10 things I’ve realised since graduating

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On July 21st 2016 I graduated. I have an Upper Second Class degree in English Literature from Kingston University. It feels like so long ago that I put on that cap and gown, shook someone’s hand and became a graduate after 3 years of hard work. Then that was that it was done and I was launched into the ‘real world’. So, here I am a year later and reflecting on what it’s been like to be a graduate. It’s been a very weird year and after uni a pretty big come down I think. I’ve written about post uni depression but I’ve also had some great times. So, here’s 10 things I’ve realised in the past year.

It’s ok if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Everyone seems like they’ve got it together with Master’s degrees or travelling or jobs in the city. I had a job but still felt like I was drowning. I had no idea what I was doing. This wasn’t an essay I could logically put together and get a first on, this was real life. One year later and I’m only just working out what I really want to do because I’ve had experience! Just try things out, don’t feel like you need to know everything as soon as you have that bit of paper.

Most people don’t care what grade you got.

I was embarrassed, that’s right embarrassed when I told people I got a 2:1. I’d always slip in I was only 3% off of a First Class because I’m a perfectionist. Admitting I got a 2:1 meant I wasn’t perfect. The thing is, I’ve never been asked what grade I got, not once. The fact I got a degree was enough for all of my jobs. Some will want specific grades, but from most of my friends, they haven’t been asked either!

£2.50 double vodkas were a blessing.

I wasn’t a big drinker at uni, I didn’t go out all the time. That said, when I go out now I hate paying normal prices for drinks, almost £5 for a double vodka? Blergh.

Sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last forever.

I’m a firm believer that some people are meant to be in your life and leave. I had some friends in uni and we had great times before we drifted apart or the friendship broke down. I’m forever grateful for the memories though.

Life is going to change.

People move, get jobs, some get married, others will have children soon. Life is changing and going so fast and sometimes it is a little overwhelming and that’s ok. Take a moment and just appreciate the small things.

Sometimes you’re going to wonder if it was all worth it.

Getting a job, or a job that you’re passionate about after graduating is hard. It’s taken me a whole year to work out what I enjoy in a working environment. There’ll be late nights and possibly some jobs you don’t enjoy where you think, should I have just gone out to work? My hardest part was when I saw people buying their first homes after working since 16 and I know I’m nowhere near a deposit.

The only person judging you is yourself.

I got so worried about how other people would judge the degree I did, my grades, the fact Ali and I lived with the family. Really, the only person judging you is you. People know that taking your first steps is hard! Don’t beat yourself up!

It’s ok to ask for help.

I didn’t want to ask for help and there were times when I needed to. When I just felt nervous or worried or wanted reassurance.

You still have so much time!

You know when you’re young you have this plan? I want to be married by this time, kids by that time etc, etc. Let it go. You have so much time to do what you want to do. Take a breath and do what feels right for you!

Taking time for yourself is important.

It’s natural to want to do your best in a job, to want to see old friends, make new ones. That said, taking a bit of time for yourself is really important, I’ve talked about my top tips for self-care before, you’ll feel much better.

It’s ok to miss uni!

It was, for most of us, full of great times! Of course you’re going to miss it! That said, there are still good times to come.

Make time to see your uni friends.

My friend Joe and I try to see each other once a month, because he’s still one of my best friends!

Everyone’s Grad journey is different

It doesn’t matter if you go stright into work or travel or study! Everyone is different and so are their lives! There’s no ‘right way’ to be a graduate! Don’t feel pressured to do certain things.

It was the best time of your life…so far!

I had some times where I worried if this was it? Was I ever going to feel the way I did at uni? I had some low periods, BUT I realised that uni was only the beginning of my independence. There is so much more in life I have to look forward to and now I’m happier I’m looking forward to every exciting thing that’s going to happen!

You did something pretty amazing.

You got a degree, that’s awesome. Go you!

 

What did you learn after graduating? Let me know in the comments below!

Taking chances and making calls

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As many of you know, back in April I lost my job which sucked and majorly damaged my confidence. BUT! I managed to find myself some temp work between jobs, where I gained some of my confidence back. As my three-month contract was in its final month I really upped my permanent job search.

I was put through for a job by a recruitment agency at a top PR firm. I went to the interview and thought it went well, I genuinely thought I would get a second interview. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. I’d applied for job after job all through websites, which meant recruitment agencies. Something just wasn’t working. I wasn’t getting jobs and I knew I wanted to work in an agency.

After that rejection, I decided to do something. I looked up agencies local to me and wrote them all down. I went through websites, made a short list and called to ask if there were any jobs available on my lunch break. I called a company called HCT Creative and was told there a be a position, send my CV within the hour. Later that evening I had a chat, the next day I had an interview and was offered the job after 2 hours of chatting with the two directors.

