Hiatus Update | What’s Been Happening

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, and thank you all so much for your patience! I’ve been working on getting better, and then…stuff happens. But I’m working behind the scenes on finishing some of my series of posts, so here’s an update!


My Personal Life

Of course, I’ll get the negative out of the way. Towards the end of April, my partner tested positive for COVID-19. This meant self-isolating and dealing with being shut inside for a while. Throughout the quarantine period, we were asymptomatic, but if he hadn’t taken a lateral flow test on a whim, we’d have been none the wiser, and we’d be walking around while being infectious. We took the necessary precautions and let everyone that we’d been in contact know about the results, and they all tested negative thankfully. But it’s surreal, all of this time we’d assumed that we’d probably already had it but been asymptomatic, but here we are. I’m just thankful for Connor’s friends and our families that have rallied around at this time.

It’s important that y’all wear masks, get vaccinated if allowed, and get tested. Our current barriers for vaccination here in the UK is that we’re still too young for the roll-out, and we don’t have any underlying conditions.

On another note, I was supposed to ring up the doctors to get a knee problem looked at, so I might need surgery in the future! That’s gonna wait a while now.

Overall, just before the quarantine, my mental health was starting to get better. Being able to have different outlets has helped, and I’ve basically been binging on NerdECrafter videos for the longest time. Watching livestreams has helped as well, as much as I am a lurker!


My Work & Hobbies

I’ve barely touched the blog of late, and it’s been great not having to stress over it. We did reach 3,000 views though, so thank you so much for your love! Blog updates and posts will be live shortly, I just need to rework my schedule and get everything done. Because of ‘rona, it’s taking longer than I’d have liked, but here we are.

Wax melt production is on hiatus, of course! As we were in quarantine, we’d have loved to have made them, but we couldn’t risk contamination.

I did get around to doing some artwork, as I got some new art supplies shortly before and during quarantine, so I’m buzzed to get some stuff done at long last, even if it is just a few sketches.


The Blog

There will be some minor changes to the blog. From next week I will be carrying on with my remaining Gym Teams and Top 10 posts, every Monday and Wednesday. My Doctor Who and Fairy Tail posts will be every fortnight starting from around July-ish, who knows? At this point, I’m not entirely focused on those, but they will be making an appearance in the future.


Take care guys, and I’ll see you next week!

A Day in the Life | March 2021

Hey guys! I’ve done a similar post before about my usual pre-work morning routine, so I thought I’d take you through the entire day. Of course, I do different things depending on my partner’s work shifts, so we’ll just assume that he’s at work for these – I tend to have a set routine for when he’s at work during the days.


Unfortunately, I’m terrible at waking up early in the morning! I usually set an alarm for 7am, and just go straight back to sleep. It takes me a few attempts, but I usually get up between 9 and 10am, which I’m trying to fix. I immediately clean my face, brush teeth and go for a shower. Yes, I do this every day, even right down to washing my hair. I’ve discussed it before, but my hair gets greasy and itchy if I leave it long enough, and even my hairdresser has recommended to wash it daily because of this. Normally I just shampoo with L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths, with some Aussie conditioner on the ends if I feel like it. Then it’s down to the regular wash and shave, and I’m usually out of the bathroom within 20 minutes.

I usually get ready in my office, that way I can check my socials and get work prepped as I get ready. On days where I decide to go outside (which are few and far between), I check my socials via my phone instead, and leave the computer off. My hair, even though it’s shorter than usual, still takes at least three hours to fully dry, and ends up wavy, so I use my Neutech Touch Me hairdryer, which I bought while in Lisbon, and is the best hairdryer I’ve ever had. It dries my hair super-quick, and leaves it straight to the point where I don’t need a set of straighteners.


