Studying at degree level is more

It is more than anyone will ever tell you it is. They tell you it is hard work, when in reality it is more difficult than you can imagine and at times so stressful giving up is more tempting than pressing a big red button that has danger written all over it. Therefore they tell you that you will need to be determined when actually you need to be willing to get up after falling down for what feels like the one hundredth time in just one day. They tell you that you will learn a lot when in reality you learn so much you feel as if your brain might explode. They tell you it will surprise you. University will be nothing you expect it to be, but everything you need it to be. Strangers quickly become friends for life and things you’d never have dared to do become the things you do on a daily basis. They tell you that you have to love your subject. In that particular case they are right. They tell you they’ll be the best years of your life and while you face all the challenges and trip on all the hurdles you might begin to doubt them. Except, when you sit down, look back through the photos, remember the good times and look at the person you’re becoming, you realise it’s all worth it. Studying at degree level is worth it, worth all of it.

And so the sun set on my teenage years

When one of my friends suggested we head to the beach the day before my birthday, I was excited, but I could not have imagined how beautiful it would be. I’d had an exam in the morning, so I spent the majority of the afternoon recovering in bed with a pizza. She picked me up in the early evening. We got fish and chips and then, while the sun set we found ourselves wandering up and down the beach sharing childhoodImage memories and talking about anything and everything. When I got home, after we’d been for cocktails at the loveliest of bars, I fell asleep with the biggest of smiles on my face. Midnight had passed and I wasn’t sad; I felt ready to begin life’s next chapter.

I think that would have been wonderful enough. I would have been quite happy to have considered my birthday celebrated in style.

I skyped my mum while I opened my presents the next morning. I had got more gifts through the post than I ever would have expected! I got breakfast out and I went clothes shopping with one of the loveliest people I know. I went for afternoon tea with beautiful friends. My amazing flatmates baked me a surprise birthday cake, turned out the lights in the flat and sang happy birthday to me. I took a nap and I went out for an Italian with my future housemates. The day wasn’t far from perfect.

Now I’m facing revision again, but with more enthusiasm than ever before. I feel ridiculously loved and I’m so happy. A month ago, I had no idea if I’d even get to celebrate at all. I was convinced that even if I did celebrate it, I’d be too caught up in the stress of exams to enjoy it. I was completely wrong, as per. I had an amazing day and at the risk of triggering cheese allergies… all because I have such amazing family and friends.

This year isn’t quite over yet, but I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to speed by. Recently life feels like it’s coming together. It’s been a good year. It’s been a roller coaster ride, but this time round I’ve enjoyed plenty more upward slopes and exciting twists and turns. I’ve got a great set of friends here, I’m feeling more confident in myself and my degree and I’ve got an exciting summer ahead. Hey, I think I’m beginning to find my way.

And so, I think that’s farewell for now, at least for a little while.

Until that little while is over, keep singing in the shower wordpressers.

Time to conquer life

During the last week of the Easter break, home became just wonderful enough to ensure that leaving it again would be as difficult as ever. I’m back in Cardiff now and until recently, I was feeling very sorry for myself. For the first time this year, I’d had a meltdown and it felt like my fresher self was back to haunt me.

Anyone who knew me in first year, knew my meltdowns were just my way of escaping life when the anxiety became too much to handle. I’ve been far too happy this year to need an escape, but my best guess is I finally needed to burst… I needed to release all the butterflies, probably to make room for the ones that would inevitably come when it was time to meet the last few deadlines and sit my second year exams. Once I was back here, I realised I needed to get a move on whether I was ready to or not. The more sorry for myself I felt, the more time I wasted, the more time I wasted the more rubbish I felt, the more rubbish I felt, the more I missed home and the more I missed home, the more I lost focus. It sounds so silly now, but I came to a holt. With an essay to write and a tonne of revision to plough through, a holt was not where I needed to be.

