The Modern Misanthrope

WHEN WE HAVE CEASED TO LOVE THE STENCH OF THE HUMAN ANIMAL, EITHER IN OTHERS OR IN OURSELVES, THEN WE ARE CONDEMNED TO MISERY, AND CLEAR THINKING CAN BEGIN

Accelerated Degree Provides Innovative Resource for Online Degree Programs

Accelerated Degree Provides Innovative Resource for Online Degree Programs
WAYNESBORO, Va., April 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Accelerated-Degree.com allows potential students to explore new career paths while keeping up with their busy home and work lives. Search Accelerated Degree for programs, majors and various …
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Those Master's-Degree Programs at Elite U.? They're For-Profit
Higher education has a long and fraught relationship with the labor market. From colonial colleges training clergymen to the Morrill Act, normal schools, and the great 20th-century expansion of mass higher education, colleges have always been in the …
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Your Guide to Picking an Online College
It wasn't too long ago that online schools held little credibility, but the number of schools offering education degrees all or partially online has increased dramatically in the last decade. The rise in online courses and degrees provides students …
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Unicon Enlisted by the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising for Sakai Services


Gilbert, AZ (PRWEB) April 16, 2014

Unicon, Inc., a leading IT consulting, services, and support provider specializing in open source for the education technology market, today announced that is has engaged with FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising for Sakai services. Unicon performed enhancements to the Sakai Gradebook tool, and is providing hosting and managed services for FIDMs Sakai environment. Enhancements to the Gradebook tool include user interface and course grades entry modifications. FIDM is taking advantage of Unicons hosting and managed services, which affords them SLA-based ticketed support and pro-active management for capacity planning, reliability/availability, and security posture of covered services.

The enhancements to the Sakai Gradebook tool exceeded our expectations, said Dave Melone, Director of eLearning at FIDM. The Gradebook now fully supports our workflow for communicating student progress and grades to FIDM’s student information system, while providing more access to students to review their final grades in a timely manner. This has also brought more value to our faculty by improving the process for reporting final grades and activity via the FIDM eLearning System easily and electronically. We are pleased with the outcome of this work and continue to value our relationship with Unicon for the hosting, managed services, and customization of our Sakai environment.

Sakai, an Apereo project, is a free and open source learning management system. The Sakai project is a community source software development effort to design, build, and deploy a new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) for higher education. Built by higher education for higher education, Sakai provides a framework and pluggable tool modules for managing, delivering, and assessing student learning. It is designed to bring students and instructors together for knowledge sharing, discussion, and shared learning. Users of Sakai deploy it to support teaching and learning, ad hoc group collaboration, and research collaboration.

Unicon provides services and support for Sakai. Learn more at: http://www.unicon.net/opensource/sakai.

About FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is a private college for specialized professional education, accredited by WASC Sr. Colleges and Universities and NASAD, granting Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Business Management, and Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies degrees. FIDM has graduated more than 60,000 students, preparing them for careers in Fashion, Graphics, Interior Design, and Entertainment. The college is headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, with other campus locations in Orange County, San Diego, and San Francisco; 7,000 full-time students.

FIDM is the home of Lifetimes television series, Project Runway: Under the Gunn, starring Tim Gunn, and the site of Design School an original series on HGTV featuring eight FIDM Interior Design students in a FIDM SuperLab. The college was also the West Coast home to Project Runway and was featured on MTVs The Hills, starring FIDM student, Lauren Conrad.

FIDM Museum & Galleries has one of the nations finest costume collections dating from the 18th century and yearly presents major exhibitions. Learn more at http://www.fidm.edu.

About Unicon

Unicon, Inc. is a leading provider of IT consulting, services, and support for education technology and works with institutions and organizations to find solutions to meet business challenges. Unicon specializes in using open source technologies to deliver flexible and cost-effective systems in the areas of identity and access management, student success, mobile computing, learning management systems, portals, online video, calendaring, email, and collaboration. Unicon is a Commercial Affiliate of the Apereo Foundation; an InCommon Affiliate and Participant; an Industry Member of Internet2; an Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network; an Organization Member of the Drupal Association; a Solution Partner of Kaltura; a Services Partner of Liferay; and a reseller of Zimbra. For more information, visit: http://www.unicon.net.

