Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reflections and Resolutions

2011 is coming to end much faster than I ever expected it to, and so I'm sitting here trying to figure out some new year's resolutions for 2012, knowing full well I'll give them up a few weeks into January. I don't even remember what my resolutions were for this year, so I can't really say I've stuck to them. I thought, to know what I want to change this year, I need to reflect on the months that have passed and how I would have done things differently. I may not have a chance to change anything now, but I can always improve things in the future.

This year has been one of the hardest in my life so far, but I think I handled it all much better than I ever thought I would. In January I moved out of home and to the big city to start uni. Getting an offer to study Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide is my biggest achievement of 2011. I don't remember a time I was happier then when I accepted my offer. But of course, this was a massive change. Goodbye Port Pirie, hello Adelaide with all it's scary people and scary bus routes and scary expensive things. Thinking back now I don't even know why I was so terrified. I've definitely turned into a city person. My life has adapted remarkably well to the city and everything feels so natural. In fact, being home in what feels like a tiny, stagnant town (sorry Pirie, I do love you) is strange and suffocating now. But I digress. While I settled into the city, I struggled to make friends, and I struggled with homesickness. I found ways to deal with both these things, I could make it easier for myself and fix things up a bit more in 2012, and so we come to my first two resolutions: Stop being a wallflower, put myself out there and make more friends (I'm actually an interesting person! Who knew!) and; Keep myself busy and stick to a routine to avoid homesickness, it works.

One of 2011's biggest lessons: Break ups are not the end of the world! Shock! Horror! Yes, they suck a lot but seriously, if I could go back I would have been so much easier on myself. The point is, I learnt a lot about myself through it, and for that, I thank him. It's made me a stronger person, blah blah blah, insert sappy stuff here. More importantly, it's taught me that boys aren't everything. Who needs 'em? Over the last few weeks I've been labelled as jealous by a few people simply because I am single, and I don't really enjoy hearing about everyone's relationships, including those I shouldn't be hearing about at all, being people I don't even know. I'm not jealous, I just want more stimulating conversation to be honest... And I like being single thank you very much! However, resolution number three: Put my focus on more important things for a while, my non-existent love life can often take over when I don't want it to. 

It's okay, I've nearly finished my ranting and raving. This is my penultimate reflection and resolution, then you can all go home to your families. If you bothered reading in this first place, kudos to you! Anyway. I wasn't very healthy this year, to sound as non-dramatic as I possibly can. But yeah, my immune system sucked. Ear infections, chest infections, bronchitis, multiple colds and flus, WHOOPING COUGH. Which I have been vaccinated against, so I'm still amazed. I actually find it ironic that I get sick so often and want to work in microbiology and immunology... My immune response is pretty pathetic for a reason though. I've got iron deficiency anaemia, so, you know, my body fails a bit in the blood department. But this is probably my most important new year's resolution, and that is: Get better, exercise more often, eat healthy and become a red-meat-a-vore.

And finally, we come to one of those typical new year's promises that we as students often make to ourselves, with only 20% of us actually following through with it, or sticking to it. Work harder, be more organised, stay on a Credit/Distinction average. No more Passes. The only passes I got this year were for Chemistry 1A/1B, but with that out the way, I really don't have any more excuses. I'm a good student, and I have a half-decent brain. When I study hard, I get really good grades. I lifted by grades from Credits to Distinctions over the duration of this year, and I was super proud of myself for it. Now that I know I definitely can do well at uni, I have more confidence for next year and have set my expectations a bit higher. I'm going to be doing topics that I love and enjoy, so it's going to be a hell of a lot easier to stay on top of things and pass with flying colours. I've even added a Diploma of Language to my enrollment, so we'll just throw this resolution in here for good measure: Be able to speak basic French by December 2012.

It's way too hard to stop writing once I start, but if you've read all of this, good on you. I mainly write this blog for my own benefit; to practise my writing and put my ideas into words. But thanks to the few people who've followed me this year, I hope it's been at least semi-entertaining for you.

