happy sunset silhouette in sand dunes australia

Take That, Anxiety: An Open Letter from the First Term of University

Dear Alys,

Hey, you made it through the first term of university! Can we have a pause for applause, please?

Yes, you’ve cried. Yes, you’ve had days when leaving your room took more than a couple of thoughts and deep breaths to achieve. Yes, anxiety hasn’t decided to fully retire to The Bahamas, never to be seen by you again (yet). But you have persisted through these feelings and honestly, they’ve been rather fleeting for the most part. More like occasional-dandruff-to-brush-off-the-shoulders level, a minor inconvenience, rather than taking-a-few-days-out-because-of-flu level.

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orange leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal

A (kind of) Love Letter

Hey there,

I know you’re feeling hurt at the moment, I sense it in the silence and distance between us. Whenever I try to start a conversation with you, you leave me with unfinished sentences: frustrating lines that hit connectives, hanging as uncomfortably at the end of a line as an introvert at a frat party. Connectives are made to mingle amongst the dancing letters of a sentence, not act like roadblocks for a train of thought.

You can tell I’m frustrated when I start mixing modes of transport in one simile. Yes, I’m a little frustrated. Not at all with you though, you’ve been wonderful this last year, but with myself for neglecting you these past months. And for allowing that to create both this space between us and my difficulty in coming back to you. You’ve always been there for me when I needed to let my thoughts out in chaotic streams of consciousness, no matter how much time and attention I had, or didn’t have, for you. And so I can understand you’re hurt.

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November Reflections – Where Have I Been?! What’s Next?

Yep, it’s a generic ‘I’m sorry I took a break from blogging’ post. Well, it should be at least. I haven’t written any content for over a month, and that’s too long for my liking. I feel like I owe everyone an explanation; this is the part of the post where I apologise profusely for my sudden hiatus, offer up a bunch of excuses and attempt to justify myself. But I’m sure you’ve all read plenty of those before, so instead this is just going to be a short and casual reflections post – like the ones I write every month.

What’s held me back from creating content over November then? The simple explanation is, of course, ‘university’. So let’s start with a rundown of how that’s all going…

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pink clouds blue sky sunset with buildings

October Reflections – University Begins…

October was an intense month; I think anyone who has just started university will agree with that. It’s had a lot of ups and downs and has generally felt very confusing – it’s like the rug is constantly being pulled out from underneath me and I’m not sure if my feet will ever actually be touching solid ground. Bearing this context in mind, I thought the best way to approach October’s roundup post would be to focus on the positive things that have happened, rather than trying to condense all the emotions of the month into one chaotic assortment…

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girl in tree the new forest autumn

How To Be Flawless

I think a lot of people aim to be flawless. Or at least, they’re on a mission to become ‘perfect’ (whatever that means). It’s no surprise really, it’s an ideal pushed on us at every opportunity: the copious amounts of photoshop on magazine covers, the endless adverts for whitening toothpastes/mascara/weight loss products, the ‘top 30 under 30’ and ‘youngest billionaire’ lists designed to make us feel inferior… the list goes on and on and on.

It is pretty crazy, when you stop to think about it. There are so many things out there encouraging us to carve ourselves into smooth, marble statues of perfect proportions, beauty and purposefulness. And if you’re not everything, you’re nothing.

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san sebastian beach on sunny day

September Reflections – Holidays and Starting University

September has been a pretty intense month for me. From going on several holidays to starting university, September has flipflopped through the full extent of emotions and has been chiseled by change. Attentive readers will perhaps have noticed this already: this is the first time my posting schedule has been so sporadic and scattered since starting my blog all the way back in November. A lot of things have happened in the last 30 days, and so I thought I’d split this Reflections post into sections. I, for one, am definitely in need of a little clarity and simplification.

Going Camping

I kicked off September in the best way possible – sleeping in a field. Well, sleeping in a tent in a field. I spent that first weekend of the month strolling through falling leaves in the late summer sunshine of the New Forest and it was wonderful. I think that spending time in nature, and living in a tent, both allow yourself to feel grounded and to dedicate time to appreciating the little things in life. For example, when you’re camping, cooking takes three times as long as it does at home – but that’s okay, because it gives you perspective.

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2018/9 academic year bullet journal title page

Dear First-Year-University-Student Me: An Open Letter

Dear Alys,

Last weekend quite a few people you know headed off to university: it’s that time of year that brings about fresh starts and big changes with the colouring, and falling, of the leaves. In a sense, this feels like more of a ‘new year’ than the actual New Year. And this weekend, you’ll also be driving up north to become a university student, in a tiny car bloated with the objects that make up your life.

In one way, it’s been a long time coming. You’ve had two years out of the traditional school system and have already left your teen years behind. You tried a distance learning degree, and even completed the first year, but you knew that wasn’t what you wanted to continue doing. So I think now is the right time. I don’t think many people ever feel completely ready to go to university, everyone has their own kinds of struggles, but I think at this point in time you’re as ready as you’ll ever be.

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