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Unicon is a Registered Trademark of Unicon, Inc. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners.







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Undergraduate Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Ranked No. 10 again


Chapel Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) April 18, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Undergraduate Business Program at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School as No. 10 in the United States for the third year in a row.

It also ranked the Undergraduate Business Program No. 4 for public programs, No. 6 for student satisfaction; and No. 12 for academic quality.

The rankings included A+ for both teaching and job placement.

The extraordinary dedication of our faculty and Undergraduate Business Program team ensures that our exceptional students have a world-class educational experience at UNC Kenan-Flagler, said Dick Blackburn, associate dean of the Undergraduate Business Program and an organizational behavior professor.

To identify the top undergraduate programs, Bloomberg Businessweek uses a methodology of nine measures of student satisfaction, post-graduation outcomes and academic quality.

These ratings follow the high marks from U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the UNC Kenan-Flagler program No. 7 in the United States and No. 4 for programs at public universities based on its reputational survey of deans and program directors.

For more information about the Undergraduate Business Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler, visit http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/programs/undergraduate-business.

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About the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School

Consistently ranked one of the world’s best business schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler is known for its collaborative culture that stems from its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. Professors excel at both teaching and research, and demonstrate unparalleled dedication to students. Graduates are effective, principled leaders who have the technical and managerial skills to deliver results in the global business environment. UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a rich portfolio of programs and extraordinary, real-life learning experiences: Undergraduate Business (BSBA), full-time MBA, Executive MBA Programs (Evening, Weekend and global OneMBA

Mozzie the Mosquito to Make White House Easter Egg Roll Debut


Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 16, 2014

Mozzie the Mosquito, who helps spread the buzz about malaria for the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, will be making his debut at the White House Easter Egg Roll this year. The 2014 Easter Egg Roll, which takes place on the South Lawn of the White House, is focused on promoting health and wellness with the theme, Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape. The event will feature live music, sports courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. The activities will encourage children to lead healthy, active lives in support of the First Ladys Lets Move! initiative.

Mozzie can be found in the Eggtivity Zone, where he will challenge kids in soccer skills and teach them about the fun ways they can help send bed nets to protect children in Africa from malaria. Every 60 seconds, a child dies from malaria, a disease caused by a single mosquito bite. But malaria is preventable. The Nothing But Nets campaign works to raise awareness, funds, and voices to send insecticide-treated bed nets to protect families from malaria.

Anyone can join our team to defeat malaria, said Mozzie. When you score a goal on me, Ill send a net and help protect a life from malaria.

This will be the 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll with more than 30,000 people visiting the South Lawn for games, stories, and, of course, the traditional egg roll.

Souvenir White House Easter eggs first became an annual keepsake in 1981, when President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan hosted a hunt for wooden eggs that bore the signatures of famous people. The tradition continues this year with four colorful eggs and the official First Dogs egg, which features First Dogs Bo and, for the first time ever, Sunny. These collectors eggs are available to view or purchase at http://www.easter.nationalparks.org.

To learn more about the Easter Egg Roll visit http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/EasterEggRoll. Tune in for live streams from the South Lawn on April 21, 2014 on WhiteHouse.gov/live. You can also join the conversation online using the hashtag #EasterEggRoll and get the latest updates by visiting Lets Move! on Twitter and Facebook.

About Nothing But Nets

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Since then, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $ 50 million to deliver more than 7.25 million bed nets to families in need. Campaign partners include the National Basketball Associations NBA Cares, Junior Chamber International, and Major League Soccers MLS W.O.R.K.S. It costs $ 10 to purchase and deliver an insecticide-treated bed net, provide education on its proper use, and provide other malaria reduction interventions that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit http://www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and help save a life.

Contact:

Rachel Henderson

Nothing But Nets

Rhenderson(at)unfoundation(dot)org

202.739.2782







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Comparison Shopping is the Best Way to get Cheap Car Insurance

Driving around town, seeing TV, listening to radio stations, flicking through publications, checking your email – if you do any of these things you will most likely notice multiple ads for car insurance. A few of these advertisements will assert that you can get ridiculously affordable car insurance, and they make it sounds very appealing. However, auto insurance is much more than simply a bill that is due every month. Fortunately with a little work you can find low-priced car insurance on a comparison site like Compare-Insurers.com that will keep you safe on the road.

