Tag Archives: life

Student Confidence

Something I see quite often with the higher education students I’m around is a loss of confidence in themselves.

On the surface they appear to be growing, both physically and mentally, but underneath not all is well. Most I see come straight from school, teenagers, where they have worked themselves up to ‘top-dog’ position within their own school hierarchy. They come in to start their degree courses and it’s all new and novel. For many it’s the first time they’ve truly been away from parental control! This is all something different to be explored, they’re often a bit nervous but it’s still really exciting. This is at the start, what about at the end.

The courses I see them do typically last five years, so having come in full of the joys of proverbial youth they are leaving as adults. Maybe relatively young adults, but still very much adults.

They’ve grown up!

Sometimes this transition into adulthood can happen quite quickly. I’ve seen students I’d class as teenagers at the start of a semester, but by the end, 12 weeks later, I realise I’m talking to an adult. That’s a fast change! More usually it’s a gentle development spread over three or four years. However for some it can cause problems.

As they start to grow up there is the realisation and appreciation that their actions do have consequences, and in turn other people’s actions have consequences upon them. Things you did as a teenager would just be passed off as a bit of fun, as a bit of youthful exuberance. It really didn’t matter as tomorrow would be another day and yesterday would soon be forgotten. Now however those same actions are viewed differently, you are being held responsible for your behaviour in the same way that you now hold others responsible for their behaviour. So there develops a need to gain the approval and acceptance from others of what you’re doing, you can’t just brush things off as if they don’t matter.

For some this is just part of growing up. For others it can make them stop and question what they did before, and this in turn lead to uncertainty as to what they are doing now. When 17 or 18 I thought I was reasonably grown up and mature, but looking back I can see I really wasn’t. How could I have had that attitude then, but I currently now think I’m ‘gown up and mature’, so in reality are my current activities of similar worthlessness?

What about the future? As a teenager I saw the future as just something out there, for tomorrow, not now; but ‘now’ has arrived and there’s uncertainty as to what will happen tomorrow. (All through education you had a fair idea where you would be this time next year – back in the class room; but once you get into final year, where will you be in 12 months’ time – you will not be here!)

For some this can lead to a crisis of confidence in themselves. Where are they going and what do they want to do with themselves. Uncertainty which in turn can lead to depression; a mix of not knowing and what’s the point anyway. Usually by the time it comes to them leaving with their degrees most have developed enough to get a workable amount of control back into their lives. For others though, uncertainty can remain. However in current society showing ‘weakness’ is itself seen as being weak, so up go the false walls and barriers.

But like it or not, it is eventually time for them to move on, life does not stand still. Whatever happens, you just have to do the best you can to suit whatever situation you find yourself in. That’s life!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQm-xWE0Bcg

Winter Gatherings

Tired.
We recently had a YouTube winter Gathering up here in Glasgow. About a dozen people attended so an okay sized crowd. However there was a bit of a personality clash between two of the people there which added a bit of unwanted tension to the day. Well, you can’t go through life liking every single person you ever meet, and you can’t expect every person you meet to like you too. What goes to make up your own character is how you handle these sorts of situations. If there’s someone there you don’t like do you let it get to you (and your negativity influence those around you) or do you have the strength to accept such situations and enjoy the fact that there are more people there that you do like than you don’t.
This was very quickly followed by a run down to Manchester and a Gathering there. I like Manchester. It does have the advantage of being centrally located and relatively easily accessible to the majority of the country’s population. A bit over a couple of hours on the train up from London. Close enough to Glasgow (and Edinburgh) to make day trips from these places practicable.
That was then followed the next week-end by a hop across to Dublin. Was quite surprised how expensive the ‘little things’ were across there. More expensive items were not really that hugely different, it was things like paying twice the price for a cup of coffee in Dublin than in Glasgow or Manchester that caught me out.
The week-end after that was Tom Milsom’s Painfully Mainstream album release event. Not a typical YouTube Gathering, but an evening music session in the upstairs room of a central London pub. However just about everybody there was YouTube connected, and had ‘gathered together’ in one place; you can make up your own mind if you want to call it a Gathering or not.
Before Tom’s evening session there was for me an interesting diversion in the shape of meeting a group of Deviant Art types who were holding a DevMeet, starting at lunchtime in Tate Modern. A really nice crowd.
Then this last week-end and the London Festive Gathering. At one stage a quick head-count counted 35 people. Assume a few were missed, so say a bit over 40, but the count was done after some had left, so we’re talking around 50 to 60 people there at one time or another. Note to Gathering organisers; If you are going to do a middle of winter Gathering, make sure you have the option of meeting in a location that has at least some level of cover and shelter. Standing for an hour or so exposed out in the freezing cold on grass that was rapidly turning into mud is foolish.
Then on the way back from that a very pleasant diversion via Manchester and meet a (YouTube) friend. Yet another example how internet contacts can become Real Life friends.
All great week-ends, one after another, but there comes a time when enough is enough and some alone-time is needed. Things can get tiring, often more mentally than physically. However it is coming up to Christmas which is not really an alone-time period.
A period that also does show how lonely it can be even when you are in large crowds of others.

Gatherings. Friends & Relationships.

A few thoughts on Gatherings, friends & relationships.

