Internship 2017

Life Updates

This summer I’ve had the privilege of working as an intern for the very first time. I still can’t quite believe just how lucky I got, bagging myself an internship in my first year of university (perks of studying at Reading!).

The company I work for are based in central London, and they work with the top universities in London. My role is working as a Media Coordinator for the company, which is many ways perfect considering social media is my forte. Being in charge of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for the company in addition to visiting these universities, talking to students and scientists, and creating case studies for the students has been a rollercoaster of excitement and adrenaline, and 100% worth it.

The best part of this internship, however, is the people I’ve worked with. The environment is based on putting the staff first, being as flexible as possible for them, and making sure they are happy in the workplace. These are contacts I can honestly say I would love to keep for the future.

The skills I’ve acquired are also incredible. After working in retail for two years, I was desperately craving the taste of a degree-related job. The friends I’ve made working in retail, I’ve made for life and whilst I appreciate the somewhat relaxed attitude towards working in the fashion-retail industry, it became tedious. Folding shirts everyday and analysing stock reports is alright but I wasn’t challenging myself in any way. I was physically drained after spending 8 hours on my feet, but this internship has mentally drained me, which is exactly what I love.

I’ve been pushed to work as hard as I can, to meet deadlines the day they’re set, and these are invaluable life skills I can carry forward with me into the future. This may sound awfully cliché, but now that I’ve had a taste for working in an environment related to my degree, I can’t bring myself to go back to retail. Of course, a job is a job, and when it comes to starting my second year of university in a month’s time, I will have to go back to retail part-time in order to pay for university costs, but my passion has now shifted from specialising in menswear to working in the marketing industry.

I take pride in the fact that I have put my free time this summer to great use. Thank you, to the University of Reading and to the company I’m working for, because I’ve had the best time. I definitely would love to do this again next year, and cannot recommend it enough!

A x

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Mental vs Physical Health

Current Affairs, Original Writing

I was reading up on the law recently (as one does in their free time, of course) and something struck me as particularly concerning.

Context: I was looking to apply for my student loan for this September when I visited the Disability Allowance section. I have no physical disability (minus asthma but I don’t really consider that a disability in the scheme of things) but I wondered if suffering from mental health conditions qualified as a disability in the eyes of the law and if it did, to what extent?

Here’s the tricky part; it does. Kind of. From studying law at college, I remember how important it is to pay close attention to the use of particular diction in legislation. For example, the Equality Act 2010 specifically states that a disabled person must “have an impairment that is either physical or mental… must have adverse effects which are substantial, long-term and affects normal day-to-day activities.” If all factors stated above are met, the person is thereby classified as disabled, legally. But what is classified as an “impairment?” Can mild forms of mental health conditions still be classified as impairments?

The issue I have with this legislation is that there is an awful lot of grey area with regards to what can be classified as a disability and where the line is drawn between disability and an “impairment” which does not warrant the term disability. Usually, an act will define its own terms. For example, they’ll say something along the lines of “used in its ordinary meaning.” However, there is an element of subjectiveness and discretion in this act. Nevertheless, there is very little subjectiveness associated with physical disability. In the act, examples are given of where there should be no deliberation over disability; specifically, an obese woman who has trouble breathing because she’s overweight. The law  points out that the reason behind her breathing difficulties (her obesity) should NOT be referenced. She is automatically classified as disabled, due to her breathing problems. Fair enough.

However, when looking into the mental health aspect of this law, I came across a sticking point. As per the act, in order to be classified as disabled, one’s “impairment” must affect one’s daily life as well as being a long-term condition. In particular, the act uses an example of social anxiety and panic attacks; it states that if a person’s anxiety is so severe that it warrants having to travel at certain times of the day to avoid the rush hour then yes, they are classified as disabled. However, if one doesn’t need to make changes, to their routine for example, in accordance to their condition, it is not classified as an impairment, nor is it classified as debilitating enough to warrant the term “disability.”

This stood out to be as considerably worrying due to the high percentage of people who suffer from mental health conditions in silence because they’ve known nothing else. For sufferers of severe mental health conditions, there are certain requirements within the field of treatment which contribute to their condition being a disability. But what about those who suffer from mild anxiety, mild social anxiety, mild depression etc? Where do they stand in the eyes of the law? Where do I stand, someone who is still overcoming their health condition day by day, without altering anything in their routine?

Ultimately, this all comes down to the fact that mental and physical health will never be treated equally. Ironic, considering the name of the above act. The act states that cancer and HIV are automatically classed as a disability (rightly so) thereby reiterating a distinction and distinct lack of equality between mental and physical health. There should not be any grey area in the law regarding mental health, if there is no element of subjectivity for physical disabilities. That is unfair not to mention unequal. Until schizophrenia is treated with the same importance as cancer, we will be stuck in a unequal society, trapped by the stigmatisation of mental health.

