Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

First week of uni

On Monday I started my 4-week intensive course to kick off the GradDipEd, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

I'm astonished to think how much I've changed since my first year at uni - which was, admittedly, eight years ago. I'm so much more confident and assertive. In the lectures I've been speaking up and answering questions more than any other individual (including one question about how to deal with bright students who answer too many questions in class . . . lol). In our Communication Skills class today I was the only student who didn't say he/she was nervous / hesitant / uncertain about the course. I feel so confident, so certain, and so happy it's bordering on euphoria. I'm having trouble containing the bubbly happiness but I'm trying to keep a grip so that people don't get annoyed with me!

I was a little worried about the fact that I'm being so talkative - I didn't want my classmates to get the impression that I was an arrogant know-it-all. However, I was talking to a girl after our first workshop today, and she said that she was so glad that we didn't have any of the pushy, opinionated, loudmouthed people in our workshop group. I felt vindicated by that! It shows that even though I'm speaking up frequently, I'm doing it in such a way that people are not affronted or threatened by my ability to do so. Yay!

But I'm still a little astonished that I can speak up at all. What happened to the girl who had panic attacks over speaking in front of 10 people, that she can now speak unhesitatingly in a clear, confident voice from the midst of a lecture theatre containing 180 people?

Joneen moved to her placement in the country today, which means that Jemima and I now have the house to ourselves, more or less, until Bec moves back at the end of April. The house feels awfully empty, and Jemima is a bit confused about the empty rooms and the sudden absence of the couch and dining suite! My uncle has offered me a couch and a dining suite, and my grandmother is giving me an old rocker recliner, but I don't know how soon I'll be able to get my hands on them. Until then it's the desk and the beanbag!

I'm going to miss Joneen a lot - I've got used to having her around lol, and while it's quite fun to have the house to myself for a while, I'm sure the novelty will have well and truly worn off after a few weeks of having no one to talk to in the evenings!

But otherwise I'm feeling good. Uni is wonderful, Daniel is wonderful, and I'm happy :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Slight change of plans

I completely freaked out this week, and, as a result, had a long conversation with myself, which went something like this:

Q: Can I actually afford to live on my projected income for this year?
A: Maybe. Er, maybe not. I don't know.

Q: So, if it turns out that I can't, can I up my income?
A: Well . . . every spare second of the week is taken up with classes, work, travel, maintaining a relationship with Daniel, and sleep. So, no.

Q: So if it turns out I can't, what happens?
A: Uh, bad stuff?

Q: That's not really a tenable situation, is it. So how can I solve it?
A: I can only think of one way, which is switching to part time. But I don't want to do that.

Q: Why not?
A: Because I don't want to spend two more years studying before getting back into full-time work!

Q: Even if it means being miserable and broke and isolated and depressed and possibly losing a great relationship?
A: Well, no, but . . .

Q: And besides, don't you like studying? Weren't you saying how much you missed the student life and how much fun you're going to have as a student?
A: Well, yes, but . . .

Q: Then where are you going in such a tearing hurry?
A: Um


The upshot of which is that I'm switching to part-time internal study and doing the degree over two years instead of one. That means I'll work three days and one evening per week, rather than two days and three evenings, and I'll have three units' classes over three days instead of five units' classes over four. It'll still be hard, but nowhere near as hard as the full-time equivalent.

In other parts of my life, everything is well. Daniel and I continue to have a happy, healthy relationship (2 months yesterday!), family are fine, Jemima is well, all is good.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jemima update

I realised that I haven't updated regarding Jemima recently.

She's nearly 4 months old now, and has grown a lot. I'm going to have to replace her collar soon as it's almost too small. She's sleeker than she used to be - the baby kitten fluffiness is completely gone.

She's a typical manic kitten - she will attack anything, climb anything, eat anything. We have to be very careful of everything to keep her safe! And she gets hissed at and sprayed with the water bottle all the time, for doing things she's not allowed to do.

When she's not being naughty, she's adorable. She's going through a clingy phase at the moment, and loves to be near one of us. Right now she's asleep in her cat-bed, which is sitting on a kitchen chair positioned less than a metre from my desk chair. I can guarantee that if I get up and walk into the hallway, Jem will look up and miaow pointedly, as if to say "don't go away, I want you here!". If I stay away for more than a minute or two, she will come looking for me, miaowing repeated complaints that I went away and now she's lonely! It's adorable.

And when she's playing with her toys (as opposed to shoelaces, the bathroom plug or tissues looted from my rubbish bin!), she's incredibly cute. She does somersaults over things, hunts them, and pounces on them from behind things, with her little tail and behind twitching.

She's perfectly healthy and seems happy, so it seems like we're doing something right!

Here's a photo of her sleeping sprawled out on my bed, trying to stay cool during the last heat wave. Isn't she cute?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, January 8, 2007

Some musings on management

First up, sorry for the lack of updates (since last year lol . . . yeah, that wasn't funny, I know). Life has been a bit on the hectic side since new years' day.

Since starting at my new waitressing jobs I've been plunged into the wonderful world of someone-different-in-charge-every-time, and thus have had a bit of a crash course in dealing with different management styles.

I've discovered that there are basically two types of manager: "Panic Button" and "Cruise Along".

"Panic Button" managers are always in a tizz, even when the cafe is dead quiet, and when it gets busy they completely freak out. They can't deal with change: if there's two people behind counter and two people in front of counter, you don't dare change position, even if you suddenly need three behind and one in front, because they can't cope with your flexibility. They completely freak out if they see you stand still even for a second, and aren't afraid to physically push you around (not angrily, just to indicate where they want you to be) and they use pseudo-affectionate nicknames ("honey", "chicken", "pumpkin" etc), perhaps because they're too busy to remember names, and they always speak to others in a condescending tone.

Now, "Panic Button" managers are effective, in the sense that they're not ineffective. The cafe runs. Stuff gets done. And the staff look really busy, because they're too scared of being yelled at to stand still. Of course, they may not be achieving anything worthwhile and may in fact merely be moving to give the appearance of having something to do; and the staff may be expending half their brain-power on making sure that the manager isn't about to yell at them for something. But everyone is working, so it's all good, right?

Then there's "Cruise Along" managers. "Cruise Along" managers are still the boss, but at the same time they're everyone's mate. They trust their staff to be doing the right thing at the right time, and as long as the staff are doing what needs to be done, they don't care who is doing it. They give friendly directions if their staff are without something to do, make orders sound like suggestions that the staff just happen to comply with; and when there's really nothing to do, they don't try to make the staff do it anyway. They're happy to take a break, have a chat, giggle a bit and make the day interesting. When things get crazy they grin and bear it, and float on top with a laugh or two at the situation.

Now, the "Panic Button" managers would never credit it, but "Cruise Along" managers get more done. Oh, it doesn't look like it, because how can people get things done if they're not racing around in a tearing hurry and trying to do everything at once? But it's amazing how much work people can burn through if they're relaxed and confident rather than looking over their shoulder the whole time.

You can no doubt guess which kind of manager I prefer working under!