September 23rd, 2014

Untitled unter We Heart It.


Untitled unter We Heart It.

(via carriehopefletcher)






YES.YES.YES. People need to realise this 

Hell Yes! 

I feel like this needs to be shared with a ton of people.

Sorry for the color but i love this.

Can everyone take notice of this please? 

(Source: ikantenggelem)


straight into style | via Tumblr unter We Heart It.


straight into style | via Tumblr unter We Heart It.

(via carriehopefletcher)


What we are and what we want to be. Just make a jump!


What we are and what we want to be. Just make a jump!

(via carriehopefletcher)

September 18th, 2014

The Grad Diaries – Figuring Out What You Want

It’s been slowly creeping up on me for a while, but at the beginning of this month I had a revelation. The sort of jobs I’ve been looking for, the work experience I’ve undertaken and the placements I’ve applied for have all been doing something which doesn’t actually make me happy. For the past couple of years, I’ve set my sights on getting a job in social media, marketing or something similar. Two different internships and a lot of helping out with Facebook pages later, it’s finally time for me to accept that whilst I’m pretty good at social media, it’s not what I want to spend the large part of my life doing. Sure I’d be happy doing it on the side of my main job, or as part of a role, but not as the main part of my working day.

This isn’t just an ‘oh I don’t like that so much’ feeling, it’s a huge, uneasy weight which has been pressing down on me and stifling my creativity and motivation. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and a bit unhappy in my job, and that was how I felt during my internship last year towards the end. I just put it down to transitioning into the real world, believing everyone felt like this about their first job. Now I’ve come to realise that’s not true, and I can do something about it. Also having to forcefully leave my most recent internship made me think a lot about what I want to do next, which helped me realise that it’s not more of the same.

Of course the next question is what do I actually want to do then? I need to work out my next step, realising what you don’t want to do is great, but you can’t move forward until you have something to do instead. Considering that it took me a while to know that I didn’t want to go into marketing, the prospect of figuring out what I actually do want to do was daunting to say the least. However, I was very lucky in that I had been told about an awesome service called Work It Out.

Work It Out is an initiative set up by The Young Women’s Trust which works with young women aged 16-30 who are not in education, employment or training. They offer a personal coaching service, which connects you with a coach/mentor who can help you explore the things which may be holding you back from getting into work or education, look at options you may not have thought about, and most importantly help you to feel more confident and motivated about life. My coach, Yasmin, has been a great help in figuring out my next move. From our initial conversation she made me feel at ease, and we ended up talking for well over an hour on the phone! Without sounding too cheesy, Yasmin helped me to see things about myself which had always been there, but I just didn’t realise. Every phone call left me feeling more confident, and motivated to take action and do things.

One of the things which we’ve discussed a lot is what my ‘ideal’ would look like. Whether that’s ideal day, ideal routine or ideal job. This has been one of the absolute most helpful things for me in looking at what I want to do. By picturing the ‘perfect’ scenario, I was able to look at what elements made up that image, and try to find a way to get them. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I am figuring out a way to work towards what I want. It sounds simple once you start doing it, but it can change the way you think about your life.

I started to think about what my ideal career would look like, and unsurprisingly it wasn’t in marketing. Since the age of 13 I’ve always been involved in different youth groups and organisations; from Youth Parliament to running in the Students’ Union elections this March, I love doing something which makes a difference. It follows that I might be happier in a job which incorporates this, so I started researching different organisations which work with children and young people, and the types of roles they have available.

I am now applying for jobs in the youth sector and also in universities or externally with students. I’ve realised that what I want to do is help people to realise their full potential, and give them opportunities they may not have had. I know from experience that when you’re growing up and entering into being a ‘real adult’ it can be one of the most daunting, scary times. Having people and things which make you feel a little less lost and overwhelmed can be invaluable, and I want to be a part of that. From when I was in youth parliament I’ve always had a passion for standing up for others’ rights and being there for others, so I am confident that I can turn that into a career.

I’ll keep you all updated on how my job hunt is going, and I’m also hoping to have a couple of guest posts coming up!

Do you know what you want to do? Or are you still figuring it out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section, and have a great day whatever you’re doing.



Tagged: career, education, life, life lessons, students, the future, work, Work It Out, young people, Young Women’s Trust

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September 15th, 2014
September 9th, 2014

A Letter From My Past Self

I have been working on the next post in the grad diaries series, and was almost ready to publish it for all of you guys when I received an email this afternoon. It was a letter which I had written on a website called futureme a year ago, and scheduled to send today, exactly a year later. Instead of saying any more, I am just going to copy and paste the letter here. Also I really recommend that you give it a go, it was exactly what I needed to hear right now, and made me tear up in a coffee shop (for good reasons) anyway, here is the letter:

“Dear FutureMe,

at the time of writing this, you’ve had a pretty tough year. What with your Mum dying and breaking up with more than one boyfriend, things have been a little all over the place. You got mad, then you got upset, then you got pretty depressed. You spent a lot of time trying to figure things out, and trying out different ways of coping. There was the partying, then there was the complete denial of the real world and cocooning yourself in your room. Then came the guys, all of them over the past nine months used as ways to try and feel something again, and feel something good. They all ended in tears, of course they did, but never forget that each experience is a lesson, and each heartbreak helped to make you stronger.

