Life as a Graduate Part One.

So… here’s my little insight for you all into the world of a recent graduate. Twelve weeks ago today, I handed in my final major project at university. Crazy! I miss the work load strangely, I miss the knowing that I was working towards something great and I miss seeing my friends almost every day as well as living with some. I also miss the independence uni gave me and how everything was so much closer to me down at uni. Since the uni days, I just feel like every day that goes by I can slowly feel my creativity slip a way a little more, or so I think it is.

I am losing my mind every day applying for six – nine jobs whilst simultaneously getting emailed replies from other companies declining job applications. Some not even giving a few hours and instantly replying saying, no chance. (I once got an email that said I don’t think this role is worth your application – great, loved that.)

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(Pic by my good friend Aisha’s dad – woo graduation day!)

Right now, I am currently in that stage of looking for a graduate job whether that be an internship that pays for at least my travel and food expenses or a junior graphic designer job.

The only thing with this is, many jobs require experience. How am I meant to get real life experience if people don’t give you the chance? That phrase real life keeps coming up. I’m over it. I do, however, have a real big issue with internships that don’t pay and especially now I’ve graduated with a decent degree. I personally feel they exploit new creatives with fresh ideas to build their company up and for what? Many of them… nothing. I know that completing at least even a week of an internship will ultimately become part of your CV.  This way, it can count towards experience every company wants you to have, but internships could also be unpractical if you have no money – like myself. For example, for me to get to an internship in peak hours it would cost me £600 a month on travel only, for free work

I’ve found that the interviews I’ve been to so far have also bigged you up and make you believe you are suitable for a role and then, sadly, will see someone else for an interview and they have better experience than you. Even if that’s just a tiny bit and you’re back to square one. Who would of thought that sitting at a computer all day every day refreshing websites for potential jobs, going to interviews and then restarting the process can be mentally and of course physically exhausting.

I’m also aware that I haven’t finished uni that long ago and I also know that jobs take a while to get but I’m feeling frustrated in this job search and ultimately, lost. Let alone the massive pressure to get a job in the degree you studied the past three years and spent a fortune on. It feels like an endless cycle right now and no matter how hard I try and think… if I don’t get this job or I don’t get that reply, it’s not the right one for me… it is disheartening. I find myself feeling angry that maybe I’m not good enough for the career I want to go into and the constant declines are making me believe it more and more.

When I first got my few replies back about job interviews/phone call interviews I was excited that I posted on my social media and let those really close know. But with the constant not getting them, even though I’m trying my hardest… I’ve began not to let them know. That phrase… build your success silently is coming to my mind. Maybe if I don’t shout about these things, it will work in my favour? I don’t know… my brain is weird.

I have really and truly hit those graduate blues and I’m not sure how many more days I can sit on my sofa, refreshing job applications and watching Netflix I can take before going out my mind. I’m just so so nervous thinking I’m not good enough for my career I want to take. It’s becoming more and more believable the more I get jobs declined.

I just want a chance in this real world, I’m almost over it, already… before things have started.

 

 

 

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Happy two years Southampton

Grab yourself a cuppa, this one is going to be long. Today marks exactly two years ago I made one of the biggest decisions and done the biggest thing I’ve ever done; move over 100 miles away from my family and friends. 100 miles away from home.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-19-51-46I still remember the run up to going away. I remember every time I went to go and visit my nan. She would have added an essential thing you needed to have when living on your own which I would never of thought of. You know things like medicine – of course you’ll need that at some point unless you’re supernatural and immune to all illnesses, if thats the case please give me your secret. My nan still does that to this day, tops me up with the stuff that I will need but may not already gone out to buy it or wouldn’t necessary bought with a food shop – thank you nan! I really appreciate it.

I also remember my going away meal. The meal where my family got together for a little goodbye to uni and I bought my good friend Shannon along. It was the weekend before I went and I remember then it kicking in that my family won’t just be down the road. That if I needed eggs to bake cakes I wasn’t able to just run to my nan and steal two eggs and instead have to go to the shop and grab six eggs and waste four because I don’t like eating eggs on their own.

However, it meant that I was about to start to gain my own independence and that was exciting. I was about to have all the freedom I possibly could have, not that I didn’t have that before but even more so now. It meant that I had to grow up, quickly. Hell did it smack me round the face as soon as I got there. Once I had grabbed my fob (I was staying in student halls first year, as many people do) and unloaded the car of way too much of my belongings into my room I’ll be living in for the next ten months, grabbed a food shop and saw my dad off which was hands down one of the worst times – ever, I headed back to my room and sat on my bed thinking, what now with tears down my face. Even now when I say bye I always cry, there’s something about your family leaving you down away that is just so so sad.

