8 June 2018

Twenty things I learned being 20

I've almost completed the first year of my twenties. 
Tomorrow, I turn 21. I can legally drink in America and for the first time, I actually feel old. When did I get so...adult????

I remember being little and going to a family friend's 21st birthday party. I told my Mum that I couldn't wait to be 21 because 'I can do what I want,' and here we are. I'll be honest, I still look like I'm 16, I haven't grown since I was 11 and I'm convinced that I'm still 18. I'm like a real-life Peter Pan, I never want to grow up. 

If you're new here, welcome to the yearly tradition on my blog where I tell you all about the things I've learned in the past year. In this case, I'll be telling you about the first year of my twenties and I must say, it's been really lovely. Sure, I've had my ups and downs but maybe it's true what they say - your twenties are some of the best years of your life. 

Without further ado, here are twenty things I've learned in my first year of being, well, twenty. 

1. You don't need to be part of a Girl Gang

For years I was under the impression that I needed to be part of a girl gang. It was really nice at first. I had this huge group of friends who had my back through anything, who'd hold my hair back when I was drunk, listen to my endless boy dramas and the group chat was never quiet. Sounds great, right? However, what you don't see is the endless bitching. Who has time for it?
I don't need to be part of a girl gang to feel like I matter. 

2. Speak your mind

I used to be incredibly shy and to an extent, I still am. I had a tendency to let people walk all over me and whenever anyone did something to upset me, I'd tell them that it was okay and I'd end up being the one to apologise. But I've stopped that now. If someone is doing something that is upsetting me or making me feel uncomfortable, I tell them. How else will they know?

A lot of people told me that I'd changed when in reality they couldn't quite believe the fact that I was standing up for myself. If I don't, who else will?

3. People will leave and that's okay 

The first few months of being 20 saw me grow apart from two of my closest friends. It was hard but I know I've come out stronger and more confident because of it. I've learned that if you're not outgrowing friendships then you're not growing up. I barely talk to anyone that I went to school with and it's allowed me to re-invent myself and my confidence has been boosted massively. 

4. iPhone is sooo much better than Android

I finally switched from Android to Apple and it was potentially one of the best adult decisions I have ever made. Where has portrait mode been all my life?

5. If you work hard good things will happen

Being twenty saw me complete the last year of my degree. It was a year of hard work, breakdowns and many tears but I did it. If it wasn't for all the determination, encouragement and late nights in the library, I would never be graduating next month. 

6. I really like going to the Rugby

In September, my Dad took me to my first rugby match or should I say, he dragged me along. It was the Saints Vs. Wigan derby and I was adamant that I was going to hate it. Almost a year later, Dad and I haven't missed a home game and I really, really like going to the rugby. It's more the atmosphere than the game but Saints are doing so well this season! 

7. Being sedated is hilarious

Two weeks after I turned 20, I had a tooth extracted in hospital under sedation. Apparently, I was singing along to Rick Astley and told my dentist that I was a dentist. I don't remember a thing but I'm really proud of myself for facing my fears. 

8. I love Liverpool Airport

It's definitely the nicest airport in the country. 

9. A little bit of self-belief is all you need 

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to quit. I felt like I wasn't good enough and like I couldn't do anything. But it's surprising what a little self-love and self-belief can do. I am worthy! I can do this! (And I did)

10. Be happy in the skin you're in 

I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. 
I have acne but that doesn't define me. It doesn't change who I am and if people can't look past that then they're not worthy of my friendship. Since I've accepted this, I'm so confident in my own skin and I'm the happiest I've ever been. 

11.  A relationship should be an addition to your life

It shouldn't be your WHOLE life.

12. I love wearing fake eyelashes

They make my eyes so fluttery and pretty. I don't feel complete without my lashes on a night out. 

13. Push yourself 

I've really tried to push myself this year, especially in terms of my fashion choices. I've been buying things that I wouldn't normally buy and when I pull a particular outfit off, I feel so good about myself. It's really helped to boost my mood. 

14. Don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of. 

I've encountered my fair share of assholes this year and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that I'm worth more than a guy who thinks he can belittle me, call me the worst names and make it all okay by telling me that he's joking. Prince Charming will come along eventually and until he does, I'm continuing to LOVE being single (because it really is the best!)

15. I'm basically in love with the Starlit Princess Waltz

Did I ever tell you about that time Snow White told me I'm her favourite Princess? 
In all seriousness, it's been a year and I'm still not over this gorgeous show. If you're visiting Disneyland Paris this summer then you have to go and see it! 

16. I love Festivals

In September, I went to Fusion Festival with my best friend Mitch. It will forever remain one of my favourite days and I'm a proper festival gal. Any excuse to put my hair in space buns and throw glitter all over my face and I'm there. I'm going to see Nile Rogers and Chic next month and I'm VERY excited. 

