Let’s Talk: 12 Months On.

It has been just shy of twelve months since I graduated from university, so I thought now was a good time to sit down and update you as to where I am and what I am currently doing.

I currently work in media, as the Deputy Editor of a community magazine – complete career shift from what I studied at university – but my degree was varied with content that when I left university I did not know what route I wanted to take within Forensic Science. Having the opportunity to explore a different line of work has been both rewarding and challenging, but above all it has helped me to realise the pathway I would like to pursue within Forensic Science.

I am now currently in the process of researching different universities and the different postgraduate Drugs & Toxicology courses they offer so I can make an informed decision to what would best suit me, ready to start next September.

Paderborn

I live in the beautiful City of Paderborn, Germany

Many students leave university knowing what their next steps are, others like me don’t. However, I did always know that I needed a break from education and Forensic Science so I moved back home with my parents and applied for work. My original employment was as an administrative clerk; it was only maternity cover but it was work nevertheless. This was an opportunity to start earning whilst I searched for something more permanent.

I also took on a part-time role as a youth worker, to keep me busy and earn a little more extra dollar. In addition to figuring out my next steps, I moved back home to save money because the cost of living is much lower. I am already in enough debt from my first three years at university, so I want to avoid having to borrow money to undertake a postgraduate. But making that commitment to a second job means in addition to saving, I have the disposable income to enjoy the finer things in life. I plan to stay exactly where I am until September 2016, when I will be relocating from Germany back to the UK regardless of whether I have a place at university, because my dad will be leaving the British Army in May 2017 – his time will be up. I want to be settled before my parents make the move.

Phantasialand-1

Budapest

I take the opportunity to travel whilst living in Europe

Anyway, the purpose of this post was not to discuss what I am able or unable to afford but just to demonstrate that all our paths are going to be different. It is important that the decisions you make are going to positively impact and benefit you. It is not just about the destination, but also the journey.

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The Importance of Positivity.

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I have mentioned within various areas of my blog that positivity is important to me. It took me a long time to realise what positivity means to me, and why is it important.

When growing up, especially during my teenage years, I developed a rather unhealthy and negative outlook on life. It became apparent that my negativity was impacting on other aspects of my life: my friendships became strained, my grades dropped and my day-to-day energy was lacking. Negativity was hard work! 

I don’t know at what point it changed, but when it did positivity became more of a lifestyle than just a form of thinking.

We are going to be faced with bad situations, but take the time to process all the information. Start with the negatives, and finish with the positives. Don’t dwell on what you have no control over. Positivity promotes happiness, as well as mental and physical well-being.

Positivity is a character trait where the individual focuses on the brighter aspect, so what do I mean when it became a lifestyle?

I experience bad days, and I experience good days. I also experience bad days where I  make them into a good day, and these are the days where positivity happens. These are the days where I feel good, I had a good night’s sleep, I’ve kept myself hydrated and I’m surrounded by people with good energy. At first, these were conscious thoughts but now it’s habit, because I want to express an optimistic outlook on life.

We are all at different stages in our lives, and all experiencing many different circumstances but just try to find one positive a day – put a smile on your face – and soon, it will fall into place and be that little easier.

I just don’t have enough middle fingers for today.

Some days are great, better than you could have ever expected. Some days are good, and others are simply okay. But then there are those days, the days that feel as though you’re doomed from the moment you roll out of bed in the morning. What next…

I am the sort of person who dwells, and more than often let things drag me down which results in one bad day turning into a series of many bad days. I recently went through a phase like this, and days were just merging together. I soon realised I needed get a grip, so I followed five steps to help me to the other side. I’d like to share those steps.

  1. Take a step back.

By taking a step back, you are giving yourself the opportunity to be removed from a bad situation and any negativity surrounding you. More often than not, I used to direct the blame at someone else for my bad days but I have come to realise that I cannot change other people, so I needed to decide what I could do to help put an end to my cycle of bad days.

  1. Have some ‘me’ time.

This is an opportunity for you get involved with an activity you enjoy, whether that be sweating it out at the gym or becoming engrossed in a good book, to allow yourself to escape from the negativity for a short while. For me, it would be the latter in a bubble-bath. The purpose of this is to give yourself a clear head, and gain a positive outlook before the next step: identifying the issue.

