The “Theatre Degree” Stigma

Lifestyle

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A few things have happened recently that have awoken the little voice inside my head that likes to come out and rant every now and then. The constant threat of funding cuts to the arts and the disappearance of subjects such as Music and Drama from GCSE option boxes across the country are just two of the reasons why I wanted to write this post. Recently, my friend Sophie performed an autobiographical piece about the injustice that undercurrents the education system, in terms of the prejudice that surrounds Theatre as both a subject and a potential career path. Her ‘political rant’ resonated a lot with me, making me think about the many times I’ve been made to feel slightly (I hate to say it but) ashamed of my choice to study Theatre at university.

When it came to choosing my degree subject almost 3 years ago now (oh my gaaaad, where has the time gone?!) there was an obvious winner in my mind from the outset. Yes, I attended Law talks at Warwick and even a Psychology open day at Cambridge, but my heart always led me back to Theatre. Anyone who knows me will understand how important a role the theatre has played in my life and these are the people who have never once questioned my decision to further my education in this field. That being said, there is definitely a prominent stigma around studying for a Theatre degree or particularly around the people who study for a Theatre degree and that is something I have always found ridiculous.

Historically, the subject of Theatre Studies has been branded as “fluffy” and has yet to be viewed on the same level in terms of difficulty as other more traditional subjects, such as Geography or Maths. Therefore, the assumption that the people studying for a Theatre degree are “less academic” and “less able” has been cemented amongst the minds of the majority. However, the stereotype that someone who enjoys learning about the theatre industry is less intelligent than someone who enjoys studying continental drift or trigonometry is honestly absurd to me. If I had a pound for the amount of times I’ve received a patronising “oh, how nice” or “oh, so do you want to be like an actress or something?” after revealing that I study Theatre at university, I would be a veeeeery rich gal.

People don’t seem to understand that my course is academic (trust me, at times it is too academic!!!). I’m still submitting essays at the end of every module, reading ridiiiiiiculous amounts of academic writing each week and attending seminars and workshops. On top of this, I am rehearsingBeing a theatre student, you are not only assessed theoretically but also practically which comes with the assumption that you will carry out a set number of hours as ‘rehearsal time’. Quite honestly, I think I spend 90% of my life rehearsing for something or other (and that is not me being an overdramatic drama student, I promise). I would absolutely loooove to invite the people who have this preconception of Theatre as a subject to sit in on one of my seminars and give their opinion on how phenomenology affects an audience’s experience or how romanticism conformed to or subverted the avant-garde movement towards postmodernism (literally just throwing all the big words that I know at you now lol).

It really does sadden me that I feel as if I have to justify my decision to study a subject that I love to other people who are too quick to judge. Theatre makes me happy. Theatre interests me. Theatre makes me want to learn. So, why shouldn’t I study for a degree in it? Because it’s not ‘academic’? Because I’m ‘never going to get a real job’? Or because I’ll ‘never have a stable income’? My response to these questions is one of self-fulfilment in the sense that I know for a fact that whatever job I do end up doing, in whichever part of the industry I decide to go into, I’ll be doing it because I love it, not because I have to be doing it. Whilst this may be an unpopular opinion of the minority, I would much rather live a life where I’m potentially not always in a constant flow of work, but when I am working it’s doing something that I’m passionate about, rather than being stuck in a 9-5 office job that I absolutely despise. I find it so disheartening when I hear people say “you’re not supposed to love your job…that’s why it’s called work,” because, honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to enjoy what you do.

Another thing that really makes me laugh is that the people who undermine Theatre as a career choice will have a favourite film, or a favourite book, or will enjoy going to watch the pantomime at Christmas, or a musical on Broadway, or will watch every ITV drama under the sun. What they don’t seem to understand is that THEATRE PEOPLE HAVE MADE THESE THINGS HAPPEN!! The industry is one that brings constant enjoyment to the lives of (may be generalising here but I’m going to roll with it) everyone, or has done at least once in their lifetime. That’s why it makes me so sad that as theatre students, it feels like we’re fighting this constant battle to defend our subject to those so quick to undermine it.

I feel as if I have fully just word-vommed onto the page but I thought it was important to fight my little corner about a subject I’m super passionate about and love with allllll ma heart.

(Also just want to take a few words to defend all my fellow Theatre guys and gals. The people that I study with and others that I know who study elsewhere are honestly some of the best, most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their creativity is OFF THE SCALE and their knowledge literally pours out of them every time they speak. All the love ever).

