It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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Most of you will go home to celebrate Christmas with your family. However, many of us, international students cannot afford an expensive flight ticket home and do not have relatives in the UK. This is the time when homesickness is on high alert. But, don't fret! There are endless things to do to feel Christmassy.

If you are spending your first Christmas in UK, be sure to check out as many Christmas markets as possible. Warm yourself up with mulled wine, a bratwurst and some delicious churros at the Oxford Christmas market. It runs till 18th December. My favourite Christmas market is in Bath and London Southbank.

Get yourself a snow globe to immortalize Christmas

Get a chocolate bar for only £1
Unique presents hunting time at affordable prices 

Delicious churros and chocolate for £4. It's worth the wait! 

Take a thrill ride at Winter Wonderland or skate at Somerset House. Be amazed at the lights at Blenheim Palace. Attend music concerts and carols. Cook a roast dinner on Christmas eve, light up the Christmas tree and skype with your loved ones.

Meteor lovers, do not miss the Geminid Shower  which peaks on 13-14 December. The high streets turn into a shoppers' paradise on boxing day (26th December).

Spend New Years Eve counting down and watching the fireworks in London from the London Eye (jam-packed), Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill or a skybar. 

Be at Big Ben or London Eye at least 5-6 hours before midnight to get a good spot
Last but not least, reflect on 2016 and the lessons learnt from the ups and downs. I am so grateful for 2016 for I have laughed, cried and embraced peace. For all the challenges, opportunities and bittersweet moments. 

For now, lets sit back and enjoy the sound of jingle bells.

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GUEST BLOG: Brookes Union International Officer

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A little about myself...
Hello everyone! I am Kelvin Lee Zi Heng and I am your Brookes Union's International Students' Officer this year, how exciting...! I am Malaysian born Chinese, I did the first year of my law degree back in Malaysia and came to UK last summer for my second and third year. Most of my course mates back home only come to the UK in their 3rd year but I chose a different path as I wanted to gain a full exposure of what it is like to be an international students - living on your own in a whole new country, surrounded by different people from all over the world, experiencing an unfamiliar culture, & finding yourself feeling at home away from home - so that I could provide assistance to the rest of the international students studying in Brookes to improve their student experience.


My plan for the year...
Simple! My plans for the year are mainly career oriented, as I would love to get a Tier 2 sponsor and remain in the UK after my studies.

By having the first hand experience of the difficulty in getting a Tier 2 sponsor, I will try my best to work on the support for international students to improve their employability while studying at Brookes! I strongly believe that it is hard, but not impossible!

Feel free to contact me at su.international@brookes.ac.uk, if you have any concerns or ideas which we can improve on your student's experience!

Together, we make the sky bluer, and the grass greener, and your student's experience at Brookes better! ;)

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On being right...

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I’m going to hold my hands up straight off the bat and admit I hate saying sorry. “Doesn’t everyone though?” I asked some friends recently. Their response was a surprising and resounding “No”! Apparently I’m in a minority of people who do not feel the need to compulsively apologise for my being on a daily basis. My husband would most likely attest to this. If he’s to be believed¹ he often follows me around Sainsbury’s, apologising to people whose shopping he thinks I’ve disturbed. Am I really deemed socially inept if I don’t say sorry, as I reach in front of a chap perusing the jams and preserves, for a family size jar of Nutella? Surely “excuse me” works just fine? 
 
Perhaps the question I should really have asked is “don’t you just hate being wrong”, because this is what I actually meant. I hate saying sorry because it usually means I’m admitting I’m wrong. You see I descend from a long line of people who were born right. My granddad was always right. My Nan was always right. My dad is always right. My mum is always right. My aunties and uncles are always right. Furthermore, over the course of my life I’ve observed my immediate role models precipitating each other’s rightness. I have one particular early childhood memory of my Mum telling me “Emma-Jane, Nanny is clearly wrong but for crying out loud, in future keep your mouth shut!”²
 
So when we’re wrong, we’re still right? To be honest this has never really sat well with my innate sense of justice; unless that is… I’m the one that’s wrong, in which case I am ‘SO’ right, obvs! On this basis alone the aunties that I sustain any kind of relationship with are now in a minority. Hold on, before you all decide I’m a truly deplorable human being, I’d like to offer some evidence to the contrary, presented here by Kathryn Schulz ³:

 

 

