Be Nice It's Tuesday


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Changes

A lot seems to have changed in my life recently.

Mid-September I left home again and moved into my new term-time house which I am renting with some amazing friends – it’s really starting to feel like home, and there haven’t been any arguments yet (even when we disagree about when the floors need cleaning). A week or so after moving in, my second year of university started. As well as being back to intense classes of German and Russian language, I’m doing modules of history and linguistics, and I’ve picked up Czech language. I’m enjoying the classes but it’s a lot of hard work, and I feel slightly like I’m drowning in an endless sea of vocab.

I’ve got back into the societies I was in last year, and am on the committee for my choir. Last week I went to an LGBT+ meeting for the first time, which was quite a big step for me. Also at the start if this term I started a new part-time job, and I am in the process of applying for two more.

A particularly exciting thing that’s happened is that I successfully asked someone out on a date. That was very scary, and I’m now nervous about meeting with him, I haven’t really done the whole dating thing before, in the past it’s taken so long for things to happen that we’ve just skipped straight to a fully formed relationship. But I resolved last summer to get better at doing things that scare me, and not just waiting and hoping things will happen, so I thought I should just go for it.

Finally, my family is currently very spread out, with one of my sisters in New Zealand for the next year. The other sister is in Edinburgh, not so far away, but still difficult enough to get to from Bristol that I don’t know when I’ll next see her. So I’m just trying my best to keep in contact with them as much as possible.

All of these changes are exciting, and I feel like I’m in a good place in my life right now, however they take up a lot of time and I am often very busy and tired. When I do have free time I usually watch Netflix or play my musical instruments. If I’m in the mood for writing I’m trying to write more of the piece of fiction I started over the summer (calling it a novel sounds too grand, but story sounds too juvenile). So as much as I want to keep blogging, and have loads of ideas, I just don’t really have the time and energy for it at the moment. I’m not giving up for good; I may post random things at odd times, and I hope to get properly back into it sometime, but for now I am freeing myself of the guilt I feel for not writing up any of the things I want to.

Until I write again, I hope everyone is doing well and staying positive, and don’t forget to keep smiling 🙂

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Freshers’ Week is Overrated

It’s that time of year again when across the UK (and a lot of other countries) young people are heading back for another year of school, college and university. I’m about to start my second year of uni, so inevitably I’ve been thinking a lot about how I was feeling this time last year. It was not the best time for me.

This year I am working as a mentor, so I have some new first year students assigned for me to email and meet up with and generally help out as they settle in to university. All of them have said in their emails how nervous they are about things like feeling homesick, meeting new people, living alone. One thing which has been mentioned a lot is Freshers’ Week.

For anyone who doesn’t know – I don’t know how it varies in different countries – Freshers’ Week is the first week of the university year. It’s when everyone moves in but before lectures start, a week filled with all sorts of exciting events to help new students get to know the uni and city. It’s something that really gets hyped up, it’s meant to be the best week of the year and all these new freshers go out partying every night and are drunk the entire time and you meet all your new best friends and go wild because you don’t live with your parents any more, etc. etc. But from my experience and  from talking to people this year, I think all that hype is actually too much pressure.

I enjoyed my Freshers’ Week. I went clubbing as many times that week as the rest of my life (i.e. twice) and met some cool people, and did some events that weren’t to do with drinking (shock horror). But people like me who don’t like clubbing often worry that they will have to go to lots of big parties, and that can be quite worrying. I was also very overwhelmed and homesick, so I wanted some time just to be by myself in my new room. And there are so many events going on, it’s often hard to know where to begin.

But the thing is, Freshers’ Week isn’t the be all and end all of your university life. It’s just the beginning. There’s the opportunity to go to clubs and parties all the time if you want to, and if you don’t want to you don’t have to. And I carried on meeting new people and making friends all the way through last year, and I’m sure I will again this year.

So if you’re starting uni in the next few weeks, I’m not saying Freshers’ Week will be bad. It is a really good opportunity to enjoy yourself before classes start, and I think it is important, in that week at least, to put yourself a bit out of your comfort zone and try new things. But don’t worry about it, if you want to have a night off then you’re not going to miss out on everything from that point onwards. And it really isn’t as big a deal as people often make out.

 


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I need sincerity

I apologise in advance if I’m not very coherent in this. I need to get this off my chest, but I’m not sure I have quite the words to express how I’m feeling (especially in my slightly inebriated state).

I’m now back home from university, I’ve had the fun of relaxing back in my old room, the not-so-fun task of unpacking and being expected to help out a lot more again around the house. I’ve been to Scotland twice for my sisters’ graduations, and I’ve had the realising that I can’t spend the next few months just sitting around not doing much, so I joined a gym (only for 4 weeks, I haven’t changed completely) and am applying to volunteer in charity shops (more on that soon). And, of course, I’ve been trying to get back in touch with all my old friends from college and high school.

