This time last year I was on a train home from Canterbury, missing out on a house party that I had sort of been invited to with a bunch of people I didn’t really know. I had been sent home after almost fainting at my retail job in Sunglass Hut and I had spent the remainder of the day shivering in bed, in my student house, which was empty because all of my housemates had understandably gone home for Christmas. So, after arguing with my then boyfriend about whether or not I really wanted to go to this party, I made the decision to go home, as it was pretty obvious that he didn’t want me there. A few weeks later he came over to my house and broke up with me. The next week, I took my driving test and failed.
After a pretty dramatic start to my year, I picked myself up and I decided that the only thing to do was to get on with my life. After all, this was my life and not anybody else’s. If it was going to be anything, it was going to be a damn good one and I was going to make sure of that.
I started off with work experience at The Guardian for two weeks, where I had pretty much the most amazing time of my life working in what I thought was my dream job. I took the tube in to Kings Cross every morning, stepping through revolving glass doors and up the escalator into a colourful office buzzing with news stories, cultural reviews and all of the books you could ever imagine. Every morning I found myself unwrapping package after package of proof copies of books that had been sent to The Observer for review. Books like Paula Hawkins Into the Water, which I got to glimpse before it had even hit mainstream bookstore shelves. I worked along side some of the nicest people I’ve met. I got to interview artists and put together the Snapshots section of the newspaper, which you can read here. And I did another one the following week, available here. I got to sit in at the weekly conference with the editor in chief of The Observer, John Mulholland, who even gave me his chair to sit in during one of the conferences. Something very small for him, but very big for a little intern like me at the time. Those two weeks were such an amazing opportunity and I am so incredibly happy that I was lucky enough to get to do it.
Next up, I had to get back to university and finish my assignments. I managed to land an 85/100 in one of my essays, which I am still incredibly proud of as it was only two tiers away from full marks. I finished writing a book called Marbles which I now kind of hate talking about, but is definitely my biggest achievement to date. I gave a reading of it at a book launch and I made copies available online with the website Blurb. If anyone is looking to self-publish some material, I recommend using Blurb as it’s so incredibly easy to use.
After this, I got back to my driving lessons and took my third and final driving test. The most nerve-racking test of my life. I can’t stand any kind of practical tests which is why I had to stop taking A-Level Music after year 13. Although I loved it, my hands would shake whenever I had to perform a piece on the piano. Singing wasn’t too bad but I still wasn’t that confident doing so in front of people. But out of everything, driving definitely tops it as the worst test I’ve ever taken in my life. Not to mention that my third test was examined by the same woman who failed me on my first test, so I felt under even more pressure driving with her sat next to me. But who cares, now that it’s over, I never have to think of Sue failing me for “clearance to obstructions” ever again!
I went to my first ever concert to see the incredible Ed Sheeran live at The O2. I was truly blown away by his talent, which is honestly overwhelming and I went with the best people. I also booked tickets this year to see The Script next year in February, who have been one of my favourite bands since secondary school. I am so excited about this.
After this, I’d finished taking all the tests I needed to take in my life and I was pretty much finished in Canterbury. So I quit my retail job and got straight on to applying for others. Within one month of quitting, I had landed myself a new full-time job and I chose to start asap. I can’t bear to be without money in my life, so I started working before I’d even graduated.
And then I graduated!! Sadly, I was one mark away from getting a First in my degree, which I just knew would happen to me. However, I am still so pleased that I managed to get a 2:1 in English Literature, American Literature and Creative Writing. I had the best lecturers, I made some of my best friends at university and all of my hard work really did pay off in the end.
In the five months since graduation, I feel like I’ve truly become the best version of myself. I started going to the gym regularly in August and have only missed two weeks of gym going since. I’ve been able to lift heavier weights, I’ve been feeling fitter and more confident in my body and my plan for 2018 fitness wise is to improve on my upper body strength (as I still have pretty puny arms) and start eating better. We all know I love a bit of sugar but I think that needs to be massively cut down in the new year as it’s not great for my body at all.
I’ve saved up so much money. I’ve met so many incredible people – a handful of which are now some of my closest friends. I feel I’m learning new things about life and myself all the time. I’ve started cooking proper meals for myself. I can’t remember the last time I used a packet or a jar of sauce, which used to be what my cupboard was filled with at university. Now I know exactly what has gone into my food and I can honestly say that it tastes so much better. I’ve worked with some more brands this year on my blog and I have a post collaborative post coming out tomorrow so watch out for that!
2017 has been such a great year. Although it’s been fast-paced, that’s exactly how I like my life and I feel as though I have truly enjoyed every moment of it. I’m even thankful for the bad parts, as without them, I really wouldn’t be where I am today and that’s the truth. So thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year and to all the people that have reached out to me to work with them. Here’s to hoping that 2018 can be just as amazing as this year was!