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

 

 

It’s OK to be Nervous, Just Talk it Through

Nine days to go! We’re officially into single digits and well, let’s just say the excitment has turned into anxiety and I can’t even deal with the stress at the moment. Student finance is messing me over, I have no idea if I’ll have money on moving day and, the more I think about the fact that for the next, at least two weeks, I will be forced into uncomfortable situations with large groups of strangers…I’m not looking forward to this anymore…

But, I want to stay positive, especially for you reading since you’re my only motivation at the moment…I want to try my best even before I arrive in my new home. So I’m going to talk for a little bit, as I always do in my daily updates. Because I feel like these next 9 days running up to the move are the most important where essentially I’ll have the most to say. So, about the group issue…I know it’s going to be difficult but I think, since we’re all first years, we’ll all be in the same mental place of anxiety and anticipation. I have high hopes for my first few weeks in terms of finding people to talk to and to stick with since I imagine no-one wants to be alone on the first day of classes and no-one wants to feel left out on freshers week. I’ll do my best to work hard and meet people and try new things.

I’m always afraid of getting my hopes up, especially with big things like this. I’ve moved homes plenty of times and moved between family members so I’m pretty adaptable but I’m hoping that the fact that I’ve settle down this time won’t make it more difficult. I know I’m at a surprising advantage to some of the people I’ll be meeting, I’m pretty good domestically and I can clean, cook, iron and wash clothes which I’m surprised to find out now many university students can do off of the bat.Is it pretentious to be excited to be able to help them out and be useful? Hopefully not. Still, that’s one thing I have going for me, and even if I’m not particularly sociable at least I can help with the more domestic stuff.

I’ve really been struggling with stress these past couple of days, my patience is pretty much non-existent at the moment but I think that’s more because I have been left to my boredom and anxiety for the week which is no good. Helpful tip, don’t dwell on anxiety and stress, go out and enjoy the sun or rain and go for a walk…It really does help clear your head and lets you sort your thoughts out. I  need to get back into walking before I completely lose my motivation. I want to be energized and ready for moving day.

On a positive note I’ve got back into writing! One thing I haven’t mentioned much recently is my love for writing. When I was in Secondary school (high school) I used to write a lot and even had something published, but when I got into college it was hard to get motivated and inspired and I gave up on it for a few years. I’m now back into writing my first full-length book. I guess I have blogging to thank for that, two days in and I’m already feeling ready to do more. I didn’t think people would like my blogging, it’s rough and has pretty much no structure, but I’m glad you all seem to like my content and even follow my adventures and anxious rambling. I hope you stick around for my adventures coming soon and I’ll be posting a lot during freshers week to update you on what I’ve been doing before classes start. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick a society or two to enjoy while I’m there!

Please comment if you think I could improve on anything or if there’s anything in particular you like about my content. I’d love to hear feedback so I can improve my writing and content. If you have any ideas for future content I’d be happy to try something new as well.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful ❤
~AJ

Starting Bucket List and Anxious Update

Ten days to go! The countdown is starting to make me nervous as we approach single digits but at the same time I don’t think I would have as many opportunities to get excited if I wasn’t getting myself hyped. Yesterday me, my mum and my sisters went shopping for dorm necessities and even though my birthday is close my mum bought me a bunch of stuff for my bedroom. I always get worried about money issues in regards to university, I was so sure I would back out that I didn’t even consider what I would do when I got to this point. Even though I feel panicked and unprepared for whatever happens after the move, maybe it’s for the best that I haven’t had chance to plan ahead.

Today though, after my little day update, I want to share my plans for my adventures ahead. Moving from a small town to a coastal town will always open up more opportunities than usual. This particular coastal town is one I’ve never been to outside of the one trip to see the university so there’s plenty to see and do on the run up to my first day of class on the 19th. I set up these plans for one main reason, confidence building. I will be doing a lot of testing things on my course and since, without a doubt, my studies and work will probably have me traveling a lot, I can’t really be as timid and as unsure as I am now or else I wouldn’t get very far before I give up and that’s one thing I don’t want to happen. 