Right onto work, and I usually play some videos to catch up with my subscriptions, and also load up Spotify for music. I usually end up forgetting about food, or have something small on hand to snack on. I usually prepare a Sneak for the day, to make sure I can stay mentally focused. And then I get to it! I like to plan out my day ahead, as well as the week in advance if it’s a Monday. I recently purchased a ‘To-Do Book’ so I don’t have to keep wasting my notebook pages for that. I mean, I have 13 notebooks to use up, so… The to-do list also includes posts that I want to finish over the course of the week, so that I stay on schedule. My biggest goal is to stay abour three weeks ahead, because I’ve been planning and writing to make sure I get to take a break come April!

If writing for the blog doesn’t take my fancy, I usually look at my literary works that I have ongoing, to see if I can think of any ideas. If not, then it’s looking at the plans for Miss Lola’s Scents!


Often I become a bit tired at around 4pm, so I end up heading to bed and scrolling through my phone as a bit of rest, before giving in and actually going for a nap. I usually feel terrible for it, but it happens. I end up going into the living room, load up the Switch and do some shiny hunting on Sword/Shield while cooking food. Sometimes it’s something simple like chicken strips and chips, other times I’m making stir-frys. I’m the quick-eats kind of person, so I like to have frozen stir-fry vegetables ready to go, the sauces and the chicken. Sometimes I have haslet, one time I combined haslet and sliced hot dogs for a chow mein stir-fry – that was a nice change! We recently got a new wok, so anything goes at this point!

I do also have moments when I go on a massive cleaning spree, usually involving taking the trash out to the chute and sorting the recycling into different piles and bags to take downstairs.


Connor usually comes home from work at 6.50pm, we usually eat together, he showers and goes to bed. I end up playing on the Switch some more, or just watch videos and streams until I feel that it’s time for bed, usually some time before midnight nowadays.

The Problem With Reading for Education | My Experiences

Hey guys! As a writer, it’s a bit strange for me to diss the concept of reading, and I don’t particularly hate reading at all. In fact, when I get in the mood, I could read for a long time. We have a bookshelf full of books (not too big, we actually tend to be a tad picky), but it was school reading that didn’t allow me to flourish.


I’m going to preface with the fact that I got a D grade in my English Literature GCSE back in the day – compared to my C grade in English Language (okay, I wasn’t the best student), and compare it to the fact that five years later, I was told I should do A-Level English due to my high enrollment test score, which apprently was the highest they’ve had somehow. I love reading on my own terms, but there were so many issues with reading in school that concern me.

When I was in primary school (4-11), I was 11 years old and reading Lord of the Rings, which was way beyond my reading level. But I classified as reading at ‘Level 8’ instead of the ‘Level 13’ that I was already reading at. We had reading sessions, but the books didn’t inspire me at that age because I was already reading more advanced literature. The Level 8 books were boring, but I was never allowed to advance, despite others having already done so by reading the Harry Potter series, which I’d already been reading for a few years at that point. So I entered secondary school (11-16) having finished at Level 8, when even my teacher knew I was way more advanced than that.


I see that a lot of schools are using Noughts and Crosses as educational material, and that’s something we could have used as far back as 2005. It practically combines Romeo and Juliet and a world with racial segregation. Instead, the only piece of racism we got was in Of Mice and Men, which I’ll come to later.

I remember that we looked at Emma for about a week. I don’t remember us reading any passages from it, just a brief synopsis, and then we watched Clueless, which while it’s dated looking back, is still such a good film, and was more relatable to us as teenagers. We wanted to be Cher and Dionne, not Emma. We could see ourselves becoming like Cher and Dionne, and Paul Rudd was definitely a bit of eye candy even then!

I remember a lot of different books or plays that we read that our teacher pretty much half-assed, such as The Merchant of Venice or Hobson’s Choice, where we only read a small section of it. For Hobson’s Choice, the most memorable parts of it were the double entendres, but it was a case that we only read a few chapters of it and studied that. We never finished the entire book, and we never actually found out what happened at the end.

