Things I HAVE done before 30: Part 3 – Education and skills

It’s been aaaaages since I started writing this series. Berlin and day trips and other happenings got in the way and made me forget about it. But now I’ve remembered I’m back with the third (and final) installment of things I have achieved before turning 30. I decided to call this post “Education and skills”, for want of anything better. If you haven’t read Part 1: Travel and Part 2: Experiences, feel free to click the links. Right here, you can read about all my education and skills related achievements.

Before 30, I have…

Got two degrees

A Bachelor’s in German with International Relations and a Master’s in Translation, to be specific. I did the Master’s part time via remote learning while working full time, and managed to pass with a merit – an achievement I am genuinely proud of!

Passed two Open University short courses

Start Writing Fiction and Science Starts Here.

Learned to speak another language

German… in case that wasn’t obvious 😉 I wouldn’t say I’ve reached native speaker level (I’m not sure that’s possible after the age of about 6), but I’m pretty fluent! I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for about 4 years now, but unfortunately haven’t been getting very far. It’s sooo much harder than German!

Read many, many books

Open Book
Open Book (Photo credit: White Magnolia Photography)

I’m counting reading under education simply because it didn’t seem to fit in either of the other two posts, and I really have read a lot of books. I wouldn’t even know where to begin counting them all! I have always loved books and reading, starting with Each, Peach, Pear Plum in nursery, then moving on to the likes of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, the Narnia books and later Point Horror and The Babysitter’s Club, and my first “adult” books by Agatha Christie. One thing I was always guaranteed to get for my birthday, no matter how little money there was to spare, is new books. Forever grateful to my family for that!

Learned to use several computer programs

There weren’t that many computers when I was a kid (I still remember having an old BBC computer in the primary school classroom!) and even once PCs did appear we never had one at home. My first introduction to a PC was in IT lessons as a teenager. Since then I’ve learned to use most of the usual programs (Word, Excel, etc.) and also four different translation memory softwares… soon to be five as I’m just starting with a new one at work! My computer scientist boyfriend would probably laugh at my so-called “skills” but personally I’m amazed that I can do anything on a computer! I’m still convinced they’re plotting to take over the world…

Learned to cook (and bake)

I consider cooking and baking to be a skill (and also something pretty much anyone should be able to do. Following a recipe isn’t that hard!). But I will be the first to admit that I’ve gone beyond the basics and can now whip up some pretty amazing concoctions. Being able to make an excellent Christmas dinner may not be particularly glamorous, but we can’t all be musicians, artists or geniuses and there aren’t many people who don’t enjoy a good meal (or delicious chocolate brownie…)

Aaaand that’s all for this series. Next time I ask myself what I’ve been doing all my life I’ll have to look back at this and remind myself that, actually, I have done quite a lot. Now if only I could figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life (other than not end up as a career woman, that is, however convinced my family may be that precisely that is my fate).

In case you missed them, links to the first two parts:

It’s official!

My degree certificate arrived today, and very nice it looks too! So now I’m now an actual qualified translated and can  officially  call myself Beverley of Confuzzledom MA. Or even BA MA if I so desire. Or is it MA BA? I have no idea which comes first. The higher one or the one I got first? Hmm. Anyway, exciting stuff. I called Jan to tell him and his response was “So what type of drink should I buy to celebrate with on the way home”. I then reminded him we still have champagne (actual champagne!) in the fridge plus an unopened bottle of sparking wine that’s been sitting around for over a year now – don’t ask me how that managed to happen! So it looks like there’s going to be a celebration. Only a miniature one though cos I have work tomorrow…

How about some good news?

It seems that my last post struck a cord with people. My stats haven’t shown that many views for a while (35 yesterday in case you were wondering… yes, I’m that popular. *sarcasm mode off*). Anyway, in all the confusion and mixed up feelings I completely forgot to mention my good news… I got the provisional result for my dissertation yesterday (subject to approval by the exam board). I got 70%! For my non-English readers… that’s actually good! Yes, I know it’s 30 whole percent less than 100, but if you bear in mind that you can’t actually get anything about 85% it puts it in perspective. Plus I was only aiming for a pass, which would have been 50%, so I’m happy. The mark becomes official on 5th July.. hopefully it won’t change too much, if at all, then all my marks will be added together and I’ll find out what I’ve got for the whole degree. And at some point in November I’ll finally get my certificate. For now, though, I shall sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that my Master’s is in the bag and I don’t have to do any more assignments… at least until the next time I decide to inflict an OU course on myself. By the way, if anyone was thinking of buying me a gift for my birthday in August, OU vouchers are always appreciated 😉 (I jest, of course. I’m not even going to be in Germany on my birthday this year). Right, I’m off to spend some time with my boyfriend now. I started a ten-finger typing course this morning, which ran from 9 – 12:30 (and it’s every Saturday from now til 24th July. Woe, woe, woe) so the only thing we’ve done together today is weekly food shop. Not much fun. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone 🙂

