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April 21, 2013 / miniandjules

Mini and Jules Do…Cramming For Mini

We are engaging in some intense late-night drug testing with fewer illegal substances and more incomprehensible words. There is a reward system in place: when Mini correctly tells me what a drug does, I give her a biscuit. Crude, but (potentially) effective. I fully endorse a reward-orientated programme of revision. More on this thought later.


No to failing! Yes to nailing!

I’m pretty sure that by the time Mini is a doctor, I’ll be most of the way there too with the medical knowledge I’m gaining right now.



April 21, 2013 / miniandjules

Mini and Jules Do…Being Wrong

The marvel of a science degree is that there is (normally) a right answer. Not that I’m particularly skilled at finding this answer. One afternoon whilst muddling my way through some question or another, I triumphantly underlined my final answer. Triumph did not last long: I was wrong again. My friend on the other side of my kitchen table, having had a similar experience a moment previously, sympathised. He then suggested a hypothesis: All Five Stages Of Grief Are Experienced When An Answer Is Wrong. This is based on the Kubler-Ross Model for grief (thanks, Wikipedia! – and Mini, who just revised this for her exam). This hypothesis has been confirmed as follows.

1)    Denial: “No, I’m right, the answers are wrong, I’m sure he’s made a mistake.” You’d be surprised at how often I convince myself that my lecturer with a doctorate in something impressive has incorrectly carried out a process he’s been doing since before I was born. Needless to say, it’s rare that this is the case.

2)    Anger: “What kind of stupid bloody question is this anyway?!” Stage 2 comes, and I’m enraged at the whole situation. I’ve slaved over this solution for AT LEAST ten minutes of my precious day; I invested my time, effort and money (indirectly) into this and I’m wrong? This is beyond outrageous.

3)    Bargaining: “Okay, what about if that’s actually a minus and not a plus…” Slowly, I will pick through my solution and change little things, repeatedly inputting different numbers into the calculator in the hope that I’ll reach the right result eventually. I mean, it’d all be fine if it wasn’t for those pesky double negatives…

4)    Depression: “I’m shit at my degree, I am never going to get a job, I just can’t do this.” This, in my books, is the worst stage (and on occasion has been known to reduce me to tears). I have to put my pen down and go and make a cup of tea because otherwise I might just throw myself, and my notes/textbooks/incorrect solution out a window in some kind of episode.

5)    Acceptance: This final stage comes about eventually and with a roll of the eyes and a sweeping strike of my pen through my workings, I’ll start the question again. Or just copy out the lecturer’s solution- I mean, that’s learning right?

Observations suggest that much flailing of limbs, melodramatic sighs and several visits to Facebook accompany the whole process. In extreme cases, incorrect solutions may result in tweets, status updates and, occasionally, blog posts.



April 21, 2013 / miniandjules

Mini Does Motivational Thoughts

Time happens. There is fuck all you can do about this. No matter how shit today is, the maximum it can last is 24 hours.

One week to go until Mini’s exams…

April 10, 2013 / miniandjules

Mini and Jules Do…Hangover Survival Tactics

When hungover, there is little to be done.  I cannot take back any of the previous nights actions, I cannot travel back in time and slap my past self for being a fool and once again over-estimating my tolerance threshold and I certainly cannot remember how you ended up in most of the predicaments I was in last night.

I’ve learnt hangovers are not for fixing any of your life decisions or sending apology texts; they’re all about survival. It’s important to portray yourself as functioning member of society so no one knows about the terrible things you did six hours ago by making yourself as appealing as possible to yourself and those around you.

By addressing the five senses, I’ve come up with some hangover survival tips:

1)   Sight: Now (some of) the alcohol has left my system and I (approximately) have my hand-eye coordination back: contact lens removal is imperative. My face is trying to fall off enough as it is without having an extra dimension of pain. Having dealt with my own vision, now to work on how other people see me. I have one simple rule: over-compensate. My body is rejecting my soul, my psyche is battered and I’m filled with a bizarre anxiety: fight it. Ladies, didn’t take your make-up off last night? That’s fine, just reapply it all immediately: today is a day for dramatic eyes anyway. Straightened hair curling? Run your ghds through it, put on a pair of everyday heels and get your strut on. Gentlemen, a blazer never hurt anyone. Spend too much time fashioning your hair into some messy-cool style (God knows you can’t move that fast anyway). I find that if I look like I’m in control, at least strangers will think my life is on track and no one has to know I’m fighting to keep the contents of my stomach exactly where it is.

