Sunday, 28 November 2010

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

All right then, boys and girls. I just thought I'd do a write-up of this super special show because I believed that it would take more than a few poor quality pictures on Facebook to do it justice. My camera actually rather let me down tonight by being rubbish and deciding to run out of battery, meaning I could take roughly one poor quality picture per piece, just so I could remember what was played, so I thought it might better just to write as much about the show as I can recall.
There were a few oddities among the audience, first of all. I saw a couple of people with moogle hats, and a girl dressed as Yuna in the front row (apparently). Just a few moments before the show started, the man himself walked in and took his seat in the audience. Nobuo Uematsu, long time legendary Final Fantasy composer was at this very show. I could have met him too, if I wasn't so cheap as to not pay the extra 50 bucks for meet and greet. He was wearing some kind of funny Firion-esque bandanna, it was awesome omg he looked like a pirate!
It kicked off with the opening theme from Final Fantasy VIII, accompanied by some CGI from the game. Arnie Roth, the conductor, then did a few greetings and good welcomes etc, then he introduced a "very special" piece of music to start off the event, which also turned out to be very short.
That's right, it was the Victory Fanfare!! Oh, how we all laughed and cheered!!
Then we all settled down and we got serious again as the next piece, Enter Zanarkand, was introduced. This got an excited cheer from many people... and I have to say, I found this arrangement, with the accompanying CGI, very epic, emotional and moving, I felt like I could actually probably cry if I wanted to. It was at precisely this moment where I think I fully started to realise the true beauty of symphonic music. I never really had much time for it before, but... there is really nothing that compares to being in a venue like the Sony Centre with good acoustics and being presented with a full symphony playing such fantastic music like this.
Then we went right back to FF8, and this was one of the highlights of the show for me. Instead of being presented with another beautiful FMV, we were shown an in-game cutscene of Seifer calling Zell a chicken wuss, complete with the sound of a random dog barking. After the text dialogue windows disappeared the characters started to move as if someone was playing the game, and the way they moved, complete with that footstep sound that many of us had not heard for years - the fact that this game now looked so RETRO made many of us in the audience burst out laughing!! What's obvious is that humor was clearly intended given the choice of scene they showed us. Then it went to a fight scene with Squall, Seifer and Zell batting a Galbadian soldier, and the symphony went ahead and played Don't be Afraid as more actual in-game footage played out. The way this symphonic beauty was juxtaposed with this fantastic retroness was the essence and magic of this whole event.
Then it went to one of the most beautiful pieces in the series - Aerith's theme. This is one of the tunes I was hoping they would play. It was just as moving as I expected it to be and again, I could have cried if I wanted to. They set it to some of Aerith's scenes from the game - like her and Cloud's first meeting, that bit when they're in the park before Wall Market, one of Cloud's dreams (when she's in that foresty place) and finally, a scene of the time of her death. They didn't ACTUALLY show the bit where Jenova (Sephrioth) comes down to stab her, but they showed the bit just before and after... and as that scene begun, I could hear a girl from a couple of seats next to me reacting as if she didn't want to see her die, and it really did make me realise (again) just how connected people can feel with these fictional characters. In a strange way, I kind of wanted to see the actual death bit as I thought that would have added to the powerfulness of this moment, but maybe that's me just being a dark evil kind of boy.
The next thing was quite a cool melody of some of the main themes from the first three games in the series. Of course, this was complimented by in-game footage which made many of us smile and make those kind of fond noises in appreciation of memories. There was some footage from the opening CGI of the DS version of III, too.
Then they brought on this flamenco guitar player soloist dude, and they played a song from V and flamenco type piece from IX. Excuse me for not remembering or bothering to look up the titles, it's getting late here!
They then played J-E-N-O-V-A - which, apparently is tied with Dancing Mad, in some circles at least, for the most popular battle theme. It's pretty awesome alright! Think they then played some piece from XI (who cares) and then Clash on the Big Bridge from V - which was surprisingly awesome and EPIC, and really made me appreciate the power of a symphonic arrangement!!
They opened the second half with Opening - Bombing Mission, and I can't remember the exact order of the next few pieces, but they played Fabula Nova Crystallis, which was set to the scene from the game with Snow and Serah on that flying motorbike thing near the fireworks and was performed with a soloist singer, and Blinded by Light which is just pure awesomeness!! They also played a couple of pieces from FFXIV, but again - it's a MMORPG, who cares. I lost a little bit of interest during these pieces, but not much. Oh, and they also played Fisherman's Horizon from 8.

