Sunday, 5 March 2017

What they don't tell you about your first year at University

  1. The most common phrase in your vocabulary will be "first year doesn't count anyway".

  2. The most common words will be "shots?" and "pizza?". The question mark isn't really needed because you know the answer will always be yes.

  3. You probably came from the top of a small class. Now you're bottom of a really, really big class.

  4. You will argue with somebody about politics, and you will wonder to yourself how somebody so incomprehensibly stupid has got into University.

  5. "I won't go overdrawn!" Yes, you will.

  6. Snakes don't hiss, they tell you they haven't done the reading and then turn up to the seminar with 4 pages of colour-coded notes.

  7. There will be "essential reading" and "recommended reading". You will do neither.

  8. You'll hit a wall at around week 7 which renders you incapable of getting out of bed, going to lectures or handing in work.

  9. You will have to take a few weeks to adjust to British slang you've never heard before.
    Chirpse = graft, lid = haircut, rig = abs (blame the Home Counties)

  10. You will wear sportswear everywhere. Bit of a shame you don't have a gym membership really.

  11. VKs are amazing until you think about the sugar and chemical content the next day.

  12. If you study a language, everyone else on your course will be near fluent and you'll feel completely inadequate compared to them.

  13. Your lecturer will complain about how nobody ever turns up to the 9am class on a Monday morning. You will wonder how they achieved a PhD.

  14. You'll lose everything. Vodka left at pres, clothes, pens, your will to live...

  15. You'll encounter someone who has been on a "gap yah" and just really, really needs to tell you every detail about it.

  16. You will join a society in freshers which you will not participate in for the remainder of the year.

  17. You'll take your card out for "emergencies" knowing full well that means shots and chicken nuggets.

  18. All those friends who promised to come down and visit during term? Not going to happen.

  19. You will get homesick. Yes, even you.

  20. You'll get off with a fit rugby lad in the first couple of weeks and then awkwardly bump into them every. single. Wednesday. at the sports socials.

  21. You'll spend at least five minutes lying in bed every morning asking yourself whether education is really worth it

  22. Your mum will always call you at pres and you'll have to act sober.

  23. You'll break all promises you made to yourself about cooking balanced, healthy meals within the first week and for the rest of the term you'll live off pasta and overpriced Domino's.

  24. When you get ill you never really recover, you just learn to accept this new, lower standard of health.

  25. You'll plan out everything you have to do, then take a nap because you deserve it, right?!

  26. You'll regret doing so well in your GCSEs because now that standard is expected of you for the rest of your academic career.

  27. You'll get ambushed by every sports society on campus in your first week. Be prepared.

  28. You'll fall in love with somebody on a night out and forget to ask for any contact details. This, however, is probably a good thing.

  29. You'll spend half an hour on a polite, grammatically correct email to your tutor for them to reply "sure -Sent from my iPhone"

  30. Referencing. Need I say more?

As awful as all of that sounds, you do always have to remember that we're all in the same boat.
It's just... that boat is sinking. Rapidly. And we have no life boats.

Just a couple of photos you may enjoy of my University experience thus far:

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

What it's like being Welsh at an English University

In honour of St David's Day, I thought I'd share with you what it's like to be Welsh and study at an English University. My hometown is Cardiff and I study at the University of Exeter, known for its middle-class, private-schooled, home county population, so it can't really get more typically "English" than that!

  1. You'll be greeted when you return home with "you sound posh".
  2. Don't even get me started on the sheep-shagger jokes.
  3. They'll go crazy when you tell them "microwave" is "popty-ping" in Welsh.
  4. Chances are, you have a far higher alcohol tolerance than them.
  5. They'll literally show the football in pubs instead of the rugby.
  6. They'll ask you to say "that long train station name".
  7. "Have you met Tom Jones?" No. Have you met the Queen?
  8. They'll only know Cardiff and "that place where Gavin & Stacey was filmed".
  9. You'll be more patriotic on St David's Day than you were in reception.
  10. You'll instantly befriend all fellow Welshies you come across. Unless they're from the Valleys.
  11. Yes, I can speak Welsh. No, I will not say anything in Welsh for you.
  12. You didn't study any on the same things at A-level, because all your subjects were on WJEC.
  13. You have to stay very, very quiet during Wales V England in the Six Nations.
  14. Uttering the words "lush" or "cwtch" will bring you unwanted attention at pre drinks.
  15. You can't avoid being obnoxious when Wales beat England at something.
  16. "Wales isn't a country, it's a principality". F**k off.
  17. If you tell a guy on a night out that you're Welsh, you get a certain kind of look back...
  18. You won't be able to buy Welsh cakes anywhere. Not even on St David's Day.
  19. We are not English.
  20. Dinner is lunch and tea is dinner and that's that.

