Posts Tagged ‘email’

The time I made a speech

A few months ago, I got an email from my old tutor at the university where I did my undergraduate degree. It was an invitation to an end-of-year event for the current students studying at the school of social sciences, where I also studied.

After seeing it was an invite, I skim-read the rest then scrolled down to the details about where and when. I booked the day off work and made a mental note to figure out how to make my post-university life seem way interesting to my old tutor, who had had such high hopes for me.

On the day, I turned up a little bit late, thanks to public transport, so everyone was already inside the lecture hall sitting down. I sneaked in at the back and just leaned against a table. In the first tea break, I found my way over to my tutor and said hi.

“O! Hi, Laura. Have you seen Jenny yet?” he asked.

Puzzled at this, I mumbled that I hadn’t and wondered who ‘Jenny’ was.

“Come on, let’s go and find her,” he said, signalling that I should follow. I did, slightly confused.

We found Jenny and my tutor said, “Jenny, this is Laura.”

“O, hi Laura,” she said. “Come with me.”

Again, I followed, wondering what all this was about. We went down to the front row of seats as everyone started to file back in after their tea break. Jenny briefly introduced me to another girl but things were getting going again and I had barely said hi before we had to be quiet. I still wasn’t sure why I was sitting at the front.

Some students got up and did a little talk about their dissertation subjects and a few were really interesting. As I listened, Jenny turned towards me and said, “You two will be up after this one finishes.”

Oops! This is what comes of not reading emails properly! I quickly got Facebook up on my phone and found the message and sure enough, there was the request for me to give a 10 minute talk about life since graduation!

Ha! I thought, cynically. You do degrees upon degrees then come out and realise everyone else has loads of them as well and so you all end up waiting tables and making coffee!

But I did not say this. Instead, when we got up, I stood behind the other girl, waiting to see what she said and planning to take my lead from her. But she had forward planned, hadn’t she? She had made a PowerPoint presentation. O yes, she had. And the computer was having problems. So she said to me, “Do you want to go first while I sort this out?”

And there I was, no excuses, no way out, no preparation, looking at a lecture hall full of faces, all silent and waiting. And I gave the most shambles speech ever. It went roughly like this.

“While I was at university, I did my dissertation about how the quality of your lawyer at a capital trial affects the likelihood of you getting the death penalty. I interviewed two men on death row and one of them has an execution date next month. I volunteered with a legal charity for a few years and graduated from law school last year. There’s still a long way to go but I’m getting there.”

And then I just walked off and sat down. I didn’t mention the coffee, nor the long years of working in menial task jobs for companies who don’t care about me. I didn’t mention how much I love cooking and that I’m thinking of a career in food. I didn’t mention how I secretly want to be a farmer and have even considered becoming a lady of leisure (with what financial backing, I don’t know). I didn’t say that I often feel I’ll never use my degrees and that I think, unfortunately, we have become an overeducated generation without the job opportunities to use the education we have accumulated. No, I didn’t say that.

I stood up, said three sentences in a panic then sat back down! And of course, of course the other girl gave a well thought-out, PowerPoint assisted, interesting speech. She made a pack up about job opportunities in the charity sector. And she was fab.

I was a shambles.

And that’s what happens when you don’t read emails properly.

Search terms 3

Ok, it’s the third installment of the Search Terms posts. In this one, we have your average search about Highgate or Kingston Uni or what to do with bingo wings. But then right at the bottom, a strange Donald Duck search, which must have lead to disappointment when Google sent them to me….

lazylauramaisey
dairylea triangles music
“ici logo”/ “wavy lines”
things to remember while swimming
deaflympics in brazil 2016
are you going to scarborough fair?
vaynites
upstairs downstairs
robinson helicopter garage
the grove highgate george michael
sandy denny maddy prior
once i’ve finished i dont like them
the song remind me of the good time
london eye chairoplane
inspirational quotes about new adventures
laura maisey
gold leaf wedding cake disaster
alwasy moisturise bingo wings
how do i put my kingston email
i like my childhood friend who is my hero
inspirational quotes
kate moss house highgate coleridge
salt works liverpool 1871
i don’t want to finish reading my book
through on my mind right now
my reflection in swimming in word
motivational quotes about journey in life
fromromewithlove.de
what do people say about working with chickens
taxi drivers don’t know the way
first bikram yoga class fainting
i don’t want to finish reading my book
skytrain o2 arena
whelk stall
what is the background laughter in parties
drunks refuse to pay for taxi cabs
chairoplane london eye
moss covered stump
upstairs downstairs 2012 and downton abbey
cockle & welks stalls 1950’s pics
store with this apron close to pantheon
why do i say things twice
goat and dog train boy
trolleyology
college bucket list
hit by bird droppings
goat met dog
what are renegade squats
which road in highgate does george michael live on
listening the songs reminds me of holiday
shakeing my head when swimming
who said “freedom is the absence”
letters and dolls
neologism of big brother
did it rain on may 7 2012
dedication sample
why do kids say things twice
my feeling about olympics
freedom rules
things to remember when swimming
books about truffles
a memo in a polite way to my lazy dog
kingston uni pgce interview
donald duck girls big tits

Why Kingston University probably hate me

My relationship with Kingston University has been strained, to say the least. I first applied for a course there way back in 2006, when I was looking at undergraduate courses. I visited it one day, to have a look around and will always remember passing somebody on a path and overhearing them say something like, “This uni is so rubbish…” as they passed me. It felt like an omen. My first choice uni accepted me anyway, so I didn’t go to Kingston, as they were my back-up.

Then, late last year, I decided to apply for a PGCE with them, as they had quite a good reputation for the course. I again put them second and a different university first. I was surprised, therefore, when I got a letter from Kingston University asking me to come for an interview, before I got anything from my first choice university. I called up UCAS, the people who process and send out your applications to universities. I asked if something was wrong and if my first choice uni had my form.