Ok... so were you expecting a conventional review from me, really?? =P

The next bit was awesome... a tribute to that most legendary and magnificent of creatures, the Chocobo! This arrangment was interesting, it was like a combination of an interesting new symphonic take on the Choboco music combined with the swingin' version from XIII, as various clips of Chocobos from several of the games in the series were shown. The video was presented suitably light-hearted and comically. C-H-O-C-O-B-O!!
Then they got three opera singers to sing a piece from V, and one from VI. One of them had Maria in the title. Sorry, but I'm just less familiar with those two games!!
Finally, Arnie introduced a favourite of his, Terra's theme! I was like "great, I don't even know this one either"! I was also thinking, damn... we don't get One Winged Angel after all. Still, it was pretty good... and they showed the credits for the show in a very interesting and suitable retro kind of way!!

Oh, but then there was an encore, wasn't there??
Nobuo-san was called to the stage. He was asked if he would sing with the symphony. He then uttered the only two words I've only ever heard him speak, "why not?" Then Arnie said "believe me, you do not need me to tell you the title of this last piece" and... OMG, I knew what was coming... at least, I hoped I did... and I was right.
That's it. They encored with One Winged Angel.
As soon as I heard that opening stab of string chords, I cheered loudly and got excited with everyone else in the crowd. Nobuo-san joined the choir, which was pretty special. This arrangement was pretty much as you expect it to be, and was set to some of Sephiroth's scenes from FFVII and some footage from Advent Children too. It was a fantastic and very fitting end to the show.
I'd do a generic conclusion but it's getting pretty late - just as long as I've made sure I've said that this show was incredible, and beautiful, and moving, and epic, and there were some smiles and lighthearted moments too - it was everything it should have been. It was definitely worth the 100 bucks.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

This Is It! (almost)

I suppose what this is all about was to make sure I'm not gonna be a wimpy baby about this whole thing. What happened last year was that I was fine in the days leading up to going back to uni, albeit slighty apprehensive, but for some reason on the day I became all shaky and starting feeling weird - like I wasn't ready to go, I wanted more time to stay at home, and just really uncomposed and a mess. Not like a hero at all - and this was after all the inspiration. So I guess I'm just scared of feeling like that again - because right now I feel pretty good about the whole thing, but am I gonna feel weird tomorrow?
It's all very well me saying I've become stronger - like I did this time last year - but as I learnt then, it's not words that count.
I FEEL strong. I feel like I should be able to overcome this, no problem.

So, I think what it was was that... whenever I knew there were days coming up to fall back on, I felt ok. Like I was still gonna go to the gym, and to work for a few more weeks, stuff that made me feel like I was really at home. Stuff that feels like being on summer break. Happiness. Then, today... it hit me that I was working at the Village hall for the last time. That I was going to the Bakewell gym, for the last time.
I mean, I'm not so concerned about leaving my home and family behind, as I know they will still be here when I get back... and then I will have the longest, boringest summer ever, almost 5 months of it. For some reason, last year, I felt like I couldn't even tear myself away from it even though I knew I was coming back pretty soon. I even wrote in my journal that I didn't think I was the kind of person that could handle being a long distance away, like NEWCASTLE or EDINBURGH! How mad does that sound now?? A year on from that and I'm about to go to Canada for A YEAR!! Well, 8 months.

When I come back from this, I will be a man of the world. I will have become a hero!!
And I'm not sure what else to add now. It's time to go for it!!



Monday, 30 August 2010


I know, right? Been a while.

