Thoughts on University

20/3/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“The tallest Oak in the forest was once just a little nut in that held its ground”-Dr. Seuss

So, as the university year come to a close already I feel like I should update my opinions on my adventure so far. I go to Exeter University in Cornwall England and at the moment I have a lot to say. I told you the university name just in case anyone is interested in studying here too. I’ll be adding some more university-specific posts soon on for people considering studying here.

So I’ve been here for seven months, nearly eight and I put off talking too  much about it because I wasn’t sure myself how I felt. First of all, I am so glad I made this decision. I know had my situation been different when I was picking my university and course I would not have made the choices I did and while it has been difficult it has been an experience I will never forget. I have met some amazing people, both students and tutors and thanks to both I feel like I have truly made Cornwall my home. The people and atmosphere here are amazing, nothing like what I have been around before. Everyone is very open and expresses themselves comfortably, from guys wearing skirts and makeup to girls wondering around campus in pajamas and bed hair. The university student population have been, for the most part, extremely welcoming as a whole and offer such a diverse range of personalities. We have a fair amount of international students too and as our campus grows I look forward to meeting more interesting people.

My course is in Bioscience Marine biology so I have a lot to say in terms of course content but I will leave that for now. However there are some interesting things to mention such as I have tutors who are actually surprisingly famous scientist that have been on TV, which is pretty amazing. It’s interesting to be able to learn from actual professionals and to be mentored by them, they’re all approachable and open-minded and as biology students they are more than happy to help us in any way whether it is in private life, university life or work life. We meet lots of amazing people, various guests come to the campus to talk to us about jobs, projects and work placements that are usually abroad so we get a lot of extra help and guidance.

University life, especially if you’re not used to living and surviving on your own can be extremely difficult but equally as satisfying. Learning to budget and manage your time and to just generally be an adult can be difficult to get used to but there’s always help at hand to offer you support. I haven’t had a very good dorm experience living with seven other people but that sort of thing is completely dependent on the people you end up living with and you can ask to move most of the time. Frustrating people exist everywhere but since you spend so little time with them it’s not too bad. Don’t let that put you off.

In terms of workload, because I’m on a biology course it can be extremely daunting but it’s equally as interesting and even if something doesn’t interest you I can guarantee you’ll find something that does. the trick is to try to find something interesting and amazing in every subject otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself struggling to work and keep up with lectures since it’s very content heavy. The bioscience courses here do a lot of trips and practical work from lab work to working out in the field so even if you don’t like the lecture environment you can always look forward to the practical work.

I find myself feeling more and more grateful for my opportunities here, I have met some amazing people and have had some amazing opportunities and adventures. Moving away from home was difficult and I do find myself being homesick sometimes but after a while you do end up settling down and really feeling at home here, it’s hard not to. From amazing beaches, beautiful countryside and a gorgeous campus I really am so lucky to be here despite the difficulties I’ve had to face.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Influential People in my Life

15/3/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds”-Anon

Recently I’ve found myself being more and more influenced in my daily life by the people around me. I wonder if my supposedly empathetic personality makes it more obvious to me. I feel like when those around me are in a bad mood so am I and when those around me are in a good mood and positive I myself being the same way also. Is this normal? I’m not sure. I was never really around particularly negative or positive people, everyone had very neutral personalities and I didn’t spend enough time around them to see any change in my own mood. Recently I started spending more time with a friend in another bioscience course, we form a group of three with a guy that is very negative and not particularly passionate or interested in anything. I’ve found though that when I’m alone with him my mood is dark and pessimistic and I become quiet and self-conscious while with my female friend who is extremely passionate in the things she loves and has an amazing can-do positivity that I find myself trying harder to also be positive and happy. So thanks to her I want to talk a little bit about the influential people in my life and have a moment of self-reflection and gratitude to those around me and I urge you guys to try this too, it really helps you feel positive when you have someone to look up to.

First my mother, we’ve had our issues, maybe more so than most other families but I suppose being able to see her as a flawed person make me appreciate her all the more. She’s always been a hard worker, working mornings from 5am till late evenings on her own DIY business. She was the epitome of hard-working and passionate about what she did. From a young age my sister and I would watch her work and help where we could, growing up with a strong female idol that really didn’t care about gender roles really affected me growing up because I always felt like no job was gender specific, you could do whatever you wanted as long as you were passionate and loved it. As a woman in science I feel like having this influence in my early life really helped me feel comfortable about my interests despite some of them being labelled as ‘masculine’. She was also extremely strong emotionally through my childhood, getting through an abusive marriage twice really made me feel like my worth was more than what others made me out to be, especially growing up in a mildly sexist environment where men knew what was best in the household.

