having a 5 year ‘plan’… ish

2020, career, goals, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

With the amount of goals, organisation and planning posts I’ve written on this little blog, I think it’s relatively clear that I’m one of these ‘productivity’ types (even if being organised is actually procrastinating being productive). One of my goals for 2019 was to start a five year plan and get some notes on paper on what I want to achieve over the next 5 years. As I moved into my new bullet journal this New Year, I’ve started my ‘new’ 5 year plan starting in 2020 and ending in 2024 (where I’ll turn ~28~ and that is scarily close to 30).

But calling it a 5 year ‘plan’ feels a little bit more formal than my plan really is – it’s a double page spread in my bullet journal (though it might actually make more sense to make it digitally if you do everything else online!) with a grid split into five columns and three rows for the five years of the plan and three categories I plan my life in.

So I thought today I’d write about how I make my 5 year plan, what I’m learning in my second year of having a 5 year plan and where I think I’ll learn more in the future.

I started by making a grid in my bullet journal – as I said, 5 years across the top and three categories down the side. Three seems to be my magic number and having three categories works for my New Years Goals and I thought it would be useful to have those three categories match up, so mine are Professional, Personal and Home.

They’re pretty self-explanatory – in ‘Professional’ I put my career goals, at this point I am having somewhat of a career crisis and I have no idea what I want to do so this section is a bit quiet at the moment. But as I do more research into what I actually want to do and actually develop a career I can make more solid career goals but this section is probably the simplest.

The next section is ‘Personal’ – this is where I will detail my travel plans, any ‘life’ stuff like when I want to shave my head again etc. I’m still kind of figuring out what I want to put in this category but it’s for things that aren’t career stuff, kind of hobby related, travel goals and stuff.

And then the last category is ‘Home’ – this is where I put my plans for my life with my boyfriend essentially. Where we’ll live, what we’re saving for (house deposit etc), when we’ll get a pet, maybe a wedding or a baby? It’s another one of those that’ll get more specific when I have more of an idea about what my career will look like over the next few years but the baseline and the ideas for what I want to achieve is already set!

And that’s my 5 year plan! It feels like I haven’t described enough but actually, all it takes to make a ‘5 year plan’ (or ideas, which is how I prefer to think about it) is to write down 5 years and write down what you’d like to achieve in that time.

Now going into my second year looking at my 5 year plan, I can see what was a ridiculous idea and what is actually more achievable. I’ve learnt that setting ‘blind goals’ (such as “I want to have made this career progression” when I’m not actually sure what career I want right now) is not going to help anything and filling up space for the sake of it might make it look like I have my life together but it’s just unachievable words. This year, having an emptier plan is something I’m finding reassuring rather than intimidating – it’s a prospect of endless possibilities and not a terrifying emptiness (well, most of the time anyway).

As I continue to fill in my 5 year plan this year and start again in next year’s bullet journal and so on, I can only see that I’ll get better at goal setting and making them S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, or something like that). It’ll be less ‘get married’ and ‘try for a baby’ and more ‘pay X amount of the mortgage’ and maybe ‘Child A starts school’ – the next 5 years are going to be some of the biggest of my life and that is exciting.

But even talking about 5 year plans sounds daunting – the thought of knowing exactly what I want from the next stage of my life is a lot! But seeing the scope of what I could achieve is really motivating and helps me focus on the steps I need to achieve to be able to get there. 

If you’re wanting to take yearly goals to another level and get some longer term ideas down on paper but don’t know where to start, just start by writing down the years. It’s a lot less daunting than you think when it actually comes to it! Hope that helps.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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2020 Goals + January Goals

2020, career, goals, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

really want to start this post with a joke about ‘I’ve not written a post since last decade’ because really I’m the closet King of Dad Jokes but instead I thought I’d just tell you about it. I think that might be worse.

Either way! If you’re a close followed of this blog, you’ll know that I love goal setting, organisation and planning. If you’re new, hello! Join the party – I love goal setting, organisation and planning. To the extent that I lull myself into this false sense of security thinking I’m getting stuff done but I’m actually just writing lots of to do lists and not doing very much.

