Friday, 20 December 2013

It’s a Guy thing (Independence vs Feminism)

I’ve decided to take a break from the poetry for a second, and go back to some pressing topics, and this will be about a topic that’s been debated in politics, religion and more specifically to this post, in relationships. This is about ‘Independence’, or at least what many females perceive it to be this day in age.

See, the Oxford Dictionary defines being independent as, “not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence”, “not connected with another or with each other” and “free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority.” Simple enough so far right? Okay. It get’s complicated when this term, rather, mindset, is incorporated into a relationship. Over time I’ve come to realise that many females tend to want to enter and go through a relationship with this kind of mindset, and in most cases they have a reason to, some guy probably messed it up for the rest of the male gender way back when. And I get it, it’s understandable to want to ‘be your own person’ when in a relationship but the extent to which many-a-female (not all of you, don’t worry) go with this is a tad bit extreme, and in most cases unreasonable, leading to fights. This is to the guys, just for a second, how many of you have been involved in this kind of situation before:

Waiter/Cashier: Thanks, if that’s all your bill will be $(insert amount).

Guy: Cheers. *pulls out wallet*

Girlfriend: No, it’s fine babe, I can pay for myself.

Guy: No don’t worry about it, that’s what I’m here for. *warm smile*

Girlfriend: What you’re here for? I can pay for myself thank you, I don’t need you spending money on me it’s alright, I have my own.

Waiter/Cashier: …. *awkwardly looks on*

You know that moment when you’re trying to do the ‘gentlemanly’ thing and pay the bill, or for her shopping, and she takes it as a swipe to her pride or independence? Look, ladies, when we offer to pay, it’s not that we think you’re incapable, or inferior, or can’t fend for yourself, there’s no better way to put it than that ‘It’s a guy thing.’ I can’t even classify it as pride, well, maybe so, but it’s something we all have, it’s embedded in us to naturally want to take care and provide for you. It’s been passed on from millennium upon millennium, going right back to the dawn of time as far as hunter gatherers, men naturally protected and provided,and women nurtured. This isn’t a debate on sexism, or on the different roles we should each have but what I’m getting at is that in most cases it’s not our choice, it’s instinct, forged by centuries of repetition and practice.

It’s almost the same case when you offer us money or buy us something while we’re there, how many guys do you know that will accept it with a smile and no conscience. This is the biggest example of a ‘Guy Thing’, I know it looks like pride and all but naturally, the testosterone and masculinity in us has a hard time showing any signs of dependence or submission. This doesn’t only go for jerks, even the nicest of guys find this hard in most cases, only because that’s how we naturally are, obviously with time it gets better either if you develop a really close friendship or relationship, but generally, it goes against every fiber in our simple brains. I know that in most cases you have the “Oh, you don’t want to feel emasculated do you?” reaction, and it’s not to the extent that you assume it is, I won’t lie, probably subconsciously it’s a masculinity thing. I actually had this conversation with a particularly independently minded female individual and after giving my side, and her giving hers, we came to a mutual agreement, “It’s a Guy Thing.” The sooner this is understood and accepted, things can move on. I’m not saying that we should pay 24/7, and you shouldn’t buy/offer money, all I’m saying is that if we refuse, or seem bothered by this, don’t take offence, it’s just how we’re wired and with some patience and settling, we find a way to find a way to take the backseat.

Independence is then commonly mistaken with feminism. Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” See the difference? Independence is focused on oneself, whereas feminism only advocates for equality. Fair and fine they have similarities but not allowing a guy to buy you something, or open your door, or let you through the door first is not being a feminist, that’s an attempt at independence. In life, especially in relationships, there will be times when both of us, males and females, will have to let this instinctive and insecure pride aside for the sake of maintaining favourable relations. Feminism should be debated in society, politics, and in the work place, as soon as you see yourself bringing it up when concerning matters of the heart know that you’re on the wrong trail.

People get it twisted, they take a person having an emotional ‘dominance’ over them as weakness. Instead I believe it’s a strength, strength to put your own desires, needs, and selfish whims aside, for the better of a ‘we’ instead of a ‘me’. Many people follow the Independent lady persona but in case you didn’t realise, she’s SINGLE (Yes, even in Ne-yo’s music video, she’s single). It’s completely understandable to be self reliant if you’re not in a commitment because in all honesty, you have every right to go out there and get it on your own. That’s the thing, you can’t be a Miss Independent in a relationship because what makes up a relationship? Two people sharing similar interest finding joy in each other’s company down to an intimate and soulful level. Don’t get me wrong, a relationship doesn’t mean you lose your individuality, it just means that it becomes acceptable to let someone else take the steering wheel for a bit. It’s possible to maintain control, even while letting someone else have an influential say, I mean, just ask the First Lady of the United States of America. You can tell that she’s her own lady, but still, she strikes a balance, see for yourself. To be independent is not to have individuality.

