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Life, University

I finished university!

May 18, 2017

I finished university

On Tuesday, I sat my final undergraduate exam (providing I haven’t miserably failed and have to resit, of course), which means I have completed my undergraduate degree.

I remember writing a post a couple of years back about me starting back at university and I can’t believe how fast those two years have gone. I’ve worked damn hard, racked up some government funded student debt (woop!), and I have everything crossed for a first. I will be truly gutted if I get anything less than a first.

At the moment, I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I am relieved to be able to let my brain relax for a little while, for sure, but I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I think part of that is because I am refusing to get excited until I see my dissertation results, and also because I can’t go to graduation. For some reason, my university does graduation in September which is of absolutely no use to anyone who is going on to further education elsewhere. I have no idea why, most other universities manage to hold graduation in July.

It feels almost surreal to look back on where I was two years ago; I was still working in marketing and had decided I needed to be out of it by the end of the year and wanted to go back to university. I was really nervous about applying to go back to university and was worried a university wouldn’t want to accept me because I’d dropped out after a year and a half. (Jokes, they just want your money ;).) I’m so glad that I took a deep breath and went for it because I love where I am right now.

This summer is shaping up to be a hectic one, but not before a much needed getaway for Daz and I. We’re both looking forward to escaping to campfires, cooking under the stars, falling in love with and dragging ourselves up mountains.

How’s life?

Life, Scotland, University

We’re moving to Edinburgh!

April 27, 2017

View over Edinburgh from Edinburgh castle

Last week, we got the news we’d be waiting on since the start of February; the University of Edinburgh made me an offer on the best masters course I’d found.

I cannot tell you how many times I have refreshed my emails over the past two months, or how many times I’ve logged into their applicant hub hoping to see an update. The stress and hassle of my current university who don’t seem to understand what an interim transcript is and my tutor and I having to make one because they’re so useless. The anxiety Daz and I have had, stressing about how close it was getting and all the things we need to do and we still don’t have a decision. It was all lifted. I could have cried; but I didn’t because I am not human.

Well, I say the stress was lifted. It was and it was quickly replaced with a load more stress and things that need sorting.

Daz and I spent a few days in Edinburgh towards the end of last year when they had a postgraduate open day and we both fell in love with the place. I love Scotland, I love Edinburgh and the university was everything I thought it would be and more. Some of the buildings look like they’re straight out of Hogwarts; which I guess they kinda are since J. K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh when she started writing the books.

View of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

The course is my dream course. Friends and family kept asking me if I’d applied anywhere else and I kept saying “no, because no where else does a course that is anywhere like this one. I have to get in because everything else seems pointless in comparison.” It was, of course, the most expensive course I could have applied for but the way I see it is that it would have been a waste of money doing a cheaper course because it wouldn’t get me where I want to be. The optional modules are all so exciting and I CAN DO A MODULE ON FORESTS! I cannot tell you how excited I am for that. I love forests.

Having lived in my hometown all my life, I’ve visited places and yearned to experience what it would be like to live somewhere else. Especially somewhere so fancy-looking, I mean Edinburgh has a huge castle on a hill (Ed Sheeran?) that is always in the corner of your eyes. What I also like about Edinburgh is that it isn’t so busy that it overwhelms me and stresses me out; though I’m told it will be completely different when the Fringe Festival is on.

I’m looking forward to living somewhere new but I am very comfortable where I am, as is Daz. The thing I am most nervous about is leaving my current job and finding a new one. I love the people I work with, it’s like a family. I am worried that wherever I end up working in Scotland (Hard Rock Cafe, I’m coming for you…goals) won’t feel quite the same.

Of course I will also miss my family and friends. There are plenty of ways for us to keep in touch though, and none of them appear remotely unhappy about the prospect of visiting us in Edinburgh.

It’s a really exciting next chapter that seems full of a lot of unknowns at the moment but I’m sure things will become clearer over the next few months. We’re also both seriously excited about getting to explore Scotland on our days off because it is all kinds of beautiful.

It sure is a weight off.

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Life

Hard times, gonna make you wonder why you even try

April 20, 2017

Waves at Llangrannog

I’m pretty sure most bloggers can relate to feeling like they’ve got nothing to say and the frustration you feel because you  enjoy blogging and you want to say something, but have no idea what. 

A few weeks ago, I was feeling really positive and had a load of ideas but this week I find myself wondering what I have to say at the moment. I know it’s a temporary feeling that will pass with time; I’m just frustrated by a situation I’m seeing a close family member go through and a load of anxiety and nerves brought on by masters applications and waiting and waiting and waiting. It feels a little bit like living in limbo; if we are moving away, we need to know so we can prepare because August is not that far away really, and if not I need to figure out what to do next.

I feel like this is all a load of pointless rambling but it helps to get it down or to talk about it sometimes. What has been helping a lot though is Paramore’s new single Hard Times. I am hooked on it; it makes me want to dance badly in my car, which I promise I will not actually do.

