Here it is, the classic year in review post. I know it’s clichéd to say but so much has happened this year. This time last year I was heading back to Exeter to celebrate the New Year with my housemate Ottie at Magic Hatstand. It was a night full of glitter and hats. How perfect? I had no idea what 2015 had in store- my expectations were pretty low, safe to say they were surpassed. As those of you who know me well will know my new year’s resolution was to write down a good thing for every single day and I actually managed to keep to it. Today I went through them so I could make a scrapbook for the year. It was a tough read surprisingly; lovely to remember the good memories but then some were bittersweet. Re-reading my whole relationship and then having his name disappear from the scraps of paper was weird but oh well. As well as realising how happy I was for the first 9 months and how much harder the last 3 have been. It’s not been an easy year by far but I’ve come a long way. As every year does there have been highs and lows so here is a cheeky peek into my 2015…
A key part of my year was working on my friend’s Sabb campaign. For those of you who don’t know what a Sabb is, it’s a Sabbatical Officer who runs the Student Guild. We have a week in February where all the candidates campaign to get elected. For my first two years at uni I had made it my mission to know as little as possible about the elections. In fact I took pride in my ‘Do not disturb’ face, which meant I rarely got ‘flyer-ed’ walking to campus. So it’s safe to say this was a big turn around. However, for my friend I was willing to do it. Although I’ll be honest and say I was quite nervous about taking part. We had meetings in the run up and a great day filming the classic cheesy campaign video. The prep work was good fun and the team seemed to be solid. It was then time to become one of those people on Forum Hill disrupting poor students’ trek to campus. At first I was pretty anxious about walking up to strangers, but as the week went on these fears and my dignity whilst trying to get votes went out the window. I cannot tell you how many people flat out told me to go away or would just stare and make me scared for my soul. It was worth it though. One of my favourite and proudest memories of this year was results night and hearing Katie had won. I still think she was the best candidate, her prep work before she even got a team involved, her passion and dedication was clear throughout the process and still to this day. She’s doing a great job in the role too.
I’ve never done anything on Valentine’s Day with a significant other before; I’ve never had one. However, this year my friends and I decided to do ‘Galentine’s” and it sticks out as one of the best days of the year. We started the day having lunch at Cosy Club, which is great by the way. Myself and two of my best friends got the cutest picture of us sharing a dessert in a classic Valentine’s day fashion. I say cutest but it did take a while to get one where one of us wasn’t looking desperately at the dessert or scoffing our spoonful too passionately. Later I went to see 50 Shades with my friend before we went home and watched Disney films. It was the perfect indulgent day only I didn’t need anyone else to indulge me; I did just fine by myself. It was a nice reminder that you don’t need anyone but yourself and your closest friends to feel special. I would 100% recommend a Galentine’s Day to anyone moving into 2016.
My 21st Birthday
My birthday came. As usual I had an essay due in the next day and as usual I was still doing it. However, this year surpassed all my expectations by far. My 18th birthday was my all time favourite birthday and just all around best day ever but this birthday comes a very very close second. The clock turned midnight and as tradition goes I was with Ryan working on our essays, my guy was there too even though we really hadn’t been seeing each other long, which was very sweet of him. When I woke up, I had a day full of surprises and treats in store. The living room had a sign and cake from my fabulous housemate. The boy in question, despite me saying not to get anything, pulled a trick saying he left something at mine and arrived with flowers.. and more cake, a very sweet gesture. I love cake. I had brunch with the girls in my house then was treated to dinner by three of my closest friends. I was so overwhelmed by the love I felt both through messages and presents. I just remember the happiness I felt and it was the best day. Then the party came! Another housemates birthday was the same week and she was turning 21 too so we had a joint party. My best friend from home came, as did friends from camp and whilst the memories of the party are a little hazy I do remember a lot of laughter and dancing. I have also been told it was a great night, so I was happy. I was very spoilt this year and I am a very lucky girl for it. Thank you again to everyone who made it so special for me.
Finishing my degree
This was a big one. Finishing my undergraduate degree. It was not easy, nope not at all. There was many a time where I thought I wasn’t going to make it or what was the point. I rarely felt good enough – I know the irony of me now doing a masters. I get it. I did make it through though. Those last few months were rocky work wise but thanks to a lot of support from friends I got through it. I was proud of my dissertation too once it was finished and I never actually got bored of the subject matter, which is good as it’s the same topic as my next dissertation. I had a kidney infection in the run up to my deadline, so of course that was fun and a good dramatic finish. I never take the easy road on anything apparently. I then finished my degree with the hardest exam I’d ever faced. I felt prepared going in to it so when I sat down I was quite shocked. I have a routine of sitting in exams, I’ll read the whole paper first, then find a question I’m completely comfortable with to answer first and settle myself in. Well, I read this paper twice and still couldn’t think so you can imagine how that went. Once I did calm down I finished the exam, not very confident but knowing I’d done my best. I think the meaning of the exam as my last assignment in Exeter overwhelmed me too. Little did I know I had lots more to go.