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Monday, 2 January 2017

2016 has taught me...

(This is going to be a long one, but it's worth the read, I promise.)

2016 has been a year of extreme ups and downs and has taught me a lot about myself, other people and life in general. It has taught me never to put my own self-worth in the hands of another and how to realise when someone is damaging my happiness. It has taught me to take with a pinch of salt people's words and promises and to remind myself that how they treat you is how they feel about you, no excuses. It has taught me to cut negative people out of my life, no matter how hard that may be. It has taught me to put myself first. It has taught me that how I love myself is how I teach others to love me, and that the most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. It has taught me not to let small minds convince me that my dreams are too big. It has taught me to think twice about reserving a place in my heart for people who do not want to stay. It has taught me that old friends are not necessarily good friends and that people will make an effort to keep in contact if they care about you as more than just someone to pass the time. It has taught me that a soulmate does not necessarily have to be a significant other, they can just be a best friend (shoutout to Ms Mateer). It has taught me that love is never unconditional and has to be worked for consistently, and that there is no point in holding on if the other person has already let go because it will only hurt yourself more. It has taught me that the world is full of inequality and if you ignore it, you are contributing to it. It has taught me to speak out, even if I am criticised. It has taught me not to beat myself up if things don't go the way I've planned or if people don't treat me right, and to recognise that the problem is more often than not inside themselves rather than me. It has taught me that people never really change, no matter how much of your soul you pour into them, and you'll only end up hurting yourself. It has taught me to pursue my own dreams, goals and ambitions no matter what other people think I can and can't do, it is my life after all. It has taught me that my opinion always matters, and that educating myself on a variety of topics gives me a huge sense of empowerment. It has taught me that the meat industry hides behind a wall of propaganda which needs to be torn down. It has taught me how to survive on my own, both away from my family at university and away from a relationship I thought would last but didn't. It has taught me that after darkness comes light, and after heartbreak (eventually) comes a time to love again. It has also taught me to love myself before attempting to love anyone else, and the months I have spent on my own have helped me grow as a person and learn things about myself which I had never discovered. It has taught me that you're never going to be 100% ready and it's never going to be just the right time, so if you want it you just have to do it. It has taught me to understand the immensity of the universe, and our insignificance but also our absolute importance. It has taught me to remember that there are still over 7 billion people in the world who I haven't met yet. It has taught me that life is beautiful when you learn to see the good in everything rather than the flaws, but that it's okay to have a bad day when everything seems to go wrong. It has taught me to surround myself with intellectually stimulating people who motivate me to be a better version of myself. It has taught me the importance of balance; to have a salad for lunch but a bar of chocolate for dessert, to make saving a habit but to buy that pair of shoes I love, to drink too much wine and too many shots one night but then stay in for the next two studying. It has taught me to motivate myself and pick myself up out of bad moods and lazy days to be productive and positive. It has taught me to be kind to myself, to take time to myself when I need it and to nourish my body rather than punish it. It has taught me that not everyone you lose is a loss. It has taught me how to mend my own heart and pick myself back up, because nobody is going to put me back on my own two feet other than myself. It has taught me to work hard to get to where I want to be in life, as you can't just sit around waiting for good things to come your way. It has taught me that I don't need a boy to complete me and that I am perfectly whole on my own. It has taught me that family is the most important thing in this world, but also that family can include people with whom you are not related by blood. It has taught me that everything seems better after a good night's sleep and a cup of tea. And most importantly, it has taught me to be kind and caring towards those close to me and show them how grateful I am to have them in my life every single day, because one day, whether it be tomorrow or in 20 years time, they could be gone.

Thank you, if you've managed to get this far! I've taken a few months off blogging as I've settled into University but I'm hoping that 2017 can be a fresh start to Joie de Jodie and I have a lot of ideas on the way.

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