5 Facts About Me

4/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” ~Antonio Flores

  • I’m literally interested in anything, science, music, art, culture, languages, hair and beauty, dance. I think that’s one of few things I’ve always been somewhat proud of. Here’s a link to my Pinterest if you want to see the other things I’m interested in https://uk.pinterest.com/amyjackson54772/motivation/
  • I grew up working and playing around farms, my mother and aunt worked in them for a long time, while my mother went into cleaning and cooking in my school my aunt worked on a farm where we’d spend a lot of our childhood. My sister and I spent our childhoods around countless types of animals, on the farm an at home. Although I originally wanted to go into art, this explains why I’m now in an animal-related profession.
  • I have work published, when I was in secondary school (high school) in my first year my creative writing club was invited to publish some creative writing pieces in a country-wide collaborative short-story book. It was basically, around 100 words and you had to tell ‘a horror story with a twist’ while I did get my work published I ranked eighth best story in the book, didn’t get an award sadly but considering the hundreds of participants I’d call that a huge success.
  • While I am the middle sibling of three girls my younger sister is fourteen years younger than me. I moved out of my mother’s house when I was sixteen so I didn’t get to see much of her until she turned five. While my older sister and I with an age gap of three years have a very close relationship, my younger sister sure does make for some quirky and interesting conversations.
  • I didn’t really travel a lot when I was younger, I’ve only been on a couple of holidays and all of them in Spain or England, that’s probably why I’m so intent on traveling now! Although I’m a marine biologist I actually have a weird anxiety when it comes to the ocean because of a couple of accidents I had in the ocean on holiday.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

My First Trip Into Town

14/09/2016

It has been a long night…
Last night after my anxiety issues over my self-confidence problems I was up until late working out. I managed to find a good work-out plan that I hope will help on top of the large amount of walking I intend to do. I don’t want to give the impression that weight is a bad thing or anything like that, not at all, but my aim is not to be thin or slim or under weight, it is to be toned and healthy and fit for my own piece of mind and because fitness is important in my line of work. I want to stress that weight is perfectly fine, you should not feel pressured in any way to lose weight to be thin. As long as you are comfortable in your own skin and with your own body that should always be enough. Whether you are happy or suffer from mental illnesses or healthy or living with illnesses, your priorities should never be to be thin, it should be to be the happiest and healthiest that you can be and to live your life as you want to live it.

So, moving on from my body-confidence problems today has been pretty exciting. I had a 8am start and met up with two friends as we went to get our lab coats. The process itself wasn’t too bad but choosing a size did make me surprisingly aware of my weight (I blame my chest size…it fit everywhere else) and it was quite fun trying them on, it feels so official now. I’m a scientist! We ended up talking outside for a good two hours after that and since the rain decided to stop and the sun came out it was perfect weather for chatting and standing around in the sun. I nearly forgot how much I enjoyed the sun and scenery.

I went into town as well! So too some this may seem pretty normal and such but for me it was a big deal. I walked from the campus on a path surrounded by trees to a bus stop, it was a route I had never taken before and I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious before. I met up with Steph (a friend from university) and some of her friends at the bus stop which was nice but the larger group did make me weary and I did need a bit of encouragement before I started to open up. I think she’s starting to get an idea for my personality and anxieties because she has been really protective and gentle and has been extremely  encouraging. It was great fun, our other friend, Stacy, that has lived in town for a year already showed us around before we went shopping for wet suits. After shopping we went bar-hopping to some popular spots and it was so much fun! I never thought I would enjoy anything like that since back at home I hated bars. The guys were great that we went with and I felt surprisingly confident and comfortable. Another lady that walked with us for a while left early and when one of the quieter guys went to leave he was very charming and even called me adorable which I really appreciated and I felt ready to try more things and stay out for a while longer even though the socializing was beginning to make me tired and slightly worn-down.

