In the day since I last updated I have completely reprioritised my schedule. I have been typing up my notes for the reflective journal – or rather, staring at them and trying to figure out what I meant. I’m going to finish my workshop’s zine next term. I am going to change my presentation to an issue I feel uncomfortable talking about, but it’s something that’s in my mind a lot. And probably something I need to address.

At the moment, I’m struggling to be professional on my course. I am feeling a lot of emotion in the sessions and I’ve been regularly triggered since the start of this month. However, I think I have also done a lot of healing and made a better effort of acknowledging my need for self-care.

Reading through my notes, I recognise things I have written while I was depressed or anxious. I recognise that if I’m feeling low when I am reflecting on my course experiences that I frame them in a very negative way. For example, I see my fear of saying goodbye to the Rocket artists this week as a sign that I’m not equipped to work with people and I probably need to climb back into my data entry hole and not engage with other humans. Which, when you read this, looks like an overreaction but that is just the way my brain is working.

Another thing I’m noticing is that my train of thought does not stop until it goes to negative places in my past. A passing comment about grammar and punctuation I overheard from another conversation outside my group reminded me of how I used to find the shape of ampersands so pleasing that I used them whenever I could. I knew that I was using them incorrectly, but I loved them and I didn’t think using them would bother anyone. But a colleague from an investment bank decided one day to dictate words to me when I was writing emails during our training sessions. She would not let me use the ampersand, she keep saying “Write the word and. It’s A N D… A N D. C’mon you can do it.” But I was freaking out because she ruined the consistency of my email history and I wanted to challenge her tone but I was too afraid.

I wanted to challenge her because I get fed up of people assuming anything I do is because I don’t know any better – I know things I do are atypical but I weigh these things up. I do these things when I feel safe to do so. I used the ampersand in an email because it was an informal email – to a colleague I get on with from my personal account. When I emailed a client I used “and” and I sent from a group email address. When I write an letter, of course I am as formal as I can be. I could not bring myself to say any of these things to her. And this frequently happens, it’s easy to keep quiet because explaining my reasoning feels too overwhelming.

I frequently talk/write about how proud and surprised I am that I am studying at university. This feeling hasn’t changed. I don’t think it will. And for that reason, I often feel displaced. I thought I’d eventually begin to feel like I am entitled to be in the place I occupy but any setback just makes me question how I managed to get here. I still have the words my family ringing in my ears; “University is not for the likes of us.” I constantly feel like I’m in a sushi bar. I remember reading about a sushi bar opening in one of my sister’s teenage girl magazines back in the 1990s and I remember thinking that only fashionable successful London-based career women would go there with their friends. So whenever I go to a sushi bar I feel like an imposter in a royal court. Obviously I now know that working class people can to university and sushi bars! But knowing and feeling are completely different things.

I’m taking time and care when I reflect on my failures now. I’ve had a few bad weeks now and I feel it when talking to people – I feel like I’m so far behind everyone else and it makes me reluctant to keep pushing forward. I know I need to shake off this mindset. Am I failing? Or am I looking to be a failure because it gives me an excuse to give up?


I cannot believe it is one month until Boxing Day! I’ve got so much to do in the next two weeks and, because I’ve been ill lately and a little overwhelmed, I’ve mismanaged my schedule (again!)

On the positive side, last week I was awarded a learning grant from UNISON Women. I am so touched and incredibly grateful. This money is going towards materials for my course – I had to halt work on my project earlier this month because I had run out of money, but now I can continue. Even though I’m stressed because I have fallen behind schedule, the grant has helped me feel motivated and confident again. It also means I can focus on my coursework for the rest of the year, while I put job searching on a back-burner.

I have been offered an extra week of work this term (helping out on a research project). I jumped at the opportunity and I started yesterday. When I originally discussed the project I underestimated the time I would take by 30%. I feel bad about this. I know I have no reason to feel bad, because my colleagues trust that I’m working to the best of my abilities and the timeframe I suggested was ambitious. I just wish I could deliver what I promised. I don’t like delaying people, and that’s what I feel like I’m doing.

I met a new mentee last week and I’m meeting him again on Friday to discuss our timetables going forward. I juggled my timetable around and gave extra shifts in my second job to a colleague so I could move shifts in my main job to work around our planned timetable. But it looks like our contact day is going to change again. This means I’ll have to retract my latest job application because I will not be able to commit to the hours they want me to do. I’m disappointed about retracting my job application as it had great hours, salary, location and scope for promotion. But it just looks like it’s not going to work for me right now, oh well. These things happen.

My assessment on my course is happening in ten days! Ten. Of course, it’s a ten minute presentation. I had a group tutorial a few days ago and we discussed ideas for the presentation. After the session I questioned whether I should study next academic year (my original plan was to continue onto the MA once I saved up the money for it). I just realised that I cannot focus on the assessment because I’m too busy freaking out about having to talk to a room of people. Obviously I love my course and I’d love to do well in it, but I don’t know how to give a good presentation when I can’t bear the thought of just giving a presentation.

The second part of my assessment is a reflective journal. I wanted to do it in the format of a zine, but time and energy are against me at the moment. So I think it will actually be a reflective journal. I’m feeling a little more confident about that. I just need to type up my notes and that part is done. Yay.

