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I should be working.

25th April 2021, 16:24PM

I should be working is a phrase which has haunted me for the whole of this academic year. Even now whilst I write this entry I should be working on my end of year main assignment in java. I begun working on it, only to then think "I want to do something I enjoy that destresses me", so here I am, now thinking "I should be working". Working on this page makes me feel good, it's something I have which requires little maintenance and what maintenance does exist I have prepared for, it's easy to do, and relaxing to me. I don't understand object orientated programming very well. Of course I understand how it works, but I don't actually understand the different methods and techniques involved in programming in an OOP language. I'd say currently that's one of the things which stresses me out the most.


In other news, I chose my modules for next year and they're looking to be good picks. In my electives I have chosen Systems and Networks Administration, Applied Graphics, and Web Design and the User Experience. Among my peers these modules have either been called boring, or been sidelined for modules like Artificial Intelligence or Scientific Python. After the difficulty and learning curve of this first year in uni, I think I've made the decision to have an easier second year. I hope to do this by picking modules which I enjoy, find interesting, and most importantly give me skills for the future. I sort of hope that through my module choices I am able to carve out a more defined idea of what career I want after university.


I have had a few ideas already, I could probably make a bit of money renovating the websites of local businesses in my hometown, maybe if its successful enough I could make it into a business, atleast, that would be the dream. Another idea I've had is just working as an IT Technician in a school or office. This isn't my dream job, but it's a job, and it would be a decent wage, which these days, you can't really ask for more. My last idea is a little bit out there, but I hope that through Applied Graphics I find a talent for modelling/design, and then potentially work freelance as a modeller or designer. That would be nice.

A Year of COVID.

12th January 2021, 05:13AM

I'm not 100% sure whether it has been a year exactly, but it has been a year since the word COVID-19 collectively entered all of our lexicons. I do remember fairly vividly, sitting in college with my friends, when one of them, Joe, mentioned about how there was a new virus spreading through China with the hotspot being Wuhan. This was the point at which the world watched China intensely, following every case update, looking at heatmaps of the virus in China, and keeping eyes glued to television screens for further information on the situation. I remember how Joe voiced his concerns, saying how he could just see this going worldwide, it becoming the next problem humanity would face. The class was divided. Half of them agreed with Joe, and half didn't. I remember how quickly this situation turned from something which might "cancel holiday plans abroad" to something which directly threatened lives and livlihoods of our neighbours, friends, and family.


Reflecting on that, might be one of the more staggering aspects of this pandemic, just how quickly our lives can change, without us actually noticing until we have chance to reflect. For me personally, in the space of a month my education and assessments went online, with tutors having the same information from exam boards as the students did. There were times when students would message tutors and the tutors had to say "your guess is as good as mine". Any information tutors did get from exam boards was always subject to change, with advice on assessed work going from "Complete as much work as possible before your deadline" to "Pupils are no longer expected to complete assignments" and all information was leading to the grading organisations utilising some grading algorithm combined with tutor assessments. But even then, they never announced or even told tutors how the grading would be carried out, meaning anyone whose work had been negatively effected by COVID had to rely on the off-chance that the grading would be weighted more on tutor feedback on learner performance. The truth of it is, we still don't know how some organisations graded work, but it's plain to see that it did have an effect of a lot of students grades.


When I contemplate the decisions I had to make at the end of my college education, I remain conflicted still. I cannot truly say whether I would have been better off defering for a year, in the hopes that by September 2021 COVID would be but a fleeting memory, and everything would be restored to normal. In reality, by September the situation may be better, but I doubt things will be back to 'normal'. I suppose to some degree that tells me the decision I made was the right one, because otherwise I would have had to wait up to 3-4 years for things to return to normal, and I already feel old in uni at the age of 20. A thing that I can't help feeling is that I have actively disadvantaged myself by choosing to study in a pandemic. I know I shouldn't feel that way, and that every student is in the same situation, but when you're taught to not shoot yourself in the foot and put yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage it can be hard not to feel like you have made a mistake.


I'm going to wrap it up here, as this is starting to reach the length of an article rather than a blog post, and who knows, I may post again before the month is up.


And with that, first semester is done.

