You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment

From my experience, there seems to be two different ways that people feel before making the journey to University. The first being, “My parents are doing my head in! I want space and want to get to University as soon as possible”, or the other, which was me, “Can’t you come to University with me, mum and dad? What if I forget to wash? What about if Bubble forgets me? What is everyone hates me!?”. And even though I spent the night before I left crying my eyes out, doubting ever applying in the first place, “I’M NOT GOING, I WILL DIE, I WANT TO STAY AT HOME FOREVER,” I obviously got in the car and made my way to the University of Lincoln. And here I am, 3 years later, looking back at the best decision I ever made.

 There is not much I would change about my time at University, but there are a few things that I wish I knew before I began. But not just before beginning University all together, there are things I wish I knew about second and third year too. So I’ve written this blog post to try and make things easier for you if you’re starting University in September, are a first or second year worrying about your next year at University but also, if there’s any of you out there unsure about University is for you to try and prove to you that University is for absolutely everyone.

 Firstly, although the movies and tv programmes make out that University is just three years of partying and sleeping, without any outcome, this is obviously not true. You come out from it with a degree, that’s happens to cost you a bomb so you don’t want it to be a degree that you picked because your best friend was doing it too. Pick a course that YOU want to do, a course that will help you move forwards on your career path and a course you think you will still be interested on 3 years down the line. And this applies to your choice of University too, don’t be a fish and follow the flow, go visit some Universities and see what they provide for your course (and check there’s nandos and wagamamas there too). It’s really important to see what the course provides, because even though you will be graduating with a degree of the same title, all Universities have a little bit of a twist to their course. Some may focus on things you prefer, others not as much, so research it.

Once you’ve chosen your course, your University and got the grades necessary you’re not far away from the big move. So eat as much food as you can. Like literally, empty your parents fridges, pantries and drag out the ‘I’m leaving for university lets go out for dinner as it may be my last one’ as much as you can. Because food is not free and food does not cook itself.

 “What if my housemates don’t like what I wear?” “What if they laugh at me because I live on a farm?”. When you begin University you’re a stranger to everyone and they’re all strangers to you too. You could, if you wanted, turn up and say you are Beyonce’s cousin, with millionaire parents and I’m sure you’ll have people begging to be your friend. But then what’s nice about that? You’ll have to live these lies for three more years and you’ll have people being friends with you for your assists, (your lies) and not for who you are. It’s so important to be yourself, don’t worry about what people think, you will make friends! It is impossible not to, you’ll be put in halls with housemates and neighbours, you’ll be bombarded with social events in fresher’s week where you will meet hundreds of new people, you’ll meet people on your course, your friends will have friends… you see where I’m going with this. Just don’t forget that everyone else is in the same boat. You’re not the only one there who’s new to the whole experience and who wants to make friends too.

 So once you’ve unpacked your stuff and had a tearful goodbye to your family, leave your door open. Whether it’s with a yellow pages, a doorstop or a sock, just leave your door open! Don’t be scared. Knock on everyone’s door, ask everyone if they want to go for a walk and explore your new hometown. And then in a few hours fresher’s will begin, hands down the best week of your life. Considering I can’t even handle two nights in a row, I have no idea how I managed it but I did 8 nights in a row in my fresher’s week and I am so glad I did. You’ve got to go crazy, make friends, don’t be scared, get drunk, get everyone else drunk, do jager trains, take photos, just don’t hold back. And please, don’t stress about lectures and deadlines too much in first year. As long as you pass the year, your grades will not count towards your final degree so your priorities should be getting drunk and making friends and memories.

 You need to prepare to share. Even though everyone will arrive with their own washing up liquid, toilet roll and frying pans, when they’re hungover and their pan is dirty they’ll use your pan. When they’re out of toilet roll and aren’t up for popping to Tesco’s hungover they’ll ask to borrow yours. Just go with it, because I’m sure you’ll need a favour from them too. Life’s too short to treasure fairy liquid.

Before I went to University, and even still today, people say “You can’t have fun at University if you’re in a relationship,” and this bit of advice is really important to me. I remember when me and Lewis realised we liked each other and we worried so much about what other people would think, I’d think no one would want to be our friends if we were in a relationship. But me being with Lewis whilst at University has just made things better, we have the same friends, live together with our best mates and have not lost out on anything at all. So if there’s someone you really like at University, don’t hesitate, as after all a boyfriend/girlfriend is just another best friend you gain from University.

