All posts by RetroSnowflakes

Hello there! ❤ I'm Victoria, also known as RetroSnowflakes. Welcome to my blog! I like tea, nail polish, candles and I'm learning more about the world each and every day 😊

Why I Took My Septum Piercing Out.

Towards the end of 2017, I had been itching to get a new piercing so just before the New Year, I went ahead and got my septum pierced. In today’s blog post, I’m talking about why I decided on that piercing and why I took it out after only a few months. 

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If you’re not sure what a septum piercing is, it’s a piercing that goes through your nasal septum or as most people know it, the part between your nostrils. If you’ve ever seen anyone with a ring between their nose that looks like a bull ring, that’s exactly what it is. I have been fascinated by it for a few years now because it was so different. 

Currently I have five piercings; two lobes, one upper lobe, one tragus and one nostril. I believe I got my two lobes pierced when I was around seven, I was sixteen when I got my nostril pierced and my upper lobe and my tragus are only new within the last couple of years. I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t think I could have any because I’m far too indecisive so piercings have been the lesser of two evils.  

As I mentioned, I had been looking at the septum piercing for a while but I never thought of making the plunge until just after Christmas last year. I was going through one of those phases of life where I felt like something was missing; I didn’t know what it was I was missing but naively, I thought if I got another piercing, it might fill a void (Spoiler alert: it didn’t) In terms of pain, it’s definitely the worst piercing pain I have had, the others were so easy compared to that one, but that didn’t really surprise me because you’re going through a thicker part of the body. 

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I liked it then I didn’t. I loved it then I didn’t. I started to like it, I loved it and then I didn’t again. I spent four months falling in and out of love with it and started to become all I saw. Every time I looked in the mirror, it’s the first thing I looked at and I couldn’t help it. This will sound really vain but I think most people will know what I mean; I felt less pretty with it. I couldn’t focus on any of my other features because I was only ever looking at my nose. I told myself I would give myself four months to see if I wanted to keep it in, I didn’t think one month would be long enough. I stuck to that promise to myself and one night, I took it out and felt so much better the minute I did.  

Surprisingly only one person pointed out that I had taken it out (Well done Aideen!) not even my boyfriend noticed. It wasn’t until the day after I asked him why did he not say anything and he said that he knew there was something different but he couldn’t figure out what. A few months after I had taken it out, I asked my friends in work why they didn’t comment on it and they only realised then that it was gone. I was so surprised that people had become so accustom to it and they looked past it but yet for me, it was the first thing I looked at.  

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I still miss it from time to time, it’s a really nice look and I love seeing it on other people, I’m just not sure if it’s for me right now (or ever). I’m really glad that I tried it though because I would have done it at some point anyway but because of where the piercing was positioned, the hole isn’t noticeable which makes it even better. 

In terms for my next piercings, I want both ears to match so my left ear only has the one lobe piercing whereas my right ear has the lobe, the upper lobe and the tragus so I would like to match them at some point. I’m not sure I would go with any more face piercings but I still really love my nostril piercing ten years on. 

Thank you for reading today’s post, it’s an experience I’m glad I had but I’m equally as glad that I was able to take it out and feel better about myself. As I said, I love them on other people, just not on me so if you have a septum piercing, please don’t think I’m saying you’re not pretty because that definitely not what I mean. It’s just not for me. 

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Dealing With Disappointment.

As I sit and write today’s post, I found out this week I had been turned down for another job opportunity and I was more disappointed this time around than I have been since becoming unemployed. I decided that it would be quite apt to talk about this in today’s blog post, all about dealing with disappointment. 

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Disappointment can take on many meanings but for me personally, it’s something I have always feared yet I felt like I was constantly guilty of it. I don’t like letting people down; I don’t think anyone does, and as a former people pleaser, I felt like I couldn’t let anyone down or else I was letting myself down. Thankfully I have become more comfortable with saying no and being a more honest about how I feel which does come with some negative connotations but I’ve found as I become older, I don’t care as much.  

