Where have I been?

This summer is turning out to be a particularly busy one… and I’m loving it. I really feel as if I’m fulfilled, as if I’m getting something out of my life. I’m happy, I’m making the most of things, and yet I don’t stressed, I just feel excited for the future.

I’ve recently taken on a role as News Writer for Kettle magazine, which is an online magazine that promotes student journalism. I’ve been writing for them for the last year, tending to sway towards writing lifestyle pieces, but when an opportunity to write for their news team came up, I put myself forward, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to step away from the norm and to try something new. It’s actually really refreshing to write something different!

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and Rich’s family. I’ve been catching up with my parents and my siblings, spending time exploring bits of Manchester and just generally having down time. I’ve also spent a few lovely days with friends, eating delicious foods and doing bits of holiday shopping.

Me and Rich have spent the last couple of weekends down in Birmingham which is where Rich’s parents live, and it’s been great to chill out and relax in the garden on sunny days. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, we went to see Mamma Mia the musical, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was exactly Rich’s thing, but I loved it. Last night we went on a pub crawl and then clubbing in Birmingham with friends which was fun, though I feel like a bit of a grandma as I was craving my bed pretty early into the night!

In terms of my blog, I’m definitely going to have some new pieces up in the next two weeks. I’m off to Anglesey on Thursday night through till Sunday for some R and R, so I promise to document the trip and to hopefully take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. For now, you can click here and check out my latest blog post which is a piece of prose poetry that I’ve been working on.

I hope that you’re all having a lovely summer, whatever it is that you’re doing. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below 🙂

Love from Beth x

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The City

It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers, it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

Student Guide: Why it’s important to think before you choose your university course

I think a lot of seventeen year olds out there feel like they HAVE to go to university. As soon as you’re in year 12 you’re told you have to start filling out UCAS forms, that you need to start spending every weekend travelling up and down the country visiting universities, and that you need to decide what it is that you want to do for the rest of your life. You start to feel really pressured, and you lend up deciding something that you might lend up regretting two years later.

Sometimes that’s how I feel. As many of you know, I’m an undergraduate at the University of Chester and I study BA English Literature and Creative Writing. I chose to study my subject as I’ve always loved to read, ever since my dad read Harry Potter to me when I was a little girl. I spent the majority of my childhood scouring car boot sales for books, persuading my parents to just get me books for Christmas, and spending hours holed up in my bedroom devouring words. Therefore, when it got to the time where I had to decide what I wanted to study, I thought English Literature would be the perfect course for me.

Two years later, I wouldn’t neccessarily agree. Although I do enjoy the majority of my course, I don’t enjoy all of it. Sometimes I feel unmotivated by some of my modules, and I find reading to become tedious. This happened to me so much so in my first year of uni, that I no longer read for pleasure anymore. Luckily my second year modules excited me much more, and I now read ALL the time again. It’s rare you’ll find me going anywhere without a book in hand. My third year modules don’t excite me quite as much, but this year I’m determined that I’m not going to let it get me down.

I think the problem for me is that I chose my course too soon. I don’t think I fully read up on what it would entail. Sometimes I sit in my lectures, and find that the majority of my peers seem so much more knowledgeable about English theory than myself. They know about Marxist theories, they’re strong feminists, and they really seem to relate to nineteenth century characters in a way that I just can’t. I do, however, really enjoy my Creative Writing modules. I love writing poetry, I’ve really enjoyed a module I took on an insight into the publishing world, and I’m excited to try out life writing in the upcoming year. I’ve also chosen my dissertation topic, which is to be an indepth discovery into folklore and legends, and their evolution through literature.

I think if I’d have been choosing my university course now, I would go down a different path. I know now that I want a career in marketing, and I think I would have chosen a marketing degree. At the time I was choosing, I really felt that I didn’t get much advice from my tutors at my college. I felt rushed and I felt I had to choose something that I’d studied before. I guess there’s nothing familiar in the unknown.

I think my advice to sixth form students getting ready to choose their university courses in the upcoming months is to find something that you enjoy, but also to look at possible career paths afterwards. Try and speak to people who have done similar degrees. And if you’ve already started your course and you’re already hating it, then think about making a switch. Don’t spend three years doing something that you don’t love.

Monday blues

Hi all, I first of all want to address the issue of my infrequent posting the last two weeks, I feel as if I’ve really neglected my blog and of course all of you guys. I think my main reason has been simply down to lack of time, and also the fact that I seem to have hit a bit of a writer’s block. Do any of you out there ever feel like that?

Maybe it’s because it’s a Monday, which has always been my least favourite day of the week, and the fact that the skies outside my window are no longer blue, but I feel a bit of a case of hitting a slump. I’m feeling unmotivated to write, and unmotivated to express myself. I’m by no means unhappy, in fact I feel content… and I’m starting to think that’s why I’m feeling this way.

