Happy New Year! I hope you indulged yourselves over the festive period, and that your days were as glittery as a Christmas bauble.

This is probably the first year of my life where the rest of it truly begins. The ominous black hole of uncertainty is lurking just around the corner, beginning promptly from June onwards once I have graduated.
2016 is the year four years of study comes to a close with an M.A. in English Language from the University of Glasgow, and I somehow need to decide what I’m going to do with my life post-university. And pronto – at least in the eyes of convention.
I won’t be prolix about it, I am quite terrified as I’m the worst decision maker ever when it comes to even the littlest things – coffee or tea? Teaa? Or coffeee? – but deciding what I want to do as a career, picking out which paths to take amongst an intertwined maze feels like an impossible and ever-so-slightly overwhelming task.
I have friends who have known from the get-go that they want to be lawyers and veterinarians, and are currently on their meticulously planned journeys to getting there. But me? Well let’s see.. Do I want to focus on job-hunting up in Glasgow, or keep tabs more on my home town and surrounding areas? Do I want to focus on looking at jobs in the vague marketing-creative-media field, despite having no real experience in it whatsoever, or just go for what becomes available that I would feel competent enough at, but that would still provide a challenge?
What factors help to carve my decisions anyway? Glasgow has far more job opportunities in terms of personal growth than back home, but do I really want to continue living there when I’ve never felt 100% settled? The only factors of course should be personal ones that come from what I want and what’s best for me in climbing the first rung of the career ladder, but I know living away from loved ones back home will be hard, as Glasgow would then become my permanent dwelling.
I’ve said similar in previous posts, but I don’t think it’s always a bad thing that we mightn’t have a concrete plan about how we should be spending our lives. That’s the beauty and slight terror of being part of Generation Y: where our parents and grandparents were expected to begin thinking and building upon a solid career early on, we’re lucky enough to divert without so much as a raised eyebrow from the standards and expectations that were once so firmly rooted in tradition. University isn’t the first choice for so many people, and those who have opted-out have still been able to be incredibly successful by other means. I am noticing more and more people my age taking a year or even more out after university to properly explore the world, and document it whilst doing so. It appears “convention” is slowly dissipating into something more like, “find what you enjoy doing, and make a living out of it.”
2016 is the end of the beginning, and in a way the beginning of the end. The end of being a student and the bank balance of loans and grants. The beginning of a possible 9-5 and a proper pay cheque. The end of a luxurious life of months’ worth of holidays and the beginning of taxes, bills and maybe even mortgages. 
“The End” has negative and morbid connotations however, but it shouldn’t. It means the rest of our lives, where as the years pass by and the candles on the cake increase in number, we’ll continue to have more freedom, responsibilities and experiences, and surely that can only ever be a good thing..


Change of Seasons

I think this could possibly be my first post where it is written without planning and published all on the same day – possibly within 1 hour!

Summer draws to a close in a week’s time and I’m heading back up to Glasgow early tomorrow morning (Friday 18th September). Several times now across the realms of the internet I have read the lamentations of people’s dread for Autumn; the transition not so much a transition, but more a gust of icy wind tumbling straight towards them in the leaf littered air, the feeling much more like a tonne of bricks than the light bump of a conker. Some days the weather is warm still, the sunshine breaking through heavily clouded skies to reveal endless stretches of cyan, a familiar comfort blanket to swaddle us in. Other days the mornings begin damp and continue in that drizzly manner, leading to radiator-heated rooms and the encroaching gloom of dark evenings.

For me I’m currently experiencing both outlooks on Autumn. Seasonally speaking I think Autumn is breathtaking in every way. We can wrap up in our favourite coats and boots without the numbing bite of Winter, enjoy the bejewelled colours of the great outdoors and the seasonal foods to stock our cupboards and fridges with. But with a new season comes a new academic year. Semester One begins again for the fourth (and final) time, that heavy feeling in my stomach of the impending work to come, never getting easier, always pushing me harder. I realise that I will return to living without my family whom I have seen everyday for four months, my home pals will become pixels through the electronic screen, lines of text on a private message.

