Life Begins Again

Almost one year later and I’m back!

I’m writing this in that fuzzy Saturday morning cocoon; completely resembling Homer Simpson being a toasty cinnamon bun, and not feeling an ounce guilt for it. Until I get overheated or need a wee that is, and then the moment’s broken..

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So university happened. I finally graduated in June 2016 and spent a gorgeous few days in the Highlands afterwards. I consumed my body weight in whisky-cream porridge and homemade cakes, and it was a lovely last hurrah to my Scottish life.

I also found a job at the end of May in customer service, something I’m still working in, but isn’t quiiite the Job For Life we imagine in our younger years. It did however, introduce me to some really great people. My kinda people, and also not my kinda people, but it’s all a learning curve and I’ve made some brilliant memories.

I made a best friend. You know in your twenties, when you’ve done the school thing, the college, the university, and you’re blindly thinking you’ve met everyone under the sun and that this is it now? But something, or someone happens. You realise you’re in fact wrong; you Do carry on living, you Are continuously meeting new people, and you’ll Never stop growing as a person. Meeting someone I now refer to as my soul-sister and part-time wife has been the biggest blessing. We discuss the current political (crises?!), the newest memes, the latest boys and our religious views all in the same lunch hour.

She’s a good egg and has helped open my eyes to the fact that life doesn’t stop after university, and actually I think it’s once that hedonistic blur is over and done with, you can then truly begin to establish who you are and what you want from life. I don’t think that journey of self-discovery ever really ends though..

So I’m back and I’m bad as they say (bad at er, keeping regular on the ole blog), but better late than never.

I’m excited to get this up and running again, so watch this space…..

TTFN, P x

 

 

Floundering

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.”
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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..

TTFN, P x

Turning New Circumstances Into Opportunities

Let’s rewind a few weeks. I was looking towards my final year at university, I was thinking about the work that would be required, the hours that would have to be put in, and the prospect of getting to know 4 new people who I would be sharing the same living quarters with. Everything was pretty calm, apart from the periodic meltdowns of trying to decide a dissertation topic (let’s not go there, but I’m almost sorted now), and I thought about how aside from academic chaos, my life would remain subdued, steady, and stay-in-every-night serene.
Fast forward a few weeks, and, as predicted I’m shuttling head first into the academic chaos, but the quiet days in the library, and quieter nights in with my own company? Not so much. You see, I do like to see friends and catchup, but Me, Myself and I do just fine too. Let’s discuss the somewhat minor changes in life though, that have got my comfort zone a little shook up…

  1. I’m living with guys for the first time at university. Us two girls are outnumbered, so learning to deal with putting the seat down on the toilet every. single. time. is a new forte of mine, as well as finding conversation topics that aren’t just about girl things, or banal chats about our course (because no one else is studying English Language in the flat). They’re not the most talkative of folk, but figuring out new people’s personalities and what gets them chatting is always a good skill to improve upon.
  2. I’ve joined a society for the first time in my whole university career. Whoops. Albeit the English Language Society, so I’m not exactly stepping outside my box into a new one coated in glitter and rainbows, but it’s something. My pals have taken over the Board which means the society is going to be properly up and running, holding regular gatherings and meet ups over cheeses and wine. Mmm. We had our first in fact last Thursday, a good old Glaswegian subcrawl, made up largely of Freshers and the odd fourth year dotted here and there, but all in all it was a great night. I actually went out without the guilty conscience of “I should really be spending this time wisely and reading up for class.” There was nothing. I was genuinely excited to get out and get boogying and meet tonnes of new people. Luvly.
  3. Honours courses mix third and fourth year students together, so I’m constantly meeting and greeting new faces who I never knew existed before this term started. This, along with not being in a class with one of my closest course friends for the first time in honours, means that again I sit next to new people and have new stories to hear and old ones to share. The fact that there seems to be an abnormal amount of English/Northern English folk in third year this year makes me a happy Larry, and provides great chat and knowing smiles as we compare stories of what it’s like living in Scotland. Group presentation work which is a rarity in English Language also calls for new interactions and understandings of personalities you mightn’t normally sidle yourself with. See. I’m growing up!
So to round up, I think making the decision of saying goodbye to old flat mates and living with brand new people this year has turned out to somewhat be a blessing in disguise. I was always looking forward to getting to know people from different cultures because I love plaguing them with questions about their language, foods and customs, but rather than sitting in the fluffy security of having known my flatmates already, and therefore not bothering to be very social and going out in the evening, I’ve had to make my own entertainment, leave the confines of the flat to actually see people I know, (and meet new people to get to know!) and that has been brilliant. 

