All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. (Gandalf The Grey)
So being a student and all, during the summer I tend to have a lot of free time on my hands – from June till October to be precise! I’ve just finished my second year of university and it has dawned on me that 1- I’m getting old and 2- it’s not likely that I’m going to get another lengthy period of time like this again to do whatever I want be that something productive, lazing around or whatever random plans I tend to come up with!
Last summer was the first time I’d been home in what had felt like forever! Thanks to the lovely thing that is homesickness and being on my own for the first time and at the opposite site of the country in a strange place with a group of people I didn’t know. So I spent a lot of time with my family and getting back into the swing of being at home, but everyone knows that after a few weeks you start to remember why you picked a university that was 250 miles away, why you felt like you needed to get away in the first place and how much everything has changed while you have been away! You miss the freedom of being at uni, your new friends who had become your little family/group of sidekicks and being able to do what you want, when you want to… Netflix and leftover takeaways in bed for 2 or possibly 5 days in a row is apparently unsociable and unacceptable in normal society? Who knew!
But anyway as the summer progressed I seemed to get lost in the free time and become very irritable after a while through pure boredom! So by about the third week in I was extremely bored and missing the girls from uni terribly and considering an early return to sunny Chester! I also didn’t have a car, a bedroom at home or any money for that matter so that made it even worse!
So to avoid the dreaded boredom and give myself a chance to enjoy the summer months this year I’ve decided to make a list of my plans and what I would like to get out of all this free time I’ve been kindly given! Plus because everyone loves a good old list… Obvs!
While I was on study leave in Chester I started walking around the city walls and exploring the areas of the city I had never seen and it became a bit of a daily occurrence. Since I’ve been home in sunny Norfolk I’ve realised I’ve started to miss it and decided that with all this time I now have on my hands, I figured it would be a good idea to explore the place which I have had the privilege to call home for the last 16 years! A little market town in wonderful Norfolk!
When I was a snotty teenager me and my best friend used to go on little adventurers and rant about how terrible life was (we knew nothing! If only it was that ‘terrible’ now!) and just walk until it was time for us to go in! Every day we would get in from school, drop our stuff off, sneek a quid of our parents for a bottle of Dr Pepper or something to munch on and we would get on our way and just walk wherever we felt like going! Our town isn’t too big, it only takes 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other, but we are surrounded by feilds, forestry and little villages so brilliant for anyone with a little imagination!
Now obviously a lot has changed since I was a moody 15 year old! I’m now a 20 year old who has lost contact with pretty much everyone who lives in this little town through moving 250 miles away and losing contact with people just seems to be something that happens as you get older! Why this is and why no one seems bothered I don’t understand! Unless that’s just me being naive in wanting real ‘close life-long friendships’! So now my walks and adventures are going to be either on my own or with family!
While I can walk wherever I want in town and the forestry etc whenever, I have decided to make another list (all the lists!!) of places that are around my little town that may be nice to explore with my family. Who can also contribute to fuel and which may be nice day trips during the summer holidays for my little sisters! Here’s just a few!
- Foxely Wood/Thetford forestry
- Norfolk lavender/ sandringham house
- Blickling hall
- Castle rising
- Gooderstone gardens/Oxburgh hall
- Pedlars walk
2. Get back into slimming world
Since I started college 4 years ago I seem to have gained a lot of weight. Like I’m not huge but I am a lot bigger than I used to be, I’ve gone from a size 8/10 to a size 14/16, which I know is what happens as you get older I just didn’t anticipate it happening yet! I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I gained both freedom and money to do what I wanted when I wanted to, or if it was the sudden lack of weekly 2 hour sessions of hell otherwise known as high school PE. But whatever it was it has not helped my body or my wardrobe for that matter! Thank god for trusty old leggings and chiffon tops!
So since the realisation that I am not happy with the way I look, I have decided to make a change and re-join Slimming World. I joined last year with my mum as it was easier to stick to the plan if we had each other to give little boosts of encouragement and to keep each other away from the biscuit tin! We both managed to lose a decent amount of weight and lose a dress size over the short time we stuck to it! This also included our little cheat days that we believed would count if we didn’t tell anyone, or weekly pig-outs on weigh-in day!
