My formal offer of admission from the University of Alberta came through yesterday.
:D :D :D :D :D
Today, I have to e-mail and accept it. So, of course, my brain is going “Are you sure this is the right choice?” This is exactly what it did before I went to America last year, and that turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m going to ignore the slight doubts, which are understandable; it’s a bit of a huge thing to say yes to, even if it will be amazing.
In other news, my mum needs a prize for Best Mum Ever. She’s put up with me being grumpy and tired all week, and has fed me tea and biscuits and told me to go and take lots of naps. Yesterday, we went shopping, and she bought me this fridge magnet without me noticing:
It’s a bit of a rubbish photo, sorry. It’s a dog sprawled out on the floor, with the words “I understand - I just don’t care” written above it. An excellent summary of how I’ve felt most of this week.
Last night, we were talking about me going to Canada. My favourite bit was when she referred to my schooling in the UK, and all the family things which have been a big part of my life so far, as ‘the foundations on which you’re now going to build walls’. Not quite Bob Fraser’s roof analogy, but close enough to amuse me.
I have so many e-mails to send to people today! I’d better go start getting everything sorted!
I’ve been considering a tumblr post like this for a while, and for various reasons, now seems the right time to make it. So listen up everyone, I’ve got information to give you!
Actually, not very much information. I’ve been questioning my gender identity for a while, and have reached some conclusions, not others. The important ones are that I do not identify as female (and I’m pretty sure not as male, still thinking that through); and that in terms of pronouns, I would like to be referred to as “they”.
Using things like “dude”, “buddy” etc when you’re talking to me is fine. Conversational turns-of-phrase like “Man, this sucks” are also fine. Quoting lines of songs with a specific gender in when you’re encouraging me to work is fine. That’s about all that’s coming to mind at the moment. If you use a term that I don’t like being applied to me, I’ll let you know, and we’ll note it down for future reference.
To anyone who has met me in person: This is something that I would like to remain online only for the moment, so please don’t tell your families.
I’ve told some of you this stuff already, while I’ve been working it out. Those of you I haven’t told, it’s not a matter of trust, simply that having this conversation can be a lot of work and stress. A tumblr post at the right time seemed a better idea than talking to everyone separately.
Having said that, if anyone wants to get in touch, to clarify things I haven’t made clear, or for any other reason, please do. Message me on tumblr or send me an e-mail (or send me a message asking for my e-mail address, if you don’t have it), and I’ll be more than happy to talk to you.
Pretty much all I want out of this post is for people to say “read, understood, noted”. Or to hit the little heart to let me know you’ve read, understood, and noted. I don’t need a response other than that. This is something that’s important, but not something I want to be a Big Deal. There’s lots that I haven’t said on here, because it’s complicated. Online, it’s nice just to be Sproid, and it’d be even nicer if everyone knew to refer to me as “they” when using pronouns.
Degree results were released yesterday. I got a first!
(They organised the results by degree title, so there was a moment of panic when I scanned down the list of MPhys Physics students under “1” and didn’t see me, then down the list of “2:1” and didn’t see me there either. Then I remembered while I am an MPhys student, my degree title includes “study in North America”. Thankfully I was the lone entry there under “1”. Hurrah!)
Guess who has cool hair? If you guessed ‘Sproid’, you are right :D
Mum helped me bleach it while I was home, and then I put the white toner on when I got back to uni. It’s not as white as it was when I had it done in the hairdressers, but I am really pleased with how it’s turned out!
I could claim that Canada has frozen me but that’s not true, although it has been trying (-31C and I get ice on the inside of my windows, apparently). In truth, I had to work until the 24th, then I was tired and enjoyed a week of sleeping in, playing Steam games, and Skyping Tatau (8 hours time difference sucks, by the way, but she’s coming back soon). I am hoping to catch up on tumblr soon! Probably not today though. I am theoretically doing lab work now, so this is just a quick “not dead” update.
Would anyone like a happy update that I’ve been thinking about for ages, and haven’t quite found the right words for yet?
I’ve already done my ‘RCW 139 was great’ post, but to recap: the con was a whole lot of fun, I really enjoyed hanging out with Sea, Scribe and Lydia, and going there was definitely the best decision I’ve made in a long time.
I also was fortunate enough to meet Tatau. Who is, uh, pretty amazing. In so many ways. This is where I struggle to find the right words to do her justice and to explain how incredibly lucky I feel to have met her. (And also where I try not to bombard you all with fuzzy feelings.)
She’s so lovely you guys, happy and lively and just generally a wonderful person. A day or two of trying not be obvious about how much I liked her turned out to be unnecessary :D Over the weekend there, Sea and Scribe very patiently put up with me saying 'yes’ every time Tatau asked us if we wanted to hang out, and they were great about not minding that I was, uh, not very good at concentrating on much else when she was around.
One goodbye in a hotel lobby later, and after a breakfast date the next morning, I was so reluctant to leave Toronto (damn the inflexibility of flight times) but super happy that she wanted to stay in touch :D We’re texting and e-mailing and Skyping, and if anyone has noticed the abundance of happiness in my few tumblr posts recently, that’s why. She just makes me *happy*
As things I was expecting to happen at the convention, I was not remotely expecting to meet someone I was so instantly interested in, and have it turn out that she likes me as well. Surprises like that are among the best kind :D We’ve been staying in touch and she’s coming to visit in less than two weeks. I am so so excited :D
So, yeah, reasons for not being on tumblr much include: Settling into Canada, being busy TAing, and Skyping my girlfriend :D
Rating: Adult Summary: It’s not that Fraser doesn’t enjoy sex, but for a multitude of reasons, he’s chosen to avoid it. His attraction to Meg is the exception; she’s the one in charge, so he doesn’t need to worry. Word count: 7560
For some reason (read: was very tired and lazy), I never posted pics from my trip to Chicago over winter break. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but I managed to get around to see a fair bit in my couple of days there. Lovely city, extremely friendly and helpful people, and lots of really amazing things to see even though it was the middle of winter.
