An Honest Reflection of My First Year of University

Hello! Hope you’re all doing well! I am currently on my summer holidays?!??! Which is mad because that means that I’ve SOMEHOW survived first year of university?!!!? If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that this year hasn’t been plain sailing and you’re probably very fed up of me rambling on about university, but it’s been a massive change in my life and I feel like my blog as become an outlet for me to document my experiences as a student. It’s definitely been a tough year and there have been points where I have wanted to give up but I feel like I have grown immeasurably as a person since last September and have learnt many skills for life throughout my university experience so far.

In all honesty, my mental health has suffered significantly since starting university and this exam season especially has been the toughest few months I’ve ever had to go through. Whilst I know it’s going to take me a long time to recover from the mental and emotional exhaustion of this year and get my mental health back under control, I don’t regret coming to university as I feel like my experiences here and the independence I’ve gained have helped me find the confidence to seek help for mental health issues I’ve been struggling with for a while. I don’t want to focus too much on the negatives though, I just really wanted to be honest and break the expectation that university is the “best years of your life” because believing that is partly what caused me to struggle so much this year. There have definitely been many high points throughout the year and I should be proud of myself for everything I’ve achieved. I’m going to talk about some different aspects of university life this year and share some of my experiences with you.

Living with other people

This was, perhaps, the thing that I was most apprehensive about when moving to university. Would I get on with my flatmates? Would I be able to look after myself? Can I even cook!? There were so many questions and worries that I had before moving into halls, which I think is COMPLETELY natural. One thing I’ve learnt is that everybody’s living situation is very different. The people that you end up living with in halls are allocated completely randomly and whilst some people get on well with their flatmates and become best friends, for others it can be a living nightmare. I’m quite happy that my living situation turned out to be somewhere in the middle of this spectrum as although my flatmates and I are very different and don’t have a lot in common friendship-wise, we get along well enough to live together. Sometimes I’ve wished I lived in a more sociable flat where we ate together and went out together instead of just five-minute small talk whilst cooking in the kitchen. At the same time, I’ve loved having my own personal space and the fact that I can stay in my room all day if I want to without seeming rude. Living with people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries has definitely been a learning curve but it’s been a very unique experience that I don’t think I would have got if I hadn’t had come to university. I’ve lived with people this year that I never would have crossed paths with otherwise and it’s helped me to become more understanding of different people. Of course there have been times where I’ve been fed up with the mess in the kitchen or the state of the bins but that’s just part of student life and adjusting to living independently. I think we’ve all coped quite well, aside from flooding the hallway, a ladybird infestation and the sad death of Henry Hoover. I’m actually quite grateful that I wasn’t close friends with my flatmates, even thought I’ve struggled with loneliness throughout the year, as that forced me to go out and socialise with other people! One thing I would say is that if you don’t find your best friends in your flat, try not to worry or compare yourself to the experiences your friends are having in halls as their living situations will be completely different to yours!

Independence

I guess this follows on from the first point but moving out of home as definitely given me more independence. I feel like almost a completely different person to when I moved in here. I was unable to cook anything and didn’t like using public transport or going shopping by myself. I quickly picked up how to cook for myself, I think you have to when you’re put in a situation where no one else will cook for you! And whilst I used to dread having to take the bus into town alone when I lived at home, now I will quite happily travel across the country on various modes of public transport, including going into London by myself and navigating the tube (which was honestly terrifying at first!!). I’ve also become a lot more independent in other ways such as looking after myself when I’m ill, taking myself to the doctor’s and reaching out for help from personal tutors and the well-being services when I need it. In that sense, I feel like I have more control over my life now. Part of me still can’t believe that I’ve managed to keep myself alive for the past year?!!?