A x

First Day at Work!

Original Writing

I’VE GOT A NEW JOB! 🙂 

After deciding to leave university, I had roughly 2 weeks of doing absolutely nothing and for those of you who know me, understandably I went mad. I realised that having no work to do wasn’t what I wanted at all; I thrive on having things to do and keeping myself preoccupied so I decided to start looking for work. This may sound horrendously ironic and hypocritical considering I left university to rest and focus on getting better, and it’s understandable to think that if I can work in retail for 8 hours in one day, I can go to university.

But I’m working two to three days a week at the moment, and I have no academic worries lingering over my head. I have no deadlines to worry about either. I’m on strong medication to control the pain at the moment, so my work wouldn’t be anywhere near as good and coherent as what I know I’m capable of. Opioids don’t make for great analytical essays!

I’ve been working in the fashion retail industry for a year now and it’s not easy. Its a cut-throat world and your efforts are generally discarded if the figures aren’t what’s required for the store. To add to this, Christmas is drawing dangerously close which means longer hours, more mayhem and godawful attitudes to members of staff. Nevertheless, it keeps me busy and that’s what I adore about retail. I’m not constantly worrying about things I need to do and thinking about the pain all the time. Having a year off is great for me, health-wise, but it’s also a great chance to improve those necessary life skills.

Health-wise, we’re still in the dark but things seem to be okay for now; the pain comes and goes, not as frequently as it used to and I’m eating a little better now. The a&e visits aren’t as frequent, either, which is a nice change. It’s a matter of trial and error at the moment with medication to keep the pain at bay. The not knowing aspect of this health condition is awful and a little disheartening especially as this has been going on for so long. I just have to maintain faith in myself, my doctors and surgeons and the medication.

Happy Christmas shopping!

A x

University (Module) Update: November 2015

Original Writing

Is mankind slowly transitioning into an element of technology? Or is technology taking the place of humankind?

These were the thoughts that plagued me after reading Daniel Suarez’s Daemon (2006). It begins as less of a tech novel and more of a crime-thriller though as it progressed, the reader is exposed to the increasingly concerning power technology can hold, beyond death. In many ways, technology is presented in this novel as a form of eternal life for mankind; we are introduced to the idea that a system can make one immortal, with it’s creator working beyond the grave.

The ‘daemon’ is a system created by a dying Sobol; the interesting conflict presented in this text is the dichotomy between the power of the system in relation to the intelligence of it’s creator. The system did not reflect the genius mind of Sobol as it relied primarily on his knowledge in order to succeed. For example, the ‘daemon’ could not evolve, making it less reliable. As readers, we can interpret Sobol’s creation as an attempt at reincarnation although the motives for this are somewhat unclear; was this a radical attempt to transform society and enforce a digital one?

Nevertheless, the idea of Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life is not entirely new to us, as mentioned in my previous post; Suarez hasn’t managed to shock his readers by creating a new concept of the devolution of mankind and the evolution of machines and technology systems. Ultimately, the age of technology is undermining human intelligence and work forces but not to the extent underlined in the book, with human life at risk. Therefore, the novel isn’t futuristic in the sense that it is foreboding the rise of technology as the superior species. It does, however, warn the reader of the dangerous effects of exploiting this rise in technological power; the genius of Sobol is shadowed in the daemon through it’s ability to evade being caught and sent to jail. The novel serves as a chilling reminder of the power, and danger, of technology which originates from the creator and the creator’s intentions.

University Update: October 2015 (Weeks 1-3)

Original Writing

As I mentioned in my last update, one of the modules I’m studying this term is called ‘Reading the Digital’ and today I’m going to give you an insight into the life of a ‘digital’ student!

So far, the module has exceeded my expectations; it’s challenged every notion of literature I knew of as well as throwing me into the world of fourth dimensions and ontological realities. My favourite piece so far has been the poem ‘Agrippa‘ by William Gibson. Known for his cyberpunk novel ‘Neuromancer’, Gibson transforms the way we read a text through the unconventional format of a virus on a computer screen; the poem scrolls on it’s own, leaving the reader without any control over what they’re reading. It also self-obliterates once it’s finished scrolling.

