Latest Posts

What Will I Do When I Finish My Degree?

I started my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at Keele University in September 2016. It was a long process to get here, I originally applied to and had an offer from  King’s College London – my first choice university for the same course, but unfortunately due to a lack of motivation I didn’t bother studying for the Biology A Level I had decided to finish by self-studying during my gap year. I missed my offer, and I was gutted. I had soon looked up the best courses on offer through clearing and promptly contacted Keele who offered me a place right away. It was a relief to say the least. In this whole time, not once did I stop to consider why I was struggling so much to motivate myself to study…

I think the easiest place to start this story is right back when I first began school. I loved reading. I loved writing. I loved art. Maths was easy, but that didn’t mean I loved it. My parents tell me stories of me as a child, they used to leave a plate of sandwiches and a stack of books by the side of my bed to keep me occupied when I woke early in the morning – a genius idea, I think you would agree. Somewhere along the line, people started to point out that I was clever, that I was good at science and maths, that I should pursue this. When I was younger I never really thought about it. I told myself that I just wasn’t good at English, that my art was terrible, I’m so glad that I never stopped reading!

By the time my GCSEs arrived, I was so set on the path to maths and science that everything else was an inconvenience – at that stage the work was still easy enough that I didn’t actually have to put in any effort and thankfully still achieved grades that nobody would ever question – except myself of course. I am filled with regret; I know I could have done so much better if only I had put the work in, but it was easy, and nobody encouraged me. When it came to choosing my A-levels, I just picked the subjects I got the best marks in, and that was that. I didn’t think about what I would enjoy, people had been telling me for so long that I should do something ‘clever’, something in science. People encouraged me to look at medicine, and honestly, I did actually believe at that stage that it was what I wanted to do.

A Levels were not as easy as GCSEs. In my AS year I flopped, I failed my RS exams (and there was no coursework to fall back on) and I got B’s and C’s in the rest. I know they’re not bad grades, but I also know that I could have done so much better. Failing RS concreted my opinion that I was bad at English, that I ‘just couldn’t write essays’. In my A2 year, I took up a new AS subject on top of my three A-Levels. I added biology to the mix. It was terrible, and I don’t know why I kept going with it – I definitely don’t know why I decided to finish the A level in my gap year. Looking back now, it’s easy to say that I made the wrong choices, but at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do so medicine was a great goal to aim for. Medicine is vocational, if you follow that path, you know your final destination. After my performance at AS, it was decide that I should take a gap year and apply with the 2016 entry cohort so that I could bring up my grades with resits and hard work in my second year of A-Levels.

I should have used that additional year to think about what I really wanted, but I guess it was a little late by that point anyway, the A-levels I had picked left little room to change my route. If I could go back now, I would probably still do maths, but I probably wouldn’t have stayed at my school’s sixth form. If I could go back now, I would pick subjects like English, History and French. One of the local sixth form colleges offers a Classical Civilisations A-Level course which a few of my friends have done. One of my options for when I leave university is to go back to college and take a new set of A-levels, but I’m not sure this is realistic. When I finish my degree, without a job where will I find the money to live whilst I study for new A-Levels? Maybe it is something I will pursue when I am much older, if I ever have a way to fund myself without woking for a few years…

Now half way into my degree programme I don’t see any point in dropping out. It’s stressful, and tiring, and sometimes downright boring, but I know I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. If I can do this and come out with a decent qualification at the end of it, I know I’ll be able to do anything! And whilst I still may not be sure of what I’m going to do with my life when this course ends, at least I’ll have a good starting block to jump from.

I have a few days between finishing my January exams and starting back for the second half of the year so I’m ferociously attempting to find work experience and thinking about all my various options. I love my blog, but I don’t know if I could make a living from it, it’s one of the ways I relax and it always gets pushed to one side when I am super busy. Does anyone have any suggestions for places I could approach to get some insight into various industries? I am open to trying just about anything, I love writing, reading, photography and being outdoors. I really love languages and did two French modules in my first year of uni. Any suggestions?

BUCS XC and a Night Out in London

After a thoroughly exhausting weekend I am now sat in the university library trying to catch up on life. I left campus at 6pm Friday evening with the Cross Country team and we travelled to Brunel University for BUCS cross country arriving at just gone 10pm and then sorting our race kit ready for the following morning before eating and stretching and then heading to bed. My friend and I woke at 4:30 the next morning (almost 4 hours before our alarms were due to go off) and spent the next few hours restless and nervous for the day ahead. We got up at around 7:30 giving up on any hope of falling back asleep and started getting ready to leave.