Going out of my comfort zone

So pretty much the whole concept of moving out of home to the other side of the country was out of my comfort zone this time last year. I wasn’t even sure if I’d make it through Fresher’s Week but when I got here, I just kind of threw myself into everything and realised I could do a lot more than I thought. University is full of challenges and changes and I feel like I’ve really made a conscious effort to do the things that scare me as I know that’s how I’ll become more confident. In Term 1, for example, I went to a hiking society taster session BY MYSELF which was absolutely terrifying but it actually worked out okay and I ended up spending the whole day hiking with people I’d never met before (and unfortunately never saw again as they didn’t join the society, but that’s not the point!). I’ve also made an effort this year to keep in touch with some of the friends I made in Fresher’s Week and meet up with them throughout the year. I personally find inviting people to meet up very anxiety-inducing so this has been a big thing for me but I’m glad I put in the effort to keep in touch with people as now I have two good friends who I meet up with regularly for coffee or lunch that I met during welcome talks in the first week of term. Travelling to London by myself was very much out of my comfort zone too, but now I’ve done it dozens of times, it’s not scary anymore! Finally I applied to be a peer mentor in second year, which means I get given a group of freshers from my department to mentor throughout the year and help them settle in. It’s something I really wanted to do as I feel like I’ve been through a lot this year and would really like to help people settle in to university better than I have. To my surprise, my application was accepted and I attended training last week, which was daunting in itself, having to do group work with strangers! I think expanding my comfort zone is one of the biggest things I’ve gained from first year and I definitely feel like I am more confident than I was in Sixth Form.

Adjusting to a new environment

Another key part of moving to university for many students is living in a new city/area. Personally, I was really excited to move away from my hometown as nothing much really happens there and I wanted to escape all the bad memories that were made there. I’d only visited my university town twice before move in day and I somehow failed to notice that it was so hilly?? Like, the whole campus is on multiple hills. So the hardest thing to adjust to has been having to walk up two hills everyday to lectures and walk up another hill on my way back from Tesco with my bags of shopping (it is AN ORDEAL). My university is on a campus near a small town on the edge of London so I think it’s been easier to adjust to than being in a big city as it didn’t take me long to figure out where everything is. Although occasionally I still get lost walking down some of the residential roads as all the houses look the same! I’ve actually found living somewhere new really refreshing. It may sound weird but uni is starting to feel more like home than my hometown as it’s the first place I’ve lived independently and I’ve actually chosen to live here.

Homesickness

Although I have struggled this year, homesickness was surprisingly one thing I haven’t struggled with. There have maybe been one or two occasions where I’ve thought that I want to go home, but that’s more been because I’ve been struggling mentally and couldn’t look after myself properly rather than actually missing home. However, it is 100% okay if you are homesick as the majority of students go through this. Moving out for the first time is a big shock! I think what helped me not feel homesick is the fact that I told myself I could go home half way through term when we had our reading week, which was about 6 weeks after move in day. I was determined to stay at uni for as long as possible so I could let myself settle in and adjust to a new routine and setting a date in the future where I knew I could come home helped. I definitely think if I had gone home the first weekend, I would have been a lot more homesick. Also, I think choosing a university that is 3-4 hours away from home has worked well for me too as the hassle (and cost) of taking the train back puts me off from wanting to go home!

Friends

I think making friends at uni has been really hard for me. At first, it was easy to talk to people as everyone was friendly and wanted to socialise but as soon as people started forming little groups, it felt impossible. I was lucky in that I met a group of people at my departmental welcome party that I’ve stuck with throughout the whole year in lectures. Although they are all lovely, we’re not very close as I feel like we don’t have a lot in common so I kind of wish I’d branched out a bit instead of sticking with the first people I met. But I’m hoping next year I’ll get to know more people on my course as we split up into different modules. As I mentioned, I haven’t become good friends with my flatmates either which was hard. I think I just felt like the outsider from the beginning and as I’ve struggled with my mental health, I became quite withdrawn and avoided them at some points throughout the year. I have made two good friends though who I meet up with every few weeks, one who I met at the languages welcome party (as I started uni studying French and Politics) and another that I met in a Welcome Talk on the first day as I just sat down next to her and started chatting. So I am glad that I have them although we do different courses so I don’t see them as much as I’d like! I think making friends really depends on who you end up in a flat with and who’s on your course, but it’s never too late to make new friends!

Nightlife

Honestly, I was dreading this before coming to uni. I had only been to a club a few times back home and really hadn’t enjoyed it, mainly because the pressure to drink made me anxious. I did end up going out once in Fresher’s Week but after that I didn’t go out or drink again until about March because I just really didn’t like it. But then I made a good friend on my course, who I’m living with next year, that respected the fact that I don’t drink a lot so I’ve been out with her about ten times over the last two terms. I’m actually starting to enjoy going out now and figuring out what I do and don’t like drinking but if you’re not a fan of nights out, it’s definitely not the be all and end all of university life!

