The College Years

Believe it or not, I went to university. *waits for you to stop laughing…waits longer…*

I was a young, naive eighteen year old girl who actually still believed that Laika, the Soviet space dog, had survived her perilous voyage into low earth orbit because no one had ever wanted to tell this animal lover the cold, hard truth. As you can imagine, the thought of moving out into the big bad world was pretty daunting for me. Despite the fears and apprehension that I had, I was also quite excited. I envisioned myself sashaying into lectures theatres wearing an oversized scarf and rimless glasses, carrying only the finest coffee from the goateed barista around the corner, surrounded by enlightened students and partaking in witty debates with our charismatic lecturer who I basically imagined as this guy:

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Be still my beating heart…

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In reality, once I looked up what sashaying is in the dictionary, I realised things would be very very different. Firstly, I was usually awkwardly sidestepping into whatever seat was available twenty minutes into the lecture. Secondly, I could never afford coffee. Many a lecture was spent gazing longingly at the rich girls sitting up front, sipping their latte macchiatos and looking radiant because of their ability to afford solid food and central heating. And finally, my lecturers were no where near as charismatic as Professor Lasky (except for the Canadian guy who wore flowery shirts and played Sinatra on Fridays). Instead, they picked their noses, mumbled apathetically through lecture notes and seemed to only converse with the mature students who eagerly sat in the front row using words like “utilitarian” and “stentorian”.

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I had always thought of myself as somewhat intelligent and knowledgeable (I’ll conveniently ignore the time I put an egg on the grill) but university just served to inform me that what I don’t know could fill a rather large warehouse. There is nothing like sitting in a lecture while your professor and classmates are actually speaking in Middle English to make you feel out of place. I had my I have no idea what’s going on but the professor is looking at me nod down to a T though.

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I had assumed that having read the main four Shakespearean tragedies, knowing a sonnet from a sestina and being able to use the word modicum in a sentence provided me with the basic requirements for university level English, but apparently I was wrong. Many students in my class had seemingly spent their teenage years reading Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and the more obscure Shakespearean plays, like Troilus and Cressida and Timon of Athens because Hamlet and Othello are sooo mainstream. I had spent my teenage years making bad hair decisions and pining over Nick Carter’s curtain hair.

*Swoons*

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There was, of course, lectures that I loved and that I felt comfortable in. I majored in history and English because these have always been my favourite subjects. They are also the subjects that I now teach. My grades were consistently high (mostly because I had the amazing capacity to study for forty eight hours straight) and overall, I enjoyed college.

But then there were days where I was lazy and disinterested. I made some bad module choices; like when I chose a course called Information Revolutions because it sounded really exciting but turned out to be a history of technology and made me want to staple my eyelids shut. I got pretty lost pretty quickly.

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In the end, I realised that choosing the right courses was basically the key to enjoying college and I was able to make informed decisions in my final year. And then I got a degree. 

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No, really. And then I got another one. And then a diploma. Underneath all this madness, there’s a brain that can retain quite a lot of useless information and some useful information.

So what did my college experience teach me? Attending classes does not necessarily mean you will become enlightened and all-knowing. Feeling inadequate is totally normal, and while there are five people who may pipe up in lectures and seem like they really know their stuff, there are 195 more people who are just as silently insecure as you are. And finally, there is no substitute for life experience. I learned far more about self-reliance and independence (freezing my ass off when I couldn’t afford my heating bill), than any lecture could ever have taught me.

Cupid or Cats has been chosen as a finalist in the Most Humorous Blog category for the Weblog Awards 2015. I would be delighted and emotional if you could vote for me, because I can’t even ask my mother to. To vote, just click on the link below, select Cupid or Cats under the Most Humorous category and submit your email address. You then just have to verify your vote and presto, I love you. Thank you!