When you get into an accident, or your auto is broken in other manners, it is possible to be faced with thousands of dollars in repairs and medical bills. Many individuals do not have this type of cash laying around, and this is why insurance is important. There are many different kinds of automobile insurance coverage, and usually you will be able to select an sum for each kind. For example, one kind of car insurance coverage is liability insurance. When you select liability insurance, you’ll be competent to choose an amount such as $25,000, $50,000 or more. What this means is that if you are in a scenario covered by liability insurance, the insurance company will pay up to ,000 (or ,000) worth of damages. For this reason it’s a great thought to get as much coverage as you can afford – ,000 might seem like more than enough to replace a vehicle, but there could be multiple vehicles included and a wide variety of other expenses (medical bills, funeral prices, etc).

Finding Affordable Auto Insurance

The simplest solution to comparison-shop is online. Here you have access to hundreds of automobile insurance companies. You simply have to go to their sites and input your info. You’ll be given a free, no obligation estimate that you can use to compare that car insurance company against others. The thing to always remember is to examine coverage first, and then cost, using a free estimates platform e.g. http://compare-insurers.com.

When you have queries over which sort of insurance you should choose, feel free to call a realtor immediately.

Alas, more car insurance coverage means a more costly premium. There are lots of things you can do – such as selecting just the required coverage, deciding a higher deductible, and avoiding extra gains – to lower your prices. Nonetheless, comparison-shopping is the greatest means to save money each month, for many grounds:

- Offers you a great thought regarding what a large, low, and typical premium is going to be.

- The more quotes you find the more firms you are exposed to.

- This signifies you’ve got more chances to get the best price.

- You may see which insurers give the most price reductions, and also the many that you’re qualified for.

Comparison Shopping is the Best Way to get Cheap Car Insurance

Driving around town, seeing Video, playing radio stations, flicking through publications, checking your e-mail – if you do any of these points you’ll probably see multiple ads for auto insurance. A few of these advertisements will promise that you can get ridiculously low-priced car insurance, and they make it sounds quite appealing. Nevertheless, vehicle insurance is much more than just a bill that’s due every month. Luckily with a little work you can find cheap car insurance on a comparison website like Compare-Insurers.com that will keep you safe on the road.

When you enter into an accident, or your auto is broken in other manner, you can easily be faced with thousands of bucks in repairs and medical bills. Many people do not have this kind of money laying about, and this is why insurance is important. There are several different types of car insurance coverage, and generally you’ll be competent to pick an amount for each kind. For instance, one type of auto insurance coverage is liability insurance. When you pick liability insurance, you will be capable to choose an sum such as $25,000, $50,000 or more. This suggests that if you’re in a scenario covered by liability insurance, the insurance company will pay up to ,000 (or ,000) worth of damages. This is the reason it’s a great notion to get as much coverage as you can afford – ,000 might seem like more than enough to replace a vehicle, but there could be multiple vehicles included and a wide assortment of other disbursement (doctor’s bills, funeral costs, etc).

Locating Cheap Auto Insurance

The easiest means to comparison-shop is online. Here-you have access to 100s of automobile insurance companies. You just have to go to their web sites and input your information. The thing to consistently recall is to evaluate coverage first, and then price, using a free quotes platform e.g. http://compare-insurers.com.

In case you have questions over which type of insurance you need to pick, don’t hesitate to telephone a realtor directly.

Unfortunately, more car insurance plan indicates a higher priced premium. There are several things you can do – such as choosing only the necessary coverage, picking a higher deductible, and avoiding additional advantages – to lower your costs. Nonetheless, comparison shopping is the finest means to conserve money each month, for many motives:

- Provides you a great notion as to just what a large, reduced, and typical premium will be.

- The more estimates you find the more companies you might be uncovered to.

- You can observe which insurance companies give the many price reductions, along with the most that you are certified for.

- This signifies you’ve got more opportunities to find the cheapest price.