My course

Finally I should probably talk about my actual degree. As some of you may know (because I keep going on about it lol), I actually changed degree within the first few weeks of university as it just wasn’t right for me. This was very disruptive for me and I think it stopped me from settling into my flat as I was so stressed trying to catch up on work that I spent most of my time in my room studying. Sometimes I do miss studying French, but I don’t regret my decision as the way it was taught here just didn’t work for me and I probably would have ended up dropping out. So, I switched to Politics and International Relations and studied four core modules: Intro to Politics, Intro to IR, Classical Reading and Research Methods. IR has definitely been my favourite module this year. I struggled a lot with Classics because it’s a philosophy module and I had no clue how to go about writing essay or why Plato and Aristotle were relevant to my degree, but at least it’s over now! I’m still not completely satisfied with my course as it doesn’t offer me everything I wanted to get out of university, like the opportunity to study abroad for example. When I was doing French, I was enrolled on a four year programme with a compulsory year abroad which I was really looking forward to. However the PIR department doesn’t have ANY study abroad links, which I didn’t realise before I applied here. It’s really frustrated because I know if I studied politics at pretty much any other uni, I could do a semester or year abroad and still get the experience of living in France that I really wanted to get out of university. But I guess I just have to accept that that’s the way it is and there’s not much I can do about it now. In terms of the workload, it sort of fluctuates. As I only had 9 contact hours a week – 5 lectures and 4 seminars – keeping up with my weekly reading wasn’t too challenging as I had a lot of free time. However, in both November and March I had four coursework submission dates within the space of two weeks, which was very stressful and it was difficult to juggle writing four essays at a time whilst attending lectures and doing weekly reading. When it came to exams, I had one for each module in which I had two hours to write two essays. I’m honestly not expecting much from my results and it will be a miracle if I pass because I’ve been quite physically/mentally ill through exam season so was barely able to do any revision. At one point I almost didn’t turn up to an exam as I’d been sleeping for about two hours per night for the past few weeks and was having a break down at 5am on the phone to my mum when I had to get up two hours later for my 9am exam. So, exams were NOT FUN to say the least, but I’ve managed. And next year I’m definitely going to try to stress less and take better care of myself so this doesn’t happen again.

Wow, that’s been a lot of writing and I’m sure I’ve missed out some important stuff! Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for sticking with me throughout the past year and putting up with my rambles. It’s been tough and I’m so glad I have to whole summer to recover, I definitely need a break!

If you’ve just finished first year too, how have you found your university experience? 🙂

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University Halls Room Tour!

First of all WHERE did April go??!? I cannot believe it is May already (or more like I REFUSE to believe it is May and that exams start next week aaaah). Anyway, I hope you’re all doing well!

Today I thought I’d take a break from revision to show you my room at university. Some of you may be going to university in September or maybe the following year, so I thought it might be interesting to show you what my room in halls looks like. I can’t believe I’ve only got 6 weeks left living here and I’m definitely going to miss this room – it’s changed a lot since I’ve moved in, as have I, so if anything I’ll enjoying reflecting on this in a few years time.

For context, I live in halls of residence on my university campus. My block has four floors and I was unlucky enough to end up on the fourth floor, which means every time we have a fire drill I have the joy of running down four flights of stairs and always being last out the building. I live in a flat of 8 and we share a kitchen, although we do have our own en suites which is nice!

Also: I know that accommodation does vary from university to university and even across university campuses, so not every student room will look like mine!

When you enter my room, the door to the en suite is on the left. The bathroom is actually a wet room which means basically the whole room/floor gets wet when you have a shower which is kind of annoying but now I’ve learnt not to leave stuff I don’t want getting wet on the floor it’s not too bad! I also have some hooks on the right hand wall which I hang various coats/scarfs/dressing gowns on. Then there’s a little shelf above the door which is one of my favourite things ever (lol I know that’s so sad) as it’s the perfect size to fit my suitcase, sleeping bag and roll mat on!

On the wall running along the right-hand side of my room, I’ve strung up some bits of string and made a photo wall by hanging photos off of it. I’m actually pretty proud of this as it took some skills to tie the string around the coat hooks and then tie the other end to the hinge inside my wardrobe that’s at the other end of the wall (would have been so much easier if I was allowed to stick pins in the wall!).