8th December 2020, 00:47AM

As the title suggests, I have pretty much finished my first semester of university. Despite being a trope, it has been a rollercoaster ride for real. I found myself settling in really easily, and making friends with my flatmates fairly quickly. As for my actual coursework, the material I often found boring, despite it being quite challenging. Now I feel the material, especially in regards to my first assignment, is a lot more engaging, despite it being challenging to a point where I struggle to keep up with the difficulties presented to me via the hardware I am utilising(Arduino UNO with a bespoke robotic shield). Strangely, relations with my flatmates have begun to sour, with half of the flat feeling ostracised, with me and my girlfriend, Ellie, getting the worst of it. It may sound sad, but I am used to being alone, uninvited to social events, however for Ellie it reminds her of bad times from friendships long passed. This has culminated in her feeling so bad that she wishes to move out, which upsets me, but if she isn't comfortable then I cannot make her stay, she must go where she is comfortable.


Overall, I would say my first semester of university has been a real mixed bag. I am happy with 2 out of 4 of my modules, with one of them being Functional Programming, taught through the use of Haskell, which honestly, I despise. Secondly, Personal and Professional Development, a module which essentialy exists to teach CompSci students how to work together in teams, and how to adapt to professional life. A pretty respectable idea for a module, if it was organised properly. Ironically this module has been the worst for organisation and communication, but what can you do.


I think that brings to a close my quasi-monthly moan and rant, but I do feel much better for it, even if no one ever takes the time to read this extensively. On a side note, I may end up remodelling this site into being more professionally/academically friendly, but I will keep the blog, it just may not be on the front page anymore.

An Analogy.

21st September 2020, 00:05AM

I'm thinking that this one will be a short one, mostly because I just want to get this down somewhere. I remember watching Jordan B Peterson's talk on mental health, and how your mental state is similar to an unclean room, and that if your room is a mess, cleaning it will help you clear your mind. The idea is that by creating more space and organising your things, you are also mentally creating more order and therefore you are able to think more clearly. Now I have no idea whether or not that is true, or whether it works for people, but my room at home was a complete lost cause. In that room was so much stuff that either, wasn't mine, wasn't supposed to be there, or I didn't want anymore. Now I get that all I had to do was clean it out, and sort out what was mine and what wasn't but it's not that easy. I don't know where to put the things that aren't mine, I can't let go of things that I really don't want anymore, due to a feeling of familarity from them, and I can't organise anything due to having such a wide collection of random things, picked up and stored in my room over time.


This, I feel, is the best way to describe how crucial it was for me to get away from my room. My room was quite small, being about 3.5 meters by 2.5 meters, with the walls being painted by a beige/cream colour paint that was peeling in places to reveal the pink layer of paint underneath, from when my sister had the room. I won't go too in-detail as to how my room reflects my mental state, but moving into my university accomodation has taken a huge mental strain off of me, and honestly this is the first time I've stopped to sit down and put my head to something, which might sound bad, and I would probably say if the same is still true when lessons start up, then that's going to be a problem, but right now? It's nice to relax.

Results and University.

17th August 2020, 01:47AM

So, it's been a while. Feel like I start most posts off with some derivative of that. Anyway, things have been going pretty well recently, my results came back better than I was expecting which allowed me to recieve the scholarship for £2,000 in my first year of study. As well as this, I've also got in touch with a lot of students who are either currently studying at or in their 2nd/3rd years of study at Aberystwyth University. It feels weird becoming social again, and interacting with people I haven't met before. It's a weird situation, I meet and talk to strangers online all the time, but they aren't meaningful conversations/relationships, barring a few individuals and groups. Whereas, regardless of who I speak to in the various uni groupchats I'm part of the conversations always feel like they mean something, me and that other person 100% have something in common, whilst still having experiences that differ from eachother, allowing for meaningful and thoughtprovoking discussions to take place, or maybe I just make friends weirdly.


To just wrap up this update, I guess I'll talk about what I'm planning for uni outside of studying. I've decided to try and read through my current book pile, which consists of books that I've either been bought for christmas/birthdays or books I accidentally stole from the school library. I also plan to try and take up rugby again, and start hitting the gym when I get to Aberystywth, and all going well I should be in a much better physical and mental state come Christmas.