And to those who have already voted, thank you so much. *hugs you and sniffs your hair*

Alcohol and medication are a dangerous mix

Man, my blog has been kinda depressing lately. You guys can’t see my jazz hands right now…(and if you can, get out of my garden)

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…so I will have to tell you guys a funny/embarrassing story to make up for all my gloom lately. And also, in the words of Homer Simpson:

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For those of you who didn’t read yesterday’s post (you better have a note from a parent/guardian), I am back on my meds for epilepsy. I’m okay with this now, but the first time I was put on my meds, I was much less accepting. I was in college, where the extent of my responsibility was remembering to change the batteries in the remote control (seriously, that was my designated household job).

My life consisted of trying to convince myself to go to lectures, and drinking. My friends and I had an excuse for everyday of the week: There was Monday Club, Let’s Get Tanked Tuesday, W**kered Wednesday, Let’s Get Tanked…Again Thursday, F*ck It, Let’s Do It Again Friday, and then somehow I managed a part time job at the weekend.

When I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy (surprisingly not connected with my drinking), it was a massive inconvenience. I knew the partying would have to stop. I knew it, but it took a while to accept it.

It was the first month of me taking my meds and it happened to be the biggest and most drunken week of the year: RAG Week. In Irish universities, this is basically one crazy week of doing nothing but partying. Or, you know, another week in the life of a college student. Anyway, my friends were all attending a really cool party in a new club in the city, and I really wanted to go. If it was now, I would just go sober (I have realised that you can have lots of fun sober, namely insulting the crap out of people you don’t like without them noticing) but it was back when I was an immature party-obsessed lunatic. Glad that’s changed *awkward silence*

Anyway, I wasn’t sure if I could drink or not. My medication made me quite drowsy and I was imagining myself curled into a ball in some dark corner of a dingy club. So I did the incredibly mature thing and I rang my consultant neurologist. The conversation went something like this.

Me: Hi Mr. —, I’m just wondering if I can drink whilst on my meds.
Consultant: Well, a glass or two of wine wouldn’t do any harm, but-
Me: Excellent. Thanks!
Consultant: But Jane-

And of course, that was my cue to excitedly hang up and break out the peach schnapps.

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As we all excitedly got ready together,
knocking back shots of Mickey Finns, I didn’t feel much different to how I normally felt while drinking. Terrible balance and coordination? Check. Urge to sing karaoke? Check? Desire to tell everyone how I want to have a wolf pack? Check.

But after about an hour…that all changed. At first, I started to feel giddy. All of a sudden, everything was HILARIOUS. The pattern on my carpet, my best friend’s face, the word Rioja (okay, that’s legit funny).
By the time we got to our first pub, I was hyper. I mean, really really hyper.
I mean Ric Flair hyper

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All I wanted to do was dance. And not normal dance. Crazy dance. Robot, karate-Macarena (it’s a thing I invented) and garden sprinkler; they were all there. Here is basically my dancing face, except slightly less Asian:

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If you knew me in person, you’d know that none of this is particularly unusual for me when I’ve had a few drinks. But that wasn’t all that happened. Then I got really weird. Somehow, someway, I was convinced that the bouncer was my father. I was actually convinced that my dad was somehow moonlighting as club security. Imagine the bouncer’s surprise when I came bounding over for a hug. My friends tell me that I screeched “Daaaaaaad!” as I skipped towards him, but I’d like to forget that ever happened. What happened next is a little foggy, but I do remember telling him that I wouldn’t tell Mam, and that if he needed any help with rowdy clubbers, I had his back. I’ve always imagined some bewildered bouncer out there believes he has a long lost drunken daughter out there somewhere.

Next, I got the idea in to my head that all my friends, and the new friends we’d acquired that night, were all deserving of pizza or “pizza love” as I called it. So I silently took off to the pizzeria across the road and somehow managed to order three giant pepperoni pizzas. I brought them back through the back door of the club. I imagine me coming back to my friends like this:

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The madness doesn’t end there. I had made BFFs with a gay guy, and we decided it would just be hilarious to swap clothes. So he’s now wearing my short shorts and blouse and I’m wearing his over-sized David Hasselhoff tshirt and beanie hat. I really want to believe that there was surfer shorts, and to save my own embarrassment, let’s say there was.