There we have it, the case for being wrong, presented so powerfully I’m left wondering how come I didn’t already know it. In recent weeks though I’ve realised I’m not the only person that missed the memo on this important life lesson. In fact our human drive for that sweet state of ‘getting it right’ plays out daily. Here are some of my observations:
 
  • Five year old does face down starfish whilst whaling that he cannot draw a Ninjago right. “If at first you don’t succeed” goes down like a cup of cold sick.
  • Teenage step daughter stands accused of glaring petulantly at Dad, she asserts it was quite obviously just her resting b**** face (on this matter I can sympathise, but that’s a whole other blog!). The conflict results in a ‘stand-off’ until daughter relents. Dad is always right #fact!
  • Grown-up me, makes an assumption and cuts-off another auntie.4 Basically she’s wrong, I’m right. #stillagrownup
  • HRM MA class interrogates a new and seemingly sensitive lecturer, within an inch of his precious young life, on the ‘precise’ requirements of the current workforce planning assignment. For the audience the subtext is: if we get it wrong, we’ll be coming at you teach!5

The last point is especially relevant. As fully fledged and functioning adults we expect life’s harshest lessons to be behind us. To be fair we get things wrong a whole lot less than our younger selves did, but this really only makes our adult failings that much harder to bear. For those of us in adult learning, did we think we’d come through the university doors, do a little hard work, formalise what we already know, and walk away with a degree… without, that is, getting anything wrong along the way? Of course not I hear you shout! Except, well, we probably thought we’d get most of it right!
 
In celebration of being beautifully imperfect human beings, exactly as nature intended us to be, why not take this opportunity to confess some of the things you’ve been wrong about recently.  Almost anything goes:
  • PG rated confessions only
  • No swearing (Brookes rules)
  • No actual crimes6


Footnotes:
¹ Outright lies!
² There might have been an expletive in the original dialogue. Feel free to add your own.
³ Shulz, K (2011). On being wrong. TED ideas worth spreading. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong#t-1048427. (Accessed on: 20 November 2016).
4 No aunties were harmed in the writing of this blog. My recent fall-out was simply ironic and fortuitous timing.
5 This is clearly a joke and not a written threat.
6 You can find out exactly how to report any number of crimes here: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/reptcr.htm

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30 thoughts of a university student

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Hey, I’m Jasmine, I’m in my final year and yes, I’m freaking out about it. Soon I’m literally going to be an adult doing adult things and having adult conversations and hanging out with other adults who might have little adults, or children, whatever they’re called, and…and… well, let’s just relax, and acknowledge how far I have come and how far I can go! I advise everyone do this when they have their daily/weekly/monthly existential crisis.
I’ve decided to put together some little realisations I’ve had throughout my time at university.
1)      Never underestimate the power of a roast dinner.
2)      Paracetamol is your best friend.
3)      It’s ok to have a teddy bear.
4)      Naps aren’t just for kids.
5)      Hangovers get worse.
6)      Everyone misses a 9am lecture.
7)      There is not a cool way to end an email.
8)      Lecturers have mastered passive aggression.
9)      Cliques are still a thing but less intimidating.
10)  Mental health is something to nourish.
11)  Everyone gets homesick.
12)  It’s ok to feel clueless about the future.
13)  Dwindling friendships become less painful.
14)  Everyone can be a friend.
15)  It is ok to need support. It is not weak to admit anxiety.
16)  Nobody wants you to fail.
17)  Your work matters.
18)  Your worth is not measured by your grades, but by your resilience, creativity and passion.
19)  Doing chores becomes therapeutic.
20)  Time is precious.
21)  Mum was right – eat your greens.
22)  Coffee is sacred.
23)  1am is an early night.
24)  Family will be there for you.
25)  You will redecorate your bathroom with vomit at least once.
26)  Don’t blame yourself for the things you eat on a drunken night out. The heart wants what it wants…
27)  Accept petty household arguments.
28)  Cereal is overpriced.
29)  You should frequently indulge in a pyjama day.
30)  If someone has done all the reading, they’re either lying, or you need to sit with them in class.

Some of these will stick with us after we graduate, some may not, but it’s safe to say that going to university is about a lot more than just getting a degree. 

