On December 6, US President Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What has unfolded since: violence, protests, airstrikes and uncertainty for the future of many people. I just returned from the region less than a week prior to the announcement. I was in Palestine (the West Bank) to direct a short film music video with local artists in collaboration with FilmLab Palestine and had meetings with local NGOs to discuss how we could collaborate on peace-driven projects for the region. Personally, I fear deeply for the lives of my colleagues and peers. Israel and Palestine can draw polarising reactions – especially now – but regardless of where your political, sociological or moral beliefs lie, it’s undeniable that it’s a wholly unsustainable situation and things need to change. Continue reading
It was July 26, 9:47 PM. This night, believe it or not, my life changed. It was in the afternoon when I was informed that the International Space Station would be visible to the naked eye, starting at 9:47 pm local time and for five minutes from then. I was, of course, very excited. My whole life, I have been fascinated by space and the unknown. I was and I continue to be passionate about space and I am constantly watching new documentaries about one of my favorite topics.
On the 18th I got my results. While I was very tempted to publish a post a few hours after having checked my results, in the end I decided to wait at least 24 hours to cool off and I am glad I did. My previous post felt a bit like I was bragging, and that was not my aim at all.
Well, here it goes: I have achieved my best grades up until now.
You cannot imagine how this feels to me: “Like victory”. Yes, sure, but it is a little bit more than that. At the beginning of the year I told you my studies had become a way to reconnect with myself. With a part of me getting blurred out by all the new feelings of maternity, my studies became the only thing that did not make me feel like a human pacifier or a teddy bear or just a plain old mattress to sleep on top of.
My, my. What a roller-coaster this year has been, phew! I see myself now in a very different place from the starting point of my journey. Throughout this year I have reconnected with myself, learned one or two new things and basically enjoyed getting lost in books. If you are anything like me, you probably spent the two weeks after your last examination cursing yourself because relevant ideas for your essays kept popping up in your head. We went to Spain to visit relatives and to enjoy the warm weather there (warmer than Luxembourg, at any rate) and I still could not shake off this feeling of having lost the opportunity of getting a better grade.
To get the much-needed closure on this year I canalized my energy and my concern for my studies in an evaluative effort, trying to ascertain how realistic I was in my initial appraisals, how I have adjusted to changes and how everything turned out in the end. I think it is wiser to do this before getting examination results, that way the evaluation is less mediated by the final outcome. You know I am a firm contender for focusing on the process instead of results.
Are you willing…. to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you? ….Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas! ~ Henry van Dyke
For many around the world, Christmas 2016 is about celebration and relaxing after a year of hard work. My Christmas season, as a UoL student, has more to it; catching up on whatever that I have missed on and keeping up to the workload that is on the way. I suspect it is the same with many of my fellow students.
When I wrote my first post I told you that my main concern as a studying mum was making space in my brain for knowledge when the ups and downs with The Little One were barely leaving any space available in said brain. After more than a month of daily study I think it is about time to make an evaluation.
In the past few weeks The Little One was going through the “adaptation period” at daycare. She had to get used to new people, new food, new patterns, new rules… And it was a lot to take. Interestingly, this adaptation period is also designed to help parents in coping with the difficult feelings of leaving their progeny in the care of someone unrelated to the family circle. My mind wandered off easily and I asked myself repeatedly if she would hate me for “abandoning” her like that.
Five years ago, if someone had told me that I was going to live in Luxembourg and raise a baby girl while studying English with the UoL International Programmes, I probably would have laughed. Yet here I am: a Spaniard based in Luxembourg studying English and, yes, raising a baby at the same time (six months now and going strong!).
The truth is I studied to become a teacher back in Spain. I got my teaching degree there but life brought me to this little country and, after a while, I decided to enroll in the International Programmes to widen my knowledge in English. Continue reading
Last month, I talked about the importance of taking a break; the benefits of my temporal relief of a knotty problem encountered in any aspects of life, including studying. No matter how pressing a matter might seem to be at a moment, it always does me immense good when I pry myself away, so that I can return to it rejuvenated and ready to tackle it afresh.
So, what is the next stage following the “chilling” method? How did I get myself warmed up to the tons of reading that have piled up since the day I signed up for the modules of the next academic year?
I call this next stage the “thawing” method. It is when I immerse my mind in a semi-ready mode, or when I do not want to be switched off completely, while preparing myself to return to serious studying.
Good day my fellow colleagues!
My apologies for not writing for some time. It’s been quite busy at work.
I trust that everyone was satisfied with their exam results. If you weren’t, I urge you to apply my motto:
“There are two things you can do with an exam, you can either pass or fail, and if you fail, then simply re-write it!”
One thing true about independent study that is also true for many goals is the natural inclination to ask ourselves if we can really do something. To set a goal, we have to evaluate our ability, our motivation, and our attitude. For me, one important thing about studying in the University of London International Programmes is how responsibility for outcomes is my own. I guess that can be true of other study models, but for me it is magnified in this one. It is one reason why I enjoy the program so much.