This is something I actually got better at in 2019 – I really reevaluated how I was productive with my time and I’m still figuring out what works best for me. This time last year I thought I was embarking on this amazing freelance digital media career (which fell through pretty much immediately) and now I’m working towards a masters degree, I have my own place with my boyfriend, I had a job and now I’m looking for a new one, I’m spinning a lot of plates and somehow they’re just about not falling.

Having looked back on my 2019 goals (I was going to write a blog post but I think personal reflection was more appropriate), I’m actually really excited about my 2020 Goals because I was inspired by videos by Doctor Mike and Hannah Witton to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals that are actually going to be relevant to me over the whole year.

So let’s try and keep this succinct – please do let me know your thoughts on goal setting! Do you like setting goals as they become relevant? Are you a fan of New Years, Fresh Starts? Do you make SMART goals or more ‘bucket list’ style goals? I’d love to hear all about it.

My goals are split into two different types – I have three categories (Professional, Personal and Home) each with three goals as well as 9 stand-alone ‘bucket list’ style goals. Here goes!

Professional:

  • Finish my Masters in Digital Media Production at Oxford Brookes University
  • Start my career – have a full time job by the end of October
  • Learn website design

I don’t think there’ll be any barriers stopping me from finishing my masters (and the end of 2019 really gave it a good shot!) but this first semester has been a massive learning curve and I want to really make the most of my time in Oxford so next semester is going to be a bit more level headed.

Finishing what will be my third degree (BA Hons Multimedia Journalism, PG Cert Professional Development Planning and MSc Digital Media Production, thank you) should lead to being able to get a job and starting my career journey! I’m a bit nervous about this one, because this is what I anticipated when I graduated from my undergrad and I’m still struggling with incredibly low self-esteem about my worth in the workplace, but by the end of October I want to be working full time, even if it’s not in the industry I want to stay in forever yet.

And I want to learn website design! 2020 is my fifth year of blogging and I still don’t know anything about code, hosting or designing a pretty blog and that’s a skill I think will really benefit me. So if you know of any good courses or online tutorials please do let me know!

Personal:

  • Work on making a savings plan for my personal bank account when I’m in a position to afford to save
  • Develop my knowledge of film photography
  • Learn more about vegetarian cooking and aim to eat veggie 3 nights a week

I made some amazing progress with saving in 2019 and I was so, so proud of myself but moving, starting a masters and a personal crisis of sorts led to me using most of those savings just to pay bills so once I’ve figured out my financial situation, I want to get back on the savings wagon because it’s so satisfying.

Film photography is something that’s intrigued me for a little while – just before Christmas my dad revealed he had a bunch of film cameras that he was willing to let me have and after spending £10 on one roll of film I’ve been studying the manual and experimenting with lenses as much as I can. It’ll take the film being developed for me to know if I’ve actually learnt anything but I’m really excited to take this little camera on adventures this year.

And eating veggie has been on my radar for a while – last year when I was doing really well with healthy eating I was ‘veggie till dinner’ and when my boyfriend and I moved out of my mum’s house and he started being away a lot with work, I tend to eat veggie when I’m on my own because it’s cheaper and I love vegetables. But I want to learn to cook more veggie meals and experiment with more ingredients this year.

Home:

  • Don’t move house! Stay put for a whole year (please)
  • Travel! A European holiday with my boyfriend, also Centre Parcs with family friends and MCM ComicCon
  • Save £500 in Help To Buy ISA account

Pretty simple – I don’t want to move in 2020. It will be the first year since I moved to uni in 2015 that I haven’t put all my stuff in boxes and had to settle somewhere new. But obviously it depends on income, whether they want to put the rent up after the first year and if the location is still relevant to what we need.

Travelling is always a goal and last year I got way too excited and overambitious about where I thought I could go. For Christmas, my boyfriend has said he’ll take me on holiday and I’m thinking a beach holiday in the first week of October just to CHILL after my dissertation is handed in but I’m a little blown away by the whole thing so advice please.