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A Day (Off) in the Life of a Brookes Student

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At the time of writing this, it’s a Monday, and I have Mondays, Wednesdays and the weekend off. I work Tuesdays and have lectures on Thursdays and Fridays. Having not done that much over the weekend in terms of work, I'm trying to crack on a little bit by being at the library to work on a 3,000 word essay due in a couple of weeks. I’m also here writing about how my days off tend to go; this one so far is going well apart from the constant sneezing and the inability to get From Paris to Berlin by Infernal out of my head. Anyway, I’m photographing as I go, and making sure to note down how I actually spend my time off because frankly, I have no idea. Let’s begin…

How to stay sane
I set a bunch of alarms every morning, and eventually wake up. I was up a bit later than normal last night so it took a few attempts to get out of bed. I ended up waking up at 10am, and after scrolling through Facebook and Instagram for about twenty minutes, I made a cup of tea and a bowl of Weetos (so gourmet). I tried to fight the temptation, but ended up watching an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix with breakfast, and managed to actually get dressed and pack a bag for uni at about 11am. By quarter to 12 I was ready to actually leave.
Cold but pretty in Marston
The literal uphill struggle that is my walk from Marston Road to uni was painful but pretty. I got to uni at 12 but going to the shop, and actually trying to find a seat in the library in week 10 - my bad for coming so late - meant I didn’t sit down until about half past. I managed to grab a seat at the back of level 3 in the quiet zone.
Kitted out with tea, squash and Finding Dory tissues

I had my giant bag of crisps, some doughnuts, and a cup of tea (you’d be correct in thinking I won’t be writing about staying healthy at uni anytime soon) and it was time to start actual work. I had yet again forgotten headphones so this work session was going to be a killer. After writing half of this piece, I reluctantly started reading through some online journals around my essay topic.

I managed to do some genuinely uninterrupted work for almost two hours, but my pen decided to give in and I couldn’t make any more notes. I put out a weird facebook status on the off-chance someone I knew had a spare pen and would bring it to be on level 3, but I eventually went to the Colonnade and bought a new one (why are there no free pens?), as well as another cup of tea.
New tea, new pen, new me
I got back on to note-making and managed to work through all the journals I had opened the night before. At 4pm I had a loo break – thought you’d like to know – followed by one last journal reading and note-making. Then instead of doing anything with my notes, I spent around half an hour doing some online window shopping for Christmas presents, and perusing Facebook. At this point, I wrote more of this article, because I’d eaten about 80% of a bag of Sensations crisps, four jam doughnuts (I’d call them small though), and two cups of tea. On the plus side, I had managed to find 27 references, and 2 tables to use in my essay. I was originally going to meet a friend in the library but I felt my brain come to a standstill so I decided to check the buses in preparation for going home and eating proper (sort of) food.
Our half Christmas/half birthday sort of living room
Shortly after getting home I was on the phone to my sister for an hour and a half (and was also passed around a few family members during). We had a long chat about plans for Christmas and an open day I went to last week. After that I went downstairs and cooked a frozen pizza for dinner (Michelin star for me). After that my housemates played various movie themes and I scrolled through a few Buzzfeed articles with funny animal pictures. I don’t remember how I spent the few hours between dinner and going to bed because I probably didn’t do anything interesting. Usually we’d watch a film but I’m pretty sure I tried to go to bed fairly early because of work the next day. I do know that I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls before bed so at least I’m consistent.

So there you have it, a pretty uninteresting but average day off for me as a student at Brookes. Other days can be really different; for example I’ll be going to London to see my brother at the weekend, but equally some can be thoroughly boring and can involve sitting on the sofa doing very little amounts of work in between a sort-of-film-marathon.


How do you spend your days off at uni? Let me know!

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GUEST BLOG: Brookes Union Women's Officer: What's the point?

