Monday, 27 February 2017

My Experience of taking a Gap Year and University

It was around this time last year when I was making all my decisions about going to university. Whether to go, and if so, where and what course. I really struggled to figure out what it was I wanted to do. It was around this time I was really enjoying my blogging and what it was bringing my way, and I really felt as if I had something exciting of my own that I might be able to build up into something bigger. I really struggled for a few months trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to do, and if I am honest, I felt under a lot of pressure. 

I am sure there are some of you that will be feeling perhaps pressured into going, or pressured into a subject you may not fully have your heart into. I know how that effects you. If I'm honest, I became very disinterested with my education while I was struggling with how I thought would be best for me moving forward. I struggled to juggle the two, and I felt as if going to University was the best and only option for me. Almost everyone around me was applying, and we were being told to apply for university places without even being asked whether its what we really wanted. I went along with it, and hopped back and fourth between courses. 

I thought I should do English Language, because it was something I was relatively good at and had excelled at throughout school. I knew this wasn't really what I wanted to do. I had no excitement and little interest in learning more about the course options. I tried then looking into journalism courses, but again was told to maybe look at journalism and english combined, which to be completely honest made me feel like I was being told not to go the way I wanted to with my applications. I gave up on the journalism idea as again, I had no excitement.

It also didn't help that what I was doing wasn't really being seen by those around me as anything particularly exciting or even important. I had support of my friends and family, but even then it was tainted by an obvious question in their heads as to whether this was anything substantial. I really struggled with this. 
Eventually, I applied for a Fashion Marketing course and a Fashion Management course. I went to the talks on the courses, and it was the first time I had felt like this could be something I could do at University. I made the decision that these would be the courses I would apply for, as they were the most true to the interests I had. 

I was seeing so many people around me being absolutely over the moon when they received their offers from University and they couldn't wait to go. I really never got that, at least to the extent that everyone else seemed to. I know not all colleges and sixth forms are so adamant that you go to university, but I really had an overwhelming feelings its what I had to do and that if I didn't there weren't many other options I had. We never really got told about all the amazing apprenticeships available around the UK, or internships or even the idea of god forbid going on a gap year!

I realised it wasn't what I wanted to do, it didn't feel right. My Mum never went to university and she is such an incredibly successful woman that I knew I would be okay no matter what I wanted to do. This brings me full circle to where I am now. I got a place at University, which is what was wanted of me and I deferred it. I took a gap year and here I am. I knew there was something I wanted to grab and run with, and that was my blogging that I had been building up alongside my education and this was the first chance I had to run with it with my full attention. 

I know there are a lot of people who, like I did, maybe cant see themselves going to university like others around then. I knew I didn't think it was right for me at the time, as I had found something else I wanted to put my time and effort into. You may have something like that too, whether its an internship, an apprenticeship or even a job, or anything else you may believe is something you can make something of yourself through. My advice to you would be to do what I have done, or at least consider it. Take a gap year and test the water, see comes from it and see how you feel about something in realtime. 

Through doing this, I have found that I really don't think university is the best option for me and where I want to go with my life. I have adored being able to put my full time and effort into blogging,  and its made me realise that I really don't think university is for me personally. I am confident that even if blogging doesn't get to the level I would love it to, that I would be able to find something else through the wonderful people I have been able to meet along the way. 

I've just realised through taking this time that what I enjoy doing, isn't the whole going to university path that lots of people take. Who knows, maybe it'll happen at a later date, but I am happy in what I am doing now, and I feel I am able to find something that lies within what I enjoy and the passions that I have to get me where I want to go in life. 
The decisions surrounding university are difficult, and figuring out whether its right for you is just as hard. I knew it didn't feel right, and for me, putting so many years into something that didn't feel right would be the wrong thing for me to do. 

I know this isn't an advice post, but if I am honest I don't think anyone has the right to tell you what is best for your life. I just know when I was struggling with it, I would have loved to hear from someone else experience who hadn't gone and done something else. 