In my first year I’m not going to lie I got homesick a lot. To the point I wouldn’t leave my room and just lay in bed feeling sad. I missed the whole different lifestyle I had at home which I didn’t realise I had until I moved away. I would call any family member as many times as I could just to talk to them. I didn’t even meet the people I’m currently living now, who lived down my hallway until a few weeks in. Not every one has an experience like that but because I feel like I’m such a family girl, it hit me hard. Looking back on that to now I don’t get it nearly as much. I’ve finally got round to thinking in my head, I’m only a three hour train ride home, it’s not that bad. Besides, it’s so much nicer to go home and see my family after a long while, it feels more… special?

It’s no secret if you’ve read my blog before that I have a mental health illness which is triggered majorly by anxiety and depression. It was life changing moving away from home and battling with that. It’s made me more aware of how to look after myself more and it literally is just me here, to look after myself. If I’m sick and I don’t have medicine in, I have to go out and buy it and still make my dinner and get through the day. This is probably one of the biggest thing’s I’ve learnt. I have had an overwhelming amount of support for this, however. Last year, just after I had started my second year I went to seek help with dealing with anxiety and the way it was making me feel from the uni after advice. It helped me a lot. I’ve wrote about it in a blog post here.

All in all I have learnt a lot about myself. I have a stable job here now, I’ve been passing my university projects and now going into third year and I have my own little uni family. I know more than two people now, I know all the great coffee shops and take aways and I now have people down here who look out for me. I have no idea, how I’ve made it this far without going home… especially after them first few weeks, but I battled through it and still going now. It’s been an adventure for sure. I still haven’t left Southampton and gone anywhere else down the south coast, that is still on my list to do, as well as go the Isle of Wight.

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A massive special thank you to the family and friends who listen to my rants constantly. Who listen when I have something I’m finding difficult and just need to speak it out. Those who give the most invaluable advice and those who check up on me to see how I’m doing. Those who call me for hours and hours because I’m feeling alone and those who text me to make sure I’m OK. I appreciate it so much, so so much. Genuinely. If you have just moved to uni and feeling alone, down, don’t really know what to do.. please please do message me. I would so love to help you and give you tips.

I’m lucky now that I can call Southampton my second home and I’m proud of myself.

University – Top five tips

It’s already September – how? Although this does mean Autumn, i.e- cosy jumpers, drinking hot chocolate with lots of cream and marshmallows and not getting weird looks, PUMPKIN SPICED LATTES, cute over the knee socks – you get the idea. It also means for some people a stressful time of moving away from home to a whole new city, where they may not know anyone and it can be scary. I’m about to go into my third year at university and now quite used to the lifestyle that comes with moving away.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

I have some of my top tips which I have learnt after moving away. It’s all so exciting moving away and I can tell you it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve gained so much independence and learnt life things which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t move away.

I’ve piled some into a list for you here and I hope they help you in one way, or another:

– BUY EARPLUGS. Oh christ I wish I knew this before I moved to university. I didn’t use them in first year and just put up with the noise. Only recently have I bought some as next door have parties regularly and they are the best investment. You might not need them every night but it’s so good to have them there incase you do. They will become your best friend. 

–  If you can, get a group together to do a food shop and get it delivered to your halls/house. It’s so much easier than trailing across town with bags and bags of food. If you split the cost of delivery and pay your own share, its lifesaving. Seriously.

– If you’re moving into halls getting a lock for your cupboard stops people getting in your cupboard and stealing food. Although you can only control it in the fridge if you buy yourself a mini fridge for your room (I did, best £30 spent! Who doesn’t want milk in your room for a late night cuppa without leaving your room?) 

Keep on top of washing up. There is nothing more frustrating for other flatmates/housemates than someone in the kitchen who doesn’t clean their own plates up. There is also a hygiene issue with this too. Not ok. Just keep on top of everything in general. If you stick post-it notes over your room and it helps – do it. If you’re someone who like to keep a diary and write stuff down like me – buy one. It will help you so much and you will feel so much more productive. 

– If you are missing home or have other issues then please, please go and speak to someone within the university. There will be a student support centre within your uni who are there for you. It’s there job to look out for people. Don’t ever feel like you are being too silly or a burden  I did feel this before I went to talk to them and they’re so helpful. They offer services for all sorts of issues including money, homesickness and mental health to name a few. Best thing I done was talk to them. Honestly.

