Reaching that point

You know you’re mentally and physically done with something when no amount of sleep or chocolate can make you feel better. Sometimes a good old cry is all you need.

I’ve had a few of these situations in the last few weeks, where i’ve been pushed to the limit and had to fight so hard to get back to normalcy. Its been a successful feat so far, but is getting harder and harder to achieve, especially as the triggers are the same and nothing is changing.

Last night was one of the worst moments for me; that moment something so insignificant makes the walls being used to hold everything together crumble into sand. You consider just giving up and residing yourself to the failure and unhappiness that follows.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful group of loving people, that brought me back from the brink and held me together when I couldn’t do it myself. I am finally back to a stage in my life where I feel able to be myself and inevitably get back into blogging more.

This is just a short little post to say thank you, and to remind myself and others that this is a common thing for people in life, and that you can recover and be successful. Lean on and love the people around you and look after them when they need it too.

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Meeting Others: Charlotte Ba Musical Theatre, Bucks New University

29216939_10214431179407114_7722092984774164480_nMy name is Charlotte. I’m just your average 22 year old girl with a fairly casual job and a graduate degree with no idea of how to use it. I started studying BA (Hons) Musical Theatre at Bucks New University in 2014, well, technically Amersham & Wycombe College with Bucks New University accrediting it.

It’s tricky to explain why I picked Musical Theatre. I spent my entire life in education, and even spent an extra year in college, and my mum always told me that she wanted me and my two older brothers to go to university and get a good education. Back in her day university wasn’t seen as a common choice for school leavers, nowadays it’s the norm. So I always knew I wanted to go to uni, the next question was, what am I going to do? Seeing as I had danced since the age of 4 years old and had enjoyed performing arts I wanted to look into options that combined all three of my favourite subjects: Dance, Drama and Music. The obvious choice that kept coming up was Musical Theatre. I thought about it for a few weeks and when the UCAS deadline hit I decided to go for it. I had seen 2 musicals in my life! I had no idea what to expect. Amersham & Wycombe College drew me in as the contact time was double that of the performing arts course at Bucks New University . So I went for it, and here I am 3 and a half years later with a degree!

It’s been a rocky few years, believe me! For a start I had no idea what I was getting into. Unlike most university courses my course was 9 – 5 every single day. Not only that but we were expected to know the ins and outs of all musicals….. THERE’S THOUSANDS!! We were supposed to read a million books and regularly go out to watch a play or show. I really enjoyed the practical side of the course but it really puts your ability on display. You have to sing solo in front of all your class and your lecturers whilst they critique everything you do. My confidence was consistently inconsistent. Not to mention we had to write 5000 word essays regularly using critical analysis of, say, feminism in contemporary musicals or an analysis of Laura Mulvey’s the Male Gaze in Sondheim Musicals. It’s CRAZY. Who knew a performance based course had so much written aspects!

My favourite memory of university is that of a Thursday morning when we had contemporary dance at 9am and Wednesday night was the FRAT night at the student union, and ALL 10 of us had gone out drinking the night before. We get into the class and our teacher starts rolling about on the ground, as is usual in a contemporary dance class. This was carnage. Half the girls in my class had to run to the bathroom, my lecturer wasn’t really sure what was going on but just kept adding crazy sequences to the dance, one of my best friends started rolling on the floor, clearly still drunk, and starts telling the lecturer how ‘magical’ everything is. Our lecturer thinks this is great and tells us all how we need to be as free as Frankie. After about ten minutes of hell, I turn to look at my friend Laura who I remember buying me shot after shot the night before, and she’s curled up on the floor, head down, asleep. It may not seem funny to many but the sight of her dead to the world asleep, reminded me how great university was.

Since university there seems to be a little part of me that struggles with the concept of choosing one job for the rest of my life; seeing as I’ve never done just one thing. I have a degree and am not using it to its fullest potential. Fortunately, nearly a year after graduating, I’m finally getting more acting jobs and sorting my life out. It can be tricky to know what you want to do when you finish university. Sadly a lot of people end up wasting their degrees, which is why I think it’s important to focus on what you want to get from your course, whilst still at university.

Meeting Others: Chloe BA Classical Studies, University of Bristol

Hi i’m Chloe Summers, i’m a 20 year old Second Year at Bristal University.  I took a gap year before i went to Bristol to study Classical Studies.

Picking Bristol

I went to a few open days for my unis of choice (Leeds, Warick, Durham, Bristol) and just fell in love with the city. All the courses were very similar so I picked simply based on the feel of the place and whether I could see myself living there – Bristol was so vibrant and fun and as soon as I started wandering around it with my mum I decided I wanted to go there!

I also liked it because it is a city university and so doesn’t have everything on one campus but is still fairly contained and has a good community feel so was exactly the in-between I was looking for.

The Experiance

First year was so much fun, the workload was less than I expected having heard the horror stories about the amount of essays involved in doing Classics degrees, and although there were times I got stressed I tried to live by the motto that it was first year and therefore as long as you passed it didn’t count!

