Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Fond Memories...

It feels like I have not blogged in ages which is most probably true but it has been Clearing and as per usual we have been swamped with calls. Now I have got a bit more free time I think it’s about time I do another blog. Last week was Eid and I decided to dress up for the occasion and bought a lovely little silk number :p. So there I was wearing my Asian outfit and I kept getting asked if I was Muslim and when I said no the next question was “why have you dressed up then?” Simply put, I dressed up because I wanted to and it’s nice to be involved in my work colleague’s celebrations. I may not be Muslim but I have friends who are and it’s good to be aware of their religion and their beliefs.

Dressing up seemed to be the theme for the week as we also had a theme your team competition on Friday just for fun (the enquiry unit madness eh). Our theme was superheroes as in clearing we all know you need a hero to help you through the struggles that can occur when taking on the might of clearing. We mainly had with marvel superheroes and we had three super people.

The main characters we had were Superman, Supergirl, Superwoman, Batman, Catwoman, Hancock, Punisher, Spiderman and of course the most important Wolverine (which was me! Yay!) Unfortunately we did not come first... or second... or third.... but we did have a lot of fun!!! We also overdosed on cake which is also good and a much needed sugar rush for all the calls we have been taking. For those that don’t know of Wolverine he was played by Hugh Jackman in the X men films and while I didn’t have the mahoosive sideburns I needed I did manage to sculpt my hair in a similar style. I also went with the white t-shirt and jeans and boots so I could kind of blend in with the crowd despite my hair. This was topped off with compulsory dog tags and claws I had made out of chopsticks, painted silver and sanded off to provide a rounded tip.

Although the highlight of the week had to be winning my trophy for outstanding achievement! Ok it was not a trophy and ok it was not for outstanding achievement but I was awarded a chocolate orange for the development I have made throughout the year in the enquiry unit. I tried to open it though and realised it had melted a bit but hey it soon toughened up in the fridge! So all in all it was a really good week full of lots of laughs.

It’s also quite scary to think that term 1 is going to begin soon and sadly I won’t be a part of that this year now I have graduated. I am hoping to sneak back into university though for the fresher’s fair as I need to support the LGBT society for the final time.

This year the fresher’s fair is going to be on 20th September at Avery Hill and 22nd September at the Greenwich campus. If you are at the Medway campus then you have a society’s fair on 22nd September and a sports fair on 21st September. All important dates if you want to join up to a sport or society. Also if you are, like I was, a president, vice-president, secretary or treasurer it will also go on your transcripts at the end of your course so it always looks good on a C.V.

Anyways it’s back to work I go so blog soon!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Looking for ‘Up’s” in life

I am actually going to try and blog more regularly now as I have noticed I am writing less and less and I need to produce more blogs. However this week is going to be a more serious blog as I am trying something new. In the past my blogs would be about my experiences and what’s happening in my life. So I thought I would start jotting down a few of my thoughts and opinions too. Recently in our University of Greenwich Enquiry Unit we had been given extra training in regards to dealing with difficult calls. One of the eventualities is that a caller may call that is feeling depressed and why not as university CAN be one of the most stressful experiences you can face.

As we have now entered into Clearing the stress has now ramped up and I can fully understand how someone can feel a bit low when they hear that the course they really wanted to apply for has now closed for this year.  Most of the places that are available are in science or the engineering department this year although you can call us at 020 8331 9000 for more vacancy information. Anyway what my blog was trying to say is that if you are feeling down or depressed (there is a huge difference between the two) there is always someone to help. For example you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.
I always have believed that you can never have a good day without having a few bad days as if you don’t know what a bad day is how you can measure if a day is good. I know recently I keep getting down (not depressed) as now I have finally graduated I cannot seem to get a job. This is piled on a ton of personal problems and mixed in with working full time and it really can get to you but all I keep thinking is that it won’t always be this way and an opportunity is always around the corner. I think a good example of this would be me getting my current job in the Enquiry Unit as I have met some really great people while working here.
Anyway aside from my mad ramblings I have also started looking into first aid courses and I am definitely going to look into revising the languages I have learnt which now have went into decay a bit. On another note I have to say the film “Up” is absolutely brilliant and for all those that say animation is only for kids then watch “Up” as it had a splash of blood, grown up themes and serious messages too. I mainly watched it for the awesome animation techniques used though which are astounding.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

You are feeling sleepy, very sleepy...

