So, what next?

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As you all know I am in the middle of a job hunt. I have so far written negative things about my experiences and would like to clarify that while this period of my life is far from what I desire, I am not completely unhappy.

When I moved back home after uni I found it difficult to adjust. My sister’s wedding also brought to the forefront of my mind irrational fears of dying alone and never finding love. BUT since then, after taking time to myself I’ve realised that right now I have TIME. I have time to do whatever I want. Time to read what I’ve always wanted to read. Time to gain new skills.

An Adult Learning Courses guide came in the post this morning and while I do not want to take part in dog whispering the languages courses are genuinely tempting. I was never that great at French or German at school but if I spent enough time at it I could probably pick it up. Latin was the language I chose to learn at GCSE and I absolutely loved it. I have since forgotten pretty much everything, but I feel like I have a basis for Italian and my basic French will help me again if I wanted to pick that up.

My confidence is a major hindrance. I like being good at things. If I start something, I like it to come naturally. If it doesn’t I feel like I’m making a fool of myself and struggle accepting that I some things I’m just no good at. But this time now has made me realise that there’s nothing stopping me.

What next? Who knows, but there are plenty of options out there.

Employment Update

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Got a job yet? Me neither.

I have, however had an interview. One I didn’t get, but which has altered my perspective and, the more I think about it, had put a dent in my optimism. When talking about what I’ve done I mentioned the volunteering work before uni. This volunteering work included taking care of children, coaching them, being responsible and while I was aged 14-18 I was in charge of kids regularly. From this experience I realised I didn’t want to be a teacher. Coaching hockey once a week was great fun, never boring. Going on a “holiday” with a Brownie pack was also great. But I realised I couldn’t do it full time. I don’t have the patience or the desire to teach.

While at this interview the other day I mentioned the above. (It was an interview for admin work). I was honest. I also mentioned my degree. History. Now I will never regret this degree. It was interesting, it was fun, it provided me with skills and knowledge. Most of all the friends I made are keepers. But while I was talking about this degree and why I chose to do it, I got the feeling that all the positives were disappearing from my mind. I was presented with a complete stranger judging me. She sat across the table obviously not impressed that I don’t know what I want to do and she clearly thought that this job would not be long term for me.

Going way back I have good GCSEs, good A- Levels, a great degree and yet I can’t get a job because everywhere, and I mean everywhere, wants experience. I have volunteering work under my belt but nothing recent due to uni. I knew getting a job would be hard, but this has so far been impossible.

All I need is one person to take a chance.

 

Jobs Part II

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I feel dejected. I feel unworthy. I feel incredibly average.

After a day of trawling through job websites to end up having only applied for one, it’s depressing. I don’t know what I’m doing, I won’t lie. I apply for things that appeal, that I think I could do. I’m more than qualified for most jobs I’ve looked at, but the way they phrase things puts me off. Am I actually qualified for that role? Do I want to do that all day every day? To put it simply: no.

Job hunting was always going to be difficult. I knew this from the start. But to find it this impossible? No, this I didn’t expect. You can’t simply hand in CVs any more. You have to apply online. Unfortunately, you can’t apply online unless there are vacancies, and let me tell you, there are NO vacancies.

I feel like my positivity has taken a battering. Most employers won’t even glance at your CV unless you’ve had previous experience. I have a degree, and a good one at that, but that’s not enough any more. I’m officially unemployed. I can’t avoid that. I am. Knowing this is killing me. I don’t want to go on the Dole. I don’t. I want a job, I want to earn my way through life. I want these things, but I’m not allowed them. Unemployment is a massive issue right now and sometimes I think that if employers just took a chance on a few people without experience (me, please) then those unemployed would gradually decrease.

Most unemployed are like me; young, just finished uni and stuck in what seems like a trap. We went to university, we got ourselves a degree because that’s what we were told would get us a job. It doesn’t. Not straight away at least. I hope one day it’ll come in handy but apparently that day is not today.

True Love?

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My issue with soaps, dramas etc (one of my many issues; yet I still watch them) is that everyone cheats. Everyone. Is this just lazy writing? It seems so obvious. The easiest way to produce drama is a secret affair which will one day come out and ruin lives. The odd one I can handle. But to me it seems to trivialise the whole concept of fidelity. It makes cheating seem allowed.

Recently I watched a BBC drama series called True Love and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. Virtually all of them had an element of unfaithfulness. Why? There was no need. You shouldn’t have to prove you’re in love with your wife by straying and then realising you’ve made a mistake. And you know what? Their spouses always took them back. Was that the true love? Or was it the affair which was had with a high school sweetheart but because of circumstances (one being MARRIED) they couldn’t be together? Were they the ones who were in love? Which was it? The action of cheating or the shameful return home to the wife?

If you’re unhappy enough in your marriage to have an affair then separate before it’s embarked upon. That’s one way. Or a two letter word which is pretty easy to say. “No.” It’s not difficult. Have some control. Don’t ruin what you may have because of temptation.

I realise I am being incredibly harsh, but I believe in what I’m saying. I’ve had a great home life. Cheating hasn’t been an issue. Indeed, in a lot of cases it isn’t an issue. So why, in these soaps, is it always one? It’s so regular now, so expected. For me, I feel like all this infidelity makes it look acceptable, even exciting and desirable.

But that’s just me.

Friendship

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I’m sure you’re all well aware by now that I love my friends. Take that as a given.