The team got taxis to the race location and all met in a group close to the finish line. Once the team had regrouped we found a spot on the field and set up the gazebo and groundsheet to try and keep our bags and kit dry – it was raining and there was mud everywhere! The girls race was first, starting at 12pm, and so after painting our faces with war stripes in the team colours we got on with warming up. A quick walk around the course followed by a short jog around the main field and some drills saw us ready to go and so with the race being announced over the tannoy we made our way to the start line.

Unfortunately my spikes broke a few years ago, and as this was my first cross country race in a while I hadn’t bothered to replace them – BIG MISTAKE!! The course was a total mud bath. I could hardly stay upright which meant that whilst I knew that I could have run so much faster I just had to settle for making an attempt to finish the race without falling. Although I was disappointed with my place and my time, I did actually really enjoy the race anyway. The field was huge with over 700 girls competing in the girls race so the atmosphere was amazing.  Next time I will definitely be wearing spikes.

After the girls race was finished, we had a photo, and then I had to leave. I walked straight to Uxbridge underground station and caught the tube into London to meet my friend at a café (Coffee Island) near Leicester square. My friend turned 18 on Saturday so we were meeting for her birthday. The café was great – I would highly recommend the almond croissants, the millionaire shortbread and the coffee! From the café we made our way to the AirBnB we were staying at in Shoreditch.

On arriving at our AirBnB I headed straight to the shower where I scrubbed off the many layers of drying mud and grass that were covering my legs. Feeling a little more human we went to Oxford street to do a bit of shopping (we needed to find outfits to wear out that night!). Thankfully, the shopping didn’t take too long and we found some really great outfits after about half an hour giving us time to find food and get back to the flat to get ready.

At the top of the steps down to the subway at old street we passed a cocktail bar and decided to check it out. There was a buzzy atmosphere and we ended up staying far longer than planned – not leaving until almost 12am. The drinks were amazing and I would definitely go back for more sometime! After leaving the cocktail bar we made our way to Tiger Tiger. There was only a very short queue and we were in very quickly, making our way straight to the bar where we ordered drinks and scouted out the best dance spots. Whilst it was fun and we had a good time, I wouldn’t go back to Tiger Tiger unless I couldn’t find anywhere else. There were two dancers on podiums near the door who looked bored out of their minds and there wasn’t really that much of an atmosphere, just lots of very very drunk people hooking up and to make it worse the music wasn’t exactly that great.

We left the club at about 2:30 and made our way back to the underground travelling from Piccadilly Circus to King’s Cross where we sat for 20 minutes trying to warm up before catching the night bus back to the AirBnB. Pizza was ordered and consumed and then it was lights out at about 4:45am and off to sleep after a very long day!

Sunday saw a leisurely get up staying in bed until about 10:30, showering and packing our bags to check out of the airbnb. We headed straight back to Piccadilly where we spent the rest of the day in and out of patisseries and book shops (as well as Fortnum and Masons to use the bathroom, of course). All in all it was an exhausting but brilliant weekend!

I Made My Goals for 2018 in the Middle of January

It shouldn’t matter when we set our goals and intentions – what should matter is that we actually follow them up and stick to them. I originally made some quick, off-the-top-of-my-head “New Year’s Resolutions” on the 31st December, but by the 3rd day into the new year I had already forgotten what they were! So, whilst taking a short study break after sitting my second (out of four) exams for the January exam period, I decided that I would sit down and think properly about what I really hope to achieve this year – somehow I ended up with 8 (some of them are pretty small changes I would like to make). I’ve categorised them all and explained each goal/intention, perhaps you might like to borrow a few of mine? Let me know in the comments what your goals are for 2018.

[Environmental]

  1. No wrapping paper, paper gift bags or sellotape (use fabric, natural twine and decorations such as foliage from the garden). This one is not only an environmental goal, but also a challenge in creativity. My intention with this one is to buy second hand scarves from charity shops to wrap presents in, therefore giving additional life to used textiles and not using paper that is going to be tossed in the recycling (if I’m lucky) or general waste (if I’m not). The creative part is the choosing of the fabrics, and the way I wrap the gifts. I must say, I’m really looking forward to this one so bring on the first birthday of the year at the beginning of February, follow me on instagram if you want to see how I get on.
  2. Always use a reusable water bottle and travel mug – never get takeaway coffee in a single use cup. On the way back from the airport at the start of the year my family and I listened to a news story on the radio about plastic waste and I vowed to try and cut down my consumption of plastic products. By always carrying my reusable metal water bottle I won’t need to buy plastic water bottles when I’m out and about (and I’ll have a permanent reminder to stay hydrated). This is only a really small step, but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.

