Potentially, Yours.

I can’t get my head around it. Around the fact that I have to reapply for University in a matter of, well, a month. When I say that I have to, I mean I want to. As much as I love my job – at the best of times – I know that to expand, to move on with life, I need to force myself out of this cocoon I’ve been living in.

Since coming back home, the confidence and the independence I had acquired at University has slowly drifted away. Nowadays I can’t have a normal conversation with someone without getting into a panic. Nowadays I fear even getting on a train to the nearest City in case I get lost, and that’s a city I know pretty damn well!

I am trying to see the positives of leaving University like how I am in the midst of losing weight and ‘re-branding’ myself. It’s going well. Another good thing is my job, which pays well and I actually have money in my bank account instead of a £1000 student overdraft. However I can’t shake the feeling of what if I stayed?

A few of my old course mates wrote to me on Facebook. One recently mentioning that she ‘missed me’, which made me think of – how for the first time in my life – I found it so effortlessly easy to make friends. Even near the end of the last term, I had got a “popular guy” to talk to me, to actually have a conversation with me.

A first for me.

I am quite upset how I will never get to go to New York or Amsterdam with those people on a University Project, but I know if I would have stayed I would have gone insane. Coventry would have gone a lot smoother if nobody tried to ‘make me stay’. Or if I would have gotten the support I really needed.

As much as I would love to badmouth the University itself for lacking that support, I can’t because its partly my fault for not seeking that support strongly enough.

Plus, I am trying to find a silver lining here.

Ok, I have decided I want to go into Interactive/Digital or Social Media/Communications. I have also decided that if I am to go to University it would be more ideal to get into year two of a course, although starting over again wouldn’t be so bad, would it? So my next steps are:

  • Get my final results from Coventry
  • Look up a few potential courses (I found one that if I had stumbled across two years ago I probably would have applied to…Media and Creative Writing, so I am looking into that.)
  • Contact other Universities’ faculties and see if I can get into year two of courses of interest.
  • And finally get my laptop back from Coventry!!

When it comes to the University Take 2 stage in my life, I want to not make a big deal of it. I think  I just made moving away harder for myself when I packed too much stuff, took a boat and traveled down through Scotland into England to get to Coventry (instead of throwing two checked bags on an easyJet plane and asked for an IKEA voucher) and finally, spending too much time faffing over it all.

There’s no way it can be as bad as University Take 1, can it?

“Its like having a loose screw and not having a screwdriver.”

Tell me, how would one deal with Mental Health whilst living away at University?

I have realised that there is a combination of reasons why I left University. It wasn’t because I didn’t like studying. I absolutely loved it. It was partly because I didn’t enjoy the future of what I was studying, it was partly because of not being able to handle my homesickness and it was mainly because I was forced into liking Coventry.

Another part, a part that I haven’t exactly mentioned before was because I was alone in isolation, in a mental health kind of way. I went to the doctors/welfare officer a few times whilst over there. Although the welfare officer got me to stay the year, for that I thank her, no one helped me with my mental health.

I haven’t been diagnosed with any Mental Illness perso, but I know for myself that something isn’t right. I know for sure I have Social Anxiety, if you’d consider that as a mental health issue, I have experienced zoning out – not feeling myself/like I am not completely here. I would consider myself as having depression because sometimes it hurts to breathe.

So I guess the answer to that question is, I didn’t cope with my mental health at all, which is why University never worked out for me. I am better now, because I don’t feel like I am trapped in my own surroundings. At home I deal with it better because I have had nineteen years of dealing with it alone at home.

Having an undiagnosed mental health issue sucks. Its like having a loose screw and not having a screwdriver. But its up to us, as humans to create that screwdriver, so we can fix our brokenness.

Going with the flow.

There is no denying that I’ve been basically going with the flow since landing at Belfast International Airport in the middle of May earlier this year. I came back from Coventry with over stuffed hand luggage and my heart on my sleeve, exposed.  I had not a clue what tomorrow would bring, let alone the rest of my life.

Arriving home I stayed up till late, submitting a final assignment to my tutor. Then I just stared at these boxes and cases sprawled across my room, I got frustrated and being seen as a failure and decided it was time I rebuilt myself.

I began to unpack a nine month failed experiment back into it’s original home.

Funny, it felt like yesterday where I was in tears as I couldn’t pack my pet rabbit Lola in one of those boxes and take him as ‘moral support’ to the West Midlands.

My head never really was accepting of what I just did. I wasn’t home for a weekend, for a few weeks or even a few months, I was home for good. So why didn’t it feel like home?

Whenever I go away and come back home, it takes some adjusting in order to get back into the swing of things again. It took me until the end of July to really feel like it was home again. I spent months after returning walking on eggshells, I never wanted to put a foot out of place, I tried keeping my bedroom tidy, I made dinner, I baked occasionally, I did Agency work and started working at a Fashion shop until I could see a less disappointed look in my mother’s eyes.