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I'm pretty newly elected, so for any of you who don't know me, I'm Becca and I'm the Union Women's Officer 2016/17. I decided to run for women's officer because although I believe we've come a long way in the last few decades in regards to inequality issues, I think we still have some way to go.
The embarrassingly enthusiastic photo taken of me on my first day.
My main focus this year is improving support structures in place for sexual assault and harassment victims and working on the university policy towards this. The report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students was published a couple of weeks ago. The demographic profile of universities is important given that government analysis shows that females aged between 16 and 19 are most likely to be the target of a sexual offence (8.2%) compared to the prevalence rate across all females of 3% and the prevalence rate across both males and females of 1.6%. The same data also shows that female, full-time students have a high prevalence rate of 6.8%. I’m sure most will agree with me in saying these figures are unacceptable so I’m very involved at the moment in talks about a possible more specific sexual assault framework so we can assure that we have the right structures in place for victims and the appropriate measures ongoing in the form of prevention schemes.
The newly elected part-time officer with the full-time officers!
Similarly, I'm hoping to run a campaign centred on healthy relationships and preventing domestic abuse within the university. As prevention is the best cure, organising speakers and publicising safeguarding mechanisms for victims of domestic abuse, be that emotional, physical or sexual, would be a positive thing. Talks! Campaigns! Events! All part of the goal for me. Ultimately, I am keen to promote, support, celebrate and protect female and non-binary students at Oxford Brookes.
Something I really wish to stress is that I'm always just a short message away, on any platform that's convenient for you. I was elected by the students, for the students and along with my fellow part-time officers, we're all very approachable and determined to help in any way we can. If you’re aware of organisations, charities, individuals etc. you’d like me to include in my campaigns or be aware of – I’m open to those too!
Contact me:
Email: su.womens@brookes.ac.uk
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/jcsa6gw
Twitter: www.twitter.com/obsu_wo
Brookes Union page: http://tinyurl.com/ztlcd9l

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Societies @ Brookes: Dance

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"I have two left feet"
"I've never danced before in my life"
"I can only dad-dance"
"I can't dance"

These are the following things I told myself before joining Dance Soc. in Second Year.

You see, I was rather convinced that you had to be a natural born dancer who had been training for several years to join the Dance Society. However, in the Fresher's Week of my Second Year, I thought, "why the hoot not?"

The society are a group of lovely, warm and welcoming people who know how to get jiggy and bust some juicy moves and they cater to all dancing abilities. They have the following classes: fitness, modern, hip hop, street, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, tap and pointe, all taught by lovely Brookes students (shout-out to ma gal Luce).

I'm currently part of Hip Hop and go to a weekly fitness training which is essentially where my body dies by doing squats and such because I'm incredibly unfit #bodygoals #instafit #swag.

Yes, I have no previous experience in dancing (except for cheeky nights at Purple Turtle and Atik) and yes I have the hand-eye coordination of a baboon, but Dance Soc. has in fact taught me how to get over that fear and allowed me to realise that, indeed, I can *try to* wack out some dank grooves. Plus, it makes me sound cool and impressive when I tell people I'm part of Dance Soc.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is you never know until you've tried - so be like Sainsbury's and try something new, whether it's Dance, Computer soc. or even Mario Smash Bros Soc (yes that is a thing at Brookes), because you might actually really enjoy it and learn how to (in the words of Yonce) feel yourself.

Until next time,

SK

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Wellbeing: Coping with Homesickness

17:30 Unknown 0 Comments

When you talk to any university student in the run-up to university, you'll be bombarded with stories about how you'll go out clubbing most night, make a million friends and live off of pot noodles and baked beans. While for many students, parts of this description may be very familiar, what they never tell us Freshers about is homesickness. 

Pretty much everyone I've spoken to have gotten homesick at some point this semester- after all, we're just hitting the two-month mark of being here-, and the answers have an interesting pattern. Usually, my friends and I get the most homesick when we have had little sleep, a cold (which may also be coined as the 'never-ending fresher's flu') or a heavy workload of assignments. In these moments, we start to feel pretty emotional, eliciting the usual reaction of just wanting to go home, or see a family member. 

When that isn't immediately possible, it can be deflating and it's difficult to find the motivation to keep going until you go home. From a seasoned homesickness pro, I've come up with a list of how to cope when you're missing home. 

1) Call a family member. Sometimes, just being able to call your mum is all you need to feel better and brighter. Hearing the sound of a comforting voice may make you emotional, but you'll feel better for updating whoever's on the other line about your university antics. Even better- set up a FaceTime or Skype call with someone you're missing. 

2) Set goals. Speak to your family, and see if it's possible to do a weekend visit mid-semester. If not, think about the next time you'll be able to go home- a family birthday, or Christmas? Keep these dates in mind as 'goals' for yourself, something that you can look forward to. Cross of the days, or maybe take the same approach as I do- 'Only two more assignments to get through until I can go home!'. 

3) Get social. There's no point in wallowing in homesickness- organise a night out with friends in Oxford or even stay in and just watch a movie together. Hanging around with some of your favourite 
people might help to get your mind off of things. 

4) Get involved. If friends aren't around at the time you're feeling quite homesick, go online to the Brookes student union website (http://www.brookesunion.org.uk/). Here, you can find information about events around the three campuses (including puppy cuddling!) and look at what societies and sports teams Brookes has to offer. If any interest you, it might be worth popping along to one. Getting out and being social might make you feel a lot happier. 

