Sunday, 29 January 2017

What If?

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One of the questions I get asked the most by family members, and friends who didn't go to university, is this:

'If you could go back to sixth form and do this all over again, would you?'

I go back and forth on the answer to this question a lot. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said absolutely not. Second year was, to put it bluntly, crap, for so many reasons. I nearly dropped out of university all together, and then where would I have ended up?

If you had asked me an hour ago, when I was having my third breakdown of the week about my dissertation, which refuses to come together, I would have said no. It's not worth it.

But now that the rational side of my brain is back in working order, I can really consider the question. Would I do this all over again? And honestly? I still don't think I would. I don't regret going and I'm glad that I did, but I don't think I could do it all over again. University is hard. Emotionally, it's almost ruined me. It's not that the university I go to is bad - quite the opposite. I love the course and I love the city, but university life is not quite what I thought it was going to be. I don't know what I was expecting really, but I just pictured it differently, I guess. No matter what university you go to, I think everyone will agree that it is not worth the money. I would love to see a breakdown of what exactly our £8500 a year goes on, because I think a lot of people would be surprised.

And I am not the only one who feels this way. I was having a discussion about this very thing with my housemates and friends from other universities, and we all said the same thing: given the chance, we wouldn't go to university again. Isn't that sad?

I don't know... maybe that says more about us than it does about university in general, but I think it's shocking that so many people I know wouldn't choose to do this again.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Women's March 2017 | Gender Equality

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Feminism is a dirty word.

To admit to being a feminist gets you greeted with looks of surprise, despite my being a female.

Nevertheless, I am a feminist. Or an equalist, if that word suits you better.

I am not a man-hater. I believe in the equality of the sexes. And to me, this is uncomplicated. I believe that men and women should be treated equally in all aspects of life. The Women's March that took place all around the world was a massive source of inspiration to me - women and men are coming together in order to make their voices heard. But it's 2017, and the fact that we are still having to do this is unbelievable. It is not too much to ask that everyone is afforded equal rights, all around the world. Many would argue that women in the UK and other first world countries are much further ahead, and therefore have nothing to complain about. This is true in some sense - I am extremely privileged to live in a country where the level of inequality is much lower than in other countries around the world. But this does not mean that our work is done. Just because women in this country are in a better place than most, does not mean that it's 'fine'. Both men AND women suffer the effects of gender inequality.

As a student of English Literature, I've done a lot of studying on feminism. And a similar argument comes up again and again: 'Well, women can vote and they can work, what else do they want?'

What else do we want?

We want gender equality all over the world. To be able to vote and work in some countries does not mean that we have achieved equality. The sheer fact that voting and working is still seen as a privilege, and not a right for women proves that our work is not done.
Abortion is still illegal in many countries. Inequality.
Men are unable to talk about mental health issues without being ridiculed. Inequality.
Girls in African countries are not being given an education. Inequality.

If you still hate the word feminism, fine. If you can't claim to be a feminist for the people in this country, then at least support feminism for the people in other countries, all around the world. This is not a singular issue. This effects everyone. Not just women, but men also. Emma Watson sums it up best in her speech for the UN in 2014: 'How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited, or feel welcome, to participate?'

'Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.'

Feminism = gender equality. Everyone should be able to be exactly who they are, unapologeticlly.

Click here for Emma Watson's UN speech.
Check out my friend's blog post on the same subject!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Word of the Year: Trust

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I've personally never heard of this concept, but apparently it's a thing. Picking a word of the year that reflects what you want to do or achieve.

Based on my new year's resolutions, I've decided that my word of the year is: trust. 

I need to trust myself. I need to trust that I know what's right for me. I'm a self-confessed people-pleaser and always have been, but I need to start relying on myself and trusting myself to make the right decisions for me. This year is going to be a crazy one - I'll be graduating from university and going out into the big wide world. I haven't got a clue what I'm going to end up doing. I know what I WANT to be doing, and I know what OTHER people want me to be doing, but as to what will actually happen, I have absolutely no idea.

At the end of the day, I need to make decisions based on myself, and no one else. I'm the one who has to live with them, and if I end doing something I hate just because someone else told me that I should, then I'll never forgive myself. My dream is to teach. It always has been. It's gonna take me a little bit longer to get there than I thought, but I refuse to give in.

I'm realising that I can't control everything and I should just stop trying.

I'm going with the flow.

I'm trusting myself.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review: 2016

2016 was a really good year for me. And I'm not one to normally say that - I believe in balance and I constantly worry that for every good thing that happens to me, something bad will happen too. True story. I don't understand my brain sometimes. Most of the time, actually. But I digress...

I've done a ton of awesome stuff: zorbing, surfing, the fastest zip wire in the world, got a tattoo, passed my second year and started my final year at university, kept up with yoga and meditation and got my anxiety mostly under control. The difference in myself between this time last year and right now is mad. And I've been to so many incredible places this year!

My resolutions from last year were:
1) Stop biting my nails
A big fat NOPE for this one. I had a breakthrough somewhen in the middle of the year and they actually got quite long, but it lasted for about a week. Back on the list for this year!

2) Change computer/phone wallpaper every month
I actually did this up until about September. Being back at university means the days and weeks just blur together, and I completely lost track of doing it. I'm good with the background I've got at the moment, it's time to move on.

3) Post on Facebook more
Meh. Sort of. I've been sharing things more than actually posting things myself. Although Facebook will feature in my resolutions this year - watch this space! Or scroll down. You know, whatever works.

4) Take more pictures - YESSSS!
Ever since having my gratitude app (which I have a post on!), I've taken at least one picture every single day. Even before having the app I was taking more pictures, so I'm counting this one!

5) Write gratitudes everyday - YESSS!
I kind of covered these last two in my post on The Gift of Gratitudes, but I have written at least one gratitude every single day for this last year. That's one of the things I'm most proud of. What a fantastic year it's been.

I'm so looking forward to what 2017 will bring. I'm ready.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions | 2017

It's that time of the year again! It honestly feels like yesterday that I was typing my resolutions for last year, so I can't quite believe I'm here again - a year older, wiser, and still terrible at keeping up with resolutions. Oops! I like to think about these as goals rather than resolutions.

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21 years and counting. I'm so determined.

2) Keep up the blog
I can't believe I've been writing this thing for a year! I love doing it. I'm challenging myself to post on it once a week, AND I'm putting it on Facebook. It's happening. If I'm taking the time to write this, someone should probably read it.

3) Handwrite a draft of a novel
Yup, I want to write a novel! I've had ideas floating around in my head since I was about 14, and I've tried so many times to sit down and start writing, but the time has never been right. But this year, I'm doing it. And I'm handwriting it. I'm a traditionalist.

4) Keep up yoga/workout 3 times a week
I love yoga, so I'm challenging myself to do it more regularly. I swear by it for helping anxiety, and it helps keep me fit too, so there's really no downside.

What goals do you have for this year? Think big!