An Open Letter to Michael Gove, Education Secretary.

Dear Mr Gove,

It has been a busy month for education so far – September always is. Particularly in my house as me and my family are now in all levels of education: my littlest sister in primary, my brother in secondary, my sisters in further, me in higher and my mum is an academic. We are an education household, if you will. We are all into different subjects and despite being the same family we all have very different educational needs. And so the fact that all of us have, are or will be in some way being failed by your persistent and sweeping changes in education policy  and, for want of a better phrase, “the system” in general is pretty telling. Continue reading

What next? On finishing my degree, unemployment and feeling a little lost.

I have been extremely absent from this blog. don’t think it hasn’t escaped my notice – I’ve been feeling extremely guilty about it and am coming to the conclusion that I am not a very good blogger. But at least I can pretend that it was for a reason – the same reason that I didn’t buy any new video games (and Skyrim came out in November so I was *VERY* good) and haven’t read or bought any books that haven’t had an element of necessity for well over six months: the final year of my degree. And I can also pretend that it was a success, as I did well. I have spent the last month since my final hand-in in a haze of long lie-ins, reading things I like to read and essentially just taking a holiday. Because as far as I’m concerned, I earned it. Continue reading

Being mad enough to run for student president part 7

The voting did not close. Yes, I know, it is a surprise. But there was a massive power cut last night and all the servers on campus are offline. And so voting has been extended for a bit – how long, we don’t yet know and won’t know until the servers are back online.

Everyone’s kind of annoyed…. some of the candidates looked as if they were going to hit something. I’m a little more laid back about it than I thought I would be but I’m still a bit pissed off because I had kind of hoped this would all be over by now and that at this point I would be beginning a fine  journey into a drunken stupor. Sadly, as it is, none of my friends seem to be going out, even though it’s St Patrick’s Day, and so I have no one to go get drunk with. There doesn’t even appear to be any alcohol at the flat so I can’t even get drunk on my own and sing sad Irish songs progressively more out of tune until I pass out. Life can be sad sometimes.

Hopefully it’ll be tomorrow that voting ends so I can find out that I’ve lost once and for all and not have to spend any more time in this irritating state of limbo. I should also probably get some uni work done at some point too.

Voting will still be at www.fxu.org.uk/elections – keep trying because you will be able to vote there at some point soon.

Happiness and Light,
Mabel xx

Being mad enough to run for student president part 6

Voting is still open – but it closes on Thursday at 2pm so you’d better get voting if you want me (or indeed anyone) to be your student president! Again, I reiterate, the most important thing is not for whom you vote but that you vote full stop. You cannot underestimate how ridiculously important this is to the functioning of your student union and the continuing battle to save the universe….. okay, so maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point.

Anyway, this weekend was quite lazy as far as campaigning went, mainly because I had to dogsit. Yes, yes, not a particularly presidential excuse but he’s all fluffy  and cute and he gets lonely. And so the highlight of my weekend was an almost three hour walk in which I found that my dog has the shortest attention span of any known animal. Including plankton. But boy can that collie herd. He’s not a trained sheepdog or anything (but I’d love it if my mum actually got him trained up to herd sheep) but the instinct is certainly there as any group of two or more animals is immediately chased after and brought back to me. This actually includes children as well, which can get me into trouble when I go to pick up my little brother and sister from school.

In any case, that is why not a lot of campaigning happened over the weekend, but it started afresh on Monday when I spent the day at Tremough….. well, actually, not much campaigning could happen then either as it was a UCAS fair and so the place was overrun with people who could neither vote for me nor legally buy alcohol. So I spent my day running around with bored workmates (I hadn’t been told it was a workday so I wasn’t being paid to keep them company, sadly) and just generally hanging out. Though it was not particularly productive it was fun.

But today –  today I went a little mental with the campaigning to make up. I took my leaflets and headed down to Woodlane in the morning, where people were very lovely and a few offered to take some leaflets and hand them round for me, which was hellova sweet. And then when Woodlane had had enough of me – they weren’t quite throwing things at me yet but I thought it best not to chance it – I headed back up to Tremough where there was much canvassing to do. This was helped along considerably when my friend brought little ‘vote Mabel’ cakes that she’d made…. it turns out that bribing students with sugar is the best way to get them caring about democracy!

I have a stupid amount of lectures tomorrow (grumble grumble) but will attempt to do some canvassing in my break. I want to talk to as many people as I can, but realise that there is a limit to how many out of 6000 students I can actually get round to meeting in two weeks. At least at the end I will be able to say that I tried my best.

Happy Voting,
Mabel xx

 

Being mad enough to run for student president part 5

Oh yes, the parts of this are stacking up!

Voting is now open! You can vote for me at www.fxu.org.uk/elections until next Thursday (17th March) at 2pm. What really matters (whether you’re a Falmouth or Exeter student) is that you do cast a vote, no matter who you vote for. The more people vote the more legitimate your student union is and the more people will take it seriously which means you are represented better.

It was Hustings at Tremough yesterday and having (kind of) effectively gotten rid of my nerves during the seminar on Hard Times we’d had just before, I found it all flooding back when I entered the Stannery to find they’d erected a makeshift stage and put a podium there. The one thing that could have made it worse was formality and there it was taunting me. There was also double or even three times the people who were listening in the Woodlane Bar. I immediately felt extremely sick. Thankfully a couple of my friends had turned up so I had someone to sit with until I went up to the doom that was my presentation.

Now, I can’t speak for other people who stammer, but for me the perennial bits of advice that are given, of the “take a deep breath”, “calm down”, “think about the word before you say it” variety are utterly useless. The chances are that I’m doing these things anyway and the fact that people don’t realise that and think that it is a case of me just being nervous or not thinking makes things infinitely worse. Sadly, this seems to be the only advice most people think they should give and get very offended when you don’t find it helpful – as if they believe they’ve let you in on some kind of revolutionary secret you’ve never heard before and will make you cease stammering instantly. But my friends are amazing, the only advice I got being the best: “We don’t care, just talk at us if it gets bad.”

In the end, I suppose it went okay. I did get stuck on my name, which was embarrassing to say the least, though having looked at the video (yes, just to compound the torture they’ve put up a video. To protect any semblance of dignity that I have left I refuse to post the link here) it wasn’t for as long as I’d thought and no one asked if I’d forgotten it! I managed to get through it is the main thing, and hopefully some people liked it and will maybe think about voting for me. I’d like to think that maybe I could do the job well.  The question we got at the end was a bit pitiful (“What one word would you use to describe how you stand out from the other candidates?” as if you can do such a thing in one word) especially as the Exeter candidates got some seriously good questions asked to them. Maybe Exeter uni students are just more political as a student body?

Today I went to the printer’s to get more posters; I also got a hundred flyers which shall hopefully be appearing around both campuses soon. I hope I don’t run out as I don’t want to have to bother the printer again! 😀

Happiness and Light,
Mabel x