Adjusting to home life has been incredibly difficult for me during the last few weeks. I won’t ever deny this. I haven’t been my usual happy self. I realised that the routines I was part of in Liverpool helped me maintain my positivity. The little things like going for food, going to the cinema with the same people regularly, meeting for coffee – that sort of thing – kept me happy. When you move away you realise how much this stuff meant to you. Today was a great day for me for more reasons than one. I graduated. Yay! Awesome. Cool. Whatever. It was also the day I got to see my friends again. It has only been a few weeks, I know, but when you see these people every day for two-three years, it hits you when they’re suddenly not there.

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” True. You don’t. When you can’t be invited to things because of geography – you feel crushed. You can’t help it. The usual things you do that you physically can’t go to. There’s no feeling like it. All very depressing. Yes. BUT today reinforced why these people are, and will always be, in my life. They’re fantastic. Graduation made the day special, this is true, but my favourite part? Sitting, chatting with my friends afterwards having a great catch up and feeling like I’d never been away. The friends I have made will always be in my life. That’s decided. They’re indescribable.

At school you have an image; one you can’t seem to shake no matter how much you try. You may not realise it at the time, but looking back, it’s definitely there. You’re never really you, but you grow into this person in time. When you move away to uni, you’re thrown in at the deep end. This is your time. This is when you can be yourself. I did just that. I met new people and I am pleased to say that a few people I met on my very first day are some of my closest friends.

I’ve never had to pretend with my group of friends. Never. They accepted me for who I am instantly and have never judged me for it. OBVIOUSLY you keep the crazy in until you’re comfortable, but even when the little personality quirks came out, they still loved me; just as I love them.

Some of my friends have decided to share their feelings, much like this, which is the explanation for this post: I’m joining in. They all know who they are. They know they’ve made my life incredibly rich and full. I love you all.

Feminism

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“Feminism” for a lot of people has negative connotations. It is sometimes associated with women who seem to have a problem with everything men do and pick fights unnecessarily. I used to think this, myself. Although it was wrong, I didn’t want to be seen as a feminist because I didn’t want to be tarred with that stereotype. Recently, however, one of my uni lecturers put the issue into perspective for me during a class discussion on the subject and I’ll never forget it. He asked the group “Who here believes that women should have the right to vote?” All of us, obviously, raised our hands. He then said “Well you’re all feminists then.” By putting the issue so simply, and so positively, it seemed ridiculous that we were all unwilling to label ourselves as such a few minutes before.

Recently, the feminist debate has been brought back, into my life at least, due to Wimbledon. It has been argued that women should be paid the same amount of money as men in this sport. I agree that women should be paid the same amount but only if they’re willing to play the same amount of tennis. In this sport, men play to the best of five sets, and women the best of three. Why should they earn the same when the work isn’t equal? Proportionally, therefore, women earn more for less work. Is that fair? No. I understand the arguments for the equal pay, but I think that in this case more discussion is needed.

Discussing feminism naturally brings up another issue. That of male chauvinism. I firmly  believe that there’s a difference between chauvinism and chivalry. I don’t have a problem with a man walking me home, even if it is the twenty-first century and I am capable of walking home by myself. It’s nice. It doesn’t mean they think I can’t fend for myself. It doesn’t mean they feel it their duty as a man to ward off potential attackers. It means they care. Sometimes it’s unnecessary, I agree, but the majority of the time it’s nothing other than gentlemanly and I for one have no problem with  it.

Obviously there are extremes. I won’t pretend that I don’t have a problem having meals/drinks bought for me. I like paying my way. I don’t agree that women should expect men to pay for them. So split the bill. That’s perfectly acceptable.  Everyone has their own views on this issue and these are mine. I accept that people won’t agree with me and that’s fine. Each to their own.

Body Image

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I have a warped view of my own body image. Everyone does; men and women. The only time it doesn’t seem to be an issue is in childhood. But childhood itself seems to be getting shorter and shorter these days. (“these days”, already sounding far older than my 21 years).

I, myself, have been frequenting the gym for the past year because my sister went and got herself engaged. The wedding is in a mere four and a half weeks and I truly feel I should have tried harder during my gym visits.My sister is thin, the other bridesmaid is ridiculously so (but the good kind, she looks amazing). I, on the other hand, am all curves. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not at all. But due to my warped view of myself, I see myself bigger than I actually am. As is the same of most people, when going to uni, the weight piled on and I’ve done my best to lose it again. I feel healthier and happier in myself but I will never be perfectly content with how I look. I’m getting better, but being bombarded with photos and pictures of celebs with perfect bodies does nothing to enhance one’s own self esteem. Especially when the angle of one photo may not be flattering and so this stunning female form presented to us has an arrow pointing out a “Hint of a double chin? IS SHE PREGNANT?!” No. No she is not. Leave her alone.

I don’t blame these celebrities for trying to look perfect after you see the amount of abuse they get if they don’t conform. So much emphasis is given to weight. It’s always refreshing seeing a “large” person (and by that I mean over size 10, UK sizes) happy with themselves and embracing their looks. Over time, however, unfortunately, these men and women seem to feel the pressure of fame and soon shrink to a shadow of their former selves. Obesity is an issue, we know that. But every so often I get a very strong urge to throw in the towel and join them.

Obviously the only time I will ever be papped is when I eventually marry Jake Gyllenhaal and by that time I will have a personal trainer on board to force me into shape. But until that glorious day I have to go to the gym, watch what I eat and pray something good will come of it.

“No pain no gain”? The pain seems disproportionate to the gain at the minute. Watch this space.