Hello and welcome to a slightly different type of blog.
It's been about 50 days (almost two months) since I started Uni and there about 50 to go until..."the festive period" - given this (and my new-found availability having finished an assignment) - I was curious about how I spent this year's first 50 days, compared to last year's
It's important to first of all understand the "situation" the world was in prior to attending Uni for my first and second years - during my first (year), COVID was pretty much "brand new" and had spiralled out of control until March before Boris put us all into lockdown and that seemed to a whole world of good.
2020 - The Lead Up To University
Upon going into the first lockdown, neither I nor anyone (civilians/students) knew how long it would last - just the week prior (to the lockdown) I thought I'd have to stay home for a week or two - maybe a maximum of a month - before returning to college as normal.
At the time, I was surprisingly supportive and positive as it gave me some much-needed time to catch up on all of my assignments...but we never returned...
Other than returning to collect books and work, I never had another lesson at Woking College after that lockdown.
During the spring and early summer - I had no idea where I'd be going, what I'd be doing or if I'd even be going to University.
Despite this, I'd keep iRacing and hanging out with my whilst wasting away the endless summer days (admittedly, we had quite a shocker this year with the weather).
Later that summer, all became clear and all the more signs pointed me to going to university as time progressed - but one question plagued my mind:
Did I really DESERVE to go to Uni or did I only get in/through due to my "predicted grade"? Was it just a fluke because they were only trying to get rid of me (pass me) and saw the opportunity to? Had COVID not taken over, would I have still passed the maths GCSE requiring me to get in here?
Fair play (to Woking College) for taking the opportunity, but am I even - or was I even - "smart" enough to be here or was it simply a case of "seizing the opportunity"?
My maths grade shouldn't affect my ability as a journalist (other than in data journalism), so had I not got that predicted grade...or had COVID not been around what would happen? Where would I go? Who would I be? These are constant questions on my mind - I know I have the brains for journalism (I think) but had my life circumstances been different - how would this affect my life?
My last "regular" race (on iRacing) was on the 13th September, during Week 13 before I'd sneak in two more on the 18th and 19th of September, the Friday and Saturday before University started the very next week.
I left on the Sunday.
In retrospect, it must have been sheer HELL for her - my dad with Myeloma, and me stuck in my room all day not giving a single care about how quickly university was approaching - and then to have the problem of not wanting to seem too harsh or shouting or the time, it's a difficult thing to balance, and I honestly feel so sorry for her - and if I could go back in time, I would have told myself:
Firstly it's going to be alright, everything is going to be ok and that I would be going to University, Second of all to get my head down and focus on my upcoming studies and third of all, be a bit more supportive of mum and make life easy on her too.
The Sunday before University, I found my mates credit card in my car.
Being the good friend I am, I returned this before picking up my brother as he offered to help me unpack my boxes/make my accommodation look homely.
My parents would arrive later to pick him up and drive him home after all the boxes were done.
2021 - The Lead Up To University
2021's preparations were incredibly different to 2020 (no doubt) - having dropped off a car-seat in Harlow two days or so prior, I was next off to Scotland for two weeks for my first proper holiday since going to Iceland and Croatia in 2018 and Wales in 2019 - I was absolutely stoked - especially as I had been staring at the same four walls for the past year and it was a very nice and welcome change of scenery (quite literally)
On the 17th September, I was in Scarborough and drove home on the 18th, eventually arriving at home and having a friend of mine look over my car to check everything was in working order before heading inside.
One may say "you have the whole of Sunday to leisurely amble up to Wolverhampton" - but I didn't. We were moving house and 3/4 of my furniture and house items had been removed by the time I arrived back home - a stark difference to when I left (for the holiday) on the 3rd September.
With my key collection time at 5:00pm, and a two and a half hour journey up there, I was gone shortly after 2(pm) - sadly my last ever time leaving the house and the driveway.
During my last night in my house, I spent 14 hours from when I walked in the door (after saying goodbye to my mate Will) to setting off for Wolverhampton the very next morning.
2020 - Starting University
After unpacking the final last things, it was late-ish, and to celebrate our first night, I asked my "flatmate" (guy who lived down my corridor) if he wanted to go out to McDonalds to celebrate our first night at accommodation (he was alone on the night(s) prior to that.. and so we did.