The most current type of disappointment aside from another job rejection is being that I’ve been unemployed for a month and a half and I feel like I should have a job by now. In my counselling session, my counsellor and I talk a lot about the use of “I should and I must” because those two phrases put a lot of unnecessary pressure on me but I don’t seem to catch it when I’m out of session. It’s really strange because it’s not like I have been sitting around doing nothing; I have been filling out job applications, I have been sending CV’s out and so far, I’ve had three job interviews so I know I’m doing something right. It’s really just that final push that I need to be successful but I’m not sure what that final push is and what I need to do to get there.  

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It doesn’t help that I am my biggest critic and I believe that most of us are so while I’m not considered with what other people think as much as I used to be, I feel like I am disappointing myself more. We’re in our own head all the time and because it’s quite hard to break down that barrier and give our heads much needed silence, we always have an opinion on what we are doing. In turn with that, this means that I put pressure on myself about everything because I still have a hard time turning my mindset into positive energy rather than floating in the negative. 

I talked a few weeks ago about dropping out of University and that is still one of my biggest disappointments. It was completely the right decision for me and I’m proud that I made the decision to leave because I could have tried to stick it out for another two years; but not having a degree and seeing how many proud parents are at the graduation ceremonies, I do feel envious. I had a college graduation but it didn’t feel the same, I’m so happy with my Higher National Diploma, don’t get me wrong, because I worked so hard for it but there’s something about a degree that I think a little part of me will always be disappointed in myself that I didn’t get. 

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I’ve started to listen to a new podcast series called “The Best Life Podcast” hosted by Danny Johnson and Jill Coleman. I was scrolling down on their episodes and found one called “Overcoming and Master Encouragement” and while it’s not the same as disappointment, it is on the same level especially when we become disappointed, that often leads to being discouraged. Danny takes this episode on as a solo podcast and she talks about six different ways to overcome discouragement. I would highly recommend listening to the podcast yourself; she talks about our own seasons, trying not to compare ourselves to the person we were ten years ago or comparing ourselves to the person sitting across from us and understanding the difference between what is and what is not in your control. 

“Let’s face it: None of us are ever going to get to the place in life where we have no more disappointments. We can’t expect to be sheltered from every little thing. Disappointment is a fact of life–one that must be dealt with.” A quote from Joyce Meyer that I love; no-one can go through life without living with disappointment because it’s one of the emotions that makes us human. It’s not nice and it’s really uncomfortable but it’s something that will pass eventually.  

How I Fell In Love With HIIT.

From the start of the year, I have drifted away slightly for the gym setting and because I was starting to run more, I felt like because I was running, I didn’t necessarily have to go to the gym as often. This Summer, I have incorporated a new workout structure into my routine, HIIT and that’s what today’s post is all about.

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If you don’t know what HIIT is (I’m sure most of you do though) it stands for high intensity interval training and according to Wikipedia, “is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods”. I had heard of HIIT before, it’s all over the internet at the minute so I wasn’t completely oblivious to it but it never occurred to me to add it in on a regular basis. Scott had originally shown me a workout or two and at the time, it completely exhausted me but I loved it. It was the first time in a long time where it had the same impact that running had, so thinking back now, it seems very strange that I didn’t keep it up.

As I mentioned at the beginning, my usage of the gym had slipped from the beginning of the year and because I was started to run more, it almost gave me the excuse not to use the gym as often as I should. My motivation had started to lower severely over the last few months too so that also became a factor for me.

So what prompted my interest in HIIT workouts again? Well, one of my favourite Instagrammers at the minute is @steffi_loves, a local personal trainer in Belfast who not only is one of the sweetest women you’ll see on Instagram (and real life) but she is incredibly motivating when it comes to fitness. She records her own fitness workouts for her website and Instagram and doesn’t make it seem like the toughest thing in the world to do either. She had announced that she was hosting a HIIT session with a brunch afterwards and I’m all about a good brunch so I decided to sign up. I was going through a period (and if I’m being honest, I still am) of low self-confidence so I was more nervous than I was excited, but I knew that if I wanted to get over that hurdle, I had to make myself uncomfortable, even if it was just for a morning.