‘Agrippa’ enticed me because it challenged the way I read it; a poem about memories became a memory through it’s computerised form. It’s origins are also absurdly compelling; placed in a art book on a floppy disk, the power one has over reading a poem was ultimately revoked. Although it did hurt my eyes reading from a screen, I enjoyed the effect it had on me – in many ways, it enhanced the effects of the poem. I also read through Pepperell’s analysis of the increase power which technology holds, who confirmed the limited power humanity holds compared to the ever increasing power of mechanisms such as machines. It led us to question the ethical dilemmas being raised: How far are we willing to go in terms of letting technology take ownership of humane abilities? Where does one cross the line, whether it be genetic modification or the concept of virtual realities?

Interesting thoughts!

Bibliography

Gibson, William, Dennis Ashbaugh, and Kevin Begos. Agrippa: A Book of the Dead. New York: K. Begos. 1992

Pepperell, Robert. The Post-human Condition. Oxford, England: Intellect Books. 1995

University Update: September 2015!

Original Writing

My second year has well and truly begun! Gone are the days of being a fresher wondering around the terrifyingly large alien world of a university campus, alone and scared with a tortoise shell of books on my back. 🙂

I am happy to say I’m absolutely loving being back at uni. I’m not even ashamed to admit how much I’ve missed studying and shoving my nose into a play or two. Analysis, as nearly everyone knows, is my forte and I’m so happy to be doing something I love on a daily basis – once again, I am overjoyed and super glad to be studying literature.

For those of you who are new to my world or have forgotten, I’m studying English literature at Roehampton University in London. Thankfully, my modules are incredibly more enjoyable this semester. (well, they were chosen by me ;)) The modules I’m studying are:

Early Modern Literature – Everything from Lyly to Shakespeare

Reading the Digital – Exploring the internet and how it interlinks with literature and society

Origins and Development of Children’s Literature – Pretty self explanatory!

The Digital module is even more exciting for me as one assignment piece is to complete a blog piece! Not only will I have a shining opportunity to share my previous work and prized website to my lecturers but I’ll be able to give you all a glimpse into my university life! (Repetitive exclamatives underlining my intense enthusiasm here.)

It’s great to be back in an environment which encourages your skills and for me is essentially a hobby. The summer break was a long 6 months; the first two were a blur of stress and determination to complete my final assignments by the deadline, whilst being drugged up on codeine to take the pain of my pancreatitis away. I can’t decide whether it was a blessing or a curse, being on medication during the most crucial period of my year. The four months following this were consumed by my job, working all day, everyday, right up until the day before I jetted off to Paris. A week later, I jetted off to Dubai, and returned unfortunately on my first day back! It was the best summer I’ve had so far, to say in the least, and I’m so glad I was productive. It feels odd and slightly empty not to be working anymore, but I’m hoping a part time job will come my way soon enough.

My days at uni are short and packed: three days a week, finishing at 5pm or 1pm. On the latter finishes, I tend to find a little cafe and study for the following week. (can you see my determination yet?)

This year is crucial for me: it’ll determine the amount of hard work I need to put in next year and my health is rather fragile as of late, meaning it really is make or break! Fingers crossed, I’m looking at the prospect of what this year will bring me with positivity and excitement. Roehampton continues to surpass my expectations by offering me terrific lecturers and even better content. I’m one week in and loving every second already.

Ciao for now,

A x

I Am Me.

Original Writing

Likes boost our self confidence and naked pictures prove our love and desire for one another. We accept a love we think we deserve – perks of being a wallflower, no? Girls follow the intense beauty rituals of a wealthy, sickly sweet inspirational figure in an attempt to look good, no matter the cost. Boys will follow vigorous exercise rituals in an attempt to achieve that perfect body. But who defines ‘perfect’? There is no such thing as perfection and there is no stopping us once we reach our goal, because we are driven by obsession. 

The art of communication is lost because we’re too busy looking at our phones instead of each other. Facial expressions are replaced by emojis. Love letters replaced by sexts. As our generation develops and progresses on, we lose the values and virtures of the previous ones, the ones we ought to hold most dear. 

I miss being a child, you know why? I didn’t know what pressure was. I didn’t have to look good for him or her. I didn’t have to adopt a certain character to fit in, nor did I have to conform to anyone or anything. The only stresses I experienced were deciding what game to play with my dolls that evening. Although I am incredibly proud of the person I’ve become, the writer I’ve become and, hopefully, the future poet I will become, I miss being in touch with my naivety and youthful happiness/negligence. Mental health issues were a myth to me. Love only existed in fairytales, and heartbreak was non-existent.

Growing up is tough, and I can admit that still, at the age of 18. But luckily I can also say that, at the age of 18, I have already made it. I have accomplished what I never thought possible. 

I am exactly who I want to be. And I am not a product of my time or society’s offspring.

I am me. Anisah Hamid. 18. Somewhere between an artist and a writer. And a poet.