"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

All material on SHIMMERCASTDREAMS copyright of Marie Bruce and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

ONCE UPON A DREAM; End Of Academic Year!

It is quite late at night and I have just come home from the last class of the 2015/16 academic year.   Tomorrow I am going out for a celebratory meal to mark this milestone in my training, as I am now three quarters of the way through the diploma, with just one more year to go.

Although there is still some work to do, in the form of an end of year essay to be turned in mid-July, right now I am in a reflective mood and I wanted to mark this night with a blog post - and a glass of red wine!   It has been quite a challenging year of studying.  This higher level of the course has meant a deeper level of intensity and a new task-master tutor.  We have had to develop our professional persona as psychotherapists, prior to going on clinical placements and working to achieve our clinical hours.  Last week I passed my Fitness to Practice test, which was another milestone and another step forward in my training.  This means I am now competent and professional enough to be let loose on the public as a psychotherapy counsellor.

After three years of training we are now on the same level as a Registered General Nurse, in terms of how much studying and training we have under our belts and if I had chosen to spend the last three years doing nurse training instead, I would be qualifying this year.  Come September we shall be moving up another level and progressing into further studying and even more training, alongside clinical placements, so it will be even harder.   I am starting to see why counsellors like to tell people that they are on the same level as a doctor - I don't personally feel that way myself, but maybe I shall after another year of study.

As the academic year has drawn to a close I have frequently compared it to finishing a big creative project.  I have all the same feelings that I usually get when I have been writing a book for months on end and I have just turned it into my editor; or when I had sung myself hoarse, to the point where I literally lost my voice completely, as I wrote and recorded my album Moon Chants.  The feelings of elation, relief and fatigue are exactly the same.   I am mentally exhausted and physically drained.  

As always happens when I reach the end of a big project and a prolonged period of creative work, I can feel a bad cold coming on.  It happens like clockwork - as soon as I have some down time, I go down with a cold - it's like the germs have been waiting for me to sit down long enough to catch me.  I think it is my body's way of making sure I get the rest I need.  And I do need it!  My thyroid illness makes everything about ten times more difficult and it has been screaming at me for the past few weeks that I need to take things easy for a bit, but I just haven't been free to do so.

All that changes from tomorrow!  After a celebratory meal out, I can spend my days working quietly at home on my essay and my writing projects.  My psychotherapy feature ideas continue to be commissioned so I am thrilled by that and I love writing on my new subject of expertise.  Beyond that I plan to read lots of novels, work on my tapestry, practice my piano, get out into the garden and the countryside and generally catch up with all the lovely aspects of my life that have had to be put on hold to make way for study time.  

I'm going to enjoy a nice long summer break of gentle activities, fun outings and of course, my writing work.  No more classes; no more homework; no more course stress for the next two months...just relaxation and recharging my batteries, ready for the last big push of my final year come September.  But that's too far in the future for me to think about.  I'm currently looking forward to long, lazy summer days, reading in the garden, taking country drives and generally recuperating from academic anxieties!  

For the remainder of tonight I plan to curl up under the duvet and watch rubbish TV in bed.  It has been a long and rewarding year of academic study.  I feel a sense of achievement now that I have come to the end of it, but right now I just need to start getting some rest.  Goodnight Moon :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

WRITER'S DREAM; Pretty Words That Fly

Being a writer is...
... hatching out pretty words that fly off the page like birds so they can roost in the minds of your readers.

Friday, 17 June 2016

ONCE UPON A DREAM; Technical Problems

I never thought I'd be one to love technology but when my beloved laptop died a death late on Wednesday night, I was gutted.  I've had it about 10 years so it was certainly past its prime, but it has served me so well over the years that I was really sorry to see it go - not least because I thought I'd lost a lot of my work.

It was much like that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie Bradshaw loses her laptop to a nasty virus and she says "My whole life was on that computer!"  - I can relate.  I had a good ten years work on that laptop - and not all of it was backed up.  I thought some things were lost forever, but fortunately, the clever people at PC World can extract the lost documents from the hard-drive of the deceased computer and give them back to me on a USB stick - so all is not lost.

And now I have a brand new laptop! It is a very pretty shade of purple - it reminds me of Victoria Plum and love it.  I've had it for less than 24 hours and already I have synced it with all my social media accounts, my three email accounts, my college website and Google Classroom accounts.  So I'm feeling quite proud of myself for that - I've not done too bad for a technophobe. I have a brand new internet connection too, which should improve speed.

Of course I do have to get to grips with the new laptop as soon as possible because I have writing deadlines to meet and my final essay of this academic year to write as well.   Just because my old computer broke doesn't mean that I can miss the deadline for my column etc.  So it was essential that I got a new laptop and got it up and running immediately.   There are still one or two teething issues - namely with the email, so bear with me if you are trying to contact me in the next week or so, as I find my way around the new program.  

But all in all, I'm thrilled with my new computer.  It's such a pretty shade of purple and it makes me smile just to look at it. The keyboard is beautifully soft and quiet - that was one of my criteria; I hate clicky-clacky keyboards, they drive me nuts!  This keyboard is virtually silent and very soft to work on for long periods of time.
Best of all, it has automatic back up to Cloud storage, so I will never lose my work again, which is a relief.   I feel very grateful to have this purple laptop, it's just so pretty and a pleasure to work on.

I suppose the moral of this blog post is that you really should back up your work in some way, as regularly as possible.  And don't use a laptop until it drops - with mine there was no real warning - it worked fine at 5pm, but by 11pm it had crashed beyond repair.  My Mum likened it to a heart-attack - there one minute and gone the next!  It was just like that.  It had been making a strange noise - like wheezing, but no other signs that it was about to crash and die. 

So do back up your work and upgrade when you can, before your laptop gets too old.  You just never know when technologies time is up - and you wouldn't want to lose a potential best-seller!