Here’s to fourth year then! Having originally thought it was going to be the hardest year of my life, and hey, I’m not disputing that thought, I reckon it’s going to be one of my favourites. Only now am I letting myself get immersed (well, perhaps it’s more of a dipping-of-the-leg in the water rather than just a toe), into university life, BUT as the saying goes: Better late than never.

TTFN, P x

Are you yet feel properly get into uni life and still mostly living it through the academic side of things? Maybe you’re already there and absolutely loving it? It’d be great to know.

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..

TTFN, P x

What Does It Mean To Be "Successful" Anyway?

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

Source
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..


TTFN P x

In The Thick Of It

Long gone are the days of lazing around, watching endless documentaries on catch-up, reading blogs for hours and feeling pretty guilt-free about that. In more recent times I’ve been watching the endless documentaries, reading the blogs and feeling completely guilty about it all. Well, kind of. That time existed more in the nice limbo period once teaching had finished and Spring break began. Now it’s pretty much full study steam ahead.
Yep; exams are a-comin’. Alll aboaaard!
My days now aren’t structured around lectures and tutorials, but instead I have to create my own scheduled breaks amongst the new revision routine, and that in itself is a double edged sword. I love being able to structure my own days and weeks, particularly if everyone else who isn’t at uni are groaning about hump day, and I decide Wednesday is my weekend and take a well earned day off. But then again, it is revision we’re talking about here, and if we could choose between days off or having our brains boiled in the library we all know which one we’d choose. 😉


Since returning from my Easter hols my diet hasn’t really been the toppest notch. I’ve been getting back to eating lots of veg, fruit and wholegrain/brown carbohydrates again, but along with a whole packet of mini chocolate bars mum secretly packed in my bag, and Tuesday’s trauma of just about reaching Tesco’s check-out before a huge crate of discounted bread and cookies completely blocked my path, commanding me to put a bag of reduced cookies for 55p into my basket, I sure haven’t helped myself get back on the health track. Darrrrnit!

I’m frustrated with myself because over Easter I basically undid all the hard work I’d put in whilst at uni in properly working out, and so now I have even more to burn off on top of the previous padding (fitness update soon. Ish.) HOWEVER, at the same time I can’t scold myself too badly because I, and I’m sure several hundred thousand other teenage-20 somethings are going through exactly the same feelings and decisions.
We all know exam period is a messy, uncouth time for our bodies and brains, inside and out, but treats get us through the slog of memorising case studies and motivate us to finish those practice essays. Right?..
Where am I going with this? Who knows; I’m certainly not advocating an overconsumption of sugar, but I’m also letting you know you’re not alone if you’re struggling with procrastination or feeling racked with guilt at the sight of the empty junk-food wrapper lying cold and ashamed, broken on the floor bin.
Sometimes it’s okay to have a packet of biscuits for tea, and it’s definitely okay to take an evening off to engage your brain in some other activity, that isn’t stimulated by uni/school work. 
Just keep going, get back on it the next day, and never, ever give up!

Are any of you currently studying for exams? Or are those days long behind you and you are now reading this with your 2.4 children and secure dream job by your side? Oh blimey.

