potrait of girl in dungarees dress

12 Things I’ve Learned in the Past 12 Months

A year ago today I was probably walking home exhausted and over-heated from my full-time job at an ice cream shop in town. I was in a totally different place then, to where I am now. Not just in terms of work, but in all areas of my life. I guess the same can be said by comparing any two months a year apart, but I think I become particularly reflective around autumn, and this past year has held a lot more change than most.

Coming into September always feels like a new beginning – the start of a fresh academic year breathes a renewed wave of energy into everything, even if I’m not personally attending school that year. And so this seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months – the good, the bad and the lessons I’ve learnt.

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It’s Okay to Change Your Mind About University

For many young people in the UK, today is results day – long-awaited and much-anticipated, futures are potentially steered in totally unforseen ways because of the letters that appear from within those envelopes on this notorious Thursday. Dreams, and hearts, are seemingly made or broken.

Facing Pressure

The amount of pressure put on eighteen year olds, by themselves and perhaps also the adults in their lives, can be immense. The idea that this is your one shot at having a ‘successful’ life, that grades are the be all and end all. The thought that time is running out and if you’re not on the starting line for the marathon that is conventional adult life (uni, working your way up some kind of career ladder, finding ‘the one’, moving into a flat and then a house with a mortgage, having a couple of kids, etc.) then you’re going to be left choking on the dust of everyone else’s victories.

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Trying to Grow a Sunflower: An Open Letter to Myself About Uncertainty

Dear Alys,

For the last few weeks you’ve been trying to grow a sunflower. It started as a tiny seed, a third of the size of your smallest fingernail, yet so packed full of just the right combination of things to reach your height. That’s incredible, isn’t it? I guess we all start off small. Some of us soak up the sunlight as we age, others shrink into the hedgerow.

Sometimes I feel like it might be time for you to poke a petal out into the light, have a look at what the world looks like in the brightness, rather than observing from the shadows. I guess you’ve managed that at times. All sorts of moments require that bravery: little things like picking out a t-shirt you’re not sure others will like but wearing it anyway because you like it. Or big things like upping roots and trying to ground yourself in Australia for a while. Yes, you’ve definitely done some things.

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You Don’t Have To Eat Oysters: An Open Letter to Myself About Making Decisions

Dear 2018 Alys,

Sometimes you wonder if you’re doing the right thing with your life. In this fast-paced world of constructed online identities and overwhelming arrays of things and places and people and opportunities, you often feel lost. I see that look in the hazel of your eyes, your decisions are as uncertain as the shade staring back at you – some people see brown, others green.

But the question that consistently plagues you on some kind of level, whether that’s a buzz at the back of your brain or a drill in your temple, isn’t brown or green. It’s study or work. Distance learning or physical university. Travelling the world or the ease of home life. Healthcare or writing or the media industry. Internships or volunteering. Europe or America or Australia. It’s have you made the right choices so far or should you have done something different? And what’s the next step?

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How I Consciously Chose Change in 2017 – Blogmas Day 12

2017 has been quite the tumultuous year, characterised I’d say by shifts: in my daily life, personal life, and ideas about the future. I guess when you take a biopsy of your situation, thoughts and feelings from any one month and compare it to one taken 11 months previous to this, you’ll notice change. Change is how progression takes place; like the leaves alternating green to yellow to orange to brown, it’s necessary for growth to occur.

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Reluctant to grow up: at the border between adolescence and adulthood

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

The question we all face numerous times throughout our school days, and one which seeks answers such as ‘teacher’, ‘doctor’ or ‘artist’. Growing up, I played with the idea of different roles to fill this gap of expectation, seeing if any of them took residence comfortably, like a coin sliding into a slot machine.

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