17. I hate public transport

Northern, I'm looking at you!
 If you follow me on Twitter, you'll be used to seeing my regular complaints about trains being cancelled and delayed. It's been the bane of my life for the past year and I will not miss my commute to uni every morning. 

18. Trying to please everyone is a waste of energy

Not everyone is going to like you and the sooner you realise that the happier you'll be. Let people like you for YOU and not someone you pretend to be. You really do not have to be friends with someone if you don't want to.

19. Supportive family and friends are everything

I don't know what I would have done without my family and friends this year. Their constant positivity and love have picked me up and inspired me every single day. They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and I will never be able to thank them for everything they've done. 

20.  It's the little things

Like the smell outside when it rains, the smell of your favourite coffee and a McDonald's banana milkshake on a warm day. Happiness can be found in the smallest, most unexpected places. 


I'm so excited to celebrate with my family and friends tomorrow. 
Here's to 21!

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx









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30 May 2018

University: A Reflection

This month marked the end of an era. 
For those of you who don't know, I've just completed a three-year degree studying creative writing at Liverpool John Moores University. I know it's cliché but I can't believe how fast it's gone, the past three years have absolutely flown by. On the whole, the university bubble has been a crazy little thing. I've experienced a lot and changed a lot. I've grown up. 

With all of this in mind, I thought it would be nice to summarise my university experience in a blog post. It's not only for me to reflect but also for you to maybe learn something about university life.  I know I would have loved to read something like this when I was about to embark on this incredible journey. 

First Year 

The first year of university is commonly referred to as an 'adjustment period' because 'the first year doesn't count'. That's not a lie, it doesn't count for anything. It's the year that students tend to go out every night, spend all their money and socialise as much as they can (it's the only year they'll be able to do such things without feeling guilty). 

I moved into student halls and lived in a flat with three other girls. The flat itself was lovely, we were on the seventh floor, overlooking the docks, and we always had a perfect view of the sunset. However, I didn't fit in and we didn't create a huge group like I'd expected. I thought I'd create a strong bond with my flatmates and that we'd still be friends in 10 years time. Sadly this didn't happen, I had one close flatmate and that was it. I'm not a naturally shy person and I love meeting new people so I was surprised that I didn't click with anyone. The hardest part was seeing my friends from home make such tight-knit friendship groups with their flatmates. I felt jealous, let down and left out. I couldn't understand why I wasn't having the same experience. 

In terms of studying, I struggled. I hated it. 
I felt like I was expected to know a lot more than I'd been taught and I realise that no amount of a-level revision will prepare you for university. After having four months away from anything academic, it was all about getting back into studying again. And believe me, it's harder than it seems.

Originally, I started out studying drama and creative writing as a combined degree. I was this confident young girl, adamant that I wanted to be a drama teacher. However, this didn't go to plan. Studying drama was the worst decision I ever made and looking back, I wonder if I would have had a different experience at another university. I wish I could turn back time. 

Your first day at university is like your first day at school. You want to make friends, you want to impress and you want everyone to like you. It's nerve-wracking and I went through all the same feelings. But I had an added pressure. A demon of a drama lecturer. 

He was disgusting. That's the only word I can use to describe him. He made me feel worthless. He made everyone laugh at me countless times, and all at my expense. He made frequent comments about my weight and appearance (something I've struggled with from a young age). I was always told that I wasn't good enough. I remember him calling me gormless and doing an impression of me to everyone. They all laughed. 

I'd leave his sessions every week in tears. He'd always ask me  'why the f*** are you on this course?' and I never knew what to say. One day, I'd had enough. I turned around and said, 'I don't know' and I never went back. I was very lucky that this happened before the deadline to switch courses. I sent a few emails, changed a few documents and just like that, I became a single honours creative writing student.

The hardest thing to realise at university is that you're not at school anymore. Gone are the days of calling your teacher 'Miss' or 'Sir', a university is a place for everyone. You'll be in lectures with people twice your age and you all have the right to be treated like adults. I noticed that this lecturer treated the older students with respect, yet I got nothing. You're not a child anymore and you deserve to be treated like the young adult that you are. I wish I would have realised this sooner.

In terms of friendships, it was a strange year. I was trying to find out where I belonged, who I belonged with and just where I slotted into the university puzzle. Freshers was cool but there wasn't a social side to it and some of the societies I joined were simply boring.

I made a few friends on the drama side and mainly stuck with the combined honours clique. However, when I changed courses I was thrown back into the deep end and forced to start the friendship thing all over again. Luckily, I met these lovely ladies on my first day as a single honours student and I'm very lucky that they've stayed with me throughout.