Second year has been a lot more intense in terms of what is expected to prepare for lectures and the sheer volume of reading, but the amount of essays has not dramatically increased, but the standard that they are marked to is clearly much higher.

The life style has been great, I live right in the city centre so everything I need is a short walk (or sometimes a cheeky Uber if I feel extravagant) away, and the clubs are mostly very easy to get to. I have sometimes struggled with Bristol’s reputation as a ‘druggy’ uni as this is definitely true and, if you end up friends with a lot of people who are into that kind of night when you don’t want to, it can be easy to feel left out!

However, there are so many clubs and sports societies which are totally into a cheesy club night with a ton of VKs and sing-a-long songs to make up for the odd D’n’B night at Motion – and sometimes these are actually pretty fun if you can stand the 30 min walk back at 6am! My best memories have definitely been my nights out with the Swimming and Waterpolo Club but the odd night in Motion does feature!

Every single night with the swim club ends in disaster in some way or another but always in a good way. The debriefs the next day about how everyone made it home or where they woke up the next morning never cease to amaze me. One of my favourite ones was at the last big sports night, where my friend also called Chloe drunkenly took a fresher back to her accommodation and then wandered into a different flat’s kitchen and started eating all their food out of the fridge. She then has no memory until she was woken up by three freshers as she slept on their kitchen floor. She decided she wanted to go to Bunker, one of the clubs, and they were so worried about her that all three of them accompanied her in an Uber back to her house to make sure that she did not try and get in to a club. She then proceeded to play ABBA on the aux of the Uber the whole way home.

Regrets

Sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice with Bristol, just because the ‘vibe’ on some nights can be overwhelmingly about drugs and appearing ‘cool’. I’m quickly reassured by the many, many amazing nights out I have had that did not involve drugs and whenever I walk around and the sun is shining on Park Street and the Wills Memorial Building I realize that it is a very small part of what makes Bristol and I realize I absolutely made the right choice of uni!

The Future

My plans have changed slightly; I always dreamed of having a business in making cakes professionally, but thought this was a bit far fetched and that I should go to uni and do Classics, which is my other passion, and the plan from there was just to be a Classics teacher or see where else I was taken. I now have decided that I shouldn’t dismiss what I actually want to do just because it might be hard and think that I may still teach for a few years to get some savings, but only as a stepping stone to trying to start my business.

 

Micro – deadlines for big results

With the end of final year looming, there is a lot of coursework to do and plenty of exams to prep for. In order to manage this, along with work, and attempting to have a social life. There is not a lot of time, and when the work seems crippling, not a lot of motivation. The method I have developed for over coming this is micro-deadlines.

Its a simple process really. I break each large piece of coursework into smaller categories, before giving each of them a date they must be done by. Take my extended essay for cancer biology; a 2400 word reflective essay based upon two different case studies of cancer patients.

I can split the essay into four sections; the intro, case 1, case 2 and the conclusion. I secondly look into what needs something else done in order to be completed; so the conclusion and introduction can wait until the end. Then I assign a timeline based upon the grade breakdowns and the deadline.

Its amazing how breaking things into smaller chunks increases your productivity. The success of completing each deadline is the motivation to continue and smaller tasks makes achieving such that much easier.

Alas, my essay due today was successfully submitted on time. There was little stress in handing it in as the work was completed on time; however, it didn’t make completing it any easier. Though it is now done and dusted. Now my week can be much calmer.

Note to self: Essays Suck

You have to love what your writing about, you have to believe in what you’re writing and enjoy taking the time to do it. Its why i often take breaks from blogging. You start writing posts for the sake of post writing and the quality drops, followed by the motivation.

It works the same way when writing essays for coursework. There’s an essay i’ve been working on for weeks, and its just not a subject i enjoy or am interested in. Its an important essay that takes up 60% of my module and so i’ve spent alot of time on it but have been mentally broken every time i get stuck on a section. Today’s post is just a short one, venting my frustrations in the hope i can get this essay completed in the next few hours, and show people that university essays are hard, but important.

Finding the motivation to complete something you don’t have a passion for, solidifies my reasoning behind the path i am taking in life. If you don’t enjoy something there is no reasoning behind spending every day of your life being involved in it.

I guess the moral of the story is that i need to finish my essay, so i can get my degree and push myself onto the path i am destined to be one, that can motivate me to be the best person every day and enjoy writing super long essays on subject matter i love.

Proving and Procrastination

There is nothing worse then waking up with no money and no food in the house. Being brought up by chefs I’ve often been able to scrape up a meal from nothing, and this recipe is no different.

This cinnamon cookie recipe was created from the bare basics in my cupboard and decorated with  a lemon drizzle and a little honey as it was what was in my kitchen.

Its a recipe that is easy to mould to what you have in the bare cupboards as long as the butter and sugar is in ratio and you have enough flour to form a dough. Enjoy my recipe, i hope it cheers you up as much as it cheered me up when i was desperately looking for some tasty treats.