You see at the end of the day the thing about (exaggerated)independence is that if that’s how you live your life, how you conduct your relationships, believing on self reliance in order to deny anyone else so called ‘control over you’, in most cases if not all cases that’s how you’ll end up… By your self…


There’s no better way to put it than saying “No guy wants to date another guy.”


Friday, 29 November 2013

Discovering Yourself

During your time at university, chances are you may have an identity crisis. This is where I believe you'll truly discover who you are as a person so I wrote a poem that relates well to this:

Who are you
Looking in the mirror, unsure of what you see, 
Created by rumors, and what people believe. 
In a hope to be accepted, we foolishly accept
A life chosen by others, forever to live in regret.
Individuality is seen as foreign, probably as much as the person who holds the title. 
The strong willed are cast out and judged to be loners
So they plug their headphones in, and Into the music they zone out.
Friends dictate your thoughts and the emotions held by your heart,
But still we follow the crowd, in fear of being cast out 
You slowly become what you thought you would never be,
But is that not what they love? Is that not what they want to see? 
Lessons taught by elders wither away with all morals,
We wear the mask forged by peer pressure
And instead of leading we follow. 
So as you breathe your last, and you ask yourself who you are, 
Were you living as you? Were you unique and free?
Or were you living the life that people wanted to see?

Russell Gwata (2013)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Poem: Mr Right

He came into your life when it had lost its cause,
When the shackles of guilt dragged you down to the floor.
When your reputation was laid to rest,
Along with the memory, of any good you had ever met.
At night you were haunted by the evil you had done
What the world saw as evil, you saw as fun.
You shut the world out, you built up walls
Little did you know, they would be your demise and fall.
Many have come before him, and a few may come after,
But none will bring such joy, and share such laughter.
He reminded you how to feel and how to let the pain seep
Out of your troubled mind, and bury it in the deep.
Day one was a step. Day two was a leap,
Day 3 was four more. And day four was a week.
Slowly you grew, and drew the mask away from your face
To finally show your beauty to finally share your grace.
He did what many thought impossible,
He pursued and he achieved
To finally make you confident,
And see yourself as unique.
But his kindness was taken for granted,
His love was taken as weakness,
Soon would arise,
The evil he thought he had defeated.
Now he was just another guy,
No different than those that came before
It's time he packs his bags and leaves
It's time he blesses another soul.
Many told him how it would end, the ending of their show

But that’s what he gets for playing Mr Right,
It’s my time to go.


Russell Gwata (2013)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Poem: Alone But Not Lonely

Got a tad bit of inspiration so I wrote this poem over the last 20 minutes, no real reason, just wrote it. Please let me know what you think or any comments you might have.. Thanks :)

Alone But Not Lonely

The person who smiles at you in the mirror,
Is the only person who's smile will forever be sincere .
The person that tells you that you can do it,
When nobody else is there.
So often we put our trust in people
That only have their own reflection in mind
As long as they are taken account for, everything else 'will follow in time'.

Kindness has a price, a cost so evident yet we fail to see
Like a dream lost from mind, a dream we fail to retrieve.
After your parents have done their job, who puts the clothes on your back?
Who wipes your tears at night? Who talks you to sleep?
Who's company do you find you will forever keep?
The person that's been there the whole time,
And will be there even in your grave.
The person that so often keeps you in line,
Yes, the person that shares your face.

See at the end of the day we're individuals,
Victims of our own whims
You're the only person you can connect with on a mental, emotional, and spiritual tip.
Do you ever find yourself being happy, when there's no one else around?
When that little voice in your head is all you need for a calming sound.

It's the voice that drives you forward, when spectators melt into the background
It's the person that chuckles at your humour, when everyone else seems to frown.
See another person can make you happy, but not even they will be around for eternity
Some day they too will depart, whether in life, in the after life, or possibly to purgatory.
So just take a second to look in the mirror, smile at what you see
Because though you, we, may be alone, we'll never be lonely.
I could be speaking for myself, when I say that I can be alone and content,
When no urge tugging at you, to find another individual to protect.
I think I've finally found peace, and I'm aware that it's probably showing.
That I may be alone alone, but definitely not lonely...

Russell Gwata (2013). 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Placements, Placements, Placements…

In my last few blogs I've touched a bit on placements, but I haven’t really gone into much detail. Well… Enough detail to get you by, I wouldn't want to bore you with facts and figures now would I?