Tomorrow is dedicated to reading journals, scanning artwork from the workshop I facilitated and organising the pages into an easily printable format. Monday morning will be printing and stapling a zine together. I’m hoping that in those inbetween moments I can start on my Powerpoint. Tuesday is my final museum session with the Rocket artists this term. As my contact day with my mentee is changing again we are meeting on Friday to discuss it. Therefore, my two days work this week will be spread over three days and I’ll have to fit a half day in Wednesday (but that will be split between morning and afternoon because my second job is smack bang in the middle of the day). I’m also working Wednesday evening so that day is going to look interesting. Thursday is data entry and Friday is four or five hours on the research project for work.

So I have no other option than to have a last minute panic about my assessment next weekend.

Due to my hectic fortnight I completely forgot about and subsequently missed Tale of Tales at Parallel Worlds V&A yesterday. To say I am gutted is an understatement. I have been a huge Tale of Tales fan for years (I even have a tattoo inspired by the Path). I swore at myself for five minutes when I read about the event on social media today.


Yammer is my favourite social network. Which, I know is weird because most people don’t use it. Currently, the University of Brighton student Yammer has been accessed by 283 people. I would say that 95% accessed it once and never came back (I know because I log in daily to see if any new activity has taken place).

Here’s why I like it:


You log in using your usual student credentials. Easy peasy. You can then use an app to follow conversations (Itunes / Windows / Android).

I really like that only people with an email address ending in can view the student Yammer. (FYI there is a staff Yammer over at So it is a social network just for University of Brighton students.

It’s easy to embed on other blogs. But, because it’s only viewable to logged-in students, everyone else sees a blank space or a login screen.

The layout is simple and similar to another well-known social network. So, things are where you expect them to be. The home icon takes you to the All company feed. The left-hand bar has an icon that takes you to your inbox and another that shows notifications. Under that you have a list of the groups you’ve joined. In the main body of the page you can post updates (inc. images and videos), tag people, create a topic (by using the hashtag) and post a poll.

Other features you can use are:


I’ve had two incredibly vivid flashbacks today. Both were triggered by the sensation of touching tin and a slight toiletry smell. I was transported back to 2000 and a make-up case where I just kept metallic nail polishes and hair glitter. I remember the make-up case well because I didn’t normally wear make-up but I liked the case. I think it was a birthday present. It was a perfect metal cube with a handle. I liked it so much I took a photograph of it and developed it on watercolour paper. I liked the image of the cold, smooth case on the rough paper.

It all started because I am so broke I was searching through my things for some Euros to exchange so I can afford to go for tea with my friend tomorrow. I eventually found the Euros in the bottom of this tin. But the act of opening the tin sent a chain reaction of memories through my mind.

In my flashback I was sitting on my bed, looking at a hair mascara brush. I remember the smell but I cannot describe it very well. I remember liking how the metallic blue looked on the brush; the dark bristles poking out through the shiny colour. I also remember that time because it was a real crossroad in my life.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on that time a lot. Last year, when I was struggling on my course and finding it difficult to fit in it felt like my teenage years all over again. There was a conflict between how I felt (isolated, anxious…) and how I thought I should be feeling (the world opening up to me through the wonders of education).

This year, I am thriving and I feel supported. This is how I expected university to feel like. But I am still struggling with my mental health despite all the goodness in my life. I still feel nervous before I walk in to the museum, despite it being full of friends and colleagues.

Realistically I didn’t expect education to be a doorway to a magical new me… but I kinda hoped it would be. Just like I didn’t expect glitter in my hair to make me as cool as Alisha’s Attic. But I remember running the brush through my hair and hoping/waiting for the change to take place.


First rule of the Secret Lives of Art Students society is that nobody knows about Secret Lives of Art Students society…

I stumbled across the Secret Lives of Art Students quite by accident. I can’t find out anything about it. But I joined anyway. I’d like to think we’ll all meet up one day and make a documentary about our lives.

I’m outta spoons this week. I had a delayed response to last week. I felt a little bit overwhelmed during the middle of the week and referred myself back to counselling. It wasn’t until I was filling in the feedback form that I realised I wasn’t taking care of myself (or acknowledging my feelings). I had a few days off where I tried to sleep but I didn’t manage well until the third day.

I’m seeing my family in the westcountry next weekend and that thought is cheering me up. After buying my train ticket I’ll have no money for the rest of the month. It’s a glum thought but I found out I’m due a course fee rebate of £50 and my learning grant application is being reviewed in a couple of days so I hope that works out for me.

I’m looking forward to seeing my nephew. He is now six and a half months old. The last time I saw him he was so tiny. I bought him a babygrow last week with a gift voucher I had – it’s much too big for him right now but I can’t wait to see him in it (I used the rest of the credit on the voucher to buy myself Dorset Tea, Lovestruck socks and Tony Moly masks).

I also found out that Delve will be available to staff soon! So I’m looking forward to that.

I’ve applied for Student Union co-option. It might be too late for that, but I figure that the positions are still vacant so it’s worth a try. I’ve also asked for more information about the Erasmus exchange (because I’ve noticed Oslo have modules that could potentially fit in with my professional development route).

I’m moving forward. Slowly, but surely. Good night.