For me, the lyrics have come at the right time; it’s kind of a variation on “this too shall pass”.

How is life with you right now?

Life

I am a chronic phone checker

April 13, 2017

Lake Minnewanka, Banff

This is not a post where I’m going to denounce technology and social media, or say that it’s everything that’s wrong with the world, because it’s not. I find it very useful in moderation; my problem is I’m not very good at the moderation part.

I’ve noticed recently that I really struggle with doing nothing. If I’m waiting for someone, I have to get my phone out; for no real reason. I just aimlessly scroll through Facebook and think “well, this is all a load of rubbish.” I can’t just be.

Since the start of the year, I’ve regularly being going to yoga (yeah, this is the bit where I get all “hippy dippy”) and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about just being present; one of the main things being that I’m not actually very good at it.

I’m not giving up social media at all, but I am making a conscious effort to stop checking my phone every two minutes. I mean, phones are pretty good at notifications so if someone has sent me a message I could just wait for that rather than checking Whatsapp or Messenger “just in case”. Ironically, my social media checking has recently turned into constant email checking as I want for universities to get back to me about my masters course applications.

How do you feel about your relationship with your phone & social media?

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Life, Photography, UK

Going up the Wrekin / aka how unfit I am

April 11, 2017

View from the top of the Wrekin

In the Midlands, we have this saying "going around the Wrekin" which we use when someone is doing something a really long way, or if someone is rambling and taking forever to get to the point. It's based on a hill in Shropshire, called the wrekin, which provides amazing 360 views across the area.

Last Wednesday, the weather was looking pretty good and we decided it seemed almost criminal to stay indoors, especially now that my dissertation is done and I don't need to spend all day staring at a screen. We've recently been joking that we need to practice climbing hills and mountains because of all the hikes we want to do in Canada, so the Wrekin seemed like a good place to start.

This way or that way sign post
The summit of The Wrekin
View from the top of the wrekin
Don't get me wrong, at 407 metres high it is hardly Snowdon but I felt so incredibly unfit. My state of fitness (or rather absolute unfitness) is not a joke now; if I want to tackle some Canadian mountains I need to do some exercise because Daz says he won't be giving me a piggyback.

The climb up is fairly steep and took my breath away pretty quickly indeed. In about five minutes I was wishing I could transport into the bodies of all the happy excited looking dogs that were running up the hill.

The view from the top was well worth it though. I have always felt there is something really calming about being up a hill, a mountain, or even a building, and enjoying the view around you. Everything seems literally and figuratively small. Interestingly, there are also a lot of Pokemon up the wrekin so, y'know...Pokenerds, go! (Yes I am still playing it.)

The view over Shropshire from the top of the Wrekin

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The view from the Wrekin

The top of the Wrekin

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I'm trying out a different style for the format of blog posts, doing away with the sidebar and trying out different styles with the images. I've seen it on a couple of blogs recently and it's a style I really like in posts which have a lot of photos; what do you think though? You're my readers, do you like it? Is it a pain to find the copy amongst all the images?

Life, University

I did it; my dissertation has been handed in!

April 6, 2017

Dissertation

Any third year / former university student will know how good it feels to say “I handed my dissertation in.” To paraphrase about 80% of young adult books released a few years back, “when I handed it in, I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in.” (Why did anyone thing that was a good phrase, seriously?!)

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the challenge; I reveled in it. I actually looked forward to writing my dissertation because if there is one thing I enjoy doing, it’s research and then writing 10,000 words about it. And also analysing where I messed up because I am always analysing where I messed up. Heck, I have had 24 years practice at consistently analysing everything I do, so I figured writing a dissertation would be pretty fun. And it was. I truly enjoyed it. I’m hoping all my hard work paid off because I honestly did my best. If there was something else I should have done I do not know what it was, so here’s hoping.

Also, if anyone wants to know anything about nitrogen and pH of gravesoil, I am a walking-talking bank of knowledge about that stuff. I want to see it come up as a question on Pointless.

Writing my dissertation has taken up the majority of my time since the end of January really so it is nice to relieve the pressure a little and not feel guilty about having a day off and doing nothing. Hopefully, I will get that duvet day I was longing for a few weeks ago, but I doubt it will happen before May.

It’s not like I have nothing to do; I’ve got a couple of presentations to do, an exam to revise for, emails to check 300 times a day hoping a university has made a decision about my masters, and just be.

This week has been pretty relaxed so far. I have done a bit of university work but there’s not rush so I’m not putting pressure on myself and that’s pretty much how I want to rest of the semester to go. I’ve done a bit of reading too (hallelujah!); I’m currently reading Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide and the Secret to Saving the World by Kevin Bales; it is pretty horrifying and eye-opening, and I will definitely be doing a review or roundup of horrible facts I have learned as a result of reading it.