Yes, someone may have tried to scam us (the old "I need money for a train ticket" trick) but after giving him money to scram we had a very nice meal.
The first week I "attended" Uni was "welcome week" where different lecturers and staff members would hold various different Zoom calls and Teams activities.
Out of the options (you were free to choose as many or as few as you liked), I picked meditation, which was exactly as it said on the tin - every night at 7pm, guided meditation.
I never really found meditation to work very well, until they did it and it mysteriously worked.
Proper lectures (still virtually) started on Monday 27th September.
Still being pretty much in the heart of the pandemic, (7 months after the start of the first lockdown) the only module not on a Zoom, Teams or "BigBlueButton" call was Representing The Real (Documentary VS Reality TV) in which we were in a theatre for.
The only condition to this was that you had to get testing done twice a week and I did so...for what felt like a very long time! (only stopping at Christmas)
9 Days after starting Uni, I'd willingly have my first shower - and since then I've been loving them!
Late September 2020 (onwards) also saw many trips all across the country - one (memorable one) in particular being to West Park as well as Dudley Zoo.
Late September also saw me find time to make a couple of trailer liveries on Paint.Net for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and discover the wonders of UWR (University Of Wolverhampton Racing) - I suppose only having one module on-campus gives one a lot of free time.
On the 1st October, I headed home (for the first time) to grab my camera and had my incredibly famous "Le Mans Alone" event. I headed back the following day.
From then until the 8th December, I created a new record - the longest time not on iRacing - this being a smashing 64 Days and hasn't been beaten since.
A couple of interesting things happened after:
- In mid/late October, as I hadn't been driving overly much, Kia had developed a lock-down bug/illness, which was quickly sorted - although it was annoying.
- It was the 2nd anniversary of my first video on the current YouTube Channel I've got (28th Oct)
- Went to a VERY quiet Donington Park for the F3 Cup and GT Cup - my only motorsport event of the year, the series being fairly unknown and us being in quite the pandemic helped.
- On the 29th October I started my (now) very annoying Virtual Road Trip Around The World which utilised Google Streetview to countdown to the festive period - I guess I had too much time with everything being virtual and only having to attend zoom meetings - and everything being a little bit more "lax"
In this time I went from the Southern-most part of South Africa, to Egypt and then up to Europe as Christmas drew closer.
My diet also changed from Sausages/Meatballs and pasta to <insert oven meal here> and pasta - as much as I like Richmonds (or Frankfurter) Sausages, they come in a pack of quite a darn few (for families) and in order to eat them all by the use-by date, I fear I'll have to become a German to eat an unusual frequency of Sausages frequently.
It's really interesting to look back and think about all the things that have happened this year - back in 2020, I didn't know who Tom Grennan or BANNERS were let alone name a song by them!
The same goes for iRacing - before December, the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was nothing but a far-off dream And if you told me the concept of Teardown, I'd think you were crazy and that technology couldn't produce such a perfect game...yet here we are.
2021 - Starting University
The differences between 2020 and 2021 further continue to differentiate from this point - whilst 2020 gave me a week or so to get into the groove, 2021 was very much a matter of "hitting the ground running" - in 2020, I left for Uni on the Sunday (20th Sept.) returned a credit card and then went to Uni.
In 2021, I was in my accommodation on the 19th, my house having to be empty by the 20th (Sept.) - this year being much more of a rush than the last.
With my parents dealing with the move, I sort of had to "fend for myself" - moving myself and my belongings into the accommodation and if I was missing anything (from my house) it was pretty "tough luck" as it had likely already been packed into storage already.
One crucial thing I HAD forgotten was my headset - I had left it with my rig whilst "delivering" my rig up to Essex - one quick overnight trip to Essex later, and I had all I needed....
I say quick...the trip was surprisingly productive - sorting a haircut, a blown fuse in my car (now having in-car charging and heated seating!) and even giving them a few games of mine.
On the 22nd, I'd head back to Wolverhampton.
From here it was pretty much non-stop work - unusually having a lot fewer trips than I did in 2020 - whether that's because I'm now single, or the fact that this year is "when it matters" I'm not too sure.
Onward from here, I'd have my second Vaccine (and suffer the side-effects) before further continuing with Uni work.