TTFN P x

ps. If you noticed my Natalie Imbruglia reference, 4 cookies for you. Kind of epitomises exam period really doesn’t it? 😉

When You’re Bogged Down With Work

Now that, guys and gals, is an enticing title. This post a one or two days later than when I would usually publish a blog post. I’ll be frank and tell you why; more has been on my mind than thinking up ideas for blog posts. Cue sharp intakes of breath as the unspoken, unwritten, confession of a “kind-of-blogger” is uttered. My brain is swelling with new information, old decaying information, endless projects and report write-ups, friend-worries, appearances-woes and everything else a 20-something female student might be experiencing in her non-stop life. 
So of course, whilst gulping tea and watching a documentary on government surveillance (that has absolutely nothing to do with my uni work), I’m going to channel these worries into constructive ideas and advice (for myself mostly), on how we can better the situation, and get through it together! Digs out a banana skin from the bin to have a home-made pom-pom cheerleading session.

  • Cabin Fever – I never have been able and still can’t write essays in my uni room. I can study, as in revise and highlight notes, and hammer down a few words when I’m nearing the deadline, but generally when it comes to sitting down facing the impending doom of an open Word doc to tap out endless lines of goodness-knows-what, it ain’t gonna happen. I fidget and look around my room for non-existent snacks, refresh my Bloglovin’ or Youtube feeds, and wonder whether any scandalous status’ have been posted on Facebook. Nope, just more baby photos. So then I’ll make the upmost effort to find something else to procrastinate with..
  • Solutions  Get out that ruddy room! This is why I spend 90% of all study time in the library or labs. I choose a Silent Level, but still with sufficient background noise of computer whirs and paper shuffles. Everyone else (pretty much) has got the same game plan. We’re all there for the same purpose, we bounce off each other’s work ethics and feel if they can study in this place for 6/7 hours a day, I can too.
  • Now I know this isn’t feasible for everyone. Maybe you live too far away to travel to the library, or, like several of my pals, you’re the complete opposite of me and have only stepped foot in the “L” word a handful of times because trying to working in that kind of alien environment is nigh on impossible. Try simple changes: If you usually study in your bedroom, try moving your workspace to the dining room table. If you have the motivation to go to the library, but once you get there it’s all down hill, try another level, maybe one with more background noise and comfortable furniture. Sometimes I can work well when I’m not in a studious, academic environment but one that still allows people to be in their own little zones, acting as your accountables. Yep – coffee shops, park benches, the student union are all good changes of environment.


  • Procrastination – The reasons for, and solutions to this overlap with Cabin Fever. But similarly to my previous posts on beating the winter blues and getting ready for Spring, sometimes all you need is just an influx of oxygen on a brisk walk outside and you’re good to go, mind sieved and cleared once you’re back sitting in front of your work. 
  • Sometimes we give ourselves too hard a time when it comes to study. I’ll often come home from a tiresome day at the library, have tea, catch up on social media and then immediately feel guilty for not working. ‘Ang on, you’ve just done a solid, productive day’s work of study, you’ve fed and watered yourself, switched off the part of your brain that requires constant thought and alertness, and you’re feeling guilty? If we all worked 24/7 we’d be living zombies and it’d actually end up being counter-productive. Give yourself a break! (Literally), and congratulate yourself on knowing that you’ve done your best and ticked off all the goals you wanted to smash for that day. 

  • This Too Shall Pass – Of course when we’re in the here and now, living the hell and not yet in the balmy, beach holiday of retrospect, the present can feel like a pit of never-ending doom. But we can apply this phrase to every aspect of our life. How many times have you looked back on a rubbish part of your life, weeks, months, maybe even years later and thought, hey, in the grand schemes of things that wasn’t all that bad. I’m still here, my life wasn’t endangered, I pulled through just like everyone else, and we’re all absolute troopers! It’s quite nice to reflect on the bad times because you know that they’re in the past, you’ve moved on, and are constantly learning and building on how you can make the future a somewhat less painful place.


Well I could ramble on all day couldn’t I? Perhaps I’ll do another post further down Exam Alley on what I do physically to help me revise and make the most of my precious study time. We’re all different, we all learn and study in our own ways. But remember, we’re all in this together, you’re not experiencing this alone, and you most definitely won’t be the last.

TTFN, P x

ps. it’s definitely okay to treat yourself once you’ve achieved something, no matter how big or small the accomplishment. A square of choc or a trip to Cadbury’s World, they’re what truly keeps us motivated 😉