new (school) year, new start

2020, student

Hello!

The end of summer and September is my favourite time of year – I feel like there’s a certain type of person who’s favourite month is September and it’s either:

  1. People who enjoy school (whether it’s educationally or socially)
  2. People who love stationary and buying a new pencil case is very exciting.
  3. People whose birthday is in September

I am all three – I’m pretty sure everyone has a soft spot for their birthday month in the same way that December is always exciting because of Christmas, I am somewhat of a stationary nerd (though I’ve been on a pencil case and pen spending ban for, like, years and I still have so many) and my birthday is September; the full trifecta!

For so long, the start of the new academic year is more impactful than the New Year – 14 years (minimum) of new school uniform, new stationary, new shoes, seeing your friends every day after 6 weeks of not being able to meet up because everyone’s on holiday at different times, a new planner, a new timetable! I’m getting excited just thinking about it and I’ve not had a new planner for six years!

This year I feel a bit different – this is the second time I’ve not been going back into education in September since I was a toddler and even then it’s still a bit strange because my masters dissertation deadline is at the end of October so I’m still somewhat in education and having been at home for the last 23 weeks (not that I’m counting) the whole ‘new school year’ feels so much less significant this year.

But outside of school, using September as an excuse to have a fresh start is an opportunity that I think many of us will be taking this year! Any time is a good time for a fresh start whether it’s a Monday, a new month, any time but sometimes it takes these markers to feel like we have the opportunity to put something into practise. Hence why I love setting my monthly goals!

Maybe it’s because I’m still working on my masters dissertation which should have been nearly ready to hand in but now the deadline is six weeks later – I do feel like November is going to be my ‘fresh start’ because I’ll be officially done with education (though I said that after my undergraduate degree and here I am… but I mean it this time!).

New starts and this time of year can always feel exciting and nerve wracking and both significant and vastly insignificant simultaneously – for some getting out of the habit of feeling like a new school year is easy because they leap straight into a full time ‘grown up’ job, for some it’s nice to have that time of year as a little mental shift and for others it’s just another month.

As per, I think I’m making a much bigger deal out of something that’s not that big! A new month always makes me feel a little bit excited – like I can reset and refresh a little, but then suddenly it’s the 25th of the month and time feels like it’s going too fast and I can’t hang on to the present for long enough to enjoy it.

Today was a day I just needed to have a little ramble! I consider my corner of the internet to be a personal space for expressing what’s going on in my life – whether it’s new exciting things like moving house or reading a new book, less exciting things like navigating my mental health in a pandemic or things as trivial as an outfit I enjoyed wearing or a place I went on holiday! I love having my little space and a time capsule of who I was at so many different points in my life.

2020 is a weird ass year, we can only hope that 2021 gives us a bit of a break!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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approaching New Year | diary 10

2019, lifestyle, writing

Hello!

Doing these little diary posts once a month really reminds me what blogging is all about and where it all began – a web log, a recount of goings-on and a log of activities. The priority on my little corner of the internet will always be having something that I can look back on and 1) be proud of and 2) serve as a little reminder of who I was when I posted, even if that’s not who I am now.

And writing rambly blog posts that all come out in one go are my favourite and I think they’re the nicest ones to look back on!

So today I wanted to talk about how the end of the year is fast approaching – it feels like my entire Instagram and Twitter feeds are either full of Christmas or ‘it’s the end of the decade, have you achieved anything, get off your ass and do something‘ and personally I feel attacked (note the sarcasm).

But for real, it’s very intense and makes me think I haven’t achieved anything but at the turn of the last decade I was 13 – I’m a completely different person to who I was at 13 and that’s definitely for the better. I’ve finished my GCSEs, finished my A Levels, finished my undergraduate degree, finished a post-graduate certificate and I’m now studying a masters that I’ll finish in September next year – I’m starting the next decade as a masters student and hopefully that’ll be the beginning of a much more exciting decade full of learning but not in an institution that racks up my debt any further than it already is.

Outside of academic achievements, I’ve been on two charity expeditions to Tanzania and Ecuador, each for a month for the most amazing, terrifying and life-changing experiences. I’ve moved across country and met people that are going to be friends for the rest of my life. I lost friends that I thought I’d have for the rest of my life (but that’s just how the world works).

I met the love of my life. I’m a proper renting adult with proper bills and a car to pay for. I learnt to drive! As soon as the list begins you realise that 10 years is a long ass time and so much can happen in that time.

With that in mind I shunned the pressures of the internet and thought about the here and now – how do I feel going into the New Year?

Generally, the signposts of the passing of time scare me – I like routine, I like consistency and whilst I consider myself someone who adapts to change quite well, I’m definitely working on being someone who embraces and enjoys change. There were several New Year’s Eve’s as a teenager where I’d silently cry in my room as Big Ben rung over to the New Year and I couldn’t stop thinking that ‘this year’s going to be worse than last year’ and ‘I won’t be any happier next New Year’ so I’m grateful that I’m no longer trapped feeling that sad and lonely. But the New Year still scares me a little bit.

So I try to focus on the things that I enjoy – as I detailed in my last post, I love organisation, goals and planning so January is going to be almost exclusively resolutions, yearly goals, goals reviews and the likes! I’m actually really excited about that because 2019 started in a very different frame of mind and my goals reflected that so I feel more prepared to make my goals for the next year.