In first year you have no choice who you live with, but in second and third year it’s up to you. But don’t stress too much about it. You don’t need to find your second year housemates in the first month, just let it happen. You’ll naturally become closer to your best friends, you’ll notice annoyances in people you’d rather not live with and you’ll notice the friends who’s company you don’t get sick of and who make you the happiest. I ended up living with Lewis, Cameron and Chris in second year and Lewis, Cameron, and Daniel in third year. I remember so many people thought I was crazy living with boys but bloody hell I’m so glad I did. Ignoring the odd toilet seat left up and the non-stop football talk it was definitely the best decision I made at University.

“You’ve got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks, unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don’t eat anything, desperate wanabees, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst: beware of the plastics.”

And lastly, I’m going to be completely honest, before University I could count the friends I trusted on one hand. University isn’t like Mean Girls, High school and Sixth form where the social ladders are too high and reputations are too adored. When you go to University you move away from the past, you move away from cliques. Everyone grows up and everyone is equal.

I’m not using this blog post to tell you University is easy, because it’s not. Moving away from home is so hard, managing your own money, growing independent and meeting degree level deadlines are all very challenging but I just hope that even if it’s only one of you I convince, that if there’s someone the other side of the screen reading this post unsure about going to university that you do it! I promise you that you will meet your best friends in the whole world, make the most unforgettable memories and realise what’s most important in life. And for those of you who are already at University, make the most of every minute, it will be over in a blink! Go buy a bottle, get drunk and go out.

“Enjoy your youth. You’ll never be younger than you are at this very moment.”

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The waiting game

As I grow fond of Olives, constantly crave a cuppa and get excited for a night in with Bubble, I wonder if maybe what I thought would never happen, may just be happening. I’m growing up.

Of course I still love a night out, but spending over half a week either drunk or hungover isn’t as appealing anymore. University has been the best years of my life and I’ve learnt so much about myself and am so happy I went but after three years of waking up to a kitchen smelling of beer, where you have to tip toe over pizza crusts from the night before isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore. Especially when there’s a farm house in the middle of the country side, with a fridge full of bacon, rooms filled with cats and a family full of love not far away. Possibly I’m growing up? Perhaps three years is long enough? But maybe, it’s because everything is starting to fall in place and I’m getting excited about what’s to come.

 As many people believe, Friday 13th brings bad luck, but on Friday 13th of this month, I got a very exciting e-mail. “Thank you for your application to study PGCE at the University of East Anglia. We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected to attend an interview at the University.” How exciting… I thought.

I ring mum, but she doesn’t pick up as she’s working. So I ring dad, resulting in tears of happiness. But in-between the time of speaking to dad, and mum ringing me back I had received an email to tell me when the interview would happen, only  7 days later, and what the interview entailed: A 45 minute interview with a head teacher and lecturer; a book presentation which involved me choosing a children’s book and presenting why I felt the book would be beneficial in a classroom, to the other applicants, the teacher and lecturer and completing a written task within the three hours I would be there. So by the time mum had got back to me, I was crying all sorts of tears.

So the next 7 days were full of tears and tantrums, nerves and nightmares. What will I wear?! What questions will they ask?! What if my book doesn’t arrive in time?! How do I get there?! What if the reason I got my interview on Friday 13th was because it’s going to go wrong?! What if I forget everything and just burst into tears?! What if I forget what my name is?!

7 sleepless nights later, the morning arrived and I’d never felt so nervous in my life. I think the reason I felt different this time to previous interviews was because of how much I want it. For once in my life, I was 100% sure on something and if I get a place this year I won’t have 16 months to fill before I could apply again.

I’m not going to go into the details of the interview because I’m sure that wouldn’t interest you… Well I guess I could pretend that was why. But more honestly, I’ve got a new kitten and I want to go and tickle his tummy. But oh my gosh, I think it went really well! Every question I’d prepared myself for came up and I managed to answer every one well, I think, and very naturally. I managed to present my book without any nerves popping up, and I remembered my name! And I have a lovely little feeling inside, that it may have been down to a very special flower up there who was holding my hand throughout.

So now I wait for a response, 1-3 weeks to go and I have all my fingers crossed and that’s more than you have on your hands as I’m from Norfolk. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you cross your fingers for me too please and hopefully you’ll be reading a blog very shortly, filled of excitement in caps lock.