The thing is, we were never told that was an option at uni, it wasn’t encouraged. We were to apply for grad schemes, to go through assessment centres, to use our networking. I know that for a lot of companies you can’t just call up and see if there are jobs, but what if I hadn’t done that? I’m a week in and I can see so much opportunity that I haven’t had before with genuinely nice people.

I’m so excited about my new job, I get up every day and look forward to it. I can’t wait to get more stuck in, to learn and grow because I really think I can. All of that was just by taking a chance.

Sunday Seven: My Favourite Disney/ Pixar Movies

I spent the majority of my childhood watching Disney films. I can still remember the exact covers of the VHS tapes as I rewound them and watched again and again. It’s something that hasn’t changed as I’ve grown up, I’ve fallen in love with some of the newest films too. There are SO many that I love, choosing just 7 was so hard but these are films that I ever watched constantly as a child or that I’ve found as an adult and LOVED.

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Zootopia

Let’s start with the newest of the bunch. I was well into trying to adult when this film came out and I fell in LOVE with it. I loved Judy and Nick, the way that it actually represents bigger issues in the world. Judy is definitely in my to-cosplay list too!

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Tangled 

The music, the kick ass princess, the animals. What is not to LOVE about Tangled? I thought it was absolutely incredible and she’s one of my favourite Disney Princesses of all time just because she’s not a made and ready princess she has to learn.

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Peter Pan 

You can fly, you can fly, you can flyyyyyyy! I loved this movie so, so much. Once it was announced our school play was Peter Pan I was on it. I did manage to bag the part of Wendy and it was amazing. I knew all of the songs, loved the story as well as Tinkerbell being her sassy self.

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The Little Mermaid 

So my nickname growing up was The Little Mermaid. I loved this film and just sang part of your world constantly, even now I’ll have a sing song to myself. Ariel was just such a cool princess she kicked ass, had a cool voice and I think she was the start of my love for red hair too. I also loved the second movie, and the third. Just anything mermaid related was fine with me.

 

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The Jungle Book

Between the ages of 6 months and 2 and a half I had to watch this of 101 Dalmations every night. Every single damn night so I’d eat my dinner. My poor Mum and Grandparents know them both word for word. But didn’t we all love Baloo? Wasn’t he just the best?!

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101 Dalmatians 

As I said above. That and I love dogs, I have to stop for every dog I see and I definitely think that was the start of it. They’re just all so adorable and I’m totally in love with the new Cath Kidston Disney range too.

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Toy Story 2 

Ok, ok hold fire I know that this is a sequel but hear me out. I went to see this in the cinema just before my 5th birthday and I thought Jessie was amazing. I loved her, she was fun and while I’d already loved Toy Story the second one made me so happy to have a real COWGIRL. I had the outfit for my fifth birthday…

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What are your favourite Disney movies? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Relaxation, Sunshine and Cocktails – Welcome to Majorca

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On Saturday I got back from a wonderful week long stay in Alcudia, Majorca. Ali and I booked this about a year ago and seeing as we hadn’t had a holiday since 2015 (!!), so it was well deserved and well needed. We booked our holiday through TUI (Thomson) to fly from London to Palma, staying at the Platja D’Or hotel in Alcudia.

Now, this might not be your typical hotel for a twenty-something couple, as it was generally an older crowd (by about 25 years) BUT it’s exactly the kind of holiday we wanted, a chilled out all inclusive with a nice pool and a beach. We could see the beach from our room, being hotel guests meant we had a cut through to the beach itsself. We were also able to eat 3 top class meals a day, although I have to admit my favourite part was the desert, come to mama. Each night it was something different and you could watch as the chefs cooked your food, or you could simply pick something up from the buffet.

The hotel itself was pretty far out. We could walk for about 30 minutes before we were in the main area for hotels and shops a 15-minute bus ride to old Alcudia and 1 hour away from Palma. In that respect, it wasn’t the easiest place to explore if you didn’t want to have to travel, but it is wonderful for some peace and quiet.

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We did do a little bit of exploring on our travels to the main cities near us. First off was Old Alcudia (on the left). This was really strange because there are houses, shops and restaurants in the middle of Arabic ruins which you can simply walk on and look for miles out at the beautiful scenery. Around the back of these, there were also  Roman ruins, although we couldn’t go through at that time. It was incredible to walk through and just see these huge walls that protected the city and to stand at the top was magnificent.

