5 things I wish I’d known before going into Third Year

With third year coming to an end and my graduation looming I sat and thought about what I wish I’d known before I’d gone into third year. I won’t lie, this has been a tough year not just because the pressure was kicked up a gear at uni, but also because of stuff going on in my personal life. Either way here are 5 things I wish I’d known, that might just help future third years out!

1. You have a LOT of reading to do, get it done.

Trying to read all of my primary weekly texts, the additional theory, 30 secondary sources for dissertation, 15 secondary sources for my special study, and oh yeah MORE secondary sources for the other two modules. There’s a lot of reading to be done this year. Do as much of it in advance as you can and thank yourself later. Also, get used to the library, it’s going to be your second home.

IMG_0883

2. You will want to take naps like you’ve never wanted naps before.

I never used to be able to sleep in the day, at all unless I hadn’t slept at night (ahem, party animals in the flat next door). Now I feel like naps are the only way to keep me awake at night long enough to work on my assignments.

3. You’re allowed to struggle.

I spent most of my third year pretending to myself and my lecturers that uni was a breeze, that I had my shit together and of course I was ok. Fast forward to a month before my dissertation was due, I’m in tears in my supervisor’s office feeling like I couldn’t possibly get a good mark on this bit of work. For some reason I felt like I had to just project this air of confidence this year, maybe it was to make myself feel better? Either way if you’re struggling go and talk to your lecturers. Don’t make my mistake and wait until it all gets too much, it’s a stressful time and lecturers understand that.

4. Sleep is a wonderful thing, and during the final few weeks you will feel like you have never had enough. 

Yes I’m mentioning sleep again. Right now I have no sleep schedule. Some days I’ll be fine to be wide awake bright and early, go to the gym, work on my assignments and eat a healthy amount of food. Other days I’m writing until 2am, wake up a lot in the night or just don’t sleep at all. No matter how much sleep I do or don’t get I’m always exhausted. The brain is doing a lot of hard work right now people!

IMG_5091

5. You’re going to feel confused and excited and sad and have ALL OF THE FEELS, because this is a weird point of your life. 

I didn’t realise how all over the place emotionally I’d feel. On one hand I want to dig my nails in and never let go of uni ever because it’s the one place I’ve been happy to be in education. On the other hand I want to get all of my assignments done and out of the way and never spend another evening writing up references. I find myself getting emotional at the strangest times and other times I just shrug and get on with things. It’s a very weird time but I’m hoping, come July 27th when I officially have a degree it will have all been worth it.

Time to start my Dissertation!

ab0ea12134d1eee17aa65770def8ef7d

The moment has finally arrived, I’m starting my dissertation and like the true geek I am I couldn’t be more excited! A lot of people are interested but confused about why I’m going to look at Sylvia Plath and why I like reading her work so much. Sylvia’s work is not sunshine and flowers, yes it is dark but there is also such a poignant beauty to it.

Now I’m not one of those people who thinks that we should glamourise Sylvia and her struggles with mental health, it’s not something she romanticises. I think it’s one of the reasons that I fell in love with her novel The Bell Jar I could understand how the character of Esther felt, how by extension Sylvia felt (the novel is heavily autobiographical) because it is incredibly honest and truthful. If you didn’t know, unfortunately Sylvia took her life at the age of 30.

sylvia-plath-1

I think there’s just a lot I can relate to in Plath’s writing, like the quote above. There’s a lot of confusion in her work and just trying to work out who you are and how you fit in the world. Which leads me on to what I’m going to be studying (assuming it gets approved). I want to look at female identity in the works of Sylvia Plath, specifically the role of the ‘traditional’ female. I just feel like when I’m reading her work there’s this huge anxiety with who she should be and how she should act as a woman and it’s something I relate to, so that’s what I’m going to write 10,000 words on. Simple, right?

I’m really excited to get started, research and kind of start what might be a career for me, the start of my academic life. Yes, I sound like a total nerd. Of course I am really nervous too, it’s big piece of writing and there’s a lot of independence to get used to but it’s going to be great sharing this journey with you!

