Experiences from 3 months of blogging

So this is a teeny tiny amount of time to everyone else but for me continuing this blog for a month makes me happy. I'm rubbish at keeping at stuff but I am really enjoying my experience so far in the blogging community and making friends with people that share the same interests/thoughts as me. Because of twitter everything is so instant now and I have picked up lots of tips from there. I thought I would share a few things I have learnt so far and what I want to learn next.

People still use Gmail.
Do anyone of you remember the time you had be invited to get a Gmail email address? I do. If you had one you got a certain number of invitations to allows others to sign up. I think I even sold these on Ebay at one point . . seems crazy doesn't it? So I have had Gmail for years and years but it is full of junk-mail so I never look at it, the only thing I used it for was to sign into Youtube occasionally. Yet creating a blogger account means I use Gmail a lot now. I have a separate one just for my blog and is primarily used for receiving comment notifications, Bloglovin and Google Plus activity. So yeah, I thought no-one used Gmail anymore, but I was wrong!

I like Twitter (shhh . . )
You can't tell anyone this. Certainly not myself six months ago. Up until three months ago I didn't have a Twitter account. I could see how it could be useful and fun but why would I want another thing to get addicted to? I started comping in April (entering lots of competitions) and many of these were on Twitter so I reluctantly joined. I only used it for this though up until I started by blog just over a month ago and have discovered it's many advantages since. Promoting posts, connecting with blogging friends, joining in chats. I did have to ask someone though what the point of the 'favourite' function was though. I couldn't quite understand it but now know it is similar to Facebook's 'like' button.

It's pretty easy to get overwhelmed in a Twitter chat
I love Twittter chats. Not only do you get to listen to others advice and pick up product recommendations, everyone swaps links at the end. The first couple of chats I was there sending my link to everyone and clicking on everyone's link in return. This is what my screen looked like:

That was just half of it! Now I am a little more reserved in this respect. I'll give it out at the end of the chat but I don't send it to anyone that asks for links purely because i'll end up with 50 links in return to go though. Anyone that does check out my blog of course I return the favour and anyone that I have had a good conversation during the chat with.
It is also easy to get overwhelmed with the pace of chat. #bbloggers has a lot of participators and by the time you have read that page there are another 50 new tweets to read. I find #lbloggers #bloggersdoitbetter/#bdib and #socialbloggers a lot easier to keep up with.

What an awesome piece of internet! This little gem has showed me how many create beautiful photos on their blog. At the moment I mostly tend to just crop and add some text but there is so much on here from making collages, adding effects and borders to brightening and sharpening an image. I don't have any image editing software and never have so picmonkey is all I require at the moment. This is the first one I did and I was so proud lol.

For the future I wish to change my design and learn how to make colleges properly (I can never get the pictures to fit in it!). Design will take a long time though as it is not something I am good at and I have heard a few bad stories about designers.

I have loved meeting you all and thanks for reading my blog, if you have any tips for me I would love to hear them below.

Here's to the rest of my blogging journey!

Uni tips from experience

Seeing as my sister is starting in a couple of days I am going to share three tips I have already told her. These are not just new students but also those returning to university this September. I didn't want to simply write a long list of the standard tips you will find everywhere but rather a few I think are really important and that I wish I had thought of when I started uni 9 years ago (!!).

1. Be prepared to lose all of your cutlery

Either spend a bit more and buy something that is distinctive or buy cheap items and be prepared to replace them. No matter how hard you try things will go walkies. Whether you put away in your drawer or leave on the sideboard for five minutes . . . it will disappear. At least if you have something with distinct markings on you can win the argument when claiming back your stuff!

2. Join a club or society

I really do think this is important. I knew some people whose social group was the people they lived with and I knew some people whose friends were from the club they were in. You don't know who you are going to live with. Although you may get on with everyone during the first couple of weeks things can change once everyone is settled in. Joining a club gives you a hobby, something to do outside of work/drinking and friends. I was in the surf club but I wasn't dedicated to it as I sometimes found the social side of it hard. I did try other clubs (from Irish dancing to wake-boarding and volunteering) but never really stuck at anything. It would have helped me have a wider circle of friends had I been more involved.

3. Be open and unjudging

I don't think unjudging is a word but i'm going to go with it. You will meet so many people from all walks of life during your first few weeks and will end up having that drunk toilet 'what are you studying, where do you live?' conversation a thousand times. Do not dismiss anyone. (Though i'm not really talking about your sudden toilet best friend that night. I really don't think either of you will recognize each other the next day)
You think the people you stick to in freshers week are all you need and will be friends for life? Not necessarily. I don't think it's really until the second term of uni that you start to establish friendship groups. Not quite sure how to phrase this but be open to people and experiences that are different or what you are used to. If someone is too loud and brash for you, it's probably just a front and they are just as scared as you.

I hope these few pieces of advise are useful to some of you, please let me know if you are starting uni or if you have any tips. Please share with anyone you think would find it useful. :)

As a last piece of advise. Don't relent and do your housemates washing up. They won't learn.