Lastly, I know I said I want to make a plan for my personal savings account but I actually have three (personal, joint with the boyf and a help to buy ISA). I think this amount might be a tiny bit optimistic but smart goals have to be measurable – I currently have £10 in there so only £490 to go? But for real, I really want to start saving for a house this year and any amount is a good amount to start.

And onto…

9 ‘Bucket List’ Goals:

  • Read 12 books
  • Do 6 writing challenges (January, March, May, July, September, November NaNoWriMo)
  • Keep adding to 5 year plan
  • Register at the doctors and dentist and actually go
  • Figure out a fitness routine and reach weight goal (not confident enough to share this on the internet yet, soz lads)
  • Get another tattoo!
  • Listen to new music and podcasts
  • Have monthly date nights with the boy
  • Actually start making my t-shirt blanket

Also maybe figure out a blogging and YouTube schedule but tbh, I want to keep it chill this year so we’ll see how that goes.

And that’s what I’m aiming for this year! I was going to do my January Goals in a separate post but I figured most of it will stem directly from these goals so I’m going to tag them on the end here.

January Goals:

  1. Write 9000 Words for Writing Challenge (I’ll be real, I didn’t twig that I wanted to do a writing challenge this month until the 3rd when writing this so that was a nice realisation)
  2. Register at the doctors – I’ve been collecting my anti-depressants from my home doctors at my mum’s house since I moved nearly four months ago so I really need to get onto this
  3. Find carb-alternatives for lunch food – a sandwich is so easy and what worked for me last year was not eating carbs or meat until dinner and I want to find a way to make this less boring. I don’t really like salads that much, I love couscous and roast veg but I can’t heat it up at uni. Need to do some research!
  4. Launch new blog…
  5. Spending ban – except food, bills and my boyfriend’s birthday

And so I don’t forget my two monthly ‘bucket list’ goals…

  • Read 1 book
  • Have a date night!

Now that is a long ass, self-indulgent post about what I’m hoping to achieve this year! But I find reading and hearing other peoples goals is so inspirational so let me know all about your goals in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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starting my masters!

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been a long few weeks leading up to this and I still feel a little like it’s not real because I’m not in the new flat yet, but I’ve officially enrolled and I’m officially a student at Oxford Brookes University! Here begins my journey as an MSc Digital Media Production student.

I’ve already tried so many new things – I’ve driven on my own on the motorway for the first time, I’ve figured out how the park and ride system works in Oxford, I’m learning about buses and I’m trying to navigate my way around the campus. It’s a lot to take in and I feel like I haven’t really engaged with half of it.

It’s only been a couple of days – Monday I was just scoping out the route and getting to know things, Tuesday was my first proper course induction, but there’s still sports and freshers fair,  module induction and then the real thing begins!

It’s all very overwhelming and I don’t quite feel like I’m really a student again, I need a bit more information before I can truly process and plan what I want from the end of this course, but I’m excited.

I’m excited to get back into learning, planning my time at uni and having something to work towards and get stuck into. I’m not so excited about having to budget super tightly and figuring out getting a part time job and eventually moving into our flat, but I’m generally trying to balance feeling excited with being mildly terrified and focusing on keeping ‘excited’ on top.

At the end of the day, I’m still trying to convince myself that going back to uni instead of being able to get a career relevant job as a failure or second choice – I’ve been talking about doing a masters since I was in second year of my undergrad because the long term plan was to always develop and make it so journalism wasn’t my highest qualification, but if I’m being honest – if I’d been able to get a job I probably wouldn’t be here.

But if I keep treating myself like a failure for being here at all, it’s going to be a really tough year. I’m bettering myself, furthering my education, refining my skillset and career field. I’ve got time to secure relevant industry work experience and I can push myself in ways I’ve not been able to from my home in South Lincolnshire.

There are lots of positives – I’ve got lots of skills and positive traits, I just need to work on believing them and believing that I’m worth anything at all.

This year is going to be hard and there are going to be challenges along the way, but I’m really excited to be a student again and can’t wait to learn all about digital media production.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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work work work work work | diary 6

2019, career, lifestyle

Hello!

If you watch my YouTube videos, you may have noticed I didn’t upload a weekly vlog for a couple of weeks (they’re coming I promise, I have a plan!).

