Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You: What have you been up to? Me: A lot.

Whoa, it's been quite a while! I haven't blogged since the very start of December and a lot has happened since then!

'What constitutes a lot?' you may ask.

Well, for starters, I was suddenly thrown into full-time work in December, which was a good experience both for my resume and my bank account. The best part of this was that it was editing--yay for industry experience! The not-so-great part of it was staring at an Excel spreadsheet for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This job was, you guessed it, through the uni, just like all my other jobs, because for one reason or another, apparently I'm super employable. What was I editing? Deakin University has teamed up with IBM to develop this thing called Watson, which is basically this program that we have taught to answer Deakin-related questions by getting all all the cohorts in the university to compile a list of questions they get (in all the different ways they can be asked) and then making a whole bunch of answers. So I was first of all helping the customer service team answer their questions and then spent a couple of weeks after that helping to make sure all the answers from everywhere were written properly and in a certain way. This program has now been launched so that new students can use it to get information about Deakin.

So I was doing that until just before Christmas, and then a couple of days before Christmas, my best friend from high school and I went for a bit of a road-trip. Well, two hours isn't that far to travel, but the point is we drove from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to Torquay for an afternoon and slept in a tent for two nights. Our adventures while we were in Torquay included eating fish and chips on the beach, taking many silly photos, having very meaningful conversations, cooking breakfast on her little camp stove, going to a spa and getting massages, meeting up with an old high school teacher who had moved to Torquay very suddenly a few years earlier, before we graduated, eating a lot of cheese (we have a severe addiction to brie) and watching The Fault In Our Stars on her laptop. It was a lovely and much needed vacation!

Then Christmas happened. Nuff said. I put on about seven kilos and I'm still working on putting them back off (pants, plz, fit me!). But seriously, Christmas for me is just binge-eating with family. And I have to spend it with two families, so that's two very big meals in one day. Worth it. For Christmas, I got a GPS, which will come in handy next time I try to find my high school friend's house (I've driven to her house twice now and gotten lost both times). I also decided to get the piercing at the top of my ear redone, after it got infected and closed up a few years ago. So far, no infection. I've been taking extra good care of it and I've decided that if there's no sign of an infection after three months, I'm getting another three piercings. Going for the Winry Rockbell look (any FMA fans out there?).

And what's my excuse for not blogging after Christmas? I have been a headless chook. That's my excuse. I took on a big part of the administrative role in the Verandah Journal team of editors, including secretary, which leaves me writing agendas and taking the minutes for all the team meetings, as well as helping send out emails to potential sponsors and organising the stall we'll be selling our back-issues at (and promoting submissions for the new edition) during Orientation Week at Deakin. The latter task has proved to be quite difficult and stressful.

(Intermission ... for the Attack on Titan fans in my life) 

On top of that, I've been producing the O'Week edition of the student magazine WORDLY. Seeing as the entire production team is on summer holidays and people are travelling or taking summer classes or working a lot, on top of the fact that this is probably the hardest edition to get people to submit to because most are too busy soaking up the summer sun to write for us, this one has been a hard one to pull together. This is also the first edition where I am officially editor-in-chief and production manager without last year's team right there for back-up (although they did still give us a hand when we asked, because they're awesome). So we've had a lot of tight deadlines to meet this edition, but now we've sent the file to the printer and we'll be receiving our boxes full of WORDLYs on Friday, right on time for O'Week next week.

And then, with WORDLY comes the Deakin Writers Club. Actually, it's the other way around. WORDLY is brought to you by Deakin Writers. But basically, there's been executive team training and organising an O'Week stall (yes, I've organised two O'Week stalls and I will work shifts on both of them). Organising this stall wasn't half as troublesome as organising the Verandah stall--it was basically given to us, because we're a DUSA club. I just had to fill out a form. The stressful part about the Deakin Writers O'Week stuff is putting together membership sign-up packages. These are intended mostly for new members, and contain a back-issue or two from last year as well as the new edition. We're also hoping to include some flyers and stuff from a few Melbourne-based writerly organisations, namely the Emerging Writers' Festival. I'm even making a trip to The Wheeler Centre tomorrow to pick them up from their head office.

