Marina

I’ve been looking at flats to rent in Brighton. I shouldn’t really be doing this, but I’m hoping I will secure a job in the next few months. So I wanted to see what I can realistically afford (answer: not much). However, I did see a cheap studio to rent and it was in excellent condition. I don’t mind the size of a property as long as it is comfortable. In Brighton you see really awful property. I wish I kept a record because you might not believe some of the things. I do remember seeing a medium sized room that was a kitchenette/lounge and thinking where is the bedroom? Then, I noticed a ladder attached to a partition wall. The bed was above the kitchenette – the owner had put in a structure so the room was like a cabin bed. There was probably a couple of feet between the bedmattress and original ceiling.

The studio I saw was in Brighton Marina, Western Concourse. I did a search and found lots of property there listed for sale as a leasehold. Some are really cheap but will only accept a cash payment. I don’t know much about leaseholds but they seem OK for someone in my position. In the long run they’d be cheaper than half of the flats I looked at.

I wouldn’t be in a position to think about this for at least two years (that’s providing I can get a permanent job with my desired salary). However, it’s a nice fantasy to get me through those glum moments.



source: watersideproperties.com/full-details?profileID=100324003455

Privacy

The EdublogsClub prompt this week is privacy. It’s a really interesting topic. I consider myself tech-savvy and quite clued up about OpSec. I am also aware that malicious people are always able to work around most security systems. Realistically, they could be a threat to me but I weighed it all up when I decided to have an online presence. I consider myself too low profile to be a desirable target, though I appreciate that if I am compromised that it will probably be a random attack. It’s a worry. But I worry more about vulnerable people on the internet.

I wish I could offer some type of advice or a safeguard. There are plenty of sites that offer hints and tips to stay safe. But there will always be people who exploit someone’s weakness. What can you do? I think the only way to be completely safe is to not have an online presence, or have a private/anonymous online presence. I do have moments when, for whatever reason, I delete/deactivate my online accounts – I understand my digital footprint still exists. I have also experimented with private social media accounts in the past – although they had their good points, they reduced my levels of engagement with other folk.

I have three main fears relating to my online presence:

  1. Money being stolen
  2. Indentity theft
  3. Trolling / stalking / other abuse

Money being stolen
Due to being on a casual contract, I rarely have much money anyway. And I had money stolen from me ten years ago – though that was because my card was skimmed/cloned in real-life. The transactions did happen online. Luckily a big transaction was blocked by my bank. However, a small transaction of £20-£30 happened (I don’t remember the details). Someone bought a ticket from a very well known cheap flight provider. I tried to contact them to cancel it but they wouldn’t talk to me because I didn’t have the relevant data protection details – I explained that I could prove the card that bought the flight was mine, but that wasn’t enough. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be able to cancel the ticket. I just wanted to try.

I haven’t registered by bank card online and I only buy/purchase from six different websites. Not that this makes me feel secure, it just gives me a sense of control.

Identity theft
I fragment parts of my identity online. Often using pseudonyms, abbreviations and variations of my name. I know a phisher could put these fragments together. But then, decades ago, someone rummaging through the bins in your house could do this. When it comes to social media I have indentities that people who know me can recognise as me, however if they were to search for me using my real name they may not necessarily be able to find me (they’d have to search via my professional networks). On websites such as Facebook or LinkedIn I have incomplete profiles, this is because the amount of information they ask from me is more than I feel comfortable giving. If people were to hack into my social media accounts, the worst they could do is impersonate me and harass my friends/family. My networks are so small that I feel confident I’d be able to contact everyone and explain that it’s not me they are talking to.

Trolling
There is so much to unpack on this subject. Sometimes it feels like the mere act of existing and having an opinion makes someone a target for abuse. I have mentioned previously that I’d like to write more about politics and society, but these are subjects where there are people who have very polarised opinions. I also think that if you write well and get a large following you will then attract trolls. It’s sad.

I made a conscious decision to write openly and honestly a few years ago. Admittedly, there are areas of my life I don’t write about online – I decided I do not want to share them. However, also as someone who experiences mental health difficulties I felt for a long time that I had no outlet for my feelings. I had private paper journals but sometimes I want to interact with others. I have received abuse in the past; people told me I should stop being so self-absorbed; I should get over my depression and I should stop over-thinking things. I then made private blogs and social media accounts – however, it had the same impact as talking to myself (which is what I was doing, only in an online space).