My older sister, we’ve had our fair share of fights and tension, especially when we don’t agree with each others’ lifestyles. Growing up we never fought but as we got older it felt like we eventually started to drift apart, especially when I moved away to study. She influenced me to believe in myself though, she was one of the first members of our family to go to University so she was always the personal I looked up to academically for her intelligence. I was always in awe by her talent, she had an amazing gift for drawing from being young and she always enjoyed it. I’m thankful that I had her to look up to when I was young, although a lot of conflict was caused from her being classed as talented and I just drifted between my many hobbies. My sister was also my influence in compassion growing up, she always put me before herself, I have fond memories of growing up with her, being read stories at night, she would write me pop-up books or make a shadow puppet show on our bedroom wall. Her endless creativity and gentle nature was one thing I always adored and wanted to have later in life.

My university friend, I can’t really put her name so this is an awkward way of going about thanking her. Please bear with me. She’s an amazing friend, for me who grew up with few friends and was often used by people I really struggle to trust people but this friend in particular had this gentle warmth that I’ve never really met before. She was confident and sure, always positive and forward-thinking that left me in pure awe. Learning of her own struggle with anxiety gave me hope that I haven’t really been given in a long time in regards to overcoming my own nervous nature. Her stories of traveling and life in London inspired me to open up and allow myself to be more passionate in my interests regardless of whether I feel like other people would be interested or not. She also has a patience that I hope one day I will also have, her patience with me, especially on days where I struggle to even smile let alone act positive, makes me appreciate her all the more. She’s always willing to drop everything to see me on a bad day and she always offers her own insight to my issues, encouraging me to be more positive and conscientious in my planning. I have a lot to thank her for, especially recently.

I have a lot to be thankful about and a lot of people to thank, but these are my top three. Of course nobody is perfect but these three people in my life really drive me to do better no matter what.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Thinking Positive

13/3/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way”- Dr. Seuss

I don’t know if this is similar in other areas of England and other countries, but from my experience in secondary school (high school) I found a lot of my attitudes on delicate subjects were unknowingly influenced by the people I was around in school. I’ve always had issues with my mental health since before I can remember but when I was in secondary school it was worse because my PTSD and depression started becoming more apparent and my anxiety was at a very distinctly influential stage in my life. A lot of things seemed to have influenced my perceptions on certain topics that I feel has severely affected me now that I have to actually seriously consider them. For example, in my year group in secondary school there was a disturbing trend of self-harm, low self-esteem and depression that made these serious topics seem cool and in a way popular. All of the popular people in my year ranging from the ages of thirteen to sixteen years old all forced these issues onto themselves to continue to be popular amongst peers. It was very typical, especially in our later years in school, for popular girls that were perfectly happy to fake intense depression and make up dark scenarios amongst peer groups in order to get sympathy and popularity. I never understood it even back then and now at twenty years old it makes even less sense me.

I was never popular, from starting to school and even in university now I only really have small groups of close friends, my home town was notorious for delinquent teenagers and a weird anti-social generation that severely affected the outcasts in classes and so I never really had people like me to be around.

Anyway, the reason this is an important backstory is that, by now, you guys know my story. My fight with mental illness and my general experiences leading up to me moving away from home to study. But I’ve found recently the influences of my teen years in my small home town have been affecting me even more recently. I always used to pride myself on my opened-mindedness…especially regarding mental health. I heard for years that it’s such a delicate topic that no-one really talks about it openly so in a way I made it my mission to change that somehow, that’s how this blog was made of course. But after speaking to professionals on the topic, I realise in regards to my personal mental health I am actually quite lax and in some ways even harming with my thoughts. I wanted to share my lesson with you guys in the hopes you can gain some insight into this topic and won’t make the same mistake I have made for years.