Now you’ve got to a point where you’re not ready to take any more bullshit from anyone, including yourself, and that’s great. Go out and stand up for yourself and fight for your dreams. You’re really only just starting out in the world still, I promise you that things are only going to get better from here. I hope that you are doing great things with the blog, and I hope that you’ve finished uni. I know you will, you’ve got so much drive right now, and you CAN do it. Just make sure you’ve put your all into your writing; it’s what you love the most, and it’s what you are good at. You can thank yourself for reminding you of that in case of a crisis of confidence.

Hopefully by now you’ve found an internship somewhere good, and have started to settle into adult life a bit better. I know it’s tough, and I know you’re scared, but that’s all you have from now on, you can’t go backwards. Well, you can move forwards whilst facing backwards, but that only results in bumping into things or getting lost, so just turn around.

You were on the verge of breaking up with a boy, and as horrible as it sounds I hope you went through with it. He is a wonderful, lovely amazing guy, but right now he’s not what you need. No guy is. You need to keep working on yourself, and pushing forward until you are really, truly, honest to god at a place where you are in control of your life, and really love yourself first.

I know that you’ve been through a lot, but baby so has everyone, and the past isn’t an excuse to keep on making bad decisions. Believe in yourself, because you are worth it. You have talent, and you are going to go places, as long as you apply yourself and put in the work. If you haven’t in a while, go to your iTunes, or YouTube, and listen to ‘Roar’ and ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry. Then watch any of Carrie Hope Fletcher’s videos, and feel inspired for the day (or evening) ahead. Smile, and enjoy being you, and being alive.

Time seems to go so slowly but so quickly at the same time, and it will only be the blink of an eye before this letter gets to you, so remember to pause sometimes, and enjoy the moment. You’ve spent too long fearing the future, and uncertainty and death. Just relax and be in the present, it suits you a lot better.

I hope you are happy, and I hope that you still have good friends around you. Jack D is only a new friend right now, but hang onto him, he’s a good one. Don’t forget about Bristol people. As much as you’re trying to move on, cutting yourself away from the city completely won’t make you feel any better, or bring Mum back, it will just make you miss your friends there. Even if it’s infrequently, take the time to visit when you can, and keep in touch with people.

The most important thing I can say to you is that right now you feel like you are starting to be ready to take on the world, and you shouldn’t ever let that change. More sad and bad things have happened I’m sure, and more will happen in the future, but as a mad man with a box once said, every life is a collection of good and bad things. And whilst the good won’t always soften the bad, the bad shouldn’t ruin the good. Have fun, smile, sing along to songs and dance around your room.

I am so, so proud of you, for everything you have been through, for all that you have achieved, and for how far you still have to go. You are beautiful, and you are clever and can do whatever you set your mind to. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and remember that. And when things get rough, just get some chocolate, get into your jogging bottoms and watch lots of girly tv and films online (and/or Doctor Who)

Mum would be so proud of you too.

All my love

Past Jenny

P.S. You better be cleaning your teeth every day! I don’t want to have dentures by the time I’m 25 thank you very much.”

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August 28th, 2014

The Grad Diaries – an introduction

I finished Uni almost four months ago. I left halls of residence two months ago and moved into a room in a shared house. It’s practically the end of the summer, and I still don’t have a job. I’m currently doing an unpaid social media internship at an agency in Central London, working 45 hours a week. It’s great experience, and everyone in the office is lovely, but it doesn’t pay the bills (well except my travel card to get to work!) I’m writing this post sat on the tube on my way to the job centre to sign on for the ridiculous amount of money they consider enough to live off (on? I’ve never known with that which is correct…)

I would much rather not have to collect job seekers allowance (JSA). I’d much rather have a job which pays my bills and leaves me with enough money to actually enjoy life a little bit. The sad truth though, is that as a graduate with a 2:1 and little ‘real work’ experience getting a job isn’t that simple. Any waitressing, retail assistant or similar position requires experience which I just don’t have. Any marketing job is going to the marketing grads, and all the internships are super competitive. I’ve applied to a lot, and had a lot of silence in return. I did get to the final stage for one graduate scheme, which I had set my heart on getting, but ultimately I lost out on the job because I didn’t have enough experience in one particular element of the role. It was demoralising to say the least, when I’d poured my heart and soul into a rigorous application process, only to falter at the last step.

The truth is, part of the reason I may have failed to secure a job so far is that I am unsure about which direction to go in. I have a lot of passions, talents and dreams which I want to pursue during my career, but I am stuck on the first move to make. With so many possibilities open to me, I don’t just want to fall into a generic job for the sake of having a job, only to get stuck doing something which doesn’t make me happy for a large portion of my life. There’s also the issue that it’s almost impossible to get a job in retail which actually pays your bills without any retail experience.

