MSc Marketing Management: Induction day #2

Getting up at 7:30 was incredibly hard, so much so that I rolled around in bed for half an hour, trying to fight the urge to go back to sleep. In the end, I succeeded, and got up and proceeded to prepare myself for the day ahead. Last night was rather long. Suffice to say, I didn’t get much sleep, and the prospect of waking up early for a lecture in ‘Essay Writing Skills’ was not so tempting.

Eventually, I managed to pull myself to uni, once again, and strolled into the lecture theatre, where I was met by Christo, who seemed to have a rather bad case of the sniffles. The lecture began, and we were eventually informed that graduates of UK universities could be excused from the lecture. That meant me, but I had gone through such an ordeal to get myself to the lecture, that I decided I might as well stay. What followed was what I can only describe as a game show, where we were given ‘zappers’, asked various questions about language, and essay writing, and were asked to ‘zap’ in our answers, where they were collated and displayed in the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied the lecture. The lecture, in all, was quite long. After lots of ‘game show’ type questions, we were sent out for a break, to read over and ‘mark’ an essay, in groups, before returning to share our findings with other groups. During the break, I asked Christo if he was ill, as he’d been sniffing a lot during the lecture. He turned to me, and said, instantly, “It’s not swine flu.” Fair enough.

After we regrouped and discussed what we had found, and after a slightly confusing explanation of the Harvard referencing system, thanks to some apparently outdated handouts, we were allowed out for lunch, which I used to mingle with my newly made friends, including Fahad, who’s from Saudi Arabia, Aminia (hah!) from Romania, Tsunda (sp, for sure), from Nigeria, and Bilal who is from Jordan, who I think looks remarkably similar to Niko Bellic, protagonist of GTA IV. If I’m honest, I’m actually amazed as to how culturally and geographically diverse the course intake is. In the past couple of days, I’ve met people from all around the world, found out about numerous different cultures, and generally had a great time finding out where people are from.

I think I’m going to really enjoy this course, and enjoy this year. It’s going to be nothing at all like last year, but the more I hear about the subject, the more it intrigues me. I’ve been looking at the blog of one of the marketing lecturers, and it talks about the importance of making the most of, and bolstering your own personal brand. Intriguing stuff. I fear that said bolstering of said brand will have to wait until tomorrow, however, as I am absolutely, completely, and totally knackered. Bring on tomorrow.


MSc Marketing Management: Induction day #1

I was very, very scared, as I scrambled to university this morning. Not only was I to be starting a Masters degree, but a Masters degree in a subject field of which I have little to no experience. More than that, I’d lost the letter I was sent with my induction pack, notifying me of where exactly I needed to be to take part in induction arrangements, as well as what time I needed to be there. Off to a great start, clearly.

I found my way to the School of Management building, and enquired at the office where I was meant to be going. I’d gone in at 9am, just to be safe. I was told I needed to go to the Physics building, and that I was two hours early. Just to double-check (I was feeling particularly mistrusting this morning) I went to the Physics building, and was then told I needed to be there at 10:30, and not 11:00. Aha, a cunning feat of deception in order to make me late!

Having nothing much to do, I decided to take advantage of the geographical proximity of my house to the Highfield campus, and go home and watch Scrubs. It’s the first day of Freshers’ Week, but the freshers were nowhere to be seen, at least not that early.

I returned to uni at the correct time, and was made to queue for registration behind a collective of Asians. I made a friend in the queue called Jim (English name, I presume) who was visiting England for the first time, and had only been here for six months. After registration, we shuffled into a large lecture theatre where I’d had some of my undergraduate lectures, and where I believe I was taken to on my open day, back in the days before university. We sat down, and I introduced myself to those around me. I met Sultan (sp) who’s from Saudi Arabia, visiting England for the first time, also, Isabella, who is originally Polish, but has been here for six years, and did her first degree in Languages at Southampton. I also met Andrew, who’s a burly fellow from Latvia, who complemented me on my hair, and told me I look like the frontman for a rock band, and Gwen, who’s also just come from China.

We sat around chatting for maybe an hour or so, before what turned out to be quite an intense day of induction lectures began. We were introduced to the major players of the School of Management, told about its reputation, and various other things of interest. Apparently, the head of the School has a great interest in trains. After this, we were dismissed for an hour, which I spent walking around campus meeting old friends, before having lunch with Seb, who is 22 today. By this time, the freshers had shown themselves, and I was swamped by promotions staff, who felt it necessary to throw leaflets at me, as well as complement me on my hair, which was far nicer.