Well done to you 2011, for being a pretty decent year. I've made new friends, improved myself, discovered what I want in the future, become more independent and been forced to grow up. The only thing left to say is bring on 2012!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Holidays make me loopy.

Day 38 of my summer holidays. 63 days until uni goes back. Or nine weeks, 1512 hours, 90,720 minutes, 5, 443, 200 seconds. I'm going crazy. Or, crazier than I was before. I'm one of those weird people who honestly doesn't enjoy holidays much at all. Yes, I like the break that I probably deserve after working so bloody hard this year, but I only need a month. Three weeks even! But three months? This is killing me. I like learning, I like being productive, I like homework!

I'm stuck back in my country town until February, and I'll be honest, it's not the most exciting place to be. It probably could be, if I had an awesome social life and a huge group of friends and liked the pub and stuff, but I don't have any of those things, so I'm trying to make do with what I have. And what I have, is a job at a fast food restaurant. My days consist of me waking up, going to work, sitting around watching TV, surfing the internet and going to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Being on holidays also gives me way too much time to think. I start questioning everything I've done, and thinking of how life could have been different if I'd made a different decision. For example, the other night I was wondering how my day could have been if I'd had toast for breakfast instead of cereal. Or if I'd actually gotten off my bum and learned more French instead of playing Portal. The over-thinking then needs to me being over-emotional. Well, more so than I usually am. Cut to yesterday. I was honestly in a good mood but for some reason Mum kept asking me if I was okay. "Karagh, are you okay? Are you alright? Are you okay? What's wrong?" SERIOUSLY, NOTHING. *breaks down in tears*

I miss people, I miss Adelaide, I miss independence. Nine weeks doesn't seem like such a long time, but when my current daily itinerary is so monotonous I might have to accept the fact that I'm going to lose more and more of my sanity each day. Piece by piece, until someone starts telling me how the immune system fights off viral infections...

Monday, 12 December 2011

Things that make me happier than they probably should.

What do you do when you're in a dreary mood? Think about things that make you happy of course.

1. People who say thank you!
A simple thing, really. I'm a big fan of manners and polite people, so at work, when customers say thank you ever so sincerely, it puts a big smile on my face. Especially when children have lovely manners.

2. Polka dots.

Enough said.

3. Green lights all the way home on the bus.
Nothing beats getting home from uni in about 12 minutes flat.

4. New stationery. 
This is something that makes me incredibly, disproportionately happy. The crisp, fresh pages of a notebook and a wonderful pen just scream joy to me. 

5. Mutual smiling.
6. The cold side of the pillow.
7. Fresh French fries.
8. When people enjoy my baking.
9. Receiving mail!
10. Saying major histocompatibility complex.
11. Sincere apologies.
12. La Valse d'Amelie. 
13. Christmas lights.
14. People asking for my advice and following through with it.
15. My second hand books.
16. Soft drinks in glass bottles.
17. Sweet, milky Darjeeling tea.
18. Holding someone's hand.
19. Random Facebook conversations with my crazy friends.
20. Teaching people about biology.

And finally... 21. 

There we go, feeling better already. 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A few things that inspire me...

"If you only do what you know you can do, you never do very much." 

1. The honourable Sir Howard Florey. If I had never been told the story of Florey and his colleagues, I don't know if I ever would have put my dreams into action and pursue Medicine as a career. Having said that, I am currently studying Biomedical Science with no intention of going on to Medicine at this stage... BUT, while Florey was a doctor of medicine, he was a pharmacologist and pathologist in the fields of immunology and bacteriology, which is precisely what I want to go into the future. If I can achieve half as much as he did during his life I will be able to die happy. Knowing that an Australian scientist, who even went to my uni, has done something to help the world in such an astounding way inspires me to do better each and everyday. If he can do it, it's not impossible for me to as well

2., the 50s and 60s and Zooey Deschanel. The three things that inspire the style I try to achieve. It works a lot better in my head, and when I actually go to the effort of putting together a nice outfit. One part all the girliness you could ever imagine, two parts effortless vintage chic. I like finding treasures in op shops, I like pretty dresses with black tights, ballet flats, all things with polka dots! I like things that are a bit different to what everyone else seems to be wearing. And if I'm ever feeling unsure about what to do with whatever is in my wardrobe, is my go to place for fashion inspiration.

