Running my First Ride

Today I finally ran my first ride as President of the Horse Riding Society. I’ll be honest I’ve been dreading this day, I’ve really struggled with the idea of running the society since my accident. I just kept thinking, how was I going to enjoy something that I couldn’t do any more? Was I going to feel as down as I did at Fresher’s Fayre? I’ve been stressed, upset and just not feeling ok about it all. So I decided that I’d have one attempt at running the society, if I hated it then I’d consider resigning.

I was pleasantly surprised, the riders all enjoyed themselves and it actually felt good to be around the horses again. I got to see Jemima, the horse I learnt on and Dublin the last horse I rode on. Laura told me that it was worth seeing people enjoy their rides and it is, it also helped to talk to the riders and staff. I’ve felt a little like I’m stupid or something because I get so down but they all completely understood. Jules, the lady who works there was really kind to me, she said if I wanted to go back when I was fully healed and that I could go back then to take my time, that it’s a huge thing to happen not to mention to impact on my body.
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Me last year during my first ride

I’m definitely going to stay as President, it also helps that I have my amazing dream team with me, the three of us got through the session with success and I finally feel hopeful about this part of my life again, after all who doesn’t love cuddling up to some lovely horses…especially when they cuddle back 🙂

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!

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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.

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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.

Did I look that young? I must really be a third year

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On the left is a picture of me just before I started my first year, my hair was short and I was both excited and terrified. On the right is a picture I took this morning while I was waiting to collect first years to take to enrolment, I’ll admit my hair has a little more frizz now than that carefully straightened bob from first year rather than being thrown up in a bun in the morning. Now, from the minute I got on the bus this morning I’ve been able to spot Freshers, is it because I feel crazy old? No it’s more because I remember being them.

I see them all wondering around trying not to look lost, carrying pieces of crumpled paper with their timetables on and being very well dressed. I think we all started like that, nervous, excited and a little confused at times but I couldn’t help thinking did I look that young when I started? Looking back at some pictures and reminiscing I know that I did and it still feels strange knowing that now I’m in my final year of my undergraduate degree, that I’ll graduate next year *gulp*.

I think the main difference is that I’m not that girl that burst into tears at least 3 times in the first week because she was so overwhelmed. I read the first year of blogs I wrote as a student and as well as being pleased my writing has improved, I don’t regret the struggles I had. I mean, yes I kind of wish I could go back and tell her to take a deep breath because she’s going to love it and this time it really will be the best time, but who wouldn’t? It’s no secret that I don’t want to leave, I want to make a life for myself in academics if I can’t go touring the world in one way or another.

So maybe I’m classed as old to the newbies but you know what I’ve been having the best time of my life and if anyone is reading this and they’ve just started university then hold on, you’re in for a fantastic ride.

Why having an alcohol-free freshers week is absolutely fine.

It’s that time of year again, 18 year olds (and older) have got their grades and are heading to university. While some of us chose to move away from home, others might be sticking around but commuting. Freshers week has a reputation as an absolutely crazy 7 day party where everyone spends the majority of the time drunk. But what if you don’t drink?

Whenever I meet new students I’m always answering questions by nervous people who either don’t drink or don’t like clubbing. It’s true most university events are surrounded by alcohol, club nights or pub crawls but believe it or not it’s still possible to have a great time without drinking. If you’ve been following my blog since I started you’ll know that I hardly drank at all in my first year and went out to a club a grand total of two times, I did drink I’d usually end up wasted at pre drinks because I was so anxious about going out and I’d panic drink until I couldn’t go. In my second year I started going out with friends at least once a month because I had people I finally felt comfortable enough around and got the party bug. Fast forward to this year and I can’t go clubbing even if I wanted to because of my spine and if I want to drink I can’t take any pain medication for two days, which would you decide?
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After my Freshers Ball, sober but smiling. 

People choose not to drink for a load of reasons medical, religious, or simply not wanting to. I remember being a fresher and feeling so nervous and like I had to drink if I went anywhere. I was so desperate to make friends and not be alone but I really do regret it. When I’m anxious or depressed, alcohol is not my friend, on more than one occasion I’ve gone out drinking when feeling like that and ended up crying when I got home, because I wasn’t feeling well and plus, alcohol is a depressant. Now I’m happier and have better mental health I can usually gage if I should have a drink or not.

What about you guys though? I’m going to give you some clichè advice, just be yourself. Starting uni is a whole new chapter in your life and for me it was a chance to start over and be who I wanted, it took a little longer but I’m pretty happy with who I carved out here. You’re a great person and I’ll bet you anything there is someone close to you feeling just as nervous and isn’t keen on getting wasted. If you’re in a new place with completely new people you have a right to not want to get hammered and a lot of people understand. There are people who like that kind of thing but if you’re not one of them it looks incredibly daunting.

If you’re not drinking there are so many benefits no hangover in the morning, you have more money, more time to go and do cool things (like exploring your new place!) and work out what you want. There’s also no problem with wanting to go out and try it too, that’s what uni is all about!

I completely understand how daunting starting uni is and sometimes I still feel overwhelmed…and I’m a third year! If anyone wants any tips, tricks or just a chat feel free to comment, email or tweet me!

Have a great Freshers week folks!

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!

