the bubble i’m in

The days now are long and lazy, and it’s become rare for me not to end them with a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Excellent times. I’m eager – really eager – to get to Manchester and start my PhD, but at the same time, it’s nice to be having this very relaxed summer. It’s my last ‘summer holiday’ ever and it would be a shame for it not to be a good one.

So what have I been up to? Honestly, not very much. I’ve been reading a lot and watching a lot of football (I miss 3pm kick-offs so much), and I’ve tried to make the most of the glorious weather we’ve been having: walks, playing football and cricket, the Plough beer garden; lazy times in the sun with friends.

I’ve been going to the job centre in Coalville on a semi-regular basis. I’m eligible for Jobseekers Allowance until September, and mum thinks I ought to be claiming it. Personally, I’m not sure that I’m really entering into the spirit of Jobseekers Allowance – most people claiming it don’t have £13,600 of tax-free income sorted for the next three years – but my parents can be ever so pushy about this type of thing. I started off looking for summer jobs with a bit of enthusiasm, but after two or three weeks this wore off. Applying for jobs as a sandwich maker or a soap packer is so depressing when you’ve just graduated with a degree.

Anyway, the process of sponging is as follows: apply for at least three temp jobs a week (this seems like such a low number if you actually need a job), and every two weeks go into Coalville to be signed off. This is the worst part. You have to go and sit in a room full of horrible people. It’s not at all difficult to see why most of them are unemployed. Would you really wear a shirt that said “How’s my skating? Call 0800-KISS-MY-ASS” to the job centre? Or listen to your iPod during a jobseekers interview? I could carry on forever. You hear all this stuff in the media about so many University graduates who can’t find work, but I never see that sort of person at the job centre. Just unclean and unattractive people. Don’t even get me started on the people fighting outside last time I went. Coalville is my new least favourite place; there is nothing good there.

I miss Sheffield, though. I’ve been up there a fair amount of times since term ended (Richard and I went walking in the Peaks one sunny day, I saw Marcus du Sautoy speak, and I went with Hann on an open day) but graduation on Wednesday will probably be the last for a while. I miss my boys, I miss the maths lot, I miss the maths, I miss the bars, I miss Corp a lot, I miss J, and I miss my boys an awful awful lot. But not really in a sad way. In a fond way. They were great times, but they’re now great memories, and the future promises more. I got an email last night from one of the professors at Manchester, which ran along the lines of: “You deserve a rest after finals, but when you feel like doing some maths… get in touch!”. That’s when it sank in – this is really happening. Manchester in September. I am looking only forwards.

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