So, um... yeah, I kinda promised myself I would do a big epic blog post before I left. Now there's roughly... yup, 60 hours left!!
So, um... yeah. This is more or less going to be a train of thought thing. Tonight, I said goodbye to a few friends. Well, not like it's goodbye, but you know what I mean. Fuck it, I'm gonna get straight to my concern.
There are still some barriers. Within me and within certain others. Some of us still don't express ourselves to one another the way we really should. And some of us... me especially, slightly hesitant to admit this, are still somewhat afraid of people knowing who we are.
Or am I? Is it not that I'm just afraid to embarrass myself? Maybe. I know that's nothing really wrong with that, it's just not how I aim to be.
There was a strange, yet sweet vibe as I parted ways with them tonight. When I drove home, I took my time. I didn't wind the windows down, and I didn't play any loud music.
This isn't working right now. I will be back.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

Reasons why I'm now a better person than I was last week

Hi Ladies, Gentlemen and others, and welcome to Reasons why I'm now a better person than I was last week.

And with a title like that, who needs an intro.

1) Turn your headphone volume down, for goodness sake. I know it's really tempting to have the tunes you love pumping at full volume to make you feel good, but if you just turn it down a little a) you won't be excluding yourself as much from the outside world and b) you'll get the same level of motivation without actually killing your ears, and will actually be able to appreciate the music, and indeed the quiet, a lot more.
2) Know when you are wasting time. Ok, for one thing it was great of me to make the effort last term to spend hours studying every day, but just GOING to the library out of routine, as I was, is not necessarily the same thing. Make sure the time you are claiming to spend at work is, for the most part, actually focused on your work. Also, don't waste hours staring down at an empty page. If it's not happening, try something else and come back to it later.

Ok, now I'm gonna stop pretending this is about someone else.

3) I cut out the caffeine, for the most part. That shit was messing me up in a way I wasn't even aware of... and the truth is, drinking decaf actually tastes the same, but without the insane jitteriness afterwards. So now I can enjoy a coffee in the middle of the night. =)
4) I've actually gotten quite into POLITICS now. Many of you will find this a shock but yes, there is important stuff going on and I'm taking an interest, because I want the best for this country and indeed the world, so I think it's important we all try to take an active interest so we can do the best we can to help one another. And I'm totally voting Lib Dem. =D=D=D
5) This is the biggie, I think. I've often wondered (not that often, actually) why people break up with me, and more often than not I decide it's because they're idiots. But a conversation I had with someone recently showed me that while I have my moments - I'm gonna quote her directly here... "you're a different person everytime I speak to you". And that's the thing.
My integrity was never in question. More to do with the way I let feelings govern the way I act, without giving enough thought to some of the stuff I come out with.
I thought just being an honest person was enough to gain one's trust, but now I've realised it also helps if you are able to control your feelings and the way you express them, helping to maintain your composure as the person you want people to see you as. Looking back, this has been a major fault in my personality for a long time and I'm grateful to this person for bringing it up.
6) Another quite biggie. Admit to yourself when stuff scares you, don't try and make excuses. The sooner you admit that your not doing something or avoidance or something is out of fear, the sooner you can get over it and re-awesomealize yourself. Yes, that was a new word. Like it?

I like how occasionally stuff like this comes up so I can act on it. Self-improvement and helping others (not just friends) are among the most important things that motivate me.

I've made some AWESOME music lately too. In fact it's SMMMMMMOKIN'!!!

Um, The End. Bye!


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Where Expressions Become Real...

My first attempt at prose in a long while. Comments please!!