My sister had rung me one evening asking why I had turned down a job at an amusements and why I hadn’t signed on benefits – I also had an argument with my mum and other sister about my feelings towards benefits. I never listened to any of them because I trusted my gut feeling.

I think, I knew deep down that things would work out fine for me.

After leaving my sales job at the fashion shop, I started the next day at another sales job, this time it was permanent and I do like my job. However, just as another UCAS form needs to be filled out I do need to pull myself out of this ‘going with the flow’ thing and choose a course any course for next year.

Yet I can’t help but think, going with the flow hasn’t steered me wrong for the past 4 1/2 months. Maybe I’ll just stay in this little rapid of water and see how that pans out.

I’ll let you know where the river takes me.

Home Away, From Home.

Just as I begin to remember the happy memories I savoir whilst at University – like the way it felt to shop around a supermarket in Coventry with my parents and Dad bought me a bottle of wine. Or when he gave me a notebook and a card with money in it to “feed me”. Or the way he’d tell me not to visit the road across from halls because it looks dodgy as hell.

I frequently visited Far Gosford Street in the AM during those nine months.

Must be my rebellious streak.

Or when I first came back home (after six weeks) and upon coming back to Coventry, mum bought me a Pizza in our hometown Sainsbury’s and I shoved it (among many Irish treats) in my easyJet hand luggage. Or lighting up with glee when I came home at Christmas and seeing my Mum at the airport, then coming home and she had the house decked up to the nines in Christmas Decorations.

She doesn’t even like Christmas, she did it all for me!

I begin to regret ever leaving the place. I did hope that one day, I would see Coventry less taunting, less painful. However now that my memories are becoming less violent, the regret is kicking in. I did enjoy my course – yes, I didn’t love the practical as much as I hoped, I probably would have moved to Media and Communications instead, yes, it killed me being away from home but I traded a chance to be somebody to being a nobody again.

Although I am not completely over the heart pounding pain, I experienced, like falling, twisting my ankle and busting my knee open.

On the first night

Like coming back to halls for the first month (at least) in tears because I was physically homesick. Like crying over my friggin pizza in Bella Italia?!

For the love of God, pull yourself together Woman!

I hated the thought of falling in love, or even settling in a place that wasn’t home. A place that was forced upon me to like. I do think that if my mum in particular wouldn’t have forced Coventry on me so much, or if my eldest sister had not of  ‘prayed for me to stay in Coventry’, simultaneously making me think this isn’t my choice, also making me think I was trapped and couldn’t ever go home, that I would have liked Coventry or even warmed up to it better.

This may not make sense to anyone but forcing someone to do something is only going to make them rebel against it. Its like a family friend of ours, his parent’s wanted him to be a dentist, to work at the family practice and where is he now? He is training to be a doctor, after studying Pharmacy.

Despite everything. This is what I miss the most, my room in Coventry. This place may have seen more pleading tears than in court rooms but it was my first home away from home.

Lost

According to a recent Facebook Quiz, I am a Journalist. Although I may have said it was ‘close enough’ once I shared it on the Social Media site, it is in quite the opposite direction from my job in retail. I process payments, I help people in fitting rooms by zipping up dresses, getting other sizes, I help with deliveries, with cleaning and with ordering in new items for collection.

I’d be proud to say that I am a journalist. You know why? It just sounds so creative, so intelligent and like I actually am ‘good with words’. I’ve been writing for a number of years, short stories, poems, blogs, advertisements, fake magazine stories, articles and more blogs.

It’s my happy place.

Its fair to stay that there are a lot of jobs I would love to do or at least experience:

Aviation related

  • Customs officer in an Australian Airport, with a dog. – I love aviation, I love dogs and this job just sounds so important.
  • Air Traffic Controller at a small airport or for the Royal Air Force.
  • Ground Operations in Cargo
  • NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board or actually staying in the UK AAIB, Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Media related

  • Film/Casting Director
  • Photographer
  • Advertising
  • Social Media Officer
  • Graphic Designer or on the Art/Design team for a magazine
  • Journalist/Writer

Those are just some, I’d also wouldn’t mind being a Doctor, but I hate blood, gross cuts, needles and hospitals so I don’t really see that working at all!

My ideal jobs as listed above have got me thinking about a future course to study. I just don’t want to mess up, again. I feel by consulting Mum with my plans, that I am just repeating 2012 when we sat down together and talked about Universities and courses. I know this is a decision that I have to make for myself but if I can’t discuss my future with my own mother, who can I discuss it with?

