in case my mind went blank.
Things went a bit pear-shaped for me on the day: I'd wanted to re-read my external's most recent book beforehand, but the library accidentally posted it to Leeds the day before, and my supervisor came down with flu so she couldn't be there with me, but it still turned out ok! I had a chair as well as my external and internal, and he was incredibly reassuring and kind. I didn't exactly enjoy it, but it wasn't the two hours of torture and humiliation I'd been anticipating!
My field is English Studies. I had a fairly casual email exchange with the editor of the journal, and he asked me to give a date when I would have finished the alterations and I replied giving a date and said then that there were some other, wider issues that I wanted to address in my rewrite. I didn't really phrase it as an "is this OK?" more a "letting you know".
I used to get panic attacks quite a bit. The main things that help me are making sure my blood sugar is fairly stable (so, no delaying food then eating a load of sweets), keeping hydrated, and getting lots of exercise. I do get the waking-up-in-a-panic thing still, but if it passed after five minutes it sounds like you have the breathing down pretty well. I try to breathe in for 5 and out for 7, but I am rubbish at it! Mint flavours make me feel calmer, so I brush my teeth or chew gum if I feel panicky, and hot ginger tea is also really good (my panic attacks often used to make me sick in public, so ginger is awesome for stopping the nausea).
I handed in before Christmas, and my stress manifested itself in me catching flu and being in bed for a week at six weeks before hand in! After that I forced myself to ease off a bit, because I really didn't have time to get ill again.
I just rewrote an article (and it got accepted). I changed pretty much everything, including the title. I did tell them I was going to make major changes to the argument first, however, as well as the minor changes they wanted.
TBH, if I was you I would go ahead with the additional minor changes and not even tell them. I doubt they will even notice and, if they do, they will look kind of weird emailing you back to say "WTF is going on with line 3 on page 14 where you have corrected a split infinitive" or whatever. The only thing I would be careful of, though, is polishing this indefinitely rather than just sending it back and getting rid. It might just be me, but I have a tendency to fiddle about making changes that aren't necessarily improvements.
I just handed back all my undergrad essays last week. It's particularly horrendous because I have to spend 15 minutes with each of them explaining the mark and giving them feedback. Exam marking is a breeze by comparison because I don't have to explain my logic to a series of bolshy (or, more usually, tearful) nineteen year olds! By the end of last summer's exam marking I was totally sick of the magic-liners who just write the first letter of every word and a line for the rest. Also, the incorrect spelling of hypocrisy over and over irritated me so much that I ended up giving a first to the first person who spelled it right.
I've self-funded, and I found that I don't even get minimum wage for teaching when I factor in the preparation time and marking. I'm teaching 9 classes (on two modules) this year and it's really not worth my while to do any more than that because it takes me a minimum of 6 hours to prepare a tutorial (often more: I teach English Lit and just rereading primary texts can take days). To actually make money I work 2-3 days a week in a call centre. Obviously this will vary from subject to subject (my good friend has a fantastic teaching gig in modern languages in which she gets paid the same standard rate as me and teaches directly from a textbook for three hours a week!) but I would definitely look into how much prep and marking you're expected to do before making the comparison with a minimum wage job!
I'm just finishing my English Literature PhD (really just finishing: I'm handing it in on Monday!) and I didn't start writing at all until January of my first year, when I wrote an awful, awful introduction that I've scrapped entirely. I had a plan at that stage, but it was nothing like what I've ended up producing. I think it's really important to have some kind of plan, and a plan that you think is good, even if it's just for peace of mind. It helped me to think of every plan as both permanent and provisional (so, for the purposes of 4am insomniac terror, the plan is permanent and also The Best Plan Ever; for the purposes of actual work, it's totally provisional and fluid, even to the extent of massive rewriting). I don't know if this braintrick would work for you? Are you good at cognitive dissonance?
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