I also had my first shot of vodka, I’m not one for drinking and since I have kayaking I really didn’t want to drink too much but we all had a shot each and I don’t think I have ever laughed and blushed as much as I did today. I’m so happy that it was a great day and I had so much fun and feel like I did well.

 

Kayaking Trip and Fun Day

13/09/2016

Today has been what I would call a very productive and very character-building day. University life is nothing like I would have thought and even though lessons haven’t even started yet I am beginning to prepare myself for the busy times that are on their way. Although it hasn’t been a particularly full day of events I have had plenty to do before my first lecture started at 1pm, I’ve found myself becoming slowly more adapted and domestic as the days pass and I’m quite proud of how quickly I have adapted and fallen into a routine that works for me. I have also found I love having my own space, being able to enjoy my personal space and do what I want with it has been so much fun and I’ve really enjoyed building up my list of things to do once I settle in properly.

So my first lecture today was called ‘UniSmart’ it’s basically a talk on safety and lifestyle choices doing university years and well-being. I could go on for hours about how amazing this talk way, it doesn’t sound like much, especially because I have had this talk so many times before in high school and college but, trust me, the delivery of this talk was exceptional. He went through everything from alcohol and drug safety to sexual consent and health and well-being, living away from home, mental health and how to deal with emotions often felt when moving into university. I felt so understood and appreciated during the talk that I didn’t even think about it when we were asking to go group participation and introductions to the people sitting beside us. He understood how it felt to be anxious and shy around new people and he turned it into a fun game that was easy and relaxing to follow through with.

I have met a couple of people on several bioscience courses that I have spoken to these past couple of days, we went for coffee on campus today before I had to go to a short lecture about my first field course on Thursday. So…the outcome of this short meeting is that I’m going kayaking on Thursday. So I’m pretty nervous, however I think during the two hour session I’m hoping I will come to enjoy it and maybe even get good at it?

I also want to mention I did something very difficult for myself today, after the sudden Kayaking trip warning I took to their website to ask the business that was taking us on the tour about sizes of wetsuits. I hate messaging companies, especially ones regarding certain needs where I am feeling like I’m putting them out of their way. However they were quick to get back to me and were incredibly helpful and friendly and my anxiety was quickly eased.

Update on the trip on Thursday.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Struggling to Fit in

One thing I’ve learnt in my short stay at university is how hard it is to fit in. It probably isn’t this way for everyone, in fact it seems like everyone else formed groups and friends instantly. But thanks to shyness and anxiety I’m one of few in my department who hasn’t formed a friend group yet.

I do have one thing to take away from this though that I must pass on to you guys. Be yourself. It’s something to act a certain way so people like you or talk to you but as soon as that facade starts to slip you’ll find yourself either alone or with very fake ‘friends’ and that’s no way to live. Stay true to yourself and don’t force yourself, eventually you’ll attract like-minded people that will be real friends and support for you. I know everyone wants to fit in, and for most being on your own, especially in a new environment sucks, but it’s ok to enjoy some time on your own and meet people naturally. It’s going to be difficult but at the same time it’s necessary and everyone should be able to be on their own comfortably. It’s important to be social and be around people but it’s also important to be comfortable in your own company and with trusting yourself.

I would like to add though that even though I don’t talk to my dorm mates and I was alone on my first day of induction, I did meet some really kind people and I did talk to most of those in my tutorial group. Once one person starts to talk to you most will follow if they’re interested. It’s hard to understand why you’re on your own sometimes but, like in my case, those that look in thought and are on their own are often presumed to like being on their own. It’s all about how you handle yourself when you’re on your own that will dictate how people perceive you from the outside before talking to you.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

The Big Move and First Day

So the move…I can’t even think of where to begin…

So I barely slept, I think I got about two hours sleep before waking up at 5 only to start packing again since I didn’t finish it the night before. I think, in hindsight, this process would have been somewhat easier on my own, but at the same time, I’m glad I had my sister with me for the trip.