Sleep and the young Fresher (nature special)

In the wilderness that is university, throughout the day young freshers sleep. At night we see them come alive in a variety of ways socialising, becoming aware of their surroundings and of course the famous mating call (often associated with the alcoholic beverage of their choice. Ok so you know I’m not any kind of a nature specialist here I’m simply commenting on student life, however it has come to my attention that the majority of students just don’t seem to sleep. I think I’m a rarity,there is nothing I love more than my food and my bed (while also being lucky enough to stay a size 8 mwhaha!!)  while everyone else is just going crazy! I have to admit though now freshers is over people are generally starting to calm down a bit, there are still flat parties but it’s relaxed a little bit. As for my nights out? I’m still waiting for a mad night out, if I’m honest though I want to get to know where I am before hand although Wednesday nights seem to be a good night to go out so maybe I’ll try that next week! 

As I said I’m a bit of a rarity but despite this I haven’t been sleeping. It’s hard to get used to a new place as well as listening to the other crazy freshers outside my window all hours of the night. The solution I thought? Go stay at Ali’s and get some sleep after all Kingston Hill seems to be calmer. So after trying and failing with even more buses (damn I hate the buses!) Ali’s friends are pretty chilled out and we all decided to give the pub a miss and instead just sit and talk, the rest of Kingston Hill didn’t seem to get the message. I’m starting to get the feeling that even though I don’t go to them flat parties follow me, I never sleep!  I asked Ali about the amount of noise (honestly it was like trying to sleep in a bar!) and he said he didn’t get it, it was never that bad. Eventually I managed to crash out then woke up about 6 hours later to get the bus, this was strike one. Despite the early start I woke up with a smile and headed off to wait for my new laptop and printer to arrive. When it did the guy pretty much made me trash my neatly and thoroughly organised desk and room which sent me into a whole different wave of panic. I had a new laptop though, I can’t complain about that although my idea for a quick shower and 1 hour nap went out the window, I surely wouldn’t be THAT tired right? Wrong. After almost 2 weeks of interrupted sleep the tiredness reared its ugly head. The problem is when I’m tired I easily slip into a low (as I had the night before), to cut a long story short I doubted myself all afternoon and ended up in tears (which my lecturer is now aware of, nice one Chloe, nice one) at the end of one lecture. The thing is getting used to all this on a few hours sleep is enough to make anyone’s brain hurt let alone someone like me who has a brain running at 100mph at all times. 

I lost all faith in myself today so I have decided that sleep is so important that I don’t care what people think of me. I need to stay healthy so I’m going to go out occasionally but make sure I get a good nights sleep most nights. I need to make sure that I’m okay because otherwise I wont get my degree and that’s what I’m here to do. I want to use this blog also to thank my lovely new friends as well as some old ones. I’ve been having a really tough time time this week and I’ve found freshers hard and a few people have really made all the difference. So I’m using this to say thank you and that I’m okay, well I will be in time. As a lovely man said to me today ‘take every day at a time’. 

10 Ways to Survive Freshers Week!

1. Say Hi to all your flatmates! 

This really is a must, you’re going to live with these people all year, like it or lump it. I was lucky and got really nice flat mates (even a nice girl on my course!), if you guys arn’t  that alike remember they on’t have to be your best friends you just have to get on.

2. Go to your induction lectures 

I had 3 9am starts down on my timetable which I was DREADING but after attending one the rest of my 9am lectures were cancelled. Also they give you good tips in these as well as important info, we even got our first task in one lecture. On top of that you get to meet your course mates and lecturers, in a way these are even more important than your flat mates these people will see you for 3 years (first impressions count). 

3. Cry when you need it 

So you’re in a new town/city, a new room and you’ve just spent £9000 on fees I think your entitled to a good cry. Almost everyone I have spoken to has had a break down at one point or another, so don’t bottle it up! I always found that after I made my self go and do something so that I wasn’t wallowing.

4. Phone or Go Home when YOU need it 

So if you’re like me you will more than likely get quite homesick, here’s a secret, you’re allowed to phone home! After talking to other people I know that most of us are phoning home most days (every day in my case) and a few people have had to go home for varied reasons. It’s not the best idea to go back every weekend if you can help it because you do need to make friends but I know a few people at my uni who have done freshers and gone home for the weekend. It’s all up to you and how you feel. 

5. Don’t buy everything on the booklist, ask what you NEED. 

Ask any second or third year they will say the same thing only buy the CORE textbooks. I study English and we read a new book a week for one module (as you can guess that is impossible to budget for) but we get the resources online to read which is helpful. Even our lecturers have said that you don’t need to buy absolutely everything, talk to people about what you really need.

6. Don’t feel pressured into going out every night 

I went out drinking twice in freshers week and that was definitely enough. There is a big pressure to go out and be wild every night, coming from some of my friends who did it, it’s boring. The problem with freshers is that absolutely everyone thinks they need to be out every night meaning the clubs and bars are rammed. If, like me, you are not that into the club scene then just do something else until it calms down. go to a few flat parties for an hour or two and show your face then go do something else you don’t need to be wasted to be a good fresher! 

7. Learn who you are

This kind of ties in with what I said above, learn who you are and what you want to do. If you don’t want to do something then say no! It’s all up to you now, try and be comfortable in your own skin (I know how hard this can be trust me).

8. Get to know where you live! 

Take the wrong bus, walk the wrong way all these little mishaps allow you to get to know where you live and where things are! 

9.Don’t spend your Student Loan in the first week

I thought it was obvious but apparently not. I know people who went full out shopping the day the loan came in…let’s see how tasty those shoes are at Christmas…

10. Enjoy yourself! 

It’s stressful and new and scary but once that bit calms down have fun learning about yourself 🙂