G X

Learning To Love The Frizz: My Hair Care Routine

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Ever since I can remember I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my hair. Naturally, I have been *blessed* with super curly, thick hair (as you can see above – forgive me for the snapchat filter). This may come as a complete shock to a lot of my friends reading this post as I never ever go out with my hair in its natural state (state being the key word here). The only time I will ever free the wild mess is when I’m on holiday as there is no point in keeping on top of hair-care when I’m entering the pool in an extremely ladylike fashion (catapulting) every 5 minutes. All this being said, I tend to use heat on my hair on a regular basis which I knoooow is a very bad thing to do but I also use a lot of heat-protecting products to counteract this. I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt over the years about how to manage the frizz whilst still keeping it healthy…

The Washing Process…

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I tend to wash my hair 2-3 times a week depending on how well it’s been trained during a particular period of time. A brand that I absolutely swear by in terms of hair-care is Aussie. You will rarely see me using any other shampoo or conditioner at all. As well as this, one of my all-time fave products to use on my hair is the Aussie ‘3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor’. I tend to apply this twice a week after conditioning my hair. I leave the product on for around 3 minutes before washing it out. Honestly, I promise you, your hair will never feel softer…ever. This trio of products is heaaaaaven.

The Drying Process…

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Before I dry my hair, I always apply the Wella Professionals Luminous Smoothening Oil. I’ll squirt 3 large drops into my hands before running the product through my hair with my fingers. I let this settle for around 2 minutes before brushing through to eliminate any excess product. For anyone with curly or frizzy hair, this product is an absolute godsend as it makes your hair smooth and silky after straightening. So much so, that it looks as if your hair is naturally straight and gives no indication that you’ve spent half an hour battling with your GHDs. Before I finally start to dry to my hair, I’ll spray it with the VO5 Sleek Blow-Dry Heat Protect spray which helps to keep the ends of my hair healthy whilst also increasing the shine.

From there, I’ll go on to dry my hair (on the lowest heat) before straightening and I’m good to go. This year, however, I’m making it my mission to try and embrace my natural frizz a little bit more. All of my friends tell me they’d kill to have hair like mine but most days, I would kill to have their naturally straight or wavy hair as it seems to be a lot less work and I am a lazy gal at times. But, I guess the grass is always greener!

What are your fave hair-care products? Do you have the daily struggles of dealing with curly hair?

G X

Instagram: @geeblogs

Soph X Makeup Revolution Highlighter Palette: Is it worth the hype?

beauty, Uncategorized

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If you’re a drugstore junkie, you’ll know that Youtuber ‘Sophdoesnails’ has recently collaborated with Makeup Revolution to bring out an eyeshadow palette and a highlighter palette. The other day I popped into my local Superdrug, saw the pretty display and OF COURSE had to buy something. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the eyeshadow palette as I already have way too many (especially with similar colours in) so instead I picked up the one filled with gorg-looking highlighters. I purchased this palette for £8.00 which I think is so reasonable, considering you get 8 shades. If you don’t want to go in-store, the palette can also be found on the Superdrug website.

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What I like most about this palette is the shade range. There is a highlighter with pretty much every undertone you could realistically use on a daily basis. My favourite shades are the top left, the top right and the pink/purple shade on the bottom row. The colours actually swatch a little lighter than they appear in the pan (as you can see below). Although I still couldn’t wear some of the darker shades on my face, I would totally use them for eyeshadow.

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The formula is pretty powdery, in the sense that they are not ‘wet’ highlighters. This being said, they don’t appear cakey on the face. I tend to mix two different colours so always run the risk of it looking like there is powder on my face but they blend super nicely into my base make-up. I definitely think this product was worth buying, it has become my new staple when it comes to highlighting.

The only slightly annoying thing is that, because of the price, the product packaging has obviously been cheaply made. I’ve had this palette for around 3 weeks and taken great care of it, however the clasp used to open and close the palette is already starting to become loose (which is what has happened to my other Makeup Revolution products). That being said, the actual product inside is amazing so don’t let that put you off purchasing your own!!

Again, just a quick apology. I know my posts have been very few and far between but I’ve been SUPER busy with general life at the moment. I promise I have a very exciting announcement coming soon so hopefully you’ll be looking forward to that!

Let me know if you’ve tried this palette and what your thoughts were.

G X

Instagram: @geeheasel

Email: georgheaselgrave@btinternet.com

Tips For Dealing With Homesickness

Lifestyle

It’s a known fact that I’m a pretty homesick gal. As much as I love university and feel comfortable here, I miss my family and home so much when I’m away. I knew this would be something that I was going to struggle with before I even moved to uni as I’m really close to my family so it was always going to be difficult moving so far away. Honestly, I don’t think there is anything that can make you feel 100% better when you’re feeling down and homesick but here are a few of the things I do to make myself a little happier when I’m missing the fam…

1. FaceTime them

This one is pretty obvious and is as good as it gets when you want to see your family and friends. I usually feel slightly better after physically seeing my parents or brothers on my little laptop screen so this is definitely something I would recommend doing.

2. Become ‘busy’

Luckily, I’m always super busy when I’m at uni. Alongside my course, I have extra rehearsals, insane amounts of work and I’m on the Musical Theatre Society committee which also takes up a lot of my spare time. This means I’m rarely just sat in my house feeling sad or lonely. So, if you’re feeling like this I would definitely recommend going out with your friends, joining a society or taking on an extra responsibility which will subconsciously take your mind off feeling homesick. It definitely works for me.