I mentioned Of Mice and Men earlier, and I’ll state that it was probably one of the better pieces that we studied throughout the GCSE years. It was a little more modern than what we were used to, and it covered the Great Depression in America, which was at least interesting to learn a bit about. The story was easy enough to follow, and I enjoyed the film adaptation, too. Would I read it in my own time? Probably. The racism in it does make me uncomfortable, but as it’s set in the Great Depression era, there was a lot of racism anyway. However, strangely enough we were just told to read it, and there was no allowance to learn the context of the time, just that it was there.

And then we have the usual Shakespeare, which I find that despite him being the best of his time and being the bard, holds no relevance today. I actually don’t know of anyone who reads Shakespeare for enjoyment, and is usually only used for educational purposes and stage performances. While other year groups before us studied MacBeth or Romeo and Juliet, we studied The Merchant of Venice. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either. I couldn’t even tell you the plot without Googling it, despite having studied it for my GCSE. I suppose if it was MacBeth, which we had read for non-GCSE purposes, it wouldn’t have been as bad, because I did enjoy the Scottish Play – and there was the Roman Polanski film adaptation, too. I feel like because it was one of the less popularised Shakespeare plays, we weren’t that interested!

In the GCSE exam, we were given an ‘unseen poem’, which was a poem that we hadn’t prepared for that we had to examine and deduce its meaning. I don’t remember the poem, nor do I care for poem that talks in riddles. If I can’t understand the poem without a cheat sheet, then it’s not a good poem. Half-Caste by John Agard is actually a really good example of a poem done right with its phrasing, and Agard does an amazing job capturing what it means to be called ‘half-caste’, and goes on to stretch that metaphor to other aspects of himself and famous art, and even the British weather. It’s one that while it looks complicated, you only need to know the definition of ‘half-caste’ to be able to understand it, and that’s what I’d look for in a poem.


I think my main problem is that when the teacher tries to force meanings into the descriptions of the story, or has us study materials that already need cheat sheets to understand, it fails to allow children to fully immerse themselves in literature. The teacher tries to get us to pick out subtext that the author never intended (hence the ‘curtains are blue’ meme below). I mean, sometimes there could be meaning if that’s what the author intended, and encapsulated the overall scene, perhaps. Sometimes, the curtains are blue because maybe that character likes the colour blue.

Even worse when you have the class read passages of the books, and some of them have issues such as dyslexia, which does more harm than good, especially when in front of a usually hateful class – and trust me, my year group was very hateful.


I read for enjoyment, on my own terms. At the time of writing, I sadly have too much writing and other work to do to want to read. However, being part of a writing community has helped spark passion into literature again, and I cannot thank the community enough for what doors they’ve opened up for me. I like to think that I wouldn’t add unecessary metaphors, and that the curtains are blue because the character likes blue curtains.

There are so many different ways that creativity can be encouraged with just the right good book, and I feel that it’s often stifled at school in exchange for the National Curriculum.


Blog News and Other Announcements!

Hey guys! I was originally going to post an anime review looking back at an anime that I had seen. But instead, there is some news!


As you may have noticed, we actually bought a domain name this Tuesday, so everything from here on will be devoid of the “.wordpress” in the URLs. Previous Tweets linking to my posts will still redirect to this page, so don’t worry! But this is huge, and it’s all because of you guys, that have clicked on this site and shown support! I really couldn’t have done it without you! These past few months we’ve been going from strength to strength. I would say that this is the beginning of me being an actual travel blogger, but considering the world right now, I just can’t, sadly. Hopefully when we start getting more vaccinations and everything starts opening up again,

However, we do have a lot of upcoming series and posts, as well as our continuations of existing series. Nothing is fundamentally changing here, just the URL. And I’m excited! You’re still getting the series reviews, the Community Day posts, Pokemon GO events, Gym Team posts and the usual Top 10 posts. In the future though, I do hope that I can pick up the travel posts again!