When I started getting more involved in mental health communities, I realised that there really is no shame in talking about it. So I did. I noticed the way some people responded. Some people thought I was over-sharing, some felt uncomfortable, some commented that I’d not be able to get a good job because employers would search for me and see I wrote about how unstable I am and some thought I was seeking attention. It felt awkward for a while. When I stood in the last by-election I made most of my blog private. Because my mind still felt shame about my mental health, and I wanted to hide that from the electorate.

So, really, why do I share? Because I now know I am not the only person who feels this way. I believe the first step to getting healthier is admitting when I am ill. And not being ashamed of being ill.

Is it worth it?
So, is it worth putting yourself out there? That really depends on how you feel. The only thing I would suggest is to try to educate yourself, and your loved ones, about online threats.

Travel Tuesday

Writing Things I Love Thursday was fun. I forgot how much I love lists. Which is weird because I mentioned it a week ago! So I thought I’d write a Travel Tuesday. #TravelTuesday is a regular hashtag on Twitter, along with #MusicMonday #FollowFriday (aka #ff#ThrowbackThursday (aka #tbt) etc.

I enjoy Travel Tuesday, and since I haven’t left the country for a couple of years now, I thought I’d link to some GoEuro blog posts about places on my bucket list. And I’ve thrown in some of my favourite UK places too because I’m itching to go back.

Our Picks: Inspiring, Innovative and Reinvigorating. 10 European Street Art Cities Every Avant-Guardian Should Visit

 

Our Picks: 10 Long-Distance Cycle Routes to Get You on Your Bike

 

The UK’s Best Cities for Thrift Shops & Vintage Bargains

 

Dresden in a Day

 

Our Picks: 10 Lovely Spring Cities to Explore This Season

 

5 Cinematic Cities For Silver Screen Inspired Travels

 

The Best Things to do in Cornwall: Chosen by the UK Public

 

Our Picks: 10 Cities to Get Lost in and Explore at Your Own Pace

 

Our Picks: 10 Delicious Chocolate Shops that Indulge and Delight

 

10 Best Places for Typically British Tea and Cake

 

Cheap Eats in Cardiff: 7 Under £7

 

Our Top 11 Art Museums In Europe

 

Mediocre

I’ve been fighting off a bug for a few days. But my body gave up today and now I’m home ill. I think I might be burnt out, which is very embarrassing to admit as I am doing a bare minimum. But it’s obviously an emotional burn out rather than a physical/mental one. I feel like a lot has changed this month so I am not being too hard on myself for feeling this way.

Never-the-less, I’m feeling low so please accept my apologies for the tone of this blog post. It may seem sad, but it is more reflective – and accepting/acknowledging of my shortcomings.

I finished my module for this year, I finished my term of counselling and now I’m looking for full-time work until December. I’m finding it even harder than before because, since I’ve been studying at post-graduate level, I am looking for something more mentally stimulating. Not because I feel like I’m better than I was before, but because I’ve noticed that keeping my mind exercised as often as possible improves my mental health. Plus I’d love to be in a situation where I can support folk like myself.

Back in 2015 I was interviewed by the City College Friends and Alumni Association (the page has since been archived but you can view the cache at web.archive.org/web/20150816191527/http://alumni.ccb.ac.uk/alumni/former-student-returning-to-college-a-second-time). At the time I wanted to be a Student Support and Guidance Tutor (or LTA ☺️) and I thought that after my Award in Education and Training alongside the PGCert I am working towards I’d have a better chance at being shortlisted. I am also applying to do a counselling course so I have another skill set to draw on. But criteria keeps growing and I cannot keep up! I don’t think I ever will be able to.

For example, here are the supporting statements applicants had to answer if they applied to be a SSGT in July 2015

  1. Knowledge and Qualifications
    The successful candidate will be educated to degree level. She/he will be able to demonstrate they have a thorough understanding of the needs of the full range of students and the ability to address those needs wherever possible.
  2. Communication and Presentation
    The successful candidate will demonstrate that they are able to communicate both verbally and in writing with students and a range of staff in 1-1 and group situations. They will be IT literate with a demonstrated ability to learn new IT skills and systems.
  3. Sensitivity
    The successful candidate will be working with students with complex issues and will need to be able to demonstrate the qualities that are required to handle these situations in professional way.
  4. Organisation and Planning
    The successful candidate will need to be able to demonstrate their organisational skills and their ability to work independently. Planning and time management are key to the role and she/he will need to prove their skills in this area.
  5. Motivation
    The successful candidate will need to demonstrate their personal motivation for working with students at University level.
  6. Team working and Collaboration
    The successful candidate will be working independently but also will be part of a thriving team of SSGTs across the University. He/she will need to be able to show how they can contribute to this team and their understanding of the benefits of collaborative work and professional networking.
  7. Creativity and Problem Solving
    The successful candidate will need to be able to show they can ‘think on their feet’ to manage the range of issues students can present with and to show how inventive they can be in using facilities at their disposal to support students.