I am hoping that this as well as getting back into the swing of doing come form of exercise such as the little adventures I have planned and the ‘5K Race For Life’ that I’m going to attempt to jog in a months time is going to help me to lose a bit of weight so I no longer jiggle as much when I walk! I’m also going to attempt to do some form of cardio a few times a week in order to help with the weightloss and prepare me for the ‘5K Race for Life’. Shall keep you updated!
3. Dissertation/ Near future plan!
Basically I need to get my life together and pretty soon! Why you say? Well because I have a year or technically about 8 months left of being a carefree lazy student! After that I will have to venture out into the big bad world on my own and become a proper grown up rather than pretending to friends and family to have an emotionally stable and well-balanced life! Meaning I need to sort out what I want to do as a career, so I can decide what to do for my dissertation and therefore choose a masters course!
I am hoping that after some research and careful consideration, meaning where is cheapest and where will I be able to survive on my own without the possibility of going insane, I will be able to have some form of plan or list if you like of my possible options for after graduation. Whether this be move out on my own, come home or stay with my lovely housemates in Chester and either to get a normal job, do a masters (full time or part time with job) or to take a year out and work/volunteer in the UK or abroad.
The issue I’m having is there is so much I want to do yet nothing that tickles my fancy at the same time. I have no idea what I actually want to do as a future career as I am interested in pretty much everything to do with people and psychology in general, which makes choosing a masters degree pretty difficult as they are so damn specific! Plus I have so many other goals I would like to achieve before I ‘settle down’ as they call it. Such as travelling and exploring as much of the world as possible, but you need money for this, which is where the career comes in!
I have made a couple of notes of things to look into such as different masters programmes I could do or the different options I have for if I do decide to take a year out. But as I always do I decide on something and then a couple of weeks later I get interested in something completely different! For example, I was supposed to be doing a sandwich year and completing a year of my degree in Italy, filled out the forms and everything. Two weeks later, I decided that actually no the beautiful country that is ITALY would be too far from home for a year with no term breaks and withdrew my application! I am still undecided if that was the right choice but oh well, rather be safe than sorry right?!
Through university it was compulsory that I undertook a 5 week work placement, for mine I decided to volunteer with a charity called MIND, a mental health charity. MIND provides services throughout the whole of the UK and I decided that I would come home and work with the West Norfolk MIND area to gain an insight into how the charity worked, what services they provided and how psychology is applied to mental health.
Within my 5 weeks I was able to meet and work with some INCREDIBLE people including staff/ volunteers and service users. I had the chance to work with service users on a one-to-one basis and in a group setting, the opportunity to help with fundraising including manning a table at local events and I also had the chance to work within the day centres and MIND’s projects which are set up to provide support for service users and people effected by mental health.
One of the projects I worked with a lot was a ‘Gardening for Health Allotment’ compromising of a meadow, ground/ raised beds, and a poly tunnel. (Brilliant for tanning btw!) All this involved working with service users on the different parts of the allotment and helping them to learn new skills, become a bit more active while promoting a sense of purpose and forming meaningful relationships with others. The service users are able to either have their own plot and get on with their own thing or they can work as a group with volunteers or staff on the larger beds. I worked on a one-to-one basis with mainly two service users who were very different but both equally very challenging, and absolutely loved it
Over the 5 weeks I formed brilliant relationships with other volunteers and especially my two service users and I am hoping to go down the allotment during the summer to catch up with everyone, to help out on their BIG summer open day at the allotment and to continue working with MIND and their brilliant services.
Check them out here: West Norfolk Mind
So that’s the exciting stuff, there is obviously loads of other stuff I want to achieve out of the next 4 months such as:
- Reading.. lots and lots of reading!
- Instagram-ing loads as obviously I need to make sure everyone on social media knows I’m still alive and all the exciting stuff I’m getting up too- Plus I’m a little addicted, I think it may be becoming a problem!
- Get my tan brewing! Thankfully my skin doesnt burn and I tan really easily! Meaning dark skin and light hair here I come!
btw going to do another post about my placement as it was brill and I can waffle for hours about it!!