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I don’t tend to go to a lot of group exercise classes, I prefer to workout on my own but after a while, I felt very at ease. At my local gym, when I hear group classes going on, there seems to be quite a lot of shouting from the instructor and that’s what puts me off. If I wanted to be shouted at, I would shout at myself, I don’t expect someone else to do it for me. I understand the reasons behind it; it’s meant motivate people to work out harder but it does the opposite for me. It simply makes me more annoyed and want to quit. Thankfully Stefanie wasn’t like this at all and I believe that was one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed the class so much.

Now unfortunately I can’t remember how many or all the names of the exercises we did on the day but if you’re looking for exercises to put together yourself, you can check Stefanie’s website or there are hundreds of resources online. For our class however, we did a body weight circuit with thirty seconds on and fifteen seconds off then we repeated that three times with a minute and a half break in between. Once that was done, we completed a ten minute cool down with cardio mixed in there but some stretches too. It was such a fantastic class and it gave me the same exhaustion that running did, so I knew something had really clicked.

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(One of the first HIIT sessions I did on my own after going to Steff’s class)

My set-up is very simple at the minute but I don’t think it needs to be complicated. I choose to do these workouts in the gym but they are so easy to do at home too. All I need is a mat or a soft floor then depending on the body part I’m focusing on, some hand weights too. That’s it, it really is that simple.

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(One of my most recent HIIT sessions focusing on the arms.)

It has really changed the way I look at my fitness performance. When I first started the gym around five years ago, I wouldn’t leave until I had at least completed an hour worth of exercise and I felt like I had to hit a certain amount of calories before I had left. Back then, I didn’t really know that the calories on the machine weren’t that accurate and I thought the longer you worked out, the better it was for you. I was very wrong but thankfully over the years, I have started to become more knowledgeable about fitness and how you should pair different machines with different body parts that you want to focus on. I’ve discovered this year that I have completely fallen in love with both running and HIIT and while I know I can’t workout this way every single day because your body does need recovery, it’s nice to know that I’m still learning about my body and the way certain exercise can impact it.

Thank you for reading today’s post; I’m really excited that I have become passionate about using the gym again and HIIT training has changed the way I workout as well as giving me that little kick up the butt that I needed when it came to fitness.

Spending Time On Your Own.

How often do you spend time alone? For me, I absolutely love spending time on my own but I know that when I was younger, my Mum would tell me that I would be in tears if I wasn’t getting someone else’s attention. One extreme to the other really, isn’t it? That’s what today’s post is all about; spending time on your own, how important I believe it is and what to do if you feel like you’re not ready yet. A few years ago, I wrote a very similar post about taking yourself out for a cup of tea but I’m opening up the conversation much further with today’s post. 

20161213_141159.jpg(When I went to Rome, it was a solo trip so I eat, drank, slept and explored on my own. I loved it!)

Most people don’t mind going out on their own to grab a cup of tea or have a day of shopping, but it can still be an uncomfortable experience, especially for those that suffer with anxiety like I do. Strangely, I love going out on my own but this only started a few years ago. I used to feel self-conscious that people would be looking at me thinking “Awk bless her, she’s on her own” when I would have a cup of tea on my own or when I decided to get a bite to eat. Eating in a restaurant isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it has got so much easier and I would say the ability to play on my phone or having a book in my bag has definitely helped matters too.  

I find it really strange how important time on your own is. I don’t think being on your own should be the be-all-end-all but I don’t think we should totally rely on being around people all the time either. As with anything, it’s all about that balance. Time on my own gives me space away from everyone else because I tend to feel claustrophobic at times if I’m around people all the time.  

So, what exactly do I love to do? Well, I wish I would do this more, but I love going to the cinema on my own. I love my boyfriend, I do and I really love going to the cinema with him, but I love having a large popcorn all to myself (not that he eats much of it when he’s with me anyway) and being silent for an hour and a half. There’s no pressure to have a conversation if you’re on your own. 

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Going to a coffee shop on my own is something I’m really comfortable with. During my period of unemployment, I have made it a point to go one day a week to my favourite coffee shop with my laptop to work on my blog and to fill in job applications, and I love reading diving into a good book there too. It’s become one of my favourite days because I get to drink tea (and the occasional iced latte) and I have an amazingly productive day. Most of the time, I would cycle there and back too so I don’t tend to listen to a lot of music during that day either (I don’t believe you should be listening to anything while you’re so close to the road, safety first!) and that encourages me to listen to the world around me more than usual (It sounds cliché but it’s very true in this case). 