All I know for certain is that I want to finish a degree, I want to stick on a Media related course and I want to stay in Northern Ireland, although if a course has a placement/study abroad year/semester that bridge will be crossed once I come to it.

I’ve been talking to an old friend – now graduated University – who said “choose a course before you choose a place to study it” which may seem like basic advice but those words have stuck with me. He is right, I can’t just choose any half decent course just because it will allow me to move away from home but not Northern Ireland, although I feel like I can’t choose a more ideal course because then I’ll be stuck in this hometown and I’ll just completely lose all of the independence I had acquired whilst away.

I applied for an internship for a month in London – expenses paid which isn’t ideal but I just need this, to go away again, even though some days I feel like I could never move out because all I can think about is the bad times I had in Coventry and very little of the good times, I just want to feel what it is like to be independent again. Is that so crazy?

Failure to Launch

Life hasn’t really been in my favour. For instance growing up wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, so much so that my childhood effects me more now than I probably let on it does. As much as I would like to name and shame, its nobody’s fault but my own. My childhood has quite a bit of play in my adulthood, which effects how I see my future…

As much as I tell myself to keep on ‘going with the flow’. The reality of it all could not be more opposing. Truth is I can’t over the pain, the hurt. I can’t get my head around messing up with University, with my mum and with life in general.

Why do I have to be such a failure?

At the minute I have thrown myself into the gym – queue #GymSelfies on Instagram – which has temporarily helped me ease the pain. I also have a pretty likable job as a Sales Advisor for a global brand. I can honestly say I enjoy it, I mean what girl wouldn’t love wearing cashmere sweaters, pinafore dresses and tailored skirts as a work uniform? With this company I get to learn a lot more about Fashion than intended, like today, I spent a good twenty minutes watching catwalk films and learning about individual collections, but I don’t mind because I have an interest in fashion, I may be Ugly Betty (pre-Season 2) when it comes to self-dressing but its early days yet.

Although, with some of the staff preparing to take their jobs part-time for their returns to University, that is all I can think about. I want to go to University, I still want to be in University. I never really wanted to leave studying. I just needed to get out of Coventry, to come home, back to the place where I felt safest. A place where it goes unnoticed if you spend all day in your room.

Back in Coventry, at University, I got pretty blessed, because I was paired with not-terrible flatmates. I never really spoke to two of them, I ended up falling out with one of them, one of them loves planes like I do so we got on like Air West and a F6 Fighter Jet.

That was a terrible anecdote, I’m sorry, I just finished re-watching ACI: S13E02. Apart from Massacre in the Mediterranean, its one of the better investigations.

And the other one and I are still friends, she encouraged me a lot to get out of my room during the first few months. Which I expected to happen whilst living in Halls, but going from an isolated child with nobody ever questioning why I was always alone to actually being noticed was a strange feeling. I was so accepting of being alone in my bedroom back home that anything else just wasn’t ‘a way of life.’

I never really devoured the Student Experience until well after Christmas. I began to try new things, to stay in the City after a lecture instead of walking back to my accommodation via the shop for a bag of chocolate.

A few weeks ago, I went through a phase of missing the social aspect I had begun to build post Christmas. I actually missed living away, which is why I was looking for a new course to start University again next September.

However, I am now in the place where I don’t feel like I can live away from Northern Ireland again. As much as I loved getting a plane to come back home, I really struggled.

I previously mentioned whenever I feel forced into doing something, it makes me less inclined, less interested in doing it. Well Mum mentioned a “passing comment” something like

Well good, you can get your arse into Uni next year.

I did say that I was feeling dedicated in going to back to study, that I miss University. Well after that comment, I just felt like a failure, I felt like I was reliving life back in Coventry. Where she was on the phone to me, forcing me to stay and that’s what lead me to walking back home in the dark.

Jobs with Benefits

Its safe to say I’ve never been the outgoing, confident type which is why Interviews really scare me. Like really. All calmness I feel on a normal occasion just goes out the window and out comes Little Miss Fidget. When I go to interviews, I try my best to keep still but suddenly my hands begin to pat down that little black skirt or play with my non existent earrings.

 As for answering questions, I get tongue twisted, All. The. Time. Even on the questions I have practiced beforehand, like the common ‘tell us about yourself?’

Interviews: Death by Communication.

This week I have had to endure two interviews. One at my local shop.

I arrived in my black skirt, tights, a floral print top and pumps. I walked up confident – or as confidently as I could manage – to the till and said ‘I am hear for an interview’, unfortunately I knew the boy I said this to and I am sure he knew I was a university, so I felt a little awkward and almost like he was thinking ‘but shes at Uni, what is she doing applying for here?’