Today is also the release of February’s edition of Ongo Key News, a local newsletter that we have in our town. The reason why this month’s edition is so important is because I actually have a feature article, showcasing Miss Lola’s Scents, my wax melt business that I will hopefully be launching on April 30th, if all goes well. You can see the link to our Facebook page in the sidebar as well as right here, please go ahead and give it a like to keep up to date there, and buy the products if you live in the UK! If you’re international, I’ll strive to do international sales at a future date.


As for my book of short stories, it’s still getting there! I do have until the end of the year to keep writing that! I haven’t been writing any short stories for this site purely because of my prioritising the book instead of this site.


And with that, that’s the run-down of announcements! Thanks for checking in!

The Problem of Burnout and Overworking

Hey guys! I’ve struggled with burnout and overworking recently, and I just want to talk it out more than anything. Plus it might help you out if you’re overworking yourself.


Let me paint you my daily schedule: I get up, shower, get dressed and get to work. I even sit at my desk to get ready, and I often scroll through social media while drying my hair. It’s gotten worse since the pandemic struck, so sometimes I don’t leave my home, and instead I sit at my desk and do some work. I always make sure I’m doing something productive, whether it’s working on product ideas, the blog or my books.

The reason why I post almost daily is threefold: the first reason is because I have a lot to write about, and I just . The second is because I have time (for now). The third is because if I don’t write, I don’t feel productive. I also have a lot of different side-projects to work on. Here’s everything I work on regularly:

  • The blog – I post almost daily, and prep a lot of posts in advance.
  • Here and There – the book of short stories I’m planning on launching late 2021.
  • Main story series WIP – this has been in different iterations since 2012, still working on a barebones variant.
  • Miss Lola’s Scents – the wax melt online store I’m planning on launching April 2021. Yes, I make everything myself, with the help of my partner.
  • Fanganronpa collaboration project I’m working on on/off with my partner.
  • Music video remake project – this is still in the early planning stages.
  • Streaming – I plan on streaming over on Twitch sometime in 2021.

You may be wondering where I get the chance to relax. The answer is actually, I relax often. I make sure I spend time fully relaxing by playing a game or just listening to some music, or even watching a livestream in the background. There are moments when I play mundane games such as colouring app, just so that it gives me some monotony to think of some plot points and dialogue for my stories, or something I can write about for the blog.

I do often feel burnt out though, and that comes when I feel like I’m forcing myself to write. The best thing to do is to let it come naturally, where you can feel a plot point coming, and you just need to write it down. Of course, this doesn’t help when you’re working to tight deadlines, but if you’re anything like me, there are days when I don’t even have the energy to sit at my desk and write, then there are other days where that’s all I can do.

There are days when I feel much better, and I’m able to get a lot accomplished. Of course, if I allow myself to get too distracted, I can’t keep up the momentum – for example, just the other day I was getting a lot of progress made on my book, and my friend came to me with a relationship problem. I couldn’t keep up the momentum I’d built, so I decided not to force any more writing and I let myself have a break.


Now I just have to work on fixing my sleeping pattern, which has become bad of late, with no end in sight.

Setting Realistic Health Goals For the New Year

Hey guys! This is a different kind of post, mostly because I’m taking my own journey into better health. I’ve struggled with my weight for the past few years, and I can never usually find my way out. But I’ve decided that I’m going to be the best version of myself for 2021, and that I want to spend the remainder of my 20’s getting healthier so that I can go through my 30’s being healthy.


I said in my intro that I can never usually find my way out, but how do I find my way out if I don’t go looking for it, or make my own way out? I enjoy food a bit too much, sometimes, and COVID has meant that it’s not been for the best to go to the gym. As of writing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address the UK with another possible national lockdown, so going places is limited once again.

Nearly six years ago, I did go on a good health plan. I ate healthier (and less), I went to the gym twice a week, I did endurance training and I ran a Race For Life 5km. I was huge on exercise, and I became a gym addict. I eventually had to stop going because I had problems with my knee at the time.