So, to start with, the journey that was supposed to take 8 hours took us nearly 12 hours! the campus that I’m living at is surprisingly in the middle of nowhere, or so it seems, and directions to it are pretty crap to say the least. I think by the end of the trip everyone was pretty antsy and just wanted to sleep. I don’t really want to think about the negatives since the move was supposed to be special but, I’ve learnt now never get your hopes up because it’s surprisingly easy to ruin a good moment.

On that note however, I want to mention that the move was made a lot easier by taking people with me, especially since my sister came. Although it probably would have been more efficient if I could drive and had done it on my own, I imagine I wouldn’t have been as calm if I had moved on my own.

The scenery up to the university is gorgeous, and even though we got stuck in traffic for about an hour, the scenery made it a bit more manageable and enjoyable. I did spot some pretty lakes and streams close to the campus so I might go for a walk to one soon and take some photos to share with you. I’ve always wanted to have a picnic by a lake or stream so I might take some food to eat there and enjoy some peace and quiet .

A lot of people that I know have voiced their praise over the move and their excitement on my behalf, especially considering the opportunities this will bring for me. But at the same time, while I hear these things, a lot of the situations and praises they bring up are my own personal anxieties. Living with people, anxious. Big campus, will get lost. Great lessons, more chances to make a fool of myself. Even though this process and move should be bringing me confidence I can only feel that there are more things to be anxious about now. I’m hoping in time I will adapt well like I have done with all of my other moves, however, I didn’t really prepare myself for anything so, I really am going to have to adapt quickly if I don’t want to cause myself more mental problems.

So onto present times. Today was my first day on campus! I slept so well in my new double bed (I’ve been in a kids 3/4 bunk bed for the last year and a bit) so it was a welcome change but felt surprisingly lonely and alien to what I’m used to. I spent the evening listening to music and reading a book and was asleep for 10:30 which is so unusual for me. I’m still getting used to having dorm mates, we share a kitchen so it’s difficult to decide how much I can buy for food since we have limited space. I’m weary, I hate cooking and eating around people and I hate disrupting them when they’re together in the kitchen so I’ve found myself sneaking into the kitchen when they’re all out to get a drink. Anxiety is a serious downfall in this situation. But I’ve met a couple of people and they seem nice enough and I hope I will have more chances to talk to them without being too uncomfortable.

Surprisingly enough my final moments with my sister weren’t as emotional as I thought they’d be, she was pretty emotional but for some reason I felt I wasn’t allowed to be sad. I know if there’s anyone to prove anything to it’s her, I couldn’t let her think I was sad or that I wouldn’t be able to cope…if she left worrying about me I would be the only one to blame for not easing her mind before she left. I think the move was a big thing for both of us, we’ve never really been apart from each other for long and we’ve been living with each other and been practically inseparable for the past year so it only felt right to not part like we were leaving each other but to leave thinking ‘this is a new chapter and everything will be OK and we’ll see each other again soon’ It may have been wrong of me to not let myself get emotional, I didn’t want her to think I didn’t care about her or love her, but I couldn’t let her leave worrying and regretting.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

 

 

Leaving Party And Thoughts on ‘Goodbye’s

Friday was tough, I didn’t expect to get as emotional as I did, especially considering for the entire day I was actually in a pretty foul mood while finishing packing and waiting for people to arrive. I’ve moved quite a lot but I’ve never really been able to go through the process on my own, and although I did do most of the unpacking on my own I did get excited at the prospect that the next time I move it will be on my own as an adult.

So the party, it was fun but with one child at the party never looking up from his tablet (how special do I feel?) and the other popping every balloon in the room I had a hard time enjoying what should have been a calm leaving gathering. I did enjoy seeing friends and family though, although the party wasn’t as big as I thought since it will be my last one at home it was just as special and great.