And whilst I will be uploading something, my vlogs have been pretty bland recently because my ‘part-time’ job is hovering somewhere between part-time and full-time now and I want all the hours I can get – between upgrading my car and knowing I want to go back to university in September and I need to save as much money as possible, I don’t have much of a choice in terms how much I need to work.

So when I planned to write a diary post this week, I didn’t anticipate it would be in a week where I’m literally working every day and I don’t have anything particularly ‘fun’ to document.

I work for my mum’s business, we leave at 7.50am most mornings, we join commuter traffic into the city near where we live, we sit in an office until maybe 4.30 and then we join commuter traffic again to drive home for about 5.30pm and have dinner. It’s not a bland day – it’s busy, it’s always different and the people in the office are so lovely, but it’s not something I can really blog about and I definitely can’t vlog it.

So maybe the natural step would be to stop doing weekly vlogs or not to write a ‘diary’ post but my channels are for me – I don’t have a ‘niche’, I’m not something to slot into a market, this content is primarily for me to look back on and this is what I’m doing. When I was a student I blogged about student things and whatever industry I end up in I’ll probably end up blogging about that one day too, so this is just a toned down version of that really.

But I don’t need to justify why I’m blogging about it – it’s just nice to document work times as much as it is to document travel or adventures or shaving my head

I’m still trying to figure out where my blog fits into the blogosphere – I don’t feel like I have the authority to write any kind of ‘how to’ posts because I don’t know enough about anything, I love sharing my opinions on music, books and travel and that’s why my blog is just a little bit of me. The girl that sets herself too many goals and dreams as big as she can.

I don’t know if this really constitutes a ‘diary’ post but it’s what I’m doing at the moment so I’ll roll with it. I hope you enjoy this style of writing! My favourite are the rambly posts that write themselves, like a stream of consciousness.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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going back to uni – am I a failure?

2019, career, student

Hello!

It’s been over a year since I handed in my Final Major Project and finished working on my degree which means I’ve been applying for jobs for over a year and I’ll be honest, it’s utterly soul destroying.

I’m sure other people in my position feel the same – it starts to feel like maybe you don’t have the skills you know you have, maybe you’re not good enough for any of these jobs, or maybe you don’t actually want to go into the industry you’ve been working towards or whether your entire life so far is a lie.

Or maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic?

Maybe I am, but those are just some of the thoughts I’ve had over the hundreds of jobs I’ve read through and not applied for because it would either just be added to the pile of ones I never hear back from or I’ll get another rejection email and that won’t help anything.

So with the help of the careers team at my old university, I’ve been given the opportunity to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Planning, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – plan for my professional development (i.e. help me figure out how to get a job). And from there, depending on how the summer goes and unless I miraculously get a job, I’m hoping to start a masters degree at the end of September but I’m going to go to a couple of open days in June before I properly decide.

But is going back to uni just giving up on getting a job? Is the equivalent of saying ‘I know I can’t get a job without more training’? Obviously that’s just how I feel in my field of study – lots of courses have natural progression on to a more specified field including mine but for me there’s always that element of doubt.

So I thought I’d collate a few reasons why going back to uni definitely DOES NOT make me or you or anyone a failure and some things we can remind ourselves of whilst we’re still looking for the right job.

Getting more qualifications is never a bad thing – lots of people will do courses in the workplace, so it’s not that different to that really is it? In my unplanned year ‘off’ I’ve learnt to drive and become a qualified first aider so they’re other qualifications too, it’s just a larger scale much more expensive version of that.

It’ll make us more employable in the long run (hopefully) – having an MA to your name has to help a bit, doesn’t it?

I want to better myself and learn more and I would have done that if I got a job anyway – I love learning, developing my skills and keeping up with whatever changes in technology and I would have wanted to keep learning if I was in a career related job anyway. It’s just going about learning in a slightly different way.

I’m clutching a straws a bit I guess – it’s quite specific to be going back to uni because I can’t get a job and I’m sure most people going to do a masters are more than happy, in fact excited, to go back to studying because for them it’s not a last resort. And I suppose it’s not a ‘last resort’ – a real last resort would be giving up and deciding I’d work in retail or a job I don’t really want for the rest of my life. I probably won’t even be in this job I’m craving at the moment for the rest of my life so who knows why I’m being so dramatic about it all!