Well this week’s blog is really hard to write as its realty hard to top graduating!!! Also I haven’t really been doing much aside from wake up, eat, go to work, get home, eat, and go to sleep, repeat...

Luckily I have approximately 168 (soon to be 170) films which keeps me entertained on those dreary afternoons. Aside from that I have just had two birthdays to go to; one for my sister and one for my dad. So I had to go back to Chatham for the weekend which is luckily not bad for a train journey (40 minutes on a good day). My sister and dad decided to have a joint party thing where we went to our local pub for a Westlife tribute band called Boyzaloud. They actually were pretty good singers but the bass was way too high and the overall backing track was for too loud. Not too sure if it is my sound design background kicking in or my age (getting old- er now! A whole 21, eep!).
It’s always good to get back in touch with family and especially to see my nieces (8 months and 3 years), nephew (6) and little sister (6). Although this weekend I just wanted my alone time as I am in serious need of rest!!! Sadly my family think it’s a good idea to be up at 6am which is an unnatural hour especially for me as I usually sleep in till at least 11. Hey ho.

I have also decided I need to start learning again as my degree was really exciting to do but I found I was learning the same thing and then refining my knowledge to gain expertise. What I want to do is learn more about cultures and religion plus also key skills such as first aid training and the all important driving licence. I also need to start picking up reading again as my spelling is becoming     

I think the whole need to learn thing is also stemming from the fact that I can no longer get books out from the university libraries and my bank account has now been transformed into a graduate account! It seems weird to think about it now but three years ago I would never have imagined graduating with a 2:1 degree and going out in the big wide world in the field of computer games. My actual course (Games and Multimedia Technologies) was specifically targeted towards designing games but I am hoping to improve my chances by strengthening my programming side so I have skills in both areas.

If you are looking for a more programming orientated degree then the computing programme is a really good course to take plus it’s also available at foundation level (from one of our partner colleges). Which with the new fees coming into place soon could be a really clever move as the fee for foundation degrees and HNDs will be £6,000 compared to studying two years on a degree course at £8,300 a year. Then just doing the final (top up) year via fast track and paying the higher fees of £8,300 for the final year.

Anyways I am off to go rest and I hope I have not bored you all too much I promise next week I will try to do something exiting to blog about! As always any questions you want answered you can email us at: studentblogger@hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Graduation Day!!!

Eurgh and more eurgh!!! I am not at all used to getting up every day ready for work at 9! I was working once a week from 9am to 5.30pm which was really nice! :D But now I am also working Monday to Friday and I miss my friend sleep although I meet this really great new friend called coffee overdose and he is amazing!!! However I have been informed that coffee is bad and I am trying to do the whole being healthy thing but sadly all the healthy stuff just does not taste good. I am trying though to start eating porridge every day as it’s meant to be uber healthy but I have trouble eating it as it just so stodgy. So if any guys or gals have got any methods to spice up porridge please, please tell me!!!

Goldilocks can keep her porridge!!!
I also tried coconut water which is meant to be riddled with vitamins and low in fat etcetera but it was horrid but I just drank it down like medicine. Anyway enough of that and more about my graduation. It was this Friday just gone (22nd June) at the Greenwich campus. I also thought I had struck lucky as my graduation ceremony was at 2.45pm but I did not realise the queues would be mahoosive and spent a majority of my day queuing up for robes, then tickets and also photo’s. But I didn’t let it dampen my spirits and the weather was great. Sadly this day didn’t start off with a champagne breakfast but an early start to the hairdressers to get a great hair do for my professional photo, then I went on to quickly get a few graduation cards for my friends and I also had to pick up a camera I had reserved but I was finished quite quickly. I then went home got bathed and all dressed up in my smart suit and was raring to go. I then grabbed my camera to put in the batteries but realised the camera does not take batteries but a rechargeable battery. It seems in the shops infinite wisdom they had gave me a completely different model with completely different specifications. GREAT!!! But I say you should always have a backup plan and I did. So I managed to grab another camera from my friend and was able to get quite a few good shots of the day.