I’ve tried to lose weight before, and I even joined a Healthy Lifestyle Service group back in 2018. However, I was deterred from going once they kept refusing to help set up the discounted gym membership, and I was belittled when the weigh-in said I’d maintained my weight for the week. I didn’t feel supported, and that coupled with my mum’s heart attack, I left.


Nowadays, I think having a home that I share with my boyfriend means that we’ve become complacent in what we do. I’ve been getting a lot more sciatic pain, and I’ve got issues with my knee again, possibly signs that I’m susceptible to arthritis. However, after I’ve eaten a relatively large meal (medium pizza with large chips), I’m already wanting to exercise.

I’m scheduling this for 8th January in the hopes that I already have a backbone and I’ve finally gotten my butt exercising and eating just a bit healthier, and it serves as a reminder if I haven’t done so!


My Health Goals

They are as follows:

  • Drink more water
  • Order fewer takeaways
  • Do more at-home exercises if I don’t go outside
  • Be more food-conscious
  • Fix sleeping pattern

The first one is quite simple. I’d already been wanting to drink more water anyway, and I’ve already started to do so. I tend to have juice or cola, and my usual Sneak for when I get sat down and start working in the morning. The early morning caffeine helps me keep my mind going until the sneezing-induced brain fog hits, of course. How else do you think I pump out all of this work I do? Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I die on this hill trying! I don’t usually like the taste of water, so it’s something to get used to. I’ve done it before, I can do it again!

With takeaways, this also helps in terms of monetary savings. We usually spend a lot on takeaways, it’s a bit ridiculous. I’m planning on a £10 food challenge, and I literally spent just over that on a pizza and chips tonight. It puts it into perspective, really. So I’m all for going without takeaway food for a while, maybe have it once a week as a treat.

With doing more at-home exercises, this is also a simple one. I have a large space free in my living room, aside from all of the clutter and wax melt ingredients (I will sort that eventually), and I’ll clear that out and get some workouts done. I’ll make a list or something. It’s perfect for when I can’t get outside because of lockdown restrictions or weather!

As for being food-conscious, I know that I eat a lot of rubbish. I don’t normally eat breakfast because I never feel hungry around that time, so I end up snacking on chocolate or sweets when I’m working. I kinda want to get healthier snacks or smoothies for when I’m working, so that it’s keeping up that habit but in a good way.

And finally, my sleeping schedule is awful. At the moment, I’m going to bed at around 11.30pm – 12am, but I always tend to properly wake up and be ready to get out of bed at around 10.30am – 11.30am, which is horrible. I have a lot of difficulty waking up at earlier times, except when I absolutely have to. I want to maintain my bedtime routine, but make sure that I wake up earlier and be ready earlier.


And those are my current healthy lifestyle goals for the year! I hope I manage to at least nail a couple on the head, especially the water and food-based ones. The exercise I can take, definitely, but I like to have workout equipment at home too.

My Plans for 2021

Hey guys! First of all, happy New Year!

I did a brutally honest 2020 review, but today is the day where I outline my plans for 2021 that I kinda want to get done, if everything goes well!

Last year I was very ambitious, but with COVID happening, I ended up not doing as much of the stuff as I wanted to. So I’m keeping it relatively realistic this time around.


The blog

I want to carry on with this blog, of course! I don’t have many Pokemon posts left to go, and my weekly Pokemon posts will inevitably dry up. But I kinda want to change my schedule a little, and go from my top 10 posts to general Pokemon content. What I’ll do is not planned for right now, as I have things to go until July.

I’ll be doing everything else that I’ve been doing, but I also want to do a kind of weekly diary, if that makes sense? 2020 wasn’t the biggest year for activities, but I hope that 2021 starts to pick back up at least. I want to get out and do travel posts again, maybe even go for day trips to random local places and do some local highlights, as long as it’s safe to do so!

I also want to give you all reading this such a huge thank-you for the past year! I appreciate every single click, every single like, every single follow, every single comment! If it weren’t for you guys (especially Tim) I wouldn’t even be continuing this.


