Finally got round to blogging again after so long! I have been so ridiculously busy these last few months i haven’t known where to start, having just finished my final year at university my head is spinning a bit, I can’t believe it is all finally over, finished, after all this time. I remember at the beginning of my degree this point seemed a million miles away, and for the most part I couldn’t imagine what i was going to do with myself once i had finished, it was part of the reason i signed up to my degree, to put off deciding what i wanted to do with my life, and the last three years has changed everything, my life has happened because i went to uni, it has changed completely and in so many amazing wonderful ways, when i started uni i was suffering with depression, unable to let go of so many horrible things that had happened to me. Through uni i was able to get free counselling, meet new people and move on and get where i am today.
Having just completed my dissertation and now waiting for my results, about to start a new job and weeks away from moving house and changing my life again, it would be easy to have a bit of a meltdown, and in times gone by i would have done, but honestly, i have never felt so relaxed, so calm, and so ready for a change, usually i can’t deal with change well at all, but this time, despite several changes all happening at once, i have never felt so ready to get on with them, and that is because i have changed, i guess what i am trying to say to you is that right now if you are in your first year and things all seem a bit over whelming, or if you are in your second and are getting anxious about going into third year and finishing, just have patience, have faith in yourself, you came this far, and look at how much you have changed, what you have achieved, think how things will move on again this time next year and everything else you will have achieved. One of the most important things i have learned is that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing or a scary thing, even when its not necessarily the right thing, there is always something you can learn from it and then move on to the next thing, it’s all about perspective.
In my final year I was overfaced at times with more uni work than i knew what to do with, plus work, family and many other issues and sometimes i let it all get on top of me, then i decided to change my perspective, i wrote down a list of all the things i had to be thankful for, and all the things that i was worrying about and every time the list of things to be thankful for was far longer than the list i was worrying about, seeing it written down in front of you is a really useful tool in order for your brain to visualise the fact that it really is not as big of a deal as you think it is, and in turn is then able to cope better.
For those of you about to go into final year and can’t imagine how you are going to write a dissertation, as someone who has just finished her dissertation my biggest and most valuable piece of advice is – start now – start getting as many ideas down as you can for your dissertation – research how to write proposals over the summer and come up with several ideas and drafts over the summer – 4 months is a long time and therefore plenty of time to get a great deal of work done – i did that last year and it was amazing, when i returned at the end of september i was ready to meet with my supervisor and already had a large body of work and therefore lots to tell her and focus my idea more clearly, get as much research and reading done as you can so then the main bulk of the work is already done, then when you start back at uni in september, make yourself a timetable, be strict with yourself but break it up in to small manageable chunks, i used to say to myself 250 words a day, every day, sounds crazy but its not actually that much at all, and before you know it your work is just appearing before your eyes and relatively easily! and some days you will obviously write more than that, but just don’t leave any of it until the last minute, one of the most important things for any one dealing with stress and anxiety is to manage the things that cause it, its actually really easy when you think about, by just setting aside a couple of hours or even an hour every day dedicated to uni work, you are then free the rest of the day to get on with everything else, and come next february when tutors want to see drafts you will be well on the way to finishing, when others won’t have even started! Trust me, there is nothing as exciting as realising you have finished your dissertation, you work on it for so long and think it will never end and then all of a sudden you realise you have nothing left to do and its ready to hand in! what i did at the start of the year was by myself a book – and i said to myself i am not going to read this book until the day i finish my dissertation – that way its like a mini goal for myself, and i know when i start reading it it is because i have achieved something massive for myself, maybe try something like that for yourself? it makes it more fun that way and is something to work towards.
For those of you who like me have finished uni now, and are perhaps overwhelmed at the fact it is time to leave the protection and safety that being at uni brings, a place where you don’t have to really deal with being a grown up its like a stop gap, just take some time and sit back and look at what you have achieved, think back to how you felt on the first day at uni and how you feel now, who you are now. If you still don’t know what you want to do now you have finished that’s ok, no one really does! Just take some time to enjoy no more studies, just enjoy doing things that you want to do, make time to spend with friends, family, make a plan, and set yourself another goal, its often strange to have no deadlines in place and it can feel like things are all a bit aimless after three years of rigorous time tabling, so maybe just set yourself some personal goals – places you want to visit, volunteering, trips with friends, a new flat, a new job, a gap year, anything that gets you excited, because now is the time to be excited, and incredibly proud of yourself, a degree is a massive achievement, and life, and everything has its way of figuring itself out, but for now, just enjoy the summer, be content with your amazing work and think about what the next exciting chapter in your life is going to be!
for those in first year about to go in to second year or those of you just starting uni, ENJOY YOURSELVES, seriously, university was one of the greatest most rewarding times of my life, so just experience every part of it, it’s the perfect opportunity to push yourself, you came this far so keep going and have an amazing time, have fierce friendships while your in halls and life is all about staying up late in your pyjamas with your friends watching movies and eating supernoodles and laughing until your stomach hurts, going out to the cheesy nightclub down the road on a wednesday when its student night, joining societies and meeting new people, having bbqs on a tuesday when its cloudy and everyone else is in work, first years – just have fun – enjoy it and make unforgettable memories – second years – enjoy your studies, enjoy your student houses – group dinners every week, house parties, garden parties, nights out, nights in, just embrace it because it really will go quicker than you can imagine.
Most of all, just remember, no matter what you are dealing with, the person in the next room, sat at the next desk, might be dealing with the same thing, there are so many people at uni that can help, all you have to do is ask, don’t let yourself be alone through this amazing experience, you deserve to enjoy every part of it, even the all night study sessions in the library when you can’t imagine how you are going to finish your assignment and then miraculously do, those nights are some of my favourite memories, just go and enjoy it, and instead of worrying about becoming a grown up when you finish, you will find that it will just happen, and one day, you will just be ready to move on.
I have absolutely loved blogging on here the last couple of years, in helping you guys, it has helped me too, by writing down my stresses and coping mechanisms it has allowed me to deal with things and change, so if like me, you love writing, why not give it a try. One of my favourite ever quotes which has helped me focus my mind many times is this quote by Albert Einstein
‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’ – no matter what you are facing, no matter how hard it may seem, studies or personal life, it is an opportunity for you to grow, and become stronger, an opportunity for you make powerful changes to yourself and the situation. Something to think about.
Any way it’s been a pleasure guys, this is Izzy signing out.
Good Luck, take care and what ever stage you are at in your university career, have the best time.
A Charlie Waller Memorial Trust project
in memory of Matthew Wood and