Niall’s virtual diary archives – Wednesday 27th May 2009

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Wednesday 27th May 2009: 7.23pm. Tempus fugit and as of yesterday, I am supposedly finished my Masters apart from the submission of one of those stupid learning journals. Exams finished a week ago - with a bit of God's grace I will never again have to sit in a lecture or take another exam. This very much pleases me as I have hated the "waste" of this past academic year which was not dead time, but certainly felt that way in terms of lack of productivity in anything what I'd consider useful. It did however open many doors previously closed to me, and for that it has been worth it: I previously could not possibly have applied for teaching positions nor paid PhD study and now I can. However by God I could not do much more of this without seriously freaking out.

I finally passed my driving test last week so I am now legal to drive alone - I switched the insurance over to cover Megan and she immediately applied for her test, so hopefully she'll have a European driving licence by the end of the summer. I tried to sign on for welfare last week as with the coming costs for immigration and visa applications et al we will probably run out of money by the end of July, and welfare are currently taking three months to process new applicants. I waited in a queue for two and something hours just to get an appointment for tomorrow for signing on - even that has a backlog of a week.

UL have replied to say that they are rejecting my application for teaching assistant as well as lecturer without even an interview - I assume it is officially my lack of a PhD, but more probably because I don't have a friend or relation on the inside. I am currently in the process of applying for a paid PhD researching constrained programming and although it is just €18k a year (after taxes maybe €14k), it's better than welfare which pays €10k (though for most people the advantages of free health care and rent allowances etc don't make it worth getting a job earning less than €20-24k, especially if you can work a few hours cash in hand). I should hopefully acquire some money earning position for the coming year which doesn't leave me too exhausted to write the Freeing Growth series of books.

Megan isn't doing so well - the Irish government much like the UK government have enacted draconian changes to immigration policy such that anyone non-European is deeply unwelcome. She'll lose her work visa by Christmas at the latest after which she will neither be allowed to work nor to stay. We can get married to ensure she can get a permit to stay here, but the work visa can't be applied for until three years of marriage have elapsed. There is a loophole: I can apply for "de facto relationship" status which lets her both stay and work (though without European citizen benefits like social insurance, even though she still has to pay the taxes) but this requires proof of at least a two year relationship. "Proof" means legal documents like contracts and bills and I can barely think of a normal young couple who would have such things because most couples, especially middle-class ones, deliberately keep their finances out of their relationship and often live in separate residences whilst attending university. She could take another full-time course but the government charge nearly €4k as a capitation fee to dissuade immigrants and for that money she could get herself a Masters degree from the Open University which would be far more valuable to her career. Needless to say, after spending €14k or so on fees for her teaching qualifications, she is more than mildly annoyed.

So what happens now? Well BIS and university are supposedly utterly done as of this Friday, though we won entry to the 2009 Student Enterprise Awards which means that they will continue hold their death grip upon me till the 10th of June now. I have a very long list of things which have been delayed or put off until I regained my freedom and so I shall start to execute them one by one until they are done - not least the starting of companies and the Freeing Growth Foundation, upgrade and consolidation of my server space, I have been asked to quote for some consulting work and more mundanely, my TnFOX library needs porting and testing on Windows 7 for its annual product release cycle and the gutters on the house need fixing as they're are completely wankered. I don't doubt that I'll be very busy indeed reasserting my freedom and leveraging those aforementioned opened doors. It's about time I got on with my life. Till next time, be happy!

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