After waiting a few minutes for the owner to come out of that side door. I shook his hand and said ‘nice to meet you’. He took me into a room where I meet the store manager, who was really lovely. At this stage, I got asked six scenario based questions. One of which was ‘each week we have a product on offer, this week is the half price peanut M&Ms. I am a customer, I have just bought a basket of stuff, I come up to your till, try and sell these M&Ms to me.’ Now I have answered a similar question like this before, back in May I was interviewed for a big time photographer position and managed to (hypothetically) sell the interviewee a graduation photograph, I nailed the answer then and I (think I) nailed it today:

Me: Do you want to buy some M&Ms

Him: I don’t know, whats special about them, are they on offer?

Me: They are half price.

Him: Oh okay, I might take them

Me: Plus, they are the nice ones, they have peanuts in them.

I am so glad that the two of them laughed, because that was a spur of the moment thing. So the benefits of this job: 10% off my shopping, 2p off per litre of fuel, bonuses when targets are met and a uniform allowance. Which is really good.

The next interview was on Thursday at a homeware and fashion shop. I applied for it (actually I applied for both jobs) back in June. They are only getting around to needing staff. This is a job I wanted more than the other one because this shop is of a whole new standard. It is the Cosmopolitan of home. It is so posh. That is why I think I wouldn’t be of perfect fit for the shop…it is everything I have always wanted to be but so much of it, I am not.

However I have been working in a fashion shop on and off all summer – it is quite upmarket as well but nothing could equip me for this interview.

With my baby blue Sadiva blouse and that same black skirt on. I walked in with an updated version of my CV and was told to wait a minute. I decided to walk around the shop to familarise myself with it – and noticed that the clothes, where just, divine and they had gift sets of Reed difusers (I am a little obsessed with reed difusers!)

The manager sat me down and said the first part of the interview is a Numeracy test.

Well I may as well just walk out now. 

Passing the numerical test (say what now?), I was interviewed and asked a lot about university. I said that ‘I am taking a year out of education because I wasn’t fond of my course’, which the manager questioned, ‘why.’ I was so used not having to explain further so I felt very unprepared. ‘Well the course wasn’t narrow enough for me. It was a lot of different things and I wanted something more narrow. I am considering a more theory based course.’ We chatted for a good few minutes about my decision to leave University and if I will be returning. I assured her that if I decide to go back I will ‘let my employer know although I have no plans to return this year or intentions to apply for next year.’

Working with the homeware-fashion shop has more benefits than the other job, for example: 30% off except on furniture, it smells nicer (reed difusers!), the uniform is their fashion which is changed every three months and there is chances to work overtime. Since it is only a part-time job, the opportunity to do overtime is much appreciated. Plus, part-time means I can work the odd shifts at my current fashion shop job.

Woah, Jess slow down, here is you planning your future at this homeware-fashion shop and they haven’t even offered you the job yet!

Except they have. Today they rang and I got the job!

But suddenly, I can’t help but think about University, about Coventry and if I want to go back because I did like University and the course (well…50% of it. It is true, I think I would enjoy a more theory based course) and I did make some amazing friends. Yet, thinking about Coventry still hurts. Maybe I  just miss University – the peace, the independence, the chance to just go for a wander at 2am and end up someplace half interesting.

Summer is slowly coming to an end and just when my heart has began to heal. I can feel it beginning to break again.

Thrown in, for good measure. – Friends with Benefits movie.

I’m in over my head

When I was in Coventry and living away from home, the very thought of adapting or ‘settling’ in a new place, besides my hometown in the North Coast of Ireland very much pained me. I used to walk around that multi-cultural city in the West Midlands thinking “what am I doing here – I feel so trapped.” 

Now that I am home, I feel outgrown in this little town. I do a lot of the same stuff I did prior to boarding that Stena Line ferry to England back in September. Like going to Sainsbury’s with Mum or Coffee on Saturdays with Dad, but in doing so, I just feel like a big kid really.

Like a Cat in a Fish tank.

Yet I don’t know if I should try this moving out thing again, partly because I don’t know if it is what I want or if subconsciously I am just doing it to please my mum. The other part questions “if I ever move out again – will I feel those empty thoughts or will I somehow find strength and actually enjoy it?”

A new job as a Junior Video Editor has risen, it is a full-time, first step on the career ladder sort of gig, there is only one issue, it is in my ‘one horse town’. I guess I just thought, when I would ever go onto stepping onto the career ladder, I’d be living it up in some retro flat in some awesome city like they do in the movies…

Maybe I am ready to leave home again. I do want to return to University. I did like University, I just didn’t feel ready for it. But to go back to university I need to reapply and to reapply I need to know what to do, where to go and when to go. 

Essentially this Jr Video Editor job is a perfect start and could open a lot of doors for me so I am going to apply. It will be great experience to say the least. 

Interview Lookbook: Male

Interview: Men