Fresher’s week 2015

After last weeks celebrations for birthday week, I am surprised I’m still awake after my second week of activities and shenanigans. This week was Fresher week and although I haven’t been out pounding the dance floor I have been pretty busy and, well, I definitely feel like a first year. I spent my first Freshers week being incredibly awkward and nervous and I spent a lot of time in my room, my second Freshers week I went out with my friends, signed up for societies and partied…for my third, I was actually having to be a responsible person.

I spent Monday in physio and working, Tuesday practicing with the boys and taking the Amp for emergency repair (not an ideal situation), Wednesday working with the newbies and taking them to enrollment, Thursday at Freshers fair and then straight to a show at the Fighting Cocks (quite possibly the best crowd I’ve ever played to, shouting, dancing, clapping and an encore!) and back to the fair again on Friday where we got over 100 sign ups for the Horse Riding Society! Get in!

12006675_10154262296828206_4438927703654326102_o 11057721_10154264553468206_6597061397404268063_n

I’d be lying if I said that everything was completely easy this week. I’ve struggled a lot with both my spine and my anxiety. I’ve got a love hate relationship with Freshers, I love that it’s the beginning of the year and I’m excited to get stuck in, but at the same time I get so anxious with so many people around and everything going on all at once. I’ve met other people like that too, which makes me feel a little better. I’m also freaking out a little out third year, all the work I have to do, the thought of applying for my MA and funding and not knowing what’s going to happen once I graduate. It was also more than a little bittersweet not having Eleanor, Maisha and Alissa around this year to hang out with too.

11986410_10154264637573206_4935909461458763394_n 10679580_10154263450503206_6048844589280864096_o

Overall, it’s been a good week, definitely challenging but I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved. Am I ready to go back? Yes. I can’t wait to get back into lectures and have something to get stuck into again. I know this years going to be a bit hard because of my spine and I’ll have to miss out on some things that I wanted to do, but maybe I’ll get to do something I hadn’t planned on. I have some great things this year, I love my job, I love my friends, my bands FINALLY getting somewhere, I have two lovely little hammies and the best guy around at my side. I think this year’s going to be a pretty good one.

Milestones

I’ve been thinking lately about milestones. I don’t know what it was exactly but I’m guessing it’s a combination of turning 21 (which I don’t understand why it’s a big deal in the UK), seeing more and more of the people I went to school with having children and getting engaged and a lot of my other friends graduating, starting careers and all that jazz. To put it simply milestones freak me out, I’m sure they do for most people. You’re supposed to do this, do that at a certain age, a certain time. For girls there’s a choice between being a mother and being a career woman, because we’re told we can’t have it all.

In some ways I’m lucky, I found the love of my life when I was 13 years old and we live together. Now we’re more than happy together, we’re both doing degrees we love and have careers that we want, but for everyone else it’s not enough. Everyone asks me when we’ll get married, when we’ll have a baby (never if). I just feel a bit stuck and part of that is because I am a woman. Ali NEVER gets asked when he’ll be a father, he’s asked about his job and what he’s going to do for work, it’s all pretty frustrating. I know that I’m an intelligent woman and I have big aspirations, so why do people ask about these ‘traditional’ things.

I’m in no way saying that people my age shouldn’t be married or have children, most of the women in my family had babies by the time they were my age and they’ve all taught me so much. My best friend became a mother at 17 and she’s one of the most awesome ones I know.The thing is my dream right now is walking across that stage to pick up my degree, being able to treat myself with money I’ve earnt and being happy. I will have children, I’d love to be a mum at some point but I wish people would understand there is so much more to me than the fact I can grow a human. I liked this picture below, it definitely made me smile.

0fa7ea56c0067b3e8747a2011f376ee1

This isn’t an anti-children post, which is how some will read it, it’s just a frustration that sometimes I’m judged by these milestones when I have other amazing things going on. I hate that I have to think about body clocks and all that crap when I’m trying to plan things out about where I want to be in my life, because I’ve been bombarded with media listing risks and problems. Like I said why am I even thinking about this as a twenty year old!