I’ve always tried to be a positive, optimistic person. I try my best when people I know are feeling down or going through hell, but when it comes to myself I can’t help but view situations at their worst. I feel like any prospect of a future in a decent enough job is bleak and am terrified of failure. I’m hoping this September will be the last time I ever feel this, but chances are it won’t be. This time next year I’ll probably be experiencing similar nerves but in anticipation of a job interview or my First Day At Work.

Having come to this realisation however, that we will always face challenges in both personal and academic/work life, I just simply have to breathe it in, close the final page of the previous chapter, bite the bullet and continue to kick ass. Everybody goes through it, everybody will go through it, all in our own individual ways, it’s just about how we choose to go about it.

As this new season begins, and I face the beginning of the end, or perhaps the end of the beginning, I will go into it with an open heart, a clear mind, and the knowledge that I’ll make it out alive – if a little scathed, with new prospects in line and my pixelated friends and family there with me every step of the way..


Eat – Exercise – Pin – Read – Listen – Watch #1

Eat – Homemade leek and sweetcorn soup, tomato sauce based dishes with cauliflower to bulk. Chocolate raisins, chocolate peanuts. Healthy eating is slightly out the window for the time being…. Bear with.

Exercise – Has been completely off due to revision (yes, yes it is not really an excuse.) I wake up at 5:45am, leave the flat at 7, and after a day in the library and consequently more revision after some chill and food time back home, I have no desire or motivation whatsoever. But I am noticing the (not-so-good) difference this is making to my body, so cannot wait to properly get. back. on. it.

Pin – Ottolenghi’s famous carrot cake recipe ohsweetsugarygoodness, ITG’s guide to Bianca Jagger’s makeup on her wedding day. My eyes are particularly drawn to all things wedding at the moment because a couple of weeks ago my best friend got engaged to her boyfriend! Frantic Weddings Board pinning thus commenced. One Year Into Work – a great article by a post-grad giving the low-down on what to expect from interviews and the job itself.

Read – Do revision notes count? 😉 Sorry, sorry I keep wanging on about it. I haven’t been reading any books of my choice for a long time, but on the web I’ve still been keeping up to date with my Bloglovin’ feed. I’ve especially enjoyed Into The Gloss’s 5th birthday celebration of all their Best Beauty Tips from over the years and Caroline Hirons’ fantastic no-nonsense, streamlined guide to what you should look out for and avoid, according to your skin issue. 

Listen – A week ago I discovered Grooveshark had shut down. Completely. I was about to merrily log in at uni to add another song to my huge collection, and there it was. A vast canyon of nothingness. Thankfully a Twitter pal informed me of a Reddit feed which showed you how to access your music collection through relatively easy coding. I have my main collection now stored as a Word document, but have completely lost all my Favourites and playlists; most heartbreakingly of all, my beloved PPPPARTY playlist which was jam-packed full of the best “going-out” rave beats. A sad day.
Instead, I’ve been trying to make the most of dodgy ready-made Youtube playlists and commercial radios. I’ve been listening to Kisstory for a while anyway, and they have served as a good getting ready/pre-drinks soundtrack in the past, but XFM having really been hitting the spot lately. Particularly in the evenings playing quietly in the background as I work. I rarely listen to music when I do study because it’s very off putting, particularly if vocals are involved. Good ole XFM however has just the right kind of vibe that drawls away in a hazy indie cloud. When set to the correct volume, it proves to be great company whilst I scribble down memory tests and spider diagrams.

Watch – I’ve still been keeping up with my Youtube subscriptions, but have had to click on through quite a few because the minutes they all rack up take away the minutes I should be spending studying. One channel though, whose videos I have particularly adored, and never scrolled through to get to the end are Casey Neistat‘s. The film-maker began to document his life by uploading short, daily video clips of what he gets up to in NYC and beyond. Never failing to include an intimate close-up of one of his many life-mantras or motivational chats, Casey’s content is exactly what I need in my life right now.