Last summer I was distraught at leaving my amazing old friends. We’d been through so much together, and I was so close to some of them, and I just thought I would miss them so much. I thought I’d never be able to make a proper connection with new friends who knew nothing about me, and in some ways I didn’t want to make new ‘best friends’, because it might mean the old ones weren’t as important. And yet, against all odds (or maybe inevitably), I have met some incredible people at uni, people I fit with so well that I now can’t believe I’ve only known them for less than a year. And I’ve been reminded of what I should have learnt three years ago, that there’s no limit to friendships. People come and go, that’s just how it happens, but each friendship or whatever kind of relationship is different and unique, and one doesn’t have to replace or negate another.

I loved my old friends, and I still do, but I always had some problems with them over the years. A few months ago I intended to write a post, but I don’t think I got round to it. I might still write it, but it was about realising with some of my new friends what I’ve been missing with my old friends; a sort of honest interest in me and what I have to say. And since getting home I’ve really noticed a lack of real emotion in a lot of my interactions with friends. I have one friend who kept promising that he would visit me at uni ‘every weekend’. I would say ‘you’re obviously not going to come every weekend, but please will you come at least once?’ to which he would reply ‘no, I’ll be there every weekend’. He didn’t come all year. He did visit a few other friends at uni (he had a year out). This annoyed me, but what annoys me most is that he can’t own up to the fact that he broke his promise; every time I mention it he says ‘mate, I was there every weekend, you were just never in’ (he doesn’t even know where my flat was). Another friend is renowned for lying about most things. She’s busy all summer, and she keeps saying she misses us and wants to be here. But the two times I’ve tried to visit her this year she’s had a reason why it won’t work, both of which I’ve later discovered were lies.

And then I have several friends who are very sarcastic people, who will never admit to things like actually liking their friends, or openly being kind and respectful. Most of the time I can put up with this. I laugh at the jokes, tease them back, ignore the insults, remind myself that they do care about me, that there have been so many times when I’ve really needed them and they’ve come through for me (and try to forget the times when they haven’t).

But sometimes it just gets too much. If people tell you enough times that they don’t actually like you, that what you have to say is boring, or turning down your ideas of things to do, and then combine that with feeling low about something else, or a time of low self esteem, or just it always being when you’ve drank a bit too much, you can start to believe what they’re saying. Basically, what I need is some of these friends to just tell me they’ve missed me, or that it’s nice to see me again. I need honest conversations where my friends can tell me what’s going on in their lives or their feelings without them having to be drunk and instantly pretend it didn’t happen – for instance one friend to tell me that his parents are splitting up, so I don’t feel awkward about knowing from somewhere else, or another to explain why he’s so insecure so I can help him. I want to do fun things with them other than going to the pub. I enjoy the laughing, joking banter, but I need people I can rely on, who are sincere with whom I can confidently talk about the things that matter to me. And as pathetic as this sounds, I just want certain of my friends to say to me ‘you are my friend. I value our friendship and I care about you.’

Please tell me in the comments if you’ve been through similar struggles. Please don’t tell me if you think I’m being too needy and pathetic because I’m not sure I can handle it today.


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My Life in Quotes #10

October 2015:
We made quite a mess babe, it’s probably better off this way,
And I confess babe, in my dreams you’re touching my face,
and asking me if I want to try again, with you.
And I almost do.

Missing you, is all that needs to be said

And I feel just like I’m living someone else’s life,
It’s like I just stepped outside, when everything was going right.

These streets have too many names for me…I’ll get used to this eventually I know

I’m on the road, the road to home

November 2015:
Here’s to my new friends, a toast to the weekend,
It’s time to begin again, so here’s to my new friends

And what’s one more day? This distance remains hard for me.

Though I am far away, and I am all alone,
There are parts of me, that still are holding on,
To moments long since passed, secrets I recall,
And friends I used to have, who I don’t know any more

And when I dream, I’m not in [Memphis], I’m on my way, home on that train.
And I don’t feel so lost and distant, Lord the miles, how they cut me deep.

I miss you, more than I let on, I kiss you, far too long,
I’ll let go, as soon as you do, see I know, we’re not through

December 2015:
Thank you, and goodnight, I’ve got a new mountain to climb…
I’m no longer scared, I’m just so glad you were there.

It’ll all be alright, I’ll be home tonight, I’m coming back home

We’ll meet our friends, drinking in the [Swan], I don’t know where time’s gone

And I’d tell you that I miss you but I’m sure it doesn’t matter at all

I have felt no better feeling, than the glow the home fire brings

I am not the way, I’d hoped to be

As always these are quotes owned by copyright holders, not my own words, I have merely chosen them to convey a message. If you want to read the posts in this series in order, start here. Click here for the next instalment (once it is published).