Aw, I just got another e-mail from the guy at Alberta. He wanted to tell me that my application might catch the eye of some other professors, who may contact me, and that I should feel free to investigate all options and take whichever one best fits my interests. He doesn’t want me to feel awkward about doing that!
Now I feel better about things. He is clearly a nice person.
My supervisor and the other students in the research group are v.v.v. nice.
I will be a TA for a first year lab class. I think I have to run the class by myself? This is terrifying.
Also terrifying is the part where my supervisor said “You can look into [research-related thing] for us.” Um. Yes. About that. Where do I start? (By asking the PhD student who will be training me, I have decided.)
I am taking a course where in a previous year, 17 students started, 1 student finished. No, I didn’t realise that before I enrolled.
I have found the off-leash dog parks on the river trails nearby. Two Basset Hounds said hello to me at the weekend, and their owner apologised for them being dribbly. I appreciate it, owner, but I wouldn’t have knelt down to stroke them if I was worried about being drooled on.
I found a cat in a garden on the way back from the river, it also came over to say hello to me, and then went back to its patch of sun.
It is getting colder here.
I have no breaks, apart from the occasional long weekend, between now and December. Woe.
In summary, I’m tired and a bit stressed but I remember feeling this way before research-type things really got going in 4th year so hopefully it will all be OK in the end.
I have made it to Edmonton and have successfully done all the things necessary for my continued existence here, like setting up a bank account and finding a room to live in. It’s not a perfect place but I like it.
Downsides: the main house (excluding kitchen) is off limits to myself and the other student, who are living in the basement. Positives: really nicely furnished bedroom, reasonable rent with all utilities included, common area with sofas downstairs for me and the other student to share. It’s about a half hour journey to the university by bus, which is alright. It’ll do me just fine for this year! I move in on Tuesday, which will be great because I’ve had enough of youth hostels for this year.
The plan to get a dog this year has been postponed. But that’s OK, I have other things to look forward to.
Canadians are mostly living up to various stereotypes. Yesterday morning I walked past two bearded men in flannel shirts, sitting on the back of their pickup truck drinking coffee outside Tim Hortons. There is a lady (Canadian, usually works way up north) at the youth hostel who said I can use her milk (because mine went missing after two days). She spent yesterday afternoon helping someone from Montreal with his CV. They were not acquainted prior to that.
Various student orientation events start next week so I’ll get out and start meeting people!
I’ve been hanging out with this wall at the youth hostel:
Got new walking boots! Kids ones, size 3, and they fit so well :D (My old ones were size 4. This may be why I got blisters when I wore them for too long.)
I went to a proper outdoor shop to get them, which was an adventure. They have a little ramp/bridge thing so that you can walk up and down in your boots. I got to play on it :D
ALSO, the boots were cheaper than I expected. The guy in the shoe section told me that my boots would cost £45, which was slightly more than I wanted to pay, but they were much better quality than the crappy-looking £30 boots. Then at the till, boots + £5 membership card came to £40. Score!
Boots, new vs old:
I should go for a walk to break them in. *leaps at excuse*
Canadian professor is like “Can you come early, maybe in the summer instead of the fall? I’ll offer you an RA for however long you’re here, and you’ll get a head start on looking for an apartment as well. You can start research early, and see some more of our summer, too!” (I’m paraphrasing, but only a little.) He sounds so enthusiastic!
Unfortunately, I can’t get there early. Well, I could, but then I’d have to miss the due South convention. Plus, I actually want to spend some time with my family over the summer.
But still, it’s good to feel wanted :D
The head of the graduate admissions team is also really quick at e-mailing me back when I have questions. I asked when I would receive my offer of funding, which I need for my study permit application; she e-mailed back the same day, and attached a letter with my funding outlined on it. Brilliant!
Um. I got an e-mail from two profs at McGill who are impressed with my application, and want to talk to me on skype so they can tell me about the programme and their research, and get more of an idea of my interests as well.
I have no idea how to respond to that. I mean YAY, I’m REALLY PLEASED. Obviously. But… This is an interview in disguise, isn’t it? And they’re going to want to know where else I’ve applied, and idk how to field questions like that.
I would be silly to say no. Because a) I need to cultivate as many options as possible, until I get an offer from somewhere, and b) It’s all good practice for future positions etc way down the line.
Someone tell me to breathe, and reply to them tomorrow?
There are so many things I should have been doing this morning, like doing my first bit of homework, reading up on kaons for my presentation in two weeks, and doing a bit of research on exactly what my fourth year project will be before the meeting with my supervisor this afternoon.
Also e-mail my professors from last year in America to say “Hi, can I have percentages for my classes instead of just grades please, my supervisor here says that me getting A grades actually makes the conversion more difficult because she has to decide where in the first class degree range to put me (it goes from 70% to 100%).”
What I’ve actually been doing is reading due South fic, going ‘just one more story’ and now two hours have passed and I have got NOTHING done other than further my feelings for Fraser/RayK.
Sproid, this is your FOURTH YEAR you need to do well so you can go to CANADA and also not fail your degree this is SERIOUS. GET IN GEAR.