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Let’s Get Personal: Life Update

Next month marks an entire year since I graduated university. That day I honestly believed I would be stepping forwards into a hopeful and promising year of opportunity, learning and fun.

In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, I was wrong.

 

This past year has been one of the hardest of my life. Getting a job, any job not even graduate positions, proved harder than my optimistic self expected. I have not seen my university pals as often as I would want; they each have their own lives, jobs, successes and hardships to navigate. As a result I have spent the last year feeling frequently useless and alone.

(I have written about this before, see here! (the last time I updated, oops), but here are the details and the update since.)

Back in August or so last year I signed onto JSA and had to log thirty-five hours a week of proactive job seeking activity and attend a weekly meeting with a work coach. While my coach managed to always have a positive spin on things, the whole experience and constant application rejection application rejection knocked all my confidence and had a big impact on my mental health.

By October I was not in a good place.

When I wasn’t reading through rejection emails or attending a compulsory customer service course plus unpaid manual labour “experience” through the job centre I was hiding in my bedroom, compulsively reading through the endless Facebook status updates of everyone else’s success.

Eventually I managed to get a Christmas job at M&S and was kept on in the New Year. This could not have come at a better time as it gave me some sort of purpose and reason to get up and out each day, as well as the wonderful women I worked with having such pearls of wisdom and hilarious stories to tell. Since my contract there ended in April, I have in all honesty hit another lull.

I am yet to work out my true niche in life.

Having always been the girl who knew what she was aiming for, since graduation I have walked through fog never knowing exactly which direction I’m facing. But there are more of us out there than we realise.

So I ask for your patience and understanding.

On the positive side of things, I do have an unconditional Masters place for September and a mini-internship at a social marketing company (yay), so I am at least moving forwards.

 

Are you struggling with life after graduation too? Give me a shout with your tips and tricks for those bad days on my Twitter!

 

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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SURPRISE

Guess who’s back from an unintentionally long hiatus!!! My hotly anticipated return to blogging has arrived!!

After months of working long hours on all my final pieces of university work, including my dissertation, today is my deadline for all my work. 

…so uni has gone scarily fast…

Here’s a few pictures of what I’ve been up to… 

Trip to Chirk Castle

Easter cake 🙂

My proud face handing in my dissertation!!


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New Term Essentials: What To Take and What To Leave Behind

My new university room!

   September brings the smell of anticipation, Pringles and cheap alcohol as thousands of almost adults leave for their triumphant return to university. 

Thousands too are starting at university for the first time, full of enthusiasm and nerves. It’s a bit of a cliché that University is the best time of your life and that Fresher’s Week is amazing. 

My personal experience of Fresher’s was horrendous, but university life has certainly improved and is so much better than just one week at the very beginning. It’s taken two years, but I’ve learnt to eat healthier, balance work and play, and have a small group of amazing friends. Give university life time. 

As a somewhat seasoned packer of university essentials going in to my third and final year, here are my top five items of what to take and what to leave behind, from my own meandering experience. 
You won’t need;

  • Full 10 piece dinner set: you need two of each thing, maximum. One clean, one dirty. 
  • Iron: despite best intentions, you won’t iron your clothes. Hang them up and hope for the best.
  • Your entire wardrobe: pack sensibly and seasonly. Remember, by the time summer comes around, chances are you’ll be back at home for the holidays!
  • Corkscrew: screw top wine bottles are a gift to embrace.
  • Negativity: A bad attitude doesn’t get you anywhere, and other people can sense them a mile off. Give everyone a chance, you never know who you’ll meet, and remember: university is completely different to the drama of high school! 

