Friday 1 May 2015

Just a hint of self reflection...

It has just hit me that this time next week I will be clear of all exams and coursework, and will have finished my first year of university, and I'm a little bit emotional about it. It's true that it hasn't been what I expected it to be, but this is absolutely fine. It has taught me that sometimes the unexpected is the best thing. I've made some amazing friends, experienced life in a new city and have made memories that will last forever.

It sounds incredibly cliched, and as a writer I endeavour to avoid these like the plague, but uni does really make you realise who you are. I hate to use the term 'find myself' because that immediately sets a scene of me backpacking across Australia with a braid in my hair and a koala bear on my back. Certain things I have learnt about myself are:

-I'm actually quite a feminist. Whether this has been triggered by the endless gropes from strange men in clubs, or just growing up and deciding what i think is right and wrong, I don't know. But either way next year i want to be actively involved in the feminist society in university, as its something I'm quite passionate about. Before uni i hadn't really given it much thought. 

-Hangovers only happen on cheap vodka. This is an important one. Smirnoff may not leave me freshly cut in the morning, but I'm sure as hell better off with that than Glens or the dreaded 'Imperial' vodka. No more cheap paint stripping vodka in 2nd year. Just no.

-My girlfriends are the glue that keep my sanity together. If I'm feeling down, missing home, stressed about assignment or anything else a girl gets emotional about, I know I can just turn to the girls to put a smile on my face and a drink in my hand within seconds. 

-I'm pretty introverted. It takes little for me to be content. I don't need to go out drinking every single night of the week, I tried that for the first month of uni and I think it just proved that month-long hangovers do exist. And freshers flu is very real. This is okay with me though, because it means when I do go out I do it properly. And it gives me time to catch up on the never ending reading list on my course.

-Writing really, really is for me. It's what I do best. I think my biggest fear about uni was turning up and realising that actually I can't write very well, and I'm on the wrong course. Luckily the exact opposite has happened. I'm happier than I've ever been and its down to my course, largely. 

-Long distance relationships do work, and its really not that hard. It just takes effort from both ends, a few hours on the train every now and then and a nightly FaceTime call. Not a day goes by when I don't speak to Sam, and thats the way it should be. It's made me realise how strong we are as a couple, and how right for each other we really are. I love going out, spending time with the girls and doing whatever else I do here, but I know that I wouldn't be half as happy if i didn't have him at the end of a phone whenever I need him. 

-Drinking makes you put on weight. Its really not a myth. Whether its the sugary mixers, the calorific wine and cocktails or the drunken takeaways and hangover cures that do it (or a combination of all of these), it takes it's toll. Go for a walk and eat some lettuce once in a while. Your body will thank you. 

Some are more insightful than others, admittedly, but all of them go to show what an amazing first term in uni I have had. I can't wait for second year to move in with the most amazing girls in the world! This whole uni malarky is going to just keep on getting better. 

Sunday 22 March 2015

Sunday Blues

Today is my last proper Sunday in uni of this semester, and this year in university. On Friday I, going home for Easter, and after that I'm only coming back for my exams. I have to say I'm glad. Not that university is coming to an end, not by any stretch, but I'm glad that I don't have to bare another Sunday here. There's something about the day that just seems to drag on. I want to be at home cuddled up on the sofa with a coffee waiting for my roast. Instead I'm wasting away my day on Netflix and putting off the work that just won't go away. 
I have a headache, I'm hungry but on a diet and things are just a little bleuh. I need a cuddle and a roast. 

Monday 16 March 2015

General goings on of Lucy Land

Mothers Day with the family
First things first, over the weekend I celebrated Mother's Day with my one and only, and my brother and I cooked a roast as she does for us most Sundays. It made me realise how much I appreciate her, and how much she does for us. Since moving to university, I have noticed little things i do that i have acquired from her. Some girls hate the thought of turning into their mum, but their are certain traits that I'm glad my mum has passed on to me.

Deadlines Deadlines Deadlines
Back to university today though, and it has hit me like a tonne of bricks that there are just 2 teaching weeks left of this year in university....where the hell has the time gone? It's scaring me a little bit though because it's just a reminder of my looming deadlines. Essays, prose pieces, poetry, reflective journals- you name it I have to do it. There is nothing more stressful than realising that everything I write in the next month or so is going to determine my end of year grade. Having said that, I am in a much better place than this time last year, as TimeHop reminds me, with the year long battle that was my A-Levels. It makes me realise that all the hard work and effort pays off in the end.

