As the year draws to a close, I’ve had a compelling urge to write another blog, to summarise and reflect on the things I have learnt.
I started the year in tears. I knew 2015 would be the year of change, and I was terrified of it. I was beginning to grow as an adult in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. Thinking back, it’s difficult to put into words. 2015 was the year I would graduate, the year I would have to make decisions about my life, the year people would move in and out of my life in ways I couldn’t control.
Undoubtedly the best for me at uni. In terms of lifestyle, I definitely did the most than previous years, and consequently was the happiest I had ever been.
I felt more independent from my parents, even though they were a constant source of emotional support and love. I had a wonderful flat “wife”, who constantly taught me how to be a better person. We had some of the most memorable parties, nights out, and nights in! We joined the Cocktail Society, which was something both wifey and I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m really thankful we did something like that together; as I’m not sure I would have had quite as much fun without her.
I started archery, which initially was meant to be something I did fairly casually, but quickly became something I was utterly obsessed with. When I told my Grandad, who also does archery, he actively laughed at my naivety… I suppose all the new friends (and medals) allowed my addiction to develop.
I was part of the fund-raising team for the Fine Art degree show, putting on events and such to raise money for catalogues and the private view bar. For my course I definitely felt the most involved and committed than the rest of my degree.
Please be aware there are links to videos in this section which may contain explicit language. You have been warned.
Strangely, 2015 marked a shift of music interests for me. I feel this was partly due to the increased levels of stress and dependence on spotify. My uncle told me I could appreciate many different types of music because of “my creative mind”, which seemed an awfully bohemian idea. Nevertheless, my music choices range from Slipknot and Korn; to David Bowie and Pink Floyd; to ThisWillDestroyYou and Ludovico Einaudi. I think my musical interests come from real people writing and playing their own music. Artists who feel their music and believe in what they do.
My mood can strongly influence my music choices, but now I am much more likely to put on some relaxing instrumentals than powerfully emotional metal. I feel this transition is mainly due to needing to concentrate, which I find difficult when lyrics are involved.
That being said, I’ve had an amazing year of concerts. Slipknot (and Korn) in January, System of a Down in April, and Korn again in July. Dream come true for my inner 15 year old. My mother was with me for the first and last concert, and it means a lot to me to see her so ecstatically happy.
For those of you that think metal is for angry, aggressive and violent people, you can educate yourselves here.
In previous years, I would work full time in admin during the holidays to get out of my overdraft and earn my keep whilst at home. I never felt as if I had enough time to have a job during term time, and get my university work to the standard I desired. After I graduated, I felt an immense pressure to become a fully fledged human being and get a ‘proper’ job. At this point, I knew I wanted to go back to uni and do a masters, but had no funding to do so.
I found another office job through an agency and quickly realised I hated it. Yeah I was good at it, and the people were lovely, but I wasn’t stimulated. I found myself thinking, this is not my life. During this time, I was overwhelmingly grateful to my Mum, who kept pushing me to return to uni, find a job here, and on top of that she found me somewhere to live. “Winners find a way”, she tells me. I’m not sure where that came from, but I try to keep it in mind whenever there’s an obstacle in my life I’m struggling to overcome.
I was always looking for new jobs in various sectors both in Hertford and Loughborough, trying to make up my mind whether it was worth staying at home for a year, or move out as soon as possible. It was really important to me by this point to be self-sufficient, for a number of reasons I will save for another time.
Long story short, I found my current job as a private carer. I remember ringing my Mum after the interview saying “I REALLY WANT THIS JOB!” When I got offered and then accepted the job, it felt like the start of a new chapter. It meant I would be moving back to Loughborough for the foreseeable future. I can’t remember the specific series of events for housing, masters or anything else at that point; I know that I have Mum and Liz (my boss) to thank for giving me the life I really wanted. I don’t think I realised myself at that point how important it was to me.
I knew I wanted to come back and do a masters near the beginning of 2015. I toyed with the idea a lot. Left it, came back to it, pushed it away and finally realised it was something I needed to do at some point in my life. There’s no time like the present! I wrote a long winded post on my Facebook which I want to quote, as it is still true and very important to me.
“So after one of the toughest summers I have ever experienced, I have found a way to go back to university to do my masters. I’ve had to re-think my life many times and have learnt so much.
I’m glad of the obstacles which have made me realise what I can achieve and how far I have come. I’m proud to be self-funding because it means I will appreciate all the little things that much more. That does mean I’m having to go part time to manage everything financially, but I have found myself a great job while I study.
I’m lucky to have such supportive people around me, who haven’t let me give in when I thought there was no way I could do what I wanted to. I can’t even begin to thank them enough. I love you all so very much.
I’ve also learnt there’s a lot of money in the world, but not a lot of time. I would rather be happy and in debt than miserable with a bit of money.
I can’t wait to go back to Loughborough on Friday to start a whole new chapter.”
My masters so far has been tough but rewarding. Balancing my weeks between study and work has been something I have really enjoyed. In a way, it has been easier for me transitioning to post-graduate level, as I did my undergraduate at Loughborough, but I don’t think I appreciated the level of research and work I have had to do. Having said that, I’m lucky that I love reading and reflecting on what I am doing.
There’s not a lot I want to say that hasn’t already been said. As I said before, I knew this year would mark people moving in and out of my life. There’s much greater distance geographically between people I have cared and continue to care a lot about. I’ve learnt to accept that this is life and you can’t have everything and everyone all the time. I hope the people who mean a lot to me know that they are missed, and I will work hard to see them when I can.
I don’t feel different in myself, but practically everything in my life has changed as I knew it would. Change can be for the best though, and there’s not much that would make me happier. I can’t wait to go back and see my parents at Christmas and I think being away for this long has made it all the more special.
To those who read my last blog, and enjoyed my referencing, I’m sorry there wasn’t as much this time! I just felt the need to conclude the year in my own way.