As a sort of footnote, I really enjoy having this page here as a personal record and a documentation of my thoughts and feelings around this time, I look forward to reflecting on this in the future, and maybe who knows, this could be used to help people know that the thoughts, apprehensions and worries they may have are normal, and shared by a large number of students around the world.

Checking In.

21st June 2020, 01:34AM

As the title suggests, this entry is more of a "check in" rather than a full fledged entry, a more formal way of saying "I was here at this time", might add something like that possibly, a tracker which tracks when edits are made and then makes an edit, although that could just loop forever. Not sure of the particulars at the moment, and may not be the best project to undertake to ease my fear of JS. Anyway, I think that's it for now, I saw recently that this little site got over a thousand views which is neat.

Changes and Uncertainty.

15th June 2020, 00:28AM

Just going to come out and say this, my girlfriend and I broke up, and that's creating changes in my life that depress me. This will probably lead to less and less time being spent maintaining my blog. However, it could work the opposite way, with more time being spent, but I think this is unlikely. In truth apart from my girlfriend and my immediate family I don't hold any meaningful relationships otherwise.


I've had some thoughts about how I should proceed; getting a new job with plenty of hours to occupy my time, helping out in the community, attending church again. I've considered trying to become more proficient in python, or learning more of C++. I've also considered becoming familar with Haskell and Arduino C in preparation for my studies at univerisity. I think maintaining my programming aptitude is important, but I don't think its best for my psyche if I remain inside my room, and honestly I've been looking for any excuse(s) to leave my room and do anything other than using my computer. Despite this, it is the easy way out, it's simple, no preparation required, fully clothed, or just in underwear, it doesn't matter, it is the easiest time-consuming task that I can turn to when there is nothing else, and in a way I hate that, because most of the time I have nothing else to do but sleep.

Update (Probably First of Many).

31st May 2020, 21:23PM

So this one is probably going to only be a short update. At some I would like to get a logo/banner made to replace the text at the top of the site. Another thing I really want to implement, is a guestbook, however will most likely be left for when I have some unbroken free time. You may have noticed that I have added a directory for posts for quicker navigation around the homepage. May supplement this with a "return" feature on blog posts which will take you back to the directory.


Apart from that, that's all I got today, I did say it would be a short one.

Employment Status in relation to 'Rona.

23rd May 2020, 02:24AM

For around two years, I've worked for a cleaning company as a cleaner, working on average 3 hours a week and providing any cover that's needed due to sicks or holidays. I got the job through my Taid(grandfather) who is a general manager for the company. Without getting too much into it, the company has ran less than smoothly at times, with ownership/senior management being given to the previous owners son, due to other obligations the ex owner had. Recently, what with the Covid19 crisis a lot of companies have been left without any work to give to employees, meaning that either redundancy or furlough were the only options for employees. The place that I regularly clean was a pub, which shut around March 20. Because of this I have no workplace to turn up to, no hours to work, and therefore you would think I would get furlough. Due to some complications supposedly taking place with the system that has been put in place, the owner cannot process any furlough payments to employees. Despite this, I haven't been made redundant or even told I'm being laid off, so I'm left in this grey area between both of the options available.


As I am somewhat related through my Taid to the current owner, it makes it awkward to pursue furlough payment or a definitive answer, without creating bad blood. I essentially weighed up my options, and saw that the only chance I had of getting some kind of income was through claiming Jobseekers. The money I earnt before coronavirus helped to buy either, videogames, clothes, or food when in college. Not exactly essential, however I had plans to raise my hours after finishing college to save some money for university. Without getting paid, it's not like I'll starve or the electricity will turn off, as my parents have enough money to sustain myself and my sister. Still, I attempt to be as financially independant from my family as I can, only accepting small amounts of money, or working for family members. The amount I got paid regularly was £41.40 every 2 weeks, which would then last me till the next payday. Anyway, back on topic, claiming Jobseekers will hopefully allow me to save some money for univerisity, where I can use that money to buy things that I'll need in halls.


My application is still being processed, however I think stressing over it would be silly, since it isn't really a big problem at the moment, however could be if my Dad ends up being made redundant. Anyway, I think thats it for tonights ramble, and atleast it's adding some form of content to this site. Also, I probably will start looking into a list with all the blog entries that you can click to scroll down to specific posts.