In a typical ‘I’m a student mindset’ I can’t really focus too much on the New Year or Christmas because I have about a million deadlines (five) to hand in before that and they’re big and stressful, but after that I’ve got a few shifts at work, Christmas, New Year with my family, then three weeks of working at much as possible before it all begins again with semester 2.

Generally, the New Year is a good time for me – it’s another chance at a fresh start and new goals and resetting. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a lovely family Christmas 🎄

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day filled with the best people and infinite food!

I just wanted to write a quick little post on a pleasant boxing day (with The Greatest Showman in the background, might I add) just to have a little ramble about what a lovely Christmas I had with my family.

Maybe it sounds vein or spoilt or whatever but as a kid, Christmas was all about the big Mr C and the presents but thinking back at it now? My strongest memories are of the times with family – I don’t remember the presents (other than the year I got my first laptop, that meant a lot) because it was always about having my closest family there and spending time with them.

Ever since my nan passed away last year, my family have been closer than ever – it’s the best thing that came out of 2017 for me and this Christmas was just perfect. There was laughter and chatting and games and a pub quiz and we almost entirely forgot to take pictures but we got some great family photos in between phone calls from Sri Lanka, China and just down the road from my cousin’s family!

When I went to bed last night, I’ve not felt so grateful or content for such a long time – so grateful that I had such a caring family, grateful that they gave such thoughtful gifts when they really didn’t have to and grateful to have that day to celebrate with them.

At the end of the day, my family have been there for me through everything – friends come and go but I will always have my family and valuing people and experiences over belongings and ‘stuff’.

Towards the end of 2018 I decided there was a lot of clutter in my life – mostly in my bedroom and various rooms around the house. So I decided I only wanted to keep the belongings that have a purpose or a use, except the sentimental stuff – my photo albums and scrapbook are such important memories that I want to keep forever and build on for my family, 80 years down the line.

Christmas and New Year are an incredibly sentimental time of year – I get very reflective and think a lot about what’s changed, particularly who I’ve got in my life. I’ve got wonderful friends, a supportive family and an amazing relationship and 2019 is going to be a big year.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays surrounded by people you love, looking forward to the New Year!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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“under pressure” – why I disappeared from the internet

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

When I started this blog (over three years ago now, wow) I knew it would be a fairly big ask – I was in my last year of sixth form, I was applying for uni, I was already making YouTube videos once a week. But I didn’t make a big deal – it was somewhat unfamiliar territory so I didn’t make a big deal about pushing myself. Between September and December 2014 I wrote 8 posts.

In the new year of 2015 I started what I called the ‘365 Pages’ project, where I wrote a blog post every day for a year with each post being ‘Page 1 of 365’ and so on. I didn’t actually write a blog post every day – there were a couple of days I missed and I actually went away on an charity work expedition to Ecuador for four weeks and managed to pre-write over 30 blog posts and schedule 9 or 10 videos too (I’m still very proud of this, don’t know if you can tell).

So as my blog has gone on I’ve piled on the expectations of myself. It’s really not unusual for me to ask too much for myself. As the year of blogging ended, I decided I wasn’t going to have a schedule – I was going to have lots of ideas and write fairly regularly?

Yeah, no.

That didn’t happen so I planned a schedule – I think I uploaded three times a week and then I didn’t do that anymore. I don’t remember how my blog schedule changed between the end of 2016 and the entirety of 2017 but by September this year I just stopped. Third year began and blogging and making videos and basically everything else (like my diet and mental health, lol) took a massive backseat.

Third year has been really intense – in the 12 or 13 weeks that made up my first semester (I lost track, to be honest) I had 11 deadlines, pretty much one a week, I didn’t have time to do anything like cook myself food, I was in university 40+ hours a week every week, alongside running a society and rehearsing for a drama and performance showcase and trying to maintain friendships and a relationship and it was a lot.

Following the final result of my second year, I was driven for third year – I’d done the maths, I knew exactly what I needed to do to get the grade I wanted from my last year of university (so far). But that made me very stressed when suddenly I was faced with the reality of actually working at that level.

I don’t know if I’m writing really ominously or pretentiously or if I’m just not making sense at all, but not all the pressure came from myself. Third year is intense – obviously, it’s my last year of uni so it’s meant to be challenging and I thought I was ready but clearly not.

Maybe by asking myself to do as much as I can for third year, writing for my blog, making YouTube videos, running a society, being part of a performance society and having a job was putting too much pressure on myself? I was made redundant at the end of November so that’s one thing off the list and I’ve taken a step back from drama and performance until after Christmas. Sonar Film has been manic and I want to sit and have a day focusing on that over the holidays and I’m slowly working my way through uni stuff.

Writing all of this out really helps me, which is partially why I love writing on my blog and why I’m determined to get back into blogging and YouTube.

I’m someone who thrives on routines – writing and making videos as and when ‘I feel like it’ doesn’t work for me at all because I’m not someone who gets inspired to write things as and when.  So I’ve planned a new routine.

I have so many blog post ideas and I’m going to write as much as I can before I go back to uni properly at the end of January and I’m excited about it.

My aim for my blog and my Youtube channel is to take the pressure off a little bit – so that I have time to do it around my uni work but enjoy it as a welcome break from my degree. I don’t need anything else to be stressed about!

If you have any tips for maintaining a blog and a million other commitments do leave me a comment, I need all the help I can get!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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