After lunch, I journeyed back to the School of Management building, descended into its icy depths and received another lecture, this time by the marketing staff. Before it began, I met Christo, who’s from Bulgaria, and is apparently “100% Bulgarian”. He’s been here for a year, and he’d spent most of the time working, although he had also taken a prerequisite English course over the summer. As a result, he had already made a lot of friends, who he gladly introduced me to.

The lecture itself then began, and was this time focused more on my degree, and also its sister counterpart in Marketing Analytics. Again, we met the team of tutors and directors who I imagine are going are to be a big part of my life over the next year. The course itself sounds fantastic, although I couldn’t help feeling just a bit way over my head. The director of my course explained, very simply, that marketing has evolved over time. He started off by mentioning the names of what I can imagine are famous marketers. I shrank into my seat a little, not having a clue of who they are, despite sounds of agreement from the rest of my peers. To my relief, he said that they are all “a load of rubbish”, as they’re now outdated. He showed us diagrams of what marketing once was, compared to what it is now, and even to a novice like myself, the difference was clear to see. Marketing has understandably evolved, due to the prevalence of technology, and is now very much more customer focused. In his words, marketing is what links consumers and organisations, providing a two-way channel of communication between both parties. It sounds supremely interesting, and I can’t wait to start studying.

I did have my doubts as to whether I’d be suited to the course, which are still lingering in my mind now. I do have a module called ‘Accounting and Control’, and I’m the first to confess that I’m absolutely atrocious when it comes to numbers. The thing I think I’m going to find most jarring, however, is how different it’s going to be from doing English. Gone is the tedium of the MHRA referencing style, replaced by the (what I believe to be) simpler Harvard style. There’s still an emphasis on wider reading, but I don’t imagine having to read as much as I did for English. I’ve got my first session of a module titled ‘Essay Writing Skills’ tomorrow. Our course director stressed that writing ‘academically’ is vital, which is understandable, and is something I think I’ve come somewhat close to conquering with my undergraduate degree. I have no idea of what’s expected from an MSc essay, though. Of course, English (as a language) is English, and that’s not going to change (radically) any time soon, but what intrigues me most is the skillset and thought processes required. I can see some attributes of English essay writing which could carry over very easily, like form and grammar, but I can’t see myself using the analytic skills I developed for close-reading. What is then to fill the void, is a mystery to me. I shall keep you updated, nonetheless.

Essay Writing begins at 9am tomorrow, meaning an early start. Seb wants to go to Jesters tonight, however, for his birthday. This should be interesting. Keep watching the skies, reader.


A GONZO IS BORN!

Omegle conversation log
2009-09-08
Connecting to server…
Looking for someone you can chat with. Hang on.
You’re now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Omegle is not a dating site. Please try to have interesting conversations here!
Stranger: hi
You: What am I doing with my life?
Stranger: i accidentally my cat
Stranger: i don’t know?
Stranger: you are the third in a row that talks about life, string theory etc.
You: Haha, I wrote the book on string theory.
Stranger: oh really?
You: Omegle must be full of the lamenting types tonight.
You: It’s in the air.
Stranger: although fullmoon passed already
Stranger: but what are you doing with your life?
You: I’ve just graduated with a BA in English.
You: And I’m just about to embark on an MSc in Marketing Management.
You: Me? A business major? Who’da thunket?
Stranger: ok
You: I’m definitely the most famous Gonzo journalist there is.
Stranger: perez hilton?
You: Oh no.
You: Perez Hilton does not know Gonzo journalism.
You: I wrote the book on Gonzo journalism, I’ll have you know!
Stranger: ok
You: But what good are books?
You: Books are only pages.
You: Pages and words.
Stranger: yes
You: Do you read books?
Stranger: yes a lot
You: What kind of books?
You: Gonzo books?
Stranger: no
Stranger: science, computer science, fiction
You: Science fiction?
Stranger: no
Stranger: i strictly separate those both
You: Science fiction is what a boy needs to prepare him for the world, though.
You: Before you know it, we’re all going to be dancing on the moon.
You: People look at me like I’m some kind of hack, but people just don’t understand that we are VISIONARIES.
You: We’ve seen the future, man.
You: We’re preparing the human race for what will surely be our greatest endeavour.
Stranger: what did you smoke?
You: I think the question is, what did I not smoke.
Stranger: omg my neighbours are fucking the hell out of each other
Stranger: lots of noise
You: To understand what I have smoked, you must really start to question the true nature of smoke.
Stranger: don’t be that philosophical please
You: What is smoke? What is it composed of?
Stranger: you are not the dalai lama
You: My boy, you cannot sit down with the world’s greatest doctor of Gonzo journalism, and refuse to talk philosophy.
You: I thought you knew what Gonzo was.
Stranger: i know
You: So you lie?
You: You lie to me, the world’s greatest Gonzo journalist?
Stranger: oh well
Stranger: whatever
Stranger: good bye
You: Heck, I’ll have you know, I wrote the book on Gonzo journalism!
Stranger: yes
Stranger: you told that three times before
Stranger: i do not suffer from memory loss
You: And I’ll tell you plenty more, in time!
Stranger: i have no time
Stranger: sorry
Stranger: good by
Stranger: see ya later
Stranger: next time
Stranger: cheerio
Stranger: have fun
Stranger: whatever you do
Stranger: chatting
You: Enjoy the soothing sounds of the hippos fornicating!
Your conversational partner has disconnected.