Light Brigade

Tukwila, WA and Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 14, 2014

The Light Brigade, AFLs education and training division, and Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) have partnered to provide professionals in the growing utility fiber optic network industry with the opportunity to become officially certified in fiber optic network technologies. Training will be held in Phoenix, AZ at the annual UTC Telecom Conference, May 6-9.

With three levels of certification for technicians, designers and advanced designers, the training is a specific utility-based program that further supports the communications industry by addressing the design, installation and maintenance of fiber optic networks that are unique to the utility right of way environment.

The objective is to ensure that attendees have a firm grasp on the technical information, best practices, knowledge and technical skill sets necessary to meet the certification exam requirements and successfully work on utility-based fiber optic networks, said Dario De Paolis, vice president and general manager of the Light Brigade.

The pre-conference course and certification examination addresses the topics of critical building, aerial and underground fiber optic networks on distribution and transmission, as well as right of way issues. Key parameters such as network design, installation, testing, troubleshooting and operations of fiber optics networks utilizing optical ground wire (OPGW), all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) and loose tube fiber optic cables will be covered in detail.

To register for these classes, visit http://www.utc.org/sites/UTCTELECOM2014/fiber-training. For more information about the Light Brigade, visit http://www.lightbrigade.com.

About Light Brigade

Since its founding in 1987, Light Brigade has instructed more than 45,000 attendees worldwide in its public and custom classes on fiber optic design, maintenance and testing, including advanced topics such as FTTx, DWDM and PMD/CD. In addition to creating custom courses tailored to any need or skill level, the company produces educational DVDs and online courses that focus on specific fiber-related topics.

About AFL

AFL provides industry-leading products and services to the electric utility, broadband, communications, enterprise and OEM markets as well as the emerging markets of oil and gas, mining, nuclear, avionics, renewables and transportation. The companys diverse product portfolio includes fiber optic cable, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectors, fusion splicers, test equipment and training. AFLs service portfolio includes market-leading positions with the foremost communications companies supporting inside plant central office, EF&I, outside plant, enterprise and wireless areas.

Founded in 1984, AFL is proud to offer engineering expertise, exceptional products and reliable service that help our customers improve their critical and electrical infrastructure. AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. The company is headquartered in Spartanburg, SC and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit http://www.AFLglobal.com.







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APAC Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care Market 2018 Forecast and Analysis at ReportsnReports.com

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) April 12, 2014

Halal is an Arabic term that means “permissible” or “lawful.” It is a universal term which applies to all facets of life, including banking and clothes. However, this term is now popularly used in connection with food products, meat products, cosmetics, personal care products, leather goods, and food ingredients. Halal cosmetics and personal care vendors are certified by halal certification organizations which operate under Islamic law. If a product is halal approved, it does not contain alcohol, is not tested on animals, and does not contain certain non-permissible animal-derived ingredients. Halal cosmetics and personal care products are widely recognized for their purity and high quality.

Analysts forecast APAC Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care market will grow at a CAGR of 11.08 percent over the period 2013-2018.

Covered in this Report

The Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care market in the APAC region can be divided into two segments: Halal Cosmetics and Halal Personal Care. The Halal Cosmetics segment includes products that are used to artificially alter or enhance the appearance of an individual. Halal cosmetics mainly include products which are applied to the skin, eyes, lips, and nails. The Halal Personal Care segment includes products that are used for personal hygiene and beautification, such as hair shampoos, hair conditioners, bath and shower gels, cleansers, creams, oils, lotions, talcum and baby powders, toners, perfumes, and oral care products.

The Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care Market in the APAC Region 2014-2018, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China and the ANZ region; it also covers the Halal Cosmetics and Personal Care market in the APAC region market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

Key Regions

Minou Kids Launches an Exceptional Online Shopping Destination Showcasing a Fresh, Fun, Fashionable Selection of the Best in Childrens Clothing


Burlington, VT (PRWEB) April 10, 2014

Minou Kids, a Vermont based e-tailer has unveiled an exceptional shopping experience dedicated to bringing its customers the coolest brands in kids fashion. The one-stop shopping destination for hip and discerning parents is also dedicated to delivering stellar customer service. This effort is bolstered by a partnership with The Vermont Country Store, an American icon with over 68 years of retail experience.

