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Monday, 26 October 2015

Comparisons

The stats counter on this blog is a little dodgy. No matter how many times I press "Don't track my own pageviews" it tracks my own pageviews. That's a bit annoying but since I'm not intending on ever blogging professionally, it's okay and I don't care beyond irritation. However, sometimes I am struck by a desire to see if this thing is reaching a wider audience. In the course of determining that this is not the case, I discovered "Creative engagement with the truth" a blog of roughly the same age by a contemporary of mine (i.e. Georgia Harris and I seem to have started university at Auckland at the same time).

If you choose to look at that blog you'll notice several core differences, I mean, compare and contrast the labels/tags.

ALTERNATIVE AMATEUR ANXIETY ARTICLE ASSIGNMENT AUCKLAND BEGINNER BE NICE BLOG BLOGGING BOYFRIEND CRACCUM DEPRESSION DREAM DRUGS EATING DISORDER EDUCATION ESSAY FAMILY FAST FOOD FEMINISM FILMS FIRST TRY FITBLR FITNESS GIRL HEALTH HEALTHY HIGH SCHOOL HOW TO INSPIRATION JOURNALISM LANEWAY FESTIVAL LIFESTYLE LONELY LOVE MEDIA MENTAL HEALTH MUSIC NEWSPAPERS NEW ZEALAND NOSTALGIA NUTRITION OBESITY PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY POEM POETRY POLITICS PROSE RANT REJECTION RELATIONSHIP RESEARCH REVIEW SAD SCHOLARSHIP SCHOOL SHIT SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIOLOGY STUDENT STUDY SUMMER TEENAGER THE GREAT GATSBY TRAVELLING TUMBLR TV UNIVERSITY UPLOAD VEGETARIAN WEIGHT LOSS WORRY WRITING

So, we've got Writing, Student, University, Sad, Prose, Relationship, Poetry, Love, Blogging and Article as the biggies. Well, we all know that We Are Here, doesn't. Instead...

1984 (1) 5% threshold (1) Abley (1) achievement (16) Achilles question (2) adaptability (2) advice (10) AGS (1) Alice (1) Andrew Carnegie (1) anonymity (1) ANZAC Day (2) art (3)assessment (11) Auckland (1) auckland university (20) Avatar (1) BA (2) BCom (6) BCom series (4) Blackadder (1) blogging (4) Bolt (1) boredom (1) Brave New World (1)Business (3) Buzzfeed (2) cards (1) cartoon (1) celebrity (1) characters (1) charity (1) choice (6) Christmas (1) classics (2) clean green (1) college (11) comments (3) comparison (4)Conservatives (1) controversy (3) conversation (2) corporations (1) course reviews (4) Craccum (3) Cultural Imperialism (1) current events (1) data (1) death (1) debating (1) debsoc (1) deciles (4)democracy (2) Digimon (1) Djokovic (1) Easter (1) economics (8) education (33) Eleanor Catton (1) elections (1) electoral reform (1) Elixir (1) English (7) ethics (2) exams (7)explanations (4) fan work (1) fanfic (1) Federer (1) fiction (3) flag change (4) flag panel (1) flipped classroom (2) follow your heart (1) forum (1) free education (7) games (2) Gatlin (1) GDP (1)gossip (1) grammar (1) graphich novel (1) GSM (3) Harry Potter (1) headspace (1) High School Stereotypes (1) History (2) Holmes (1) Homer (1) housing (2) HSB (1) ideas (6) identity (3) illness (1)immigration (2) inequality (7) information (1) infrastructure (1) international aid (1) internet (1) introductions (1) John Key (5) left (3) life (1) life path (1) Listener (2) Lord of the Flies (4) Maori Seats (1) marketing (1) Marvel (1) maths (2) MCQ (1) me (11) media problems (4) memoir (1) Mexico (1) migration (1) Minding the Campus (1) MMP (1) morals (1) MPs (1) my works (2) myths (2)names (2) narcissism (2) National (8) national security (1) NCEA (9) neo-liberal (1) New Zealand (23) novel (1) NZ Herald (9) NZQA (5) OGGB (1) open borders (1)parliament (1) people (1) personal views (19) philosophy (5) photography (1) PISA (4) play (1) plussage (1) politics (5) Pratchett (1) presentations (1) primary (3) Primo Levi (1) privacy (1)proportional representation (1) psychological dimension (1) public speaking (1) public transport (1) PYM (1) quotes (1) rail (1) rank score (4) RAO (1) rationales (3) RE (1) Red Peak (1) Reddit (1) religion (1)review (3) right (5) roads (1) Rod Drury (1) sayings (1) scaling (1) Scholarship (4) school choice (2) school zones (2) secondary (7) Shakespeare (1) Small Country (3) SNA problem (1) soccer(1) social problems causes and solutions (3) society (4) Spark Notes (1) specialisation (2) sports (2) sprinting (1) standards (5) strangers (1) Stuff.co.nz (5) subjects (1) sustainability (2) Tall Poppy (1) taxation (1) Te Papa (1) teams (1) tennis (1) tertiary (6) test (1) The History Boys (2) timetable (2) train (1) transport (1) transportblog (1) trickle down (1) UE (1) underemployment (1) uni(13) university life (2) urban development (2) USA (3) utilitarianism (1) Vanity Fair (1) versatility (2) Victoria Uni (1) Vimes Boot Theory (1) vision (1) vision gap (1) war (1) Watchmen (1) Wild (1) works(1) world stage (1) worldview (4) wumbo (1) X-Men (1)

