Thursday, 25 March 2010

Changing minds and beginning to care

Today is the 3rd week of the TYSIC...and it has been a bit of a slow one for me. The comments I received for the last post have got me thinking. As such this blog is not likely to be eloquent or pretty but it’s something I want to write and as such is an attempt for me to get off the fence.

Whilst I will in no way use this blog as a platform for campaigning I have been thinking about how one decides to vote for a political party. Studying politics has certainly given me an insight into the historical ideologies of the parties but these are becoming increasingly irrelevant when elections are becoming based on personality rather than policy. I think this is the reason for the apathy to politics; politicians are not great people. They are mainly middle aged men who have lived a privileged life have limited experience of what it is like to live a ‘normal’ life – if there is such a thing, and since entering politics have become truly disillusioned, forgetting why they cared so much in the first place (if they weren’t born into it that is). Our political system is not perfect but, the idea is that political party’s counter balance their leaders shortcomings to provide the opinions of those in their electorate, combined with the work of lobbies. With this in mind it seems stupid that we would look to one man (or woman) to lead our country, in the way that the media portray our red, blue and yellow men at the moment.

The Americanisation of Britain has enabled the media to offer comparisons to the charismatic primaries of the States without explaining the role of the President to the British population. I am not about to go into American politics here, it is a complex system which leaves even the most studious of my colleagues utterly perplexed as to how a country can be run in such a way. The important thing to note is that the president is not all powerful and is essentially a spokesperson on international relations; (there are many other duties and if you want to learn more I am happy to recommend books) so unsurprisingly he is the only part of politics we encounter on a regular basis. Our Prime Minister does not have the same job description; the forthcoming televised debates are only likely to sensationalise our politicians even further, turning them into kinds of mini-celebs who should really be using their time to get to know what it is people in Britain really want.

The failure of the education system to teach children about politics means it is unsurprising that few people care or even understand politics. The likelihood of a poor turnout of voters this year is pretty much guaranteed, but this may not be a bad thing. A kick start into investigations why people do not vote is likely to publicise voting as a whole and hopefully future generations will find it incomprehensible that over half of the population did not care enough about their country to get off their backsides and vote. Nobody said democracy was supposed to be easy, and I do not advocate voting for the sake of it. A quick Google search should give people an idea of the policies political parties are likely to advocate and the stances they take on issues are well documented in manifestos. If that seems too much like hard work then sites like this should offer an insight

This post has not been TYSIC-centric, however I hope it has got one or two of you thinking (one of my TYSICs) that it is not too late to start caring about politics and maybe when your kids ask ‘why didn’t anyone vote in 2010?’ you can tell them that you did and you learnt something in the process.

Friday, 19 March 2010

An overdue update

It’s been a while, sorry. My time has been full of dissertation work recently and finding an excuse to type this instead of that is fairly tricky! But I have been getting on with my TYSIC like a good girl the whole time. In the last post I mentioned going to a wedding fayre in order to network for my future plans of becoming a wedding planner.

Well I went to the fayre and there were no wedding planners to be seen. There are several ways of interpreting this. One, there is no demand for wedding planners in the midlands (I’m not going to dwell on this, it might be painfully optimistic or stupid to ignore it however I will not be falling at the first hurdle). Two, wedding planners do not like going to wedding fayres/ were not invited to this fayre, since it was at a venue where they are likely to have a whole team of events organisers who do not want independent people stepping on their toes (I hate corporatism). Three, the midlands needs one (this is my favourite and I will go with this).

So with a renewed sense that this was what I wanted to do I got hardcore about by market research. I will not bore you with the details but I put all my knowledge acquired through business studies to the test and since I have browsed hundreds of websites. I have also completed a business plan, designed business cards, and put together some ideas for a website. I have absolutely no knowledge of web design so if your reading this and do then please… help!

I think I am moving along nicely in this challenge and I am genuinely excited to really get started with this once my degree is out of the way. In other TYSIC news, I haven’t had much opportunity to continue towards my ‘getting off the fence’ challenge. I have been staring at computer screens a lot in the last two weeks and current affairs have kind of fallen out of my psyche.

However, with a general election imminent I am going to make serious attempts to solidify my political views in readiness for my first national vote! I’m very excited by that prospect, although I am sure I am in the minority since recent conversations have displayed the over whelming failure of the education system in getting young people excited about politics. I am yet to find a close friend who knows who she or he will be voting for in the general election, in fact I am yet to find a friend who plans to vote! This is quite disturbing for me and if I can convince at least one of them that their vote can make a change then my TYSIC will not have been for nothing!

Hope all those other TYSICers are getting on well and I hope to maybe cross paths with one or two in the forthcoming Ipod mobilisation mission!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Taking steps...

On Thursday Mark Watson (TYSIC Inventor and director) asked us to make some sort of advance towards our individual goals. Whilst I do expect to only act when Mark tells me to...I have for my own reasons as well under instruction been making my way towards achieving my goals.