My business

A huge thing that I started in the latter half of 2020 and I’m continuing is my wax melt business. I aim to be able to launch my products this year, after Easter. I’ve been doing quite a bit of product testing, and getting others to test out the products. It’s an alternative to going to mass amounts of job interviews with no results from it. I supposed that if I wasn’t going to be given a job, I’d make my own. And that’s my thought process.


Writing

I’ve been talking about my book of short stories, and that’s definitely coming along. I definitely think I’ll be able to get it published by the end of the year. I don’t really care if it never becomes a bestseller or anything like that, because I just want a book out of it. And that might segway into another book later down the line. I wnat to start working on a main WIP that isn’t the original Scarlet Sun. I have a new concept, well it’s not new now, but I really like the idea, I just need to refine the idea and get an end point figured out!

Will I do a second book of short stories? Maybe. I’m not entirely sure yet.


Home life

I want a new house. I doubt it will happen this year, but we can hope! Even if it’s just renting still, I want to get the ball rolling with that, because we’ve had several problems with our current place and it’s no longer feasible to carry on like this.


Travel

Travel is out of the question, purely because of COVID travel restrictions and our tier system we have in the UK. Things have gotten worse for us here, and I’d prefer to travel when it’s completely safe. So we’re definitely not travelling overseas this year, but hopefully we’ll be able to travel across the UK by the end of the year.


A Painfully Obvious 2020 Overview

Hey guys! As the title suggests, I like doing a year review, but this year will be hugely bogged down by the obvious. Unfortunately, not a lot happened. But that’s just how 2020 has been…


I mean, I had to fix my computer at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, so that should sum the entire year up. However, things were pretty good for the beginning. We thought that COVID would behave like Swine Flu or Bird Flu pandemics before and just fizzle out. But sadly that didn’t happen.


I think I’ve only been out of town three times since the beginning of the year. The first was a trip to Lincoln with friends for a Minccino Research Day. The second was my birthday trip to Doncaster. The third was a safe outing for Connor’s birthday to go to an out-of-town ice cream parlour.

With this in mind, I have had to stray away from travel-based content, except for some story-times which I’m kinda kicking myself over not having done previously. Travel aside, 2020 also saw the biggest content shift on the blog, focusing on a variety of different topics, including TV, anime, literature and my weekly Pokemon posts – I mean, I even did a post that ranked every song in a Taylor Swift album. It’s been less focused on Pokemon GO, occasionally posting about it. It’s strange considering I did a rebrand at the beginning of the year, and it’s weird to think of that. It feels like I’ve always gone under ‘That Little Lola’.

Concerning my blog going forward, there will be some light changes – there will be some visible changes coming soon (not a rebrand again), and these changes are due to the fact that I actually hit one of my self-imposed goals that I outlined with my coach (I discuss things with a careers coach and we discuss entrepreneurship ventures). I also started seeing a counsellor this year, and it’s helped me compartmentalise a lot of things from my past that still affected me. However, the only things that really affect me now are present-day issues.

Of course, I also have a new business venture, which is still in the testing stages. I’m having so much fun making the wax melts for testers, and it doesn’t take that long to make them. It’s also handy to have Connor helping me with them, because he gets enjoyment out of it too. I do hope that we will be able to have public markets and shows next year, so that I can sell my products in person and experience the experience that I’ve been missing out on.

As for my WIP, of course there will be more updates as time progresses, but I’m aiming for publication by the end of 2021.


Of course, the year hasn’t been without its issues. We went into lockdown twice here in the UK, I’ve been absorbing myself in my work – sometimes a little too much, and our family cat, Baldrick, passed away back in August. I’m just happy that I was able to see him and give him the cuddles that I wanted to. I still really miss him, and it’ll be that way for a long time. But around that time I couldn’t stop the routine of feeling slightly better and then crying. It wasn’t too much of a shock, but it still really stings. They have two kittens, called Flash and Bob, because they miss the feline company, but it’s not the same, and they still really miss Baldrick. We all do, he was such a unique companion, who hated when I cried, but was a fan of comedian Russell Howard.