Speaking of exercise, I have always been one to exercise on my own. While I may walk to the gym with my boyfriend, we don’t work out together and when I used to go to the gym with my older brother when he would drive there, we never worked out together. I would say the only exception to this is running because I do sometimes run with Scott and because we don’t get run together a lot, I enjoy it more when we do. He got me into running after all so it’s nice to have someone beside you that is more experienced. I’ve started cycling more and that’s very much a solo activity (until Scott gets his own bike) and again, I don’t feel any pressure being on my own because I’m so concentrated on getting to my next location, I don’t tend to think what other people are thinking. 

IMG-20180710-WA0000-01.jpeg(The irony of my boyfriend taking this photograph when I’m talking about being on my own but for the majority of my cycling trips, I really am.)

I sometimes do struggle being on my own and more specifically, it’s when I’m at home. Living on my own, I’ve never felt lonely but being in the house when you have so many chores to do and you feel overwhelmed, that’s when your mind goes into overdrive. That’s when my anxiety and depression symptoms come into play and it’s really not a nice experience. My self-confidence has taken a dip recently because of a number of different factors so I do feel self-conscious being on my own outside at times, which is really difficult for me because I have loved it for so long now.  

My advice for anyone who struggles with being on their own is starting out with small steps. I would recommend writing out a list of what you love doing, either in the house or what you love doing with your friends. After that, look at the list and identify the activities you either haven’t tried to do alone or you’re worried about trying alone. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule; bowling will not be as much fun on your own because it won’t last very long and no one would blame you for not wanting to play a four person game, completely on your own. Say for example that you didn’t know whether you could go for a cup of tea or coffee on your own; in this case I would take my KeepCup with me (or any other reusable cup of your choice) and get my drink of choice in that, sit down for ten minutes in the coffee shop with either a book or my phone to keep me occupied. After ten minutes, if I still feel uncomfortable, I can leave and I won’t waste my drink because I can walk around with it. If I had to leave, I still sat there for ten minutes more than I would have done before. Next time, I can make it fifteen minutes and the time after that, I can sit for twenty. I did say baby steps after all, didn’t I?  

There are so many other examples I could give but it all depends on what you want to achieve from it. That’s why the list is important at the beginning; if you don’t want to go to a coffee shop, then don’t aim to do that because you feel like you have to.  

Thank you for reading today’s post; I feel it’s completely normal not to feel comfortable on your own but it’s all about pushing yourself a little outside your comfort zone enough to make a change sometimes. The one thing that I have noticed is that nobody actually cares that you’re on your own; I’ve never seen anyone point at me in the cinema or give me a look across the restaurant, you’ve often find that people are too considered with their own lives to even think about the person sitting on their own.  

Ending A Friendship.

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Friendships are something that we have all had at least at one point in our lives. When I went through a situation at the beginning of the year; I read online to see if anyone else was going through something similar and there were so many others that were going through it also. Today’s post is about letting go and ending a friendship, why you may choose to do it and why it’s okay to end a friendship. 

At the beginning of the year, I ended two friendships and I would say that they are probably the first friendships I’ve ever ended without the two people simply growing apart (or feeling forced to give a friendship up, something that I have personally gone through but don’t feel comfortable enough to talk about online). When two people do grow apart, it is perfectly natural and I’m the type of person that knows that friends won’t always last forever.  I remember being in primary school and you would sit around with your best friends and you’d draw your dream house. You and your best friends would all live in this house together and everything would be perfect. For me, I only speak to one or two people that I went to primary school with, but at that age, you don’t really know better, do you?  

The two friendships I’m talking about today, I had felt the same about both. I had tried to connect with them in various ways; coffee dates, What’s App conversations and even the odd phone call but there was something that wasn’t right. We would talk and while we had things in common, it never felt genuine. I’m not sure why and really, the only thing I can put it down to is that not everyone is meant to be friends. They both were nice people and we hadn’t been in each other’s lives for very long anyway but by the end of the friendships, I started to dread speaking to them and meeting up with them. I felt really bad feeling the way I did, but I had to ask myself why I felt bad when it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I had tried my best but it clearly wasn’t enough and I would say they had tried their best too. They didn’t know anything was wrong, should I have raised my concerns sooner? Would it have made a difference? 

