Warning: clichés ahead.

So I’ve sat down with a green tea to reflect, like a gazillion blog posts before me. I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated the whole celebration of New Year until this year.

I was sensible this year, I stayed in for most of the night with my best friend and her dog. We watched films, treated ourselves to pizzas and chocolate and stayed sober the entire night. As midnight approached we went to a firework display the town over. At the stroke of midnight we gave each other that huge cheesy grin that Hogmanay qualifies for and hugged. We were surrounded by tons of people doing the same. Greeting each other with hugs and kisses and all the well wishes in the world. It was a pretty adorable sight to see.

While I’ve usually found making New Year’s plans stressful, only finding that it was another excuse for a party and while I’ve had fun at those parties, the next day comes with an inevitable hangover and a bit of let-down. Was all that fuss worth it? I think New Year is about coming to the end of a year and appreciating what you’ve got in your life. All the alcohol and party dresses aren’t necessary to appreciate your wonderful friends and family.

I have a feeling my reflections on New Year, have something to do with the kind of year I’ve had. 2015 has been full of ups and downs. I lost two family members early in the year and I’m still getting through that now. That, the stress of finishing university and my general lack of routine for the second half of the year have made me really ill. Unfortunately it’s not something I can really help, having a rare headache condition sucks. With all the negativity though, I can truly adore the positive in my life. I graduated with an honours degree in English and Creative Writing, seen some of my favourite bands live, had an amazing holiday to Amsterdam with my Mum, spent my 22nd birthday playing childish party games, visited my Dad’s for a lovely chilled break, I’ve dressed up in fun costumes for birthdays and Halloween, spent plenty of nights out with friends and I’m ending the year in a job which has its challenges but I enjoy it.

I’m very much ready for a new start, 2016 brings a nice clean slate. I’m not usually one for resolutions but I want this year to be all about writing. I’m determined I’ll finish my first novel, I started it as part of my final project for university so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. It’s an achievable goal and I know how satisfying it will be. So with this post, I’m starting the year as I mean to go on, writing.

Happy new year everyone, I hope 2016 is good to you all.

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The Work Experience Year.

After writing my first entry on finality, this one is strange to follow.
So this year will not be my last year of my BA education. Unfortunately I did not pass all my classes in Germany and therefore did not come back with enough credits to continue to my third and final year. Due to this, I am a now a part time student, having to take two second year classes next semester so I can then continue into my third year, next year.

At first I was obviously annoyed with myself. I clearly had not worked as hard as I thought. A lot of people have asked me if I regret going to Germany now. Every time I will answer back no. I got more than an educational experience by studying there,  I got cultural one and quite frankly a hell of a lot more life experience there than I would have ever got staying in the UK. My time abroad, in Germany and travelling has given me so much inspiration to write. I even have the boarding passes and train tickets covered in messy scribbles to prove it. Since writing is what I want to really do with my life, I’m glad I took the leap because now I’ve actually got some idea of what I’d like to write. Travel writing is something I’ve done a little of but now it’s become a passion and I certainly would not have discovered that living in Sunderland. Saying that, after being in a different culture for so long it has made me realise all the little beauties in the places I’m so familiar with like Sunderland, my home town and Edinburgh.

So instead of seeing this as a hindrance, I’m calling this year ‘The Work Experience Year’. While my fellow classmates will be writing up dissertations and portfolios I plan to get as much experience to add to my CV as humanly possible. While I’ll be graduating a year later (which I would have done had I gone to a Scottish university) this gives me one more year to make that all important CV really stand out. Whether it be with in a full time retail job, a few writing competition wins or even some unpaid work at a publishers, I’m happy getting as much experience as I can.

Have I said experience enough? No? EXPERIENCE.

Finality.

Today I began my third and final year of my degree. You could really call it the beginning of the end.

I have mixed feelings towards the end of things. Something as trivial as my favourite television show ending, I cannot stand. You’re emotionally attached to fictional worlds and characters for weeks, months, years and then all of a sudden they’re off, sometimes without a real goodbye. It’s really rather rude if you ask me.

However, when it comes down to reality, the ending of those big stages in life excites me. In primary school, I could not wait to leave for high school. Education enthralled me and finally I’d be in a place where I could learn about everything and anything. I was genuinely keen to write essays on my favourite literary heroes like Shakespeare.
Six years later, I could not wait for high school to finish. After studying everything and anything, I had realised that I wasn’t so keen on all subjects. University brought, despite limiting me down to one area, a sense of freedom. I was no longer obligated to study Geography just because of timetable regulations or prepare for a ridiculous exam which probably covered everything you didn’t revise for. Of course I would miss the people of my high school experience. Luckily I keep in touch with most of my friends from home still, thank goodness for Facebook! However, the essence of high school, the education, I was glad to see the end of.
For the second half of my second year, I studied abroad in Germany. It’s safe to say, I had the best summer of my life. I was opened up to a world of new cultures and new types of people. Considering that though, it made me appreciate home and the country I’m from a lot more. I miss Germany an awful lot but I remember that satisfying moment when the flight attendant announced we’d arrived in Edinburgh and I knew the end came at the right time.
And now here we are, my final year of university. This is one particular ending which should be handled with care. While I can’t wait to go off on more adventures (I hope to do my Masters in New Zealand), I will be sad to leave this stage behind. Sunderland is a city which will hold a place dear in my heart, despite some of remarks I’ve heard about it. It is where I lived on my own for the first time, where I marvelled over language and literature in a much brighter light and wrote my first Gothic play. Thankfully, this is only the beginning of the end. This university and city isn’t getting rid of me just yet.

Ends are certainly a puzzling thing to handle. For example, I’m not sure how this blog should end…