It’s kind of hard to get a photo of all of my room at once, but basically once you walk past the en suite it’s a square shape. This wall backs onto the bathroom and I have used it as a sort of poster/photo collage wall and added some fairy lights in for good measure too. This wall was actually plain for like the first term and a bit that I was here but I got a bit carried away at our Student’s Union’s poster sale back in January. I also have a bookcase on this wall which is adjacent to my bed and is filled with various folders, books and cans of cider (student essentials).

My room has a double bed, which was strange to sleep in at first as I’m used to a single bed, but now whenever I go home my bed feels so small! It also has storage under the bed which is great (if I remember to take my stuff out from there when I leave!).

Then on the other side of the bed is my desk which is where I spend most of my time (if I’m not lying in bed procrastinating). I really like how there’s a massive window in front of my desk as it lets lots of light in and makes studying more interesting as you can daydream. I try to keep my desk tidy but sometimes mess piles up (also excuse the random plate haha). I spent a lot of time decorating my notice board too when I moved in and I’ll be sad to have to take it all down soon!

At the end of my desk, I have a cupboard, a drawer and a few shelves which get a bit cluttered sometimes. Then there’s my wardrobe which is pretty much full now as I seem to have accumulated more clothes since moving in! It’s actually quite a big wardrobe which is great and it has a mirror in the door.

So, that’s pretty much an overview of my room in halls! I’ve really loved living here this year and I think it’s just the right size for a student room. It’ll definitely be weird living in a house next year but at least I won’t have to worry about carrying my key card everywhere with me in case I get locked out (or the 1 am fire alarms!).

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my room tour! And if you’re heading off to university soon and have any questions about life in halls, feel free to comment the below!

Reflections

Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in here and quite frankly a while since I’ve checked in with myself. I thought I’d take the time on this sunny afternoon to sit down and give myself space to write, let the words flow out of my head and onto the digital page. I think it’s very easy to forget to take time out to just sit and think when life becomes fast-paced and I’ve definitely fallen into the cycle of suppressing thoughts and feelings and saying I’ll ‘deal with them later’. Well, I guess now it’s time to start dealing with it.

Generally, the past few months have been great. I was determined to enjoy my second term at uni a lot more than the first and I definitely have. I’ve got used to living independently now and am (mostly) managing my workload. I’ve also done a lot of things outside of my comfort zone like applying to become a peer mentor next year, starting volunteering and applying for jobs/summer placements (I somehow managed to get called to interview in a few weeks ahhh). However, all this has come at the price of me feeling really disconnected from myself and the present.

Whilst I’m happy with how this past term has gone, it feels like my life is very quickly moving in a direction that I’m not sure I want it to go. I thought going to uni would open more doors for me, but it feels like I am constantly having to make decisions which are leading me down an ever-narrowing path. It’s probably irrational, but the more I specialise in my degree – by picking my second year modules for example, which resulted in me switching degree again from Politics and International Relations to just International Relations – the more I lose touch with myself. Part of me still feels like I’m not doing what’s ‘right’ for me, despite having changed degree twice. I think part of the problem is I don’t know what is the right pathway for me yet I’m making decisions which will impact my future career prospects.

I know, realistically, I don’t have to go into a career that directly relates to my career, but I think being surrounded by other politics/IR students all the time who do want to go into careers in governments, NGOs, policy making etc. is making me feel like I should do the same. I’ve also realised that I’m not an overly political person. I don’t have really strong views about things and politics isn’t my passion, I just enjoy studying how the world works and politics/IR is one lens through which I can understand the world. I do love my degree, but it doesn’t define me as a person and I have many other interests alongside which I’m worried are going to get pushed to the side as I get further through my degree.

Also one thing that’s always in the back of my mind is my love of languages and how studying and speaking French made me feel. I wouldn’t say I regret dropping French at uni as I know the course wasn’t right for me and that I’d like my journey with French to continue by moving to France using the language in a practical way. However I do really miss it. It’s a bit strange but since I’ve come home for Easter, I keep finding myself spontaneously thinking and speaking in French – much to the annoyance of my family who don’t understand half of what I’m saying when I respond, almost automatically, to their questions in French. I think it’s because being back home reminds me of studying French and that part of my life where languages were very important to me.

That leads me onto another thing I wanted to talk about. Coming home from uni is very strange and hard to adjust to. I mean, it’s probably my fault as I had been away from home for around two months before I came back for Easter. It feels like my life has stopped and I’m stuck in this weird sort of limbo where time is passing really slowly. I feel like my life at uni is very fast paced and because I’m settled in there now, my life back home feels like it’s stopped. I’m not sure if this is making sense, but it’s really hard coming home and trying to work out how I fit back into my old, given how much I’ve grown since moving out.