Because of this, and the fact that I was told by the job centre that actually, I can’t keep doing an internship which gives me invaluable industry experience and also something to focus on, I have decided to start a new project. This takes many forms, the first of which is this blog. I’ll still be posting regular smile diary stuff (actually a lot more regularly than I have been! Promise!) but I’ll also be doing this Grad Diaries series. It will largely chart my journey post university, but I’ll try and get a few guest posts from other bloggers and writers who have finished Uni recently. The posts will cover everything from job searching to coping with the transition from student life to ‘the real world’ and everything in between.

The other parts of the project I’ll talk about later, in large part because I’m still developing them in the coffee percolator part of my brain, but also because this post is long enough already! Basically, watch this space and I’m quite excited to start this journey, and share it with the internet.

Have a great day

Tagged: career, education, graduate, life, uni

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July 27th, 2014

Life has just got in the way (or how to overcome bullshit excuses for not living the life you want)

It’s been months since I last posted, and I don’t really have a decent excuse, except to say that life has rather got in the way of things.  It’s all too common for your life to get in the way of the things you want to do, which can make you incredibly miserable. There have been several occasions when I’ve taken stock of how things are going for me, quickly realising that bogged down in detail, planning and the things I’m unhappy with, I’ve not been doing enough of what I want to do, what I enjoy doing, and what I am good at. It is far easier to be stuck in an unhappy situation, moaning about how your life isn’t the way you want it to be, than it is to stand up and do something about it.

I’ve recently fallen victim to this trap, spending a lot of time waiting and wishing for the day when everything is ‘sorted’ , instead of appreciating and making the most of the life which I have now. Sure there are some things which aren’t exactly ideal; like the lack of a job and mixed emotions that have come from my time at university ending and the next chapter of my life beginning. There are a lot of good things too though, and even bigger and more importantly, there is possibility and opportunity.

Having come out of university with a 2:1 in Creative Writing, I look over my time in London so far and see just how far I’ve come, and how much I have achieved. However when that last deadline was met back in May, the last piece of work submitted and the last lecture attended, I began to subconsciously panic about the future. What’s next, and how is my life going to change now that the biggest part of it for the past four years is over? At time’s it has been a tangible, obvious fear, but often it’s just sitting in the back of my mind through everything I’m doing, like a sort of ominous ticking noise, subtly reminding me that the rest of my life has already started.

A lot of my friends have moved back home, if not permanently then at least for the summer, and the ones left mostly have jobs which obviously keep them busy. I am really happy for and supportive of all my friends in whatever they are doing with their lives, but it can be a little disconcerting to have everything you’ve become used to changing all at once. I’ve moved out of halls for the final time, after living there on and off throughout my entire time at uni. I love my new room, my house is great and so are my house-mates, but again it’s a complete change to what I was used to. I worked out that I’ve moved sixteen times in the past six years, and I’m getting to a stage where I’d like to be a little more settled. This house isn’t going to be a really long term thing, but I’ll stay here for a year or so if possible, and that’s enough time for me to begin building my life after uni. It’s been two months since the end of uni now, and I’ve been living here for one. I’ve had time to unpack, organise my room and start adjusting to this new way of life, now it’s time to get cracking and make things happen.

During the final year of my course I know I was pretty bad at keeping up with things which I wanted to do beyond my coursework from this blog, to editing my novel. I’ve also at times been rubbish at keeping in touch with, or giving time and attention to some of my valued friends. It’s easy to say ‘life got in the way’ but that’s not how I want to live. My friends, my writing and my other ideas and projects are the things which matter most to me, and therefore they shouldn’t come second to ‘life’, they should be an integral part of it.

Life isn’t measured only in the big things; your job or how much money you have or where you live. The everyday stuff, that we often take for granted, is what makes up a good life. The nights spent talking until the sun starts coming up, and the weekend trips to the beach. The coffee in bed every Sunday, shared with someone you love. The things that make you smile, and laugh, and feel like you belong somewhere, doing this, with these people. Those are the things which give you a good life, and I am making an effort to incorporate them into my day to day life as much as possible.

As always, for me it begins with and comes down to planning. Get a notebook. Write in it the five things which are most important to you in the world. It could be writing, or playing an instrument, or making people laugh, or your best friend. Just think of the things which you couldn’t live without, and would love to have in your life every day if it were possible. Use this as the list which guides you in your decisions. If you love painting, then find the time to paint whenever you can. If you have three cherished friends, and also really enjoy cooking, arrange to throw a dinner party once a month with them. If you put in the effort, you can have the life that you want.

My five things are as follows (in no particular order) :
1) My close friends
2) My boyfriend
3) Writing
4) Speaking out on things I’m passionate about
5) Good food

I will make time for all of these things, every week. I’m aiming to incorporate them into my life every single day, but we all have off days, and I know that if I set myself unrealistic goals and then don’t meet them, it will demotivate me to continue pursuing them. However the more mindfully I am aware of this list, the easier it will become to live a life full of the things which truly make me happy, until it is second nature. So stop making excuses now, life only gets in the way if you let it.

Tagged: career, dreams, education, friends, friendship, goals, growing up, life, life lessons, life plan, student, university, work

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