One Year On

One Year On

It hit me today that I am one year out of college. There is a new horde of graduates receiving their results and planning their summer and subsequent future right now, just like I did last June.

As I’ve said countless times before on this blog, your college results aren’t a reflection on how good you are. There’s this myth that floats around that says in order to do well in life, you have to do well in school.

I debunked this wayyyy back 

It’s simply not true. No matter how much tutting you get for not getting a first, or getting a 2:2 or even a fail. School and college structures sometimes don’t suit people, courses are not always examined in the right way, or even some degrees are not what they’re cracked up to be. You could be good with science but the course you chose just wasn’t what you wanted. Examining intelligence in one medium is not indicative of that intelligence.

(Note: I’m not making excuses for anyone who simply didn’t make the effort.) 

Your first year out of full-time education is going to be difficult. There’s absolutely no denying that. I’m out one full year now so I’ve decided to dispense what I’ve learned in the hope that any new graduates won’t get the surprises that I did.

I’ve made mistakes, I’ve taken risks and I’ve placed bets on things with no idea of how they’d transpire. I’ve felt crap for a bit of it, and felt like I could take on the world.

But the one thing I have realised is that the real world isn’t as scary as you think it is. 

 

#1 You Need To Put Yourself First

Above anything, you and only you come first. Your health, whether it be mental, physical or emotional, all take precedence before anyone else’s. Meaning particularly that if you feel you’re in a situation where these things are being compromised, you need to change your situation. Play the game on your terms and don’t agree on something you’re not happy with – whether it be job based or a relationship.

 

#2 Honour your commitment

In this ‘gig-economy’ world, it’s easy to quit because things get ‘too hard’ or ‘ugh effort’. Short-term jobs are almost the norm now with pop-up concessions, event management and the works.

However, there is a lot to be said for keeping a commitment. Whether it be working towards something or working on a team, honouring a promise to see something through is almost more impressive than the quantity of jobs you have held. Working late, or being the first one in, going that extra mile, creative problem solving and conflict resolution are all examples that you take your work seriously and will earn you that promotion, paid role post internship or stunning reference.

 

#3 You don’t need to do what you want right away

My first job after leaving college was a retail job. Do I see myself in retail in the future? No way but it was a start. Working full time taught me valuable lessons in discipline, inter-personal skills, and teamwork, all that contributed to getting a dream job some nine months later.

Working a job to improve yourself instead of waiting for that dream job to land in your lap is far more important to not only employers but yourself.

 

#4 You’ll get bored

Without a shadow of a doubt, you will get bored at some point. That’s expected. You’re so used to being in college five days a week with study at the weekends that finally having some time off during the autumn and winter months will be unnerving. But don’t let yourself freak out. It’s easy to panic and worry that you should be doing something when in fact, this is your time to figure out your next big step. Take the space to engage in some hobbies you neglected during your final year, or pick up something new.

 

#5 You’ll Miss Learning (yes, even a little bit)

School or university may not have been for you but learning is inherent to human nature. You are constantly learning new things, educating yourself and picking up new skills. It doesn’t stop at college. You might find times where you miss learning a new topic or challenging yourself to different opinions or views to yours. Thankfully, there are places that allow you to expand your horizons whilst staying firmly out of the college realm. Sites like YouTube, Coursera, Khan Academy or Lynda.com all give you the opportunity to keep learning at your own pace. No deadlines, no pressure.

Even Harvard and other Ivy League universities, Google, and The Open University offer courses that you can get a degree in (for a small fee) that looks really good on your CV.

They are the perfect places to fall in love with learning again.

 

#6 You’ll learn the value of patience

It’s easy in college to get things on demand. Constant gratification is everything. Outside of college, things don’t work at such a fast pace. You could be trawling for weeks for a job, days to hear back from an interviewer, saving up for months to go away. The real world works much slower. This is where patience comes in handy. You’ll learn the value of a well crafted email, of taking your time to create the perfect cover letter, of learning to work and negotiate your way efficiently.

 

#7 It’s hard work but not impossible

Working a 9-5, which could go on til 6 or 7pm, working early or late shifts, or simply living on irregular hours is not easy. But with anything, it gets easier. Just like in college, real life is all about routine – or keeping one to the best of your ability. You’re up against a lot of competition, the pond is much bigger than the 20-odd-thousand you encountered in college, you need to value yourself more than you do now, and know your strengths. There’s a lot of ‘survival technique’ involved but no one is out to get you. In fact, most people want you to succeed and will do what they can to help, if you’re willing to let them. Make and foster contacts, be daring, and go above and beyond your role.

 

#8 Take Chances

Apply for that job, go to the interview even if you know you’re not qualified enough, reach out to people you knew long ago. Date that person, if even for a few weeks, save and splurge, book that visa, secure the apartment, take that internship even if it works you hard. These years after college are for you to experience life to the best of your ability, to take chances and bet your arm. You’re young, fresh-out of education, and have the world at your feet. Take the world for all it has. You’re worth it.