Remind me why I’m doing this

So far I’ve written just over 2,000 words which I may or may not actually end up being able to use in my dissertation. I need 15,000 words, or 13,500 at the very least if I make use of the “you can be 10% over or under” rule. Then there’s the literature review which I haven’t even started, or indeed thought about, yet.  And the deadline is 11th May – which means I have to get it finished before that because it needs to be printed, bound and sent to England. To say that I’m panicking would be an understatement. Unfortunately panicking doesn’t give me any more of a clue what I need to write, or give me any extra time to do any writing. What I really need is a clone. Preferably a clone whose brain works better than mine (I wonder… does an improved version of myself still count as a clone?). The clone can write the dissertation and I’ll go to work, do the housework and continue to look for flats for the boyfriend and I. Sounds like a plan, no?

Can someone please remind me why I wanted to do a Master’s?

That was the weekend that was…

Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last blog post. We celebrated six years of being together by going for a meal at an Italian restaurant close to my flat. It’s fairly new and we hadn’t been there before, but every time I’ve walked past it was packed. As it was again on Friday night. We arrived at just before 8 o’clock and were told they did have a table for 2 free, but only until 9pm! We had a lovely meal, complete with wine and actually were finished by 9… not bad! Will definitely be going there again, but perhaps with a reservation next time? After the meal we came home and watched the Goonies on DVD. I bought it for myself the other day as a treat, because it was cheap, and Jan had never seen it! Slowly, slowly I am filling in the gaps in his education… I’ve already introduced him to Edward Scissorhands and The Breakfast Club… and now The Goonies. I wonder what other classics he’s missed out on?

Yesterday we drove over towards the Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest) and went for a bit of a walk through the trees. There’s still deeo snow up there! Afterwards we drove into Landau, had a bit of a walk around then went to a wine tavern for something to eat. I had pike-perch fillet in a really nice sauce. And a glass of wine of course… what else should one drink in a wine tavern?
We had a lovely day, culminating in a talk about the possibility of actually getting a flat together… but more on that tomorrow, it’s such a mile stone that I think it deserves a whole blog post of it’s very own 🙂

Today I have mostly been working on my dissertation.. or at least attempting to. I have a grand total of 536 words so far, which I may or may not be able to use in the actual dissertation. *sigh* Can someone please remind me why I wanted to do a master’s?

Oh, and I’ve just heard (courtesy of my sister) that a friend of mine back in England has become a father today. He’s actually the son of a family friend and I’ve known hi since I was about 10 years old… rather strange thinking of him having a new born daughter! We are all growing up, alas…

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Catching up

After another weekend away from the blogosphere I am slowly, slowly starting to catch up with all the blogs I like to read. If I haven’t left you a comment yet I will soon… there’s just so much to get through!

My friend’s visit went well. There was lots going on, but we managed to fit everything in and get her back to the train station in time on Sunday. So I think we can label the weekend a success.

And now, after over a week of day trips, fun and visitors, today’s task is to write and submit a proposal for my dissertation, which I will hopefully be starting to write in September. Wish me luck… I’ve never written a proper dissertation proposal before! (For my Bachelor’s dissertation we had to submit a plan but it was nothing like what I’m expected to do for this one!)

Wishlist

I wish…

  • I could write as well as I thought I could when I was 10
  • I knew what I wanted from life
  • I could get my Master’s without having to write a thesis
  • My flat would clean itself
  • I understood the German tax system well enough to start working as a freelance translator (I have to do taxes every month for the first year? What?! But I can’t even remember to do my taxes at the end of each financial year!)
  • Crumpets existed in Germany
  • … and Hula Hoops and Heinz Cream of Chicken Soup and Red Leicester Cheese
  • I had a washing machine
  • I could afford to buy this… or this
  • I could do something creative. I totally admire people who can paint or sew or even take great pictures
  • Everyone I know would stop getting married/having babies (I’ve heard about two pregnancies in the past week and have known about a third for a couple of months)
  • It would stop raining

What’s on your wishlist today?