Fresh, once more

For some reason I feel like I should apologise, apologise for promising a lot of blog posts over the summer and not writing a single one. But then reality hits me and I remember that I’m not one of those ‘famous bloggers’, with millions of subscribers all over the world and in fact, I’m just a 20 year old who has too much to say and knows where to put a comma, I think?

So where have I been, you ask? Well, I’ve just been so busy, managing 4-day jobs, 1 evening job and caring for my newborn and I just haven’t really had the time to blog. I hope you can all forgive and forget.

If only I really did have an excuse like that… Lets go back to an evening back in August, where I bumped into an old school friend, Ewan, who before conversation had barely begun, told me off for not blogging enough. Blog? Blogging? What’s that? And then it clicked. I’d clearly been enjoying summer too much that I had completely forgotten I had a blog. So thanks Ewan, for not only sparing a few minutes to read my blog every now and then but also for giving me a kick up the arse and getting me back to the keyboard.

Although, I do feel I deserve a little bit of a pat on the back for something. This summer I have been working my absolute bum off with University work and I’m feeling very prepared to begin my final year when I return back to Lincoln. Yet on the other hand, I do not feel ready to go back at all. I mean, how do you prepare yourself for 7 nights of solid drinking after having a summer consisting mainly of nights on the sofa with a handful of cats? Unfortunately, no matter how many Barocca’s I could drink, Pizza’s I could polish off at the end of a night and how much I could pretend I’m on Geordie Shore, I don’t think there’s anything I can do to avoid the next mornings hangover… and the 6 after that. But where’s the fun in thinking of the morning after? This is the last fresher’s of my life, I’m living with my boyfriend and two of my best friends and you only bloody live once! YOBLO. So no excuses, I’m going to make sure I’m out 7/7 nights and am going to make sure it’s the best week of my life to date.

I read something the other day that went:

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experience the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500% million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

So whilst I sit here moaning about an upcoming hangover, praying for one more Pringle to appear in the bottom of the tube I realise just how lucky I really am, (Not just because I ate the whole tube and didn’t have to share.) This summer I’ve treasured every minute I can with my family and my very precious Bubble, I’ve made sure I’ve seen all 4 of my grandparents at least once a fortnight, I’ve got some of the best friends in the whole world, two of which I’ve got back after 4 years and some who I can’t wait to catch up with back at Uni. Lewis and me are as good as ever and I’m very grateful for his family who has made me feel so welcome. I’m healthy, I’m happy and for that, I’m very grateful. I’m going to go back to Uni and hopefully leave this year again with a 2:1, I’m going to dive into fresher’s like its my first one all over again and I’m not going to take anyone or anything for granted.

Look at me, rambling on again pretending to myself that there’s someone the other side of the screen absolutely engrossed. (If anyone is still reading, and remotely interested, top effort.) I promise my next post will be less deep, and more recent than in 4 months time.

I hope all of you have had a lovely summer, take care xxx

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs

Unfortunately there’s a time in your life where answering, “A princess” to the question, “So what do you want to be when you’re as old as mummy and daddy?” isn’t acceptable.

Whilst I was at sixth form, at the age of 17, I had to decide on what I wanted to study at University and where I was going to pursue it. Coincidentally, at this age I also had absolutely no idea of what career path I wanted to follow. And what was worse, it seemed that everyone else around me had already decided where they were going and what they were doing.

Obviously not everyone wanted to go to University, I mean some people were happy with a job in Topshop for the rest of their life, but where’s the dream in that? For me, University has always been a plan. I felt, and still feel, that 18 was too young to end full time education, but also too young to start full time work. I mean, who wants to be working 9-5 when there’s jäger bombs out there that need drinking?

But what was I going to study at University? 3 years is a long time to stay motivated on just one subject and £9,000 is a huge amount to go in-debt to, to something that you’re unsure about. So I listened to my teachers and my family, who both suggested that as I was uncertain of the career path I wanted to follow, I should take a degree on something I enjoyed and was good at, as it would help me to stay motivated and achieve a high grade. So that’s why I took Fashion Studies.

Of course I’ve had my days, normally once I’ve handed in a deadline, where I’ve absolutely loved it and have wanted to spend the rest of my life working in the Fashion industry. But I’ve had a lot more days where, although I’ve been enjoying what I’m doing and am working hard, I just know I wouldn’t be happy doing it forever.