Saying goodbye has never really been hard for me, when my parents divorced, whenever I moved homes to different family members. I think at this point, with everything I have been through in my life and everything I have seen and dealt with, perhaps goodbyes just don’t mean anything to me anymore or maybe I’ve just learnt to become detached from people. I won’t lie though, for the first time in a while, it was hard to say goodbye. Friday was the last time I would see my mum until Christmas, I know it doesn’t seem like a lot now, but the last time I left her for ‘a short amount of time’ it ended up being three years. I think the thought of her not being there when I got back crushed me and it brought back memories I had tried to quell for years back to the surface.

I hadn’t really suffered much on the run up to the party, I hadn’t had any particular stresses or anxiety other than the odd bout caused by boredom but it felt like by the end of the party everything was going wrong in my head. I was sick, my anxiety kept me from sleeping and my depression came back full force with an night full of self-doubt and regret. Maybe it was because I hadn’t really prepared myself and i had got lax in my preparations for the move but it was a particularly difficult parting, adding that my mum took our kitten and older cat home with her (my sister will be moving back in with her for a while while she finds work) so the house was especially empty and quiet that night.

I’m glad my mum opened up to me before I left, her pride in my decisions and strength helped me in particular with the move and I felt relieved to know how she really felt about me after being away from home for three years. I think I needed to hear it though because I gained some surprising self-respect and courage afterwards.

I think if I could say anything about moving away from home, especially for university, it would be that there will always be people believing in you and your choice and you’ll never be alone in your choices. There will always be support and appreciation for you and you should never leave with unresolved problems and unsaid thoughts because you’ll regret it once your chance has passed.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Short Update

Two days to go! The butterflies have arrived and I was sick all last night thanks to the strange mix of complete excitement and anxiousness. Tomorrow is my early birthday/going away party and although I know it will only be a small get-together to say goodbye I can’t wait.

I’ve finally got my timetable for the next couple of months and I’m shocked by how busy I’m going to be, I’ll try to visit plenty of places as I settle in but it’ll be a while before I’ll be able to have proper adventures. However, in the beginning of October I do have a day of practical lessons at university that include going on a boat! So I’ll probably take plenty of pictures and talk about it afterwards.

I’ve been finishing up packing and although I won’t be fully packed until tomorrow I’ll at least be able to spend tomorrow evening with my family and friends.

Another short update but hopefully tomorrow I’ll have more to say.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful,
~AJ

I’m Turning 20 Soon!

Today has been a surprisingly busy and exhausting day for me, it’s four days to go until the move and I’m so tired. Although the excitement is still somewhat driving me at the moment I’m still feeling the stress more so. I don’t really have much to say today and I think this will be a short post but I think a small update is appropriate.

I have completely finished packing and buying for the move, today was my last haul day where I bought the rest of my necessities and some extra clothes ready for the cooler season. I’m going to miss being conveniently close to all of my favorite shops. Although I don’t have anything properly planned at the moment for when I do arrive at university I am starting to look into what I can do on the tight budget I have at the moment. Next year once I’ve settled family members are planning to visit me so around spring or summer I will have plenty to post about.

I have started a list of places to visit and once lessons start I will have plenty of content with adventures to the beach, boat tours, dorm fun and general coast life and with regular international trips during my university life I will have lots to talk about when those plans start to come closer.

Another small update, I turn twenty this month. Because I’ll be at university on my birthday me and my family are celebrating it the day before I leave instead and I can’t express my excitement and happiness that I get one last birthday with everyone. Birthday’s have always been a big deal in my family and it means more to me consider I was born extremely weak, frail and close to death. I like to consider myself lucky in terms of my life and how few health problems I have had during it so it means a lot to me to be able to still celebrate it with the people closest to me.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Feeling Good and Excited!

So it’s five days to go and the excitement is finally kicking in! I’ve been looking at good places to visit on my days off and have sorted out some freshers week activities. I think I should have done this as I was getting nervous and fed-up because seeing the opportunities really does pep me up. My first plan which is set up by my university for freshers week is a boat party! It’s supposed to be a full moon that evening and since it’s a night boat party I can’t wait to enjoy some drinks and BBQ food and just enjoy the sea and sky for once. it’ll be my first time on any sort of cruise ship/boat so I can’t wait to take plenty of photos.