So, three Gatherings over three consecutive week-ends. First a run down to Birmingham and the ‘Boomingham’ birthday gathering. The last one a run down to Bristol and Jacob Dyer’s gathering. With in the middle the Summer in the City gathering in central London.
Every Gathering has its own style and character, but this SitC was something different. An event spread over three days with people coming from all over the world to attend. On the Saturday I counted just over 200 people that had formed one large circle. Add to that those not in the circle, those who turned up later, those who just attended on the Friday or Sunday; I will guess overall something around 300 there at one time or another. I only met a very few of those I had hoped to meet, but with so many there with different groups forming doing different things, that was only to be expected.

However it did get me thinking as to what actually is a ‘friend’, and where do you differentiate between acquaintance, friend, and good friend. Now, I know how I see others, with various people I know falling into any one of these three groups (a bit arbitrary perhaps just having three groups, but you have to start somewhere), but how do others see me? Or more importantly from my perspective, how do *I perceive* their relationship is to me. If everything is on an equal level, then no problem. Even if it is on a lopsided relationship – I’ve watched their many YouTube videos (both entertainment and personal vlog stuff), seen them on BlogTV or Stickam, maybe even met them briefly at a Gathering – I may see them as a ‘friend’, however I do realise that their only contact with me is probably by a couple of chat comments on BlogTV and the brief Gathering meeting, so to them I will be no more than ‘an acquaintance’. That gives me no problems what so ever. So long as I know where I stand and can act accordingly and know what level of action I expect from them.

However what happens when you believe they see you on one level, but ‘things happen’. Say a group activity of some sort where you know everyone in the group and believe that they see you as a friend, but when you ask to join in, they turn their backs on you (and for no apparent reason). Or you help someone or do them a favour as friends do, but at the end they just walk off as if you meant nothing to them. How do you handle that sort of thing, and what in the first place led you to think that they saw you as a friend? No answers for you I’m afraid. It’s no good saying that they probably are not the people you want as friends anyway, it’s too late, the (emotional) damage has been done. The only thing you can do is to lick your proverbial wounds and just get on with things as best as you can.

Ah, getting on with things as best as you can brings me back to SitC. People have said that it has been the best time of their life / most wonderful week-end ever / etcetera, but I’m going to buck the trend and say that though it was a good gathering, I have been to better. I definitely have no regrets in going and though next year’s is 11 months away I’ve already been looking at flights down for it. However if I change as much in the next year as (because of YouTube!!!) I have changed over the last year, I will be a very different person at the next SitC (and I kind of hope one or two others may have changed too).

Something else I must say – Sometimes life is not always what it seems.

Friends and the Internet.

Had a bit of fun last week-end. Friday morning and hire a car here in Glasgow and then head across to Edinburgh airport to pick up a friend flying across from America. I guess I’d better be careful on the use of the word ‘friend’. This was someone I’d never physically met before, but had got to know recently through things like YouTube – one of those ‘internet friends’ that so many uninformed adults seem so paranoid over.
Back to Glasgow to pick up another friend (someone who I now regularly share a coffee with, but first noticed through BlogTV – internet contact again). Then head off down to Bury St. Edmunds to meet Tom and Ed. These are two brilliant musicians I know, and no prizes for guessing that my first contact with them was internet related (YouTube; Tom – Hexachordal, Ed – Eddplant). Down there they were performing some of their music to a small crowd of others, most of whom I know and had also initially met through things like YouTube.

Drive back up on Sunday, then Monday around Glasgow meeting up with one or two others. Again, one way or another, these others were first met because of the internet. Tuesday, and it’s time for Americans to head back to America.
I now have more ‘Real Life Friends’ who mean something to me and that I meet and socialise with on a regular basis but who I first discovered through the internet, than ‘Real Life Friends’ who were just met in ‘real life’. The same goes for my contact list on my mobile phone – dominated by internet related contacts.
Social networking through the internet is rapidly becoming a very physical-social situation. Social networking sites are no longer just made up of individuals, but of interacting social groups. People know people, groups know groups. New individuals making contact can be quickly checked out and if anything suspicious found, then others can be alerted.

I now feel *far safer* when first meeting someone if I have already made some sort of contact with them through the internet compared to meeting some stranger in the pub or any ‘real’ location where I just don’t know who this person is.

EeePC

Bought myself a new ‘toy’ an EeePC 901. Amazing little device. A 1.6 Gig processor with 1 Gig RAM for under £300. Slightly larger than A5, or similar to that of a hard back book.

Seriously excellent screen.

There’s been a lot of criticism of the keyboard, but if you want a machine to be that small, then you’re just going to have to live with small keys, and I’ve found it perfectly workable. It does take a bit of getting used to, but that’s tough and you quickly adapt. Battery life of around 6 hours, or allowing for a lunch break, a working day. If you want to carry its power supply, it’s very small and light.

O.K., so I’ve not had it for long, but it’s done everything I’ve asked of it. That includes using it to transmit live onto BlogTV (using my mobile phone’s data connection for internet access). However it is NOT a replacement for a desk-top or ‘standard’ lap-top, but if you just want something small and light to take on your travels that will do internet and office type stuff, or as a way of providing kids with relatively cheap (portable) computing power, ask no more.