Random Rambling and Bio Jar Update.

21st May 2020, 20:53PM

Quite a lot of time has passed since I last updated this site, but eventually I got around to it, and I hope to make some more consistent progress in the future as college work has officially been wrapped up and we have been pretty much given the all-clear that the work that has been submitted will be used to formulate a grade. It's a doubled edged sword really, we don't have any work to finish, but now it seems uncertain whether or not we will get the grades we want.


My situation isn't as dire as others in the class, as I have already recieved an unconditional offer through passing the entrance exam, meaning regardless of the grade I get in August I am in University. The thing that was driving me after I recieved my unconditional was the promise of a £2,000 scholarship that Aberystwyth University offers to learners who achieve DDD/AAA or over. 2k was a pretty good motivator as it would have really helped relieve stress in the first year, but then again it's not like I'm not frugal with my money, so it might have served as some disposable income for getting some new clothes, new desktop pc, vr headset, that sort of stuff.


Despite the fact that I should be relatively relieved of stress, I'm not. I have a combination of nerves and worries, things like fitting in at uni, living in halls, being in a new environment, paired with the fact that its highly likely classes in september may be exclusively online. Another stressor for me is the fact that my Girlfriend, Ellie, didn't get an unconditional, as she didn't pass the entrance exam, despite scoring higher in one of the two exams we sat. Before the course was essentially cancelled, and predicted grades were formally recognised as the grading method going forward, Ellie and I were both going for every Distinction we were given.


It's hard to compare A-levels (Exam Based) to BTECs (Coursework/Assignment based) as the level of work required for A-Levels is as significant as the work required for BTEC, just with BTEC it's a more constant thing. Having never studied A-Levels I can't say with certainity if the schedule differs much from GCSE, but what my A-Level friends tell me it's a slow burning qualification, that begins to ramp up dramatically the closer you are to an exam. Only way I can compare that to Btec is just the way that the course is pretty much constantly 'go' if you want to achieve Distinctions, the research combined with the literacy needed to convey your understanding of a topic to a tutor is huge, often requiring 3-4 pages just to explain one principle, so you 100% make sure you tick that box of the criteria. I don't mind the research, and the typing, as I find it quite easy to put my thoughts on paper, however I know others in my class do struggle with it. Anyway, essentially I'm worried Ellie might get screwed over by the predicted grades, and possibly not get into University, and if she does, I'm going to feel really guilty if I achieve the grades to qualify for the scholarship and she doesn't, but I think that's something silly to worry about.


Anyway, after that pretty big tangent I got some disappointing news, The Jar Project is currently still going ahead, however after I basically made all the wildlife in the jars extinct through leaving them out in this heat, (They're not all extinct but I don't have any way of balancing the conditions in the Jars, atleast not with the current crisis.) so currently the Jars are going to be left to grow algae and moss that I put in there, so that in the future should I ever decide that I want to introduce creatures back into the Jars, there will be plenty of food and oxygen to sustain them. I'll leave a few pictures of the Jars, the small one would look pretty neat as a desk ornament if it didn't have the possibility of frying all of my electronics that I own.


First Post.

6th May 2020, 21:48PM

So, I've finally gotten around to making my first post on here, spent quite a few days just trying to get a colour scheme/layout thought up and I'm finally happy on how it turned out. Started out with some responsive blog snippet from w3schools, but eventually cut it down to be more simplistic(Sorry mobile users!). There are so many things I want to put on here, but I'm only spending around 6-8 hours a week setting this up. Thats partially down to preference but also limited by needed to complete coursework that has been set. As I don't really have anything else to say I guess I'll just finish by saying what projects I'm currently working on.


Firstly, I'm working on a biojar, essentially taking water and soil samples from a certain environment (Mine is a riverbed), and then allowing organisms like algae and invertebrates to grow in a habit that mimics their natural habitat. I and many others who work with biojars agree that should vertebrates begin to develop, e.g. tadpoles the biojars contents should be returned to the place of origin. My second project is to use this homepage as a sort of blog, detailing daily life in quarantine as I imagine this will definitely be a moment to look back on, and who knows the details included may be useful at some point.