Despairing, unable to provide himself with a decent task with which to occupy himself and his sense of ambition wavering, he sat down for a moment with his head in his hands.
“My life’s slipping through my fingers,” he muttered to himself, tormented by the inevitability of death and his dreams going unfulfilled.
Almost as soon as these words escaped his lips... or perhaps even earlier, at the moment the thought of saying those words was triggered in his mind, he suddenly started to feel a crushing emptiness. A growing feeling of dread that was getting more intense with every passing second, as if his very soul was being strangled by thorns of despair, mercilessly tightening their grip.
With each passing moment, he felt more and more like giving up. More and more at peace. But as soon as he began to feel at peace, he then became very panicky - for he realised that somehow he was losing himself...
His hands were cold... and wet. Drops of some mysterious crystal-looking liquid began to dampen the carpet beneath him. But he was not yet aware of what was happening... for some reason time had seemed to slow down for him and he was lost in his own sense of helplessness, becoming numb to the outside world...
Several minutes later, he stirred again, awoken by beams of brilliant light, shining wildly and lighting up his darkening front room. He saw that they were emanating from a strange puddle on the carpet.
Not only that, but it was showing him some strange, unfamiliar images. Various people, young and old, exciting, beautiful locations, and sorts of all experiences, flashing by too quickly for him to comprehend. Because he did not recognise a single one of them.
Now he felt was that his time was running out. Whatever it was that had taken a hold of him was about to win the battle. He felt his senses numbing, his strength fading away and everything fading to black. His last ounces of strength dedicated themselves to the remaining traces of his memory, determined to use what ever he could recall of this world to save his life before there was nothing left.
All that remained were the words he had uttered a few moments before.
And with that, he let himself fall into the pool of mysterious liquid now beginning to flood his room. Submerged, he felt a sudden rush of reinvigoration. He propelled himself across the room, bouncing off the walls in all directions, absorbing the life energy he had lost moments ago. He felt his spirit being restored piece by piece, his determination reborn and a powerful sense of euphoria. Soon, he had recovered the last of his lost soul, bouncing off the floor onto his feet, having returned to full strength.
At this point, in a moment lasting no longer than a few seconds, he made a silent vow to never again let his life slip through his fingers. He burst out of his front door and ran off into the distance, his sense of ambition more determined and focused than ever as he began chasing his rediscovered dream.


Friday, 19 February 2010

The Crush

I'm feeling some serious emotion tonight. I feel I need to just write SOMETHING down.

It's a bizarre mixture of contentness and sadness. I feel that there are some things in my life which are good. I feel like I have come on a long way, done a lot for myself over the past few years, and even more so in the last couple of months - and people are letting me know that they recognize my new found dedication to training and studying. I am not only becoming stronger physically and mentally but also a better person. A more passionate, open person that people appreciate spending time with. And I'm glad that there are now many people who understand that I have my own goals and my own way of doing things, and my reasons for doing them, and still want me as a part of their lives.

I spent so long trying to conform, without even meaning to - and by finally deciding to embrace my individuality, things are kind of falling into place.

So what about the bad stuff?

I guess what it comes down to is... I'm sick of RUBBISH relationships.

I'm not really sure how much of this I ought to write down in a public blog, but... I'm sick of being so hesitant.

OK, so here goes. I am MASSIVELY crushing on someone at the moment. Like, majorly. She's someone I see fairly regularly during uni time as we are both studying the same Math module this term. And even though we've barely spoken and I know hardly anything about her... she just seems really cool. I don't know how else to put it. She's not on my Facebook so if you're reading this, chances are it isn't you. Sorry. But if you fancy a pity date we might still be able to arrange that. =)
And... well, if something doesn't naturally develop soon, I might just have to take action to make it happen. Not exactly sure right now what that entails though.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Why I'm Awesome/How to Get out of Bed

I'm typing this in Edward Boyle, having just given up on the treadmill for the first time in quite a while.
I've been running for 30 minutes, daily, since before this semester started. Before that, it was kind of on and off, whenever I had time. Now I make it a part of my daily routine, and now I finally have an iPod it's easier than ever to keep going on a treadmill.
This is on top of my four days per week workout plan and study hours, and ideally I should be continuing my press up programme too but that seems to have stopped.
Normally, I can bust through the pain barrier ok if I keep my focus and having music (my specially selected power playlist) certainly helps. But tonight, as soon as I broke into a run I felt a sharp PAIN round about my left heel which struck me with every single stride. To be honest, this has been going on the last few days but I've pretty much been powering my way through it, hoping it will go away with time. I just did not want to give up. But tonight was just too much, there was no way I could take another 25 minutes of this. I stopped after about 15 and left the gym without taking a shower - I only ran for such a short time I barely broke into a sweat and didn't need one.
I realised that something needs to be WORKED OUT. I have the passion and the drive I need to get through my studies and continue my (too?) ambitious workout plans at the same time, but it seems to be taking it's toll on my body already. A case of the spirit being willing, and the flesh weak. And I HATE that. This was all supposed to be in aid of becoming TOUGH.
But hey, maybe that will be all ok once I get a proper pair of running shoes next weekend. These shoes are not exactly ideal and I've been told by actual shoe people that they are bad and making my feet wierd.
So, from now on I'll guess I'll do every OTHER day, at least until I get those new shoes. Tomorrow I'll give my feet a rest.