I have never considered using medication for my mental health issues, I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression from a very young age and thought that eventually it would fade if I worked hard enough. To be fair, I should know better as a science student, but hey, we learn something new every day, right? When I think about it, it isn’t a very efficient way of thinking about it, you’d think after 10+ years with these issues I’d figure out I was doing something wrong. My doctor made a very valuable point to me after I refused to take medication, she stated that if I was suffering with any other illness, such as cancer since it runs in my family, or diabetes or anything long-term like that, I certainly wouldn’t refuse treatment on the off chance that I may be able to get better on my own, of course I would take medication for it. I feel like my youth has influenced me a lot that even though I have these issues and I know a lot of other people who suffer from other mental health problems, I still don’t see them as an actual illness or disease like other physical illnesses in the world. It’s weird, right? I have learnt for years about brain diseases and illnesses that affect the brain in some way and yet when I hear the term ‘mental illness’ I still never connect it as an actual illness. A lot of people don’t too so in a way I’m not on my own in this thought process but I see it certainly isn’t a very healthy or accurate outlook to have. I’ve been through years of counselling, therapy, self-help strategies I found online but the issue is that these illnesses I have and that I imagine a lot of you also share with me, is that it’s completely physical, it’s not like it’s a simple bad mood that you can solve with icecream and a good movie (although it does help of course) it’s hormonal and physical and to solve anything like that it also needs a physical correction like medication.

I was scared at first, the idea of putting my faith of healing into something I can’t actually control was terrifying to me, especially when they spewed out the many side-effects and small print that came along with it. But I feel like I need to give it a try, after suffering for more than half of my life I should give it a try, right? I go for a consultation soon and then, hopefully, will start treatment within the week. So while I go through treatment I’ll keep my experiences documented in case any of you guys are worried about trying it too or have the same outlook I had that they won’t help. These things aren’t talked about enough in the open and I feel like that just leads to more suffering when people feel too scared to take the chance or feel like they don’t have enough information to make a informed opinion. So I will put aside my anxiety for once and hopefully I won’t be the only one to benefit from this experience.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Self-help, Options and Tips

15/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top”-anon

Today I thought I’d talk about something that I feel like a lot of students should know about. When I was in Secondary school (high school) we only had school counselors and not therapists. A lot of students’ issues when I was in school mostly derived from exams, balancing school work with personal lives and home issues but now that I know what I know I feel like maybe schools should have both counselors and therapists and let students choose between the two.

A bit of background on my knowledge, I was in counselling for three years when I was a teen. I started personal counselling when I was sixteen and finished just before I turned nineteen so I was doing it through my last year of high school and college. Counselling is based mostly around talking, at least in the UK it is. I have to disclaim now that this is based on my personal experiences with these two types of well-being aid and is based completely in England that I have had these experiences. I’d suggest if you’re considering either to do plenty of research on background, personal reviews and what places specialize in.

I had two types of counselling, one was a college counsellor and the other was a specialist counsellor. The college counsellor was especially friendly and approachable however the sessions were quite daunting as it was an hour long of talking and it was easy to get side-tracked because she was on call even when having sessions with me. It was hard to feel like it was personalised since it was just generic talking about issues and half of the issues that she asked to talk about didn’t actually affect me. To be fair to her, she wasn’t really trained to deal with my specific issues. I’d recommend this type of counselling for student whose issues focus around ‘less serious’ issues such as academic based issues or family problems. It’s a good way of getting to know yourself but it doesn’t actually help is a productive way. Counselling is more for talking out your thoughts to try and make sense of them more than anything but school counsellors can refer you to people that can help more especially for academic issues.

My specialist counsellor I saw for three years and although it did help to talk out my issues I found after a year it started to make me more disdainful and I found myself complaining more than I used to. When your sessions are weakly and you have to talk for an hour it’s very easy to get off track when your sessions don’t have any sort of system or structure. It’s also easy to become angrier and less positive in your way of thinking with it because a counsellor basically picks apart what you say and makes you re-evaluate your way of thinking. It’s designed to help you understand your thoughts and feeling and to help you come to terms with them but for people who are especially sensitive and anxious like me it’s easy to feel like everything you say is wrong and that you have a bad way of thinking. I think counselling is better for people who want to have a second opinion or want to understand other ways of thinking about issues.

