Category Archives: Swansea

Graduation

I graduated yesterday. 10 months after finishing uni. The delay was due to the fact we finished in August, so we had to wait till the following year’s graduation to actually go through the ceremony. And now we have to wait several more months before receiving our certificates. It was weird in some ways, graduating so long finishing – it didn’t feel quite real. But on the other hand, it was nice to go back and see my coursemates, lecturers and meet up with friends. I spent 2 nights in Swansea, so I was able to do the Brynmill / uni rounds (sorry if I didn’t get to you!).

Overall the experience was just that – an experience. A lot of the time I felt like someone out of Harry Potter, with this silly gown and hat on. Apparently it looked even more Harry Potterish when I clambered through the trees to the beach in my gown. Some of the lecturers were acting as stewards to show the graduates where to walk, and they were all carrying big metal wands, which really did look like something out of Harry Potter, especially as they were gowned up too. Although, I believe we had more lecturers attending the ceremony than any other ceremony. Which is quite good.

I had some nice chats with a few of my lecturers afterwards, and I visited my supervisor the day before. My old supervisor was embarrassing when she started talking to my Mum afterwards. She was my supervisor with my dissertation in my 3rd year, and as many readers will know, this period wasn’t exactly the smoothest of times in my life. My supervisor, for a variety of reasons, became an important support mechanism. Anyway, she was telling my parents how proud she was of me, for getting through everything and for coming out with a 2:1. I just blushed and started talking to someone else. But thinking back, I don’t think I could have done half of what I did without the support of so many friends and family. So I’d just like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU. Whether you cooked a meal, sent a card, gave me a hug, lent a listening ear, took me to pizza hut or were simply there – you helped. As my supervisor once said, I had a football stadium full of supportive people, and I’ll never forget that.*

After sitting through the boring ceremony and using all available trees, beaches and backdrops for photos, I was relieved of my silly gown, and we went down to Bracklet Bay for a very nice meal. I ate loads of yummy food and drank more than my share of wine, and it was good 🙂 As co-incidence would have it, about 6 of my friends from my course had also chosen the same restaurant for a celebratory meal, so it was nice to have another chance to say hello and goodbye to them!

And I thought you might like to see some pics…

Jen on the beach Almost throwing my hat up Enjoying much deserved Ice Cream!

* Apologies if you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about!

Realisations

Swansea isn’t home anymore.

Almost 3 years ago I called Swansea home. And since then, Swansea had become more and more like home. Since leaving Swansea, I have been missing it considerably. And to a certain degree, I still do. But at the weekend when I was in Swansea, I missed my New Home. It felt like I used to feel going back to Manchester from Swansea. And that feeling struck me by complete surprise. I know I still have a lot more settling to do in my New Home, but it felt good that when I got a signal on Saturday I had 3 texts from New Home People, all asking me if I was about to do something. Don’t get me wrong, Swansea People will always hold a special place in my heart. But now, for the first time, it feels like I’m beginning to settle elsewhere. I actually missed my New Home. At times over the weekend, I wanted to be able to split myself in two, so I could be in both places at once. As a friend pointed out though, this would be quite messy.

New Years Day

I had the pleasure of going back to Swansea for new year, and after going to two new years eve parties (2 minutes walk from each other), I impressively managed to get up in time to head down to Rhosilli with friends. So I thought I’d share a few pics:

Worms Head

Chris

Mewslade Bay

Rocks

Jeni watching the beach and pretty view

Friends

Worms Head with Lichen in the foreground

Some friends took me down to Rhosilli, during August when I had to go back to Swansea to make up time on the ward. I said I’d blog the photos and I didn’t round to it, until today. Some more photos can be found here. I really like the above photo, you can clearly see the lichen in the foreground and Worms Head is as stunning as ever in the background. Every time i see lichen now, I remember a friend of my parents who we met up with when I was younger, who was absolutely obsessed with lichen. He collected them. And he spent the whole day educating my dad about all the different types. For a while after that day out, my dad had similar excitement about lichen. We used to sigh and tease him about this brief obsession, but I did learn some pretty cool things about them during this period. They take years and years to grow just a tiny bit. So, the lichen in the photo above, has taken a Very Long Time to grow that much!