– Keep track of your assignments and work. It goes without saying really. I only decided to discover the library at the end of second year – yep. It is the perfect place for work to get peace and quiet. Sometimes your house/halls can be too loud to get some work done. Also, if you don’t do anything whilst there, it still feels productive because you’re at the library. If you struggle with writing/reading there will be people at the library who can help you too. Win/win.

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(Photo credit: Instagram – positiveheadspace)

Make sure you have the best time. Although at some points it may get too much just remember why and how you got there. You can do it. You will get through that ever ending to do list. You will get that assignment thats kept you up for months done and you will get used to being away from home.  Remember if you ever do have any issues, especially homesickness message me any time. You can do it and it will be the best years of your life, honestly!

Don’t let trichy days get you down

Incase you’ve missed it, it’s been unbelievably hot recently. During this week the weather has hit temperatures of 31 degrees. THIRTY ONE. In the UK that is unbelievably hot. I don’t think we are prepared enough for this type of weather, considering it only happens around three times in a year, no joke.

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If you are like me and suffer from Trichotillomania (Trich) then it can be incredibly hard to get through the warm days as well as the not so warm days. I must say recently, I’m not sure what it is, but I haven’t pulled that much. I have pulled but it hasn’t been to the extent that I’ve been sat there hours at a time doing it, which is a massive massive step for me. I am however about to go into my third year at university with final major projects and dissertations to be writing, so I’ll look back at this time with a massive smile and say that I can do it. YAS!

I have a few different ways which I have that help me try to cope with Trich and just general bad days. It’s so frustrating there is no cure for Trichotillomania. There are ways however that make me feel a little bit happier. I’m still learning every single day how to deal with this myself, so if you have any suggestions please do let me know. I have put a few together in this blogpost and hope it helps someone with Trich or gives people ideas how they can help someone if they have Trich. Some of these can be for sad days too.

– It goes without saying, always always try and keep your hands busy. 100%. If you know what triggers you to pull then plan in advance how you can distract your hands. Carry a stress ball with you at all times. Its small and can fit in your bag/pocket and that way you know you’ve always got something to help. 

– Talk to someone. I suffered myself everyday for so many years and I kept it to myself. It’s 100% true, Trich makes you feel the lowest of lows. It makes you feel like you can’t be in control of yourself. It makes you so down, so so down and so self conscious. It is the worst thing to go through and especially by yourself. A very few close people knew of it and of course people notice it. Talk to someone. Whether they be professional or someone you can trust and know you can talk to, friends/family/teachers/work mates. It will be hard, they may not understand straight away but once you talk about it more, it’ll become easier. Remember if you or someone you know needs to talk to someone and are afraid… I’m always happy to. Always. 

If you are feeling down and upset one of the best ways to lift your mood is to pamper yourself. Pampering can help so much with Trich. For example, putting a hair mask on your hair it begins to repair your hair and makes your hair oily. Oily hair helps you not grab strands of your hair and pull them. In my own experience hair oil on my hair makes my hair feel less coarse and stops me pulling. After you wash it let it dry naturally. Wet hair is also really hard to pull or snap as it doesn’t have the same texture as you normally pull. 

– I’m seeing these appear more and more in shops and it’s making me very happy. They have been a huge fashion statement this Spring/Summer and I’m sure they’ll carry through to the colder months too. Hair wraps/headscarfs. I was sceptical at first but my goodness they are a god send. You can wear them SO many ways. I have a Youtube video planned to film showing you how I style them. I’ve began to wear them not to just tie round my head but they look damn cute tied around a hair bun or even a balaclava around your neck (I’ve been doing that a lot when it hasn’t been too hot and will carry it through to autumn, definitely!) 

– On Trichy days I genuinely wear my hair up. I’ve been wearing my hair up a lot recently, because finally the underneath bits where I had broken it off have grown back and I don’t need as many hair grips – YAS! You can do your hair in all cute little styles too. I’m really loving the two Miley buns, the top knot and two french braids. I see a whole lot more growth if I have my hair up too which is amazing. 

– Go out. As soon as you get out of bed make it. I find if I make it straight away it stops me from climbing back in it. I know you more than likely don’t want to face the world but even a small trip to a coffee shop and getting a take away coffee makes me feel so much better. I think it’s the air, fresh air.

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(Both photos from an Instagram account called trich.otillomania. A special shoutout to whoever runs this account. If you don’t already follow them on Instagram and you have Trich then I would recommend. They just get i t. I also recommend if you don’t have Trich and want to learn more of how it feels to deal with it and for some positivity then I’d suggest following them too. I’m so grateful for the account and making me feel less alone.)