Just to paint the scene for you, I arrived home to Jack that night (who had to study for an exam) in a trolley, wearing boy’s clothes. I may or may not have been holding a pizza box and been almost violently possessive over it.

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There is more to the saga of my fuzzy night, but for the sake of my dignity…oh who am I kidding? That’s long gone. Okay, for the sake of brevity, I’m going to stop now.

It’s funny how times change. Tonight, I’m watching a Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture while playing patty cake with my cat. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. But if anyone ever wants to go on a pizza/tequila/trolley binge, I’m always game.

My Worst Job Interview Ever

This is an actual true story. I’m saying this now because you might read this and think “there is no way that that actually happened” but I assure you, it did.

The year was 2009. I was just finishing up my Master’s Degree and wondering what I should do next. Jack and I were living in the centre of Cork in Ireland. Jack was working in a supermarket and he hated it. It was a magnet for thieves, alcoholics and junkies. Imagine my chagrin one day when Jack returns from work informing me that there was a position available on the tills. I tried to explain that I didn’t need a summer job. I tried to convince Jack that we were doing fine financially because I still had some money left from my previous job. That would have been believable if our main source of food hadn’t been jam on biscuits.

So I agreed to attend an interview. What Jack didn’t know was that I did not want this job. I had worked for this supermarket chain before and I knew that they were not a pleasant company to work for. I also had a college degree and felt that I should have been doing something more closely related to my studies, like puppeteering or juggling.

When the day of the interview came, I decided that I would do everything in my power to NOT get the job. that way, I could pretend to Jack that I tried, I really tried but alas, it wasn’t to be.

Firstly, I didn’t just not make an effort to dress up, I actively chose the worst outfit I could possibly wear. I put on one of Jack’s t-shirts and the grey pair of sweat pants I usually reserved for Cops marathons. Basically, imagine this:

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but add more jewellery.

Jack had already submitted my CV, so I couldn’t draw up a crap one. Instead, I planned to be as apathetic and disengaged as possible.

When I arrived in the store, I had to actively avoid Jack. After all, if he saw me in his ‘liquor in the front, poker in the back’ t-shirt and cops sweat pants, he probably would have gotten suspicious.

I was seated in a small room near the back of the store. Before the manager came in, I practiced a few bored and disinterested poses and settled on something like this
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When the manager eventually came in, I planned on greeting her like this:

but that didn’t exactly transpire because of my unreserved shock at the woman’s appearance.

If I thought I looked “unusual”, she could have passed for the love child of Mr. T and Vanilla Ice. She was wearing a cheap suit, and all, yes all, of her fingers were adorned with gold rings. I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to shaker her hand or kiss it. She was also wearing this giant gold medallion that made her look like an extra out of Scarface.

She smiled at me and yep, took absolutely ZERO notice of my attire. In fact, I’m guessing she was planning some kind of Salt N’ Peppa collaboration.

She had my CV in hand.
“Hi Jane. Thanks for coming at such short notice. We are quite stuck for new staff so…” she trailed off, smiling at me. CRAP, I thought, I’m really going to have to up my game.

“It’s okay. Although you’ll have to excuse me, I was out last night and the hangover hasn’t really subsided.” Heh heh.

“Tell me about it! I had to come in at eight!”

Wait. What?

So the smell radiating from her polyester suit wasn’t cheap perfume, it was last night’s wine. Wonderful.

“So Jane, I see you’ve worked in one of our stores before. Why did you leave?”

Okay, I thought, in for the kill. Come on, Jane. GAME FACE.

“I hated it. Especially my manager.”

There was silence. YES, I thought, looking smugly at my Cops pants and silently promising them that soon we would be engrossed in the best marathon yet.

“I don’t blame you. I know her. She’s not exactly easy to get on with.” She was smiling at me. SMILING.

Okay, I thought while panicking, I have to resort to desperate measures.

“Jane, you say you like to go travelling. Where have you been?”