Due to other events, I fell out with my college girl gang (which, now I look back, was a complete blessing) and I lost a lot of the drama friends who had listened to me cry countless times over that stupid lecturer. It's okay to be losing friends at university and again, I wish I would have realised this sooner. Every time you lose friends, you gain friends. Everyone is in the same boat and most people are very friendly.

I'd recommend joining facebook groups for your course and for your student halls. I found all of my flatmates on these groups and it means that you'll see some familiar faces on your first day, making things that little bit less daunting.

Second Year

The second year was my least favourite year. I can't tell you how many times I considered packing the whole thing in and dropping out. I was downed with a huge bout of anxiety which, in turn, meant that my social life went downhill. I realise this anxiety had something to do with my terrible start at university and looking back, I wish I could tell my lecturer just how much his comments both hurt me and changed me.

A creative writing course is very different because unlike most degrees, we don't sit exams. It's understandable because how can you sit an exam on writing? It's something that needs to be worked on over a long period of time (or in my case a few weeks!). The workload was so much more than I ever expected and because of my anxiety, most of my assignments were completed and submitted an hour before deadline. If I can give you any advice, please don't do this. It's a miracle I completed it.

In terms of living arrangements, I moved back home with my parents. As much as I loved living in my little flat, we had a lot of problems with student housing so I made the decision to make the move back home. I'll be honest, I loved it. I only live half an hour away from the city and as I was only in uni two days a week, it made more sense to commute.

I also got a job working in my local market as a Saturday girl on a hair and beauty stall. It was the perfect job to balance with my studies. I'm still working for them two years later and loving my job more than ever.

As I previously said, my social life went downhill. I felt like I didn't fit in and didn't belong anywhere. I was trying and struggling to get back to my old self. I'll admit, it took me longer than I thought. It was also the year that I fell out with my best friend of fifteen years. It was hard, I'm not going to lie. However, I realise that outgrowing friendships is part of growing up and is in no way a bad thing, as long as you are happy.

Looking back, I was in Disneyland Paris more than I was in lectures but I don't know how I would've got through the second year without it. It was escapism and introduced me to a gorgeous group of friends who I hold so close to my heart. I'm very thankful.

In a nutshell, it's a year that I do like to block out of my head because it's a year that I don't like to remember. However, I'm glad I made it through. I could have dropped out but I didn't and that is one of the things I am most proud of.

Third Year

The final year.
My favourite year.

The third year saw the biggest change for me, not only in my personality but in my happiness. I can say that my third year is the happiest I have ever been at university and although it's been stressful, I'm sad that it's coming to an end.

Socially, it's the best it has ever been. The group of friends I had on my course expanded and we have grown so close in this past seven months. It was the university friendship I always wanted and it's sad that it's happened in our final year. I lived at home again, my job was going well (working three days a week) and I had a great group of friends at home. It was brilliant.

The workload increased again and although everything was submitted on time, I struggle to think about how I would have completed the year without my circle of friends constantly picking me up when I felt like I wasn't good enough. We're a group of personal cheerleaders.

My confidence was at an all-time high, in both myself and my writing. My anxiety was reduced and it makes me wonder if I would have had more self-belief if I didn't have such an awful start at university. I need to learn to stop dwelling on that but his comments have been tattooed on my brain. It's sad to say, but I'll never forget it.

The whole last half of the year (January to April) was a whirlwind. As we don't sit exams or write dissertations, my creative energy was focused on a forty page script, a short story, a full writing project, a report and two essays. I stayed up until 5am, had two hours of sleep, went to work and spent every waking moment in the library. At one point, I felt guilty for sleeping because I knew there was work that needed to be done. I drained myself out and by the end of it, I was exhausted.

But, I did it.

I went to collect my results last week and I'm delighted to say that all of my hard work has paid off. I was graded with a high 2.1 in all of my assignments (0.4% from a first) which is pretty damn good if you ask me.

 If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I've just had my graduation ball which was a beautiful night full of love, laughter and gin. We've also got the launch night of In The Red coming up, which I just so happen to be getting published in (a massive achievement for me).

It's incredibly exciting and I'm very thankful for all the opportunities I've had.

And just like that, three years at Liverpool John Moores are over. 

I'm hugely grateful to have had the opportunity to go to university because although it hasn't been my favourite period of my life, it's taught me a lot about myself and my values. Liverpool is a gorgeous city and I couldn't have picked a better place to study; it's inspiring and vibrant and the people are so welcoming. I'm very proud to call it my home. 

Looking back, I don't think my course was the right choice but I don't know what else I would have done. I needed to do something creative as an English degree wouldn't have been beneficial. I needed to be busy and doing things. I needed to create something. 