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I sent them both a message letting them know how I had felt and because I’m such an anxious person, I was already worried before the message was even sent. I didn’t know what they were going to say and that really worried me. One of the friends was completely fine with it, she said she was sad that she thought she couldn’t be there for me but she understood that they were my feelings and wished me luck. The other friend wasn’t so understanding and he seemed quite annoyed at me. I can understand his frustrations; if you think your friendship is fine then all of a sudden, you get a message from your friend saying that they don’t feel a connection, I get why you might not get the nicest message back.  

I felt terrible; I’m the type of person that feels guilty for everything and thinks that almost anything is my fault (It’s something that my boyfriend has pointed out a lot and he thinks it’s a very weird trait that I have). It’s something I’m working on but it’s very hard to navigate at times. I felt horrible that these friends didn’t know it was coming and it was because of me and how I felt about them. I didn’t have enough fight in me to fight for the friendship though; because of the short length of time I had known both people, it felt like it was time. It would be very naïve for anyone to think that all friendships last forever and I don’t think we really believe that in our heart of hearts but we try our very best. 

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For anyone else going through something similar, I would say to be honest to your friend. It sounds obvious, right? I hid away from it for a few months and I wish I hadn’t. Honesty is the best policy of course but remember that your friend has feelings too. You can either tell them how you feel and work on the friendship, if that is something you are interested in doing. If you don’t feel like it’s worth fighting for, then I wouldn’t. That doesn’t make me a horrible person for saying that or even thinking that (although I felt horrible for some time before and after it happened), some things simply aren’t worth fighting for. In that case, you can tell them how you feel but please remember to do it in a dignified way. I was very careful with how I told my two friends how I felt, so much so, it took me a day or two to curate the messages to them. I’m a sensitive person myself so I put myself in their shoes to see how I would want to be treated. If the friendship is worth saving and you feel like you’re just going through a rough patch, then a bigger conversation needs to be had. How long have you felt like this? What do you feel is wrong? Why you think it’s worth fighting for? Does your friend feel the same way? It’s a tricky one to tackle because it will always feel awkward to bring up but if it’s meant to be, you will work it out one way or another. Fate works in mysterious ways for these types of situations. 

I found this quote online and while I can’t find the name of the person who first said it, I believe this sums up the end of friendships perfectly. “People enter and exit your life, and sometimes exits are for the best. Do not think of ending friendship as a failure.” 

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post. (All photographs in today’s post are from Pixabay.com) It was a difficult one to navigate because I didn’t know whether I should write it at all, but having been in the position I was and feeling like I should give every friendship a try; sometimes you need someone there telling you that it’s okay if you don’t want to. 

What the University Experience Taught Me.

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In my previous blog post, I talked about my University experience and why I dropped out. I realised when writing the post that I had so much more to say than I thought so today’s post will be focused on what University taught me, both positively and negatively. (All photos on today’s blog post are from Pexels.com)

When life gets tough, it’s very hard to see that your circumstances are trying to teach you something but I believe that it does. Whether that’s resilience or it’s telling you that you deserve better, you don’t see that until you are over the hump of the bad times. I’ve experienced it myself and I’m sure every single person has, it’s quite a natural thing. I did gain some positives out of this experience as well as negatives, so I wanted to list a couple of each that I have reflected back on. 

Independence

I got the opportunity to live on my own for the first time, and while I lived in a house with eight other people, it still felt like my own place. Despite what my family thought; I wasn’t home sick, it was everything else that made me feel miserable. The responsibility that I had living on my own gave me a great sense of independence which I had craved for a long time. I loved cooking my own meals and at the time, I ate so unhealthily but I still had a responsibility of the food I ate rather than the shopping being bought for me.  