Now, would it surprise you to learn that I'm actually one of the laziest people in the world?
I CANNOT do mornings. Last semester I got into such a mess towards the end that going to any lecture before midday seemed pretty much totally unreasonable. I'd be lying in bed thinking "I'll be ok, I can miss this first lecture" then I'd wake up and similarly decide to miss the next lecture, and so on until there was nothing left. There was a point where I was JUST going to socials. And not even many of those. And guess what? It was a really depressing time. I was the classic example of a lazy, unmotivated, procrastinating student. I guess I was wondering what the hell I was even doing studying this course when I all I wanted to do was break into music.
That kind of all turned around with the study abroad application and when I got all excited by that, it gave me something to aim for and that's when I resolved to turn things around.

By the way, you should all listen to Dream Theater and become massive fans. I virtually have my 160gb iPod on shuffle all day but whenever something of theirs comes on, it's like nothing else in the world.

Anyway... I decided something along the lines of - it doesn't matter about making new friends, or even seeing too much of current/old ones. It doesn't matter about girls and "relationships". I'm here to get my degree. Getting a 2.i average this year will mean I go to Canada in the summer and stay there for a year. So that's when I started jamming extra study hours into my already crammed day-to-day plans. And as I've talked about before, Mercedes was a big influence here.

HELLOOOOO? MERCEDES! THIS IS THE BIT WHERE I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU!!! =) I know you probably won't read this whole boring entry so I thought I'd just make that stand out for ya... =P You know the deal, you helped turn my life around, you're awesome, I can't thank you enough, blah blah blah... you know this. X

Still, these days I struggle to get out of bed. (Don't we all?) I pretty much wear myself into the ground into the late evenings, often staying at the library til midnight after the workout and the run etc. and then when I finally do get to sleep, it turns out that 7 hours (sometimes less) isn't enough, and I'll typically end up rushing to my first lecture, walking in about 10-15 minutes late and passing right in front of the lecturer 'cos I like being cool and making a big entrance so people know that Jim-x has arrived...
But today, for example, I was so sleepy after making it to my first lecture I just went home and slept. Then stayed in my room and "studied" until Gym o'clock.
It's just difficult to keep going, is the gist I'm trying to get at. And not because I'm unmotivated - hopefully, my determination should be coming through here. My way of life is just physically draining, and having Gilbert's doesn't really help (but I don't like to talk about that).
I guess I'm just proud of myself for not being lazy, and actually constantly trying to push my physical limits further and further.

But now I have a task. I need to work out what I CAN maintain and STICK to it.

I'm also concerned about not meeting any new people - I didn't meet as many as I would have liked last term, and the new me may result in me going to even less socials and socities. But I can't give this up. I know I have to keep going.
Last term, I was saying yes to absolutely everything, and as a result, doing none of it.
This time I'm being more focused and realistic. Just working out what's most important and sticking to that, and not signing up for shit that I'm probably not gonna get round to.
Kinda feel like I'm wandering (surprise surprise) so I'll stop there...

Oh, but I never actually explained why I'm awesome, or how to get out of bed.

Hopefully, the answer to both of those should now be obvious.


Jim-x =)

Monday, 18 January 2010

Day of Reckoning

Just a little thing I wrote in the refectory today, taking a break from studying. Not an especially good poem and it literally took 5 minutes to write, but here it is. It's a very DARK poem and is pretty much how I feel right now, with the impending Calculus exam of DOOM on the horizon and is a dive into serious, heavy, over-dramatic metaphor territory, which is always fun.

Day of Reckoning

I'm awash with efficient anger,
and the power to mercilessly beat down my nemesis,
outnumbered but not outgunned.

I will take on the swarm of his soldiers,
fighting 'til my last.
The inevitable forboding of death hanging from the sky.

I stand encircled by countless enemies,
one by one they charge,
an infinite series of battles.

I eradicate the weak and punish the strong,
my hands will crush them all,
but time is running short.

The time is nigh when they will all come at once.
Then, who will be spared?
Will I get out alive?
Only until the day of judgement,
then it is for Him to decide.

But should He make the wrong decision,
He is going down with me.