Teachers

My life, as it stands, is boring. My day is made up of menial tasks, such as preparing and eating food, washing, showering, brushing my hair, and so on. It also occurs to me that this is a pivotal, and poignant moment for many of my friends. I have many friends who are working, and also some who are really starting their lives as adults; not students, but actual, valuable members of society, who are contributing something, and giving something back to the system that has nurtured and taken care of us for so many years. I have friends who have just started training to be teachers, which I think is very noble. I am very proud of them all, and wish I could do something similarly life changing.

I have thought of teaching myself, but I don’t think I possess the necessary organisational skills for it. I recently enjoyed a short stint as a teacher, as part of one of my courses at uni. In reality, I was supervising a class for three weeks, and teaching for three weeks. My first week was actually my most successful, and the whole experience became more and more chaotic as the weeks progressed, due mainly to my own laziness, in not spending the time to properly research and plan for lessons. Oh well. I enjoyed it, nonetheless, but think that maybe it’s not for me.

Ultimately, I can see the attraction of teaching. In that first lesson I taught, just watching the Year 8s in my company listening, and learning from what I was saying, and then producing work based on it, was nothing short of amazing. It was a great feeling.

We do need more good teachers, to educate and shape the next generation of people who are eventually going to take over things from us, when we are all old and decrepit. Sadly, my own personal experience of ‘good’ teaching isn’t that substantial. I went to a failing secondary school, that was placed in ‘special measures’ when I was in Year 10. Without saying too much, as to not bore you, most of the teachers left, with most of the remaining teachers staying on begrudgingly. I used to love science. Sadly, my GCSE science teacher, a woman with a chip on her shoulder, who had lost the will to teach, spoiled this enthusiasm. We were seldom taught anything, and mostly were made to watch videos in lessons, instead of revising for our exams. Suffice to say, I didn’t do brilliantly, across the board.

It just goes to show, though, how vitally important it is to have reliable teachers, who can inspire childen. Who knows; maybe I’d be studying to be a doctor, or something, if I had been luckier with my choice of teachers. So, my friends, who are soon to be educating younglings, I salute you.

I was told today, by a friend of mine, that I am a complete drama queen, regarding my angst of not being able to do anything other than do nothing, at the moment. I replied by saying that I feel I’m stuck in a Chekhov play, which I think is a rather fitting description of how I feel now. I wish I had a job, and something to do with my day, other than spend endless hours on my Xbox, or watching TV. It feels so wasteful. Alas, maybe, then, this is a much needed wake up call. Maybe I need to get off my arse, and start writing my novel. Indeed, I’ll be starting my MSc in little under a month, as well, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

———————————————————————————————–

Yes, I quite like the sound of this ‘wake up call’ business. I think I’m going to stop living in a Chekhovian universe, and go and find some way to make myself useful.

Blogging is so wonderfully therapeutic. I’ll let you all know how the MSc goes. Cross your fingers.