In conclusion (I’m getting back into the essay writing, can you tell?), going back to uni or studying a Masters or a PhD or whatever should never be something to consider a failure or be ashamed of. This post is as much for me as it is anyone else worrying about their future – even though it’s not quite going the way you’ve planned, it’s okay, something will happen, it’s just not our time yet.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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so no one told ya (post-grad) life was gonna be this way…

2019, career, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I thought today I’d have a little rambly chat about what’s going on re life post graduation! It’s been nearly a year since I finished my degree and 9 months since I officially graduated and if anyone wants any reassurance that you’re not the only one in the universe that still hasn’t got a career job since then this is what this post is for.

It’s that darn social media again isn’t it – you scroll through instagram and see people talking about cool projects they’re taking on or even that they’ve been promoted to another role and it’s so isolating – to feel like you’re the only person who hasn’t been able to start their career, it starts to make you’re not good enough, maybe it’s because you can’t do the job you want and all these other thoughts start floating around.

I know in my heart of hearts that isn’t true, but I start getting to this point where I’m saying things like ‘I just need someone to give me a chance’ – no I don’t! I don’t need ‘a chance’ because that makes it sound like someone’s taking a risk on hiring me and I’m not a risk.

So, this ‘introductory paragraph’ I wanted to open this post with has turned into a nice little summary about the spiral of thoughts I’m having regarding my career! I’m looking into going back to uni, I’m thinking maybe I just give up and work in retail for the rest of my life but then, I’m a very ambitious person. I have life goals, I have places I want to go and see and that doesn’t make me special or different in any way, but then the insecurity fizzles into frustration – how have so many other people I graduated with managed to find jobs in the field I want to go in but I’m sat at home sending out application after application and getting nothing back?

And then we cycle round to insecurity and how they’re all better than me and so on and so on.

To be honest, I don’t know how to fix it other than getting a job. I trawl through job sites and I look at all these jobs and I start to pick out things that I can’t do. This time last year I had the approach that no, I don’t know how to do that thing but I’m a fast learner and I really want to be good at these things so hopefully that won’t be an issue but now? Those things are still true but I’ve given up on thinking that anyone will let me try. I don’t know what to do anymore.

But let’s have a look at the positives – I’m in a very fortunate position that my mum owns a business that she can give me a part time job and I’m working so it’s not like I’m literally living off nothing. I’m gaining lots of skills in office admin, being a PA and databasing that I didn’t know before and I wouldn’t have learnt if I’d gone straight into a graduate job.

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to volunteer at my old dance school and contribute to the place that kept me sane while I was a teenager – from there I’ve also learnt more about being a receptionist (and pretty much conquered my fear of talking on the phone!) and gone back to doing a couple of dance classes (always wishing I could do more) which I definitely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I’d gone straight into work.

And I definitely wouldn’t have had the time to learn to drive if I didn’t have the flexibility of part time work – I’ve been learning for 8 months now and I’m about to book my test for late June so hopefully (if I pass first time!) I will have gone from knowing literally nothing about a car to taking my test in 10 months and I’m so excited about having the freedom to go wherever I want whenever I want and not be bound by public transport for the first time in my life, I literally can’t wait.

And that’s just three things – alongside having the time to keep up with my blog and YouTube channel, working on more of my hobbies like learning to knit and playing the piano, spending so much time with my boyfriend before he starts work and getting to live at home with my mum for a little bit, these are all things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d got a job straight away.

It’s all swings and roundabouts – on the one hand, I feel like maybe this is just my path and my next step is yet to come. On the other hand, I’m still toying with the idea that maybe I’m completely useless and I just need to reevaluate my entire life. Who knows?!

Conclusion – right now, it’s tough, being rejected for so many jobs it’s disheartening and it’s taking it’s toll but letting it totally destroy any self confidence I may or may not have is not going to help anything. So I’ve got to keep truckin’ – get my driving license, work on expanding my skillset, self learning. There’s a career for me out there, somewhere (hopefully).