We are delighted to offer our customers a level of service that most start ups cant, says Julie Harvey, Minou Kids Co-Founder, whose husband, Eliot Orton is a 3rd generation proprietor of The Vermont Country Store.

You can find Minou Kids here: https://minoukids.com/.

Minou Kids is the brainchild of style makers Marie-Michelle Gaudreau and Julie Harvey, Vermont-based entrepreneurs with extensive retail and fashion experience. Marie-Michelle worked with Canadian retail giant La Maison Simons as well as Burton Snowboards, where she helped create the snowboarding leaders retail destinations. Julie hails from Cossette Communications, one of Canadas largest ad agencies and has a powerful background in marketing and communications.

Shopping Minoukids.com

Upon entering minoukids.com consumers are welcomed to a storefront that captures a look of simple sophistication. Minou means kitten in French. When you tell a child that he is un petit minou, it means hes just adorableand perhaps a little bit naughty. Minous signature yellow logo is a crown seated on top of a playful character. The yellow pops in every corner of the site, perfectly reflecting the happiness, optimism and whimsy of kids 0-6! The cart to hold purchases is a yellow Tote and each order can be delivered wrapped in yellow tissue paper and boxed in Minou Kids signature yellow ribbon with white polka dots.

The site carries over 300 hand-selected pieces from brands that share the same passion for quality, detail and style. More than 30 brands are represented, including Beau Loves, Nui Organics, Mini Rodini and Nununu, just to name a few. Sizing covers baby through 6-years. Minoukids.com is easily navigated by the following product categories: Baby, Girl, Boy, Natural, D

NJIT Named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll


Newark, NJ (PRWEB) April 08, 2014

For the fifth year, NJIT has been named to The Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, one of the highest federal recognitions a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

NJIT students and staff have a long history of community service and engagement. During NJITs Alternative Spring Break, held from March 15 through March 22, 2014, more than 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends contributed approximately 1,000 person days of volunteer work from Newark to the Jersey shore, cleaning up devastated areas and helping towns rebuild resiliently. Students removed debris from beaches and parks, removed floors and wallboard, replaced floors and walls, painting and carpentry, stocked and distributed food and clothing, compiled information on areas affected by Sandy and performed other work to help communities recover and rebuild. With a generous grant from the Provident Bank Foundation and support from the NJIT University Senate, Campus Center, Career Development Services, College of Architecture and Design and the Center for Resilient Design, NJIT organized some dozen organizations and provided transportation, food and opportunities for lodging for the week.

Launched in 2006, The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve. The Corporation for National and Community Service has admitted over 600 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.

NJIT, New Jersey’s science and technology university, enrolls 10,000 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 Annual Guide to America’s Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.







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Election

ImageIt begins. The first couple of weeks of college have, perhaps predictably, been difficult. The dentistry’s taken care of, at least for the moment, but there’s been a horrible cold going around, bad enough to keep me out of college for two days feeling miserable, and rob me of a nice weekend. But the upside is that I’m back, although still not feeling great, and come the 18th I’ll be running for election as student LGBT officer.

I already know the post’s going to be contested, so unlike the leader of Glasgow City Council (who sees fit to send me flyers about it) I won’t be running unopposed and get in automatically. Those who know me know that I have a wicked competitive streak, so it’s certainly tempting to wheel out the deranged bloodlust and vow to make a sandwich spread of the crushed spines of my enemies. But I’m not going to, on something vaguely approaching principle. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in front of a bunch of (largely) teenagers and tell them why you think you’re awesome enough that they should support you. So anyone who does that has my admiration to a certain extent. I’m fairly certain most, if not all, of the candidates for the various posts will be younger than I am, and they cared enough to run for them instead of just doing joyriding or flavour crystal meth or dubstep or whatever it is the kids do these days. That’s awesome.

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Thy Venom’d Stang

Well, of course I was going to pay for my arrogance, wasn’t I? I have three and a half hours before I have to leave for my first day at Langside, and for the past week or so I’ve been having progressively worse toothache. I’m not sure if it’s wisdom teeth, general neglect, or both, but the entire right side of my face hurts like a bastard, as well as my throat. It’s not swollen or anything, I just look like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle. That’s about how I feel, too.

