I have a to-do list as long as my forearm. This was a terrible plan.
I’m moving to Manchester in September to start my Initial Teacher Training, which aside from the obvious problems such as finding a flat and packing up my stuff, presents a whole other plethora of unpleasant tasks which take precedence over novel writing, which is beginning to feel like picking daisies during an air strike.
I don’t know Manchester well. I don’t drive. So, I have to figure out where I’m going to live by spending a fortune on the train and guessing. Luckily, I have been contacted by a complete stranger who has asked me to move in with him and I am so daunted by the prospect of actually looking that I’m seriously considering it. I mean, I’ll probably meet with him beforehand to check for obvious signs of serial-killer-ishness, but for now I’m just dropping mild cricket references into emails in the hope he picks up. As far as I know, there are no serial killers who enjoy cricket.
There’s also the issue of paying for it. I’m currently skint. I cook one large casserole a week and freeze it. If I think I can probably live without a meal, I go without a meal. £540 deposit? Yeah, I’ll just pull it out of my arse, shall I?
Student finance doesn’t arrive until after I start my course. Knowing them, quite a long while after. Aside from the cost of moving, I’ll also need smart shoes, stationery, travel passes, deodorant that actually works, more than two pairs of trousers, more than one dress, and endless supply of tights to replace the ones I inevitably ladder with freshly-cut toenails, membership of a trade union, teaching resources, a new laptop- some urgent, some not so urgent, but all requiring money I just don’t have.
In order to get this money, I have to provide evidence that I’ve been financially independent of my parents for three years. I was at uni for two of them. I have wageslips, none of them very helpful or informative.
I spent a large portion of last summer being chased for £3000 I didn’t have, because of how financially independent I am from my parents. I’m so financially independent of my parents that my dad didn’t even fill in my forms for the last two years, leading to me being ineligible for any support in my final year, and to SFE retracting the support I had received in my second.
If I have to go through that again, I can’t envisage my surviving the next year.
On top of that, correspondence form the university seems to suggest that they wrongly believe me to be an international student. Making me ineligible for student finance and subject to higher fees. I don’t really know what else to say about that one only it needs fixing, now.
It’s a nightmare. It certainly wasn’t this hard last time I went to university. Back them I was in halls, had a bus to take me from my front door to my lecture hall every twenty minutes and had some sort of misguided confidence in my parents’ ability to reliably fill out a bit of paperwork. It was adventure.
This isn’t. Really. it isn’t.
So now, there are no wordcounts. I’m at the stage where leaving the house is considered an achievement. Suddenly, speaking to another human being is a rare and cherished opportunity. I have forgotten what a television is- seriously, I’ve not watched anything since the first week of June.
I still owe myself that coffee and cake. I did well to do 8000 words. But I’m not in a position to run myself ragged just because I want the doner kebab I’d earn for hitting 16,000. Right now, deadlines are out of the window. I love writing. But that’s all the way at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy. When my access to food and shelter is endangered, I have no choice but to let my priorities shift.