I'm also working in the Library one day every week in a permanent position for the year, covering for one of the full-timers there who's returning to study. Once Trimester 1 starts up, I'll also be back in the swing of my Student Rover job. I'll also be back to classes and studying and essay-writing. No creative writing units this Trimester; I've got three philosophy units and a children's literature unit, but I'm sure this Trimester will still be great! Except the Timetable Gods are vengeful--as punishment for managing to fit all of my classes into one day last Trimester of last year, this year I've been forced to spread them over four days. It's still a measly eight hours of class all together, two on each of the days I have to go in. I don't have class on Wednesdays. I do have class on Fridays. In fact, one of my classes was only available on Fridays, which was especially unfortunate for me, because Fridays is the day I'm always rostered on in the library. In order to keep this position, I had to put my hand up for the early shift. So, I'm really NOT a morning person, and I thought starting work at 9AM and working through until 5PM wasn't fantastic ... but the early shift, once Trimester 1 starts, means I start work at 7:30AM and work through until 3PM, at which point I race off to a philosophy seminar for two hours before going home. The shift is actually meant to go until 3:30, but the last half hour is meant for checking emails, making sure everything you were meant to do is done, tidying your desk, submitting your timesheet, etc ... so I spoke to my manager about it and basically I just get half an hour less pay, but that's alright with me if it means I don't have to skip class. Yes, I'm a nerd, what of it?

What else? I've been editing a friend's manuscript on and off. I'm about 50 pages in. It's quite an enjoyable read, when I've actually got time. It's children's literature and I think he's got a really great voice going for him, at least with this particular story. I wish I could read it faster for him. He actually gave it to me back in September and I just never got around to it until New Year rolled around. Hopefully I'll give it back to him this Trimester at uni. I've done bugger-all of my own writing or editing--WALLS has been completely neglected. It is literally a pile of pages hiding underneath my bed right now. I wrote a feature spread for the O'Week edition of WORDLY and worked with one of the other editors on it, but aside from than, no new material out of me. One of my friends at uni was involved in organising and running the Digital Writers' Festival and asked me to promote them a little, so I managed to 'attend' some of their events (online) and Tweet about them from the @DeakinWriters and @WORDLYMagazine accounts. My boyfriend and I started hiking together. We've gone four times this month for about two hours each time. I've started swimming laps again, which is something I haven't done since early high school. And just generally, I've been keeping up my social appearances with friends where I can. Even though I haven't done any writing for myself, I've got a lot of stuff I'd like to write in my head, from children's literature analyses about Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra (OMG DID ANYONE SEE THE FINALE OF KORRA OMG I WAS SO HAPPY), to another YA dystopia/post-apocalyptic/borderline science-fiction story idea I'd like to try and execute.

(How I'm feeling now ... except I don't think I'm quite that cute.) 

My boyfriend was meant to move to South Australia for an internship last month, but that's been delayed for about six months, so we're living together. It's kinda sad, I just want him to hurry up and go so that he can hurry up and come back. I also preemptively took on a lot of work (see everything I've listed above) so that I'd be able to keep myself busy while he was gone and make it easier to deal with, but now that he isn't going, I feel like I've taken on too much. The busiest part of it (particularly the production of Verandah Journal) will all be over before he leaves. I suppose I've got to grin and bare it, though. When I make a commitment, I stick to it, and a lot of these aren't commitments I can back out of easily ... I just need to make sure I don't accidentally get given any more jobs, or I'll have seriously screwed myself over. I feel a little overwhelmed at the moment, but I know it's just a matter of getting used to, taking a deep breath and realising none of it is that hard. I just have to be organised and stay on top of everything. I say that now, but let's see how I actually manage everything as this first Trimester of uni gets started.

Well, this post has been long and rambly. It's 11:30 at night over here and I want to be at The Wheeler Centre pretty early tomorrow morning, so I'm going to throw in the towel now and hopefully I'll pick it up and write another blog post before several months have slipped away in silence.

I apologise for any typos or grammatical errors. I am too sleepy for that kind of coherency.

What's everyone else been up to?

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