I got my results on a day off at camp. I cannot tell you how relieved I was. I stayed up pretty much all night to try and not have to sleep restlessly as I waited. It didn’t work. I had to crash. I woke up to the news though so at least the wait was then over. That was the day I realised I was going back to Exeter too as the week before I had been granted the scholarship for a masters, so now with the grades it made sense. I’m very proud of finishing my undergraduate. I also get to have my own day in a cap and gown in January after missing my graduation in the summer.
It was now time to leave Exeter. The three years of my undergraduate were interesting to say the least. My final year was without a shadow of a doubt my favourite year. I finally had a house where I always felt welcome and a solid friendship base I could actually rely on and I was just happier in all senses. The way the course is set up in Exeter, my final year was directed at my own interests, which meant studying was more enjoyable too. Leaving was bittersweet, I didn’t think I was coming back at this point and so it was goodbye. The hardest part was saying goodbye to the two incredible girls I was a nanny for in my second and third year and their mum. Whilst I knew I’d see my friends again with us all heading in similar directions, I knew I wouldn’t get to see their beautiful faces twice a week anymore. I will be writing a blog post on my nannying experiences because they were a massive part of my uni experience and kept me going more than I think they know.
I won’t talk too much about camp; after all I’ve already done one blog and have two more in the works at the moment! Camp did change a lot of things this year but most importantly it changed me. It proved to me, again, how strong and competent I am. As I mentioned my degree was hard on me and I didn’t always feel like I could do it. Camp just reinstalled all that faith I had lost. It also helped me find some of the best friends I could ask for who I still talk to daily despite miles or oceans between us. If you want to know more check out my other blog or wait for the next too!
After camp this year I took the plunge and went travelling. We hired a convertible and explored Cali. I’m not going to pretend the whole trip was easy, I mean 20 days with just one person and it’s bound to have ups and downs. Not to mention we both got food poisoning at the start of the trip. What a way to break the ice? I loved it though. Even if I didn’t seem like I did at the time, because I’m toxic to myself and shutdown when I’m afraid people are going to hurt me. I hope they know I did have an amazing time. It does make me sad to write about it now, but I know soon I’ll be able to look back and just think of the good memories. We managed to fit so much into the 20 days. Starting in San Fran, we toured round to the Yosemite (where my food poisoning was at it’s peak – not great), to Death Valley, a cheeky trip to Vegas, back into California with Joshua Tree, Riverside to Anaheim (for you guessed it DISNEY!), then moving onto Santa Monica Pier for the day, Santa Barbara, Monterey and back to San Fran. As you can see we visited a lot, more than that we did a lot in the places we made it to. I’m conscious of how long this post is going to be so will save the adventures for another blog at a time where I can write about it and not feel crushed at the memories. A little preview… County fairs, Disneyland, swimming in the sea (which for me is a novelty!), Air BnB adventures and duelling pianos.
Coming back to Exeter
After all that leaving Exeter malarkey, here I was, coming back. The first term was tough, I’m sure you’ve all caught on to that fact already. I finally had to come to terms with the end of my undergrad, with leaving so shortly after my last exam, I never had time to process that it was over and everyone would be moving on. I mean I knew that things would be different but I don’t think I’d actually accepted it. I do have some friends still here but the majority have moved on to bigger things, which I am of course very proud of them for. I can’t forget that I spent the majority of last term ill and so that’s not a good start in itself. I think I have finally settled back in now though. My aim for this term is to leave my studio more often. It’s very easy to just get stuck in this room and go a little crazy. As much as I do like being alone, I am definitely a social person and need to interact with people more. Other postgraduates haven’t been as friendly or welcoming to the idea of new friends as I had hoped but this is a new term and so I am determined to make more of an effort. Coming back to Exeter hasn’t yet been all I had hoped; there is still time in 2016 to change my mind though.
This Christmas Day was a strange one. Firstly, it has not felt like Christmas time at all this year, I blame the weather as well as my mood. However, this year had a different reason for me. Every year I have spent Christmas with my mum’s parents and her sister. They have never missed one. I remember a few years ago when the weather was really bad and they told us they weren’t going to make it. I was devastated as was the rest of my family. Then when I got home from my annual Christmas Eve shopping fest with my dad there car was there! They cheeky things surprised us and it was the best Christmas present ever. This year though didn’t quite go the same. My grandma is ill and unfortunately couldn’t make the trip down from Edinburgh. There were no tricks like I had slightly suspected they simply couldn’t come. It was a strange experience. Three people less for the day. The table was notably quieter. We made it work but as the saying states, Christmas is about who is around the tree, not under it. More than them not being there, it was the realisation that we (my brother, sister and I) were growing up and these family events were changing and getting smaller which I think hurt just as much.
This year I’m spending NYE in Exeter again. I don’t have anything planned, I’m on my own so am tempted to just get a takeaway and watch cheesy NYE TV. Alternatively I may be brave and go down to Double Locks on my own to watch the fireworks. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be less afraid of doing things such as going for dinner or a drink alone; maybe this is the best start. (Unless anyone happens to be in Exeter and wants to join…)
I’m excited to see what 2016 has to bring. 2015 has overall been a great one, yes the lows have been hard to deal with and I’m still dealing but I’m a stronger person.