So, we've got New Zealand, Education, Uni, Auckland University and Achievement as the biggies. That's quite different. However, what similarities do the two lists share?

Well, I noticed several of the tags/labels were, in fact, the same. Auckland, Blogging, Craccum, Education, New Zealand, Philosophy, Politics, Scholarship and University (er, uni). There were also some other ones that are similar High School/High School Stereotypes, Media/Media Problems, and Personal/Personal Views. Interesting, although given I have extra words like "stereotypes" and other labels with names like "secondary" or "college" you can conclude the content probably isn't that similar. Also worth pointing out is that despite my approach to labelling (because of it?) I do not actually have School and Student labels whereas Harris does.

While it's fun to look at the labels, if somewhat time consuming, what you're ultimately gaining is very little. I mean, you get some further insight into my willingness to spend time doing stuff that doesn't really matter but you gain little insight into the content of the blogs. Obviously I label things quite differently and with the different mindsets that we have, you can probably conclude that were I responsible for labelling Harris' blog or she tagging mine the lists would look quite different. It is also true that what I might decided is Scholarship and what she decides is Scholarship aren't necessarily the same thing. In fact, I use that example because I'm not sure what exactly is Scholarship about what she's tagged as Scholarship (a piece on the news media scene re: newspapers and the digital revolution).

But, I feel, perhaps the biggest thing to note is that Harris seems to talk about herself more... certainly it seems a more personal blog than this one. I don't have categories like family or relationships for instance and nor do I really discuss my emotional states. Well, I do, but I don't label them as being like that... my emotions are, in effect, just starting points for whatever I want to write here. I mean, in some sense, I'd have to label all of these as boredom. Anyway, the point is that in the somewhat detached nature of this particular blog we don't really get examples of things I've written, drawn or whatever. And the reasons for that come down to, well, I guess how this blog started which was very much about having the big conversations and, indeed, "General Views" before it became "My Views". This blog is still, in some sense, about those things primarily and it's going to stay like that. But, even in the "big topics" we seem to look at quite different things. For instance, notice I don't have a feminism label? Does that mean I don't have views on gender equality? No, of course not. It's more a reflection that I want to keep gender issues off this blog... partly because it's one topic which should never be discussed in the so-called "vacuum".* Which is to say because my lazy arse possibly non-existent readers don't post comments this blog is a vacuum. Still, my flag change posts are great, right?