I have been seeing an occupational therapist for a couple of months now and I feel like this is really good for people especially with mental illnesses. This sort of therapy is designed to help with a productive way of self-help and rather than talking issues out it’s more talking about issues and being given options on how to deal with them. My personal therapist is a great guy and really helpful when it comes to helping me deal with my personal problems. Rather than telling me how to deal or that there isn’t a way to solve it (like I was told once in counselling that it would ‘go away eventually’) he offers resources to deal with the issues and other issues that may come up later in life. He helps with dealing with social anxiety, depression, PTSD and personal difficulties like eating disorders and panic attacks. I feel like this is a much more efficient way of dealing with health-related issues like mental health since it allows you to deal with it in a way that suites you personally and helps you develop so you can deal with it later in life too or at least similar issues. I also think some of the lessons I have learnt during the session would be helpful in everyday life such as dealing with stress, how to unwind after a difficult day, how to deal with anxiety in public and in private and healthy ways to deal with excess energy, stress, anxiety and mood swings.

Most universities and colleges do have wellbeing help in place but I’d suggest talking it out with someone knowledgeable about which would work best for you and maybe ask for an induction session too both to try them and see which works for you.

I hope this has helped and has been an interesting read. Please leave a comment if you’d like to know more either about my counselling experiencing or my therapy sessions and I’d be more than happy to do another post or two for those interested.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Exams Have Finished! Where To Go From Here.

12/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“It’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren’t feeling twinkly yourself” ~Roald Dahl

So my January exams have finally finished and while I feel like I didn’t do particularly well I feel that, considering the circumstances recently, as long as I get my 60% to study abroad I will be happy. This year’s exam results don’t count to my final degree so I am able to take this year to just get familiar with how essays, science papers and the exams work. Since the exams have finished until March I feel like I have enough time to prepare myself better. There’s a lot of things I want to do before my exams, once my exams finish in March I have to prepare myself for my second year.

I feel somewhat better prepared for this term, last term somehow feels like a taster even though it counted to just as much as this term will. Since I had to settle in to university life, the dorms and pretty much a completely new way of living it feels like it took me this long just to organise myself enough to be productive. I’m hoping that after everything that has happened up until now in terms of exams and assignments that I’ll do better from now on. I’ve found it a good time now to revaluate everything and reorganise myself now that I’ve been able to pick out my strengths and weaknesses.

This, or more so, these next couple of months will hopefully prove to be especially productive and successful. I have a lot of plans that I think will be exciting and interesting for me to talk about in upcoming posts. There’s a lot to organize before I can really get into things again but as I begin to sort out adventures and activities I’ll be sure to update everyone. There are a few project’s I’m aiming towards especially this term. First is to start diving lessons soon, I need to be able to scuba dive for a trip next year. I’m looking into a marine internship too to help with living costs and help me not only get a better standing in the industry but also to help with the confidence issues I’ve been having recently.

So that’s a taster for what is to come, I hope you’re all enjoying the daily updates. Please leave feedback below so I can keep improving.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Taking A Deep Breath

11/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world” ~Roald Dahl

I’m going admit, when the New Year started I just wished with all of my heart that somehow I could be fixed and that somehow overnight I could become the person I have dreamed of for years. I wanted more than anything to just be successful and to be able to survive without feeling that at every moment I could lose myself again. Living with mental illnesses, especially a concoction of them, makes every so much harder when in reality they probably shouldn’t be. Little things turn into a two hour crying session and stress turns into a sleepless night wondering whether, if you ran fast enough, no-one would find you and you could maybe start again. Or perish with your fears.

Exam times have always been stressful for everyone, even those that spends days or weeks preparing. For me, when I did my exams in high school I was also in the middle of a very difficult legal battle. I had to leave home, move in with a distant relative that was emotionally and verbally abusive and spent most of my days at school, not at school. Spending my final high school days drifting between counselling, meetings with police and a court case that all hung over my head so I did pretty poorly for my GCSEs. Now that I’m back into exams I can feel the stresses from then returning. I find myself even more stressed than I would usually be, sleepless nights full of nightmares and daydreams that are sometimes even worse than the nightmares. I am struggling. And I think that I’m at my lowest people everyone else around me is also struggling and you can tell from the bags under their eyes and the pre-exam jitters that’s forcing five cups of coffee down their throats at 6am. The life of a student.

However, I feel like even with all of the stresses and the sleepless night. Even with the hours of crying only to finish and panic that instead of revision I’ve been sobbing my heart into my childhood teddy for comfort. I don’t think I’d change this for the world. I’m slowly growing, and eventually, with time, effort and patience, I will one day outgrow the many demons in my head. I don’t doubt for a second that thanks to the opportunities I’m given I will one day be able to say that I conquered my demons, my anxiety and my depression. I have a long way to go, and at the moment these goals seem so far away. But I am intent that one day I will realise that things have been getting easier for me.