Risk Taking

I took a risk; I took a risk to move to another country (while it’s only over the water, it’s still a big step) where I only knew one person and even though I didn’t know how it was going to pan out, it’s something that I gave a shot. I had been so scared of failure and I still am but this experience showed me that it wasn’t the end of the world. 

Go With Your Gut

I learned to go with my gut more. I think we underestimate how much our gut tells us; if we have a bad feeling and go through with something that turns out bad, we can think back to the previous time and remember the specific moment that you “had a feeling”. It’s hard to tell yourself that something isn’t right, especially if you’re worried or scared of missing out on something but it’s part of living life. Sometimes I go with my gut, sometimes I don’t and while I didn’t go with my gut on this occasion, as I get older, I have started to rely on it much more. 

There are always negative experiences in life but you need the bad to appreciate the good. I hate to think of it that way because we all hate the bad, but it makes sense, right? 

Ask For Help More

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wish I had have asked for help more. I asked once and got shot down and that embarrassed me from asking for more help. I thought I wasn’t capable of getting through the course so I let self-doubt get in the way. I still struggle asking for help and while it does get easier on my good days, it’s something I still hold back from on my bad days.

Not Everything Is For Everyone

One size doesn’t fit all and it never will. Not every path will be suitable for everyone and that’s okay. I understand that it’s not a reflection on me as a person or my skills, it’s the way of life. When you’re in a rabbit hole of self-doubt, that’s a different matter and having gone down this hole many times, I can completely understand. Not one person is built for every single career or skill, it’s not possible or at least, I don’t believe it’s possible. 

People Pleasing Never Works

People pleasing will get you nowhere. There’s a phrase that goes along the lines of “If you make others happy, you’ll be happy” (I tried to Google it but nothing came up so I have no idea who said it). To a degree, it is correct. Volunteering is the perfect example; giving back to those less fortunate will make those in need happy and you get the endorphin rush of helping others. However, when it comes to big life choices, this is not the case and I wish I had realised this when I was younger. It’s a mistake that needed to happen in order for me to learn from it and I have made it in a smaller sense since but I have continued to learn from it. 

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There were many other negatives about the experience but I thought I would choose to talk about the ones that I am still learning from now. I don’t want this to be a completely negative post but it would be remiss of me if I didn’t admit that there were many other negatives that I’m choosing not to talk about.

The University experience is whatever you make it. I was sick and tired of hearing that “University will be the best years of your life” so much so that I started searching online if anyone else hated it. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone; out of all the new students in the world, was I the only one that hated it? I wasn’t of course, but the online world didn’t help me on this particular quest. I’m not a drinker and I don’t like parties, you hear so many stories about going to constant parties so was this potentially the reason that I felt like I didn’t fit in? I was pretty shy too and added to the social anxiety that creeped in, could that have been a factor? I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer but I’m at peace with never finding this out.

My advice to anyone thinking about their future before they sit their A Level’s (or college qualification equivalent like myself or even as an older learner) is to find out as much information out as possible about all routes. Whether that is going straight into a job, furthering your education in college or University, trying out an apprenticeship or taking a gap year (if that is something that you can financially handle). I remember when I was sixteen and having the annual career chat with someone in the last year of my high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I’m almost twenty-seven and I still have no idea! To think, when I was sixteen, I thought I would have my life figured out by twenty-five. I was very wrong but maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; I would be really interested to hear about anyone else’s University experience, good or bad. I’m not putting University down by any means but I just believe that it’s not for everyone and that is perfectly okay.  

Why I Dropped Out Of University.

Being a University drop-out was not something I had planned to do in my lifetime and to be quite frank, I had never thought I would go to University in the first place. Today’s post is about my brief time in University and why I decided to leave. 

