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Five for Friday, Journalism, Just stuff, Life in general, Volleyball, what I think

Five for Friday: achievements this week

Hooray, it’s Friday and I’ve made it through the week. Here’s why I deserve a weekend…

1) Last weekend – and I mean all of it – was spent on my latest MA assignment, as was the weekend before, and while absolutely necessary it’s meant I’ve missed out on any relaxtion-recover-from-the-working-week time and fun-stuff-with-my-family time. Last Saturday hubbles dragged the dog off on a big walkies so I could concentrate on my project in peace. While I was beavering away in the office, the two men in my life, Rich and Ralphie, spent three hours on an adventure. They returned covered in mud having fallen upon some Roman ruins, a wood and some open fields we didn’t even know existed. I was very jealous. So this weekend we’re doing three-hours walkies part two and I’m looking forward to wearing my silver wellies very much.

2) On Monday I played volleyball for the first time this year and got player of the match, and a few aches and pains to boot. I’m really enjoying my return to the sport having ‘retired’ a couple of years ago because this time the pressure’s off. No coach, no subs waiting to take my place on court, no pressure to win and stay in a division. Regional league is all about playing with five of my bestest mates – and the fact we’re winning most games is an added bonus.

3) On Wednesday I attended a data journalism course at Birmingham City Univerity. Organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and lead by online journalism guru (and my tutor!) Paul Bradshaw, it offered a basic guide to finding stories in data and displaying it in a cool way. I love the idea of data journalism and some of the visualisations (this one, for example, from a member of my MA class) are very, very cool. That said, I have real trouble getting my head around data and wince when I have to open an Excel file, so perhaps it’s not for me. But I will keep trying and even have some data sets in mind to look at in the future and try to display visually. I certainly don’t want to give up without at least dabbling.

4) As the above was at BCU, this gave me an opportunity to attend the university I’ve signed up with and meet some more members of my cohort. Despite enrolling last September I’d not yet visited campus and wanted to check it out. I even rode the train in from New Street with other students and trekked onto campus with them, so I felt like I belonged. It’s odd being 32 and attending university but I don’t think I stuck out too much. I also got to hang out with some of my fellow students, one of which I’d already met and another , a fellow distance learner I’d emailed several times. The others were new to me but it was great to catch up, swap stories about our backgrounds and ambitions for the future, our journalism careers to date, stories covered, and our shared insecurity over our projects. Have we done the right thing? Will we pass? What will we do if we don’t?

4) The only downside of Wednesday – data-journalism-and-hang-out-with-students-day – was that I almost fainted just before I got there. As I hopped off the station at Perry Barr I had  sharp stomach cramps which made me want to double over and scream in pain. If I didn’t know better I’d think someone was jamming a screwdriver into my middle. But I was in a public place so I came over all English, resisted anything that might have drawn attention to myself, and tried to carry on walking as normal. This resulted in me getting very hot, vision blurring and just before I passed out I managed to prop myself against a wall and take some deep breaths. A lovely student came over and asked if I was okay, handing me her unopened bottle of coke and genuinely being lovely. Whoever you were – huge thanks! 20 minutes later I felt normal again but sharp pains persisted throughout the day and by the time I made it back to Milton Keynes and fell on the sofa that evening  I felt utterly shattered.

5) My dog has more Twitter followers than my little sister. She’s very upset about this but I think it’s quite an achievement :0)