29.7.15

Summer Snapshots


Despite the recent rain and the autumnal chill in the air the last few days, summer has been quite good in a different kind of way. As much as I adore the time of year when the low golden sun is beaming through the browning leaves, the layers go on and days feel cosier, summer always holds a place in my heart. I think when you're a summer baby you're wired that way and there is always something to look forward to, even if you don't feel the age you're turning. So far it has been my first summer and month of working full time, no more waking up on a summer weekday and lounging around outside and being spontaneous. Before this new chapter in my life began I had some time to take a breath, do what feels good and soak up the last page. 

At the start of summer I bought myself a blender, I've been enjoying making fresh smoothies, so refreshing and no matter what you put in everything tastes good. I read most of Still Alice outside when we had some seriously gorgeous weather, I couldn't put it down. I want to read more but it slips my mind until my eyes are too heavy to stay open long enough to read a paragraph. Once I've got into the swing of a 9 to 5 job I'm sure I'll get back into reading again. My sister got me some books for my birthday so no excuses.  Made trips to the park, Trent Park is one of my favourites. It's a special place for me as I spent my first year of uni right around the corner and it looks so beautiful in spring with all the daffodils.

My grandparents came down from Scotland for a week, I always love seeing them but a little sad that I didn't get to see them as much this time. My Grandma is a huge tennis fan and came down for Wimbledon. She got the final day, not the men's final but I would have gone with her in a heartbeat. As fate would have it, it was the same day I was seeing Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium. He was pretty amazing, him on his own, a guitar, and thousands of people. Everyone was on their feet singing out loud and dancing away. 

So I became another year older, 23. My mind doesn't feel like that's my age. It's hard to explain, I think I don't feel I'm doing what I believe a 23 year old should be doing. Although there is no right or wrong way. It's that whole expectations versus reality dilema. I'm looking forward to seeing what this year will bring me. For the first time in a few years I entered a new age without having an existential crisis, questioning what I'm doing with my life. I'm moving forward, steadily and I can't wait to keep doing great things with my life, experiencing more and do what I want to do.

21.7.15

Life After Graduating: Finding Internships & Work Experience

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It's been 2 years since I graduated university. In that time I feel like I've learnt a lot and grown more into the person I am today. It has not all been smooth sailing that's for sure but as I have discovered that is just the reality of life. It's what happens when you're busy making plans. Since then, I have been on and off focusing on my 'career' and putting my knowledge and skills from the 3 years at university to use. I think those of you who have been or are in a similar situation know exactly what it's like. For any graduate but especially those of us in the creative arts circle.

At times I felt like I couldn't breathe, like I was underwater, reaching out for air that I knew was there but the sea was keeping me below the surface. Until after many, many hours of applying for jobs, several interviews and a couple of internships I was finally offered a job in marketing. I almost couldn't believe I did it. After feeling defeated again and again, holding out for a job I had a background in from university, the relief that washed over me was so incredibly satisfying.

Even though I'm not an expert I wanted to write down my experience with life after graduating, starting with finding internships and work experience. I believed that it was important to gain as much experience as I possibly could so that I would have what employers were looking for when I went for jobs I desired. As awful as it sounds, working for free was the easiest and for the most part the only way to get experience.

Depending on your hours, what your daily tasks are and how far you have to travel is ridiculous in my opinion but I won't get into that, for now. So the way I looked at it, I was investing my time in my future and ny experience is good. It will be different for everyone, whatever works for you. You might be able to survive financially to work full time for free (a lot of companies offer expenses), you could fit in some volunteer work one day a week or freelance work from home. I was looking for either paid internships (they were just as difficult as finding a job) or freelance/work from home positions.

5 Tips when applying for internships and work experience

1, Find a position that will benefit YOU and will give you what you want from it.
2, Prepare a cover letter template and tweak it for each role you're applying for.
3, Be realistic. If you don't meet any of the requirements forget about it but if you're half way there give it a go.
4, Have flexible methods. Try a mixture of websites, e-mail individual companies, look locally and search on social media. There is more than one path you can take.
5, Put in the time and effot. It's a long and draining process but it will be worth it in the end. 

It's a give and take act working for free. For the employer they are getting an extra pair of hands for a small price. And you're getting that extra bit of experience to add to your CV. You can learn a lot too, not only the actual job responsibilities but about what you want in a job. You get an insight into your future career, it truly makes you appreciate it when you get to where you want to be.

I'm so grateful for all of the little jobs I did, from being an intern at a magazine, contributing writer and social media coordinator. It got me to where I am now, a step closer to the dream job and over that time it has influenced me and inspired me to keep going. It may be difficult to begin with and in the end you'll be proud of yourself for it.

If you're going through this I wish you all the luck in the world! And if you have any questions or want to know more about life after graduating, please do let me know.

9.7.15

Playlist 003 / Hanging out in Summer

We all have songs that bring us back to another time in our past. It's almost always good songs that make you feel nostalgic when you remember why you love the song so much. There's nothing better than that. I find songs I listen to in summer are often the ones I remember best. After all it is one of my favourite times of year and my birthday is right in the middle of it. I love to make playlists and CD's for my car, so I thought I would share some of my favourite songs at the moment that I want to remember in the future when I want to think about this summer. They're great to drive along to with the windows down and the wind blowing your hair. When you want to get up and dance or even just hang out in the sunshine with friends, maybe having a BBQ or a drink.

What are your favourite songs this summer?

5.7.15

Book Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova


There is nothing better than reading a good book outside in the sunshine during summer, I found that really good book in Still Alice. I had an idea what it was about from all of the film awards surrounding it and I think most book lovers like me prefer to read the book before seeing the film. From the very first page I was hooked on to the story of Alice living with alzheimer's. I think that has a lot to do with the way the book was written. It almost read like a diary of someone being there with Alice and her family and it felt very real. That Alice and her husband John, children Anna, Charlie and Lydia were all right there living this life. That is something I love about books, they have a world inside them that feels real.

The story goes through the reality of having alzheimer's disease, from the first symptoms of forgeting simple things, to being diagnosed, telling your loved ones, the next steps to living with it and the challenges that not only Alice faces but those around her. It's heart breaking at times and you begin to put yourself in Alice's shoes and you can't even imagine what it would be like. Lisa Genova does help you understand what I imagine it would be like. There is a line in the book that almost made me cry, 'I can't stand the thought of looking at you someday, this face I love, and not knowing who you are'. As a professor at Harvard University Alice has to also adjust to not being that person anymore who she had been for most of her life. The frustration of not feeling like herself. She can reach out but can't physically grab what she wants and needs.

I asked my Dad who works in mental health what it's like to have patients who have alzheimer's and he said how you have to be mentally strong to take care of them and it's also a tricky disease to treat and take care of. Most people don't know what it is and how much it effects people. And I feel like Genova showed this.

It's different to anything I've read. Although a little sad at times I enjoyed reading it. I felt like I was learning more about a world I have no idea about. I felt so attached to Alice and wanted to know more about her, her life before the story began. So if you're looking for something a little different and a good read this is worth checking out.