I had no reason to grumble: Last week was far from awful. The first day back here, I had dinner with the loveliest couple of people and went to a music social where I drank a little too much wine and smiled lots. Half way through the week I caught up with one of my best friends and we escaped life together for a couple of hours of wonderfulness. An amazing friend invited me over on Friday evening and when I arrived, warmed up chocolate cake and served it with banana. She cheered me up more than she knows. The problem was, the rest of the week was spent sat on my bed, staring at the research for my essay and then deciding I wasn’t ready to face it yet, so avoiding it at all costs. If I wasn’t doing that, I was curling up in front of netflix, eating too much and moping. I’ve always known I’m happiest when I’m busy, so why on Earth I didn’t drag myself out of bed and out of the flat I don’t know.

This week already looks so much brighter and not even just because the sun is shining. I finally handed in my last essay yesterday and with nothing but revision to bury myself in, my work seems so much more manageable. The Tesco shop was delivered yesterday and even having hot cross buns in the cupboard makes life that little bit easier. My dad booked the family holiday today and he doesn’t know how much of a difference he’s made to life by just giving me something to be very excited about.

Now, I’m sat on my bed, listening to the radio and revising while smiling like a fool. I’m looking forward to going for curry tonight with some brilliant friends from my course. I’m finally back on the move again. Here’s to staying positive. Sometimes we need to panic and we need to mope and that’s okay, so long as we can put ourselves back together, pick ourselves up and get moving again as soon we’re ready.

Time to conquer life.

A trip down memory lane

My room at home has been pink and fluffy for as long as I’ve lived in it. When we moved in I was seven and I was allowed to choose just how I wanted it decorated. As a result, the top halves of my walls are covered in pink wallpaper with stars on it, the bottom halves are a deep purple. The carpet is bright red and amazingly soft. The walls are littered with photos of me in my young teens and the shelves are filled with childhood story books, teenage romcoms, fluffy pens, computer games and various ornaments picked up on monumental birthdays.

It has never really bothered me that it is so childish: There are so many memories attached to it I could never bear the thought of stripping it back and redecorating. Besides, I only live in it for a few months of the year. Sleeping in my old bunk bed isn’t much of a problem for me either, because I simply haven’t grown enough. It was yesterday, when I was sat at my desk reading for an essay on performance practice, that I suddenly felt really out of place. I suddenly felt like an adult sat in a child’s room. It didn’t feel like my room anymore. Me and my dad agreed that perhaps it’s time we thought about redoing it. I am admittedly tempted by the thought of a double bed and a bigger wardrobe.

Then, yesterday evening I went on a walk down memory lane, although in this case the lane is a bridleway that runs between the part of Chelmsford I live in and the bit next door. A group of us used to do the same walk on a couple of nights, of every week without fail. We’d walk across the bridleway so we could join the rest of our friends at a park, where we would spend hours out in the cold until curfews crept up on us and we had to head back home. The walk back used to terrify me: The bridleway would be pitch black and even if we took the road around it, there were no lampposts and we had to pass a graveyard just before we reached the end. It sounds crazy now, but when me and my friend were reminiscing last night we realised that some of our happiest memories come from evenings spent walking that walk and spending time at that park.

We chose a beautiful evening to walk the walk last night. It wasn’t even quite as scary as it used to be, because the skies were clear and the moon lit our path up remarkably bright. I still found myself gripping his arm as we passed the graveyard. When, just over a week ago, he sent me the text suggesting that once I got home, we do the walk again for old times sake, I knew I’d love it, but I could not have imagined how much. I hated it as much as I loved it. It made me miss being sixteen more than ever and it made me realise just how much everything has changed. I woke up this morning and it felt like I’d dreamed it. I’d just spent my evening sat on a swing , while the sun set, with one of my best friends, catching up on months worth of life. Then we’d walked back home in the dark, the same way we always did when we were sixteen. It was beautiful, but it made me feel so old.

I feel like an adult. For the first time ever I’ve come home to find that, actually, I feel kind of older.