This is a weird post even by the standards of this blog which will happily write several paragraphs per paragraph of fairly long and very specific criticisms of NCEA and simultaneously spend a long time discussing possible definitions of art or publish something called "Comlaw Girl and Annoying Guy". At least those, it seems to me (their author), had some sort of point they logically built up to, whereas this? Well, let's just say here's the point, a post written in early 2014 just before Harris started university.
I’m coming from a place of disappointment, hurt and rejection right now. I’m accustomed to praise of my writing skills, but I applied for a paid blogging position at the University I’ll be attending this year and didn’t get it. Journalism, which is what I want to do for a career, is a seriously competitive field and I need any leverage I can get, so I had my heart set on this blogging role. I also don’t know where I went wrong, as I was quietly confident in the sample blog post I submitted and thought it was up to the standard of previous bloggers’ posts I’d read. It just makes me anxious that I won’t be good enough to cut it in the industry, and I’ve overestimated my abilities.
I sympathise but the reality is that it's difficult for me to empathise. I have, quite literally, never done anything outside of being a student or pupil. Sure, I've occasionally (once) done stuff like show new pupils around in a voluntary, semi-structured role but while I had a choice to volunteer the decision to consider it was really that of one of my teachers. Harry, he said, you should do this. I agreed, eventually, because we did something similar (but much less structured) in year nine and I thought it'd be a nice bookend. I may, honestly, have considered trying for one of the positions discussed above (I think it's the Inside Word Student Blog linked to on Auckland Uni's homepage) had I a) developed an ability to largely maintain a blog before this year and b) realised that thing existed before the start of the 2014 academic year (by which I mean, semester one, what even is summer school?). And within being a student or pupil? Well, basically everything I've done badly on I've been able to find out why pretty quickly or expected it. The possible exception was Assignment 4 for Stats 330, which went walkabout in the pick-up boxes and I eventually had to resort to seeing my lecturer over it (as at time of writing, it is being, thankfully, remarked, which is the issue: it's being remarked because it looks like the mark I got was unfairly low... and even if that's not the case, I will find out soon where I went wrong). Also, fairplay to Georgia Harris because I have no idea what I want to do.
I’m also worrying a lot about how I’ll stack up against other students in my first year at University. Throughout school I’ve been known for being a good writer, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to maintain that status this year. With all the private-school educated and highly intelligent people around, I can imagine getting really down on myself as I won’t be anything special. Coming from mid to low decile schools, I fear I’ve been wrongly encouraged into a writing career because I seem talented in comparison to those demographics, but that I won’t succeed in landing a job in the real world after University.
You know, I didn't, in my eternal wisdom, think to write anything like this on this blog. I possibly did somewhere but, well, you know how it is. What I am left with is a few Facebook conversations..
Friendhow do you feel about uni in general?HarryI'm interested to see what it's going to be like. I still find it a bit weird to not have school next year to be honest.
A few months later
Harry: Looking forwards to uni?
Harry (in response to Friend's reply): Increasingly. Still got a few more student loan and allowance things to do though which isn't good but that is what is.

Friend 2: Though conjoint is certainly going to increase the workload more so than normal.
Harry: It's the cost of not having a clear plan for life... one has to do what one is interested in and that means a conjoint. Hopefully there'll be no worries but I'll make sure I go to the achieving your academic potential orientation thingies.
Friend 2Those should be useful as introductory lectures to university learning.
(Some further discussion on things like timetables, commutes)
Harry: I have prepared for that eventuality [a tutorial isolated from the rest of the timetable] by already creating them [gaps]. My timetable is so ridiculously empty I decided I was best popping into talk to someone about it. They said it was fine so it's going to be a matter of remaining unbored for the two existing three hour gaps.
Conversation returns to subject during "O-Week" which is to say the week before uni starts, not O-Week.
Harry: Done anything for O Week?
(in response to Friend 2's reply)
Harry: Wednesday was an overview of uni for the BCom + DELNA, yesterday was a few things about the BA and just uni generally and today was a subject specific thing for history. Mostly just been useful for one or two small details and getting used to being there.
Friend 2Yeh its more about getting used to where everything is.
HarryI'm pretty sure I'll have no problems with the OGGB, I've been there quite a lot, the other places I have a vague feel for the general direction (the arts bit is much like a warren). 
Friend 3Speaking of which; are you excited?Harry: More concerned. I am, somewhat typically, behind already... really should've got the student loan etc. done ages ago.