5) Let it pass. It's likely that you'll probably only be very homesick for a few days at the most. Keep pushing on, even if lectures feel very hard and you feel like you're not enjoying your time at uni- within a few days, you'll feel new again and ready to keep going for a while until you next see some family or get to go home. 

Ellena x

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Things You Should To Take To Uni (But Don't Really Need To)

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There’s thousands of lists online about what you need to take to university, and if you’ve had siblings go ahead of you, you’ve probably got it covered. If not, generally saucepans, underwear and pens are all quite useful things to have. I was one of those people with siblings at university already so they basically just gave me a list, and we headed out to IKEA, Wilko, and Primark and set off to Oxford. I’m also one of those people with a lot of stuff. I have books and knick-knacks coming out of my ears, and I like having them with me here too. So I thought I’d write a little list on things I think people should have at uni, but don’t really need – plus the occasional thing you really do, but is easy to forget.

1. Coat hangers
The one thing, aside from my strapless bra and favourite jeans, which I forgot in first year and suffered for. How could I forget coat hangers? Most people don’t transport hangers that much, so you’d be forgiven for making the same mistake, but most halls rooms come with more hanging/rail space than folding/drawer space so I really recommend remembering this one. Especially next year, and the year after when practically nothing will be included with your student houses.

2. Entertainment
In second and third year (and any after), I guarantee there will be a brief period of time where you will be waiting for internet to be installed in your new student abode. No Netflix, no Amazon Prime, no anything online. This is where a good stash of DVDs comes in handy. Having DVDs was really useful in first year too as I spent many nights watching them with my new housemates in the shared kitchen. It’s good as well to have favourites to hand for when you’re feeling down, and need a quick pick-me-up. If you’re not a film person, that’s fine but they are definitely lighter than the books I cart up and down the motorway every year.

3. Some kind of first aid
I have always been a little bit clumsy, but I honestly must have created a record for burns gained by a student in their first year. Whether the oven (usually the oven), or a tray left on the side, or boiling water, getting burns is easily done. They’re also incredibly painful, and two have left very minor scars on my arm so aside from the arm-length oven glove my mum got me for Christmas, a burn kit was a really good investment. You can get one like this for £3 at a supermarket, or your parents can help you put your own together. You can also get regular first aid kits that would fit in your drawer quite easily. If freshers lives up to its name for being a bit drunk and messy, it seems reasonable for injuries to happen. Cuts and scrapes can be fixed with a bit of Savlon and a plaster or bandage – all things that could be found in a kit like this. Even if you’re not as clumsy as me, you might befriend someone who is, and needs a plaster. Trust me, my housemates went through a whole box of plasters in first year…

4. Extension cord
You may be alright in your first year halls but the minute you move out, you will need one of these. In my second year house I had two plug sockets in the middle of my room, and miles away from my desk or bedside table. Thank goodness my brother gave me this. Now in third year, the socket I have here charges my little old iPod, my kindle, and my laptop and is conveniently by my desk. Thankfully I have four plug sockets this year, but these are pretty useful for our generation and their gadgets.

5. Home comforts
I know boys and girls alike with teddy bears on their bed, and cushions and blankets, and cosy things. I probably have too many soft toys but it’s hard to leave cute things behind. I have three in my bed, as well as cushions, a blanket my Dad brought me in first year, and a crochet blanket my mum made me last year. It feels comfier, and more like home. I really recommend anything that makes your new home a little more familiar. Soft toys, pillows, photos, slippers, maybe music boxes, or just simple decorations like fairy lights or posters. When you first move in, you’ll be grateful to have something like home with you; I know I was.


I think that’s pretty much everything you don’t need but ought to have… My room is probably an extreme version, but whatever you consider to be homely and happy is good enough! Hopefully these suggestions can help to make your new home-away-from-home a lovely place to be.

Let me know what you think is useful to have at uni, but not essential!

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GUEST VLOG: Student Ambassador Zoe takes you on a guided tour of a Brookes Open Day

09:41 Unknown 1 Comments

Hi I'm Zoe, I'm a 3rd year student in Law here at Oxford Brookes. I'm also a Student Ambassador which means I regularly get to tell visitors, prospective students and new arrivals all about the amazing things that Brookes offers.

I've made this vlog to give you an idea of what Brookes is like on an Open Day. Enjoy!

