Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Final Hurdle

In September 2013 I could never have imagined the trials and tribulations that I would have overcome by the time I had had my final ever lecture. I’m sat in the airport lounge; somewhere I’ve spent quite a lot of time in my three years living in Paris. I’m reflecting on the things I’ve learnt and what university in Paris has taught me. My time in Paris as a student has not what you would call an easy few years but I can say that it has been both informative and life-changing. In this post I’m going to detail some important life lessons that I’ve learnt in the past three years, some silly and some serious, as I move towards the final furlong that is final year exams.
1.       Always carry plasters, Werthers Originals and tissues in your handbag. This comes from my time spent with the two girls I used to look after but also from the itinerant babysitting I’ve done since then. Bribing small children has never been so easy when you hold in your power the thing they crave the most – sugar. Or at least the thing they are forbidden the most! The tissues come in awfully handy too either for friends crying in nightclub toilets but for when the inevitable child is sick on the plane back to Liverpool with unexpected turbulence.
2.       Self-care is one of the most important activities of the day. A lesson I’ve sometimes struggled with myself but there is hardly anything more demoralising than pulling all-nighters on essays, skipping breakfast because you’ve over slept or having to turn up to uni in some old-baggy jumper because everything else needs washing. Making sure that I spend at least a day once a week getting all of my personal admin sorted has revolutionised my mood. As soon as I started keeping a mug at uni and herbal tea bags in my rucksack I started to feel a lot calmer and more focussed making my everyday life a lot easier.
3.       Sometimes pain au chocolat, red wine and Pringles can function as a meal. Not healthy whatsoever even though there are benefits of drinking a good Bordeaux every now and again this tip is more for when in the classic student style you have nothing in the cupboards apart from some mouldy cheese and some experimental spices for your Persian cooking phase so instead you have to rush to a corner shop before it closes and grab whatever is closest to hand. France doesn’t have Sunday trading which is both a delight and a chore so you have to be prepared for your unexpected cravings or happy to settle with an eclectic meal from the shelves of a shop that can smell your desperation a mile off.
4.       Buy a Moleskine diary. This has been something that has changed my life completely. When I started working I realised that those little calendars you get on your smartphones aren’t nearly capable of containing all of the information that you need to keep your work schedule and social life on track. There is something about my Moleskine diary that evokes the charm of a bustling coffee shop where people are busy writing screenplays or at least I hope it makes me look that cool and quirky as well as organised.
My exams will all be finished in just under two months. I’ve already expressed how excited I am to enter the big wide world and I am sure I will look back on my university years with nostalgia. More lessons will definitely be learnt but this blog shall continue to document the everyday life of this Anglo-Parisian endeavouring to be more native than the natives every day.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The End Is Nigh

The finish line is in sight. The end of uni is final upon me. Is there a sense of trepidation in the air? Maybe ever so slightly. University has been an amazing experience but I am starting to look forward to normal life. I’m looking forward to having a normal day where I start at a normal time – I never thought I would be looking forward to a 9-5 but I am, kind of.
Being a student is great, you can go out on a Tuesday night and spend the rest of the week hungover because you have a 5 day weekend and only 4,000 words to write but hey who wants to read your essay about Napoleon? But there is only so much of that that one person can do. I’m looking forward to the regular weekends where you plan stuff to do like cute little day trips and brunch where you don’t just end up in your pyjamas for the entirety of Sunday binge watching Cutthroat Kitchen. Sure having the freedom that you do during university is great and there are many benefits to having so much free time however I’m not sure how many crazy week nights out I can manage anymore.

I looked around my university just under 3 years ago and I can honestly say that it has been three of the best years of my life. It has not been without its ups and downs but I think my student life has prepared me for the struggles ahead, at least I hope so. Taking round prospective students yesterday made me feel nostalgic for the time when I was in awe of this magnificent city that I now know so well. Even though I’m frantically finishing essays and filling out job applications I’m trying my hardest to enjoy every last minute of my final term of formal education, though I can’t help feeling that Paris will never stop being an education.