I’ve become very self-critical lately, not specifically to myself but to what I say. I’m am learning, slowly but surely, how to deal with my more negative thoughts. I think the blog is helping with that, I’d hate to just write a negative post and leave it there for everyone to see, that’s not why I write. I want to get something out of these posts, I want YOU to get something out of them. That’s why, no matter what the situation, I do try my hardest to think on the bright side and offer my perspective to all of you in as many ways as I can. Your likes and views mean a lot to me, it means people are listening to me and I hope it means that people are also learning from my mistakes. I hope one day we’ll be able to share our stories and life lessons together, while I am learning on my own I do enjoy to learn from other people, whether you have travel tips or about your country. Whether you want to tell me about this cheap student meal you once made or how you dealt with your problems. I want to learn and I want to share those lessons. That’s what being On The Right Track is…it’s about learning and teaching and while you make your own path in life, the track you want to lead, it’s about helping others make theirs too. No-one needs to figure things out on their own, life is much scarier and sadder on your own.

While I talk, or rather, while I write about learning from my mistakes…maybe I haven’t been very good at that. I try to learn from myself, but I’ve realised I’m very limited in my knowledge. I know about health and the mind but really I’m clueless in everything else. But I hope this, these entries I leave for you all…I hope this is one thing I DO know.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful

~AJ

Learning to Ask For Help and Social Resolution

10/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“You don’t want to look back and know you could have done better” ~Anon

Being in university is slowly teaching me more and more about things that, before now, I thought weren’t particularly important. I’ve survived twenty years with my current abilities and thought-processes and I thought that since they worked I probably didn’t have to change them. Although I find living in a dorm tough one useful thing that comes with it is you live with such a variety of people that you’re bound to pick up some tips and tricks that you’ve never considered before. Since I struggle with social anxiety one thing I’m bad at is obviously socialising, although I love being able to talk to new people and learn things from them the initial meeting them and introducing myself has always been the hardest part of meeting new people. One thing I’m slowly learning is that people really aren’t as bad as I think they are. After being let down by people a lot in my past and being bullied throughout my entirety of school including college I had given up on the idea that anyone could put up with me or be even remotely kind, thankfully slowly but surely some of my dorm mates are proving me otherwise.

It’s nice not to feel alone, especially around exam time. My two dorm friends have been especially thoughtful and now I feel that slowly but surely I can learn to ask for help from them and hopefully, if they feel like they need it, maybe they’ll be able to come to me. I’m quite a useless adult but I’d like to think that past my anxiety and depression I’m a decent shoulder to cry on. Three years of counselling does make it easier to listen for an hour or two at a time to people. While I’m nervous of being let down again by people I consider my friends I am intent on trying harder to maintain our friendship and hopefully improve myself in the meantime.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful

~AJ

Premature Worrying

9/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Always do what you are afraid to do” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I worry a lot, and I know I do. I like to feel prepared and deal with things at the earliest possible point. Recently my newest worry has been moving out. I move out of my dorm in June and while we were told to start looking for new places in April people have already started signing contracts for places. Usually I would deal with my stress one of two ways, talk to friends or deal with it in my own head, however since this is something that I genuinely have minimal knowledge of I feel more concerned than usual. It feels like I’ve been left behind by my friends, everyone has already picked people to move in with for our second year and no-one has even asked me how far I’m getting with looking for somewhere let alone asking me to join them. Most student places are shared so friend groups tend to move in together yet here I am…friendless and panicking over whether I’ll be forced to live with a huge group of people I don’t know and may not get along with for another year.

I was so excited for second year, looking at places to move into but feeling like I’m on my own makes me hate the idea now. University has made me feel more alone than I think I have ever been before.

I feel like this is one of the few things up until now in my life that I don’t think I can deal with on my own, but at the same time for reason it feels like I can’t really go to anyone about my worries. My anxiety usually gets dismissed or criticised so I’m starting to distance myself from the few people that I actually talk to since they, too, dismiss me.

This post is going to be a short post since not only am I feeling especially gloomy today but I am revising for an exam tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ

Self-Improvement/Exams Start Tomorrow

8/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Stay close to anything that makes you glad that you’re alive” ~Anon

I’ve always believed in self-improvement being important for mental health, since I suffered from a variety of mental illnesses from being young I found that my hobbies were one of few things that made me feel accomplished. Being twenty now and in university I’ve found it even more important than ever before to continue with my self-improvement track. I have a lot of interests which is probably why it means so much to me that I have a  lot of things to try and do, since my university life revolves around science I like to balance it out with creative hobbies like my blog, creative writing and music.