Moving on then, here’s a short bullet point list regarding the steps you should take in order to firstly choose a company, and secondly actually get higher chances of getting the job:


Ask yourself, “Do I really want to do a Placement Year? If so, why?”
  • Fair enough, I've gone on about how beneficial a placement year is but these were benefits that I derived from my own personal research and aspirations. For some people, placements just aren't their thing; they’d rather complete Uni and then start worrying about getting a job (you decide the practicality of that).
  • Obviously the potential income is extremely enticing however; THIS SHOULDN'T BE YOUR MAIN REASON. If you let the drive for money be your sole motivation in terms of placements, you’ll just end up doing a placement that you don’t actually want to do and has no correlation with your degree or future career prospects. Bear in mind I’m not saying that money shouldn't be a motive, it is, and always will be, that’s why we all work after all, just don’t let that be your only and most important reason. The real rewards are intangible, such as experience and self-satisfaction.
  • Identify the benefits that it could give YOU, whether it is the experience, networking or income.

You've decided right? Great! Next step:
  • If you haven’t done so already, consult your parents/guardians, tutor or advisor and see if they support your initiative. If you still have some uncertainty, the university have placement talks and workshops organised by the by the Guidance Employability Team and Business Employability office which will give you an opportunity to ask any questions and in some cases, actually hear what employers think about the scheme.
  • Once you’re certain that this is what you want to do, send an email to busemployability@gre.ac.uk containing your Full Name, Course Title and Year, Banner ID No. as well as a short note stating that you would like your mode of study to be changed from full-time to a sandwich course. With this option, you have nothing to lose because even if you don’t get a placement for whatever reason, your mode of study can easily be changed back to full time.
  • If possible, try and get your course changed either before the end of your first year, or as soon as you start your second year. That way you have a lot more time to actually look for placements and bear in mind most big companies have their application deadlines in October and even November!
  • Some websites that I find really helpful in searching for internships and placements are www.milkround.co.uk, www.prospects.co.uk and www.ratemyplacement.co.uk. My personal favourite is Rate My Placement, I found it a lot more specific in terms of actual companies that gave placements etc. however I’m not taking anything away from the other two, check them out too, you might like them more.

Now the ‘hard’ bit, before applying:
  • Do some research into the industry you would like to go into, ideally something that links up well with your degree and third year modules. Get at least a minimum of 20-25 businesses in that industry that you would like to go into, and then another 10 in a related industry which skills are transferable. I know, I know, this seems like a lot, but trust me, once you comprehend the amount of applications sent to these companies by students just like you and I, you’ll apply to as many as possible to raise your chances, and you would really have nothing much to lose.
  • Like mentioned above, try and get your course changed as soon as you decide, preferably first few weeks of the second year. Next most, if not all placements primarily target students on the path to getting a 2:1 so it’s really advisable that you get good marks for the first year.
  • Before sending out any applications, unless if you are 153% certain that your CV and cover letters are flawless, set up an appointment with the Business Employability office by emailing your full name, Banner ID and a note stating that you would like to book a CV and Cover Letter Clinic to busemployability@gre.ac.uk. Trust me, this helps! I had so much confidence in my CV until my clinic where so many corrections came up and I left with a much better CV. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!!!!!

Finally, applying:
  • Once you have your ammunition ready, that being your CV and list of companies, you’re ready to apply. A quick note though, in most cases it’s highly unadvisable to have a generic Cover Letter because companies want to feel that you wrote it specifically for them, that will impress them a lot.
  • For companies that require some form of online tests, get some practice questions done beforehand to give you a better understanding. There are some practise psychometric tests available via the student portal if need be.

On a closing note, throughout the whole process remember the fact that you’re not alone, aside from the employability offices, there are tutors, and even lecturers that would be happy to give you more information or guidance regarding this. The large majority of employers out there look for graduates with work experience and if you have a year’s placement experience under your belt, guess what, your chances just doubled! I take a placement year like a Demo for a Playstation (or Xbox -_-) game because it gives you a taste of what the real thing is like, which in this case would be an actual full time job and professional environment, and it gives you some valuable experience all before the real thing.

But yeah, this is my blog dedicated to placements, I hope I've shed some light on pressing issues and managed to give some useful information.

 Till we read again…

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Start of second year

Well, 2nd Year has definitely started with a bang. Complete contrast from first year where you’re kind of eased into the workload, 2nd year is the complete contrast because you pretty much have no option but to hit the ground running! However, what I can reflect on is the fact that since I paid a reasonable amount of attention in my first year, nothing this year is really taking me by surprise that much. It’s obviously a lot more work crammed into a short amount of time but this is the vital time to gain those ‘time management’ skills we've been drilled into familiarising ourselves with since the age of fourteen. My advice to those entering the 2nd year of study is to draft up a coursework planner, this way when you have a constant reminder of when your deadlines are, you’ll be more inclined to actually get started.