I was grateful to my friends for taking me down to Rhosilli that day. I enjoyed myself. Recently I have become very grateful for a lot of my friends. Old ones and new ones. It doesn’t matter where you live, friends can still give you support when you need it. Whether its a deep and meaningful conversation or a light hearted giggle or a random facebook hug, its fantastic that they are there. So I’d just like to say thank you – you know who you are.

Down South

As most people who know me will know, I have recently moved Down South and started a new job. For obvious reasons my current location and details of my work will remain anonymous on such a public blog, but at the same time I am very aware that many readers will be wondering how I’ve been settling in, etc. So I’m going to try to give you an update, without disclosing too much.

Basically I feel that I am settling in fairly well. On my first proper day here, I went for an explore and within half an hour I found a kite shop and a Christian Aid protest – and I had a warm feeling that this could become home. I’m slowly beginning to find my way around and find the necessities. Work is going well – the staff are friendly and I get on well with my mentors. I’ve been receiving quite a lot of teaching and information overload often comes to mind, but at the same time I’m enjoying the challenge. I’m currently living with other NHS workers, who I get on reasonably well with, in a fairly decent flat – it has a much bigger kitchen than my old student house, not that that is hard! 😉 This morning I was kindly introduced to a local methodist church, where I negotiated offers to join the local student groups and help out with the Sunday School!

So generally I’m feeling positive about settling in properly. I do miss Swansea a lot, but I will be back to visit and my friends are planning trips Down South. I have to go back in November as I’ve organised an SCM gathering there, but I should get a quick visit in before then. My bike is currently in a friend’s garage, so that’s my excuse to go back and visit! Having found a secure and dry place for my bike at both home and work, I’m looking forward to being able to cycle to work and explore a greater distance with it.

The End of an Era

I’ve just had my last ever day in university. This coming week will be my last ever week in 94, the house that I’ve had connections with all through my university career, and lived in for 2 years. It will also be my last proper week in Swansea – I will be back to visit, I already have a couple of necessary visits planned, but it won’t quite be the same.

A week or so ago, I used this space to inform people of two job interviews that I had lined up and I was debating which one I would go for, if given the choice. Following that post I decided that the best thing to do would be to do my best at both interviews and see what happened. I didn’t know at that point whether I’d be offered either of the jobs, so jumping ahead of myself was just silly.

Anyway, I went along to interview A (see 2 posts down). I thought it went well. I was reasonably relaxed and was able to answer all the questions they asked. Three days later, 45 minutes before interview B, I receive a phone call saying I had job A. Having had a look around place A, been very impressed with it and having had time to think about the various options, I accepted job A and cancelled interview B.

So now, I am very excited because I have a job!!! All I’m going to say here for the time being about its location is that it is not too far from Swansea and is in a rainbow coloured hospital! I feel happy about it because it is such an amazing career opportunity, that I couldn’t turn it down. And I think I wanted to prove Dylan Thomas wrong, that Swansea isn’t the graveyard of all ambitions! 😉

Todays last day in uni was basically to say well done and good luck. This morning we had about countless different important people give us presentations about what we’ve achieved and looking towards the future. During one career talk, we were asked to raise our hands if we had a job already. Most of my coursemates hadn’t heard yet about my job, so they pounced on me as soon as they could do, interrogating me about the job! They were full of congratulations and really impressed at the job. After all the talks, our child branch group had organised a bring and share type lunch for us and our lecturers. I ate loads of food, talked to all my coursemates and got back my old essays and my Big Annoying Folder (sigh – I thought I’d got rid of that! 😉 ).

Leaving Swansea seems really odd. I don’t think its sunk in properly yet. And I will definitely miss everybody. I want to keep in touch with all my friends here, just as much as I want to pursue, what could be, an incredible career in nursing. To do the latter, I have to embrace this opportunity which I have been given by moving away from Swansea, but don’t think for one minute it means I’ll lose contact with the friends I’ve made here. So I’m sorry Swanseaites, but you’ll haven’t got rid of me properly yet – I’ll be back!

Thinking…

I’ve had several pieces of exciting, scary and thought-provoking news recently, which I have been trying to not tell the whole world about. I am now going to tell the whole world, as I feel this space could be beneficial to bounce around some of my thoughts and feelings, but I hope you’ll respect the fact that I don’t want to tell the whole world *everything*. So apologies for the vagueness.

I’ve got two job interviews. Job A and Job B.