I really wish life wasn’t flying past so quickly. I always seem to be planning something or waiting for something to happen in the future, never being able to fully enjoy the present. My mind is always thinking about the next thing. I think this is partially due to the fact that every week at uni is very different and friendships in particular are constantly changing. It’s really hard to hold on to a single moment before it slips away.

I’m not sure why but I feel very uncertain about the future at the moment. And I don’t just mean the distant future but even about what will happen in the next month or so after exams are finished and I’m allowed to go home for summer break. I know I’ll be coming back to university in September, I’m just not sure what will happen in between. I’m not ready for the long summer break and feeling like time has stopped again, as I do now, but I don’t want to spend the whole summer waiting for September and missing out on the present. I think I’ll need those few months though to properly slow down and catch up with myself before I become too lost.

I don’t think writing this has made me feel any less like I’m living in a whirlwind, but I guess it’s a start to slowing down a bit and trying to experience the present without worrying about the future. I think I just need to have a little faith that hings will work out in the end and I don’t need to be so worried about what the future holds. I really hope you’re having a lovely bank holiday weekend if you’re in the UK and hopefully I’ll be writing more frequently soon. 🙂

5 Student-Friendly Veggie Meals!!

Hello!! Since coming back from winter break, I’ve been really enjoying getting back into cooking. It’s weird really because before uni I couldn’t cook at all and now I’m always looking up new recipes, buying new foods and experimenting with different ingredients. Although sometimes cooking can be tiring after a long day, I really like feeling in control of what I’m eating and to be honest I think I eat a lot more healthily at uni than at home!

Today I’ll be sharing some of my favourite meals to have as a student and all of them are budget friendly too!! As I said in my 2019 goals post, I’m going to work on becoming vegetarian this year, so all of the meals I’m including are veggie friendly!! (Also apologies that the photography is not great haha, was trying to sneakily take photos of my food without people thinking I’m weird!)

The first meal I’m going to talk about is pretty basic but it was still really nice!! I had a cauliflower cheese grill which sounds really odd but honestly it was so nice! Then along with this I had some sweet potato wedges which I made myself, carrots, cabbage and peas. This is what I call a “freezer meal” – something I have when I can’t be bothered to cook from scratch but it’s very versatile as you could swap the cauliflower cheese grill for any type of pasty, slice or whatever you feel like! I buy most of my veg frozen and one bag of frozen peas literally lasted me the whole of last term, so this works out as a very cheap meal. Also I had gravy with this because I literally eat gravy with everything at the moment 😂

The second meal I’m going to talk about is something I cooked for the first time a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it! It was sort of something I just threw together but it actually turned out to be delicious. Essentially, it is a chick pea stir fry with noodles. As I’m trying to incorporate veggie meals into my diet, I thought I’d experiment with chick peas as a source of protein. I usually find chickpeas really bland but this time I made a sort of dressing with oil, mixed herbs, salt and pepper which I coated them in before adding them to the rest of the veg I was stir frying and they ended up having a really creamy taste. I then just cooked some noodles on the side. This meals literally took about 10-15 minutes to make and it was so nice, I will definitely be making it again! Also, any type of stir fry is such a great student staple as you can literally chuck any left over veg in a pan and fry it.


My photography skills really don’t make these meals look appetising lol but this next one is one of my favourite things I’ve cooked!! As you can probably tell, I love sweet potatoes as this meal consisted of two sweet jacket potatoes (cooked à la microwave bc the oven is SLOW), stir fried greens, sweet corn and pepper with homemade baked beans!! I mean, I had baked beans in my cupboard but there’s something so satisfying about making your own! I made my baked beans by boiling a tin of chopped tomatoes then adding some kidney beans which were left over from the day before, but haricot beans also work well! (Although I am aware this meal was basically just veg lol and doesn’t have much protein, I’m still working on making balanced veggie meals!)

(I mean, the photography just keeps going downhill but OH WELL). This next meals was another sort of improvised meal. I had a panini to use so I decided to make panini pizzas by grilling them with tomato puree, cheese, peppers and tomatoes on top. I then made sweet potato fries which I either coated in paprika or Italian herbs, I can’t remember, and then had LOTS of spinach on the side (why do they make bags of spinach so big?? It’s a STRUGGLE to get through it before it goes out of date!!)