So, I think my major concern was not any feelings of mediocrity (that came later, with experience) but rather the practical side of things. There was, of course, uncertainty: "did I screw up my timetable?" being the subtext you should be getting in there. That's an emotional concern tied to a practical issue. Also, we've got the emotional commentary in a spatial context. Maybe it helped that I was at a high decile primary (now a mid decile primary) and a mid-decile college (approx. three kilometres away, which is still mid-decile, just moreso), with the latter being quite a lot bigger... and I'd experienced growing accustomed to being one of many smart people already, in some naiive arrogrance perhaps I'd assumed that it'd be the same (especially having passed two scholarship exams when those were written)?
It may sound snobby, but I love being the best. I was always chosen last for anything sports related, couldn’t wrap my head around maths or science and was extremely socially awkward throughout school – especially during Primary School, so writing was the one thing I had over my classmates, who otherwise would barely acknowledge my existence. I was a bit of a ‘wallflower,’ I suppose, observing but never participating in the typical antics of other kids. I didn’t manage to come out of my shell until high school, so hid in the safety of reading and writing. In primary school most of my happiest moments revolved around winning writing competitions, or being praised for my literary skills, as I didn’t have many friends and wasn’t talented in any other areas. Writing was something I found easy, which let me escape into a world where adventure, unicorns and happy endings reigned. It allowed me to be more important than that quiet, awkward girl with no friends, who deep down I despised. I was Georgia the writer. It gave me an identity and confidence in myself that is now slowly slipping away as I gain a more cynical, worldly view, lacking in the rose-tinted ideals of childhood. Is it so wrong to want to hang onto that optimism and self-assurance?
I guess I like being the best too. However, I was never the last picked for sports (I may be fat, bespectacled and unfit but I am also big, a fast-ish sprinter and in possession of good hand/eye co-ordination... or was at any rate... besides we basically never did captains: we were put in teams and the trick was whether the field moved in or out for you when you got to bat). Likewise, while I have since not really been able to do maths, this was not my experience at school and it certainly wasn't with science despite, you know, not having done any since year eleven (the genetic variation external was, in fact, the closest I got to a perfect external). Social awkwardness? Um, maybe. Certainly, I had several tense or outright hostile relationships in school with other pupils but, in general, I guess in primary I floated just outside the popular circle and at college I was entirely happy with my friend situation. I remain happy being, largely, an observer... but maybe because I have been told "Even you would have difficulty talking with that crowd". In other words, while my experience of primary was certainly far from perfect whatever my response to it was, I never had one that I remembered in the same way. To be honest, I am not sure I've approached this paragraph in the right way... I don't want to sound insensitive or "Look at how much better my life was" but maybe I've ended up sounding like that. Feedback, please so I can avoid this. In some sense, I may have gone a slightly different route: I am not like other people, this is me and I won't be like other people because they are one way... hipsterish because this state of difference is better.

As to the loss of childhood? Just don't consume different media.

Actually, some further thoughts of identity. I think of myself, or did, as a compulsive lender. Here, I have a ruler, you don't, you can borrow mine. I always have what I need, and if it can help you, that's okay too. Even now I don't carry scissors with me and often have cause to regret this. People would also know that I have these things, that I am prepared. (Incidentally, I was a cub and then a scout for some years, yes.) Perhaps by extension, I think of myself as a kind person (a lazy one, it is true, but kind). Oh, and in general, I define/d myself as good at something wherever possible. So what that I can't run more than a few hundred metres without being absolutely exhausted? For that time, I am actually good at running. Not a particularly healthy response actually but it was/is me.
I don’t expect to be given success on a silver platter, either. I read fiction daily, follow bloggers, keep up to date with world news and write – on average twice a week. There’s nothing I’d rather do for a job than fill pages with words that inform and excite my readers. I want to share stories of important issues affecting people all over the world, especially in war-torn countries and regarding human rights topics. It’s what I’m passionate about; but I don’t want to be one of those people who think they have talent, when in actuality they’re mediocre and nothing memorable.
So there you have it. My biggest fear at the moment is being average. First world problems, right?
I think, if I had read this when it was relevant I'd say something like: good conclusions and worthy thoughts.

Anyway, there you are. You've got a bit more about me. Some stuff I've told you and some stuff you must interpret from the above's existing in the way it does.


*I don't like the "in a vacuum" metaphor much... it just irritates me. However, discussing issues like gender in isolation are dangerous because it's something which teenagers tend to get as a gateway drug for politics more generally and, by implication, this means that people enter when their views are formulating. Now, look, I'm pretty sensible and, as you can see, when I write blogs I tend to try and characterise other views properly, but that doesn't mean that my view is the gospel truth and it doesn't mean that because I characterise other views as accurately as I can that they are, in fact, represented in their whole. This is huge. It's not a little irrelevance, By the nature of a blog, if someone beginning to cultivate their knowledge of feminisms, feministsms, the MRM and MRAs were to read my views on such but my views in isolation they're to, in all likelihood, be given a foundation from which they'll approach other views, but they won't get an idea of just how complex, nuanced and frequently heated and combative internet "discourse" on the matter is and I just don't think that's right. Thus, until you start posting comments, those views won't exist.**

**Yes, I know that this is a great way of getting people to say something and my posts are probably tl;dr material but with the stats counter the way it is...

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