It just goes to show how vital those first few weeks of university are. If you're not happy with something, don't hesitate to change it. I nearly left it too late and I wish I would have spoken up sooner. I spent so many weeks facing abuse when a simple email solved everything. Well, not everything but you know what I mean. 

University will not be what you think it's going to be. Ignore the movies and the books because it's all lies. Guaranteed, you're going to have a good time, an interesting time BUT only if University is for you and you want to spend three years of your life studying and working hard (because it's the hardest you'll ever work in your life). Remember, you don't have to be doing what everyone else is doing. If you have the slightest doubt about going to uni, then wait a few years. It's not going anywhere. 

My final year was the toughest but by far my favourite. I've made friends I'll keep for the rest of my life and I'm thankful to them for simply being them. They've kept me sane throughout and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself - from looking over work to giving me hugs when I had various breakdowns in the library, I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend three years with. 

My tutors are some of the most inspirational people I have ever met and to have the pleasure of working with them has been brilliant. I would never have got through this degree without their continued support, coffee breaks and Horatio's spontaneous trip to Manchester Airport (yep, that's right, I had a lecture on a train headed for Manchester Airport). 

Overall, the experience has made me stronger and taught me a lot about myself. In some ways, I'm glad the whole drama thing happened because I learned that I don't have to take abuse from someone. I have a voice and I can use it, being myself is the best person I can be and there are always going to be people who will tell me that I'm not good enough - it's my choice to believe them. 

I can write, I am a writer and I'm incredibly excited to see what the future holds. 

'I never aimed for correctness, I just wrote fiction.' 

Lots of Love,
Meg
xxx

































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29 April 2018

Guess Who's Back!?


{Photo by Emma}
Well, hello again.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Three whole months to be exact. Three months without anything to tell you, yet so much has happened. I’d like to sit here and pretend that I have something really exciting to update you on, but I don’t.

The truth is, I decided to take a little break from blogging to focus on my degree. I know you’re probably fed up of me talking about university, but it’s been a huge part of my life for the past three years. And on Monday, I finished for good.

It’s been the most stressful three months of my life, what with trying to meet deadlines and balancing a 9 to 5 job. Towards the end, I found myself relying on coffee and energy drinks to stop me from going insane (even though I’m pretty sure that happened anyway). I said goodbye to my social life and my Disney holidays and switched to spending every waking moment in the library.  I even had to turn down various blogging events which is something that was so hard for me to do. It's three months that I’ll never get back, but they were vital and I’m hoping that all the hard work and sleepless nights have paid off.

Leaving University has left me feeling both proud and upset. I knew I was never going to be ready to leave, sure I wanted the deadlines and the stress to be over, but I didn’t want to leave the student life. I didn’t want to leave the friends who have been like my family. Everyone’s going on to do different things with different people and it’s hard to let go. It feels like it’s over before it’s begun. But, we’ve got graduation to be looking forward to. It’s crazy to think that I could have been graduating with a drama degree. 

So, what else has been happening?
Well, aside from finishing my degree – which I’m pretty happy with, by the way – I’ve been working, going to the theatre and planning lots of lovely blog posts. I’ve been to see The Rat Pack and Wicked, both of which were outstanding, and it was lovely to be in different surroundings and spend time with my loved ones. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll also have noticed that I've been getting into the rugby recently, particularly rugby league. Now, don't get me wrong, I was the least sporty person in school but Dad dragged me along to a Saints and Wigan match, and I've never looked back. It's been so nice to do something with my Dad, just me and him. If Saints get to the final this year, you can guarantee we'll be there! 

Last week, Mum and I took a trip to Leeds to visit the Emmerdale Studio Experience (expect a blog post coming soon) and I’ve had two pieces of writing published in the last month. So, you could say that things are starting to look up – at least that’s what I’m hopeful for.

Am I back blogging?
Yes. And it feels so good.
When I submitted my final assignment on Monday, I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and I wasn’t tied down to anyone. I was free to write whatever I wanted to without someone scrutinising every word. But I got myself stuck in a rut. Writing has become a chore for me. It’s not enjoyable anymore and I need to get myself out of that mindset.

This week, I’ve been catching up with some of my favourite bloggers and reminding myself why I started to blog in the first place. From now on, this little space on the internet will be the only source of writing I do. It’s where my heart is and it’s where my heart has always been. I hope now that my degree is over, I can finally get back to loving what I do.

I’ve got an exciting couple of months planned, what with a graduation ball, my 21st birthday and my graduation itself. I can’t wait to document my journey and bring you along with me for the ride.

Here’s to the future!

Lots of Love,

Meg


Xxx
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