Finally we have a nother quick meal which I just through together the other day but it actually turned out well! I had spinach and ricotta filled pasta with fried egg, pepper and sweetcorn and some kale. I absolutely love filled pasta (and it’s always on offer in Tesco ayy) and this was just another case of using up veg.

I’m actually pretty proud of the amount of veggie meals I’ve been eating. I’d say I’ve got to a point where half of my evening meals per week are veggie, and I’m pretty impressed with that!

If you’re a student like me, I hope these meals have given you a few ideas! I love trying out new meals so please let me know what your go-to meals are or just veggie-friendly meals in general, I would love to get some tips!

Things I Love About Uni!

As you are probably aware if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I do like a bit of a rant about uni. So, I thought it was time to spread some positivity on my blog – both for your sake and mine – by sharing with you some of the things I love about being at university!

Meeting New People

I’ve never thought of myself as being very good at meeting new people, but I suppose that’s because at home I’d gone through primary school, secondary school and college with pretty much the same people so I was rarely in a situation where I could meet new people. However, since coming to uni I have discovered I absolutely love meeting people from such a diverse range of backgrounds. Being close to London, my university is quite international which means I’ve met people from all over the world, as well as around the UK, and I find it so interesting learning about other people’s cultures and experiences. At first it was a bit daunting being in a place where I knew no one, but you’ve just got to remind yourself that 99% of other freshers are in the same position! I love the fact that there are so many people here to meet and there’s always new opportunities to get to know new people through your course, societies, mutual friends or even just bumping into people in the library. I’ve also been able to meet more like-minded people which is such a refreshing experience – and slightly mind-blowing – when you meet someone who may have had a completely different upbringing to you but you still perceive the world in a similar way!

Exploring a New Area

If you know me well you’ll know that I am very much an adventurer and that exploring new places makes me feel alive! I didn’t know much about the area of the UK that my university is located in before coming here (and to be honest I still don’t!!) but being somewhere completely different to home means there’s always new places to discover. I’m quite a restless person and don’t like being in one place for too long, so often if I have a day or an afternoon off I’ll go on a spontaneous trip somewhere. For example, I went into London to wander around and look at the Christmas lights. I’ve only been to London probably less than 10 times in my life so there is still so much of it to explore and I really don’t know my way around! I also go walking a lot, mainly because I’ve joined the hiking society and also because I just love walking. Last week I went on a two hour hike in between my lectures just because the sun was shining and I wanted to get out and about. I really do love where my university is, even though it’s a campus and not in a city, I love the surrounding area and how it’s so close to London and lots of other interesting places to explore.

Cooking

Before coming to uni, I actually really didn’t enjoy cooking but now, surprisingly, cooking dinner has become one of my highlights of the day. I really love having the freedom to buy my own food and cook what I like – not that I didn’t like my parents cooking at home, but it’s so satisfying to sit down and eat something you’ve taken the time cook! I really love trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients and I find cooking dinner helps me to relax after a day of studying. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite meals in a post soon! 🙂

My Degree

I am actually really loving my degree! You may remember I changed degree at the start of uni as studying French didn’t really work out how I wanted it to, and for a while I was a bit unsure whether Politics and International Relations was right for me as I always saw myself going into a career related to languages, but the more I study the more I realise this is the right path for me. I really feel like I’m learning about how the world works and what problems we’re facing on a global scale and it’s made me realise that i want to go into a career that will help make a difference to some of these global issues. My degree kind of encompasses all the bits I loved from studying geography, history and politics A Level as well as completely new stuff like philosophy which I find my mind is really in tune with, I’ve always like philosophising about thinks and I love the way that studying philosophy makes me think about the world today!

Every Week is Different!

Literally the weeks at uni fly by as I’m always busy doing one thing or another, and I love the variety of things I get to do here. my uni is really goof at putting on lots of events and although I don’t go to all of them, I have been to some like pet therapy and the Christmas market (we had ACTUAL reindeer!) which I’ve really enjoyed. Also I find each week my friendships with people change and grow – some weeks I become closer to some people and then the next I’ll grow closer to others. With every week I spend here, I feel a little bit more like this is the place for me.