How about some good news for a change?

The essay I did for Text Linguistics last month has been returned to me.
I got 67%… subject to the approval of the exam board. A pass at Master’s level is 50%, and I can’t see the exam board reducing it by more than 17% even if they do change it. So I never have to do Text Linguistics again. Woo hoo! I would say this calls for a celebration but as I’m trying very hard not to spend any money I don’t actually have anything to celebrate with.

My other piece of news is that I’m going to Rome. My mum is taking my brother as a treat for finishing his A-Levels and she asked us to go along so we could have one last family holiday before little bro goes off to uni (my sister and her boyfriend are going too). It was all arranged over the weekend… all that remained was for me to ask about time off then we were going to book it. Then, on the day that I was supposed to ask for time off, I lost my job instead. This left me with lots of time on my hands… but made spending money on a holiday seem a little bit wrong. So I told my mum we couldn’t go. Then the boyfriend decided that he still does want to go… and offered to pay for me as well. So we booked it… and I am now torn between feeling excited and incredibly guilty. Also, next time I’m at the employment agency (which will be whenever I get the forms back from my boss) I’ll have to inform them that I plan to leave the country and get their permission. Yes, you read that right. People who are on unemployment benefit in Germany are allowed to leave their place of residence for a certain of number of days each year but have to ask the permission of the employment agency in advance. I’m hoping they’ll let me off if I tell them it was all booked before I knew I was going to be unemployed and cancelling it would only cost more. Keep your fingers crossed for me, ok.

Well, I didn’t fail…

So yesterday I decided to check my university email on the off chance that for once they had actually taken less than 6 weeks to mark a piece of work.
They had. My assessed piece for Text Linguistics was sitting there waiting for me (yes, I actually manage to get the assessed work done, unlike the practice pieces which I’ve basically been ignoring for the past six months. Ooops). So I downloaded the attachment, saved it to the “Uni” folder on my desktop and, hands trembling slightly, opened the file. Somehow, amazingly, I did not fail! I got 53%. The passing grade for Master’s is 50%, so only just a pass, but a pass anyway. Relief all round. 53% isn’t bad considering I hate the module and really didn’t understand the assignment. Now if I can just manage to get my GETS portfolio done in time and get more than 50% for the second Text Linguistics assessment I should actually pass this year. And then it’s on to the thesis. Umm, shoot me now please?

Right, I’m off to take my tea out of the oven now. And then the boyfriend is coming round (in about an hour hopefully). He’s been away for almost a whole week! I just hope his train doesn’t get in late…

Reading for pain and pleasure

I’ve just been looking at UWE’s online area. The summer holidays are over now and my Masters course is starting again. Time to get back to the old grindstone… cos working full time clearly just isn’t enough for me…
So I was looking at the course material for Text Linguistics where I discovered that the nice man running the course has kindly pointed out that the books he wants us to use are available at the UWE library. Umm, has he not realised that this is an online course. The participants are scattered throughout the world… exactly how useful does he imagine a library in Bristol is going to be? So it looks like I’m going to have to buy some lovely expensive books that I have no intention of ever using again once this module is over. Oh, and he wants the first practical exercise in on 10th October. As in this Friday. Remind me why I wanted to go back to uni?

Ooh, speaking of books – I bought myself a present today. I didn’t mean to, but I spotted it while I was in Thalia having a browse at what kids books they’ve got (I need to start buying Christmas presents now if I’m going to afford them all!) And I’ve wanted it for ages as well. Are you all intrigued now? SHould I tell you what I bought?
It’s Thankyou for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern. Yes, I am aware that her books are pretty much Chick Lit, but who cares. I love them. And they’re not half as brainless as some of the stuff that’s out there. Anyway, wooo something new to read. And for only 6 euros as well – bloody cheap for an English book in Germany!

Right, I’m off to do something useful now…. errm, after I’ve caught up on everyone’s blogs that is…