 

 

 

Know Your Self Worth

Know Your Self Worth

Knowing your self worth is saying no to something that doesn’t add value to anything, much less yourself

It’s taking a step back to look after yourself when you get a gut-wrenching feeling

It’s holding your tongue when the argument starts, not just for the other person, but for your own peace of mind

It’s not holding onto the pain of being ignored in the group chat because you know it’s not intentional

It’s understanding that your life goes on whether or not you get a text back

It’s drowning out the self loathing when another thing goes wrong

It’s learning to say no when your cup is too full

And also to say no when it’s empty

It’s remembering all the times you felt good about yourself or when you thought ‘you are enough

It’s lipsyncing to Ariana Grande on a walk home on a sunny evening and believing what you’re saying

It’s knowing that you would have been the bigger person if you were in their shoes

It’s remembering that external validation holds no substance over who you think you are as a human being

It’s knowing that only your validation alone counts

It’s walking away from a situation knowing in your heart and soul you did the right thing and did it kindly

It’s realising that no other person can or has the right to control your emotions or thoughts. It’s also knowing when it becomes emotional abuse.

Knowing your self worth is being prepared to walk away from any situation in which you don’t feel comfortable anymore

And knowing when to power through

 

 

 

The Fear

The Fear

I can’t remember the last time I stayed in bed past two but that’s exactly what happened yesterday. The longer I stayed in bed, the more tired I was. I was a livewire by 9pm and couldn’t sleep until past midnight. It was frustrating.

Things just don’t feel okay.

The last time I felt like I had a weight pushing down on my head and shoulders was when I was in college, overwhelmed with stress, and going through days where I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I was isolated, bored, and delicate. It sucked.

And it still does. I don’t know whether the feeling truly goes away or I do things to cover it up until the next time I’m in a slump. All I know is that I sure seem to write about it a lot.

I can really only describe it as The Fear. I overplay things in my head, things I said, things I didn’t say and relive the cringe again and again. I spend nights trying to get to sleep wondering if I said the right thing, did that person think I was ignoring them, did they say that just to brush me off? Overthinking is common: are they being friends with me because they feel they have to? Do people actually like me or have an ulterior motive? Pretty standard for someone with anxiety but I had honestly thought I’d overcome it.

It’s also fear of what is to come. An uncertain job market and financial worry feed into a sense that I am simply not good enough whether that be for a person, a job, or an opportunity.

Like, my self esteem has taken a huge hit.

I’ve been down here before, so I’m not seeking out sympathy. And I’ve been here probably in worse ways, far more unemployable than I am now, but I am still worried, still unsure of my next move, and still totally lost.

Thing is, I don’t have a solution to this. Not yet anyway. I don’t have a quick list of ’15 things to make you feel better’ no matter how hard I rack my brain. Someone suggested to me that it’s a holiday hangover – that I’m on a comedown from all the excitement and running around in London, which is possible but I personally think it’s a burn out from the last few months. Which I know I’ve yapped about before but seems scarily true as of late – take crying in the kitchen yesterday over something very small as a strong red flag.

It’s like being in a car with no seatbelt and it suddenly stopping and as a result, hurtling you through the air until you crash.

All I can do really is slow down and recover. If I’ve learned anything from the last few months, it’s that anything can happen at anytime. And things could be completely different in a week. This settles the fear for a while whilst I work on my sense of self worth.

In short, I’ve decided that this is my time to recharge, to take each day as it comes, to know that in the long run, it doesn’t matter if I oversleep that one day, if I don’t go outside tomorrow, if I don’t contact people. That these blips are just that, blips. Being less hard on yourself will give you a better chance to love yourself *cheesy i no*, and the best opportunity to get better.

I can’t say how things are going to go but I can say from even writing this, that I feel a little more focused. To take this opportunity between jobs to work on myself and tie up loose ends, I mean, that’s a project in itself but one I think I can do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Went to London

Why I Went to London

Note: this is probably not the most curated post I’ve ever written, I’m extremely sleep deprived but I wanted to get it out while it was still fresh in my head.

This day last week was a hard one. Not in terms that something bad had happened but I was struggling to keep myself motivated to do anything. At all. I was bored. My job had finished and everything else was gradually coming to an end or were just simply unsatisfying. So on a whim, I booked a four day trip to London.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a natural response when I want to “get away from things”. It’s just for once in my life, I had the means and the funds to do it. So why the f*** not.

I knew this was something I needed to do. I needed four days to be on my own, no social media, no getting involved in drama or problems, just four days in one of my favourite cities doing what I wanted to do, eat what I wanted to eat, and see what I wanted to see.

It was damn hard though. Finding a hotel room a mere three days before you go away, especially in May, is difficult. Flights going out were affordable, flights coming home were not – everyone wanted to come home on Saturday night, when I had no choice but to.

