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I’ve Graduated!!

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Yesterday was magical!

Grad

Photography credit: Sarah Warsaw

It is a firm belief of mine that you have to earn your cap and gown – through hard work, long hours, and questionable cooking as is customary of the university experience.  After all, it is the mark of the end of your academic education and your achievement!  So now, I can finally say that I DID IT!

“…Remain humble, be passionate, and attribute importance to what you do, not what you are.”

– Honorary Graduate, Judge Cuno Jakob Tarfusser of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

 

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Special Agent Academy

A month ago, in the middle of the last couple of weeks of my degree and faced with looming deadlines and the stress of writing ten thousand words on emojis (if you can believe it), the pressure of an added presence made things worse; what next?

 

It’s textbook, of course; experienced by many at the end of every era.  I’ve heard it said that after losing the structure of at least three years at university people can sink to a low point, and in those last few weeks I truly understood why.  It seemed that everywhere you turned other people had further education, graduate schemes and jobs lined up to walk in to in the coming months.  Honestly, it is disheartening.

 

However, like so many times beforehand, things tend to work themselves out.  I received to opportunity to apply for an intensive, hands-on eight-week creative and digital marketing course called Agent Academy, through the company Agent Marketing in Liverpool.

The company itself, Agent Marketing, regularly makes news for its fantastic innovative policies, such as; six-hour days; weekly yoga; and enforced ‘real breaks’ away from desks and phones.  On Thursday night, the Director, Paul Corcoran, won The Guardian’s Sustainable Business ‘Leader of the Year’! Read more here. 

Featured in The Guardian


Luckily, I was one of ten talented individuals selected to start at the Academy!

Thrown in at the deep end, we received our marketing challenge in partnership with the university, and started initial brainstorming.

 

Dream Team at Agent Academy

Two weeks down the line, each day is bringing new information, concepts to consider, and inspirational talks with interesting and successful entrepreneurial people.  Alex Worsley spoke about uncovering our passions from our eleven-year-old selves, and mastering our psychology; which, as something I strive to achieve, was right up my street.  Architects Martin Shutt and Anthony Fogg from Unit3 Design Studio gave insight into starting up their own business and marketing the range of services they provide.  Carl Wong from Living Lens told us how he cherry-picked aspects of technological services in order to provide a solution to issues faced by market research video analysts, by turning spoken recorded language in to text searchable by keywords!

 

If this goes well, perhaps I could carve a career applying my psychological knowledge to behaviour influencing marketing campaigns… ahh hopes and dreams.


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National Day Without Stigma 2015

Today is National Day Without Stigma (NDWS)
This post is inspired by my best friend, Rebecca, who for the past few years has been struggling with depression and anxiety. Read about her squashing stigmas and speaking up here!

Rebecca’s blog

A stigma is defined as:

A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. 

Stigma around mental health issues has always been in society, from the days when even those with Alzheimer’s were locked into asylums for insanity. 
Active Minds have started the NDWS in order to eliminate the shame surrounding mental health, and to promote understanding, awareness and support. 

Active Minds

There’s 3 ways to help promote today:
1. Watch your language.  We’re all guilty of it, honestly I know I am. But be mindful of saying things like “she’s crazy” or “I’m so depressed.” Chances are it’s not true, and it just dangerous a sit attached this negativity to those with real mental health concerns. People are not defined by their mental health issues.  
2. Chalk your support.  Get onto that social media, or slip it into IRL conversation: #ReasonsISpeak and get people talking.  
 

find and follow me on twitter

 

3. Reach out! If you or someone you know is struggling, getting the right help is so important. Speak up and reach out! 
 

Hello. My name is Rachel, and I’m a Stigma Fighter

 

Stigma is shame. Shame causes silence. Silence hurts us all.


The NHS provide helpline numbers and more information. Just follow this link. 


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Mastering Mindfulness

In my eternal quest to better myself baby step by baby step, last week I bought a Little Book Of Mindfulness. 
It is pocket sized, like all good things, ombré shades of green, and has a ribbon page marker. 
  

Inside my little book, Mindfulness is defined as simply as taking a few minutes out each day to focus solely on your breathing (inhale now…and exhale). And as complexly as learning to be content in the very present moment, without worrying or lingering on the past or future. 

In our increasingly busy lifestyles, juggling fast-paced education and careers, hobbies, friends, family, and keeping up with social networking, I know I find it hard to think only of the present moment. It is easy to let our minds wander and worry. 

By taking a few moments each day, while the kettle boils or before you fall asleep, you can de-stress, boost immunity and aid productivity. Concentrating on that singular moment, stopping what you are doing and focus on what is around you; the sensations, smells, sounds, and your breathing, you can learn to enjoy the smaller things in life we so often take for granted. 

I am trying to make the effort to turn away from the hectic world and learn to be more mindful for just a few minutes every day. 
I challenge you to try it too! Let me know how you get along! 

Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the Present.” – Bil Keane


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Female Empowerment

The other evening, I heard a ‘like a girl’ comment made.

You know the ones I mean. Run like a girl.  Throw like a girl, etc etc.

In response to this comment, I responded by asking them whether they had seen Always‘ #LikeAGirl campaign. Have you?

Like A Girl

Like A Girl

 

 

 

Although the person did not mean it in a derogatory sense, it can be, and has for many years, been used in that way; to plummet the already dwindling levels of confidence in young girls and women. 

Always have done their research and from puberty onwards around 70% of girls feel that they are limited by what society dictates as its expectations of girls; how they should and should not behave and what their interests should be, crushing their confidence in all different walks of life.
Always are empowering women and girls to reject the ideals society has forced onto their shoulders, something which I am a great believer of.
This fantastic sense of female solidarity is more and more prominent in campaigns recently.   This Girl Can and Nike Women’s Better For It are embracing the inhibitions we all feel, the fear of judgement, which is holding women back, and turning it on it’s head!
This Girl Can

This Girl Can

Better For It

Better For It

These campaigns are brilliant! I LOVE them. They demonstrate to each and every one of us that we all have the same thoughts and insecurities.  We are the same, but totally different.  There is no need to be self-concious. Find and build your own self-confidence, and smash it!!
My own confidence levels were practically non-existent through my teenage years, hindered by high school cliques, expectations and stresses.  I bent to pressures and let myself get lazy, stopping when I found things difficult. I most regret giving up playing the piano.
It is only now that I am starting to build my confidence levels again, challenging myself to grow with each new opportunity handed to me. Picking myself up, dusting myself off, and starting again, striving for the potential I know I have.
Everyone struggles with their own issues through teenage years and beyond.  Letting society diminish girl’s confidence to purse their dreams, ambitions and interests, whatever they may be, should not be allowed to happen. So run, calculate and kick, like a girl, because you can and nothing should stand in your way.
Join in and embrace the Always’ #LikeAGirl (websitetweet), This Girl Can (website, tweet) and Nike Women’s Better For It (website, tweet) campaigns or just speak out and get talking about them to your friends and family and help empower your mothers, sisters, nieces, daughters and girlfriends to be unstoppable and powerful in striving for their success in their life!!