My Room

I’m not going to lie, decorating my room was probably the thing I was most excited for when coming to uni. I’ve spent a lot of time making it feel homely and I absolutely love it!! my accommodation in general is just really nice and modern and I’m so happy with it. Also, I have an amazing view from my window, especially in the autumn – can’t wait to see what it’ll look like in spring!

So, that’s a few of the things I’m loving about uni so far!! I’m sure by the end of the year there will be many more!

If you’re at uni, what are you loving so far? And if you’re going to uni soon, what are you most looking forward to? 🙂

2019 Goals!!

Pink and orange sky as the sun sets between trees

Okay so I know I’m a little bit let in setting out my goals for the new year, but honestly December just flew by so quickly that I didn’t have time to properly sit down and think about what I wanted to work towards next year.

Whilst doing some revision for my philosophy module the other day, I came across the concept of doing things that make you happy. Whilst this obviously isn’t anything new and I’ve always recognised living a happy life as the main goal I would like to reach, it really made me think about how we can be more happy and satisfied with the way that we live. In particular, the quote “have the courage to change your life in accordance with the moments that actually bring you happiness” stood out to me.

I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on the how I used my time last year. What things did make me happy and make me feel alive and what things didn’t and that I want to cut out of my life, so I think doing more things that genuinely make me happy is going to be my motto for this year and the basis of my 2019 resolutions.

Okay, that’s enough rambling, time to get into my goals!!

Social media

Pretty much ever since I was old enough, I’ve used social media on an everyday basis. Especially with blogging, social media became a vital way for me to communicate with friends, keep up with their everyday lives, read the news etc. I will admit I have become addicted to my phone and it’s really not good for my mental health, so this year I’m going to cut down on the time I spend on social media and using my phone in general, because there are so many exciting things to go and experience in life and I don’t want to waste time scrolling endlessly through social media! I’ve already managed to not use Snapchat and Instagram since New Year’s Eve so I think that this goal is going well so far?? I’m not sure if I want to completely cut out social media or just use it less so for now I’m going to take a break from a few at a time until I am in a better mindset where I can use them more moderately and be focused and content with what I am doing in my life rather than constantly comparing myself to other people, which is not good for my mental health! Since being at uni I have really learnt the value of picking up the phone and having a proper conversation with my friends and family, rather than just seeing what they’ve been up to on social media, so I hope to do this more often in 2019!

Live more sustainably

As I’ve grown up, I’ve become more and more conscious of the impact that our decisions and lifestyle choices have on the world around us. I think it’s really important to be aware of the problems are world is facing as the lifestyle we are currently living cannot be sustained forever unless we make some important changes. I’ve never really accepted that consuming so many natural resources, creating so much pollution and destructing so many ecosystems around the world is the way we’re meant to live or should live or just the way it is. I believe we can change our lifestyles to be less destructive to the environment and maybe that may seem unrealistic to others but I know there are things in my life that I could change to live more sustainably and this year I plan to do some of them.

Since becoming a student, I’ve had access to more money than I have before because of my student loan which has meant that I’ve been spending more moeny on clothes and just general consumer goods. My goal for this year is to think carefully before buying new things because realistically, I probably don’t need them or there are probably more ethical sources I could buy them from. I really want to be more conscious of what I buy and where it comes from because the “throw-away” society that we live in is damaging our environment. I know plastic pollution has been a big thing in the past few months, so I really want to be aware of how much plastic I am throwing away and try to reduce this as well.

In addition, this year I would really like to make progress towards becoming a vegetarian. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have only really had the opportunity to since moving out to uni. I’d say at uni, about half of the meals I cook are currently vegetarian as meat is expensive and I’ve discovered I really love cooking and experimenting with new meals so have been exploring different ways to add protein to my diet other than meat. I need to do some more research into vegetarianism and it is a change that I will have to make gradually throughout the year but I’m hopefully that by the end of 2019, I will be eating fully vegetarian!

Get a job

I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory but I do really need to get a job this summer. When I graduate university (which is a scary thought) I really would like to move to France for a year because I was going to do a year abroad as part of my degree but since dropping French, I’m no longer able to do this. However, I still love speaking French and learning about French culture and it has been my dream for a long time to live there. So I really need to start saving for this as I have no idea how expensive moving abroad will be! Ideally I would get a job or an internship in France whilst I’m there as opposed to just travelling, but we’ll see what happens!