So, a general list first

  1. Kayaking
  2. diving
  3. reef snorkeling
  4. stand-up paddle-boarding
  5. surfing
  6. wall climbing
  7. parasailing
  8. traveling

This is just what is available to me in the small town I’ll be living in. As I explore and research more expect updates to my bucket list and of course, a pretty thorough and excitable review of my activities.

I’ve always wanted to travel properly but have never really done much where I go so this is my chance to finally have the opportunity to enjoy my new home and travel pretty extensively. I look forward to seeing what I can accomplish away from home and I can’t wait to share my progress with everyone.

 

Self-confidence is a Slow Process

Another countdown begins and today marks 19 days before the move and today hasn’t been the best day. I consider myself slowly becoming more optimistic, had I began writing a couple of years ago it would be much different content and I doubt I would have continued past the first post in all honesty. But today has been the first bad day I’ve had in several weeks which despite my slight annoyance that I broke my streak of optimism and self-encouragement I know there will always be the odd day or moment when I feel like this so I want to share this little problem and how, by the end of the day, I managed to come around. I’ve struggled a long time with my self-confidence and image, genetically I am large in weight though my diet is considered perfect for health and weight loss and I cycle almost every day. For a long time I had shrugged off my worries about my lack of progress on my weight loss and had considered the fact that perhaps I was losing weight just not visibly and then I considered that perhaps it was just impossible for someone with my genetics to lose weight. In the past few months I turned my interest from Jrock (Japanese rock music) to Kpop (Korean pop music) and my self-consciousness quickly returned after watching beautiful men with the energy of athletes dance and run and generally look amazing. How can I even start to compare to people like that when I constantly feel like I resemble an engorged slug? So today was a particularly difficult day when I didn’t want to eat or do anything other than bike my guilt away.

I always like looking at cool workouts online but with my self-consciousness I can only really do a full workout when I’m on my own. I find motivation and workouts I want to try but by the time I get around to doing them I feel my motivation and confidence quickly plummet and I quickly return to plain cycling which, in all honesty, I don’t think the floor bike does much for me at this point. With university so close I can’t help but wonder what others will think of me and whether, on our many trips to the sea to research, if I’ll be able to keep up on the hikes, so perhaps that played its part in my sudden wave of fear today.

I always feel repulsive when I meet people, I always worry if I look lazy or ugly or if they’ve picked a part of me to stare at in disgust while we talk so I had hoped I would have at least made enough progress with my fitness that these thoughts lessened but apparently not, and now I worry more than ever that I will be just as lonely and friendless as I have been in the past 14+ years in education. I’d like to think my slowly improving social abilities and personality would help but even that doesn’t comfort me much over the anxiety of the move.

I had a long time to think about this particular problem, I know I’m working hard to achieve my fitness goal while also looking after my wellbeing (a lesson that took me years to learn, health comes from a bunch of aspects of life) and I also know that my problem isn’t what I’m eating so I just need to continue working hard with my fitness and keep improving my lifestyle where I can. Making more of an effort to drink more water and green tea and making an effort to at least try foods that I don’t usually eat that could help. I know it won’t always be this easy to reason with myself and there’s always the chance that I’ll wake up in the morning feeling sorry for myself and feeling just as unmotivated as today but I want to still try hard and work towards my goal so that I can say one day that I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been.

I know a lot of people have these problems, worrying about weight and appearances will always be an issue in society in my opinion. So look in the mirror on your bad day and tell yourself five things you like about yourself because when you look close enough you will find some things to love even when you don’t love yourself. But never forget through your anxiety and worries that the most beautiful thing you can change about yourself is making yourself happy and healthy, because with those things your self-respect will naturally follow and so will your self-confidence. There will be days that everyone feels out of sorts and disappointed in themselves but one or two missed days of exercise or a day or snacking won’t undo your hard work, you can give yourself some flexibility and not feel guilty because those days off are the days that will give you even more strength the next time you pick up those weights or walk into your gym.