Now I was ready and went off to pick up the parents from the train station. My dad and mum were both still at the platform as they had come outside but thought the local ‘wildlife’ looked a bit frightening. I guess I have become accustomed to scary looking people in London ha-ha! My mum also had decided to remove her bracelet in case someone stabs her for it, bless! I did try to state that while London has a lot of stabbings it still is quite uncommon but hey ho! We made it to Greenwich in plenty of time and I have to say it was a truly amazing day. The actual ceremony took place in the Greenwich chapel and we then had a reception in the painted hall. Both buildings were stunning and really added to the atmosphere of the day.  I have to admit though I was one of those people who was not that excited about “getting a bit of paper” but on the day the whole ceremony really caught you up in the grandeur of the whole event and made you feel like you was part of something really important. My dad also was unusually sweet and said when I came out in my robes he had the same feelings that he had when he’s first child was born (my sister) which kind of made up for the moaning he had done about the queues.
The academic and civil officials, very bizarre outfits!

After the ceremony was over we had a big group photo of all the new graduates and we went over to the reception. We opted to go for orange juice over the wine but twas good stuff anyways. We than had obligatory shots in the painted halls and I was robbed sadly! L They made me pay £22 for a DVD of the ceremony; I mean at least Dick Turpin wore a mask! But hey it was worth it and I wanted to have memories of the whole ceremony. I also had a little laugh in my head as we finished the day off with a McDonalds which we did get a few looks from the customers as we were dressed to impress. Anyways this is all I have to say and hope I have not rambled too much! Also note the pics of the robes in action I just needed a wand and I could have had a Harry Potter moment!!!
“Where’s my wand?!?”

Thursday, 14 July 2011

London Pride 2011

Erm yeah this is kind of late but you may have guessed now that I have a short attention span and things rarely seem to be on time. Anyways I noticed a few photos hidden away on my computer from the London pride event that was held a couple of weeks ago (Saturday 2nd July). So this week’s blog will be on the pride event...

This year was quite special as NUS (National Union of Students) got front place alongside TUC (Trade Union Congress) in the march. The idea is that while the pride is there to celebrate people’s diversity it also serves as a form of protest at the wrongs that still need to be righted. The march assembled at roughly 12.30 so luckily it was not too bad as early starts go.  I can’t remember where we started off but I know we went to Trafalgar square! We had to be up early as this year I was marching with Unison (a public service trade union) and we was meeting in a park (again my sense of direction is rubbish but it had green grass and had a lake... O.o). Anyway my day started early and I made my way over to the park by trains and tube and we began with a champagne breakfast (best way to start a day really!). So we had croissants, pain au chocolates and of course plenty of champagne (cheap student stuff of course).

Our UNISON balloon we had with the LGBT flag attached
it was all weighed down by the cart which
we dumped our entire luggage in!

From there we grabbed our cart of goods and went to assemble for the march. We were quite lucky in that the weather was not too hot but was warm none the less. I think the march lasts about an hour and a bit but the time flies when you are walking and chanting. We had loads of support from the crowd and we had the standard taunts and jeers from what has been dubbed ‘bigots corner’. Basically while the event is extremely positive you do also get a bunch of about 15 so called Christians who turn up every year to flaunt their out dated views. It did not matter too much as the number of people in the march shouting their cheers out easily overcomes the ranting of them!

After the march came more of the party side and the whole of Trafalgar Square was covered with people all dancing and cheering at the acts on stage which this year included Bucks Fizz and also some others which I did not know but they sounded good anyway. Although I thought it was quite sad when Bucks Fizz sang one of their most famous songs (The Land of Make Believe) and no one had heard of it and there was a sort of awkwardness but hey they also did “Making Your Mind Up” which everyone knew, yay!

Aside from all the partying and protesting and shouting we also had to man the Unison stall and help give out info about the union and also some stickers! Hooray! Unison also had a good idea of putting up a board asking “How have the government cuts affected LGBT people?” and yeah I know it may not apply to you etcetera. However a lot of the comments reflected fears and worries that everyone has right now.  See below at a few shots of the board:

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ups and Downs...

So this week in my ‘need to go into the adult world’ phase I finally decided to start my driving lessons (yes I know I should have started but I never wanted to drive when I was younger and I didn’t have much time!). Anyway Monday was my first ever driving lesson and I was absolutely convinced the driving instructor was out to kill me!!! Maybe as some sort of weird diabolical insurance scam...