I hope some of these tips help someone with Trich or helps someone you may know with Trich. It’s an awful thing to go through and can be difficult to understand but if you have it – you’ve got this! If you don’t then please, whatever you do, be understanding of those who do.

Personal letter to Trich – Part 2.

Dear Trich,

Recently I have regained one of my personal items which has so many of my old photos on, my iPod. I’ve had this iPod for SO long, years in fact. I used to use it instead of a phone as it had the features of a phone and a camera. You know me, always taking selfies, selfies selfies selfies – all day long. However, during these times I also captured how you destroyed my hair and my self confidence. I captured it all.

One train journey I was sat listening to the music and thought I’d have a look on my iPod and found there was over 7,000 photos on there.. how? You always seem to think long journeys are OK for me to pull my hair, but today I’m not giving you the satisfaction. I will not be pulling.

A few scrolls up I begin to see photos from a few years ago.. Photos where my hair is literally destroyed from you and how sad I look. How I knew I could never take the perfect photo for my social media to fit in with the trends, because of you. Maybe you just didn’t think I would be worthy of a good picture so you made me destroy the part of me which I’m most self conscious about. Who knows? I couldn’t even tye my hair up, you made that incredible difficult too. All underneath was broken as well as the sides.

What was worse, I was way too afraid to tell people who you were. Why I was pulling my hair out. Why I was snapping my hair off. Why I had so many hair clips in my hair just to tie it up  (I counted once – 12 hair grips). Why I had considerably shorter hair on the sides and underneath. WHY I just felt awkward in selfies and why I tried to hide the hair the best I could. I was ashamed of you. I was ashamed that I was letting you ruin my appearance. I was also scared that if I told people what it really was they’d think I was strange and it would drive them away from me, just because of you. You made my life, hell.

Then another year came round and I’ve now decided that you will not rule me anymore. I’ve learnt so much about you. I found out why you make me do this. Why you want me to feel sad and down all the time. Now, I will try my absolute hardest to not let my confidence be affected by you. Why should I? I have decided to speak out about you. I’ve decided to not let you just sit inside me and decided that other people should know about you and the effects you have on people. I have decided that I will try and resist it every single time you say to me I should be pulling or there is a coarse bit in my hair. I will try and beat you, as hard as I can.

Due to trying all these things my hair has grown a lot more at the sides and underneath. It has probably made you mad, but it’s made me happy. That’s the main thing. I will carry on trying to beat you and I will encourage anyone/everyone I know they can do it too. They can get on and be confident without you. They can become stronger from this. I will also continue to bring your name up in conversations and carry on raising awareness about you so people do not have to suffer alone.

We can all do this. We won’t let Trich beat us.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte, a trich fighter.

Trichy Days and Massive Goals

The blog for today has been inspired by the amount of support I’ve received from people of the inter-webs and people who I know. I’m so overwhelmed from the messages I receive when I post Trich blogs.

When I wrote my first ever Trich post I was so nervous. It was my little secret, something which although it destroys me and makes me emotional as well as angry, it was one thing the world didn’t know about me. Of course if people had seen me they would have noticed the 100 million times which my arm reaches my hair to grab the strands and snap off, but they may not necessary know the term for it. Many people thought it was a bad habit and something I would snap out of and just stop. Through my blog I hope I have given people who don’t know what it is like an insight into how awful and compulsive this mental health illness is. I hope I have given someone who does have it the feeling that they’re not alone in this.

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SAM_0177After releasing my little secret into the world I felt a sense of relief. I thought, well.. at least now people will not question and hopefully won’t find it weird if they catch me pulling or searching my hair. The response from them have been amazing and so many people have contacted me saying things such as they didn’t know it existed and that they may have the same condition but not know about it. That is all I’ve ever wanted from these blogs, to raise awareness as well as letting people know that if they have the same condition that they are not ‘weird’ and they are not alone.

There are days where it is an absolute struggle to get yourself out of the state of you want to pull. It is hard to pull yourself up out of bed and face the world. There are days where you just don’t want to face anyone, you don’t want the world to ask you questions such as “Can you leave your hair alone for a minute?” “Doesn’t it hurt when you consistently pull all the time?” I have days like these, we all have days like these where we don’t want to face everyone but, if you put on something that makes you sassy and you take care of you, you will feel so much better.

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My five top tips for helping me deal with Trich and not getting out of bed which I have used lately are:

Once you do get out of bed, make it. Make your bed straight away. It helps me stop getting back in the covers and stay out.