I’m just about getting by due to magical painkillers, but if it doesn’t recede on its own at least a little bit, there’s no way I can go in today. I’ll be trying to provoke neds into punching me in the face to get rid of all my teeth at once. Either that, or a complete zombie. So I’m waiting for 0830; that’s when I should be leaving, but also when the Glasgow Dental Hospital opens. If I’m not feeling any better by then, I’m making myself an appointment and not going into college until I can actually sit through a lesson or get any sleep without painkillers.

Fuck.

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Unconditional

I’m in. Now I just have to stay that way. I have a student ID card with a ludicrous photo, a small mountain of paperwork, and just under a week before my classes start. Since you didn’t ask, I’m enrolled for Highers in English, History, Psychology, Sociology and French. That’s a huge workload, complicated significantly by anxiety and having forgotten all the French I’ve ever learned.

Told you it was bad.

Of course, there’s more. There always is, with me. In a few weeks, elections for student government start. Compared to Croydon, it actually seems like it’s organised properly; affiliated to the NUS, proper positions and everything. So in keeping with my habit of getting overconfident and overextending myself, I’ve decided I’m going to stand. On the off-chance I actually win, you might be looking at the next LGBT officer. I mean, it’s not like I ever desperately wanted a position of responsibility in the past to satisfy my own insecurity and ego.

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Back to School

I have kind of a storied history with education. I went to an expensive, if second-flight, public school (public as in private, Americans) in south London, only to drop out at seventeen. I’ve always been highly-strung and weird. Highly-strung and weird and gay was not really a combination suited to that environment. Add in the pressure of A-levels, and it’s not wholly surprising. I had something like a nervous breakdown, spent what felt like six months in bed crying, and that was it.

I’ve spent basically the last five years trying to get back into education. Problem is, mental illness keeps getting in the way. My last attempt, at Croydon College, went pretty much the same. Stayed six months, and then essentially collapsed right before exams started. But, I’m either persistent or stupid, because I’m trying it again. This time at Langside College in Glasgow. Now, granted, I can cope with stuff a lot better now, and I actually have a support network in husband-shaped form. But I guess it also brings to mind an old idea; the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

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An Approximate Scot

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the mess that is the Scottish independence debate. Partly, that’s due to my own particular identity crisis. I’m half English and half Scottish, with a fair amount of Irish mixed into the Scottish side. I was born and raised in London, but most of my family are clustered around the west of Scotland. And for the past two years I’ve been living in Glasgow. That’s an uncomfortable confluence of circumstances, especially when forms ask me for my nationality and ethnicity. The first seems like an obvious ‘British’, but is that an ethnicity?

There’s a perennial thing in the British press about what, if anything, ‘Britishness’ means. For me, it’s a nebulous sort of catch-all. Am I proud to be British? Of course, history of violent colonialism and boy bands aside. I can’t really be proud to be Scottish, because until fairly recently I’d never lived here. My accent certainly marks me as English. But what’s Englishness? The playing fields of Eton? Grandmothers bicycling to church? I’m several counties and a couple of generations away from that seeming even faintly plausible. These days, ostentatious Englishness seems to be wholly the province of fat-headed racist morons and Morrissey. But I repeat myself. So fuck that, right?

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Stranger Here Myself

I can’t say I’m back by popular demand, because I’m not. Probably, on reading the tagline, a handful of people will have the same unspoken thought: “Who invited her?” I also can’t say I’m back because I had burning insights to deliver about the state of the world today, because I don’t. My name is Alex, and I have some opinions. I don’t particularly expect anyone to care much, but I’m writing them down.

I used to write a moderately successful blog about being seventeen and insane. I stopped being seventeen but kept being insane. At age 19, two years ago, I moved from London to Glasgow. I made a vague attempt to keep writing about it, and then… radio silence. I disconnected myself from the outside world; not wholly intentionally, but after a while it stops making any difference. I grew my beard, smoked a lot and wrote precious little. I did this because I don’t like people – not in the abstract, anyway. Certainly there are people I like, I’m just not very good with the species as a whole. Sometimes that means my relationships with people I care about suffer. I’m not very reliable. But I’m also 21 and (still) insane. I’m learning, and this is a part of that.

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