I have spent the last two days in the library, working on my dissertation which I plan to have finished in draft form by the end of this week. I’m not going to talk about this much; it is boring enough for me let alone for those who, undoubtedly, have little interest in a task which most undergraduates undertake. If this blog had started a few months ago the number of posts dedicated to frustration over a dissertation may deter the few people reading this to ever come back.

I also found myself adopting a few solid positions on current affairs this week. They were about the news of Jon Venables return to prison, and since it is such an emotive case I have no plans to express my views on here. Each is entitled to an opinion and may draw it for many reasons. I am not here to preach and the important thing here is that I got off the fence; I will leave it at that.

Finally, tomorrow I am attending a wedding fayre. Not because I am getting married, but so I can hopefully network and arrange some sort of work experience in the wedding industry. My goal to become a wedding planner is not based on a desire to have a wedding and get married. I love to organise and I am good at it, what better event to organise than the happiest day of someone’s life (I am aware that not all marriages work out, but I think practically all couples are happy on their wedding day and if their marriage ends in divorce...well I got paid already).

So there we first steps towards my TYSIC, i think you'll agree im doing ok. Please have a look at some fellow TYSICers in the blogs that I follow so far everyone has very unique aspirations and I look forward to seeing how you are all getting on.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Closing my mind

Yesterday I talked about why I was embarking on the TYSIC, today I will reveal my goals. There is not supposed to be an element of drama about it although it would seem many think this is a dramatic decision. There are some goals I have for the next ten years that I think will be common to many…pass my degree, get married, buy a house and have children. At least two of them require another party and thus do not entail ‘self’ improvement – not that they wouldn’t have a profound affect on my character. Updating you on these regularly could get fairly boring…still writing essays, not engaged today, living in a rented house, not pregnant. I will let you know if any of this does change.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the ‘self improvement’ aspect of this challenge. I am not so concerned with the ten-years part although thinking about it is a long time. Mark Watson, creator of the TYSIC, has set ‘becoming more optimistic’ as his main goal, this is something I think he has chosen based on his reflection of his twenties as I am embarking on my twenties I am taking this opportunity to think of the person I want to become by the time I am 31.

1. My studies of philosophy and politics have caused me to have an all too good an ability to look at both sides of an argument. Whilst of course a good trait I often find myself unable to make up my mind and commit to one side of the debate. Hearing, and then listening, to everyone’s opinions on all matters great and small is a useful tool but my all to common position on the proverbial fence is getting uncomfortable and it seems time to start finding out what I believe and identifying my values. Having struggled to identify this aspect of my personality naming it in terms of a challenge is even harder. ‘Becoming close minded’ is a very negative goal to have and I like to think I am far more optimistic about the world than to think anyone ever needs to strive to achieve this. I will have a think about naming this challenge and come back to you…suggestions welcome!

Some other things I hope to achieve:

2. Become a Wedding Planner

3. Open closed minds

4. Learn another language

5. Enter politics

I plan to expand on these in subsequent entries or this could be a long post. For the others that are embarking on TYSIC ‘Happy March 4th, if you like the idea of this…do it, it’s never too late to make a change!

I plan to cover other things going on in my life here as well…so if you are naturally nosey (like me) then your needs will be satisfied as well.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

My first ever blog post

A predicatable title for my first ever blog post, but accurate nonetheless. Hello to all those reading, some of you may know me (i probably directed you here in an attempt to validate my decision to start this) some of you may have stumbled across this (im not sure if that is even possible, i am very new to blogging) and some of you may be fellow TYSICers! So however you have got here a warm welcome! The reasons i have wanted to start writing this are many, but my decision to actually do it is due to the TYSIC (ten year self improvement challenge) set by comedian Mark Watson who recently vowed to write a blog for the next ten years (see his website for the details). His talk of what he will be like in ten years got me thinking about what i will be like in ten years, where i will live, what i will do, how i will feel...and what better way to chronicle this journey than by taking advantage of this 21st century diary. The premise of the TYSIC is simple, identify goal(s) you would like to acheive within the next ten years. Some are more simple than others and the 25000 responses Mark claims to have received (more like 200) include almost everything you could think of wanting to do in your life as well as those that you hope never to acheive - nout so strange as folk! I will be posting my goals tomorrow (4th March 2010) the official start date of the TYSIC although you can of course join at any time before 04/03/2020. For now a little about me...a 21 year Philosophy and Politics student in my 3rd year at the University of Liverpool. I live in the city with my boyfriend of 5 years who i love very much...and sometimes want to kill! I grew up in Cambridgeshire and then moved to Staffordshire at 13 due to my fathers job. My parents have been happily (well i assume) married for nearly 30 years and they are my role models, admittedly for different reasons but equally as important. I have one younger sister, she is 19 and a student of Human Biology at Loughborough Uni, i love her very much too....mainly for her jewellry collection though! I have never done anything like this before, i have never even kept a diary but i like a challenge and feel as my education draws to a close it is time to keep my brain active and take a new perspective on life. So welcome to my world...hope you enjoy it here!