I appreciate that this post might not make much sense, I don’t even know if it does to me, but I can’t be the only one who feels like this. Who knows how I’ll feel in a month, a year or ten but I just want it to be on my own terms, not because of supposed milestones and other people’s ideas of what happiness is.

Hello September! Welcome to third year!

I’ve made it! I’m slightly slower than I was last year but I can’t believe that this month I will be starting the third and final year of my undergraduate degree! It’s absolutely crazy that I’m at the last chapter already, people used to tell me it would fly by and I rarely believed them, but I should have. I’m excited and terrified to be getting back to uni at the end of the month, but that’s not the only reason I should be excited that it’s finally September, oh no! This month is going to be incredible and I’m almost climbing the walls that so many positive things are starting this month such as –

  • I’m going to Amsterdam in 5 days! Yes I’m finally getting to do my little bit of travelling with Amy and Dani as my birthday treat to myself. I’m going to be a dork and go to a load of museums and galleries as well as the Anne Frank House, which is what I wanted to visit since I was a little girl!
  • I’m running my own Freshers Fair stall. This year I won’t be aimlessly walking around finding something to sign up to, I’ll be trying to make sure people join the horse riding society! Although I probably won’t be able to ride for the whole of the academic year it’ll be great to help others enjoy the sport.
  • Not as exciting but I’ll get to see a Neurosurgeon this month to have a spine check up and hopefully some good news
  • It’s soon going to be my FAVOURITE season, Autumn, bring on the hats, scarves and Hot Chocolate!
  • I’m playing Freshers! Yes! This week we were asked to play a show at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston during freshers week, hopefully it’ll be super busy and a great night to play!
  • I finally get some kind of routine back! It’s been quite difficult this summer without a routine, so I’m hoping that my mood will go back up again once I’m around people and have a schedule.
  • Oh and just to mention IT’S MY 21ST BIRTHDAY THIS MONTH!!!! I’m so excited to finally be hitting 21 and have some great things planned as well as a night out with some of my best friends 🙂
  • I finally get to go back to uni. After having 6 months off of lectures I am 100% ready to get back to studying, I’ve actually kind of missed it over the summer and I’ll be applying for my masters soon, Eek!
  • It’s the Rugby World Cup ❤

As you can all see September is going to be an absolute blast! I’m so excited that it’s finally here and I’m going to be enjoying every minute of it! I want to take the chance to say thank you to you all for reading alongside my time at uni and assure you that just because I’m in my last year of undergrad does not mean the blog will be finishing!! I have a lot of great ideas ahead!

I survived second year! – 10 best bits

I did it! I’ve reached the end of the second year of my blog and second year of university. As of tomorrow it will be September again and I’ll be heading back to uni at the end of the month to take on my third year!

This year has been pretty special I’ve learnt a lot and changed a lot. I’ve lived with Ali for over a year now, I was finally allowed to join full field English Literature, made more friends than I thought I possibly would, made a good dent in my mental health recovery, been generally happier, played a load of shows with the boys, took up a sport for the first time since I was 9, won a KU Talent Award, got another job that I love, travelled for uni and broken a part of my back. If that isn’t a crazy year I don’t know what is. I’ve absolutely loved second year. I’m not going to say there weren’t point when I really struggled, because I did but the difference is that I had more people to support me through this year than I have in a long time.

I could write so much about every aspect of second year because it’s been one of the greatest, no matter how it ended. I’ve made new friends and stayed in touch with some others and the thought that I’m going into my last year of undergrad is scary! So for you all tonight I’ve put 10 of my best bits of second year and I’ll remember it with warm memories for the rest of my life.

11173397_10153828594858206_6577519276301041296_n

  1. I finally got my two little adorables this year, Noodle and Hamski. Even if they have had to be separated now I’m so in love with both of them ❤

2015-07-12 11.01.07

2. No People Club played a lot this year. We spent a lot of our weekends loading up my little car and driving to shows in London, Kingston, Basingstoke and Portsmouth. I’m gutted we had to take a break while my spine healed but we’ve got more stuff planned for the next year and it’s going to be awesome. We also have our awesome fan and sticker guy, one of my best friends Joe, who’s stuck around too.