You will need;

  • Laundry essentials: you’ll have to learn to use a washing machine, either in your halls or the local laundrette. Remember detergent! I always managed to forget it. 
  • First Aid Basics: gather a little box of plaster, antiseptic cream, tablets and stepsils to see you through the grazed knees of drunken antics and the notorious Fresher’s Flu (living in such close proximity with new people means you’re bound to get ill)
  • Photos, blankets and cushions: take the time to make your room your home. It’ll help you settle in, especially when inevitable homesickness hits and make a comfortable space for you and your new friends.
  • Door Stop: this is one of the most important items in your possession during Fresher’s. Propping your door open means you can target new flatmates as they walk past and make them into new friends. Offer cookies for bonus results.
  • Positivity: Being a positive person makes university a brilliant experience. You’re paying for the education, try to embrace and enjoy all aspects. 

   

Love fresh coloured bedding.


 

Wardrobe and pull down desk

  

Bookcase corner

 Check out these other great articles:

My Experience of and Tips for Fresher’s Week by PollyCatContemplates

Essential University Checklist  
What Not To Take To University
13 Common Myths about University
Fresher’s Flu: Causes and Cures
23 Things Grads Wished They’d Known In Their First Year


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Top Tips for overcoming The Student Slump

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It is the middle of term; assignments are due in a few short weeks, then it’s Easter, exams and the end of the year. If you’re anything like me, by now you’ve run out of steam to make notes during lectures and can’t bring yourself to do them at home either. This is the time of Peak Procrastination.

Runners call it The Wall. Writers call it Writers Block. I am hereby dubbing this The Student Slump.

(Has anyone guessed how much I love alliteration yet?)

Here are my top tips for overcoming The Student Slump.

1. Be honest with yourself

You know what needs to be done. And you’re avoiding it. Make a comprehensive list of the work that needs to be done. I tend to do daily lists and include even the minute details. The satisfaction of crossing out things you’ve successfully completed is great!

2. Don’t beat yourself up

Don’t mistreat yourself during this. Make sure to schedule in your food and rest time to your lists of thing to do. Try not to feel guilty about the Everest of work you have to do. I know this is difficult, but guilt tripping yourself isn’t going to help motivate you. Yes, maybe you should have done it sooner, but that night out and whole day marathoning Game of Thrones was worth it, right?!

3. Reward yourself

Done a couple of hours work or made headway with that reading? Reward yourself. Have that hot bubble bath, crack open the special offer Ben & Jerry’s and watch an episode of your current favourite TV show ( share your favourites with me! I’m currently watching Once Upon A Time.)

Taking reasonable measures towards getting out of that Student Slump means you will be back in the swing of things in no time.

I’m off to the library to follow my own advice and stop my blog post procrastination.

Cheers!


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Blogging 101: Ice, Water and Steam

The latest Blogging 101 assignment (I’m a little bit behind, oops) is to take a prompt from The Daily Post and throw your own spin on it. I have chosen the prompt of H2O, found here!

The accompanying article, comments on how everyone has different versions of themselves. From the professional, to the “professional” singer destined for the main stage at Glastonbury only our shower heads are treated too. We’ve all been there, don’t even try to deny it.

Here’s an example of what different people I can be;
Work-In-Progress Writer
Amateur Artist
Film Critic
Good Friend
Stressed Student

It’s such an interesting concept and I believe, rings true throughout. I challenge you to watch how others change in different situations and try to recognise when you do it too! You might notice it in ‘telephone voices’, or your posture on a day you feel good about yourself!

This brings me around to my thoughts on the ice, water, steam prompt; character change not only applies to different situations but also across time. You are a completely different version of you then you were a year ago, or five years ago; like H2O in different states.

Your past is ice; sold and unchanging, forming who you are. Your future is steam; unreachable yet visible from different angles for those forward planners in life. The present is water in it’s liquid form; changeable and ever flowing.

Don’t linger too long in the past. Hindsight is a beautiful thing but, like ice, can freeze your perspective of the here and now. Yet don’t reach for the future too soon either, you cannot hope to capture the steam which slips through your fingers so easily. Be patient, and it shall condense and turn to water, try to enjoy the ever flowing present.