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Easy White Loaf:

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 7g of dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 350ml lukewarm water

Method

1. Measure 500g of plain flour into a bowl. Add yeast and salt before making a small well in the middle. Pour warm water bit by bit into the well use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough.

2. Knead for at least 10 mins before placing into a clean oiled bowl, covering with a towel and leaving to rise until doubled in size.

3. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Knock back dough by tipping onto floured surface. Shape into round before covering with tea towel and prove for 30mins. Dust the loaf with flour and slash with sharp knife.

4. Bake the bread for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base. Leave on rack to cool completely.

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10 Facts i wish i’d know before applying to uni

1. Anything in a public place is up for grabs – if you leave your tin opener in a public place, its free for the next person to use and you may never see it again. For that reason, if you love it, dont leave it in the communal areas.

2. Never be afraid to get feedback – When i first started i rarely asked for feedback about coursework and how to improve exam scores. I felt like it just wasnt done, i’ve learnt much more but finding the courage to ask, what can i do to get a better grade? Asking for help is okay.

3. Know your bank balence back to front – its the only way youll have enough money to eat and pay your rent. Being able to balence the budget is one of the key survival skills you learn at uni.

4. Leave your door open – if your unpacking or watching TV leave your door open. Its a great way to make friends and show your arent a hermit. Its also great for finding out if theres free food going! Obvious if its the front door… you might not want to try this…

5. Check out the library before splurging on books – its a waste of money to buy expensive new textbooks if they are available in the library. Most will have a reference copy or two that will always be there. If you want your own, buy it second hand, you don’t need the new book smell to learn from it.

6.Don’t bring one plate, cup and bowl – there is nothing worse then going round to your mates and them not having a cup for you to drink from… its hard to make friends if you can’t offer basic hospitality.

7. Know when to take a break – This ones important during third year. At the begining of the year i was so anxious and stressed about getting all the work done i made myself ill. Knowing when to take a break and chill is vital to success at uni.

8 . Learn to use a washing machine – if you can learn before you go, great! I’ve witnessed a few freshers with grey t-shirts after not learning how to seperate darks and lights. Knowing how not to shrink you jumpers a good choice too.

9. Its never to early to plan ahead – You can start looking at internships and scholarships before you even start. Its even the same with optional modules, plan ahead to stay ahead.

10. Beware of Freshers Flu – its not mythical, freshers flu does exist. Whether you live in halls or not you will fall a victim to it at some point. So remember to budget in for some tissues…

 

Have i missed anything on the list? Let me know in the comments what you think.

abigailgrows turns 3!

This is just a short post to say thank you!

Thank you to every single human who has read my blog, liked my twitter posts and given me the confidence to write more posts and achieve my goals.

I started abigailgrows because i felt alone, that my experience of university was more unique than others, and as a pretty sheltered child i had a lot more growing to do to become an adult.

This year is on track to be one of the best ones ever! My readership is higher than ever and the posts i have planned to come promise to make it an exciting year.

Thank you for following me on this journey, may you continue to read, laugh and live along with me as we attempt to grow into somewhat normal functioning adults….

Love,

Abigail x

Hamilton: An American Musical – 15th Feb 2018

People sometimes attribute my success to my genius; all the genius I know anything about is hard work. – Alexander Hamilton

I loved my recent trip to see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre. It was the birthday treat i’ve been waiting for since I booked the tickets over
a year ago. Its been a constant excitement, with the music playing as an almost constant on my playlists.

The London version of the musical definitely went above and beyond my expectations after falling in love with the original broadway cast. Its definitely a musical that can convert the skeptics into lovers. I went with my friend Beth, who sat next to me and didn’t comment once as I practically quoted the musical the entire way through and held my hand as I cried.

Alexander Hamilton always worked hard for what he believed in and actively fought for his principles and ideas: though he made a few mistakes along the way, he earned forgiveness for many of them. Hamilton is famous for his work on the US treasury after the revolution as one of Americas founding fathers and once held the power to determine who became president.

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I love the story and principles behind Alexander Hamilton and his work over the years. I alsolove the adaptation by Lin-Manuel Miranda for bringing musicals into the common age with a 90’s twist. I highly doubt the CD will leave my car’s stereo anytime soon and the beautiful gift from Beth will remain on my bedside table for a long time to come.

Turning 21

Today’s the day!

I am 21 and officially an adult globally. It’s amazing how as you get older birthdays because less and less of an important thing; yet there are still a few important birthdays in the world. Turning 21 is one of them.

For me being 21 hasn’t changed much. Its been a great opportunity to clean up my life and cut out bits that have been keeping me down. Its also a great opportunity to refresh you goals and lifestyle choices and has been a great chance for me to do this.

For me turning 21 has been a quiet affair, i’ve never been one for parties or nights out drinking. Its started with a wake up call and song from my little sisters and gifts from them and my parents. I’ve been out to buy a new outfit before a trip out for lunch with my parents.

Spending the evening with tea and cake working my way through my dissertation and just chilling…

I’ve enjoyed my day and the symbolistic meaning behind it. I’m enjoying the year to come and the hard work and achievements that will come for it.

Here’s to 21!