Job A:
* Is not local to Swansea
* Would be very scary, especially at the beginning
* Would be a very challenging job
* Would be very stressful
* Would probably lead to good, quick promotion opportunities
* Could be difficult to find accommodation

Job B:
* Is local to Swansea
* Is a department I am familiar with and would know many of the staff before I started
* Would be challenging and stressful, but not as much as job A
* Wouldn’t lead to as good promotion opportunities
* Would probably be easier to find accommodation (and I know enough floors I can sleep on for the short term if necessary)

Obviously I don’t know whether I’ll get either job. But I can’t help thinking *if* I got both, which one would I choose. Stressful and away from Swansea with good career opportunities or familiar environment which keeps me close to friends with not-so-good career opportunities. I know its silly thinking about it too much because I don’t know what will happen with the interviews, but I can’t help it. I feel as though I need to think about it now, so I’m not holding up the trusts next week longer than is necessary, just because I can’t decide.

Next week is going to be interesting. Not only because of the interviews but because I’m also moving out of 2 houses and working full time. Within 10 days I have: interview for job A, move out of house 1, interview for job B, pack up house 2 and send it back to house 3, and then get ready to go camping. Somewhere in that lot, I need to do 37.5 hours of work. :S By then end I think I’m going to be hiding in a corner somewhere and not fit to do either job!

All Done

This morning I handed in my Big Annoying Folder, which has caused me much stress over the past 3 years. It was then handed back to me, as I’d forgotten to sign one thing, but thankfully that was soon fixed. It didn’t come back to haunt me completely! It feels great now its all handed in. Now I only have about 3 more weeks of placement and then I have to take 5 weeks off before I qualify and can start work. Its going to be great – I’ll only be working full time instead of having to write essays and get my work done on the ward. And then I get 5 weeks off! 🙂

Having said this, just after we’d all handed our folders in, we then had a lecture about continuing our professional development and how we’ll get another big annoying folder to work on. Great. I suppose its to be expected and it will help our career development. Its just not exactly what we want to hear, straight after handing in 3 years worth of placement work!

Anyway, on Wednesday night I get to celebrate in style at the Graduation Ball, which this year is being held in the Liberty Stadium with chocolate fountains and ice sculptures! I don’t officially graduate until this time next year, because our registration doesn’t come through till September, but my housemates are graduating this year so I decided to celebrate with them. John travelled down yesterday from Edinburgh for it, which is cool. He somehow managed to miss a connection and therefore get into Swansea 2 hours early. Don’t ask me how he managed that – I’d like to know myself for some journeys!

Reflections on an academic year

I know my academic year hasn’t finished yet – that doesn’t happen for another 5 weeks when this placement is over, but I’ve had to buy a new academic diary because the old one will run out soonish. I bought an 18 month one so I can transfer over to normal years. Because in 5 weeks time I will have finished uni for ever. In about 10 weeks I should be a registered nurse. How scary is that?!

Anyway, I was transferring dates and birthdays from my old diary to my new diary, and reading everything that has happened in the past year as I went along. It was quite interesting actually. There were things like lists of things to talk to friends about when I rang them up, including initials for certain things/people. Knowing the context I knew what I had meant, and it just made me smile. There were other times when I looked at the page for a week and realise just how much stuff I’d (tried) to fit into a single week. How many different things I was trying to deal with at that time. Juggling, I think is the technical term.

But seriously, looking back I don’t know how I got through some parts of the past year. The other day I had a random deep and meaningful with a coursemate who is staying in the same B&B as me for placement. When I told her about some of the stuff I’ve dealt with in the past few months, she was astonished and asked how the hell did I cope with everything on top of third year academic work and placement. I said I didn’t really know how I’d coped. Then after some thought I said ‘my friends, and Him upstairs’. So a big thank you. You know who you are.

I’ve made it through uni, well just about. What next? Find a job. Hmm, if only it were as easy as it was to type those three words. I don’t really have a clue where I’ll end up working. Where theres a job. Where theres good promotion possibilities. Where there are friends. I doubt if I’ll find somewhere that has all three though! I need to think about where I really ought to be applying for, but basically I think I am going to have to go where ever I can get a job. But I will be back to visit Swansea. And once I’ve got some experience under my belt, I’ll have more job possibilities and could probably move back. I dunno at the moment, its all uncertain.