  1. Identify the issue. 

It may be a single event that has resulted in your bad day, so you’re likely to be certain you know what your problem is. Great! You now just need to figure out how to deal with it. Sometimes, however, there is an underlying issue which results in a domino effect into other parts of your life, thus a series of bad days. It is important to discover the root as this can be dealt with directly, and chances are any other issues will dissolve into nothing.

  1. Decide on a plan. 

People deal with situations in their own way; therefore how you best decide to deal with the issue may be different to someone else. Additionally, the identified issue may also have an impact on how you decide to approach it.

If you are unsure of the course of action to take, then speak to someone and get some advice. This is what I did; originally I was determined to confront the individual that I had an issue with as I thought this was the best option. After speaking with a friend, everything was put into perspective and I realised that this time things were better left unsaid.

Alternatively, make a list of the pros and cons relating to each of the different approaches when deciding on how to handle the situation, and that way you can figure out what best suits you and the issue you are dealing with at that moment in time.

  1. Put the plan into action.

If, like me, you decide to let bygones be bygones it is time to forget about the negativity and look forward as after all, tomorrow is new day. However, if you decide to confront the issue do it in a mature manner – decide where would be an appropriate location, know what you want to say, listen, but above all stay calm and keep positive. Hopefully, from here on out you have many great days!

Don’t forget that throughout all of this process, you don’t have to go through it alone, speak to someone you trust. It is much better than keeping it all bottled up.

If anyone has any anymore advice they would like share, or has any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Let’s all help each other :-).

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a therapist or even trained to give this kind of advice. I am purely sharing my experiences to hopefully help someone else having a bad day or surrounded by negativity. Photo: http://ssiwellness.com/whats-new/

University Survival Guide.

There are many factors which all students should consider to ensure that their time at university is both rewarding and enjoyable. I have attempted a ‘university survival guide’ based on advice those before me shared and the experiences I encountered throughout my time at university. I have collaborated my top 5 tips.

1. Ensure accommodation is viewed before signing a contract.

For those who decide to live away from home, suitable accommodation will be necessary. First year students will likely apply for student halls, whereas second and third year students will be looking to rent privately i.e. shared housing; I would highly recommend viewing the accommodation before signing a contract to ensure expectations are met.

Those applying to student halls should attempt attend an open day at the preferred university and take an accommodation tour. Furthermore, when searching for accommodation to rent, after the first year of study, it can often be difficult to organise a time suitable for all room-mates inquiring; if this situation arises, ensure that an alternate time is decided upon for the remainder who were unable to attend. Judge for yourself.

2. Party hard as a fresher.

Live as there is no tomorrow during first year! This is the period of time where all dignity is lost and friends are made :-P. Additionally, first year doesn’t contribute to the final grade of the degree, which I didn’t realise until after I had started university. Need more be said…

Priorities will change as students progress to second and third year of study as the intensity of work increases; however this will depend on the degree. Be prepared to become best friends with the university library.

3. Ask lecturers for help when needed.

The style of teaching and learning at the university stage of education differs significantly from that at school; the level of independent learning students are expected to undertake increases, therefore additional reading and background research are both important. This should not be used as an alternate to attending scheduled classes.

As a result, it is likely that at some point or another situations will arise where students require assistance. Common reasoning includes:

  • not understanding the course material
  • not understanding the requirements of an assignment
  • requiring guidance if university has become affected due to external influences

However, for any reason, ensure assistance is sought by contacting the most appropriate lecturer. Remember: lecturers are there to help, and sought after the best interests of their students.

4. Keep expensive and favourite foods hidden.

Let me explain: I guarantee at some point as a student, all will live with a borrower, aka food thief so to avoid this hide favourite and expensive foods in a secure location.

5. Budget.

Money management will be advice encountered frequently before starting and once attending university. This was a poor aspect for me as a student due to my shopping addiction, but as a female can you blame me? I fortunately worked during the summer months which funded clothes shopping without spending any student loan; a part-time job of some sort would be highly recommended and advantageous for a little extra disposable income.

If a part-time job is not part of the student agenda then advice services are accessible at a university’s student union to help students budget their money.

I apologise for the length of this post but I hope it is useful. For those of you who are currently midway through your student life or those of you who have completed student life, please share any additional advice you may have. Alternatively, for those of you considering university or start in September feel free to ask any questions, I’d gladly do my best to help.