I shrugged. “I’ve been to France. It’s such a lovely city.”

She is scanning through my CV, nodding. OH COME ON, I feel like shouting, I JUST CALLED FRANCE A CITY. But she’s not listening.

“Okay. I think that’s all we need to know. When can you start?” One of her false eyelashes has fallen off and is stuck to her cheek.

“Um…three weeks?” And you guessed it, she thinks that’s an absolutely totally reasonable amount of time for me to delay.

So I got the job. Now, for anyone thinking that I’m just being some spoiled and ungrateful cow, during my time working in this store, I got attacked by a homeless alcoholic, the security guard got fired for stealing from the company and I saw a thirteen year old try to steal a six pack and have his jaw broken by said security guard. That actually happened on my conveyor belt while I was serving a customer.

I lasted three months.

What I caught my boyfriend doing when I came home from work early today…

On Thursdays, I only have classes in the morning and then in the evening. Usually I stay behind in school and get some corrections done during my free afternoon, but today I decided to come home for lunch to surprise Jack.

As I walked in the door of our home, I couldn’t help but feel something was amiss. The atmosphere in the house was strange, tense even. I called his name but he didn’t respond. Then I heard him talking to someone. He sounded frustrated.

“No, it’s easy! You do this…How have you not got the hand of this yet?” I followed his terse tone to the kitchen….

…where I found him with our cat, Billie. He had attached the dog’s leash to her collar and she looked none too pleased; her eyes seemed to say “mam, help me.”

“Jack, what are you doing?” I asked him, keeping a safe distance.

“I’m teaching the cat how to walk on a leash.”

There was a silence.

“Um, shouldn’t you be working on your PhD?”

As I was talking to him, he was still negotiating with the cat. “Come on Billie, you can do it. There’s a sachet of whiskas in this for you.”

He looked at me. “Sometimes, I just need to take a break from my thesis, or I go kind of mad.”

Erm, ya don’t say Jack.

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My very photogenic cat

Your Twenties: Expectations Vs Reality

Remember those final days of your late teenage years, where you excitedly anticipated your coming twenties like a child anticipates Disney Land? And like Disney Land, you envisioned your twenties to be full of roller coaster rides, pretty dresses and people vomiting (from all the awesome parties you’re going to attend, obviously). Except, like Disney Land, your twenties rarely turns out just like you had planned.

So here it is: Your Twenties- Expectations vs Reality

Expectation:

You’re going to join your close circle of friends every day for grown up lattes/wine and engage in witty repartee (preferably in an uber-pretentious East Village style cafe)

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Reality:

Erm, you know those job things? Yeah, you’ll actually have to get one. Which means there’ll be no day time mocha-sessions and by night, you’ll look like this:

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(Except that you’re a human, duh)

Expectation:

You’re going to live in a swanky apartment with your best friends/gay roommate and engage in all sort of misadventures. There may even be a laugh track to accompany your every move.

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Reality:

Erm, you know that little thing called “rent”? Well, turns out it’s expensive. This is more likely where you’ll wind up:

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Expectation:

By your mid to late twenties, you’re going to be the CEO of your very own business. Doing what? Doesn’t matter! CEO B**CHES!!

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Reality:

Calm down there, Branson. This isn’t The Apprentice. Sure, you might be the CEO…of the stamp licking department.

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Expectation:

You’re going to go travelling and meet so many interesting people…

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and they’ll make a film called ‘The Beach’ based on your adventures
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Reality:

Traveling costs money. Which you don’t have. Cause you’re poor. Sorry.

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Expectation:

You’ll finally be a grown-up; independent of your parents and ready to take on the world all by yourself.

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Reality:

To your parents, you will always be a kid. Especially when you call them to tell them there’s a spider in your bath.

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Expectation:

You won’t make any mistakes in your twenties because you’ll be so mature.
Possibly you

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Reality:

…but more than likely, you’ll still be doing this:

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Expectation:

You’ll get married.

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Reality:
…you didn’t let me finish: TO YOUR HOARD OF CATS

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