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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there IS more to life than job hunting, I promise | diary 5

2019, career

Hello!

My favourite kinds of blog posts to write are long, rambly chatty ones – the kind of thing that I would say to a friend over a coffee when I’ve gone off on one a little bit and then reaching a nice, conclusive positive note at the end.

And these last fews week have been very heavy in job applications, thinking about my career and actually working to make progress on it so I thought I’d do a little update both to document my own progress (that’s the ‘diary’ aspect of this post!) BUT ALSO I’ve been applying for career related jobs for over a year now and to be honest? It’s soul destroying – I reckon I’ve applied for over a hundred jobs at this point and getting rejection email after rejection email makes you start to think not only that you might not ever get a job, but that you don’t deserve one. HOWEVER I want to remind anyone who might be feeling like this (or is feeling nervous approaching their final university years!) that there is a positive ending and progress will happen.

Everyone’s on their own journey!

So I did a pretty detailed explanation of my last year of job hunting in my latest graduate life update but I’d say I took a pretty significant break from applying for jobs between November and January and when I came back to it in February? I felt so much better.

I had a more solid idea of what I really want, I had time to reevaluate and feel passionate about jobs again rather than just throwing my CV at any vaguely relevant job and consequently my applications have been more genuine and I’ve started to see results. Most of that is down to applying for significantly less jobs but spending much more time on them – working on a cover letter that was genuine, relevant and emphasised the most useful experience on my CV.

For example, I recently applied for a New Journalism Traineeship with ITV and I really made the most of the ‘save draft’ feature in their application process. I wrote down the questions and spend the best part of two weeks working intermittently on the questions, really paying attention to how their shows are produced and doing what I could do maximise my chances. By the time I submitted the application (admittedly, on deadline day) I was so proud of it and I was in a position where I felt like I had genuinely done my best and the rest was out of my hands.

As well as ITV, I’ve found a number of jobs recently that I got really properly excited about and that’s really what I needed – I was so much more personally ready to apply for those jobs.

What really helped was a call from my university’s career office – I’m not sure what prompted the call but the first action point from it all was to rejig my CV. He went through and gave me lots of detailed feedback which I then went through and implemented whilst also redesigning my CV. It didn’t need a new design but I thought if I was going to have to change so much of it I may as well enjoy the design element too!

And, I mean, look how cute it is!

obviously some bits I’ve had to make sure are obscured, I don’t have lines and a giant mouse pointer on my CV 😂

I spent a solid few weeks working on this between work and working on my own projects (i.e. blogging, youtube, volunteering) but I’m genuinely so pleased with the final product.

And all of the waiting, the time reevaluating and the hard work is beginning to pay off – yesterday I had a really positive job interview (I should hear back today…!), got a rejection email from the ITV application and then got an exciting email about a BBC Journalism Traineeship development which I will work on later this week! So yesterday was a very full day for job related news and it was the most positive job related day I’ve had in a very long day!

Even if it ends up that I don’t get any of the jobs, it’s all been such amazing experience and I feel so much better about it all now. I know that I do deserve a job and I’m more than capable of doing a job in the field I want to work in.

So here it is – I spent so long being so unsuccessful and it really did start to have a negative effect on me but I stepped back, took some time to do some research and figure out what I want, pave out a few options for myself and I’m just now starting to see the next stage of my journey in the distance. It’s looking good lads.

If you’re feeling lost of hopeless, I thoroughly recommend taking some time for yourself and reflecting because it might just reignite your passion. Everything will work out with hard work and perseverance.

“Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” (John Lennon)

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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should I stop counting clouds?

2019, career

Hello!

Today, I wanted to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, basically since I named my blog and YouTube channel – is it time to move on from Sophie Counts Clouds?

When I started YouTube and engaging with content online, people didn’t use their names in the same way they do now because the internet was new and a bit scary and you didn’t want to put your surname out there. Louise Pentland was Sprinkle of Glitter, Carrie Hope Fletcher was ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Dan Howell was danisnotonfire – so many creators have moved on to using their names instead of these pen names they started with.

