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In Review

2013 is the first year since 1987 to have four different digits.

The above fact is there in case you don’t like retrospective posts, so that there’s still something to keep you entertained. =)

I did a lot of things in 2012.

In January, I went back to work in Dunnes, not in the same department as before, but I stayed there for three months, and enjoyed it immensely, even though I hate retail. Having a job has always been an important part of who I am, especially in Dunnes. I also laughed at Alex, Sinéad and a variety of other friends who had to sit exams, whereas I had done mine in December of 2011.

In February, I started the second half of my masters, which meant that I was back in college in Maynooth, but only two days a week.Image

In March, my sister came home and announced she’s marrying her boyfriend next year. So that’s cool.

In April, I turned 22, and my contract in Dunnes expired. I also competed in the IABCB National Band Championships with the Lucan Concert Band. We won our section, too!

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In May, I sat my masters exams. They were no joke, I’m telling you!

In June, my sisters and I went to see the Olympic torch in St Stephen’s Green, which was a once in a lifetime experience. Sinéad, on the other hand, tried to faint. She knows how to make the most of an afternoon. I also spent the majority of June in the Postgrad common room working on my thesis.

July was much the same, as I continued to work on my thesis, which was finished and handed in on the 27th July. It’s beautiful. I’m telling you. So beautiful. It’s purple, too. Other things happened in July, less interesting and far less happy things. While finishing my thesis was tough, the satisfaction of handing it in and finishing my masters was enormous. On the other hand, Alex moved away and if you know me, you’ll know how bad a month July was for me.

In August, I started an internship in Round Hall, a publishing house in Dublin. It was probably the best thing I’ve done all year – it gave me an idea of what I actually want to do in the future. Now I know that I want to work in publishing, which makes things a lot easier than this time last year, where I was thinking I wanted to be a solicitor, and sat FE1s, but failed them. 

In September, my exam results came out, and after some arguments with my head of department, I was eventually awarded a first class honours masters in International Business Law. Alex also graduated in September, so I was incredibly proud of him.

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As all my friends went back to college in September, I began to get a little bit jealous, having realised that finishing my masters meant I wasn’t going back to college.

In October, I started playing with the chamber group of the Liffey Valley Orchestra. Alex turned 25, and entirely refuses to acknowledge it. He tried to convince my 3 year old cousin that he was 19 this week. I also went to a conference held by the Society of Publishers in Ireland, where I was told about a Studentship for a PhD. I resolved to apply for it.

At the very end of the month, I graduated from Maynooth for the second time.

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In November, Alex and I attended an awards ceremony where he was presented with a medal for coming top of his class this year (the third year in a row). I was proud of him them, and I still am now.

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(I look incredibly small in this photo. I swear I’m actually taller than that.)

I also went to see Muse in concert with my sisters. They were fabulous, as always.

November was also the deadline for the application of the aforementioned PhD. On the day it was due, I was still missing a reference, which caused much panic, but I got in in eventually. Lastly in November, I was invited to interview for that PhD. I went to London for the weekend and visited my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend, and panicked wildly about succeeding in interview, but apparently I didn’t do too badly.

This month, December, I was offered the PhD. I accepted, and will be moving to London in five days. I also passed my driving test. I played approximately a billion Christmas concerts. I dropped my clarinet, which was quite upsetting, and I have yet to get it fixed. Christmas was quiet and relaxed and now, at the end of the year, I’m chilling out and watching TV with Alex, and planning on spending a quiet New Year’s Eve, making the most of the time I have with him before I move away.

I really enjoyed this year, although there were some terribly low points. I wasn’t best pleased that Alex moved to Limerick, so I retaliated by moving to London. 

No, I kid. Living away from him isn’t ideal, but I’m beyond excited at the idea of starting this PhD. I’m thrilled that I’ve achieved so much this year, and I’m hoping 2013 will be just as successful as 2012 was.

If you’re reading this, I wish you a Happy New Year and I hope that 2013 bring everything you wish for.

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If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
AMAZING BOOK.

10/10

Buy it.

Read it.

Love it.

No, seriously. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
But I guess I could do a proper review.
The Good: It’s amazing. Quite simply. If I Stay is a beautiful, wonderful, touching, moving book about love and loss, family and friendship and everything in between.
It covers music, relationships, first loves, family, friends, tragedy, loss, fitting in, not quite fitting in, finding your passion, giving it up, fighting for love, fighting for life and it’s all done with a wonderful light touch from the author which breathes life into the characters with a depth and reality that I’ve rarely found in other books.

The Bad: I had to think really hard about this. If you’re not a musician, apparently it’s harder to relate to. However, I disagree with this. Anyone can understand passion, and really, that’s what music and being a musician is about. It’s about passion.
Oh, if you don’t like sad books, this might be bad.
That’s it. Other than that, I got nothing.

The Ugly: 10/10.
This is one of my absolute most recommended books in the world. You should read it, I hope you will love it, I know I do.
That is all.

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Review: 9

Okay, it’s been a while, but I can’t think of what else to write about here so I’m going to review book number nine! This time it’s called
Where She Went by Gayle Forman.
Where She Went

First things first! This is a sequel. If you haven’t read the first book, it won’t make much sense, as it follows on from the first book.

Side note: The prequel to Where She Went is If I Stay. If you haven’t read it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
GO READ IT. It is absolutely fantastic. One of my favourite books.
Are you reading it now? No? Why not? Because you’re reading my blog post?
Oh, well, I guess that’s a good enough reason. But after that! Read If I Stay! It’s haunting, beautiful, eloquent… I can’t praise it enough!

Ahem. Back to the review proper.
Where She Went:
The Good: Similar to If I Stay, the prose is beautiful. The story is captivating, engaging and heart-warming. It’s both tragic and beautiful and wonderful all at the same time. Where If I Stay was written from Mia’s perspective, Where She Went takes Adam’s side. It follows the two of them on one night three years after the events of If I Stay.
I don’t want to ruin the story of either book, but the second nicely fleshes out the first. It follows on and elaborates on the story between Mia and Adam, filling in the blanks in the three years they were apart throughout the course of the book. It keeps the flashback format of the first book, and once again music plays a huge part in the book, which I, as a musician, do appreciate. Forman’s lyrical writing style shines through again and the sheer human interest of the story drives it. Emotive and powerful, it’s difficult to put down.

The Bad: The only bad things I have to say about Where She Went are in relation to If I Stay. It’s not as good as If I Stay. But then, sequels rarely are. As well as that, where If I Stay stands on its own, Where She Went, in actuality, I don’t think would. Because it picks up on the story of Adam and Mia, it’s focused largely on the aftermath of If I Stay. So without the first, the second doesn’t so much fall as stumble. It *could* stand on its own, but the book wouldn’t be half as powerful.

The Ugly: 4.5/5
It’s excellent, there’s no denying that. But it’s just that little bit behind If I Stay, and that little bit too fragile to stand on its own.

Similar: Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, If I Stay by Gayle Forman

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