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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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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January Reflections – My New Job, Uni Decisions and Mental Health Struggles

If someone asked me to describe January 2018 in one word I’d probably say ‘whirlwind’. The first month of the year has really picked me up and tossed me around a bit, and I kind of feel like I’m writing this post from within a washing machine of chaotic thoughts and day routines. I have a feeling the spinning isn’t going to halt for February, but maybe it can slow down a little so I can get to grips with life.

I know I’m not quite walking and controlling the dog known as life yet, but I’m hoping February will give me the chance to chase after it on foot, rather than being dragged around desperately clinging onto the leash, not knowing which way is up. That doesn’t mean the month has been full of stress and nothing wonderful though, it’s just been quite full on in every direction, both positive and negative emotions.

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18 Things I Want To Do In 2018

It’s the start of 2018: a new year and therefore the month in which, due to socially constructed values, we pressure ourselves to be ‘better’ and change who we are. I don’t necessarily think this mindset is productive or conducive to becoming the people we want to be – personally, I like to take this moment to reflect on what’s happened over the past 365 days and highlight bits from that which I’d like to carry over into the next year. I don’t just do this process in January though, I like to reflect most months, it just comes to the forefront of my mind when there’s such a strong culture around doing this at the start of the year.

So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share the things I’m looking to do more of in the coming year, especially as Lucy tagged me on Twitter to do something similar to this a few days ago. Her post is more about sports and other activities she wants to do in 2018 and is well worth a read, so go and have a look over there!

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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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Why Okja is a must-see: what we can learn from fiction

Grab a couple of blankets, a plate of snacks and a box of tissues to settle down for a couple of hours in front of Netflix’s epic drama, Okja. This is exactly what I did this afternoon – minus the desperately-needed tissues. This film follows a young girl, Mija, on a journey to rescue her companion animal, the eponymous genetically modified superpig, from becoming part of the meat industry. The action begins in mountainous South Korea, where we get to know these two lead characters before the American company that bred Okja 10 years earlier, the Mirando Corporation, arrives to recapture Mija’s best friend; and so, with the help of animal rights activists, Mija attempts to save Okja from the slaughterhouse.

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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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