As employability is also becoming a major issue, I’d also advice students to consider a placement year as I believe that apart from your degree, this is the next best thing to have on your CV. Placement years give students that work experience that all employers seem to be constantly after and if you can provide evidence of experience, this will make your application more lucrative. On a professional point of view, others take University as a chance to get a degree, I take it as a chance to build up my CV, there are so many things that you can get involved with between the first and the third year to have a ‘banging’ CV.  One of the biggest drawbacks to graduates is lack of knowledge in general, so give our Guidance Employability Team or our Business Employability Team a visit and they’ll be able to help you with anything from Cover Letters, to CV’S to advice in the top graduate employers.


But on a whole I look forward to the challenges this year will bring, after all, no place worth going has an easy pathway right?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Looking back at my first year..

To my beloved readers,

This is officially my first blog of my summer break and I must say its going pretty well (thus far). As we 'speak' I'm writing this from the motherland (Zimbabwe, Africa) which is where I will be spending the majority of my holiday, yes we have internet, haha. I must say it's good to be back home, seeing familiar faces and getting to spend some time with those I cherish. As I look back on my First Year, I reckon I had quite a successful outcome. Entering the UK as a foreigner one would expect that the sudden change of culture and principles would do my head in but instead, it was the comlete opposite! I hit the ground running, so to speak, and within a few weeks of my education at the University of Greenwuch I was elected by my peers to be the Student Representative of the class and I had managed to score my first job within the University as a Senior Events Assistant. Quite a fair start I must say :) ! As the months rolled on and I got more stuck into the University I became a member of the 1st Team Basketball, got promoted to the Recruitment Ambassador position and managed to get my second job within the University as an Enquiry Unit Assistant, which is where I got involved in Student Blogging. My exam results were well above average, managing to attain the highest marks in my class for all three examinations.

 Looking back on those results I wonder how I did it lol. I mean, I had a blast during my first year and really managed to let loose and enjoy myself but when it was time to work, boy did I work! That goes to show that it is in fact possible to enjoy your first year and still get really good grades, I'm a living testimony! One major piece of advice, PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE PHRASE "FIRST YEAR DOESN'T COUNT"!! Fair enough most courses do not include first year marks in the final degree but think about it, doing well in your first year makes the second and third years so much easier because you would have managed to pick up some valuable momentum. This piece of advice also specially goes out to students wishing to take a placement year in their industry of choice, companies will definitely look at your first year performance!

On a closing note, I just want to say that my first year was unforgettable and the more you put into the University of Greenwich, the more you will get out. This is regardless of your age, gender, religion, ethnicity, physical appearance/ability or what football team you support lol. The University of Greenwich prides itself on it's diversity so I assure you, all are welcome. Stay safe, and enjoy the summer! :)


Russ

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

End of first year..

So, first year is finally done and I can't say that I haven't had a great time. I've made friends for life and had such an amazing experience, having moments I'll truly savour for the rest of my life. The workload took some getting used to but after you're in the rhythm of things it all seems to pass by easily. My exams went quite well though, I got top grades for all my classes which will definitely help me since I'll be looking to do a placement year after my second year.

This summer I'm going back to the motherland, and I must say I'm looking forward to being back home in Zimbabwe. Although I would have loved to experience the full length and effects of the infamous British summer but hey, there's always next year :). A piece of advice to all those reading, summer is the perfect time to let loose and all but it's also one of the best opportunities to get some valuable work experience that will surely stand out on your CV so get stuck in!

All summed up, first year was awesome, I worked hard, and I played hard, balancing my time, and I can't say that I could have had a better time! Cheers.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Third World, First Home. (Zimbabwe)


Is your knowledge of my home based on what you have discerned on your own or on what you have been told? If the media holds the paint brush that tells the story of our demise with the earth as it’s canvas, you, the audience, are left with little to no choice to take the painter’s work as it is, no questions, no analysis. But do you know the story behind the strokes of paint so eloquently displayed, that only tell tales of misery, and choose to leave out the rest? You see, I’m no politician. I won’t venture into unfamiliar territory with a lack of facts, knowledge and resources. But what I do know is that we are far from the common misconception. Can you be blamed though? I mean the only time we are ever in the headlines is when there is a collapse in economy or health standards. The only thing you are shown is poverty, death, corruption and our supposed ‘primitive nature’. Have you ever asked yourself what the painter is hiding? If my home is really as bad as it’s seen on his canvas? You never see the bright lights, or the friendly inhabitants of our cities. You never see the roads, the cars, or the literate individuals that rank us as the most literate country in Africa.