2)   Hearing: A delicate matter when the slightest sound is piercing through my skull and jabbing my brain like a sadistic child. My hangover music experiences are one extreme or the other. It either has to be something soothing, not too jumpy (for instance, a bit of Beirut is normally acceptable) or I have to get right back on the party vibe for motivation and bash out some club tunes (Hangover by Taio Cruz and Flo Rida is something I’m able to relate to in this state). If all else fails, play Paul Simon. That man will get you through anything in your life.  I also may have lost my voice or sound like a frog has taken up residence in my throat. At this stage, I have two choices: avoid talking too much (a safe option: the words spilling out my mouth are probably gobbledegook anyway, the only noise I’m capable of making successfully is a frail whimper) or consume the maximum allowance of strepsils and hope for the best.

3)   Taste: The taste of stale alcohol (and possibly vom) needs to be addressed with absolute urgency. My teeth always feel fluffy when I wake up hungover and a toothbrush has never looked so appealing as when I finally stumble into my bathroom the morning after the night before. If teeth-brushing isn’t an option due to a sub-optimal distance between you and your toothbrush, go and buy yourself some gum. Or a little bottle of mouthwash. Or some lucozade. You need strong flavours to obliterate the sense that something died in your mouth.

4)   Smell: It’s likely that alcohol is leaking from my pores and there’s a thin sheen of nervous sweat across my entire body as I come to terms with this new world where my actions of last night have consequences. A shower will fix this. Hot water will feel like someone is gently rubbing your back and reassuring you that it isn’t as bad as you fear (it might be: the jury’s out on that one for the next twenty-four hours). If standing for that long on a slippery surface just seems irresponsibly dangerous in your current state, the shower can wait. Apply liberal amounts of deodorant and perfume/cologne and perhaps don’t let anyone get close enough to smell you.

5)   Touch: There have been many mornings when I’ve phoned Mini in search of someone to love me. Few things feel as good when I’m hungover as somebody holding me. It’s simple: phone your best friend, or someone who unconditionally loves you no matter what poor choices you made, and spoon.

Alternatively, if I’m lucky enough to have no commitments on Hangover Day, I stay in my house listening to Paul Simon and drinking copious amounts of tea whilst waiting for it all to blow over. A debrief of the night before may be in order when I’m feeling stronger.



April 3, 2013 / miniandjules

Mini and Jules Do… Exams

It’s that time of year again: with the joy of the excessive chocolate consumption that is Easter comes The Fear. Exams are just round the corner and you suddenly realise you haven’t been to an entire week of lectures since October.

However, I was once told that every cloud has a silver lining. And here is that lining for exam season:

1)    Money Saving Opportunity: I mean, between the days you spend forming an intense relationship with the view of out of the library window and the nights having panic-attacks and contests with your flatmates about who’s done the least work, when do you physically have any time to spend money? You’ll only spend money on comfort food from the library’s café and unnecessary stationary from the nearest shop, and in no time you’ll resent both of those places so much you won’t be able to pull your money from your pocket (because your fists are clenched with revision rage).

2)    Reduction of Embarrassing Encounters: During in exams, alcohol consumption either plummets or escalates. If it plummets, I find myself exponentially less likely to wake up beside someone and having to sheepishly smile whilst I gather my clothing and mutter something about how *cough* great a time I had. And if it escalates, well, the revision-induced misery means I’ll be a guilt-ridden, crying wreck by half past ten and that’s never attractive. No one wants to go home with that person, so job done: I will wake up in my own bed, similarly sheepish as I recall my breakdown but free to enjoy the embarrassment alone.

3)    New Hobbies and Discoveries: Since the dawn of education, one of the best things about revision are the new things you end up discovering whilst you frantically procrastinate and avoid the stacks of notes in front of you (your very own mini-Everest). These things range from your new secret talent, or simply a fantastic internet-revelation. For instance, yesterday I spent an hour and a half with my fluid mechanics open in front of me but watching a documentary on Beyonce – it was the best hour and half of my life. I also caught three M&Ms and one malteser in my mouth by throwing them in the air- this is unprecedented and all thanks to my exams.  So whether you discover Maru the Cat on YouTube, create a Twitter account or simply find that you can cross all of your fingers and toes at once, don’t forget: none of this would have been made possible without serious denial. THANK YOU EXAMS.



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