This was also an experiment for myself, a challenge of sorts. Could I successfully fund my first holiday and still be able to financially sustain myself after. Could I handle being away on my own, with no means of extra cash if something went wrong, or having no one to call if I got into some sort of trouble?  Essentially, could I take all this responsibility into my own hands. I’d flown on my own before, several times, but usually to places where I’d stay with friends, or flown with other people. So this idea of a solo holiday was totally alien to me.

Why London?

I was very fortunate growing up that I travelled as much as I did. My parents adore travelling so from a very young age I was carted around Europe and the U.S. in the back seat of our car. I used to find them boring – why did everyone else go to Portugal and sit on the beach whilst I had to endure the Roman amphitheatres of the south of France? But as I got older, and explored more of the world, I began to appreciate what I’d been given at a young age – a taste for different cultures. I’m lucky to have explored so much of the world at a young age and become engrossed in it. I even took a hand in planning once I hit 15.

So, London was somewhere we’d make annual trips to, so I was familiar enough with it to know what to do or where to go if something went wrong.

What I learned:

I didn’t miss social media as much as I thought I would

I quit Twitter from the Sunday to the following Saturday (yesterday) and hardly thought about it. I did use it once the Manchester Attack story broke, just to keep up with what was happening, but after that, I barely touched it. I used Instagram to keep in touch with my family but that was it. I switched off all notifications for messenger, snapchat, instagram, emails, everything. Left my mac at home, one less thing to haul around.

I’m impatient around public transport

I mean, who isn’t when you’re in a colossal crowd and everything is go, go, go! I also tend to feel a little lost in these situations and panic.

People are nervous

This is a given. There’s a sense of tension and being on high alert no matter where you go. Large crowds are uncomfortable, everyone is keeping an eye on each other. There’s an increase in armed policemen in the main attractions and, naturally, a huge coverage of the Manchester attacks across all major newspapers. Things may not be like this long-term but this was what the impression I got from my few days.

I’m not as self conscious when I’m away

I sweated buckets but didn’t particularly care what I looked like probably because a) I wasn’t going to see anyone I knew b) everyone was sweating buckets c) the city is so big that you are a mere one among millions. No. One. Cares. If. You. Look. Gross.

I, and so many people, deserve much better

The realisation that you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time out for yourself and that you deserve so much better than you allow yourself to have was a big one. I came back feeling a lot less pent up about things, less worrying, not less caring. But knowing that no matter what happened, something better would come was reassuring.

Photos are timeless

Take as many as you can

👋🏻

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Sex and The City 3: Big Floof Adventure

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"What do you want to be when you grow up?" "The owner of this house"

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When ya say you'll go for one and end up scaling the walls of the club at 3am

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I've now realised that I come to London to do a fuck ton of American things

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You can find more on my instagram right here

I’d recommend taking time out for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a different country or even a different city. Even a stay-at-home holiday where you get off social media and dedicate time to yourself could be invaluable to you and your health.

 

PS, I went to the Portobello Street Market yesterday, which was only two streets away from my hotel, and picked up something I’d been eyeing up ever since Will and Kate got engaged. Simply gorgeous.

Not pictured: my fingers because 4 days of the Underground don't make for pretty pictures

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ALSO SPOTTED THIS ABSOLUTE GEM

 

YES, YOU’RE WELCOME.

Why You Should Journal

Why You Should Journal

There’s a joke in my house that I can’t leave the house without acquiring one or two notebooks. And it’s more or less true. I adore them.

I can’t go into TK Maxx anymore without making a beeline for the stationary section and coming out, arms laden with beautiful but inexpensive hardbacked journals of varying degrees of colour. Paperchase is a must-avoid for me when I’m broke – but when has that ever stopped me. Muji. Don’t get me started on Muji.

So judging by my love affair of these things, it’s only natural that I got into bullet journaling.

Continue reading “Why You Should Journal”

Passive

Passive

This hit me about an hour ago.

It’s something we all can relate to and it’s not necessarily a good thing but lately, I’ve found myself acting passive. As in, letting people have their way instead of standing up for myself.

I’m not talking about major decisions or work related stuff – I can hold my ground on that – I’m talking more about how I interact with the world around me.

For example, if someone is walking behind me, even slightly close to me, I’ll jump to the side to let them pass in almost fear. Or if someone doesn’t respond on Facebook, letting that make me feel pointless and annoying and taken for granted.

Continue reading “Passive”

the. rest.

the. rest.

Remember I wrote about not burning out?

Well, guess what happened to me the other day.

It was a mistake on my part. With so many different things going on, I can see now that it was semi-inevitable. And by the time I began to put things into place to prevent it, it was probably a little too late.

Everything was acting up. From different facets of my personal life, my skin, my sleeping pattern, everything I did or didn’t do made me feel as though I was letting everyone down. I had a really bad cold but I couldn’t cancel work. I was vulnerable. Overthinking. Worrying. And unhappy.

To put it into context, I have seventeen unread messages (sorry guys).

Continue reading “the. rest.”