All those who know me know that I am at times, slightly overemotional. Something I don’t apologise for because emotions are only natural! Over the past few weeks my emotions have however overtaken me and it is time to publish them to the whole world (well, whoever reads this). Sorry it’s taken so long for me to write recently, I just needed to make sure I was in a place where I could write exactly what I was feeling!
So. A warning. This blog IS going to contain my emotions and will probably be a bit more serious than recent blogs. So stop reading now if that is going to annoy you.
The last few weeks have centred around two main things: The Marie Claire Incident and Writing my Project. So I’ll explain them both and then explain how they got me where I am now…
The Marie Claire Incident.
As I have written about before in my blog I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was about 10 years old. Being in Russia made me realise how much I missed being involved in the student newspaper at Birmingham and this made me want to go for this dream even more.
Over Christmas I applied for loads of internships at magazines all over the UK and a few weeks ago I got an email from Marie Claire offering me an interview for a one month internship. I don’t think my landlady has ever heard me scream so loud! But then a problem arose: the internship started 3 weeks before my course in Russia ended. ARGH. As this course doesn’t count towards my actual degree I didn’t think it would be much of a problem to leave just 3 weeks early (especially as I am came back to Russia 2 weeks early and I’m coming back for 2 weeks over the summer!) However after a major discussion between me and my university in Birmingham I was told that I couldn’t leave early because I do single honours Russian… and I had to say no to Marie Claire.
This was probably the lowest I’ve felt so far in Russia. I was so upset that yet again Russia was getting in the way of me doing something I love. As I think I’ve said before I’ve always had a huge feeling that in my life I have to choose between Russia (and charity work) and journalism. People always point out to me that I can do both but I’m not sure that I can. This whole incident made me believe that more and I just felt like giving up on the whole Russian thing and instead doing something that I love and something that I think I am actually good at!
However, I am just not enough of a rebel to ever drop out of university so I just carried on going to school here but hating every day of it. Then I had to continue…
Writing my Project.
This year the only way I am assessed by Birmingham University is by writing a 6,000 word project. In Russian… aka my worst nightmare.
My project is about orphanages in Russia and whether conditions in them have improved over the last 10 years, something that was obviously a passion of mine when I started my degree. But throughout this year I’ve been concentrating more and more on how I want to become a journalist and less and less on why I started studying Russian: to help orphans in Russia. So writing this project has become even harder.
As I started reading and researching for this project the magnitude of the problem with orphanages in Russia came back to me. I don’t want to write it all out here but in the most basic terms: It is believed there are 4 million orphans in Russia. Around 800,000-1,000,000 are in orphanages and the rest… who knows where they are. Obviously growing up in institutions is no way for a child to be brought up so foster care or adoption would be a much better option. There are hardly any foster care or adoption schemes in Russia therefore most orphans can only hope to be adopted from abroad and if you’ve been reading the news recently you will have seen that Russia has suspended adoption from America (and potentially other countries). So basically: it’s a big mess.
Many times whilst I was reading or watching videos I was brought to tears. I defy anyone to YouTube ‘Russian orphans’ and not cry. It started me thinking about whether journalism was the right route for me or whether I should start thinking seriously again about charity work.
So after these 2 events my head kind of exploded and I had a mini meltdown trying to figure out just who I am. When I was younger I wanted to be a journalist because I thought by the time I was 21 I would be this glamorous woman. Well, yesterday I tried to walk in heels for 2 hours and my feet started bleeding. I am not glamorous.
But what I do know about myself is that I know how to care and I know how to love. The media industry is not based on care and love. So is this where I really want to be? Should I be spending my whole summer trying to get experience in the media industry or should I be trying to get my Russian to a level that is acceptable for final year? I still think my Russian is terrible.
And this is probably where I should end this blog. Living in Russia has really made me think so hard about who I really am and what I should really be doing with my life. If you can help please send your answers on a postcard to: Sarah, Moscow. Thanks. I guess living abroad for a year anywhere forces you to try and put your life back home into perspective: be warned second years!