Oh well I finally started to understand what I needed to do although what my brain imagined my body refused to do (or the car refused to do). I did know I wasn’t going to be amazing but when I got out of the car I was shaking with pure confusion and terror!!! I got in, huddled into a ball and decided then and there I shall never drive and will stick to using public transport. Also if anyone asked me “Hey Dan, do you drive?” I could just simply say no I CARE about the environment! However my friends kept telling me to keep at it and I will improve. Now I got in from my second lesson and I was shaking with anger. No matter what I seemed to do it was not right and I always seemed to be doing the opposite to what he wanted. He shouted at me to brake so I panicked and braked the car which I understand would get me a telling off. Next time I braked earlier than before and I got told I should have waited till I was up to the line. Ok got it this time. Then he shouted brake again waited till I got right to the white line and then braked but went a bit over the line which got me another telling off “You could have been hit by a car then but luckily it would have been your side not mine!” hmm thanks very much!

Oh well in other news I finally got my grades back and I have finished my course (games and multimedia technologies) with a 2:1! Hooray I can now graduate which means I will have a special graduation day blog coming up soon. I have booked my robes (how harry potter!), I have the confirmation through and I have booked my photographs. I thought it was quite funny I got the option to have my photo touched up to improve my complexion in the photo for only £5ish so I thought best to add that in just in case ;0)

In other news I have still not found a job and I really don’t want to accept a job that will not pay me for two months just to get experience. I did realise it was going to be hard but I have been told that games testing is a good way to get your foot in the door and work your way up from there. Unfortunately they know that too and are being really picky about how much experience is required. I therefore have decided to narrow my search down into a more specific role. As I specialise in designing interfaces I have stopped searching for games designer jobs and looking at interface designer jobs. It may be that I work in a different field for a while but hopefully I can use that to build up enough work experience to start work in games. Anyways I don’t mind too much if I have a break from games to build up my knowledge in interfaces.

Finally I have got another driving lesson this Monday so I have all weekend to practice! O.o Just got to remember as the clutch goes down the accelerator comes up and vice versa. Just got to remember up and down like a seesaw so a bit like this week really!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Not the type...

So now that university is pretty much at an end I have loads more free time. So far that free time has been used up for job searching and tidying up! Although I did manage to get to watch the new x-men film and I have also been catching up on all the news. Usually I don’t like to read the news as its always doom and gloom but I think it’s important to know what’s happening in the world. I was reading an article the other day about someone being murdered and the neighbours describing the lad as “not the type” to do such a thing...

Erm forgive me if I am wrong but I am pretty sure that there is not a “type” for murderers as I have never seen someone that I immediately think “Yep, they’re a murderer!” Unless of course they are running around waving a knife about! It just one of those things that annoy me as it just goes to show how quickly people can judge. It’s like saying blonde girls are dumb and it’s just not true. Our Equality and Diversity manager at the university recently sent out a link to complete an online training course in Equality and Diversity Essentials and even though I am pretty clued up some of the statistics still seemed shocking. For example even in this day and age you are less likely to be employed if you are female, black, disabled or LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi or Trans). Although this doesn’t mean you don’t have an equal chance when you are applying for a job (By law you should have an equal chance) it just shows that ‘statistically’ you are less likely to be employed.

Anyway back to my original point it would seem that all human beings are hard-wired in the brain to stereotype. It is believed to be a survival mechanism we have as we need to judge situations (and people) to ensure we are not in danger! However I like to believe we have evolved enough not to rely on stereotypes to define people. One part (I liked) from the course was this exercise:

I think the actual point of my rant is actually that we all should get to know someone before judging them as they often can surprise you. Like today a young teenager, off to school, actually gave up his seat for an elderly woman (which is great in its own right) but then the elderly woman sat down and whipped out her blackberry phone!

On another weird tangent I was in Morrison’s recently and the woman at the till asked if I wanted a ‘bag for life’. I didn’t get one but I was wondering are they really a bag for life? And if it broke would they give me a new one? Or if a better bag came out would I get the bag upgraded?O.o 

But anyways I said at the beginning I did go to the see the new x-men film and I have to say it was my favourite out of the five x-men films but it barely kept to the original comic book storyline but hey I enjoyed it and definitely say it’s one to go watch!  

The course takes approximately an hour and a half to complete, and you can print out a certificate of completion. Our equality and diversity manager, Kirsteen, said: “It’s a good thing to do as with the introduction of the new Equality Act of 2010, an understanding of equality and diversity is fast becoming an essential attribute for job applicants and you can expect to be asked an equality interview question for every job you go for.  Make the most of this opportunity and complete the training and improve your employability!”

So that’s all for this week and I hope I haven’t ranted too much!