This is a new feature. An accumulation of the past month or so’s goings on in my life and the world around me. It might become a monthly thing, or just simply the odd sporadic post of when I feel like I might have some sort-of-interesting notes to share.

What have you been up to then?


ps. I got a haircut! Back to a lob (long bob) Feeling so much better for it. Woop woop

What Does It Mean To Be "Successful" Anyway?

What is your motivation and what kind of goal is it driving you towards?

n. desire to do; interest or drive | the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behaviour
I’ve seen the phrase “where do you find your motivation?” thrown around a few places these past few weeks. The response has always been “from within yourself.” You can be inspired by others, even jealous, but when it comes to getting something done, whether it’s hoovering the whole house, or sealing the deal on that promotion you dreamed about ever since walking into the office, the real driving force has always been yourself, coming from within.
So we’ve established motivation, the forces that get you to your personal definition of “success.” But what actually is success? And what does it mean to be “successful”? Is it defined in monetary terms and the small script accompanying your name when you sign your business relations off? The majority of people would probably define it as acquiring the job they’ve always aspired to have. Settling down with a happy, financially secured family. Making your parents proud.

But what if your definition of success doesn’t quite sit with the rest of society’s? What if you’re working really hard but you have absolutely no idea what for. What if you don’t even have the motivation to find and work towards a fantastic career, but instead would prefer a much simpler life; a roof over your head, a full tummy at the end of the day, and happiness. I’ve always worked hard throughout my education, and my grades showed for it. Looking back I’m not sure whether it was out of motivation to do well in order to continue on to the next phase of education, or if it was out of pride. Pride’s a painful thing when it’s dented. At the moment I have no dream career in the clouds for me to work towards once I graduate. And the worst thing of all, I’m not actually bothered. Well, of course I’m bothered and worried that I’ll leave university and end up not being able to find a job, (any job, I’d be willing to take anything), but at the moment I feel like I’m working hard at uni, doing my best, but have no idea what for.

We return to pride. At the moment the only motivation I have is the shame of graduating with a 3 or a 2:2. I know, it’s awful of me. And a 2:2 isn’t even bad, it’s certainly not the worst thing in the world to have scrawled in a This Is Your Life book. When I was younger, I had a million and one different ideas for job roles, as we all did I’m sure. A sweet shop owner, a florist, an interior designer, a journalist, all with absolutely no concept of the investment of hard work needed in advance, that would be necessary in order to see the ideas become a reality. Now I know the reality, and it’s terrifying. Truly a dog eat dog world. (Well, perhaps being a sweet-shop owner isn’t quite on par with the struggles of journalism..)
Thankfully I still have one year left to properly ponder upon what I want to When I Leave. Whilst friends back home are finishing up dissertations and graduating in the summer, I am quietly watching them, observing their moves as they choose the next path to follow in a new chapter of their lives. I’ll see what they do, and if I fancy it, I’ll do something similar. Simple yeah?

For me, to have a life “full of success,” is to know that you made that person’s day. You helped changed someone’s perspective on life for the better. You helped nurture someone younger than you, (not necessarily your offspring!), and comforted somebody who is older. Right now, my idea of a dream job is to have a bee-keeping farm and a community garden, to help nourish those who stopped by. Yes, it is pretty unrealistic, I think the idea might have come to me in a dream, I’m not sure. It’s not the most ambitious way of passing your days, not compared to a lot of people I know who have professional careers set in motion once that cap is donned and scroll is in their hand.
For now, I am motivated to do my personal best. To push myself to limits I’ve never reached, and to simply be content in life.

What is motivating you at the moment? Have you reached a stage in your life where you can comfortably say, “I have successfully accomplished X?” 

I’d love to know if I’m not alone when it comes to university degrees and working hard, but having no real material goal to make it all seem worth while..