Before I arrived at university I had a lot of plans of things I wanted to do in my free time, I was extremely disheartened when I found out just how little time I had outside of lectures to be able to do the things I had wanted to do. For me, personally, I like to develop new skills and interests, things mostly creative based are usually what I am for however I do take some time to learn languages and study things outside of science like botany, geology and anthropology. To some I suppose this would seem pretty boring and dreary but I’ve found myself enjoying just learning recently. Sadly my motivation and low attention-span recently has made this extremely hard.

I wanted to bring this up now in particular because tomorrow my exams start, I have four exams spanning four days which in theory isn’t all that bad but I’ve been struggling with revision this term having not had to revise in three+ years. I wanted to share my top tips to surviving exam season and revision.

  • Eat regularly and indulge, I find eating smalls meals that I enjoy and eating healthy snacks through the day helps me keep my motivation to work. Nice filling meals offers a good break from working for an hour to re-organise my thoughts and snacks help to keep my mind working and gives me a ten minute break every now and then.
  • Drink plenty of water! I’ve gone through about six pints of water a day this week, it helps me feel refreashed and lessens my stress. I am prone to stress-headaches too so they help relieve them a bit while I study.
  • Know yourself. I know I work best when I have music or a film playing because it makes me feel like I’m not working and it helps keep my attention on work if I feel like I can take a break as and when I feel like I need it.
  • Take breaks. I read a lot of different stories about the best ratio of revision to breaks. I work 20 mins, break for ten and work for another 20 break for 10. It helps keep my attention and gives me chance to stretch, if I get into a good stream of work and find myself working well I often work an hour and break for twenty to give myself a break. I can’t sit for too long in one sitting or else I start struggling to concentrate so I have to break regularly.
  • Be forgiving but also resiliant. Appreciate when you need an extra break or when you’re simply just not working at your best and give yourself some time to get back into your work but also know when you’re slacking off and push yourself to work that little bit longer if you can. It’s important to balance your time well.
  • Make lists, sometimes organising your time on paper or in a way you can see it clearly can help organise your thoughts so you can work better. Plan for breaks, regular meals and plan your work well so you know what you’re working on.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful

~AJ

Trying To Stay Motivated

6/1/2017

Today’s morning mantra!
“Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you no one would believe it” ~Anon

I’m still learning, even after three months in the dorms I’m still trying to figure things out. I think at this point in my life I’ll always be learning now, learning how to live on my own and learning about myself and how I work. I’ve spent many years not really knowing myself because I’ve had to change so much and now it feels like I finally have the chance to really work on myself. I do worry a lot, even now as I try to stay positive I worry about myself and my abilities and whether my goals are even possible for me but at the same time, as I learn about how I work and where my strengths lay I do feel like slowly but surely my goals that I feel are far in the future may be even closer to being accomplished if I work hard.

Living on your own for university is weird, it’s like you have to learn everything all over again that you thought you knew when you lived with family or friends or wherever you lived previously. Thought you knew how to budget? Now you have to consider rent and food and school supplies. Thought you knew how to clean? Now you have to work your cleaning around a university schedule that barely lets you sleep. Thought you were good at managing your time? Suddenly everything needs you attention and your time is being split into tens of tasks that you have to finish before the weekend around classes and lectures and that pub crawl your dorm mate is forcing you to go to. I never really expected but when I arrived, but knowing just how much organisation you need to be a functioning university student still baffles me. Saying that though, I think it’s one of the best choices I made. It is hard and it feels like such an easy choice to just call it quits sometimes, but the adult life and the university life is a surprisingly fulfilling challenge.

I have been struggling with motivation recently, since around November I’ve felt that what’s the point in trying? I can’t manage my time well, I find it hard to revise and my brain just hates trying to focus. I am working on it but I’ve found you really do learn more about yourself in this particular stage of life. I want to do well this term, I really want to study abroad and I can only do that if I pass this year, so hopefully I will figure myself out with plenty of time to spare to get my grades up.

Finding motivation with so much going on feels pretty overwhelming but I am intent to do my best.

Be happy, healthy and hopeful
~AJ