We also had home issues concerning our upstairs neighbour’s plumbing (not their fault!), and their nightmare child. But I suppose my mental health could be a lot worse. In fact it’s better than it was last year, I’ll say that much. I’ve been feeling more comfortable with a home environment. We may end up getting a new home next year with any luck!


Roll on 2021!

Stuff To Know When Quitting University

Hey guys! If you know me well enough, you may know that a long time ago, I actually went to university – and quit. I did end up graduating in the end, but under completely different circumstances.

There was a lot of things that I didn’t know at the time, that nobody really touched upon. But I’m going to give you the run-down of what to know when quitting a UK university. Of course, this is more relative for English universities – Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish universities will have their differences.


Consider your options

Of course, the choice comes down to what is wrong with your current situation? If you’re homesick, maybe commuting is a solution if your university is close to home. If it’s the course that’s the problem, you can just go for a new course in September. If it’s the accommodation, then consider alternative living arrangements. Unlike in the US, most university courses are a one-at-a-time only, and you’re only able to study for a total of four years maximum – this takes into account a grace year just in case you do leave the course. So unlike the American university system, you’re usually stuck with one course. I think that’s where the American system is actually better than ours here in the UK. Many people also suffer from mental health issues while at universities, and it’s sad to say it’s pretty common.

For me personally, I had a combination of both the course, mental health and the accommodation. The course wasn’t what I envisioned it to be (it was supposed to be a split of film and photography, but it was mostly photography, which I only wanted to go into as a hobby). I also had a problematic flatmate, and a friend lost her battle with cancer shortly after I enrolled. I can’t say it’s the exact cause, but it kinda started a domino effect. My sleep pattern was awful, I was always told I looked ill or exhausted, or both, and I kept having breakdowns. I felt like a weight had been lifted as soon as I realised that I could leave and consolidate my options.

So I went back to a college for a year to do a different course, then went and got my degree in Business Studies.

I am only starting to use it for the first time since I graduated 3.5 years ago so…

I could have done an apprenticeship, and that’s the best way to gain experience in a world that requires you to have so much experience at a young age. Of course, if you want to go into an industry where you need the degree, you don’t exactly get a choice…

I mean, you may decide to stick it out until the end of the year, or even for a little while longer, and that’s completely okay.


Talk to someone

It’s always recommended to speak to a teacher about your issues. It’s something I never did, because I didn’t feel that I could trust them or talk to them about it – and that’s completely fine. Hopefully you have friends or family to talk to about it. I definitely was faced with friction from family, claiming I was leaving because I was missing my boyfriend (nope). My mum wanted me to think about it, even though she knew I’d already made up my mind. Connor just wanted to make sure that I was sure about it. My father-in-law wasn’t hostile, but wanted to make sure I was making the right choice for myself.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people, it’s possible to seek advice from a forum such as The Student Room.


Consider the overpayments

This wasn’t something that I was made aware of at the time, but then I got a letter saying that I owed money as grant overpayments to the Student Loans Company. This was because obviously I was awarded the grant, but obviously wasn’t entitled to all of it. I had a breakdown, due to other issues that I’ll discuss soon, and this kinda made things worse.

But the worst thing is how the notices are spread out. So let’s say I got the grant overpayment notice in January 2013, then the maintenance loan overpayment notice in September 2013, and finally the tuition loan overpayment notice in May 2015. Yes, there was a huge gap between all of them.

Fortunately, if you can’t pay the full sum at the time of notice, they’re more than happy to arrange a payment plan for you, so it’s not the end of the world – even if it does feel like it at the time.


Accommodation

If you’re leaving university you definitely need to consider doing what you can to cancel your accommodation contract. Normally if you’re leaving because you’re leaving you would normally have to continue the contract through to the end. However, if you have a medical reason for leaving, then you can campaign to get the contract waived. I was diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety at the time of leaving, and I was able to get that contract finished on that basis.


