Bank Holiday weekend is here in Aber and I have my mate Richard visiting. Today (Sunday) we climbed Cadair Idris, which is a short drive up the road (About 40 minutes.) My knees no longer work and Richard is currently stretched out on the kitchen sofa with a glass of wine like Ophelia. In typical Bank Holiday style, the weather was atrocious and I am currently stuck with a large bag of seething, wet, sweaty kit that is going to need a trip to the laundrette to deal with. Accompanying us on this mountain mission was my friend Tommy. We may have got a bit lost in the mist that descended upon us. Fortunately we were well equipped with a map and compass and the skills to use them so we managed to get down safely. Cadair Idris is a mountain of legend. it is said that if you stay the night up on the mountain you will either go mad, become a genius or a poet. I decided not to risk it as I feel the only thing on offer today might have been a bad cold.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going up Consti to look at the Camera Obscura and possibly have ice cream.

Things are winding down for most people here at Aber, but for postgrads like myself the fun is only just starting. I have another nearly four months of my course left and a dissertation to do. I was notified of who my tutor will be and I have my first meeting on Tuesday. All that stands between me and my Masters is a two hour screenplay. In preparation for this summer of writing up I have now got somewhere to live and have applied for a few jobs. Fingers crossed but I am fairly confident and excited about the whole thing.

The week has otherwise been fairly quiet, with a string of farewells, some forever, some only until September. There has been some lovely weather and an ice cream hunt. (Not that ice cream is difficult to obtain in Aber, you understand, it’s just we were looking for something quite particular.)

There is now just two weeks of this term left to go. This time last year I was watching as the excitement grew for myself and my fellow students. We were all preparing to leave home and come to Aber for the first time. We had no idea what to expect. We all had ideas. We all had our doubts. We all came in spite of those. And now some of us are Poets, some are on their way to becoming geniuses and some, like me, are just mad old men with a blue box (well actually a Leopard). But we all climbed the mountain. And even with zero visibility, the view was worth every bit of the effort.

Not just a Timeleopard...
Not just a Timeleopard…
Me and the slinky ginger goat that is Tommy!
Me and the slinky ginger goat that is Tommy!
Genius/ Madman/ Poet unable to say anything that can be repeated here.
Genius/ Madman/ Poet unable to say anything that can be repeated here.

007

 

Hey guys,

So as I am coming to the end of my journey at Aberystwyth Uni I thought I would look back and highlight my top ten things about being at Aberystwyth University, so that hopefully when you lovely people start your journey’s at university you will know exactly what to look forward to!

So, in no particular order…

  1. The people. Everybody in Aberystwyth is so friendly and I have made some of the best friends whilst being at University.  I cannot describe how lucky I feel to have come to Aberystwyth University and met the people who have become my friends from all different walks of life. I know that many of the friends I have made will continue to be my friends for many years to come.
  2. 1395355_10151593149967574_2096834308_nThe nights out. Aberystwyth is one of the best nights out, and because it is such a small place you always bump into people you know and have some of the most unexpected and brilliant nights out. I have always seen Aberystwyth as one of the safest places, and therefore I have always felt completely comfortable being out and walking home on my own and things like that, meaning nights out are always great!
  3. The university course. I consider myself very lucky to have chosen my course first time and love every minute of it. For some people it may take a change in course or university to find something they really enjoy doing, but I have loved my course. Of course, there are some down sides, as there are to most things I life, however it has been a thoroughly positive experience and if I were to choose again I would choose exactly the same course at exactly the same university.534330_458702964170497_1590402868_n
  4. The social life. Besides the nights out, the social life at Aberystwyth has been one of the main positives at being at the university. The pub quizzes, bbq’s down the beach and popping round friends’ houses really make the university experience great.
  5. The sunsets. Aberystwyth has some of the most fabulous sunsets and it is great to just wander down to the sea front or up constitution hill and watch the sun go down (in a coat most of the year!).
  6. The beach. We are very lucky to have the beach in Aber and popping down there for a beach bbq with friends, bonfire, 0r just lying on

522564_10151060456570864_1445599310_nthe beach in the sunshine is a great way to relax. Every revision period in April/May I have gone down to the beach in the sunshine and revised, and it is the best way to revise. You can hear the sea and feel the sun on you whilst revising away, and sometimes even pop for an ice cream!r just lying on

7. The cafes and restaurants. There are so many cafes and restaurants in Aber, and I have lost count how many times I have popped out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends! Especially after a night out, if a group of you pop out for the breakfast the next day it is brilliant to catch up on what happened to everybody the night before and begin to nurse those hangovers!

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8. The opportunities. I have had so many opportunities whilst I have been at uni, from national business competitions, to pitching in Cardiff to the chartered institute of marketers in the Senedd! Too many opportunities to mention, and I am sure it is these opportunities that have allowed me to gain a great degree and a full time job upon my completion at the university.

9. The scenery and location. Not only does Aber have the beach, constitution hill and just great coastline, but just a short distance outside of Aber there are so many things to do and places to go, that you have to explore and walk, walk, walk!

10. The university! Whatever department, and whatever I have been involved in I have felt comfortable and safe and enjoyed every second of it. I have worked for the university and attended the university and I have enjoyed every aspect , it is the employees and the people that really make the university.

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So there we go, a quick snapshot of my top ten things about Aber university! Hopefully if you guys come to Aber you’ll create your list of ten when your close to finishing!

I can’t believe my three years are nearly over at Aberystwyth university, it feels like I started yesterday! It has been the best three years of my life so far, and if I were to do everything over I would do it all exactly the same again! You can’t say that about many things!

Until next week

X

The main problem with doing a blog like this is that due to us having a timetable, a lot of the stuff that happens in a week tends to repeat and for you, the reader, that could get rather boring. So, where possible I try to focus on a theme and go from there. (It’s rather how I imagine being a vicar trying to write sermons does it really, at least the good ones!)