I’m starting to realise that my best posts, my posts which you guys enjoy, are when there’s genuine emotion behind them and excitement, and I’ve been reluctant to post anything which hasn’t been to that standard. I want my words to dance on the page, I want them to stick with you, to make you think, for them to challenge your train of thought. I don’t want you to get bored halfway through or to feel as if you’ve lost interest of the things I have to say.

I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel though, so don’t worry, I’ll be back to writing soon, but I just wanted to keep you all informed on the lack of recent posts.

As always, thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoy the posts that I’m sure will spring to mind very soon. If you have any ideas of how I can get out of my slump quicker, or if there are any posts that you would particularly like to see, then do let me know as it would be a great help!

Love from Beth x

Student guide: What to take to university

I know it’s that time of year where a lot of you out there will be getting ready to move out to university for the first time. As you prepare to go off to university for the first time, it can be a very daunting process. I should know, as that was me just two years ago! You have all of your friends and family trying to convince you that you need everything from a torch to a lifetime’s supply of pegs, but in truth, those are the items that are going to either sit in boxes underneath your bed for the entire year, or they’ll be sat in a corner, taking up what little space there already is in your tiny room.

But don’t worry, I have you covered. Follow this list carefully, and you’ll find moving out for the first time to be a breeze.

The boring (but important!) stuff

– Passport

– Driving licence (or provisional)

– University acceptance, course acceptance letter and details of your accomodation

– National Insurance number

– Passport photos

– Bank details (and bank cards!)

– Student loan details

Technology and electricals

– Laptop and charger

– Phone and charger (possibly take a spare just in case)

– Headphones

– Memory stick

– Hair straighteners

– Plug socket

– Desk lamp

Stationary

– Files

– Notebooks

– Pens

– Pencils

– Planner

– Stapler

– Hole punch

– Desk organiser

Kitchen (applicable even if you’re living in catered halls)

– A recipe book (preferably one with quick and easy meal ideas)

– A supply of food (tins, pasta, crisps and snacks etc)

– Cordial

– A supply of tea and coffee

– Frying pan

– Saucepan

– Cutlery

– Glasses

– Scissors

– Sharp knife

– Mugs

Bedroom

– Bed sheets (and spares)

– Duvet set with pillowcases (and spares)

– Decorations (e.g an ornament, candles, plant, photos)

– Mattress protector

– Clothes horse

– Washing basket

– Clothes hangers

– Door stop

Bathroom

– Towels

– Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen

– Cold remedies

– Shampoo

– Conditioner

– Flip flops (in the case of a shared bathroom)

– Shower gels

– Body lotions

– Tampons (in the case of females)

– Plasters

– A toilet roll

– Hand wash

Other bits and pieces

– Clothes (post on this to follow)

– Alcohol

– Bottle opener

– Books

– DVDs

– Fancy dress costume

Hopefully this has been helpful to all of you new students out there. Best of luck, and happy moving 🙂

Any job is a ‘real’ job

One thing I hate more than anything is when people don’t refer to jobs in the retail and hospitality sector as ‘real jobs’. As I’ve said in my last few posts, I’ve recently started working part time at a clothing store. Since I’ve started working there, I’ve had quite a few people telling me that it’s not a ‘proper’ job. Now I understand that when they say that, they’re not intentionally being offensive. Maybe it’s because it’s not full time, or because it’s not a job that I’ve attained through my degree. But in my opinion, it IS offensive. Some of the people I work with are in their forties, their fifties, and to them their job is their ‘real’ job. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

A lot of the people who’ve said that my job is not a ‘proper’ job are people my own age. What they don’t seem to remember is that for their parents’ generation, getting a degree was not the norm. A lot of their parents work at places such as a clothing store, and they don’t get told that they don’t have ‘real’ jobs. So why do I? Even now, not everybody goes to university. I know lots of people who’ve gone through apprenticeship schemes, or have gone into a practical vocation, and sometimes I envy them. They’re the people with their own money, they’re buying their own houses, and they own their own car. Meanwhile, yes I’ve been studying at university, but I don’t have any of those things.

I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that any job is a ‘proper’ job. When I do have my degree, I probably will still be working at somewhere like a clothing store. The job market today is fierce, and I’m just grateful to have any job at all. Although I know personally that this job is not something I want to do for the rest of my life, I’m grateful for the income that it’s bringing to me, and that it’s enhancing my knowledge of what it is like in the working world. So try to keep in mind that any job is a job. And I’d rather be working hard then being the type of student who has to rely on their parent’s money. But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

Fairytale Prison

Leaves that symphonise in rapunzel orange, spiraling, twisting amongst the cinderella branches that try to escape their captive, the tree of knowledge. There’s no sign of goldilock’s rays that yesterday chased away, replacing the happiness with the goblin’s smoke that infuses the evil that is to come, creeping closer, ever closer.