Thursday, 16 June 2016

Long Overdue Post

Hello Everyone, 

This is a long overdue post. I stopped blogging this year because I was so busy that I could either sleep at all, or blog. Now it has finally calmed down a little and I can adjust to everything that has happened over this past year. I’ve made amazing friends, finished my third year of university and had some very exciting opportunities and achievements. I’ve developed my dancing and teaching skills. But I was not blogging.

There are multiple reasons for this. Lack of time was the main one, but also the enthusiasm I had for blogging was gone. I didn’t know how to get up the energy or motivation to write. There wasn’t something I felt I could be writing about or for. This is due to a loss of my voice and what trying to say with my blog.  I got mixed up and bogged down by what other people were saying I should say, or what I sounded like.

I felt I had lost the uniqueness that I’d had last year, being the Scot in New Mexico, and I’ve been trying to deal with that. After spending last year going out and doing exciting stuff all the time, and being able to tell people about it through Life in the Deen. However, now I’m back in Aberdeen, I was suddenly just a face in a crowd. I was no longer ‘special’ or ‘memorable’, nothing more than just the short girl. I was just another Scottish girl at a Scottish university. My novelty had gone. And I lost a little confidence in myself. Instead of saying why not, I would just say why? Why me? And although that sounds whiney, it is how I felt. I felt I had to try so hard to be different, and to stand out, and although this was a fun year, it ended by falling a bit flat as I didn’t really move on from what I had been doing the past year. I am glad it’s over now. I hadn’t achieved everything I wanted to, and so I was disappointed with myself.

I discovered that people wouldn’t always listen to me, or believe in what I was saying, and for whatever reason they had, my face didn’t quite fit their vision. And even if you’re the one who worked hardest on something, that is not always rewarded or realised by people. And part of me felt, no feels, quite knocked by this. I was never going to be good enough, so why bother trying? I was not necessarily the best, but I am a grafter. However, claiming you will work the hardest at something is fairly hard to claim as a full-proof argument. Anyone can claim they will do that, it’s kinda par for the course.

I am a modest person. I am not good at bigging myself up anyway, and when you get hit with a stream of rejection, it’s almost impossible to continue to believe in yourself and your abilities. What makes you any different? Why should it be you? These questions can be asked as confidence boosters, or as cutting insults depending on the tone and inflection, and for that to be going on inside your own head can be incredibly damaging. Once a thought like that is conceived, and takes root, it is difficult to shift. And it will grow and develop until you no longer trust something you love to do.

To lose your way, and your voice is something that is incredibly difficult to do, and to explain.

I started concentrating on what something should be rather than trying to create what I wanted it to be. I got bogged down on details, and then did not voice my concerns when I didn’t understand or agree with something. I stopped thinking my voice was valid. I was hung up on how I should say something rather than what I could say, or wanted to say. And so, I lost my voice with Life in the Deen. I didn’t know what to say, because I didn’t think that anything I was saying was valid or worth anyone to listening to.

I am still working on it, and I give myself daily reminders that my voice is valid, my emotions don’t make it any less so, and I should remember that girl who went out to New Mexico last year. She was fearless and didn’t care what people thought of her. She was self-sufficient with her own independent spirit, and didn’t need someone else to validate her achievements for her. She had courage, and I need to channel that girl. She is still somewhere in me, and I have to remind myself of her. If you are feeling this way too, or have felt this way at some point in your life, comment below telling me about it. I’d love to hear about how you dealt with it, or are dealing with it. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Returning to Aberdeen

Kings College- credit:
Every student who returns from a year abroad will say that it was life-changing. It doesn’t matter who you speak to about it, it will have affected them in some way. Few people talk about the return in such a positive way. But coping with the return to ‘normal life’ is just as life changing as the time abroad.

After a year abroad, I have returned to complete my degree in Aberdeen. Returning is strange, another first in three years: the first time to repeat a setting. The location and people are familiar, but through a sort of lens of nostalgia, as if I am returning from twenty years away rather than just one. No longer being a fresher, in any sense, brings a new set of trials to face, with a new collection of pressures and challenges. I am able to keep going with what I want to do, within academia and out-with. Being the first year spent helping out at events rather than taking part, I feel like I have moved on with my life. I don’t have a completely new beginning this year. It is a new beginning, but one in which I do not have to carve my own identity into. I have a support group around me. The safety of this familiarity is refreshing, and allows me to really work hard at things other than making friends and being on ‘first impression’ mode for the first term.

A year abroad alters the mind-set about how to face challenges. To get the most of the year, you have to be able to go out and just do things. Talk to people, take part in events, go along to things by yourself, and not to be a wallflower. It gives someone courage to be clear about what they want or don’t want from people. It’s a special kind of courage that lets you get the most out of the year without regrets. You are able to say no to the people you want to say no to, and prioritise your own agendas. Keeping this going into your return to university is hard, as it is easy to slip back into old habits, but hold out from doing this. Keep yourself and your life in the forefront of your mind when committing to things. If you don’t really want to do something, have the courage to say no.

The lack of immediate socialisation after being in halls for two years makes it easy to fall back into isolation, and to lock yourself in your room as a result. As a fresher no longer, things are not put onto a plate easily for you. More effort has to be put in to find out what is going and what is open to you. In order to see your friends, you have to actually go and see your friends. There is very little immediate socialisation at all times of the day, other than maybe a flatmate, and staying on track with work is much harder. As a returning student you are expected to have a higher degree of responsibility with your money, work load and social life. Simply signing up to everything isn’t an option; you don’t have the time or money.

Returning from abroad is harder than you think it’s going to be. You have to balance catching up with your old friends, while coping with the loss of your friends abroad, and keeping up with your studies, as well as looking forward what will happen when it is time to leave university. Just remember, it won’t come immediately, but give it time, and you will strike your own balance.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: Z

Hello Everyone, 

Zimbabwe is somewhere I would love to go. Many students go there to volunteer with building schools and with orphanages. This would be something I would love to do, take a year out to volunteer in another country. I may do this when I graduate before looking in the job market. Or I may have run out of money by then. We'll see.