DVD's i'm watching and those i'm waiting for

Downton Abbey, Breaking Dawn, The Vampire Diaires
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A mixture of dvds i've never seen and re-viewings of old favourites. I'm currently enjoying watching these great programs/films:

Gossip Girl - series 1

'XOXO' The only glimpse i've had of this was during my third year of university and it was on the TV in the kitchen/lounge whilst I was attempting to write my dissertation. As that was six years ago and the only twenty minutes of the program I have ever watched I was happy when I saw series 1 in CeX for only £2.50. It's second-hand, but who cares as long as it works! I'm on episode 3 so far and although I normally don't enjoy watching posh people being all rah! on tv, stuff actually happens. I'm not waiting five minutes whilst as awkward conversation tries to take place . . MIC! New York is also near, if not at, the top of my travel list.

The Vampire Diaries - series 1

#TVD With series six starting next month (please please let us know the UK starting date!) I thought I would watch series 1 again. Where it all began, where Elena was an innocent human knowing nothing about what was to come. A time when vampires were actually in the minority. I've owned this for four years but discovered something new last night. On the screen that lists the episodes there is a little scissor symbol which indicates there is unseen footage in this episode.

I only found out last that you have to click on this to show the footage.

I did wonder all the other times i've watched why I didn't notice anything new. DUH!

Oh and for any fans the CW just released a new trailer. It looks a very different feel to past series!

Downton Abbey- series 4

With the new series starting in a week i've realised i've yet to watch series 4 or the last two Christmas specials. In fact Matthew is still alive as far as I am concerned. I do have a legitimate reason for missing all this. ;) It came from Amazon yesterday so i've got less than a week to watch it all.

Breaking Dawn - part 2

Even though this is constantly on Channel 4 at the moment I keep missing it and it is the one i've seen the least. This came with Downton Abbey yesterday and I can't wait to watch it, though I should probably wait until i've caught up with DA and Homeland (below).

I'm waiting for . . . 

Homeland - series 3    

Late to the party, I was hooked watching series 1 and 2 last summer. It's a pain that series 3 is only out a few weeks before 4 starts. Why do that?

The Vampire Diaries - series 5

Despite being the weakest series so far of an other wise amazing program I still need this for my collection and to catch up on the few episodes I missed in the middle. Plus the deleted scenes mean more drool time over Stefan/Damon . .  ;)

The Originals  - Series 1

The spin-off from The Vampire Diaries this show surprised us all. Yes it contains our favourite twisted evilly-hot family from TVD, reclaiming their home-town of New Orleans, but to produce something of this high quality? That was not what we expected at all and I know everyone has been blown away by this show. I'm looking forward to re-watching this but on a proper TV screen rather than the tiny square I watched on my computer. Annoyingly this is being released even closer to the series 2 start date than Homeland.

So what about you, do watch any of these or want to know more about any of them?

University - The Right Thing?

University the right choice?

I just wanted to write a few thoughts on university and the pressures of going. I have done no research and have no figures or anything this is just based on my experience and what I have witnessed.

When I started university in 2005 fees were lower than they are now. I think a lot of people now are put off by this but you can still get a loan to cover this. I think though it has made people think is it really for them? Is it worth getting into that much debt just to go to university on a whim or just to study something they are interested in but have no idea where it would lead them after?

I studied history because it was my favourite subject and it had always been in my family. We used to be involved in medieval re-enactment when I was a child and always visited castles as part of our holidays. I didn't know what I would do with this after university, but you get three years to work this out don't you? Well I knew by my third year I was going to fulfill my ambition to spend a year in Australia after university so I didn't spend time researching graduate jobs or any other options. I'd figure it out in Oz wouldn't I? I'd be seeing new places, new people and doing all different jobs. It would just come to me what my path was in life.

Yeah right.

Nothing 'came' to me. I have spent the few years since I came back doing various different work. Yes some has enabled me to travel but at the end of the day I graduated six years and I am still working a minimum wage job with no direction of where I am heading.

The point of that story is that university it not the be all and end all. It doesn't guarantee you a well paid position like it perhaps might have 15, 20 years ago. Experience counts for A LOT more nowadays. I have a friend who didn't go to university. She is at the same job she started at 18 and now earns a decent wage enabling her to buy her own house. There are so many apprenticeships at the moment and although these are low-paid I don't believe you would be be any worse off financially than going to university.

I'm not saying either option is the right one. Some people just know what they want to be in life and going to university enables them to fulfill that dream. Some like me go just because they enjoy the subject and some don't go at all. If you don't plan on going, you don't get in or you end up dropping out it might work out for the best. You may have your parents on your back asking why and what is your plan though, so do a bit of research and at least give your parents something to stop them worrying for your future.

You can always go in the future when you have grown up a little and are more ready and know what you want to do. Although sometimes this may be more difficult as you will likely have other commitments such as your partner, your house and your children. It is still do-able though and you will be more dedicated and motivated that you would be had you gone at 18. (Or was that just me?)

This is an all over the place post opinion wise I understand but I just want to get it out there that university isn't the only option and I think at least some graduates would question whether it was the right thing to do. I don't regret going to university, I think I just regret being so relaxed about my direction in the years since. It has come to the point where I realise the penny just isn't going to drop and my career path open out in front of me. I've got to choose the most suitable and do something about it.

I hope I haven't put a dampener on anyone going away to university this September. University can be the best times of your life and is a practice for living in the real world. Make the most of it but remember: it isn't the be all and end all.
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