Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Getting Stuck in!

Reality is hitting me; too much work to do, too many academic papers to read with too many big words and the demise of summer.  The last few days of sunshine and temperatures in the high 20’s felt just like a lovely warm autumnal Melbourne day leaving me feeling quite discombobulated and a bit home sick. However, we are now back to the London Autumn weather – grey skies, wind and rain; time to get out those winter woollies!
I am in my second week of the course now and having to really knuckle down.  Our group is very compact.  We have 12 members, including three newbies, so we all know each other pretty well.  Although members have come and gone, it has always been a really supportive group we help each other obtain the weekly readings, emailing copies if someone is struggling to access the databases, or doing an extra photocopy for someone else who is stuck, unable to make it to the library due to some crisis or other.  Although our course is part-time, there is lot to fit in around the actual ‘contact hours’ of Tuesday 2pm – 8pm and helping each other out makes an incredible difference.  We all live so far apart with our main contact being by email. An SOS email from one student, always generates a helpful response and sometimes several.  Many the time, especially in my first year, I got myself into a right old tizz about something or other and was calmed down wonderfully by a kind email!  My mother always used to say “Two heads are better than one even if they’re sheep’s heads!”   However – she is Australian so she would say something like that!

I am really pleased that this year we are not doing the experiential group between 8 and 9 pm.  We had to do this for the first two years.  I found the first year group experience really useful but I pretty much hated my second year group experience and really don’t think it was helpful to my development as a counsellor.  I have decided I pretty much hate group work as well.  I am happy to work in a pair or in a threesome but having to do project work with more than that drives me bonkers and it always has.  I wonder if it has something to do with me coming from a very large family and constantly having to negotiate everything?  Maybe I need a few more years of therapy!
Last weekend I went down to West Sussex to see my daughter Kate for the first time in three months. We were so excited to catch up although she soon set me to work!  She is starting courses in accounting and book keeping and needs to apply for part-time jobs in the field and so asked me to help her write her CV.  She has loads of experience working in the horse world – competing, teaching people to ride, stable management, schooling young horses, and running her own business.  It is important that she provides evidence of the valuable transferable skills she has acquired.  The university runs workshops and one-to-one drop in sessions on CV writing which are so useful in helping students to make that transition from university to work so I may go and pick their brains for ideas.  I am really lucky that I have a brilliant sister in Oz who is an editor – very handy to consult on such things.  She was brilliant when I needed help writing my personal statement for my masters application.  I am always amazed when people think they can polish off a good personal statement overnight.  It took me absolutely ages to write mine.
Anyway, I digress! After Kate had picked my brains, we sat down to a wonderful meal prepared by her boyfriend, followed by us watching Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride accompanied by a bottle of bubbly cava.  I love Burton’s work with its peculiar mix of the bizarre, the humorous, the chaotic, the melancholic and the playful.


Kate’s corner of West Sussex is so beautiful and there is always something ready to pick for food, decoration or just a treat.  She was telling me that she was quite mystified finding lots of acorns on the ground around one of the trees in her communal garden.  She consulted with her neighbour over the problem of them all missing their little hats.  Her neighbour came to inspect the strange bare-headed acorns and burst out laughing.  She explained to Kate that these were not acorns but hazelnuts!
…and delicious they were too as we spent a pleasant evening with the nutcrackers!


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