Do some TLC. Put on a face mask. Put some extra make up on if you want or don’t wear make up at all. Put your fav sassy lipstick on. Wear your favourite clothes or just stay in your PJs. Do what you want but make sure it’s TLC.

BAKE CAKES. I did this the other day and this was also the best thing I’ve done in a while. What’s better than making food, waiting for it to cook then cool, decorate them THEN EAT THEM.

Take a walk. Even if its round the block or down the road. If you’re not feeling up to that open the window. Something about fresh air that makes you feel better.

Read your fav book and put on your fav music and turn it up LOUD. Dance around your room with your hair brush as a microphone or sit and have a cuppa tea with a book. Hell why not do both at the same time.

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This day of taking the photos (that were taken by my fabulous friend Sarah, find her blog here.. Didn’t she do such a fabulous job! Can’t wait to shoot with her again, thanks gal!) was such a success. I am so proud of myself for going out, with my hair down and not for once lifting my hand up to pull it. I can’t even tell you guys enough how much strength it took for me to do that. I do it both in the ‘I know I’m pulling I wish I could stop phase’ and ‘I’m watching TV, I’m out with friends I will automatically pull and not realise’ I was really aware the whole time of making myself, basically forcing myself not to pull. It was such a success as well because I had straightened my hair and I’m not sure if anyone else’s hair is the same as mine but when it’s had heat on it becomes coarse. Which is a massive massive trigger for me which starts me pulling. I knew there would be hairs like that and I didn’t even give Trich the time or the day. I can’t say the same for when I got home and watching TV because I caught myself doing it, but that was a massive, massive step for me. Massive. Let’s celebrate together!

Jacket – Zara sale (similar here)

Culottes – Zara sale (similar here)

Top – New Look (similar here)

Shoes – Primark (similar here)

 

Hairdressers are Trichy.

This post is one that I thought of, off the top of my head whilst walking to work. I wanted to write another Trichotillomania post. A post which gives whoever is reading this a sense of what it takes to be in a situation which is so easy and enjoyable for some yet not for others. I love getting pampered and I love getting my hair cut but I can tell you, it is one of the most stressful things to do whilst suffering with Trich.

I have touched on this in a post before, but 9/10 I go to the hairdressers in the first place to try and trick my mind into thinking that all the split ends which I endlessly search for and all the ‘hard’ feeling hairs have been cut out, and none remain. Before I go I really have to amp myself up. My own hair is much shorter at the sides compared to the rest of my hair from where I can snap them off. This gives me major self confidence issues as it is, let alone going to a place where they specifically look at your hair.

The usual conversation that goes whilst at the hairdressers is this: “The sides of your hair are very damaged, aren’t they?” which I then respond with the same old answer every time “I bleached my hair from red to blonde myself” This obviously would of damaged my hair a lot but… I did it around four years ago now. Surely all the sides of my hair would have grown back by now, in the eyes of the hairdresser.

I have to mentally prepare myself for the shame, especially now I see the same hair dresser every time for her to mention the broken off bits. I normally go in the hair dressers with my hair down – take it out before stepping in. Somehow this makes me think that if she sees my hair before like this, she won’t be shocked if I was to take it down and most of it is broken.

After the whole experience has happened, despite all the anxiety that goes with it waiting for my turn to go and trying my absolute hardest not to pull and if I did I would do it on the down low and hope no one sees, I feel good. It works for like a day to stop pulling but it also keeps my hair in good condition and helps it regrow. I normally go for shorter and if it is a bad time on the whole Trich front I usually cut my hair to a point which I can’t lift it up to look at, that way I won’t see if theres any split ends to pull – success. My goal however is to have my hair long, long long hair. I will get there one day.

I have researched into Trich friendly hairdressers and there are particular ones in America from old articles which say they are, yet I haven’t seen any in the UK yet. Maybe I’m just missing them but if you know of any in the UK I’d love to find out? I hope Trich gets so much more awareness in the future and all hair salons become Trich friendly.

I haven’t had my hair cut in around three months now, which isn’t long but my last experience wasn’t pleasant and I’ve sadly kind of been put it off. I need to get the courage and go. If you are nervous and scared as a Trich sufferer yourself and you don’t want to go alone, try and get a understanding friend to go with you.  I always see that as a massive help. You could always treat yourself for coffee and cake afterwards – a firm believer in ALL CELEBRATIONS OF VICTORY. Go you!!! Remember also, if you can’t, you are not alone. I’m always open for a chat. I believe you can do it.
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Photo: (instagram.com/mentalhealthdaily_)