Following the Easter bunny home

Sat on my bed in my half empty room, in my very empty flat, listening to the radio and waiting for my dad to arrive and take me home. This semester has flown by. One minute I was taking on January exams and celebrating being back in Cardiff after spending a wonderful Christmas at home with the family I’d missed huge amounts. The next I was handing in the last of my coursework and letting my dad know when I wanted him to head over, pick me up and take me home for the Easter break.

Trying to figure out why on Earth I’m so nervous. By this point, I’d usually be overwhelmed by the excitement and I’d be thinking of nothing other than home comforts and hugs from Maggs family members. My closest friends would probably tell me that, seeing as I am permanently nervous about something or other, I shouldn’t waste my time worrying about it. I have a feeling I’m nervous about the fact I have to start revision for the summer exams once I’m home. Perhaps I’m just nervous about changing lives again. It sounds silly, but I’d just got used to living this one. This could even be a delayed reaction to all of the craziness of the last few weeks. This week has been craziest of all. I find it so hard to believe that I’ve just finished the last of my second year lectures, when the last day of first year still feels like only yesterday. I never ever want to be a third year; I am going to spend the entirety of the exam period so torn between wanting the hard work to be over and not wanting the year to end.

If anything I should be delighted I’ve come so far. At the start of this year I had no idea whether I was ready to conquer university by myself or not; I was terrified. Now, I’m so comfortable here I’m not even sure I’m ready to leave. Deep and meaningful musings aside, the last week of term was amazing and home is going to be beautiful. It always is.

Life has been a little crazy, that’s all

Trying to work out how to justify the fact I haven’t blogged in over a month and considering giving up trying. Life has been a little crazy, that’s all. In just over a month I’ve written five essays, finally found the courage to go along to music socials, met some amazing new people and become president of a choir society.

I got my life back when I handed in my last two essays on Wednesday. It turned out that all an end to deadlines really meant, was a return to chores. I came back to life to find that I’d been a living in a mess of a bedroom, I had no clean clothes left and I had no food in the fridge. I spent Wednesday afternoon sorting my life out.

I spent the last two days storming around town, trying on dresses, deciding I hated all of them and wishing I could turn up to the end of year, 1920’s themed, music ball in skinny jeans. I very nearly headed to the ‘men’s formal’ section of Debenhams to find myself a suit and a tie and some jazzy musical socks. I should have been a boy. Luckily when I turned up at her house, collapsed on her sofa and demanded tea, an amazing friend reminded me to breathe and after shopping trip number two I’ve ended up with a reasonably 1920’s style, actually kinda lovely, skirt and top combo.

Today so far has been spent in bed in pyjamas with my keyboard and my laptop, preparing for a keyboard test that’s tomorrow, getting distracted by netflix and trying not to panic about the fact I’m going to the ball tonight. I know I am bound to do something ridiculous… give myself mascara panda eyes, walk into a door and give myself a black eye, make it to the ball then spill gravy down my skirt, fall over on my way to the after party, who knows. Hopefully, whatever happens it is going to be an amazing night. My keyboard test on the other hand? That is going to be a complete disaster.

 

Sunshine, Cocktails and Flappy Birds

I am no expert, but I think I’ve been suffering from a serious case of the infamous winter blues.

January and February, through no real fault of their own, have very bad reputations. January signifies the end of the holiday season and our return to every day life. It is as we struggle through January’s wind and rain that we begin to realise just how far away the summer really is. February is infamous because by February most of us notice we’ve already failed the New Year Resolutions we were determined to keep. It always tends to be a struggle for us single folk, no matter how much we claim we love the single life and completely oppose Valentine’s Day.

As someone who has always been just as fond of the winter as the summer, normally I wouldn’t sympathise. (Snow, wooly jumpers, wellington boots, yummy Christmas leftovers, what’s to complain about?) This year, for the first time, I understand. Since coming back to Cardiff I’ve spent an unjustifiable amount of time in my onesie, drinking wine, eating chocolate and ice cream, cuddling my hot water bottle, watching TV in bed, singing love ballads and wishing I were Bridget Jones. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time complaining about slow internet connectivity, my lack of boyfriend, the cold, the wind, the rain, and my subsequent lack of determination.