Later in the week we also took a trip into Palma, the main city. We were able to have a guided tour of the Cathedral before having free time to explore. Ali and I decided to hit up the Hard Rock Cafe and tick another location off of our list. It was exactly the right mix of beauty and culture in the Cathedral (definitely worth a visit) and fun for us in Hard Rock. That said, it was so hot the day we went if you decide to go then make sure you take a LOT of water with you, I suffered from quite a headache after!

The other days were mainly spent with Ali and I visiting the beach or the pool and just spending time together before he has an incredibly busy summer. All in all, it was the relaxing break that I needed before starting my new job (more on that later!). Where are you all off to this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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Sunday Seven: Tips for Flying Alone!

Last week I took my first flight alone from Palma, Majorca to London Gatwick. I had an amazing holiday (although more on that tomorrow) but on the last day I had a knot in my stomach for the afternoon. I’ve never had to fly on my own and although I’ve flow so, so many times the thought of going it alone was really nerve wracking. That said, once I’d done it I really enjoyed it and feel like I’ve opened so many more doors for myself. So, what are my tips for flying alone?

Make sure you are at the airport nice and early 

There’s nothing that stresses you out more than being late, you may be waiting around but at least you’ll be relaxed and ready to fly.

Tell family or friends important details 

Let people know what’s going on, especially when you’re travelling alone. That way other people know that you’re safe too.

If you need any assistance, book it in advance 

I’ve needed assistance in the past and it’s always fine if you book in advance. When you’re at the airport it can take longer or you might not be able to get it at the last minute.

Have a good playlist 

I don’t like landing and take off when I have to listen to the engines, this time I plugged in my headphones and had pumping music and it was awesome! Totally difference experience, make sure you’re on Airplane mode though!

Take something to do on the flight 

A book, a notebook, tablet something to keep you entertained because everyone knows that plane journeys can be so boring.

Make this your time, away from distractions 

The great thing is that there’s no internet (well not on any flight I’ve ever been on), you can take some time for yourself to just think or sleep, sleeps good.

Enjoy the views! 

I flew at 2 in the morning, seeing all the lights of the towns and cities we flew over was beautiful.

 

What are your tips for flying alone? Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Friday: Summer Reading List

It’s been a few year since I embarked on my own summer of Feminist books. That said, I wanted to share with you some great reads for the summer if you want to get started or just find some new reads.

 

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If you haven’t started reading Holly Bourne’s incredible Spinster Club trilogy this is where to start. Novels about friendship, love and feminism, there’s nothing better! Review here.

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Personally, I see this as a classic for modern feminists. Caitlin is funny, loud but gives a great view on feminism today. This was what I started with and I read it within 24 hours. Caitlin also has a range of other books about feminism too so you’re sure to find something you like. Review here.

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Have you ever felt pressured by magazines or the media? What about the whole ‘beach body’ thing? Then you’ve found the book for you. A fresh look at women, the media and how we react to it. Review here.

 

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You might have already read Laura’s first book Everday Sexism, this is her second and my favourite so far. There’s more intelligent thought and there’s also dancing vaginas, you’re welcome. Read my review here.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

The Truth About Being in a Long Term Relationship

A lot of people in my life ask me about my relationship. Ali and I have been together for almost 9 years. We met at school and have been together since the ages of 13 and 14. This isn’t common and I only know one or two other couples who are in a long-term relationship in their early twenties.  There is this fascination whenever new people find out about us and there are a LOT of questions, so I thought why not make a blog post about them.

Do you ever feel like your missing out? 

No, not really. I’m in a relationship where we can do what we want to do. There’s no asking permission or anything like that. I’ll check we haven’t planned anything before finalising plans with friends, out of politeness. I can do what I like and so can he so I don’t feel like I miss anything.

Is it easier now you’ve met someone? 

I don’t have the same stresses in terms of relationships that my friends have, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without struggles. We’ve been together 9 years so of course, we have disagreements and arguments. I wouldn’t say it’s easier, it takes patience, time and love!

What’s the best part of being with someone for that long? 

We got to grow together. We’ve literally seen each other through our awkward teenage years, through becoming who we are at university. We’ve seen some of the worst parts and some of the best. That’s really special because I’ve seen him become the man he is today and I love it.

Do you have to compromise? 

Of course, we’re two individuals with different opinions.

Dude, why aren’t you married yet?

Do you know how EXPENSIVE it is to get married?! It’s something we’d like to do some day but right now we’re pretty chill living together.

Do you feel like you’re just part of a couple? 

People often think of us as ‘Chloe & Ali’ but I still feel like an individual. I know what I like, he knows what he likes. We have similar friends but different careers, different thoughts and opinions. I think that’s really important in a healthy relationship.

What advice do you have? 

Other people’s opinions can be the worst thing for a relationship. There’s no set way to have a relationship, no strict timeline. As long as there is trust, friendship and respect then you do you!