October 19, 2014

exploitation


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Weeks roll past at Warwick at an incomprehensible speed. No day is the same and I feel my motivations, desires, and interests being continuously jolted like an electric current.

The course of my life has taken so many violent turns in a short amount of time.
I am pursuing new, challenging goals that I never even saw coming before I came here.
I want to put out fishing nets all around this ocean. Maybe then I'll end up catching some fish. 



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Am I building myself a new identity?
I don't like to think of it in that way. I am building on my identity, adding layers to what makes me me, filing the edges, smoothing down the corners, going forward.

I want to be sharp. Quick, clever, on top of my game. I want to feel in control of my mind.
We have been reading the Gorgias by Plato in philosophy and I have really enjoyed it as it has motivated me to have a new kind of grip on myself. I realise drawing upon ancient philosophy for self-motivation seems a little silly, and while I disagree with many things Socrates argues in this dialogue, it has brought me fuel.

Socrates advocates ruling yourself; being self-disciplined and in control of yourself, mastering the pleasure and desires that arise in you. He argues that a good mind is a self-disciplined and organised one. A self-disciplined person is just, brave, a kind of paradigm of goodness. He argues it is the path to happiness. This happiness, eudaimonia, is a form of human flourishing.
Doesn't that sound beautiful? While this explanation is a definite over-simplification, it is something I want to try. Blooming and flourishing, yes please.

What are these habits I try to smooth out of my mind?
Laziness, moping around, negative thoughts and discouragement, loneliness, feeling mentally unstimulated, not being focused, and not having a high awareness of what I am doing, seeing, learning, reading, or feeling.
I just have this constant desire to be better, to do better, to create more profound, more complex, more beautiful things.
So maybe to explain this to you in a more concrete fashion, I'll mention a few things I have been working on.


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Working on my degree is top priority. Every week we are expected to accomplish a decent amount for each module.
Politics is all reading at the moment. We have weekly reading lists that I sometimes struggle to keep up with. They have a couple chapters from around five books in the core reading (i.e. compulsory) and the supplementary list is very, very long. For tutorials we are to read from around four works very closely as the content of the tutorial will heavily be discussion based on the reading.

Economics is mostly just comprehension of basic concepts right now. We are required to do one problem set a week on our own and another during our tutorials, plus a bit of reading. I've learned a few new things and I like the mathematical perspective they take on here. I am being questioned about minuscule details I didn't think about before. It is nice to find new curiosities in simple concepts such as demand and supply or elasticities.


In philosophy we read Plato's Gorgias and are now moving onto Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill. Every week we would read a certain amount of pages and answer some questions based on the passage for each lecture. Quite straightforward.

In maths we are to do a formal problem set each week that is checked in the tutorial. However, as my mathematical aptitude is not at the level I want it to be yet, I am trying to do some supplementary exercises to get a good rhythm going. 


My degree work however, isn't the only thing that is keeping me busy. I have been attending every event hosted by Warwick Finance Societies in hopes of gathering as much information and motivation to help me succeed in my applications for spring internships at investment banks.
I have been to networking events, mentoring sessions, and lectures on the technicalities of trading foreign exchange. I have mock interviews, CV clinics, and more networking coming up next week. It is such a dynamic and competitive industry that would be so stimulating to get into.
As my degree doesn't include any finance, I have been trying to pick up some of the basic concepts by reading and researching online. The support and opportunities on offer here at Warwick blow my mind.

When something challenging, competitive, and interesting is dangled at my eyes, I just can't resist reaching for it. 


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I have also been listening to amazing talks. A few weeks a go Tim Harford, a renowned economic writer (author of the Undercover Economist) spoke to us about economic forecasting in his amusingly anecdotal talk.
Sometimes I feel like not only is the value of these talks in the content itself, but in the surge of motivation and drive it gives me to hear an expert speaking of a topic in their field.

Last week Alastair Newton, a political analyst for the bank Nomura, briefly covered the most important political conflicts and their possible effects on certain market variables. His presence made me so giddy.
It is so wonderful to meet people who have a strong grip of what is happening in their field. Makes me want to know so much about something I love. I want to be able to confidently answer any tricky questions fired at me. I wish to be able to offer top of the class analysis that can lead to good decisions. These are the reasons I am even in university.

I want to write an article for 'Perspectives', a political magazine on campus hosted by the Politics society. They are giving me free hands to pick any topic I desire. Isn't that amazing?


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These activities have left me in a state of hunger to do more, to know more, and accomplish more. In fact, I start feeling anxious if hours have passed and I haven't made progress on my to do list. 
This is something I need to work on.  Not only do I want to be productive, I also wish to be comfortable with just floating for a little while. Having time away from everything. Taking walks in nature, exercising, working on our photography with my boyfriend and jamming on the ukulele with my friend have done those things for me.
I started salsa classes! I cannot even tell you how much joy and confidence I get from it. I have a few friends doing it with me and it is such a great release to learn more moves and improvise during the freestyle portion of the class.
I am also keeping up with my musical interests by going to Glee club each week. Singing has always been my go-to outlet when I am stressed. Singing a cappella with others is even better.