And of course they didn’t! On the application form, you list your first choice UNDERNEATH your second choice. So I had put my choices the wrong way round.

UCAS said they would have to withdraw my application from Kingston Uni before they could send it to the other one. I would have to call Kingston and tell them to stop my application.

The phone call went something like this.

“Hi, I just need to speak to someone about my application for the PGCE.”
“Yes, I can help you with that.”
“Ok, I need to withdraw it. There’s been a problem on my form so I need to correct the mistake and then send it out again.”
“O, right. What’s the problem on your form?”
“I just, erm, it’s a problem with my choices.”

(Awkward, don’t want to say, “I put you first by accident but I don’t want you, I want someone else.”)

“Right, so what’s the problem with your choices then.”
“….Erm, it’s just… Erm… They’re in the wrong order.”
“Ok, so what’s the problem with the order.”
“…Erm. I, erm, put Kingston first and I meant to put the other university first.”

There it was. I’d said it. I’d said, you’re my back up, I don’t really want you. Now can you give me my form back so I can take it to the university I actually want to go to.

Awkward phone call.

She tried to persuade me to come to the interview I’d already been offered, because if my first choice university didn’t want me, it would have to go back to Kingston anyway, so that way, they’d already know whether they were going to offer me a place on the course. I said I’d try to change my shift at work because it was the next day and a bit late notice. Someone could cover but from 9am so I called back to ask if I could come a bit late, she sounded irritated but said it was fine. Then there was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with workmates and I realised I couldn’t take the day off at all. So I called back and said I couldn’t come. So I’ve annoyed them. I’ve really annoyed them.

Then my first place university DOES reject me. And so my application goes back to Kingston Uni! They offer me an interview but when I call up to accept, they say there’s no record of them offering me an interview. Their system tells them I’m down as having been rejected.

I email someone to ask what the confusion is. I have a letter for an interview. Their system says they’ve rejected me. In the end, they kind of say I can come to a group interview day, I think to get me off their backs.

I go along and spend the day using three words to describe myself and what I feel makes a good teacher and other such nonsense. I felt like I did ok. We were told we’d get a letter in a week.

The next day, I get an email from them saying no thank you.

Whoops.

I think they hated me by the end of it all…! I’ve also got a feeling I was allowed on the interview day just to get me to shut up and stop calling and emailing!

The moral of this story? Don’t be an idiot with your application form. And don’t make it really obvious you don’t want something, if you might need to later pretend you really do want it.

The time we defrosted a freezer

I was 18. I was living in Africa. I wasn’t that good at being a grown up but I was good at convincing myself I was.

One time my friend Lucy and I had noticed that we couldn’t fit stuff in our freezer anymore because it was full of ice. We thought we should defrost it but just made a vague guess about how exactly you did this. We had a fridge freezer thing so left the door open for a while but in the stifling heat of the coast town where we lived, all our milk and butter was having a bad reaction. We sat and puzzled for a bit about how to go about defrosting in a shorter time.

Then Lucy had an idea. Lovely Lucy, one of those people in life who you want to be like, who’s so easy to love. Lovely Lucy. She picked up a hammer and approached the fridge freezer. I stood by, a little uncertain about what she was going to do with it…..

Then Lovely Lucy used the hammer to smash all the ice to bits and get it out off the freezer. Mid-smashing session, me hovering nervously around, there was a noise. A hissing sound. Ssssssssssssssssss….

On. And on. And on. Went the hissing noise. Until, eventually, it stopped.

We didn’t know what it was but I had the distinct impression that my being-an-adult attempt had failed miserably.

There was a funny gas smell and we giggled nervously as I ran off to email my Dad about what we should do. That’s right. I was in Africa, holding my own as a teacher in a classroom, running the local town newspaper, making my living as an editor/journalist, and at the first hint of something electronic that I couldn’t figure out, I was running off to email my Dad.

The return email essentially said, “GET THAT THING OUT OF YOUR HOUSE NOW!”

Obediently, we unplugged it and got it into the garden and consumed everything which had been in the fridge, to save it going off, not because we’re greedy. Honest.

And there it sat for a few days while we pondered what to do. In those few days, the maggots found it. That’s right. The maggots. We opener the door one day to see if it still smelled gassy, and there they were! Whoops! We quickly shut the door, pretended we hadn’t seen anything and called a friend to ask him if we could put the fridge freezer in his car to take it to the repair shop. He said he’d come the next day.

That evening, something happened. Something which only happened three times the entire year we lived there. Something that pretty much never happens in a desert so you wouldn’t even think about it happening (we were basically living on the edge of a desert). Something that when it did happen, was so much worse for only happening a few times a year.

It rained.

The most torrential rain we’d seen since arriving. The wind and rain whipped the fridge door about furiously. It banged and crashed all evening. The rainwater got into every nook and cranny on that fridge. Inside, in the back, into the plug. Everywhere.

The plus side of this rainstorm was that the gassy smell and maggots had disappeared. Yehhhhh!

The down side, however, was that the fridge was SMASHED TO PEICES. Noooooooo…..

Our friend, George, arrived the next day and looked at it in shock. We pretended all was fine and piled it into the car and off we went to the repair shop. He also looked at it in shock and we just smiled a bit and convinced him to try and fix it.

A week or so later, Lovely hammer-wielding Lucy was passing by the repair shop with another teacher from the school and mentioned that they’d had our fridge for a week and we hadn’t heard anything from them.

“O yeh,” said the other teacher, knowingly. “They’ve had my dishwasher for about four years now.”

We spent the rest of the year without a fridge or freezer.