January // Uni 2.0, travels, and other rambles

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January. The month that seems to last a year, despite being the one to introduce us to a new year in the first place. The irony.

January was a mixed lot. The year ahead looked at once both hopeful and daunting. The weeks preceding only proved it would, indeed, be both. So in every way possible, this month has dragged, a sentiment it seems the majority of the world agrees on. But oh, so much has happened.

I began the year off in Edinburgh. Had I told myself that sentence would come out of my mouth (…fingers? I’m typing?) this time last year, I’d have laughed. Impossible. I don’t have the confidence to travel alone. Who do I think I am? And yet, I did. Sucks to be you, past Ashleigh. Proved you wrong there. And so I found myself in Edinburgh for 5 days over the new year, visiting my best friend and relishing in every moment I had. Everything was incredible – the festive cheer, the sightseeing, the simple everyday moments with the friend I rarely get to see, the landscapes, even the mundane sort.

Dean Village

And what’s more, the travelling doesn’t end here. Li’l old me, who has barely travelled outside her city in her (almost) 20 years of existence, finally seems to be on the move. Still close to home, January saw me booking a day trip to York in the hope that I will actually do some of the sightseeing activities this time, instead of wandering aimlessly around and getting caught in the shambles for longer than necessary. What’s more, I’m hoping a trip to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth may happen this year (possibly in February!), AND…a family holiday to Bulgaria has been booked! It will be my first time abroad, and honestly doesn’t even feel like it’s happening right now, but nevertheless I know it’ll be a good time. How I’ll cope with the warmth, I don’t know.

On the more mundane side of things, January brought the second semester of university. A semester which, honestly, is highly daunting to me. Everything is theory based. Everything. Gone are the days of simply reading books and discussing the themes in the content and whatnot. Oh no no. Now we’re just bombarded with literary theories we have to learn and apply to the books we read. And when that’s across four different modules, and the set reading is suddenly a lot more densely written, it’s…a lot to take in. But so far, I’m surviving. I can say that much at least.

Then there’s the readying-for-next-year situation that seems to have suddenly arisen, in the form of choosing our elective modules for the second year of uni. Though I don’t know much about anything yet, right now it’s looking likely that one of my elective modules will be a work based situation, where instead of studying in class, I’ll be sent out on placement for a company and volunteer there on some sort of project. Honestly, I don’t really like the sound of this – I do just genuinely love studying in a classroom/lecture theatre environment and…well, the thought of doing otherwise is putting me on edge slightly. However – and I could be wrong here, but – there may be placements in publishing. And with my absolute need to work in publishing in the future, it seems ridiculous to turn away from anything that might get me that step closer. Again, I could be entirely wrong about this since we’ve not actually had much information on the placements, but still. It’s a possibility I can’t ignore.

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Admittedly, I’m struggling a bit more with uni this semester. Not for the work itself – though that will always be a factor – but instead in the more social aspect. Without going into it too much (because this post will already be long enough), my brain can’t seem to get past the fact that I’m just a bit of a drifter at uni. While everyone seems to have formed proper friendship groups and do things outside of uni, I kind of just vaguely know people enough to chat to sometimes and then go home. And I’ve tried – am still trying – so so hard to be more social, but I almost feel like it’s too late now. So that’s where the rockiness of January kept hitting. I’m managing though – and I do have a really good friend at uni who I’m forever thankful for finding. So we’ll get there in the end, wherever that may be.

As for my general home life – which is to say, other things bookish – you may have seen that I was shortlisted for the UKYABA’s under the Best Content and Design category!! The winner’s have already been confirmed but won’t be announced until the event in April (which I unfortunately can’t attend, because London and uni), but I’m so excited to see the winners on the night! So many wonderful bloggers made the shortlist, and it’s such an honour to have made it up there beside them with this li’l blog of mine. Without pouring my heart out too much, since I did that already in the original post, thank you once again for supporting everything I do. I can’t even express how much it means to me ❀

So – hopeful and daunting, as mentioned before – January proved to be all over the place. My days are once again consumed by university, but the beginning of this year decided to throw some highly unexpected positives into the mix too in the form of blogger/booktuber love and travel, so honestly it all seems kind of unreal. Where February will take us…well, we’ll see.