 IMG_3640

3. My second tattoo finally happened! When I found out I wouldn’t be going to Foo Fighters because they’d sold out of disabled tickets I was heartbroken so I got this tattoo instead. I’ve been very up and down this year and not as stable as I’d like but I’m assured that most people would have lows after a big break and spinal brace let alone someone with depression.

11350649_10153953766313206_7222295612951813287_n

4. I got to go to Athens. I was so, so thankful to be given the opportunity to go to Athens and not have to pay the Creative Writing course fee. Although I was supposed to be going on my own initially, Ali got to come with me because I was still using my wheelchair and not able to move as much. A fab first holiday and it got my creative brain going!

 11050314_10153704024088206_4197782836317781087_n

5. I got my KU Talent award for Overcoming Adversity to Achieve, awarded to be by Sir Trevor McDonald who I actually had a great conversation with while we were sitting at the same table. I’m still gobsmacked I won as there were so many amazing people. I’m so proud that I now work for KU Talent and will get to attend this years awards too!

IMG_1645

6. I started Horse Riding! In October I had my first ride and I was hooked. I had a great 6 months before my fall, including meeting this cutie who really stole my heart. Even though I still have a long way to go in terms of recovery and I don’t know if I’ll go back to riding, but I’ve been voted to run the society this year so I’ll be around the horses anyway. I also made an amazing friend in Laura, who’s been with me every step of the way.

IMG_0894

7. I gave a speech about living with mental health for the university’s diversity conference. It was a great way to connect with people and share my experience and if you want to watch you can click here to watch.

IMG_0478

8. I finished second year with a 66% average, a 2:1. I’m slightly bummed out that I dropped a few percent from last year but I surprised myself with some assignments. It’s made me even more determined to get what I need to get a first this year.

girls!

9. I had some absolutely amazing friends by my side through everything. Here’s a picture of me and the girls as Alissa’s birthday meal, my first outing in my wheelchair which they managed to make fun!

11741189_10153406101991963_286158971070072252_o

10. I got to live with a boy, and I still kind of like him.

Oh and a sneaky 11, I’m still working and awesome job and I’ve got another one, always fun!

Education is a gift like no other

d7f3a9f3379c7d604db05a836ffdd4aa

I don’t always know what to write about. This evening was like that, a blank screen in front of me and searching for some kind of inspiration. People have asked me today how I can blog every day, how I stay motivated. I don’t really know, I suppose it’s just something I’m really proud of and it’s fun for me. I’d love to make a career out of this, but it’s not the sole reason I write it.

I spent today at work with a bunch of great students. They’re only two to three years younger than me but we’re kind of mentoring them as they apply for university and help answer any of their questions. I sat in on two taster sessions today, one for Media and another for Criminology, two subjects I’d never encountered before. I watched the lecturers and heard their passion for the subject and it inspired me. I’ve been getting more and more passionate about becoming a lecturer lately. People give me a list of reason not to do it; it’s too expensive, you haven’t lived yet, can you earn enough from it, what do you have to teach. There’s this fierce passion in me and from simply watching the impact the lecturers had on young people it reminded me why I want to study until I’m 25.

There is nothing in my decision about being scared about going into the ‘real world’. I want the challenge, the stimulation, the creativity that being an academic in Literature brings. I can still do other things, I can write books, still do social media. It’s not something I see as preventing me from doing anything, instead I see it as opening more doors than ever. It’s true what they say, education is the best gift of all, no one can take it away from you.

I wanted to write this to remind myself when I’m having a tough time with my dissertation this year or when I feel like giving up later on. I want to remember this excitement and happiness at the thought of studying and exploring literature. I’m a geek and I’m proud.

Image from http://www.girlsgonesporty.com/articles/fitness/using-we-heart-it-to-maximize-fitness-inspiration/