All they show you is the dust, the infamous political speeches and acts of violence, the mud houses and the wildlife, which seems to be all we are ever positively known for really. Is this so called ‘news’ reality, or misguided perception fueled by contempt in reaction to our refusal to conform? I Googled Zimbabwe and on the first page of image results all that came up was poor children asking for food, sick people in hospital, our cash crises and policemen issuing beatings to a member of the public (excluding maps of course). Note I said THE VERY FIRST page!


With the growing importance of the Internet, if someone is from a More Economically Developed Country is to Google Zimbabwe and that’s what they see, it only shows what they are fed to believe. Only a few beautiful nature shots came up of a Wonder of the world people claim isn’t ours, no social gatherings, or vehicles, or buildings, or success. This is what the painter chooses to show you. You never see images of our capital city like this do you:


Upon hearing and witnessing my linguistic skills people often ask me where I’m from. I proudly smirk and reply, “Zimbabwe, why do you ask?” (Knowing the answer). Followed by their generic reply, “Ummmm, are you sure?” After a few more minutes of convincing, and letting them know I've lived there for 19 years and have been here (London) for less than a year, still in doubt they conclude, “Wow, your English is really good, you sound so ‘posh’.” At first I took offence to such exchanges, I mean what did you expect me to sound like? Did you expect that I walk 10 miles every morning to get clean water? That I have a pet lion and ride elephant’s to school? That was all till I began to feel sorry for these inquisitors, realising their unintended ignorance. Thus I realised, they ask me these questions not out of intention to offend, but because such stereotypes have been engraved into their being, so what more do they expect. I often find myself having to explain how admirable life is in my home country because if not me, who else will? Fair and fine our economy isn’t the most reputable around, nor is our way of dealing with certain situations in an ethical manner, sure we have a lower life expectancy and less superior health care but you know what? We get on with it, and we live. These are just a few of numerous issues but really, which country doesn’t have any at all? Is a short life of freedom not sweeter than a long one in conformance? We’ve been to hell and back, survival for us is a way of life, and I make reference to Charles Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.
Harare, dubbed as one of the ‘least livable cities’ in the world by this illustrious painter, has led to the majority of your common misconception. But when having your own cars, domestic workers, business ventures, houses spanning the size of a common train station, bedroom the size of an entire floor of a common London house and best of all having all of this WITH NO DEBT TO THE GOVERNMENT, is referred to as un-livable, then what is livable? If paying off debts you collected in your teens for the rest of your working life is referred to as freedom then I want no part in it.

Listen, I could go on forever, telling you how we are not what we seem, forcing you to believe me, but that will just make me no better than the painter that gave you your views in the first place. Instead I’ll say do your own research, see with your own eyes, visit if you have the time and luxury to and see for yourself all that the painter left out. I’m not saying we’re the best country in Africa, I’m not saying we are flawless, I’m not saying you choose to hold negative perceptions over our existence. All I’m saying is we are not what the media makes us out to be, I’m shedding a little light if you will.
At the end of the day it’s your third world, and my first home. So will you choose to see what you know, or will you see what you are told..

Advice I give to any student planning on studying Business Law is that, from my personal opinion, its the best law route that's out there. I mean, Corporate Lawyers are the highest paid kind of lawyers with an average of £170k for more senior corporate lawyers and if that doesn't catch your attention I don't know what will! With Business Law you have the choice to either venture into the business side of things or the more legal which gives you very valuable and marketable skills when you're out in the world. Employers would much rather pick a business person that's well versed in law as well and vice versa so it's one of the best courses out there!

My First Blog!


Hi guys, thanks for sharing this moment with me and reading my first ever blog! 

I honestly don't know what took me so long to do this because I love writing but getting a diary wasn't an option, I left those days in Primary. Thing is I'm generally a really contemplative person, I question things that people usually brush off or I view things in a completely different way than people would normally view it. Some say it makes me weird, I say it makes me superhuman! I question society, principles, life and everything that you probably have but just didn't air out, and in all this I manage to remain politically correct Awesome right? 

Since I have to post something about the Uni, my advice is, fair enough lecturers and students say "1st Year doesn't count" but don't be fooled and party your first year away because it WILL come back to haunt you. Rather have fun but keep on top of your coursework and deadlines so you can hit the ground running for the rest of your course.

Life is short, so is my blog, so savor it :P! But anyway, this is just a short introduction of what's to follow, call it an appetizer if you must, stay tuned for more :). 

Take it easy!