1 comments :

How to cope with crushing criticism that makes you question all of your life choices at once

20:51 Unknown 2 Comments

Thursday 4 November will go down in my own personal history as a very, very bad day. Work, which at the best of times is trying, was truly terrible and by the end of the day I was having a breakdown in my office and claiming I was going to quit (spoiler: I didn’t). My only gleaming ray of hope for this day was that Thursday is my uni day, so I at least had something to look forward to.

Instead of driving over to Oxford as usual, our class that week was replaced by tutorials and I’d set up a skype session with one of my tutors. We handed in our first submission the week before, I'd submitted the opening of my novel which I've been working on for just about a year, so I'm pretty attached to it. To be honest,  in my state of work-related-stress I had completely forgotten that this work was about to be graded - the first time any of my writing has been 'graded', so I was not prepared. Instead, I sat at home, relieved that the day was finally drawing to a close, and expected to have a nice chat with my tutor.

That is not how things ended up.

Now, I’m not an egomaniac and I’m used to feedback. I work in a press office where what I write is routinely crossed out, scribbled on, deleted and rewrote – I’m not precious. I’ve been part of lots of different writing groups where my creative work has been critiqued with things like ‘seriously, I know your character’s supposed to be posh but no one speaks like that they sound like a nineteenth century dame’ and ‘are you sure this characters a man because she definitely sounds female, it doesn’t work’ so I thought I had pretty thick skin.

But I was not prepared for Thursday.

There was no pre-amble, no how are you finding the course etcetc, we went straight into the feedback. The criticism ranged from the general ‘I don’t get it’ ‘ it lacks establishment’ ‘I don’t believe it’ to the downright cutting ‘I don’t like your main character, she seems stupid and immature’. Ouch. It was short and sharp, 20 minutes of everything she didn’t like about it and then it ended. I was left sat on my sofa feeling like the biggest idiot in the world – what had I done? Why had I spent nearly £6,000 doing an MA in something I clearly couldn’t do? I’m the worst writer in the world, I’m stupid, I’m immature (anyone else take criticism of their characters as if it were aimed at themselves..?!) I’ve made a terrible decision.

Now, I’m sure many people have felt this way when they started an MA or BA. I remember my first A-Level assignment, after getting all As in the subject for my GCSE, I got my first essay back with an E. An E! I was horrified, my tutor simply said ‘you’re just not used to writing at this level yet’. She was right and soon enough I was back up to As and Bs. I did try to remember this on Thursday but I was too busy being terrified that I’d made a bad decision, that I would not even pass my MA, that I wasn't really a writer and that I was wasting my time and money.

So, what’s my worldly advice for dealing with it?

First, talk to people. I spoke to the rest of my MA writing group as soon as I got off the phone to my tutor. They were brilliant, none of them told me to ignore the criticism or that it was wrong (because it wasn’t) but they supported me and made me feel like it wasn’t the end of the world and I could do this.

Second, put it in perspective. I know that if I’d had that feedback another day then I would have handled it better, but we can’t always have perfect days. Things like this will happen when you’re tired, upset, hungry! So you have to learn to deal with them. Criticism doesn’t mean you can’t do what you set out to, criticism is what makes you end up better than you started.

Third and finally, don’t let it make you question your whole life. Honestly, the questions that ran through my head after this feedback ranged from: ‘What have I done, I can’t quit my MA but I can’t pass it obviously, I’m going to spend 2 years and six grand on failing’ to ‘now you’re stuck at your job forever because you have no other career prospects, you’re a terrible person, and an idiot’ to ‘if you hadn’t bought a house then you wouldn’t have a mortgage and you could quit your job and concentrate properly on your writing’.  As you can see, things go a little out of hand and it took a lot of conversations with a lot of different people to make me see things rationally.

Now, over a week later I am sat in my study having completely rewritten the work I submitted. I don’t know if it’s better, I don’t know if it even makes sense but the point is I read the feedback with a clear mind this time and realised, though still harsh, it was fair and necessary.

This is part of doing an MA, or any type of study. No good writer, or anyone good at anything, ever became good by being praised, they did it through hard work. And this is hard work, it’s hard work to even think about writing anything right now, to re-read her feedback is hard, to write this is hard. But what is the point of all this if it isn’t hard? So if you’re struggling, just keep going. You aren’t wasting your time. The time will pass anyway. And if all that that doesn't help, read these quotes which made me smile and kept me writing last week.

How to deal with criticism, a cartoon

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