On the blogosphere, it’s not quite the same – one of my favourite bloggers is Jemma at dorkface, I know Victoria at inthefrow is a hugely successful blogger (even if it’s not my kind of content!) and when I googled ‘biggest UK bloggers’ the top name on the first link was The Londoner by Rosie Thomas. So maybe bloggers aren’t following the same trend as YouTubers and it’s more about how you build a brand?

Either way, I feel like ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ might be coming to its end – to me it feels super childish, but I have centred a lot of my branding around it? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot so I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list to see if it helps!

  1. It would feel a bit more grown up – to be, Counts Clouds has always felt more childish than cute indie airy-fairy hipster (which is clearly what I’m going for)
  2. I’d be more comfortable promoting my blog and channel on CVs and job applications if it didn’t sound like a children’s TV channel (can someone confirm whether it sounds childish or not because I don’t know if I’m losing it a little bit)
  3. Maybe I’ll stop wondering if my name is what’s holding me back…

  1. Every single social media post I’ve ever made in over four years would have a broken link as it would still have the ‘sophiecountsclouds’ url
  2. It would cost money I don’t have to buy a new URL and transfer it all over – I am wanting at some point this year to work with a designer on pipdig to properly upgrade my blog because I know that website design is something I don’t know a lot about yet (going to make time to learn and make the most of Skillshare on this one!) but all of those social media links would be broken and I think I’d really see it take an effect on my stats
  3. Finding a URL which has an available URL and is available on both twitter and Instagram to have matching handles everywhere is so hard – with a name like ‘Sophie’, even if I thought of something that didn’t use my surname (like The Anna Edit or Lucy Moon), the fact that I have such a common name really doesn’t work in my favour. A year or so ago I considered changing my platforms to ‘sophieannwrites’ and ‘sophieannvlogs’ and ‘sophieannonthegram’ (which I’m still obsessed with) but I don’t think all of the handles were available and I don’t know if them all being different would make it more difficult and blah blah, there’s a lot of factors.

It’s so much easier to think of the cons because change is scary and but I think I’d feel so much more comfortable and at home on my blog if it was something a bit less up in the air (ironic, clouds, geddit?).

So my conclusion is that I don’t know – what I do know is that I don’t feel ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ truly represents me right now. If anyone has ever done anything like this or considered this kind of change before, any advice is welcome!

There’s lots of things to consider, maybe I start a whole new blog from scratch, who knows? I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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an unexpected year of progress | graduate life update

2019, career, student

Hello!

I feel like I will feel the need to write updates until the day I start a job or figure out a plan of what’s next!

It’s a weird balance because I want to document what’s going on in my life for me to look back on, but then I don’t want anyone who’s currently at uni to read and feel terrified that this is their future… but (how many times can I say ‘but’) there are other graduates in a similar position to me who feel reassured they’re not alone! This is what I think about every time I write or film on of these posts, if that gives any clarification.

So, disclaimer: this is my situation. I know a lot of grads who have jobs and many who don’t. It’s not to say that those who don’t have jobs haven’t worked hard and it doesn’t diminish the hard work those who have jobs also did. There’s no ‘luck’ in getting a job – those with employment put a lot of time and effort into getting their job, but there is being ‘unlucky’ as someone can put in the same effort and not be successful. Graduation can be so scary because it’s so uncertain and there’s no formula to certify anything, we can only do what we can. Disclaimer over!

Let’s go back to the beginning – I handed in my final assignment in May 2018, last year. I graduated in July. I started applying for jobs to start when I graduated in the February, so about a year ago now. I just kept applying for job after job. I had three interviews over the summer that were all unsuccessful. In September I started doing some part time work for my mum’s business but I didn’t properly commit because I was still hopeful something would work out. In November I had an interview for some freelance work which very quickly fell through. After the new year I went back to applying, I’m in conversation with my uni’s careers department who are trying to help me get a a job and I’m now doing two full days a week at my mum’s work.

So, I’m essentially no further along than I was a year ago except I have a degree and a part time job.

And that’s the literal update of what has factually happened.