IMG_0490

[Health & Wellbeing]

  1. Run 10,000km. This one is a big one. It’s a ridiculous challenge, almost entirely unachievable, but it is the almost that has set me down this path. It’s a pretty personal challenge, and for some people out there it would be nothing, but even if I only get halfway there I will know that I can be proud of myself for trying!
  2. Have a regular stretching routine (4x per week in the morning before running). I prefer running in the mornings as I feel it sets me up for my day and also I’m not then tempted to just skip a run after a long day. With all the running I’m going to be doing this year, stretching is going to have to become an important part of my routine for injury prevention and general sanity.
  3. Get into the habit of a good skincare routine including sunscreen and moisturiser. Between running, walking to and from campus each day, and a general love of the outdoors, my skin is going to face varying harsh conditions over the year so remembering to moisturise and use sun protection are going to be absolute necessities.

IMG_0497

[Study & Learning]

  1. Read 50 books. I love reading (I currently have three books on the go!), but with so much else on I sometimes struggle to find time to read. Reading is a really good way to de-stress and relax for me so its really important that I find time to fit it in. Setting a goal for the number of books I would like to read this year should serve as motivation to find the time.
  2. Get a first in my second year of uni – get into a regular study routine, work hard and stay organised and on top of the workload to reduce stress. I thought my first semester was going well until exams rolled around and all of a sudden I realised how much more work I should have done from the start. Hopefully I have still passed these exams with good enough marks, but next semester I don’t want to leave it to chance. Having an academic goal is always a must for me.
  3. Relearn the violin. Years ago I could actually play the violin to a half decent standard and not make people want to remove their ears from the side of their head’s. I’m not sure I can say the same now, but I love music, I still have my old violin, and I really want to get back into it. I hope my housemates will understand…

 

 

Final Day of Skiing – Finland

Sadly, today was our final day skiing in Finland. The slopes opened later (at midday) as it was New Year’s Day, so we left the chalet at 10:40 to catch the 11am bus to the ski resort. The 11 o’clock bus didn’t come, so at about five past, we started walking in the direction of the slopes. We walked about 3km before stopping for hot chocolate and catching the 12 o’clock bus the rest of the way. Turned out the walk to the ski resort from the chalet was actually 7km – a lot further than we thought!

E370ADC7-235C-44D9-9BFC-E93DB9B9F803

After reaching the ski resort we kitted up and hit the slope. I spent the first half hour with my mum and then when she went inside to warm up I went off on my own and bumped into my dad at the bottom of the T-bar lift where I was deliberating whether or not I should do a very long blue run from the top of the mountain. I went through the lift gate before giving myself any more time to back out and then we were on the lift together and there was no way down but to ski. On reaching the first exit on the lift my dad mistakenly got off and flung me across the landing area! We had to go across a small section of a red run to reach a blue run so that we could descend.

923F5475-2F11-4FB0-89D4-7AD41A311A97

At the bottom of the run we made a pit stop in a small cafe to allow my dad’s legs to recover before hopping back in the T-bar lift and going up again – this time, all the way to the top! On reaching the top of the lift and turning right to the start of the run I did a double take at the steep drop before me!! We started off slowly with my dad ahead, but before long I overtook and made my way down surprisingly fast and smoothly. I was so pleased that I decided to actually do that run as I had been thinking about it all day yesterday. I know I would have regretted it if I hadn’t…

96113AAC-5AFF-40A1-B667-913FD83AE1C1

When my dad finally reached the bottom we went along another much easier, shorter run back to the lift that would take us closer to the resort and I found my mum so that I could ski with her for a little while. When she decided she had had enough and was going to call it a day I went off on my own a little longer and filmed a few of my runs! I am so proud of my progress over the last few days and can’t believe how much I have achieved in such a short space of time!! This has been one of the most amazing experiences and has definitely been a great start to the New Year!

 

Third Day Skiing + The Snow Village – Finland

After two days of ski lessons in the morning followed by further practice in the afternoons we hit the slopes on our own right from the start this morning. My mum came back today after being ill yesterday so I spent the first half hour with her going through braking and turning again. When she headed inside to warm up and get a hot chocolate I went off to explore some of the rest of the slopes available.