I’ve already started looking at things I can look at on my time off, I’m hoping I can work some decent days so I have enough time off to actually go and explore but we’ll see how that goes. My university does offer a lot of help for students looking to find work so I’m sure I’ll be well supported and will have a suitable placement in no time. Life happens but I’ll be sure to manage my time well so I can keep my content interesting and exciting and also so I can stay content and positive.

My first plan of action when I arrive will obviously be to enjoy what little time I have left with my sister, I’ll only have a day with her once we arrive at my university so I want to make sure we have a good last day. Other than that though I want to focus on trying to spend time with my dorm mates and go explore. There are several good towns near my university that I can walk to so when I have a free day from freshers activities I want to find some good scenery spots and maybe go dolphin spotting at the beach since it’s thankfully dolphin season! I’ve found some good gyms to join outside of my university gym that I’m tempted to look at since I want to find a gym that does wall climbing, bouldering and water sports (which is surprisingly easy to find at the coast) so that is one thing I would love to organize once I get my timetable.

I also am planning on kayaking lessons before it turns into winter, once I feel comfortable I can go on marine kayaking tours to swim alongside the gorgeous marine life around my new home. I think that will be a great opportunity for some amazing photos and to have some amazing experiences with animals that I’ve never been able to see in the wild before.

Since it’s turning into autumn I really want to do some seasonal activities for once, I’m not really a fan of Halloween so I’ll probably give that a miss, but I’m intent on enjoying the season in an entirely new environment. My first autumn activity? Cute sweater shopping! I want to be able to enjoy my time to the maximum and that also includes enjoying the little things. So I’m going to do a weekly savings scheme so that, as the weather starts to get cooler I can go shopping for a new jumper or autumn outfit.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling and getting carried away with my excitement, if you have any autumn activities you want to suggest please comment so I can try some out for myself.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

I’ll Try Harder

We’re on six days to go before the big move and I’ve finally started getting ready to pack! While I’m neither excited nor nervous at the moment I have a feeling it won’t be long until I really start to feel the weight of the situation, let’s hope it doesn’t wreck the mood too much. So my room is about halfway packed which is why I missed my update post yesterday and it’s starting to get difficult keeping my cool under this stress. A lot of things still haven’t been sorted, I’m still clueless about my student finance progress and the situation of wondering how the first day is going to be is already starting to get into my head. I’ve found that reasoning with myself is the best way to help me stay calm, however at the same time, with that reasoning comes questions that I have no answer to and neither does anyone else.

I want to find more to be excited for, and I know recently I’ve been pretty negative about the move. But I’m sure once I actually arrive I’ll be fine and excited. Perhaps it’s because it has been such a long wait and recently I’ve just been sorting out paper work and finances but I want to find more to be excited about. So I’m going to start posting to-do, bucket lists and general ideas on what I want to do and achieve in the next academic year (2016-2017) I have plenty of things that I would love to at least try so I’ll try my best to keep you all updated.

On another note yesterday my sister and I went for a walk by a stream that runs close to our apartment and, after a pretty stressful week it was nice to have a nice slow walk in some beautiful nature. I’ve never really bothered with taking pictures before but I think I got some really good shots of the area. I’ve found myself drawn to arches in nature, anything that looks remotely tunnel or arch like I feel has a surprising fantasy element that I really enjoy looking at. I think while walking is a great way to stay fit, it’s just as important to enjoy your surrounding while you walk because that’s just as healthy and calming. I hope next time we go near that spot we find a fox or badger, I’ve been around wild ones before but I would love to take some photos if I get the chance.

I’ll try not to miss another daily update since I think things are going to start getting interesting since we’re at less than a week to go.

Stay happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