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Last Night in Halls

This is my last night in my first year uni accommodation. Most of my stuff has already been moved out – my parents picked it up last week – but tomorrow I will actually be leaving for good. And it’s sort of just hit me that I’m leaving here. This isn’t my home, it’s never truly felt like one, so I’m surprised at quite how emotional I’m feeling about this. But then, I’m always bad with change, and I have been living here most of the time since last Spetember, it has often been a place of comfort and solitude (usually in a good way). Also, although I was very upset about moving away from home last summer, that house and room is still there waiting for me, and I’ve been back in the holidays. This is the first time that I’ve gone from living somewhere, to moving out, knowing I will never be in this room, this flat, this building, again.

There have been things I’ve hated about living in halls, but also things I’m really going to miss. But those are both quite negative feelings, so instead I’m going to write some of the things I’ve enjoyed about living here, and some things I’m looking forward to about my house next year.

Things I’ve liked about living in halls:

  • It’s very sociable; I’m in a big building where I know a lot of people, even if I don’t know someone I’ll say hi as I pass them, and it’s always so easy to call in to other flats.
  • Having cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Living with people I get on with, but who give me plenty of space, so it’s a bit like living alone.
  • Having a sink in my bedroom.
  • Free events put on by the JCR.
  • Having somewhere new to make my own and live independently.

What I’m looking forward to for next year:

  • Living in an actual house.
  • Having a bigger room and an actual window.
  • Being in control of our own fire alarms, maintenance, parking etc.
  • Having more privacy of no one being able to come into our house unless we specifically arrange it.
  • Using fairy lights and blu tack.
  • Having a garden.
  • Less noise.
  • Living with some lovely people, who I’m already very good friends with.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things here, but I just needed towrite this tonight, on my last night. I’m now going to go to bed for the last time in this room, so I can make the most of packing and cleaning tomorrow. Yay 😛


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The Best Week of the Year

A lot of people go on about how great Freshers’ Week* is, how it’s the best week of uni and then it’s all down hill. But I disagree, and I’ve only just realised how much I disagree with this. Freshers’ Week was good, but I was scared of the new place I found myself in, I was homesick. I met loads of people, but didn’t get to know many people well. I did quite a lot, but they weren’t necessarily things I loved doing.

I had my last exam five days ago, but I decided to stay at uni for an extra week rather than rushing home. And I am so far having the best week of my time as a first year uni student. That’s not to say that the rest of the year hasn’t also been good, but this is the first time since Freshers’ Week that I haven’t had any work that needs doing. I’ve been unbelievably busy, but busy doing things I want to be doing. Rather than lectures and revision I’ve had a night out with some course friends, gone shopping, spent a lot of time in chior rehearsals/service/social, gone to the zoo with some family, explored some strange places with a great group of friends, taken a trip to the beach. A lot of these are things I’ve been wanting to do for most of the year, but not had time, so I’ve been planning everything for after exams. And most importantly, I’m with amazing, close friends who I’ve spent the past nine months getting to know, but I’ve still been making new friends this week.

There’s no real point to this blog, other than I’m having such an incredible week and wanted to share it. I hope that whatever you’re doing, your week can be as good as mine.
*I’m not sure what it’s called/if it happens in other countries, so if you’re confused then Freshers’ Week is the first week of the university year, when there are no lectures but there are loads of events to help first years socialise and settle in. For most students it typically involves a lot of alcohol and clubbing.

 


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Post Exam Catch-Up

So I recently realised, although I’ve only had this blog just over two years, I have a very definite pattern when it comes to writing stuff. Over the summer I don’t have academic commitments, so while I’m not on holiday I post loads. Through September and into October I have all the new starts, talking about what’s changing in my life, getting new ideas for series. Then there’s quite a few Christmassy things in December, and New Year Resolutions at the beginning of January. But then the reast of January is quite a hard month for me, I’m not feeling so cheerful so don’t want to write. Febuary’s a bit of a nothing month, nothing much ever seems to happen. The from March I start to get busy with exams and don’t really post as much. And then we get to May/June, when I finish and have an update about what I’ve been doing and how I have so many ideas for posts, and we’re back to the summer boom. So this is my annual return from exams.

I’ve just finished my first year of university, it seems to have flown by. I’m still in Bristol at the moment, having a week to unwind with my friends here before returning home. I think my exams mainly went ok, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that it’s over. I’ve been doing lots of really fun stuff since finishing though; had a night out with some course mates, a day with a group of biology students which I sometimes invade, today I went to the zoo with some visiting family, got a few plans for the rest of my time here. I’m finding it a bit sad moving out of my room; it’s never really been home for me, but I have lived here for the best part of 9 months. But I’m really looking forward to living with some of my closest friends next year. Over the past few weeks I’ve realised what truly amazing friends I’ve made here. I really didn’t want to replace my friends from home, and thought no one would be as good, but I am kind of amazed at how close I’ve got to people this year, and how many people I just love spending time with.

So that’s it from me for today. I’ll be quite busy for the next week, but expect plenty of posts once I’m home. If anyone has ideas of what they’d like to see me write about, I always love external influences to make me try new things, so please leave a comment. In the meantime, good luck if you’re still having exams, otherwise I hope everything is going well for you.