How has life been for you recently?

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Life, Share The Love

Share The Love | March 2017 Edition

March 30, 2017

Share The Love March 2017 Edition

March’s edition of share the love is a week earlier than I would normally do it but next Thursday I will be raving about how happy I am that my dissertation has been handed in!

My dissertation hand in date is next Monday so March has obviously been filled with a lot of work, and playing LEGO games on the Playstation with Daz as a way to chill out. Also, my furry little kitty cat moved in with us this month because he was missing me too much. I thought he would prefer to stay at my Mum’s because there’s loads of open space at the back of her house but there isn’t much here in comparison. He missed me too much though and we’re super happy to have him living with us / taking over the sofa.

 

BLOG – Not So Quiet Grrl

I feel like Nadia’s blog is exactly what I want to read at the moment. Not So Quiet Grrl covers being cruelty free, vegan, minimalism and her adventures into becoming zero waste. Her photos are stunning but what I love most of all is the way she writes because it feels like you’re having a conversation with her.

My favourite recent blog post of hers is about being a vegan advocate, but not one people back away from for fear they’ll be abused for their dietary choices, but one of education, encouragement and, most importantly, no judgement. I thought that blog post was a breath of fresh air and what some people could do with understanding. I get that people are passionate about things they believe in but making people feel bad that they’re not trying hard enough isn’t fair when everyone’s journey is personal and everyone has their own hurdles to jump.

 

LINKS

 

LISTENING TO

I went to see All Time Low earlier this month so they’ve featured heavily in this month’s playlist (I am loving their new stuff), along with Lindsay Ell. I saw Lindsay support The Band Perry about three years ago (I wrote about that here) and I am so excited that she’s finally put an EP out. If you’re missing Taylor Swift’s country-pop then I really think Lindsay can do a great job of filling that gap. Listen to Criminal and tell me it doesn’t sound like it fits in perfectly with Red. I dare you.

 

WATCHING / PLAYING

I watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things on Netflix last weekend and really enjoyed it. If you want to find out more about minimalism, it’s a great starting point. Mostly, we’ve been playing LEGO Jurassic Park and Harry Potter this month.

 

POPULAR POSTS ON GIRL IN AWE IN MARCH

 

How was March for you? Feel free to share links 🙂

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Life, Share The Love

Share The Love | February 2017 edition

March 9, 2017

Share The Love February 2017 edition

I’m a week late, sorry! Last week I was so wrapped up in writing a huge chunk of my dissertation that the week flew by and I completely forgot to finish this post off.

University work was the overwhelming theme for February really; I’ve finished my practical work off now so it’s just a case of the write up now. Is it really sad to admit that I have looked forward to writing my dissertation for so long? The great thing about doing NaNoWriMo for the past few years is that 10,000 words is absolutely nothing at all in comparison to writing 50,000 in a month.

It wasn’t all university work though, I managed to find a fairly good work/life balance for most of the month, which was nice. I took a trip to the Natural History Museum with university, and it took me all of 10 seconds to remember why I hate busy cities. February also saw Pancake Day and Daz made some delicious and excellent pancakes, and I discovered I am not a very good tosser; at least that’s what my Nan told me anyway.

Pokemon Go also released Gen 2 pokemon in February, so Daz and I have been getting out a bit more trying to hunt down some Gen 2 that isn’t Swinub (our town is just Swinub and Drowzees…), and I’ve been trying to catch some things he doesn’t have (which is hard, because he plays it all the time) to try and make myself feel marginally better about the fact he is way ahead of me.

 

BLOG: Brittany Thiessen

I discovered Britanny’s blog just before Christmas and every time I see one of her posts, I know I’m in for a good read that’s going to leave me full of wanderlust. As a Canadian, she’s got a lot of posts about Canada (which I love!), she’s currently documenting her trip to Guatemala (and now I want to go), and she also talks about veganism, and traveling and living sustainably. One of my favourite blog posts she’s written recently is about what she’s learned after eating vegan for a month.

If you want to read a travel and sustainability blog, you really can’t go wrong with Brittany’s blog.

 

BLOG POSTS

As always, I like to share a handful of blog posts I’ve read during the month that I really enjoyed.

 

LISTENING TO

I created a new playlist in February, so it’s been a mixture of Green Day, All Time Low, Paramore, old school Avril Lavigne, PVRIS, Fall Out Boy, oh and Lorde’s new single. I’ve obviously heard music from her first album but it didn’t ever hook me, but I am loving Green Light; I suspect it’s because of the quite clear T-Swift 1989 vibes.

 

WATCHING / PLAYING

In February we started watching A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, and watched a lot of Pokemon. We’ve also got a serious problem with the LEGO games and I’m hooked on LEGO Jurassic Park at the moment.

 

POPULAR POSTS ON GIRL IN AWE IN FEBRUARY

How was February for you? What have you been up to lately?

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