I tried to spread out my trips down south/Surrey/Essex as widely as possible - to both save fuel and to maximise concentration on work, and minimise the distraction of the rig.
10 days after my first trip south, I went down once again on the 1st October to start a very messy weekend which went as follows:
1st Oct: No Time To Die at the Cinema (Wolverhampton) 2nd Oct: Seeing Evie (Surrey) (Night of 2nd Oct) Sleeping in someone's front drive-way, also Surrey 3rd Oct: Seeing Friend (Essex/Harlow) - (Suffered breakdown of their car on the motorway - I'm on their Insurance)
4th Oct: Returned to accommodation at STUPID o'clock and missed lecture due to feeling shite.
My assignment dates were announced shortly after - which were A LOT sooner than 2020's - but there was a trade-off - rather I have them earlier in the year/month - or all bunched up at the end nearer the festive period - difficult choice to make.
2020: 7th December (Key Concepts Of Journalism) 16th December (Representing The Real) (9 days)
18th December (News Writing) (2 days)
10th January (Representing The Real) (23 days)
11th January (News Writing) (1 day) 22nd January (Key Concepts Of Journalism) (11 days)
9th November (Film and TV Representations)
14th December (Media Law And Ethics) (35 Days) 20th December (Multimedia News Production) (6 days)
3rd January (Film And TV Representation) (14 Days) 18th May (Multimedia News Production) (17 WEEKS)
After working on Kabort's Year In Pictures (starting them early after ending the Year In Pictures 2020 in February '21), I decided to head out for a walk - it had been the first time I had been properly out (with the exception of walking to lectures) in about half a month.
On the 18th October, we had our first screening after nearly a month of Lectures.
A few days later, I told my friend I'd drive her to her theory test (driving) but after notice a clash with a lecture, I promised her that I'd instead come down for the weekend to make up for it.
I came down between the 20th and 25th October and even managed to squeeze a sneaky two races in (the first was pretty unspectacular, GT3 Challenge and the other, a VRS Endurance with Tom ended in a DNF)
This was about half a month or so since I had last seen them, so I was keeping to my word about splitting it up, unlike my "promise" that I'd go to the gym when I didn't have lectures.
During this time, I also sorted rent (with some help).
From late October onwards, things went a bit mental, so to break it down:
27/10/2021 - Had News Room Training (playing with big, fancy cameras)
28/10/2021 - Promised myself to stay at Wolverhampton until at least November.
1/11/2021 - An assignment was holding me at gun-point and other personal issues made it near impossible, so we had to cancel a potential date
6/11/2021 - Absolute clusterfuck of a night, wanted to see Wolverhampton Fireworks, Sold Out, went to Wednesfield - Closed the gate in front of me, Derby started like 10 minutes later with a 26 odd minute drive - had Maccies instead.
8/11/2021 - Saw my first live stand-up show, Max Fosh being the artist.
9/11/2021 - Assignment Due Date
13/11/2021 - 14/11/2021 - My first Race Of Remembrance since...I think 2018 or 2019
19/11/2021 - Going to London with Evie and my friend
Now, the last two items on this list are still yet to happen - but if all goes to plan (which it won't, because this is me we are talking about) - that's my November.
And no, I haven't been "home" or to see the parents since September.
One thing I did miss out on mentioning is the fact that whilst there was no meditation sessions/welcome week this year (or for me), testing twice a week hasn't been mandatory or mentioned thus far - which I am very thankful for.
Comparing the two years, if I had to pick a year that COVID would strike I'd pick 2132, no, if I had to pick between 2020 and 2021 - I'd much rather it during the time-period that it struck, simply because the first year is very much a "get used to being a student" year - and if you mess up, it's an experience - but it's not going to significantly ruin - or affect - your chances of graduating or doing well compared with if it hit in one of your "important years" (2 & 3)
In the upcoming week of 2020 I'd - Well, create the Kabort Motorsport HQ based on ProDrive in Banbury and continue on my rather ridiculous/cringey "A Virtual Road Trip Around The World" - in real life however, it's just about logging onto those zooms.
There'd be another further two lockdowns in December and January before being allowed on campus in April 2021. Sheesh.
It will be incredibly interesting to see how I can further compare this to 2022 when it comes around.
I hope you found this blog interesting!