sea spray and waves on rocks

Dear Alys, you’ve changed…

Dear Alys,

Everything has changed; you’ve changed. Not in any linear way. There’s no visually-sensical brick wall of life events documenting a clear pattern of change. I couldn’t really tell you what’s fundamentally different because it isn’t a tangible thing. But I’m certain there has been a celestial shift of some kind over the last year; tides still rise and fall, but in new patterns.

Don’t get me wrong, you are still very much ‘you’, whatever that means. You still hold the same dream eight-year-old you had to put your writing out into the world. You still get anxious on the phone. You still love Marmite and hate icebreakers. Everything’s changed, yet nothing’s changed.

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green sea dock italy

12 Things I’ve Learnt in the Past 12 Months: 2019 Edition

Around this time last year, I wrote a list of the 12 biggest lessons I’d learnt in the previous 12 months. I thought it would be interesting to compile another one without reading the first and then look back and see how they compare. A lot has happened since August 2018, from starting university and completing two internships to travelling to six countries. So what have these experiences taught me?

I love learning

My course has pushed me in some ways (such as clashing deadlines), but the actual content I’ve found enjoyable to engage with. Spending a couple of years away from the intensity of education before university has made me really appreciate this.

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Am I Good Enough For University?

Around this time a year ago, I was not considering applying for physical university. (For those of you who don’t know, I was studying with the Open University, a distance learning institution, at the time). I didn’t see it like this in the moment, but looking back I think I had almost written the whole idea of attending university off. It seemed so inconceivable to me, for many reasons, and that led to a total dismissal of it all.

Now, heading into my second term at uni, I thought it might be a good moment to reflect on that experience, and those feelings, in the hope that it might reach someone else going through something similar… So what was the main issue then?

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sunlight on peak district mountains

Goodbye 2018 – December Reflections

December, as it usually is, has been an exhalation: of stress, work, chaos. I spent the first week up at university, catching up on lectures and bits of reading I missed throughout the term, before enjoying a couple of days in London with some friends. From there, I headed back home to be with my family for Christmas.

We did the typical yuletide activities – making a wreath for the door, going on cold woodland walks, shopping for and wrapping presents, baking festive-flavoured things – and ate lots of yummy comfort food. It was a blessing to be able to use a proper food processor to make vegan nicecream again – I miss it so badly when I’m up at uni with just my cheap smoothie blender to rely on.

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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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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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