Be Brave and Enjoy the Journey

Apologies for my MIAness peeps. I was sucked into the black hole of academia (i.e M.A term one). But I am back and ready to give you a full update.

If you've been following my blog, you will know that I decided to take a wee career break and do a Masters in War Studies. You will also know, I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Where was my career going? What was the plan? What am I doing with my life? And most importantly, am I even capable of writing an essay?

Perhaps what I was really asking myself was, am I capable of succeeding in what I want to do?  Rather than saying, "Of course! We all are," I'm going to be more honest and tell you this - succeeding is really only part of the picture. What's far more important is leading an interesting life. A life that gives you amazing stories to tell people and helps you learn and grow.

So, what have I been up to you ask? Well, I've been doing just that. For starters, I've been spending my time meeting incredibly interesting people. Since starting my course, I've had the chance to talk to a Somalian government official about the situation in the country (turns out he was from Glasgow! What are the chances eh), I've chatted to an Al-Jazeera journalist about warlords in Afghanistan, and I've seen the selfie collection of a news presenter which includes pictures of various heads of states and military officials and then there was the time that I got to chat to an ex Navy Seal (he was a surprisingly small man). It also turns out, one of the sweetest lecturers in the department who you could call little-miss-sunshine is completely thug life. She embedded herself in the diamond smuggling trade for research purposes....I am now plotting a way to become BFFs with little-miss-sunshine-thug-life.

I've also written many essays, all of which I have agonised over but it turns out, being a 'mature student' has some benefits. You don't get worse at education, you get better. Now, when I write, I write to really answer a question; to understand it and to be compelling. It means something more than a degree title to me. It's about being proud of what I've written. When you write like you care, the grades will always follow. 

I've also had a policy paper published by the King's Think Tank. You can read all the interesting student-led policy proposals from science to war in the latest addition at the following link (if you are that way inclined)

However, mostly I have spent my time reading and then talking AT lovely husband who has no idea what I am talking about but listens in fear of his life. Because studying for me is a sharing process. You will know exactly how I feel at every stage - research - analysis - planning and finally essay writing draft 1 through to 8. I mean, sharing is caring right?

I've even found myself dreaming about essays. In my dreams I always write the most amazing stuff only to discover in the morning that my arguments make no sense. That bubble pops fairly quickly. 

Other things I have learnt this term - the idea of studying 9-5 and taking the weekends off was amongst the silliest ideas I've had. It's right up there with the time that I thought humans didn't actually need sleep simply because I had managed to stay awake for 48 hours straight. 9-5 never works, especially when you are still in bed at 9 am. To be honest, for the most part of the tail end of term 1, I looked like this:

I've also consumed more tea and coffee than ever. I would say I am approximately 40% coffee now (60% awesome) and I have single-handedly boosted the local economy with all the time I have spent in cafes. 

So, I suppose what I am saying is, I've had a great term. It's been extremely busy, stressful at times but as they say, no guts no glory. I suppose that's the point of this post really.

Don't be scared, take a chance and see how interesting life can be. It's not really about succeeding, it's about doing amazing things along the way and not by anyone else's standards, but your own. Talk to as many interesting people as possible starting with the people in your uni. I never appreciated it when I was an undergrad but your lecturers are specialists, many of them have advised governments, written books, worked with multi-national businesses - take advantage. You have a licence to be nosey. And be brave enough to give things a shot, nothing is as scary as it seems.

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