 

*My book wrap up will be going up on my channel Friday at 3pm if you’re interested! Also, let me know if you like hearing about my uni experience/uni updates – I’m aware the majority of this post rambles on about it for way too long!

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25 thoughts on “January // Uni 2.0, travels, and other rambles

  1. Wonderful post Ashleigh!

    I can totally relate with what you say on being a bit of a drifter in uni. I was pretty lackadaisical during uni myself. I really kept mostly to myself and tried to stay focus on what I was there for and the promise that it would be over soon enough. It was always really hard for me to stay put, in one place for a long period of time as uni was for me. I always had my mind on other places and things I would rather be doing and then at home it was me in my room with my cat, candy and lots of books.
    Anyway, I really hope February is a more positive month and things begin to fall in place for you. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that! Uni definitely isn’t for everybody, and it doesn’t help how massively hyped up it is in terms of social life. Luckily I do love being at uni, but it’s hard not to let things get to you sometimes.
      Thank you ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I bet traveling alone can be a scary thing to do. Im glad you went and did it anyway. 😊 And I completely relate to the social aspect of university. It might seem easy to do small talk with a few classmates but it can be very difficult to actually get to know people and form friendships. I hope you succeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      It doesn’t help that I really, really hate small talk ahaha πŸ˜† Getting past that stage would be ideal but it doesn’t happen easily, as you said. But ah well, I trust something will happen one day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m in exactly the same boat re: being social at uni and to put it simple it sucks 😦 Have to keep telling myself I’m there to learn not make friends, so hopefully that’ll get me through the next 2 years as well. And your holiday to Bulgaria sounds like it should be great! Even if you spend a lot of time at the hotel or in shops to avoid the heat, doing so in ANOTHER COUNTRY will be amazing! (And I for one enjoy the lil uni updates – makes me want to do my own but like… words. How does one write them?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Literally same. I LOVE the actual education part of uni and whatnot, it’s just disheartening to see that that’s it when for so many other people it’s not. But we’ll get there ❀ There's another few years, after all. Something will happen ahaha!
      And I will actually be doing everything I can to avoid the heat, good lord. I can't stand swimming either so I've got no way to cool down. Halp.
      You should do your updates! Just have a good ol' ramble πŸ˜€

      Like

  4. 2018 seems like it’s got off to a pretty great start after the January you’ve had! πŸ™‚ Congratulations on the nomination for UKYABA, that’s so well-deserved!

    As far as university goes, I feel you about the social aspect. At Lancaster, in our first year we had to study 3 subjects and English was fine but I really struggled in my Spanish classes because everyone else seemed to have met each other during Freshers Week and I didn’t go out then so I already felt isolated from them. It affected seminars because I felt like an outsider and super uncomfortable around my peers, no matter how much effort I could have put in. But that’s just my experience and I dropped Spanish after the first year anyway!

    I will say, and this is cliche so I’m sorry if you’ve heard it before or don’t need to hear it again… but it really does get better. People tend to settle down after first year anyway and it’s never too late to meet and socialise with new people, if that’s what *you* want to do. I know once I started taking elective modules, I found yourself thrown into smaller classes with different people and it actually ended up being a great way to start developing more connections with people on my course. In the end, you find your people – and it sounds like you might have already! But don’t sweat it on the social life aspect, not all uni experiences have to be all about that side of things if you don’t want it to be. πŸ™‚

    Also I *love* Edinburgh and York so I’m happy when I hear other people so enamoured with them too – it’s so brilliant that you found the confidence to go visit them and travel alone, that’s definitely no small feat. I hope you enjoy Bulgaria too, that’s exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Emma!! πŸ˜€
      I’m sorry the first year wasn’t too great for you either – though I’m glad to hear it got better! Quite a few people have said the second year is better, and that reminder always makes me hopeful πŸ™‚
      Edinburgh and York are both BEAUTIFUL places! Just the sense of history surrounding them, the architecture…gosh, I love them!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Traveling alone is so daunting but I’ve always wanted to try it. I love strolling around on my own, with my sketchbook in tow. But like you, I didn’t travel a whole lot when I was young(er) and now I go everywhere with my husband. Not complaining, since our travel styles are really similar, but I’m still curious about solo travel!