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Doing so much requires a lot of organisation and thinking. I try to take one day a week to sit down and plan the week ahead, day by day. I try to organise my mind like this too.
I took a the night bus up to Glasgow to visit my boyfriend this past week. I had a transfer in Birmingham and at 3 am as I was walking around the sleeping city I had a moment.
I just realised how crazy this all is. How brilliant I can make my life. How fortunate I am to have these opportunities, to have so much love in my life. I can't even comprehend how privileged I am.

A part of me is afraid that I'll let these opportunities go to waste or that I will fail in my pursuits. I just have to keep going, keep putting in the effort, keep reaching for excellence.

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breakfast in Glasgow after four hours of sleep on the nightbus

Ben Howard came out with his new album this week and I have been obsessed with this one line in it:
'It's in your nature
Blooms inside your blood'


I aspire to reach excellence.
Living like this is in my nature, in my blood. 


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photos by Ilkka Matias Kumpula

October 7, 2014

the arrival

I do not know where to begin. With a week at University of Warwick under my belt, I am overwhelmed. But in a good way. Yes, good.

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I thought moving here would be easy and exciting. I couldn't foresee the spectrum of emotions I would experience by leaving behind so many dear friends and my entire family. My last week in Finland was very difficult as I parted with everything that had built my life there. I looked at Helsinki with adoring eyes, silently weeping as I walked passed the pastel coloured buildings of the city for the last time. Next time I'd only be a temporary visitor, and Helsinki wouldn't be mine again for a very long time.

So after a couple heartbreaking farewell dinners and my farewell party, I packed all my things into two very large suitcases and flew out to Heathrow with my parents.
One-way ticket.

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Giggling at a burger in Kew Gardens

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After a day of shopping for my flat in London and saying goodbye to my parents, we arrived here. At my new home.

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What initially threw me off was that I had never even visited Warwick before. I had only seen pictures and videos, heard lovely things, and harboured my own visions of the campus for so long. When we arrived here, it all looked even more beautiful than in the pictures. I couldn't believe my flat window overlooked a peaceful green and let in the morning sun. I was in a kind of horrible awe.

Shortly after claiming my flat we went to peruse through the fresher's fair and deal with some administrative business. Suddenly I was surrounded by hundreds of exciting people, all shoving flyers, discounts, information, and free domino's pizza in my face. The piazza boomed with loud music and I was having a tough time keeping my pulse down. Too much, too much. I was too nervous to eat, too busy taking in my new surroundings and wrapping my head around the fact that I had arrived.

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After listening to a parent's welcome speech with my mother, my aunt, my mother, and my cousin left. I was too freaked out to be emotional. I made a trek to the grocery store and tried to figure out how many was too many pence for a bag of pasta.

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After my puzzling arrival, fresher's week set into motion. Here it lasts two weeks, but runs along with lectures. The first week was a surreal big blur of parties, first lectures, sports, societies, and hundreds of new people. I got drenched in slimy fluorescent paint at the paint party, sat in kitchens until four a.m. discussing more and less deep matters. I was so impressed with all my lecturers and through it all, I felt like I was on some sort of vacation.
I still feel like that actually. My room still feels a bit like a hotel room when I wake up, and trekking through the campus in the morning is quite unreal.

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I feel happy here. I feel the immense potential of this dynamic place.
Right outside my house there is a peaceful duck pond that is the perfect spot to come to and read. I am planning to buy a bike a take little Sunday cycles in the beautiful vicinity. Many of my peers studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics are brilliant, interesting people.
I could tell you so many things about how Warwick is overwhelming, amazing.

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My boyfriend visited from Glasgow last weekend and it made this place feel more like home. It was so lovely to explore the area with him and try our hand at proper cooking. We did some lovely photography I'll show you soon and I made a pumpkin pie :3

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The maths and statistics building is my favourite by far. I love the playful water jets and the water lilies. Call me silly, but I'd like to sit there and zone out back to Giverny.

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There is constantly something going on here it's insane. Taster sessions, socials, seminars, guest speakers...
Last week we listened to a panel of economic and political experts answering students' questions about our economy.


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One evening I was feeling  a little lonely and found an empty piano room in the Arts Centre. I sat there for hours, playing and singing. It was such a release to get a away for a little while.

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Everyone keeps going on about how difficult my course is, and from what I've gathered, I love it already.  I love how there is much variety. One day I'll be focused on multivariate calculus and Plato, the other, I'll be learning about Marxism or quantitative easing.
PPE students are required to take 4 year long modules; Economics 1, Intro to Politics, Intro to Philosophy, and Mathematical Techniques (which includes maths, stats, and data analysis). I also chose an additional microeconomics module that focuses on game theory and firm strategy and a politics module titled 'political economy'. I decided to challenge myself and go for the difficult math course, as I am interested in taking up econometrics next year. It will probably be a struggle.
I am going to challenge myself here. This is the first time ever that I am so in love with everything that I am studying.
What can I say- honestly it couldn't be better.


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What I managed to snag from the PPE booksale. Coursebooks are insanely expensive (up to 70 pounds) and buying most of them second hand is a must for me.

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I have been trying to get this post together for ever and I have never been pleased with it. My thoughts are so jumbled and I feel I can't really really fathom them into anything more comprehensive. So this is it for now. 

There are so many things I want to share and I hope I'll get myself straightened out and settled in so I can get back to better blogging.

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Over this past week I have discovered new things about myself; how I am not quite as fearless and outgoing as I thought to be.
But I am brave. That I know now.


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