Saturday, 16 January 2010

Procrastinators Anonymous/I Hate Calculus

Ey up fellas 'n' guys, and ladies and stuff. How are your families?
Right then, bloggage time. I can't decide whether that should be with two g's or just one, but I is gonna leave it for now.
So, the main reason I'm here is 'cos Calculus is really making me sick. I can't stand it anymore. I feel I've come on a little but I don't feel anywhere near as ready as I'd like to be for the exam on Tuesday. Just two days of studying left, one of which is gonna include my journey back to Leeds. Not that it's a long journey, but still. Ok, so I sound like I'm moaning but I guess it could be worse.
To tell the truth, it is a bit annoying that I just seem to spend so much time wrapped up in this stuff. I really can't wait to go out again and get back into, and I mean that this time. I have these commitments I've made to studying, music and fitness, but I really wanna leave plenty of time for friendship, and meeting new people and creating new friendships. I don't seem to be doing so much of that this year so far and it kind of sucks.
That said, I've just recently gained an insane amount of self confidence. Some of that comes from that the fact that all the hard work I've been putting into working out is starting to show, some from the amazing music I've been creating on my own and with Optical Cool which I can't wait to share one day, a LOT is thanks to Mercedes of course (Thank you SOOOO MUCH!!! XXX), and perhaps even more is finally slaying this little bastard demon called Procrastination.
So many of us students and young people in general seem to suffer quite badly from it (a reason why many of us are here on Facebook in the first place) and the bottom life is it just seems to make life so shit. If this was a meeting of Procrastinator's Anonymous, I would be the first one to stand up and say:

"Hi, my name's Jim-x and I'm a procastinatioholic."

Like my new word? ;)
Anyway, the point is I struggled with that majorly last semester and a lot of first year, and I just got really sick of it and I don't wanna go through that shit anymore. I want to put the hours into work, to music, to friendship, to exercise and everything. Basically, I wanna give my all to this sword. That was my new year's resolution and so far, I'm sticking to that pretty well.
I've really found that the more you do, the easier everything gets and the better you feel. But it's also a good idea to narrow your commitments down to the really important things so your time is focused only on the really important stuff, and you're not taking on more than you can handle.

I'm really looking forward to getting this exam over with, as much as I'm afraid that I'm not going to do as well as I'd like. I can only do my best now but I just want this to be over. I just want to be able to spend a few days just absorbed in music and creating something new, very emotional and very special.
There are a couple of projects I'm gonna work on in the 5 days or so I'll have off. I didn't really have a Xmas break so I'm about ready for those. Number one, Mercedes is SOOO getting a song of her own. For all she's done for me lately she more than warrants a place in my heart for what I hope will be a long time to come. Also, I have a little present for all Final Fantasy geeks out there which I started before Xmas, and I should hope to finish that at some point. Apart from that, I've got to really express this stuff inside me some way after all this time so you can be sure I'll find a way to do that.
Tonight I'm just so sleepy and stressed from studying I've been trying to unwind. Hopefully I'll feel better after a good night's sleep and back to Leeds.
And for now, I think that's it.