B0E3C56D-734C-4AA6-BF6D-8D925B12073D

After one or two runs down the easiest slopes right next to the resort I met my brother and we went off to explore some of the slopes further afield. After a few easy runs down some fun blue runs we hopped on a T-bar lift together and headed up to another blue run further up the mountain. Little did we know how bad the visibility was going to be, or how steep and how much more technical this run would be!

3F947101-C1AD-4F7C-B3D3-29794DEE7D2A

We started off slowly, lots of controlled turns to maintain consistent speed, but being unable to see the edges meant that the slope felt far more narrow than it was and soon enough we were whizzing down what turned out to be one very long slope indeed!! Two falls and a lot of internal swearing later and we reached the bottom in one piece! Whilst we didn’t go back down today, I definitely want to try that run again before we leave.

EBC503E7-7CA4-4278-918C-10A4963D451D

After a quick shared hot chocolate and cinnamon bun, we made our way back to the resort to meet the rest of the family before we got a taxi to the snow village.

F3309AC4-559C-42A0-9323-ABAB17C10CBC

The snow village was amazing, the ice art was truly amazing, and the experience of eating in the ice restaurant was unbeatable, if not a little cold! The food was great (don’t miss out on the over cooked reindeer chunk or the chocolate fondant should you ever visit) and being filmed for a short documentary on European Ice Art by the German equivalent of the BBC was a one off experience.

A79FE96B-A886-40A6-B41F-35062977E24AC03EB148-0AAD-42AC-8F06-807A28AD67406D8FCE09-A03F-4621-A572-690F7848F519

Second Day Skiing – Finland

Our second day of skiing involved a chilly walk to the bus stop followed by a short bus journey to the slopes. Unfortunately my mum didn’t join us today as she was feeling sick, but hopefully she will come tomorrow! We got our kit on and headed outside to meet Saara (our ski instructor) for our morning lesson.

41D14EE6-FA4A-43BC-AC8A-1BE0436078BF

We started with the baby slope again, practicing our turns and did a fun drill that required trying to traverse across the slope on only one ski! Then we moved on to a fun bumpy slope, the visibility was really bad and I fell going over a bump I missed – oops!

E158A184-5D82-42A6-ACF1-429FBED2BCB5

After a a few runs down the bumpy slope we moved on to a much steeper slope, this was so much fun! However, the extreme cold due to high winds, and the low visibility meant that we decided to leave the slopes and catch the bus back to the chalet when our lesson ended. Another great morning of skiing though!!

353D8120-8C5F-40F2-81B8-CA6C05BD5602

First Experience of Skiing – Finland

After a late night viewing the aurora last night (unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos), we were up and out early to get to the slopes for our first lesson! The views were stunning and completely unforgetable; as was the experience of skiing for the first time.

4749ADDB-004B-4C6B-9E43-1C68FB75274B

Our lesson started at 10am with Saara instructing us in the very basics including how to put on our skis and how to position ourselves. Once we had the skis on we learnt how to go forwards and how to brake (using the snowplough method). Then we traversed across  to the top of the easiest slope to practice our braking initially, progressing on to learning how to turn.

5E8E1A2A-DE94-4957-8516-93A1B6DB5C89

After a few runs down the slope our lesson was over and we headed back to the main building where we warmed up a little, bought our ski passes and drank hot chocolate! Then back to the slopes we went for an afternoon of practicing all the new skills from the morning. By about 2:30, it was so cold that we had to leave the slopes. We may have only been out for 3 1/2 hours today but that was enough for me!

6FF7A37F-7D6E-4739-BDB1-F5E2142D283A

After taking off all our kit, drinking another hot chocolate and waiting about an hour, we caught the bus back to our chalet. By the time we got off the bus, the temperature outside had dropped to about -30°C and walking the 20 minutes back to the chalet was no small task. By the time we got back, our eyelashes were frozen and my mum’s hair had gone white with icicles. We hastily removed our boots and kit in the front porch and made our way through to the main chalet to warm up. All in all, the day was brilliant! I cannot wait for our second lesson tomorrow followed by more practice in the afternoon. I will be wearing more layers this time!!

Comment down below to let me know about your skiing experiences – especially if you have any tips for staying warm!!

C5EFED9B-DC5A-4AC5-AE0E-FFDB02E737F4