Writers Block
I accepted a long time ago the fact that writers block will always creep up on me for the rest of my life. I know that it is entirely psychological, and I work myself up to believe that I can't write anything worth publishing, or even handing in as a draft. The thought of my tutor reading my work amongst other people's makes me think she's just going to laugh about how amateur it is compared to everyone else's. But sometimes all i need to do is go and have a cup of tea, come back and start afresh. This battle with self doubt and realistic approaches is something that every writer entails, and I'm going to have to find ways to overcome the battle if i have any chance of meeting deadlines. I think my main problem is that I know that I am a good writer, and when that doesn't always come across in my work i get frustrated, and worry that I've 'lost my spark' so to speak. My whole degree is counting on me producing a half decent piece of work, and the pressure can sometimes be a little too much to handle.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Ramblings of an English student

I realise I haven’t blogged for a very long time, and for this I can only apologise. It usually takes an overwhelming emotion of some kind to get be back on my blogging horse, and this time is no different. I spent ten days at home, returning back to good ole Manc on Monday, and to my surprise there was more than a few tears.

An emotional goodbye

Having travelled up and down the country to see my family, friends and boyfriend probably a dozen times since September, I thought I had become pretty expert at saying goodbye to everyone. But instead, on Monday morning, I found myself holding back the tears the whole way to Manchester and eventually bursting as soon as my flat door shut, and crying for half an hour, What was wrong with me? I should have been used to this by now, but for some reason I was finding it especially hard this time. Perhaps it was because I had had a lovely valentines with Sam, and a week full of family and bestie time that it all became too much for me. And to be honest, the rest of the week want much better.

A phone call home

All the girls were either going home for the weekend or were doing other things, and the thought of having absolutely nothing to do was enough to tip me over the edge- and I gave my mum a call to try and cheer myself up. Luckily, my amazing mother had the solution to my problem- “get yourself on a train, I’ll pay the fare.” As soon as she said this a smile broke out and suddenly everything seemed a million times better. I got straight online and booked a train for Saturday morning!

My Manc Family

On Thursday after speaking to my mum I went to see the girls. Having already decided we weren’t going to partake in the weekly tradition that is Factory Thurssday, I turned up in a hoodie, not a scrap of makeup on and poufy hair.
“How you feeling- ready to go out?”
That was all the encouragement I needed, and within the hour I was back at their flat, a very strong vodka and redbull in hand ready to go. And this is the exact reason I love uni so much.  There is always someone on hand to cheer you up.


This term in particular I have noticed a massive development in  my writing. I am a lot more aware of how I am writing, and how I can improve my work. My favourite thing about this course is being able to ready other people’s work on our class forum, and share my own work for feedback. It’s amazing to give someone a piece of work and have some worthwhile feedback, other than ‘yeah, its great.”
Something that I haven’t quite got my head around is editing my work. Don’t ask me why but I find this almost impossible. “But I like that bit” can change pretty quickly to “It’s all shit. Delete it all” in an alarming amount of time. Having said this, my course has actually reassured me that editing is crucial. I guess I was sort of under the impression before I came to uni that every piece of work just needed one draft, and perhaps maybe a few spell checks. But being in uni has taught me that no writer, or in fact very few, have produced a decent piece of work in one go. A few tweaks at the very least is necessary before it’s good. And although the process of editing can be terrifying, by no means does it mean that I am a crap writer. Hell, everyone thinks they’re a crap writer sometimes.

The importance of Friends

I may have said this in a previous blog but coming to university has really made me realise who my actual friends are. Surprisingly, it is exactly as I predicted before moving.
See, my oldest and closest friend has stayed exactly that. Not a day goes by when we don’t speak to each other, and we still somehow know each others every move. Our 3 hour phone calls make my day, and whenever I’m upset she is the first person I speak to.
The friends that I don’t have to text every day to know that they are there are truly special, too. In fact I have a friend (or hopefully too, Jacob) coming to see me next week and I can’t wait for their first visit to Manchester. It just goes to show that you don’t need to speak to or see someone all the time to know that you still have a close friendship. And I know that summer is going to be awesome with everyone back together.

Having said that, there are certain friends that I can go weeks without seeing or speaking to them and it doesn’t have any impact on me, It sounds harsh but some people can very easily slip between the cracks, and it just goes to show the weakness of the friendship in the first place. There is no point hanging on to people like this- if they’re meant to be in your life they will be.

Saturday 7 February 2015

A Year in the Making

Ah, good old Timehop! Scrolling through yesterday I saw my post from a year ago saying "I have officially received an offer from all the universities I applied for".
The very thought of Sixth Form and A-Levels makes my palms sweat, and a feeling of dread hits me in waves- but I can't help but think fondly of the excitement of singing in to UCAS and seeing the little 'Status Update Notification' message and wondering what it would be. I was on an open day in Swansea, having lunch in a little pub when I opened the email that had that exact same message. I only had one more offer to receive- Manchester. We had organised a day out in Manchester for the following day, and I hadn't yet received an offer from them. Waiting for the email to load, my hands were shaking. God, how terrible I would feel if I didn't receive an offer from them, with a day out arranged for the next day. But I skimmed through the message and saw 'we would like to offer you a place on the  course in our university'.
"I did it!" I exclaimed. I don't know what I was most pleased about- the fact that my first choice uni had given me an offer, or that I received an offer from every single one I applied for. I was immensely proud of myself- even more so when I saw my mum beaming at me from across the pub table.
After that day though, all I felt was dread. I loved loved loved Manchester- no matter how hard I tried to find disadvantages of the uni and the city- but it was the furthest away from home, my family and my boyfriend. And besides, it was the highest grades so I might not even get in any way. Oh the nerves.
But, with a smile on my face here I am a year on. In bed, despite the fact that it's 2.50 in the afternoon, in my student accommodation in Manchester- excited to see said family, home and boyfriend at the weekend. Life is sometimes very, very kind. I feel like I have the best of both worlds up here.

