Every year brings with it a range of triumphs and hurdles, and for me, looking back is equally as important as looking ahead.
2015 began with me knee-deep in stress as I approached graduation. Since I was little, I have been filled with a desire to have a degree in my possession. I’ve always believed it to be the highest form of educational achievement, and as only a few people in my family went to university, it was important for me to also come out the other side and be successful in that way. I worked harder than I could have possibly imagined right until I handed in my dissertation in April, and put my all into my final year in academia.
What propelled me to work so hard was an itch to triumph and be someone. I don’t know whether anyone reading this feels the same, but I have always felt I am extraordinary. During school, I suffered a lot of taunts for being somewhat intelligent. From being labelled a ‘boffin’ to a ‘teacher’s pet’, I was never allowed to rest just because I had a few brain cells. Graduating from university was therefore the final educational hurdle I wanted to conquer in order to prove to myself that I had beat the bullies, and had ended up in a strong position because of the qualities others labelled ‘weird’. I wanted to feel satisfied that despite encountering people who wanted me to stifle who I was, I kept on using my intellect to advance myself. And now, I can proudly say that my hard work paid off and I have a First Class degree in English Literature. My three years at Brunel flew by, but I will never forget everything I learned and experienced there. It was a life-changing time.
I’m sure many of you can agree that life is never smooth. It brings with it ebbs and flows that are often unexpected and can rock our world. We plaster smiles on our faces but so many of us are walking around with deep pain and sorrow buried somewhere underneath us. It can eat away at us and can often make us feel incredibly low and upset. This is a good time for me to thank those who have seen me through any hardships this year. Sometimes, it’s easy to let what others say about us overrule our own rationale. It’s even easier to let this consume us to the point where we no longer see ourselves as someone who is strong, brave and brilliant. I would urge anyone who has experienced any kind of low this year not to run, but to embrace what has happened and accept that you will become a better person from it. Turn to people who would do anything to see a smile on your face and spend time with them. More than anything, never stop loving yourself and always move forward at your own pace. We spend so much time living in yesterdays that we can forget that our now is more far more important. Just be kind to yourself.
Shortly after graduating, I also spent 3 months interning at Harrods and had the best time learning about the world of work. I never pegged myself as someone who would ever be interested in fashion, but I came out infected by the magic of Harrods and would definitely love to be back there someday. Scratch that – I never even thought someone like me could work somewhere like Harrods, so all I’ll say to everyone is believe you can do it. Never let yourself feel that you are not capable or that an opportunity given to you is not right for you: take a chance. Despite having other ideas about where I wanted my career to take me at that point, I gave the internship a shot and came out more refined than I would have elsewhere. I am extremely fortunate as just a week or so later, I landed my dream first job working as an Editorial Assistant at Comic Relief. It has been a steep learning curve so far, but in terms of my career, I feel extremely blessed and happy to be in such a position so soon after graduating. I can only hope 2016 takes me somewhere similar.
This year I also had tonnes of fun with all the right people: I tried a lot of different foods, saw some amazing plays and musicals at the theatre such as Othello, Wicked, hang and Hamlet. I also went to my first gig and saw Hozier play a beautiful set. I have taken up light reading again after letting my brain linger far too much on more ‘difficult’ and ‘heavier’ reads and I am so happy to be rekindled with creativity. Books for me are so special and take me somewhere far away. I hope I can continue reading this way from here on now. For a lot of people, doing things like going to the theatre or a gig has been the norm since their teens, but I have been a slow bloomer, and I am proud of my small but slow steps to achieving things that stimulate and have made me happy. For me, these things have all been a highlight this year, and I am not ashamed that it took me this long to get where I am today.
For anyone reading, as you head into 2016, don’t let anyone steal your sunshine. Happy New Year everyone, and thank you, as always, for reading my blog this year.