Life After University | A YEAR On From Graduation, Here’s Where I’m At RN

I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but it has been a year since I graduated university.

One year since I was finally free from a degree that I had worked my arse off for three years. If you’re currently in the midst of your studies, I’m sure that you’ve dreamed about the situation I’m currently in. I know for a fact that it’s all I thought about while I went through sixth form and university – the bit where you actually start your real life.

Like most things, it hasn’t been an easy ride and I’m far from feeling settled. But I feel like for all it’s failures, my little journey may be of help (or at least of interest) to someone out there. I feel like your life after university, or any kind of structured routine, isn’t something that is talked about in depth. We have expectations and ideas, for sure, but we don’t get given a solid idea of what will happen once we’re free. It’s just like a hazy dreamland.

So allow me, one normal lass to another, to enlighten you.

CAREER

I know for a fact the first thing on your mind is what work am I doing now. Well, if you’re looking for a super exciting, #girlboss style story then I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere (or give me a good few years to work on it. Who knows?)

I was successful in leaving my part-time fast food job that I’d held down throughout my entire studies – which to be honest was a goal for post-uni Rachael. However, I left that job to continue working in customer service/retail, but this time with better hours and slightly better pay.

Other than that there are no signs of a ‘better’ career around the corner. To be honest with you I have no idea what I want to do anyway. After getting rejected from the handful of jobs I did apply for, I kind of lost motivation for the whole thing. Even now I feel kind of anxious even thinking about the minefield that is Indeed.com.

My current job, although it definitely has it’s many downsides, has been a positive for me overall. It’s allowed me to meet and connect with people I would never have found outside of our building and has increased my confidence so much it’s kind of insane.

And with that, I can swiftly move on the the next area of post -uni life I want to talk about.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (IE. HOW I’M DOING)

When reflecting on my life for the past year, I was so suprised by how much I’ve changed. I found, when thinking about what I was going to write for this post, that I feel like a different person to the girl in her graduation cap and gown.

Sure, we’re both still anxious and insecure and absolutely terrified about what’s coming up in the future. But I feel more confident than her. I feel more mature than her, like I’m more able to handle situations better (even if it’s not true).

I spent my graduation day a sweaty, nervous wreck and couldn’t really enjoy any of it. I just wanted to get it over and done with – and that’s something I look back on now with a bit of regret. I should have been more excited, more proud and more up for a party 🙂


If you’re graduating this summer, or the next one or the next one, do me a favour and enjoy it.

Enjoy those moments with your friends, your classmates and your family. It’s a day for you and your hard work and you should be so proud of yourself.

University can be such a wild ride and I’m guessing that life after it is just going to be the same. I’m a bit disappointed and frequently anxious about the fact I haven’t really done anything within this year, but I guess good things come to those who wait and are ready for it.

I’ve got a lot of working on myself to do and a lot of more life to experience so I guess I shouldn’t get too hung up on finding my perfect career just yet. I’m making this post as a reminder for myself to be patient, to cut myself some slack, every now and again, and if this happens to resonate with you then I hope you take heed too.

Congratulations and best of luck reader.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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Twenty Two Lessons In 22 Years | Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday tomorrow, so how else would a wannabe blogger celebrate than writing a cliche post? I actually love these kind of posts – I wrote one for my birthday last year and found it to be a great experience. I love this positive yet reflective state I get in around this time of year and wanted to share.

Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to up your self care, get grateful and just appreciate yourself and your journey. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Being a pessimist is so draining.
  2. The people you work with really make the job.
  3. University can sometimes be a really difficult and lonely place to be, but no one really tells you this beforehand.
  4. Aloe Vera plants are really hard to keep alive. RIP Harry the Plant
  5. You can actually wear whatever you want. Like you can literally put on any kind of clothing you want, regardless of your size, shape and all that other shite.
  6. Your mental health really does effect your physical, and vice versa. So it’s important to constantly be taking care of yourself in both.
  7. Communication is the number one thing to making a relationship work. If you can’t be honest with or trust your partner, then you probably shouldn’t be with them.
  8. Even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like, your friends still care about you more than you’ll understand.
  9. With that being said, it’s the small things that keep a friendship going. Those little messages to check in, the silly memes you tag each other in, and so on are great reminders that say there’s someone out there who cares and is thinking about you.
  10. Being spontaneous, although it can be terrifying at first, is good for you.
  11. Your self talk is arguably one of the most important factors in how your life is ran, so make sure what you’re saying to yourself everyday is nice.
  12. You can actually be really good mates with your sibling, it often just takes a bit of growing up (and maybe for one of you to move out 🙂 )
  13. We all put far too much pressure on ourselves.Image 1Image 2
  14. Change is such a hard thing to implement into your life, even when you know what the issues are and how much better you will be without them. Patience and determination are vital here.
  15. I really do care about what other people think about me and it’s kind of ruining my life.
  16. Shaming or ridiculing people with different opinions to you is never going to bring change. The best option is being open, honest and gentle. Education is the way forward, but its definitely the harder option.
  17. Everyone is a little problematic at times – from your favourite celebrity to your mates, family and even yourself.
  18. Reading makes me so happy and is a better way to escape than social media.
  19. Other people’s relationships, as are their lives or decisions, is none of your business. Even if you think you know what’s best for them, you have to allow people the opportunity to change for themselves.
  20. No one is looking at you. No one noticed that spot you’ve got on your chin, or that bit of mascara on your eyelid. And if they did, they’re too busying worrying about what’s happening with their face to care about yours.
  21. Being in a happy, healthy relationship can be incredible for your body confidence , and confidence in general, but only if you liked yourself before. Being insecure will get in the way, no matter how many nice things they say about you.
  22. You are a good person. Stop thinking you’re not.

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I’m going into my 22nd year feeling pretty satisfied with the lessons I’ve learnt and how much I’ve grown over the past few years. I have a good feeling about this year and I aim to be lighter and just enjoy it as much as possible. Now, I’m off to start some early celebrations – which, I’ll be honest, mainly consist of cake.

Sending you all the love.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

An Open Letter To Ex Friends | Self Growth

First of all let me say, that if we split in a bad way then I’m no longer mad.

I understand that at the time neither of us were in a position where our actions were as mature or as thought out as they could have been. And for that I do have some regret. From where I stand now (and hindsight is a wonderful thing!) I do wish we’d shown each other a bit more respect, but sometimes the situation takes over and there’s no time for that.

Speaking of maturity, I really want to be able to say I forgive you for what you did; for whatever choices you made or the things you said either to me or about me. For the actions that now seem unnecessary.

But here’s the thing – I’m not great with forgiveness.

Although I’m not mad anymore about what may have happened between us, I will always look back on those moments with great sadness. Sometimes I still feel hurt. And since you can still bring that effect I’m not sure if I want to forgive you right now.

Although I’m sure that time will come, eventually.

But I can be big enough to thank you for what you’ve taught me. From our actions, I now know what kind of friendships I need to avoid and which ones I should nurture. I have learnt what damaging behaviours I have tendencies to and need to lean towards those who don’t encourage this.

I should also thank you for the good times. Cause despite how it all went down, if it was a bad one, or even if you’re simply no longer in my life anymore, we had a canny few in our time. I’m grateful for the growth and the lessons we have hopefully given to each other.

And I genuinely wish you all the best.


The main reason I wanted to write this letter was for me. As is the natural way, I’ve had some friendship break downs over the years and, in an act of self growth and development, I wanted to get a few things of my chest. A bit of closure I guess.

To the friends I am lucky enough to hold dear still, thank you so much. I don’t appreciate you enough.


I urge you to put past breakups behind you and try to focus on what you have now. I feel like we all need to give ourselves that break.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)