Yesterday my summer holiday officially ended. I packed my things into my Mum's car, left my hometown and moved into my new Uni accommodation. On the journey, Mum and I were trying to remember what had happened over the summer. It was really hard because the beginning of the holidays felt so far away. It felt like a year since we had made the journey to Coventry, rather than the few months it has been.
This summer, I found out that I was no longer staying on the four year course of my degree, but instead was being moved down to the three year course. I wasn't really too upset by this - I actually had still not decided which one I wanted to do and this just made the decision for me. It did mean, however, that I was one year closer to entering the real world and finding a job and all that stuff. There is where lies a problem. I have no idea what I actually want to do. I am not career driven in any way. I am more driven by family. I am also incredibly doubtful of my confidence to do things, especially social things. I am very shy and as a general rule don't really know what to say to people.
At the beginning of the summer, I tried writing weekly targets and publishing them on here so that I wouldn't just waste the summer doing nothing and actually trying to make myself better. I didn't keep up with it very well, so I don't think that is a technique I am going to keep up, but I did manage to achieve some things that I am proud of.
After finding out that I couldn't go to Portugal, I had to rethink my work experience plans. I sent an email to two local community led organisations asking if I could do some volunteering. I heard back from one of them and after going in for a chat we decided that there wasn't really much I could do that would benefit me in the way I wanted, so I waited for the other to get back to me. Eventually they did, and I went in for a chat and came out with an agreement I would go in on Mondays and Thursdays to work in the office of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. For the first couple of weeks, the main office administrator gave me lots of jobs to do like stuffing envelopes, checking databases and checking receipts against accounts. Once I was shown how to do a job, I worked hard to do it quickly and correctly, and didn't complain at boring jobs (like stuffing envelopes). I actually didn't really mind them that much.
After the first couple of weeks, the main office administrator actually left for a new job, and one of the long term volunteers also left to do other work. This would have been ok, except there was a big annual event planned for the next weekend - FordFest beer festival. Also, the woman in charge of running the event hurt her knee, so couldn't really move on account of being on crutches. I volunteered to come in extra to help out. I ended up coming in every day the week leading up to the festival, which is very hard when you aren't used to it.
During that week, I took on more responsibilities. I opened and processed the post every day, which included setting up new direct debits. I had to answer the phone and even phone up some people, which is totally outside of my comfort zone. I actually get heart palpitations at the thought of having to phone someone. I helped out a lot with general FordFest preparations, like making up band packs for all of the bands playing. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.
My Mum is a firm believer that taking opportunities creates new opportunities. I have to say that I agree completely, because if I hadn't asked to volunteer at Fordhall Farm, if I hadn't asked about the acoustic set, I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity for Liberty and I to sing at the festival, and we wouldn't have had the opportunity to play on the main stage rather than the little unamplified stage we were expecting when one of the acts didn't turn up on time. It was terrifying and amazing at the same time.
At the end of my work experience, I was given a Certificate of Generosity as thanks for the 65 hours of work I put in (I checked Mum, 65 is right!) It's only a piece of paper, but I really appreciated it. I have also been promised that I will be contacted about FordFest next year, so I look forwards to that!
As well as playing at FordFest, I have been involved in various musical things this holiday. I sang a part in my younger sister's arrangement of A Thousand Years by Christina Perri to help her see how it would sound all together before she presented it for her house competition at school. I finally wrote the music to a song that I have been writing for 2 years, and have remembered why I love writing songs. I have inspired a little girl.
When I went to work at the boyfriend's mum's nursery, I brought my guitar along and played Stand By Me. A few weeks ago, when the new school term started, the boyfriend's mum said that one of the little girls that had taken to me came up to her with a ukulele and told her that she was getting her dad to learn some songs on the guitar so she could sing with him, and that she now knew all of the words to Stand By Me. That just made me melt inside a little bit. Music is a very important aspect to my life and I'm really happy that I inspired someone else with it.
As you know, I have recently (well, for the past year) gotten into running. Unfortunately, I have a lot of problems with my knees, so I haven't been able to do much running. Instead of just giving up, I have been working at other things to try and strengthen myself up for running again - something that a couple of years ago I would never imagine myself doing.
I started going to a circuit training class, and surprised myself by enjoying it. I have honestly never sweated so much as when I go circuit training, and I often hurt for days afterwards, but I enjoyed it non the less.
I joined an archery group. I have always been interested in archery, but never managed to stick with it. I apparently have some natural talent for archery, and joining the club in my home town has made me more determined to join up again at Uni and actually stick with it. Maybe even join in a competition!
I downloaded a 30 day challenge app. Ok, so I have yet to actually complete any of the challenges, but each time I restart, I am still doing something. I realised that my needs changed, so picked a different exercise to do. Currently, I am doing push ups (girly style I'm afraid, I can't even do one properly) for my upper body to help with archery, plank for my core to help with general strength and running, and squats for my legs to hopefully help with my knee problem.
Now that I'm back at Uni, I am going to try and complete the beginner's training program that my family did with their running club. I'm trying to build up my speed and my stamina, as well as strengthen my knee of course. I went for my first run yesterday, and managed to go 1.6 miles, with my knee only starting to hurt in the last run/walk section.
In an effort to not waffle on for too long, I am going to leave it here. I may write a second part if I think of more things that I think are important, but for now I will just say that I think I have managed to grow and mature this summer. Usually when I leave for University I am really depressed during the week leading up to it and I cry when I leave my boyfriend and my Mum. I did have a cry on the Saturday before I left when my parkrun plans fell through, which was probably exacerbated by the fact I was leaving in a couple of days, but when I left my family I only felt sad for a little while. Of course I miss them, but I know I am seeing them again on Friday (which probably helps) and I have lots of exciting plans for the year ahead.