Now here are the supporting statements applicants have to answer if they apply this month (NB/ it’s currently only being advertised to internal applicants)

  1. Knowledge of issues impacting student engagement (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the issues impacting retention and engagement across the full range of students, and the ability to provide appropriate support and guidance.
  2. Listening skills (essential to the job)
    You will be able to work with students who may be in distress or difficulty by using active listening skills; appreciate and be sensitive to the problems faced by students; and respect confidentiality where appropriate. Use examples to demonstrate you have these skills.
  3. Professional Boundaries (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will demonstrate their ability to set boundaries for oneself and for the service user and explain why this would be important in this role.
  4. Communication Skills (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will be able to communicate both verbally and in writing with students and a range of staff in 1-1 and group situations. Use examples to demonstrate you have these skills.
  5. Escalation (essential to the job)
    Using examples from your personal and professional experience, demonstrate that you have the ability to work proactively and with limited direct supervision, while at the same time recognising when matters need to be escalated.
  6. Interpersonal Skills (essential to the job)
    Strong interpersonal skills are necessary to sustain effective working relationships with colleagues across the university. Please provide examples that demonstrate you have these skills.
  7. Qualifications/Relevant Experience (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will have an honours degree or a relevant professional qualification or experience (e.g. teaching /counselling). Please indicate your relevant qualification(s).
  8. Dealing with Complex Issues. (essential to the job)
    Many students present with complex issues to their SSGTs as their first port of call. Presentations can be emotional. The successful candidate should demonstrate substantial experience of working with students with complex issues, and able to handle situations in a clam, sensitive and professional way.
  9. IAG Experience (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will be driven to provide an excellent customer service to the students of their school. Provide examples to show your experience of providing advice and guidance in a customer focused service.
  10. Independent Working (essential to the job)
    The successful candidate will have a proven ability to work independently, manage time and prioritise effectively.
  11. Recording Case Notes. (essential to the job)
    Recording details of student interactions on a centralised, restricted access, database as well as dealing with enquiries received through this system is an essential part of the role.The successful candidate will be used to keeping records of interactions and responding to enquiries electronically.
  12. IT Skills (essential to the job)
    Able to use full suite of Microsoft packages.
  13. Team work and Collaboration (essential to the job)
    Demonstrate with relevant examples from your previous personal or professional experience that you understand the benefits of team work and collaboration.
  14. Report writing (essential to the job)
    You may be required to write year-end reports based on analysis of data extracted from database. These can be shared with the schools as well as Student Services. The successful candidate will demonstrate they have some experience of writing reports.

I feel a little bit disheartened that I invested (and let’s face it, I got a student loan and took flexible/part-time low grade work) so much in something that is always being lifted slightly out of my reach. It seems that no matter how hard I try, I am always mediocre.

Things I love Thursday

It has been a long time since I’ve done a TILT (I do not know if TILT was invented by Gala Darling, but I certainly discovered it through her). But, the weather is turning and I’m thinking of future plans so here is what is keeping me happy this week. And other cute things I’ve found online.

7 Cheap Student Holidays via GoEuro. Yes please, Bristol and Cardiff!
Little things that make me happy zine by Eva Kubacka.
Hotel Pelirocco‘s interview with Emily Dupenny hotelpelirocco.co.uk/introducing-dupenny-boudoir
Quality Secondsbunting

James déjà vu moment via University of Brighton Alumni Association – awww, what a sweet photo
♥ It’s Deadlines Awareness Week next week at my university – see what’s happening in the pop-ups blogs.brighton.ac.uk/workingitout
♥ Also Student Volunteering Week

Raw Chocolate Superfood Love Cake via Infinity Foods Retail
DC comics lingerie range at Lovehoney 
Why I’ve Learned To Embrace JOMO — The Joy Of Missing Out via The Establishment
♥ Next week Brighton Students’ Union are holding Lead the Students’ Union Workshops
♥ Brighton Students’ Union are also organising a trip to IKEA next month brightonsu.com/ents/event/1132
Cold shoulder tops and dresses
♥ The Monsoon Home Collection – I love these prints
The Art of Hygge via Monsoon Magazine
Love Potion tea from Bluebird Tea Company
♥ My nephew’s beautiful face (he is my favourite human in the world)