Then last Friday, Cardiff woke up to sunshine. Me and my flatmate spent the day making the most of it. Sat on a bench, eating hot cross buns in the sun, I found myself smiling hugely. When we left the pub after getting cocktails that evening and it was raining again, I didn’t even grumble. I walked home alongside her, sharing her umbrella and singing songs from various musicals. It failed to bother me when it rained Saturday night because I was babysitting in a warm house, on a sofa, curled up with a cat, a cup of tea and two lovely children who introduced me to the infuriating world of Flappy Bird. When it was raining on Sunday, I was in the library, feeling abnormally determined and powering through reading for the history seminars of the week.

I am sure that days like today can be blamed for winter blues Wales-wide. To say that the walk into the university was difficult would be an understatement: Gale force winds pushed me forwards, backwards, sideways and very nearly straight into someone’s dustbin. BUT, university today was well worth the journey. I went to two and a half hours of music lectures which were probably the most interesting lectures I’ve been to since coming to Cardiff. In the afternoon I had a meeting with my history lecturer, who in just half an hour, managed to make me feel like I could conquer the world. I couldn’t tell you what it was he said that gave me so much enthusiasm, but I left his office wanting to run home, boil the kettle, make tea and immediately start writing my essay.

Now, I’m sat smiling hugely and wondering what on earth I had to moan about. I’m not really sure where this determination came from… exposure to sunlight, introduction to Flappy Birds? How ever it got here I hope it stays. As for the winter blues, no matter how much rain I have to power through this week, I hope I’ve seen the back of them.

The day before the day I go back to university

Having just spent five whole minutes sat in the middle of my bedroom floor wondering where on Earth I am supposed to begin, I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever get used to this whole ‘packing my bedroom into boxes’ thing. If I’m honest, when I sit in my room deciding what to pack, all I want to do is convert the entire bedroom into a car which I can drive to Cardiff, convert back into a room and then live in. Yes, I do still want all 5000 of my Jacqueline Wilson books and I am definitely going to need to pack every item of clothing I’ve ever owned due to a strange sentimental attachment I have to it all that I can’t really explain. Yes, I do want to take my silver spoon collection with me, all of my ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ CDs and every fluffy pen I bought during my last year of primary school. I need the pine furniture I grew up with, including the bunk bed… Even if it is no good for star-fishing in. My family and friends from Chelmsford can come along too right?

Ok, so I will not fit my whole bedroom and every Chelmsfordian I love in the car and I’m not actually quite that sentimental. My point is… this is the hardest part. I am really looking forward to heading back to university. The journey always goes amazingly quickly and I actually quite enjoy the four hours preparation time I get before life goes crazy again. Moving in is always good fun and so is the first night in or out with flatmates I’ve missed loads. Seeing my university friends, going on nights out and using my brain again always does me the world of good. So does having the freedom to order chinese at eleven in the evening just because I’m hungry, studying got too hard and chow mein is amazing.

The hardest part is today… the day you have to come to terms with the fact its time to pack up one life and continue living another. I can never help feeling a little emotional. Today is the day I empty my room and fill the hall way with an abundance of toiletries, books, clothes and high heeled shoes. The day I plan to spend packing, friend and family seeing and eating my body weight in food, but end up curled up on a sofa telling myself I will pack soon… Telling myself I’m not putting it off because I don’t want to think about leaving and saying goodbye, I am just making the most of home comforts.

But hey, all I’ve got to do is stop using my blog as an excuse, shut the laptop, pack, head out to dinner with an amazing friend and then sleep. Before I know it, it will be tomorrow.

‘Goodbye’ has a bad reputation, but it’s not always all that bad. Especially when its temporary.