Disclaimer: Just before we start, I want to say that this was entirely my own experience and it’s not to bash any organisation or any person, it’s what I experienced through this time. (All photographs used in today’s post are from Pexels.com)

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I had just turned nineteen by the time I went to University and while that’s not old by any means, I was surrounded by many young people who had just finished their A-Levels so I already felt like I was behind. My situation at the time of University was that I was in a five year long distance relationship that had resulted in being engaged a year previously. My then-fiancé lived in England and he made it clear that he wouldn’t move to Northern Ireland, which I understood at the time but it meant that we either end the relationship or I move over to be with him. I didn’t obviously didn’t want to end the relationship so I was put in quite an awkward position. I was in the second year of doing my National Diploma in Media Production so the talk of applying for University and filling in our UCAS forms had begun from the get-go of that second year. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I had never planned to go to University but in order to save my relationship, it was something I felt like I had to do. If you can’t tell, I was a people pleaser and I felt guilty that my family seemed so proud of me for thinking about University, I didn’t want to let them down. It seems silly now because it’s my life, but I wanted to please everyone and make them proud of me. 

After taking a trip to England to look at some Universities in the Bradford and Leeds area, I decided that University of Bradford was the best choice for me. It was close to my then-fiancé, it was extremely close to the city centre and the department that I would be studying in, seemed perfect from the equipment to the modules I would be studying. I chose to study Computer Animation because while I didn’t have a lot of experience in the area, it seemed to be the course that stuck out to me the most. I had always been interested in computer animation so I thought I might as well give it a shot, and see where it takes me. 

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I knew something wasn’t right from the beginning and I would imagine it stemmed from the fact that I had never been academically minded. I’m a creative and I always have been. In school I was an average student; I wasn’t the worst but I wasn’t the best, I would say I had a good balance, I never let that bother me. That’s what always scared me about University, the fact that it was mainly for the academically minded, no matter what course you enrolled in. Even though mine was headed towards a more creative route, there was still a lot of academic and technical skills involved. 

I started the course in late September and I knew by mid-November that I wouldn’t be staying for the full three years. I had already planned what I was going to do next but I knew I had to stay for the full year because I had heard if you left before the end of your first year, you had to pay your fees back straight away, and I didn‘t have the finances for that. I believe this is where my social anxiety first began; I didn’t leave my room unless I had to, I only went outside when I had to and I didn’t feel satisfied with anything I had done. You could also say this is when my depression symptoms first kicked in too.  

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University being a struggle wasn’t a shock. I knew it would be, but I thought I could get through it. I bought the relevant text books, I researched what I could but it wasn’t sticking, I asked fellow classmates for help and they were fantastic but when I asked for help from one of the tutors, he told me that I should read the textbook more. I never went to ask for help from the Students Union and looking back, I wish I had. I was embarrassed; I had made this leap to take on a challenge I didn’t think I was ready for and I was failing. Everyone kept telling me that University would be the greatest time of my life and I felt there was something wrong with me because I was miserable. 

At the beginning of the New Year, I had signed up to the Higher National Diploma back at my previous college and I knew I was doing the right thing. I started to see the light of day but I knew I still had a few more months of classes and exams left to complete before I could leave. On top of the stress of University, my engagement and relationship came to an end in the March and while it had been my first relationship and quite a significant one at that, we both knew it was time. We weren’t happy and it was a relief when I woke up the next day and I genuinely felt like a dark cloud had left me.  

At the end of the academic year, I missed three exams and got an average mark on the rest. I didn’t want to miss the exams but I wasn’t in a good place and didn’t see the point of completing all my exams if I knew I wasn’t going back for second year. The perfectionist in me was disappointed because I knew I could have tried harder but when you’re not in the right headspace, it’s hard to push yourself. 

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I came home in mid-May and a few months later, I got a “red letter” through my door telling me I owed the University money and if it wasn’t paid by a certain date, debt collectors would be contacted. Mind you, this was the first letter I had received about this so I was obviously in shock. I was being charged £300 because I had missed three exams, £100 each, something which I had completely forgot about. They must have mentioned it at the induction back at the start of the year. Thankfully, a family member was able to help me out so I didn’t have a bad mark on my credit rating which was my biggest worry. 

Coming home earlier than I was meant to was very hard for me. I felt like I was coming back with my tail between my legs and even though I tried my best with my circumstances, I dreaded bumping into people I knew. I didn’t want to have to answer to people who knew I had came back, I really was embarrassed and being a people pleaser, that was a nightmare. 

My next upcoming blog post is connected to this post; what University and the experience taught me. I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. It’s been something I’ve been meaning to write for quite a few years but I’ve never known where to start with it.