3. Velta Vingelis, and all the others who taught Biology 1-XXX this year. Before when I said I had no intention of going into Medicine anymore? Well, these people are the reason why. Whether this is a good thing or not I am yet to decide! All I'd ever wanted to do was be a paediatrician, skip forward to second semester this year when I realise all I want to do with my life is research, and the epiphany that I would be quite content sitting in a lab for the rest of my working life. This was a big deal for me; I'd always said I wouldn't end up a "lab geek", that it wasn't for me, that I'd rather be out on the field, but I was wrong. Until this year I didn't know what I really wanted or who I really was. Their lectures, along with the humour that the majority of biology professors seem to have, really inspired me to step outside of what I'd always known. I was naive and had no idea what was out there, and they opened up my eyes to the kind of opportunities that laid beyond graduation. 

4. My high school teachers, in particular, Karen Rhode, Tegan Whittard and Bruce Mules. It probably seems very typical to be throwing teachers in the mix here, but I really wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for them. It's not that they showed me the way to my dream career (although two of them helped me see the joy in science), but they showed me the value of learning. If I could spend the rest of my life learning, I would be a very happy Karagh. They taught me that through education one can make a better life for themselves. Just by understanding the world around you, you can make it a happier place to live in.

5. My friends. Finally, my close friends. You don't have to be an authority figure, or a famous person to be able to inspire someone. These people do it daily. Some of you drive me crazy, some of you are never around, and some of you are completely mad. But through your achievements, the way you overcome your obstacles, and the encouragement and support you offer me, you inspire me to be a better person. Your strength, talent, intelligence... Your entire auras are the reason I am where I am now. You've not only influenced my life decisions, but you've helped me through set backs that were threatening my future and my happiness. Even if you don't realise you're doing it, or you're not trying, you are the most inspiring people on this list.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Loneliness, or frustration?

I live away from home to go to uni, so on holidays, I spend just about all time at my family's house in a country town. I normally get really excited about coming home on the holidays, and I get devastated when I leave, but this time, everything feels different. It's not being around my family that's done it; if I had my way I'd take my family back to Adelaide with me. It's not work; I love my job here. It's just... The general vibe of the town. The stench of drama, loneliness, bitchiness. My town, isn't as bad as people make it out to be. I mean, there's just as much going on in other places as there is here, but I can't escape it like I can in Adelaide. If I'm feeling blue, suffocated, whatever, when I'm living away from home, I can be alone and if I want, I can go somewhere new, somewhere different. I can distract myself, I can study, I sleep it off. I don't feel like I can do that here.

I wouldn't be feeling this way if there wasn't something to trigger it, and I have been a bit down in the dumps lately due to sickness, so it's given me time to think. I'm lonely here. I know, it's strange, being lonely when I'm surrounded by my friends and family, compared to being in Adelaide where I could go days without talking to someone. But you don't have to be alone to be lonely. I thought I had it all, but over the last couple of weeks, people have drifted away like sticks thrown into the sea. Whether I pushed them or not, well, that doesn't concern me right now. What concerns me is that I don't feel like I have a soul in the world that I can confide in.

Even if you're the kind of person who likes being by themselves the majority of the time, we all need a friend at some point of our lives. I know I have friends, but I still feel excluded and desolate. Like there is no point in me being here but to make mum happy and earn some pretty sweet cash while before the study starts up again. There is so much to get out, so much I want to scream, but it's like no one is listening. Everyone has other priorities, everyone has their own lives. Maybe I should just stop complaining about it and get out there and set my own priorities straight. All I know, is I would do anything to be back in Adelaide some nights, because it's easier to cry there, than it is to in a town where you should be the happiest girl in the world.