Looking forward, /i’m going to keep working with mum, finish learning to drive, keep applying, keep researching a masters and figure out if I want to do that. I’m keeping myself busy but I can’t do this forever.

Outside of the practicalities, in myself I’m not in the best mental state. In November, things really picked up for me emotionally even though I was facing rejection after rejection. But these last few weeks where I’ve been trying to budget and pay for driving lessons and bus fares, it’s been really rough. Thinking about why I’ve been rejected for so many jobs, obviously I start thinking about how maybe I’m really not good enough, I’ve wasted my time at uni and I should just give up completely.

But what really helped was a call from my university’s careers agency (shoutout to Aaron from Solent Futures!) for reassuring me that I’m qualified, I am good enough and it will happen.

Even though I’ve been job hunting for a year, I’ve actually learnt so much and had the time to try things I wouldn’t have if I’d gone straight into a job. I’ve started learning to drive and I absolutely adore it. I’ve gone back to the dance school I spent most of my teenage years in and I volunteer on reception which has taught me a lot of really valuable skills as well as getting to go back to tap classes, I don’t know if I can find the words for how much I love them. Doing office work for my mum has taught me lots about admin and being a PA. All this time without full time commitment has meant I can continue working on my blog and YouTube channel and have time to figure out what I actually want.

I’m trying my best to think positively – giving up isn’t going to get me a job or improve my mental health. Hard work and self belief is – I’ve got to empower myself because right now, it’s all I’ve got!

So overall, I’m struggling but I think I’ll be okay in the long run. If you have any questions about post grad stuff or job hunting please do let me know!

I have a question too – I was considering writing a post about my favourite instagram accounts at the moment? I really want to share the love but not sure whether to do a post or insta stories, so please do let me know!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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improving my odds

2019, career, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

My notes for today’s post simply read – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. And yes, I love to believe in a higher power and there really is a path for each person to follow and not a blank open plane but I don’t know if asking the universe is going to really help.

It’s a balance – internally, I’m always thinking ‘but this’ ‘but that’ – I don’t think there’s any harm in putting it out there what you want. I’ve done this before with an ‘ask the universe’ post – and everything in that post still stands.

But nothing’s going to change if I don’t work for it.  Tweeting about how I’d love more subscribers or how I can’t think of anything better than running social media channels for a band on tour and maybe one day someone will notice and will make my dreams come true.

I don’t even know where to start doing the maths on how many billions to one those chances are though? If I really want to leave it to chance, I might as well put the work in to improve the odds.

Going back to the path analogy – feeling like there’s a path already set for us can feel restricting, like we have no free will or choice, but thinking about how there’s a huge expanse of possibilities can be incredibly daunting. I like to think that somewhere in the universe, there’s something that at least vaguely knows where we’re going, giving us multiple paths to choose from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it or I believe too much in a higher power but whilst I think there’s something that knows our future, I don’t think shouting to a void (or social media) will help or hinder anything.

So I go back to the original notes I made for this post – ‘call to the universe – I need work, a sign, a break, something, please’. I’d love a sign – if there’s a higher power, if it could send a sign my way that would be fan-bloody-tastic! A sign, a break, all of the above please. But the world doesn’t work like that – if I spend my whole life waiting for a sign I’m going to look back having wasted it.

This is me, not waiting, not calling the universe but thanking it – thanking it for giving me the strength to carry on, the confidence to step into the unknown and the passion to make my own path when I can’t find one to follow.

Writing this has been the most ‘stream of consciousness’ blog post I’ve written for a very long time – today hasn’t been my day, to be honest but even reading over my own blog plan, seeing my own past plea made me think, you know what? I have the power to stop this and I’m going to work to make my own change.

2019 hasn’t necessarily gone the way I’d hoped so far, there’s lots of milestones I thought I would have already hit but I can’t waste time thinking of what could have been – I’m going to work to hit the goals I’ve set for myself and if I don’t, I’ll readjust and keep working. Because otherwise my life is going to carry on and I won’t really be in it.

I hope you can take something away from this post. Maybe it was a self-indulgent ramble to reach a somewhat melodramatic conclusion, but maybe it wasn’t.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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