Saturday, 24 May 2014

30 Days Blog Challenge - Day 17 - Your highs and lows of the past year


It's always a bit dangerous asking me to talk about my feelings because I don't really open up about them very often to anyone. And I tend to be up and down like something that majorly represents a yoyo. So highs and lows have been frequent over the past 12 months. Therefore I will just go into the major ones that have affected my life more fully.

Let's get the lows out of the way first as they are so not as fun as the highs...

Potentially the biggest one was the decision to give up the teaching part of my primary education course. Just to give a bit of background to the importance of this decision...I am currently studying on a four year Primary Education with English degree at Reading University. Which, along with essays, assignments etc, also trains me practically to be a teacher through a number of placements. During my third year I was having a lot of doubts about my skills as a teacher and whether I actually wanted to go through with it. Following a disastrous placement, the little confidence I had was ripped to shreds and I decided I was not going to complete the teaching side of my course. I still will have a degree but will not be a qualified teacher at the end of it. Which begs the question what am I going to do next year? Which is stressing me out hugely. As honestly, I have no idea what my plan of action is after I graduate. All I do know is I am going to stick around in Reading but apart from that...no clue. And this lack of direction is making me feel a little lost at the moment. But hopefully something will come.

University life can be stressful and when it was the week prior to handing in my two dissertations I was feeling pretty awful (read how you can survive your dissertations here http://charlottecoster.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/how-to-survive-your-dissertations.html). Trying to juggle that amount of work was hard and I was having a confidence crisis a day, and crying every 10 minutes solidly for about two weeks. Just to clarify, I don't really cry a lot and definitely not in front of other people, but this was properly stressful. I also was quite poorly at the time as well with the combined effects of a throat infection and anorexia, meaning that I wasn't eating or sleeping at all and I was just exhausted the whole time. Needless to say this was not fun. I was fully expecting an anorexic relapse at some point this year due to the stress and the fact that I was living with someone who also has an eating disorder. But this did not make it any easier when it and the accompanying feelings of low self esteem arrived. Now my university work is finished, I look forward to being able to concentrate on myself and improving my health.

And my final low was the death of my grandmother which happened last November (you can read my tribute to her here http://charlottecoster.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/rip.html). We have always been close but her health went really downhill throughout 2013 and she died peacefully in her sleep. Loss is never easy, however much you anticipate it's arrival but she was given a wonderful send off and I know she is in a better place now.

Thankfully, I have a lot more highs over the past 12 months that are just fabulous. I had many personal milestones, such as I moved out of my parents house officially and turned the big 21. My 21st birthday was pretty awesome and I had about 3 weeks worth of celebrations which included 3 ultra-posh meals with close friends and family, a house party, a trip to the theatre (theatre-going was a constant theme over the past 12 months and something I never ever get tired of...love it more than anything) and a fortnight of interrailing around Italy. You can read a little more about it here http://charlottecoster.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/interrailing-around-italy.html but it was so incredible. I went with incredible people, there was great food, weather and we saw and experienced so so much. It was the best trip I have ever been on. I love traveling so much and hopefully will do a little more of it once I have left university.

I am now very very close to the end of university and finishing my uni work was a definite high. It all ended with an exam (my one and only exam I have taken in the four years here) on the 15th May. And along with two dissertations, countless assignments, presentations, lesson plans, resource making, research, teaching practices, file collections....it has been a long old slog. But I have made it and I am still alive just about. Last summer, quite a few of my friends graduated. And I just felt so much pride in them and what they had achieved. It was a really lovely celebration and I hope they will all be there to celebrate my day with me as well.

Obviously as so many of my friends left last summer, it was a really great opportunity to make a few more. And I have to say that I have met so many incredible people here...I am a lucky girl to be surrounded and close to such wonderful people, knowing I can rely on them and they are always here for me. They never fail to cheer me up and are the craziest bunch of nutters that I know. I never laugh so much as I do when I am with friends and I dread to think what kind of a mental place I would be without them. They keep me sane.

My final high point that I wanted to mention, happened on my most recent placement. As I had given up teaching, I was placed into The Education Library Service in Reading where I worked to help promote reading in schools. And it was really enjoyable. But the best bit about were the author events where we organised for children's authors to come into school to work with the children. There were 3 while I was there and two in particular, Guy Bass and Louise Yates, were really lovely people. And, considering that I would one day love to be a children's author, they didn't mind at all when I quizzed them endlessly about how they got published and their lives as authors. Louise even went for coffee with me. Was so so wonderful to meet them both.

I have to remember that while I do have a lot of problems and some quite debilitating lows at times, everyday life is on the whole pretty excellent. I am so much luckier than many and I do find life pretty great. I generally, try to look on all of my experiences, whether good or bad, as positive for my personal development. They make me the person I am today and I do not want to change that for anyone or anything.

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