3. Plan your next visit home

I’ll always plan the next time I’m going home a few weeks in advance (by booking train tickets etc) so I have something to look forward to. I find it makes it easier whenever I’m having a super homesick day as I can tell myself that it won’t be long until I’ll be home next.

What are your tips for when you’re feeling homesick?? I’d love some advice as I tend to just struggle through and cry to sad music sometimes (hahahaha).

G X

Instagram: @geeheasel

Top Tips For Starting University

Lifestyle

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It’s still crazy to me that I’ve completed an entire year at university. Thinking back to this time last year, I was super excited to branch out into the world and make my own little home and community somewhere else to where I’d grown up. Whilst I was mostly excited and curious as to what university life had to offer me, I cannot lie and say that I wasn’t a little bit scared. I have a lot of friends who are the academic year below me and a few have asked me questions or have wanted some tips on what to do/not to do when starting university. I thought I’d share some of my tips with anyone who is interested (these tips are not proven facts but they worked for me and I’m still – just about – alive)…

1- Take a door stop

This is actually a piece of advice I received myself before I started university last year. Whilst it may initially seem like a silly little thing, having a door stop means you can keep your door propped open (especially during the first few weeks) which makes you appear more sociable and approachable to your flat. Even if they just pop in and say ‘hey’ on their way to the kitchen, it may lead to some conversations that start to cement your friendship.

2 – During Freshers’ Week, take every opportunity

As much as it nearly killed me off, Freshers’ Week was still one of the highlights of my first year. I went out to every event which, yes, my health eventually paid for but it was so worth it because of all the friends and memories I made. Also, if your university organises talks or activities in the day GO AND DO THEM!!!! You will honestly regret sitting in your room having not participated in any of these things. Even if they turn out to be rubbish, at least you’ve tried them.

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3 – A mattress topper will save your life

It’s a known fact that university beds are pretty much made from the hardest stone imaginable (slightly dramatic). The best thing I did was take a memory foam mattress topper which took my bed’s comfort rating from a (generous) 3/10 to a solid 8. Trust me on this one.

4 – Plan your meals in advance

If you’re non-catered, the best piece of advice I can give to you is to plan your meals ahead of time. The amount of times I had a late rehearsal then went back to an empty fridge was pretty devo. It then means you’re ‘forced’ to order a takeaway which isn’t great for your health or your bank account (let me tell you, once this becomes a habit it’s a very slippery slope lol).

5 – Join a society

During my first year, I joined Theatre Society and Musical Theatre Society. MT honestly was a saving grace last year and so many of my closest friends were made because of it. Joining a society gives you such a sense of community and belonging (especially if you’re living far away from home) so I would 100% recommend it. It also opens up friendships with people other than those on your course so you’re widening your circle as well as having a good time bonding over a subject you all enjoy.

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6 – Download the Spoons app

There is no doubt that when going out, your night will involve a Spoons at some point. Having the app was a life-saver for me as it meant you could scout a table as soon as you got inside and didn’t have to battle the queue. Also, I’m lazy so I like my alcohol being brought to me lol.

7 – Have funnnnnn

Probably not the wisest piece of advice I’ll ever give, but having fun was a big priority for me during my first year. On my course, I only needed to PASS the year (gaining over 40% in each module) to carry on so – as much as I still worked hard – I did sometimes prioritise being sociable and going out over doing work. I’m not telling you to disregard any work that you have but if you’re missing out on forming new friendships or making memories then I think, in the long run, that will be a lot more damaging to your university experience than starting an essay a little bit later than planned. What I’m saying is, if your friends invite you to the pub…GO TO THE PUB!

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8 – Get used to having limited sleep

As much as you may be sat there reading this thinking ‘there is no way I’ll be going out until 4 in the morning when I have a 9am lecture the next day‘…trust me. You will.

9 – Bond with your flat

One of my biggest pieces of advice is to put time and effort into bonding with your flatmates. I was fortunate enough to absolutely love everyone I was living with and I think a huge part of that stemmed from how much time we spent together during Freshers. Throughout the year, we’d make an effort to have flat dinners and game nights. It’s definitely beneficial if you feel comfortable and ‘at home’ with your flatmates as you’re living together for at least a year. Even if there are a few people you don’t get along with so well, there is no harm in making a bit of extra effort with them to make your living space feel more welcoming and homely.

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10 – Be yourself

University is the time when you really discover yourself (without sounding like I’m trying to be Gandhi). You make lifelong friends and decide how you’re going to shape the rest of your life. The only way you can truly be happy doing this is to be yourself. You’ll find friends who are equally as weird as you (if not weirder) and you’ll eventually fall onto your own little path so there is no point trying to be somebody that you’re not along the way.

I wish everyone starting university this year soooo much luck. It honestly is the best time ever!!

G X

Instagram: @geeheasel