There have been a few things that I’ve considered writing about this week. And I suppose the main thing that I need to mention is VARSITY!!!!!!!!  It was that time of year. When Aberystwyth play Bangor in one mad day of sports (with a few other things thrown in for good measure.) I wasn’t fencing this time around, sadly, I am a little too old and slow and my days of varsity competitions are over. So I had the unenviable task of cheering on the team, with some fellow club members, fixing the occasional bit of faulty kit and of course I was in charge of the Lucky Leopard. Lazarus worked his magic for the ladies’ team but sadly could not quite repeat the feat for the men. Still it was very close, and to make up for it, we think he may have eaten Bangor’s Unicorn mascot. He did point out that he is only one small leopard and it was an awful lot of fencing.

Saturday evening we were all in the Union for the presentation of the Varsity Trophy. Aber was victorious and retained the trophy. (This same week I was also made aware that Keele beat Staffs in their varsity  as well.  It may only be a coincidence that I have attended both winning establishments…) There was, as usual, much rejoicing and two pint glasses of beer to be had at very reasonable rates.

That was the fun bit of the week. But it isn’t all fun, regardless of the impression you might get from reading these blogs.

At the start of this week I was feeling a bit down. There was nothing specific that was the matter, there doesn’t really have to be, this is how it works. And it is something people don’t usually understand. Far cleverer individuals than myself have talked at length upon the subject, Stephen Fry for one. It is called depression. It takes many forms.  People deal with it in different ways.

My misery was compounded on Tuesday by a bad mark which was not totally unexpected, but still a bit of a knock down. And so there it is. The Black Dog. And it doesn’t matter what else happens, on Tuesday I got told by someone I was a genius, I got a job offer, I had a really good fencing session in the evening, lots of positive stuff. But the demons always shout down your better angels. The nasty little voice in your head tells you that you are worthless and there is no point to any of it. On Wednesday I stayed in my room. On Thursday I stayed in my room. On Friday I would have stayed in my room but for a promise I had made.  I found myself at Old College, with some people from the National Theatre, reading through a new play. A play about a tortured soul who eventually took her own life, she lost herself in the darkness and couldn’t get out.  In reading the beautiful words that writer Lucy Gough had painted into the portrait of this woman, I was able to light my way out.  I felt a lot better. Suddenly able to see how blessed I was for the numerous friends who wanted to check I was okay, who understand when I say there is nothing wrong that there actually is something.  That are kind enough to care, but wise enough to let me be.  Aberystwyth is one of the friendliest universities in the country. It is full of very lovely people, many of whom I am privileged to call friends. Thanks Guys!

I’m sure this isn’t an easy blog to read, it certainly isn’t an easy one to write.  But these things happen, and the more we talk about them the greater chance of everyone finding their way out of the darkness is.  Time to Change!

Lazarus sends a message of greeting to our Varsity Opponents.
Lazarus sends a message of greeting to our Varsity Opponents.

Let us go back some twenty something years so that I can introduce you to my nineteen year old self. You’ll recognise me, I’m the short, chubby one with the undercut/curtains, baggy jeans and Doc Martins. I’m probably wearing a “James” t-shirt.  If you ask me a question I probably won’t answer you. If you are lucky I will grunt and shrug my shoulders. My response rate does increase if you offer me marmite on toast.

Nineteen year old Sion has just been presented with a pile of choices from various Universities. (Including Aberystwyth, Keele, Oxford, Welsh College of Music & Drama and York.) Nineteen year old Sion doesn’t know what he wants to do next week, let alone what he wants to do when he leaves University. On one side my parents are shouting at me to go to Oxford and read medicine. Yes. Be a doctor. That’s what you want to be.  On the other side, my teachers, who are pleased I’m an Oxbridge candidate are also quite keen on the idea of me going to The Welsh equivalent of RADA. (At the time the School was really trying to push its Arts A-levels.) And in the middle of it all I didn’t really want to go to University. I’d only applied because of some strange, romantic vision of Brideshead Revisited that I had convinced myself was still playing out at universities up and down the country.

And then, as they so often do, a miracle happened. Well, I say a miracle. It was actually a very painful accident involving a patch of black ice, a mountain bike and several broken bones. I went splat. I ended up in hospital being put back together with bolts. The promising rugby career that may have had something to do with the offer from Oxford was over with.  (Twenty years ago, the surgery wasn’t quite as good as it is now.) I was going to have to spend some time getting better and University was just going to have to wait. I got to postpone my indecision.

It was my Grandmother who gave me the best advice: Go where you will be happy. Three years is a very long time to spend somewhere you don’t want to be.

Back to the future. Or the now. There are a lot of people preparing to make the same decision I had to make before most of them were born. The way you do it is different, it is all online now, but the advice is the same. Go where you will be happy.  That is the best advice I can possibly give. Don’t be persuaded by bright shiny buildings or a cleverly worded prospectus, or even the promise of wealth beyond your wildest dreams for accepting a place. Go to the place you feel you can live happily for three years.

And now, back to the week at Aber.  It has been a quiet week. I’ve done a lot of reading. Taken part in a Charity Fenceathon. Been to a few meetings. Had a hysterically funny seminar on Friday with one of our PhD students who was filling in for our tutor (he’s at a conference.)   I have shared in the joy of friends receiving news of scholarships and bursaries, and the aftermath of other friends not getting their postgraduate places. I have also slain the laundry monster. Then on Friday night I attended the Bar Stock Exchange in the Union (60p for a pint of Coke, bargain!)  And I have now begun to formulate my plan of attack for the future.

I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I hope it stays that way.

Strange things happen late at night...
Strange things happen late at night…