    The social life of university can be so daunting! I had the luck of being in a small specialty field with a close-knit group of people for all of the three years, but the wider campus social life felt similar for me like you describe it here – as if I were drifting. But hopefully you can power through and get a publishing job in the near future! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily, when I got to Edinburgh I had a friend with me, so it was only the actual travelling part that I did alone! It sounds like a wonderful idea for you to try it though, just having some time to yourself with your sketchbook πŸ™‚
      Thank you! ❀

      Like

  6. Sorry if this sounds weird but we seem so similar! I have been struggling with the drifter thing at uni too but it has only happened during my second year, once we all moved out of halls. It has definitely pushed me to cherish the few relationships that I have even more, while also growing more self-love as I am one of my few companions when away from home. If you do get the opportunity to do the publishing placement, take it! I am required to do a placement this summer (that I have to get on my own) and it is such a stress for me. Being able to quickly get a placement will definitely help you in the long run with your dream career. Best wishes for February! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It doesn’t sound weird at all! ❀ I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling with it too. I can imagine it getting harder when you're no longer in halls – I decided to stay at home instead of moving into them, and that's probably one of the biggest problems I have when it comes to socialising! I love still being at home, but it does make everything harder in that aspect. Self-Love is especially hard – I'm glad you're managing it!
      Best of luck in finding a placement this summer! And hope you have a fab time doing it too ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t worry too much about not fitting into a group yet at Uni, I found my core friend group in late second year and I still have a group chat with them today! (I’m almost 27 to put that into perspective.) We try to meet up as often as possible and they’re all fab.

    My Uni had the work placement thing but we had two options: either do the work placement or do a research project. I chose the latter but part of me wishes I had tried out a placement, it’s really good for the CV!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oooh you’ve been to Edinburgh, I love that city! And in connection with traveling on your own it sounds like the year started awesome for you so far! With a good start, the year only can get better!

    Also don’t worry about that friend situation, it WILL get better. Second years are always better, there I got to know my best friends from Uni I still have (and I finished Uni like 2 1/2 years ago. Me being 25).

    All the best for the UKYABA! πŸ™‚
    xo Annina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so! It was definitely a great way to kick 2018 off ahaha! πŸ˜€
      So many people have said that it’s better in second year, it’s so so comforting! I’m really glad to hear you had that experience too!
      Thank you so much Annina! ❀

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  9. The part about socializing… i could have written it myself! I had your very same situation – and thoughts.
    Well, to be honest, mine was even worse: I thought there must be something wrong with me. But none could explain me WHAT.
    Years later i found out… i’m an introvert. And this explained everything. Now I’m slowly learning to accept it… but i’m a grown up woman now, and my uni years remain a painful memory, alas.
    If I can give you a piece of advice, don’t beat yourself down for this too much. People are not all the same. Being different is not always (or i should say it’s NEVER?) a bad thing!
    It’s better to use one’s energies to build just a few, but strong, relationships! πŸ’ͺ
    Wish this semester won’t be too painful. Let us know how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering this was only a glance at the thoughts I have about it all, we probably do have the very same situation ahaha. I’m constantly doubting myself too, which is hard but I’ve got to manage *shrugs*
      I’m sorry to hear uni wasn’t too great for you. So many people hype it up, it’s such a shame for those who don’t get along with it.
      Thank you so so much ❀

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  10. Awesome about all your travels!! I really would like to take a trip to sightsee in Colorado, but my boyfriend wouldn’t be able to afford any trips this year so maybe in 2019…

    Sorry to hear you’re struggling to find a friendship niche. I never formed any at all while in college, which is something I deeply regret. Mainly due to the fact that the college I went to was a “commuter” school where the vast majority of people drove to and from school rather than living on campus so there wasn’t much time to meet new people – you can’t exactly introduce yourselves in the middle of a lecture haha

    My hearty congratulations to you for being nominated in the best design category – your blog design is definitely one of my favorites! Love the watercolors! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’ll be something to look forward to! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t find one either 😦 it’s the opposite way round for me – most peoplelive on campus and so it’s harder for me, commuting in and leaving again. And thank you SO MUCH!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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