How it affected me

Of course, I can never impress my grandparents anyway, and I haven’t spoken to my grandad since that issue. I never liked his attitude anyway, so it was kinda like cutting out an infected piece of flesh, really. While I had issues post-leaving, the act of leaving made me so happy. I remember walking away from the student support office and the accommodation office with relief.


All you have to remember is that it’s entirely your choice, and my experiences aren’t shared with everyone else in the world. And, you know, that’s okay. I probably wouldn’t be writing if I stayed on the course. I’d probably be five years unemployed with a lens media degree that I hate if I did stay on.

Things I Haven’t Done In Lockdown

Hey guys! So as of writing, us in the UK have just finished our second ‘lockdown’ (boo), and I just wanted to go over the things that a lot of other people have done, but I haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure) of doing either during or after the first lockdown.


1. Piling on the weight

I mean, we’ve all gained a little weight, but I honestly haven’t been gaining that much. Considering I always used to eat out before lockdown, it’s just not something that I’ve been able to do much of. I mean, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve gone somewhere to eat since March’s lockdown, and only once during the Eat Out To Help Out scheme.

I was supposed to go for an afternoon tea with friends, but our local restrictions were tightened literally on the day of, so we had to cancel.

2. Found a job

This was a lot harder, considering I was struggling to find work in the first place. But there’s just been nothing that I’ve been able to gain. Since then, I’ve decided to try and create my own job. Of course, there’s an announcement about that in December.

3. Write a book

Y’know, this is on a technicality, but I was half-expecting to knuckle down and actually finish a full novel. But that’s just not happened. I find it more difficult to commit to a full novel some days, and while I’ve been writing a book of short stories, some of the content was lifted from some short stories that I’d initially had posted to this blog, and gone back to re-edit.

4. Baking

As much as I wanted to bake, I just kept forgetting. I put it down to being hooked on Animal Crossing, shiny hunting and writing content for the blog, and later on my WIP. I did make some chocolate salami, but the cake idea just kinda went out of the window.

5. Follow Joe Wick’s PE lessons

I’m ashamed, I just wasn’t feeling the early mornings and the child-geared PE lessons. Plus the living room was a real mess, and I just didn’t have the room in the space (I mean, I have more room now, but still).

6. Panic-buying

Holy hell, why have people been panic-buying toilet roll of all things? I’ve been lucky that I’ve not had a toilet roll shortage (we’d stocked up long before the pandemic was a fever dream), but it had me worried. I thought that we’d learned from the first time, but people are still panic-buying and it’s ridiculous.

Also think about the amount of waste created by all of the expired food that people have been panic-buying. Who needs dozens of bags of Doritos anyway?

I actually kinda want some Doritos right now.

7. Learning a new language

Yeah I probably spent a couple of days actually trying, and then forgetting. I’m just a bit dreadful when it comes to learning new languages now, and that’s just facts. It’s not as if I have an incentive to right now, though, until travel plans get put back on again.

8. Had a virtual party

I’d rather talk to these people face-to-face, if I’m honest. I’ve done some Zoom meetings with a mindfulness group every Monday for a while, which was helpful, and that led on to counselling and coaching. But I haven’t had a Zoom meeting with friends in order to party and have wine. I’m happy with that, honestly.

9. Go out of town for the day

The only time I’ve been out of town since lockdown was to go to an ice cream parlour about a 30 minute drive away. We literally got there, had ice cream and went back home. I’ve sorely missed being able to go to other places freely – the last time was for my birthday back in February. But with the restrictions and the awkward bus times, it just wasn’t worth it at all.

10. Been bored enough to do something silly

I’ve seen a lot of memes going around saying that the people were so bored they did silly or mundane things. But I actually tried to keep myself busy. If I wasn’t writing, I was reading. If I wasn’t reading, I was playing games. If I wasn’t doing anything, I’d make wax melts or go on a walk. Or take a nap.

11. Installed TikTok

I actually uninstalled it.