Monday 26 January 2015

This one goes out to the one I love

So for some reason for the last two days I've come over all soppy, and am realising just how lucky I am to have the people that I have in my life. If I had to tot up the collective hours spent texting, face timing, and phoning my beautiful people back home (and dotted round the country in various unis) I would be dealing with a very large number (which scares me because maths is not my strong point, hello English degree). Thank god for free iMessage and FaceTime, and unlimited minutes ey! 

If I was making a speech right now I would be raising a glass to my mum. God bless her, we argue till the cows come home when I'm back home, but even still I will always come to her for advice. We once spent a solid 4 and a half hours on the phone (ironically the same time as it takes me to get back to wales on the train) just talking about...well nothing of importance actually. I look forward to our phone calls each week, and her cute text in between always make me laugh. When I ring her with a problem, or just to rant, I know I can count on her to rant on my behalf and come with a beautiful solution to whatever the problem may be (sometimes it's just a case of adding garlic to my pasta sauce). She rocks my world and I want to be even just as half as fabulous as her when im a mother. 

Next is my long suffering other half. He constantly has to deal with my moods, emotional melt downs and irrational rants despite him being 200 miles away- despite the grief I sometimes give him I don't know how I would cope without him. Our daily FaceTime and constant texting lighten my mood everyday second of the day. Being away has only made us stronger- and I'm so grateful to have such a loyal, trusting and patient other half. I look forward to our weekends and weeks together- I have a count down on my calendar ( 4 days til our next one).

Lastly (because I would be here for hours if I had to list everyone) is my main gal. Charl is the beautiful being that has the good fortune to be my bestie! She listens to my rants and rants with me. She calls me in tears and I drunkenly announce my undying love for her on a regular basis. Again, our ridiculously long phone calls are the highlight of my day- and our inside jokes,amazing memories and endless laughter is the product of 6 amazing years of friendship. 

Not to mention the girls here in uni who make this whole thing worth it! I'm in a loving mood and I'm happy to have such amazing people in my life. If you're reading this, you're probably one of them, so thank you! 

Saturday 24 January 2015

Busy, busy bee

So I feel pretty bad about the fact that I've been back in Uni for 2 weeks and I have yet to post a single blog post. Oops. So what's been going on with me.... Everything, pretty much.

Housemates, welcome
So, possibly the most exciting news of all is that we have signed the tenancy agreement for our house next year. A whole week of some very...interesting house viewings and we finally found the one we all wanted. We saw the house on Monday but held off until new saw the ones we had booked to view on Thursday. But about half way into the houses on Thursday it was preeettttyyy clear that we wouldn't be taking any of them. I have seen some sights in rented house but these were just appalling. Dated and stained carpets, kitchens which were smaller than my wardrobe (not even joking) and mould ridden bathrooms drove us to cut short the viewings and go straight to the state agents from Monday and put our names done instantly. The deposit was much more than expected so it leaves me extremely short of money for the next few months but it's all totally worth it. Being in a house with the girls next year will be amazing!

We're all going on a summer holiday 
January is aways the time when everyone feels miserable and instantly reaches for the first holiday brochure they can put their hands on...and I'm afraid I was one of them this year. After searching through website after website we found Lanzarote- and the most amazing looking hotel there. We go 4 days after my exam in May and I am just so excited!!

Back to reality
Practically as soon as i came back from my lovely christmas holiday I had 2 pieces of coursework to hand in within the space of 4 days, so I was pretty busy referencing, researching and more referencing. I'm not sure how I feel about the essays I wrote but I'm trying to tell myself that it's a learning curve, and whatever happens with my results I will see it as a way in which I can improve.
However as soon as I had handed the 2 pieces of coursework in  (after celebrating of course) it soon hit me how much I missed Sam. Before I came back to Manchester I was pretty worried that my first few days here would be filled with misery after missing Sam. But it was actually delayed about a week. As soon as the reunions with the girls and the coursework were out the way I started to miss the little things that I had been used to for the 3 weeks I was home. But I realised that all it meant was that I just had to get used to being away from him again- and I think this week I have. It helps when I think about the next time we see each other, and plan to do nice things when we do. Its hard, but like I've always said, the time we have together makes up for the distance.

Kicking my own butt into action
Over the christmas holidays I promised myself that I would start to focus on my writing and reading a bit more. After the excitement of the first term I sort of neglected my writing- excluding the stuff i wrote for assignments- and I promised myself that this term would be different. However so far this term I haven't quite kept my promise. Next week will be different though. I will endeavour to devote some time to writing, and 'me time' a little bit more.