Travel

I really want to travel this year. I’ve been able to spend time abroad in the summer for the last two years with friends and with sixth form and it’s safe to say I’ve caught the travel bug. At the moment I have no travel plans set in stone, but I hope that will change soon!! I love visiting new places and gaining a different perspective on life. Even if I can;t travel abroad, I really want to spend more time exploring the UK, especially the area around my university as it is very different to back home!

Looking after my mental health

My last goal is quite a big one. 2018 was not a great year for me in terms of mental health so I’m very happy to see the back of that year, however I want to make sure that 2019 is better. Some things I really want to tackle are stress, self-confidence and accepting myself. I think self-confidence and struggling to accept myself are two things that I have been struggling with for a very long time and I know they are not things which can be fixed easily, but by recognising them as things I struggle with, hopefully I will be able to make more progress in overcoming this year. Stress is something I really need to get better at managing. I remember during GCSEs, I wasn’t really stressed at all or at least I managed it better but since starting sixth form and then going onto uni, my stress levels have been incredibly high and I’ve just lost the ability to deal with it. Often stress is what triggers periods of bad mental health for me so I’d really like to get a handle on it. One thing I’m going to do to look after my mental health is to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I have used meditation before during exam time to calm me down and ground me, but I think meditating daily could really help me to stay mindful and think clearly instead of getting so stressed over everything.

So, those are all my goals for 2019. I know some of them are pretty big goals that I can’t achieve in a short space of time, but the new year is a blank canvas so who knows what progress I will have made by the end of the year!

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Have you set any goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

November wrap up!

Hello! It’s December yay!! In two weeks time I’ll be at home, beginning my month-long Christmas break which I am honestly so ready for. Today I thought I’d wrap up November by recapping what I’ve been up to, as well as some things I’m looking forward to in December. Time passes so quickly at university that it feels like I’ve done so much yet nothing at all, so it will be nice to look back at the past month!

Meeting bloggers!

I think I mentioned this in another post but at the beginning of November I met up with Megan, Kel, Eve and Janet and spent the day wandering around London, it was such a  lovely day!

Going home!

My university had a reading week at the beginning of November too which essentially consisted of a week of no lectures to help us catch up on reading and work on our assignments. On the Wednesday of that week my mum and my sister came to visit, I showed them around my uni and we went shopping and ate out in the local town. Then my mum and I got the train home and I stayed until the Sunday. It was so weird being home, it almost didn’t feel like home anymore, but it was lovely to spend proper time with my family. We went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema, we watched our local illuminated carnival even though it was tipping it down and I also went to the Remembrance Day service. I also managed to see one of my friends who had come back from uni too so that was great!

Fantastic Beasts

Me and three of my uni friends went to see Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it as the first film was so good, but it was a good evening nonetheless!

Essays…ugh

I had three 2000 essays due in this month which each contribute to 25% of my grade for each of those three modules. Honestly I got so ridiculously stressed whilst writing these essays that it was making me ill as I couldn’t sleep and felt constantly exhausted and dizzy. It was not fun so next time essays are due I definitely need to manage my time better, try not to panic and make sure I’m sleeping and eating properly. 

Birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday! It was so weird not being at home, seeing my family or doing our usual birthday traditions, but I did have a nice day. My family had sent some cards and parcels to me so I did have some presents to open, then two of my uni friends took me out for brunch which turned into a shopping spree!

I also met up with my sister again last weekend as I was so stressed I just needed to get out of uni, so we met up in a town halfway between her uni and mine. Something I’ve learnt whilst being at uni is that sometimes you just need a bit of normality because everything can get overwhelming very quickly, so seeing family or talking to friends from home can really help you to put things in perspective.

So that’s how November panned out, now some things to look forward to in the coming month.

Obviously Christmas break is what I’m most looking forward to – I get to go home for a whole month and I can’t wait! I think coming up to the Christmas period I’ve been more homesick than previously as at this time of year I just want to be around my family. However I haven’t got long to wait! 

I’m really looking forward to just spending evenings with my family, playing board games and watching TV. I’ll also be going to Devon and Yorkshire to visit my grandparents which will be great as I haven’t seen them in about a year.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my friends from home too as we’ll finally all be in the same place.

I’m sad I don’t have time to do Blogmas this year, but if any of you are, let me know as I’d love to keep up with your posts!

I think that’s all for now, sorry this post has been a bit all over the place!