I would love to think this may help some of you, I know its an overwhelming decision but try and figure out how you really feel about your options, and do your own searching not what others are saying you should do. 


H x

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Fine-tuning Online, We're Doing it Wrong

I will be the first person to admit I censor and edit a lot of what I choose to put online, partially because I guess its my job to be online, but mainly because I feel like I have to. There are always images I find beautiful but feel I am unable to post online. Its funny how so many of us now have social media 'themes' myself included. Meaning all our images have to pass a virtual check list before they are even considered for being posted online. 

Sadly I don't think its exclusive to those who share their lives online, we live in a technical and social age, where everyone has at least some aspect of their lives shown online. Its all fun and games with all the memes online about how many photos you get your boyfriend/girlfriend or friends and family to take of you before your night out, but no one likes a bad photo of them online. Now, when you meet someone new, you add them on Facebook or follow then on Instagram which is then followed by some 'light stalking' so its natural for us to only want pictures online of ourselves we actually like. 

I shoot a lot more than most people for the content for my blog, and its funny how sometimes when I ask opinions of family or friends of which images they prefer, more often than not they choose at least one of me I would not have wanted to use. The way we perceive ourselves is nothing like the way we come across to others. I went through a period a few years ago when I got very body conscious. It was right at the beginning of when my following began to grow and I started to realise people actually had an eye on the content I created. Being online, you are always open to the more dark side to the wonder that is the Internet... There really are some nasty people in this world, who really have nothing better to do than to belittle those they see online. 

As much as you can pretend things like this don't bother you, they aren't something you forget easily. I remember a few years ago, someone set up an Instagram account purely to repost all the content that I posted with horrific captions, criticising me as a person and telling me to kill myself numerous times. I am not the type of person to take this on board, but if this is what happens online, its no wonder we are always a little conscious of what it is we are posting. Even in a non 'job' sense, any images online are open to the criticism from those you know and those you don't. 

Its funny how silly some things can feel when you have time to look back at it. I've been blogging for about 4 years now, and its really amazing to me how many times I tried to conform over the years. I tried the perfect feed, I tried the all white backgrounds (to the point when I spent hours and hours editing photos, only for them to be received worse than those I didn't bother on). Thats the crux of it all really, most people follow people because they are genuinely interested in them as people, especially online personalities. I would much rather see a cute as hell candid shot of some of my favourite bloggers and celebrities on their sofa in their pyjamas with a cup of tea than some of the ridiculously posed crap you see online sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I adore me some editorial content, and infact its some of my favourite content to create as I find it one of my favourite creative outlets. But sometimes, its okay to actually just be yourself online, united and untouched.

I think I first started doing this with the outfits I was showing to you all. I used to always go with the trends I was seeing other bloggers doing, but I soon began to feel really deflated and ridiculously unconfident in the outfits I was shooting. I even found it hard to put the outfits together in the first place. Ive always pushed the idea you should wear what you feel comfortable and confident in, and this is something I actually listened to myself. I sometimes put things on specifically to look a certain way, but all in all, I am really comfortable in the clothes I wear and it really effects how you see yourself. 

Overthinking what you portray to those around you and strangers online will be the death of our generation. We are so obsessed with how we look and the opinions of our peers, we construct these versions of ourselves that are often far from who we really are. Its unfair to be surrounded by these people online with 'ideal' lives. I watched a short video a couple of days ago about how social media will be the death of relationships and one thing said really resonated with me. "We are a generation of comparing our 'behind the scenes' to someone else 'best bits'". Thats it really, we edit ourselves to be a 'best bits' reel, almost like a film, something produced and edited for mass consumption. Think about it, what sort of madness is that? It's our lives and our 'movie' but we spend so much time worrying about whether the content is what those around us want to see. 

I am going to make a conscious effort this year to try and be completely honest with my content, and to stop feeling the need to fine-tune everything I put online. That doesn't mean to say you have to be more personal with what you put online, just that if you feel you have to double check or veto what you're putting online for the opinions of others, don't. I will be doing the same.


H x

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