Expert Procrastinator

Sat at my desk doing nothing other than daydreaming out of my window and singing along to my shuffling iTunes library. There is so much I should be doing. My room looks like a small bomb hit it. I’m sat next to a pile of books so high I’m surprised I managed to transport it from Cardiff to home. My head is filled with dates for my diary that I haven’t been writing down.

Home comforts are beautiful, but they turn me into an incredibly lazy individual.

I headed back to Cardiff with Mummy Maggs for a couple of days last week. I needed to be back so that I could hand a music assignment in, but I wasn’t ready to head back permanently just yet. My mum hadn’t seen my new flat. She hadn’t even spent much time in Cardiff itself: The last time she came to visit she spontaneously turned up for an afternoon just after my 19th birthday… We crammed a lunch, a catch up, a shopping trip and student-style dinner into what felt like five minutes and then she headed home again.

This time, we spent two days tea drinking, restaurant dining, musical-seeing (Priscilla Queen of the Desert is a must-see; it had me smiling all the way through), drink sharing, Wetherspoons’ breakfast eating, sight-seeing, friend visiting, assignment handing in-ing AND shopping.

I now have one more week left at home to get organised, catch up on all of my reading, spend time with my family, see any friends still left in Chelmsford and eat as much food as is bronwenly possible.

You may be surprised to hear that despite all my procrastinating, I’m now finally beginning to look forward to going back for real. I never thought I’d say it, but that small part of me that always stopped me wanting to be back in Cardiff; that always hesitated and wanted to stay at home… It seems to have broken off, run away and left only me, looking forward to being back, to studying, to partying and to living the student life again. Bring. It. On.

Smiling like a fool

I’m finally home.

My last two days in Cardiff before Christmas were so much better than I expected. I was expecting to simply spend them at the flat, by myself, working my last couple of shifts and watching the clock tick by. BUT my amazing flatmate stuck around an extra day after her last shift at her work (I’m not the only one juggling a job and a degree) to keep me company… We spent Christmas eve’s eve curled up with wine and chocolates, watching a film, exchanging presents and then talking until the early hours of the morning.

Christmas eve wasn’t far from perfect. I succeeded in getting out of bed, despite the late night, and had breakfast with her before she headed out to get her train home. Then I finished packing, got ready and headed into work for my final shift. Work was the same as always, except for the fact I didn’t start till ten, we were all in comic Christmas costumes and there were ridiculous amounts of staff room snacks.

My dad and sister met me at the flat after my shift. The drive home was so exciting I’m surprised I didn’t cry. Instead I just sat there smiling hugely and constantly reminding my dad and my little sister that I was ridiculously happy. I got home, stole hugs, went to bed and before I knew it, it was Christmas day.

Christmas day was overwhelming. I’d only just got home, before I was jumping in the car and heading to my grandparents home. I ate so much food I’m surprised I didn’t explode. I nearly overheated in a house full of radiators that felt like an oven in comparison to my student flat. I saw my grand parents and the entirety of my dad’s side of the family all at once, when I’d only just gotten used to having my immediate family around again. I got loads of lovely presents and woke up boxing day morning to find myself out on a walk in the country side (which I think I had forgotten existed).

Since then I’ve been unpacking, getting organised, working out how to make the most of three weeks at home and worrying about how I’m going to get all my uni work done.

Today, I stopped worrying and I spent a whole day doing nothing for the first time in a long time. Having been on an amazing night out last night, I spent the morning in bed and then a few hours after that curled up on the sofa, cautiously eating dry toast and tomato soup, wondering if a hang over was going to hit me any time soon. Now I’m sat in my bedroom, having finally showered at five in the evening, wearing my onesie, singing along to my iTunes library, waiting for roast dinner to be cooked and smiling like a fool.

All I need to do now is decide what I’m going to say when I get to the hairdressers tomorrow morning, sit down in the chair and he asks me how I want my hair.

Being me, I’ll consider cutting it all off, I’ll wonder if it’s about time I dyed it a crazy colour, I’ll tell myself I should try something new for the new year then I’ll decide I’d like it just the way it is, but just slightly shorter please.