Friday, 15 January 2010


At last. At long last.
Hi guys! What's happenin'?
Right, so now I'm finally gonna do the big piece of epic writeage I meant to do about 5 days ago, but didn't because I was too cream-crackered. Monday, as many of you will have heard by now, was an INSPIRING day for me, of epic proportions. Passing exams doesn't mean just getting through uni to me anymore. If I can maintain a good grade this year, I'll get to go to Canada. Now I actually have a reason to do the absolute best I can in my degree.
I guess this whole thing started off a fair while ago, about 2/3 of the way through first year. Living in a city for the first time, making many new friends and girlfriends, and going out and partying and doing ridiculous things was insane amounts of fun and really quite liberating, which was something that was a long time coming. But there comes a point where you just stop and wonder... what's the point?
That's where I started to question things and wonder what I was actually doing there. Ok, so I wanted to spread my wings. Done. So now what?
It occurred to me that maybe it was the setting. Leeds is awesome but I was just itching to see some new places. All of a sudden, the prospect of traveling become incredibly exciting. Which is amazing, considering my whole live I've been more inclined to hide from the outside world... shameful as it is to admit that now even though it's been so blatantly obvious.
As you well know, Music is where I'm headed. But there's a world out there to see, and the thought of seeing it all is so exciting.
My game plan was always something like this: go to uni, get a random degree, and once your life's sorted out do music and win.
But uni is the time when you really discover yourself. Actually - now that I think about it, different people go through different things in life and let's face it, probably got out more than I did. But for me, uni was definitely the time I really discovered myself and figured out what I wanted to do. Of course, there are bigger things to come, but the exciting thing now is knowing that whatever happens, I am going to grow stronger. And considering how far I've come from say, 2 years ago, I'm even more excited for whatever the next 2 years will bring.
At some point in the past, I started going to the gym. I'm not going to go into the details of why here 'cos it's not relevant.
At some point in the last summer, I began running. Particularly over the last few months, the thrill of getting fitter and stronger physically is like nothing I've ever known. To be fair, it was something I had pretty much avoided my whole life up to that point. Now, it's one of the best things in the world.
I like to have a drink and party now and again, but I don't do it excessively. I don't do any drugs, and I have no interest in ever going down that route. I just don't see the point, when everyone I've ever known who has done that has at some point wanted to stop and found themselves stuck. I just don't want to put myself through that. There's many other things, better things, that I can devote my time to and I'm just saving myself that time. But still, that's MY decision - I'm not saying it's wrong for anyone else, just that I'm not interested. The rest of you can go nuts.
Basically, what all this comes down to is that there was a point when I realised that many pointless late nights, self-indulgence, missing days at uni and feeling sick all the time, and feeling at assignments - is not really a worthwhile thing. Finding your studies really hard and knowing that you're gonna fail is really not much fun in itself.
Man. I can tell this is gonna be a total ramble, that possibly few people will even bother reading. But whatever...

Um, so I wanted to talk about Monday. But you know what? It's a really big story, so I'm just gonna give you the gist.
Basically, I had two big exams. One 3 hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. I went in at 8.00, studied for an hour or so, went into the exam room and slaughtered the first exam. It took roughly an hour and a half. I went to get some food, then straight to the library to get ready for the next one. Went into the exam room again, killed that one in about an hour and ten minutes, and was in the gym pumping massive weights by half three, when there was still half an hour left to go of the exam.
That day, I was just totally fired up with POSITIVE energy. I gave everything my all. I got up really early and not only did I surpass all my expectations of how my exams would go, I put myself through the toughest workout ever before walking down to the train station in the freezing ice and snow with two big bags. I was just like - "give it everything you've got", and that applied to EVERYTHING I did that day. Now, I'm starting to really wish I had written this immediately when I got home that day because then I could have captured that vibe better.
I guess I have something I want to say to everybody.

That something is: studying hard really is worth it. There is no better feeling than being so prepared for something so big that you can absolutely kill it without being stuck for a single moment. This doesn't just apply to studying: it's the same approach I give to working out, practicing music and... everything else. The bottom line, guys, is: put the hours in. Do not waste your time here on Facebook, updating your status every 5 minutes to tell everyone how scared you are of oncoming exams or how you can't face writing an essay, or anything with a certain p-word in it. Or even just sitting there waiting for a notification to appear. That kind of thing is something you CAN'T help, so therefore you should address something you can. Namely, get your lazy ass down to work. The more hours you put into study, to working on your coursework, the easier you make it for yourself. The better you are going to succeed. The more awesome you will inevitably feel.
And the great thing is: when you really make a commitment like this, the more you enjoy your time off! It's so much easier to relax without something like that hanging over your head, and I feel as happy inside now as I have probably ever felt as a result.
The scariest part is taking the first step. And that's also the hardest step. But the good news is, that's over in an instant. So don't be afraid. You can always achieve your dreams. Just don't give up.
There's one girl in particular that really inspired me with all this, and she knows who she is. I don't know if she wants the glory but if she does, she can comment on here and say "IT WAS MEEEE!!!!!". That's up to her...
Hopefully at some point, I've made the point I set out to here. I'll leave you with a few inspiring phrases that will help you on your way:

"Stay ready, and you'll never have to get ready."
"The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
"Perseverance is not a long race: it is many short races one after another."
"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow."
"There is no spoon."