And about a week ago, a light bulb switched on in my brain, a bulb that had flickered similar thoughts many years ago. I’d decided, well re-decided, that I wanted to be a primary school teacher. I love children, helping others and I’m a little bossy. The hours are perfect, the pay is good and the holidays are very generous. I don’t know what it was that made me suddenly decide or what it was that really put a full stop to any more ideas, but I’m so glad it happened.

Once I’ve finished my third year in Lincoln, I plan to pursue a Postgraduate Certificate in Education Primary Level (PGCE), at the UEA, in September 2014. It is an 8.30am-5.30pm course, 5 days a week, which lasts 38 weeks and includes at least 120 days work based in schools.

After a little research, I discovered that if I continue to get the grades I’ve been getting, (I got a 2:1 for second year, yay), I should still have a chance to get on the course. My degree is just as beneficial for the course as one would be in any other subject, so I have absolutely no regrets. I know that if I were to have done a more academic degree, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, therefore would not have been as motivated.

Life is too hard to do something because it’s the ‘easy option’, and I know this is the perfect job for me. There’s no problem with a well-dressed teacher. I mean, just as Oscar Wilde stated, “You can never be too overdressed or overeducated”.

Time flies, when you’re tipsy

I’m sat on a tiny uncomfortable sofa, in a horribly located, smelly house, whilst I’m hungover and hungry, and this is how I’ve spent my last year. And hands down, I have had the best year of my life.

For my second year at University I’ve lived with three of my best friends, Cameron, Chris and also my boyfriend, Lewis. Ignoring the constant talk of football, sound of Fifa related cupboard punching and the smell of corned beef, I couldn’t have picked three better people to live with.

 Today is my last day and night here, and I’m about to meet mine and Lewis’ parents for a drink before our pub dinner this evening. But beforehand I have to say goodbye to Cam, who I’m going to miss a huge amount. Not going to say anything else nice about him incase he reads this and gets even more cocky… if that’s even possible.

 I’ve been very lucky at University, making a lot of very special friends, and a few who I know will be my best friends for life. It’s quite weird really, there are people I’ve know all my life but will never have the same friendship that I have with a few people here. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent the past 2 years constantly around them, through the best and worst times. They’ve seen me tipsy, crying because I miss home, moody because it’s that time of the month and absolutely elated because my crispy seaweed has arrived.

 I’ve also been lucky enough to meet someone extra special to me at University, Lewis Everett. I don’t want to let you in on too much because I believe relationships should be kept between the two of you, but we’re both very lucky to have met each other. Although living together at University has proved difficult sometimes it has also helped to make some of the best memories of my life. And I know University will be one of many special memories.

 It’s ridiculous how fast these past two years have flown by, it’s a bit scary really. And now I’m welling up a little because, even though I’m happy to go home for summer, I’m sad to leave this life again.

 But I’m back in September for my past year. Probably sensible to give the liver a break anyway…

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And I can breathe again

 

“What course do you study at University?”, “Fashion Studies”, “Oh, so you spend 3 years colouring in?”. Fantastic.

I chose to pursue a degree in Fashion studies because I’ve always preferred working practically over academically, have a creative flare and a passion for fashion. Surprisingly enough it isn’t because it was the only course my grades allowed me to study and that they offer a £50 Topshop giftcard to whoever passes. In fact I left High school and Sixth form with 12 A-C GCSE’s and 1 A and 2 B’s at A Level resulting in enough UCAS points to have got on most of the courses at this University.

As a course, BA Fashion studies students are given freedom to work and no limits within what they design, whether it be a simple cotton shift dress, or a clowns outfit made from cellotape and pencil sharpening’s.  But if I want to walk away with at least a pass, there is absolutely no freedom within the amount of work needed to complete.

It grinds my gears when people say that Fashion is a cop out and University is just 3 years of drinking and sleeping. I’m not one to determine what other courses are like, but for me the last 2 years have been the hardest years of my life, and I have never put so much effort into something.

After a large number of all-nighters, tears and tantrums I’ve just ended my second year by handing in 20 sketchbooks/portfolios, over 10,000 words of essays and 4 final garments. And over this summer, I will have all of my Norfolk incestuous toes and fingers crossed, hoping that my hard work pays off when I receive my results, and that I can put to rest the upsetting myth, that us fashionista’s are brainless.

I hope that you’ll have yours crossed too

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