12 October 2019

HOW I'VE CHANGED SINCE MY FIRST YEAR OF UNIVERSITY

There's a quote that goes "It's ok if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire." I'm not sure when I found it or how I came across it but it's a quote that I needed to hear.

If you scroll down through the archive of this blog, you'll see that a few years back I made the move to the UK for university. I'd lived in South Africa for 18 years, and moved across the equator, to a place notorious for scones, constant showers and the Queen.

My first-year of uni took a lot out of me. To begin with, I'd moved away from everything I'd ever known. Luckily, I had my trusty siblings with me, so I wasn't entirely alone, but that's an important part of this story that I'm trying to share.

In September 2017, I started unpacking the 46kg worth of things in my suitcase and emptied its content into an empty, attic-like student accommodation that overlooked the residence's carpark. Looking back, that room never felt like home, at least not until the very end. It didn't really help that my flatmates and I never got along, but that's a story I've already talked about on Social Spying.

That first-year of life in London was an experience with many troughs and crests, but as anyone that studies science knows, that's a natural cycle. There were moments where I felt unstoppable. I was on top of the world. However, towards the end, I didn't. In fact, I felt the complete opposite.

For the first time ever, I was battling self-esteem and confidence issues. I'd lost my knack for writing, or it had felt like it. I still don't feel like I have my writing knack back now, I can tell by the scattered ness of this post and the lack of alliterations, but I'm challenging myself to get back into writing creatively and for myself-- my ability to find and write news stories never disappeared.

What's odd is that what began as a low self-esteem transformed into empowering myself. I can't tell you when the switch happened. There was no defining marker, but a gradual number of significant changes.
I consciously began reading feminist literature, podcasts and watching Oprah. I made the effort to always look good when leaving the house-- even if I was just running to the corner store for milk.
My hair was never out of place, my nails were always painted, although not always perfectly, and I'd started working out consistently and rigorously meaning that endorphins were flowing through my body constantly, like voltage through an electrical circuit. But, I didn't feel as great as I looked, well, at least not at first. Eventually though, I began building confidence naturally and relighting my dimmed spark.

I'm in my third-year now and a lot has changed since I finished my first year of university. The people I associate myself with, and call friends, have changed significantly. I spend most of my time now with people who were strangers to me in my first year. Anyone that once threatened my joy is long gone.

Incase you're wondering, being the girl who always has perfect hair, attended to nails and stylish clothes got tiring and now I instead opt to merge my two versions- the old and the new me. I still run to the corner store with perfectly painted nails, but my hair's in a bun resembling an abandoned sparrow's nest and dazzling in sweat pants.

I  still regularly delete my social media for my own sanity because, as personal branding expert Colette Werden once said: "It's ok if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire." To me, social media plays a large role in diminishing my flame, and that's just something I don't allow anymore.

I had lost my spark, but my goodness have I reignited my fire.

I've just written the ending to this post, which is something I haven't done for five months, but I knew exactly how to end it off, with my promise that I'd always be back.

Till next time-
Steph
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2 comments

  1. Sometimes taking a break is what we need, I too delete social media apps sometimes when I'm not feeling myself and it helps to much to disconnect. Glad you're back! x

    - Charlotte / myownblogofthoughts.blogspot.com

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  2. Glad you're back Steph! And good luck for third year

    Sophie | Sophie's Spot

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