Lessons

My first day back at uni and I’ve spent all day researching and writing. Enough focus and concentration I forgot to eat, I didn’t wash up like I told myself I would, and it only required a single cup of caffeine. Funnily enough, we weren’t really given any work today, besides watching a news bulletin. After 6 weeks off for Christmas, I have to admit I was a little nervous about going into my second semester, of my second year. Half way through one of the biggest commitments of my life. Right in the centre of my most transformational decisions. Intimidating and kind of over whelming in the most exciting way.

Now it’s late and my eyes are blurring enough that the words I don’t recognise are starting to look more like hieroglyphics than any category of linguistics, I figured it was time to move on from research, but my brain hasn’t quite turned off. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in the last semester and while I feel reflective, I’m also feeling proactive and ready to plan for everything that’s coming for me. In the spirit of taking charge and looking forward, I wanted to take a minute to put down on paper some of the things I’ve learnt lately.

Working at home can be isolating.

No one tells you that shit. Or talks about it at all really. They talk about how you have to be motivated and ambitious and organised, so when I got my current job then it seemed like something that would suit me perfectly. The problem is, I’m an extrovert through and through and I struggle to find inspiration when it’s just me and my mind. The words just don’t flow. I’m getting better with making sure I leave the house even when I have no reason to and I don’t rely on having the same conversations with the same people on my phone day in, day out. Other than that, I have no answers yet, but I know there will be a way for me to get out of the slumps somehow.

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

I have a bad habit of not starting things, then starting them and never feeling like they’re done. If I put a draft down for more than about 0.06 seconds then I never pick it up again for fear of accidentally rewriting every word. Sometimes I need to accept that maybe 90% is good enough. On a bad day, maybe 10% is good enough. That doesn’t mean I’m not capable, it just means I am human and have more in my life than just the work (I absolutely need to get the fuck on with). In the same breath, taking risks is everything. Giving something a go is more important than getting it perfect and I’ve learnt that there are people that will appreciate my work, at every level.

Everyone has a story.

Studying journalism really gets you to see people in a different way. Hold up, I’m aware that could sound exploitative but bare with me. I’ve clearly always been interested in people and how they think, but studying journalism has brought a new insight into the way I interact with them. Not everything, or everyone, can be pathologised, sometimes all they need is a voice. No answers, just words.

Read. Everything.

Read the news and features and fiction. Find facts and opinions and have one of your own. I dredged through most of the readings for last semester. Then the break happened and I went away by myself for a few days and read for fun for the first time in 6 months. Okay, sure, most of what I enjoy reading is research and non-fiction, but the intention was there. It brought me back to understanding why I write in the first place. Keeping informed and getting the real story is important. Small talk has it’s place too, but when was the last time you wrote something for the world to see without really thinking it through? Besides tragic Facebook status’, words in writing mean something consequential and are worth consuming. Words are the key to connecting and without them we are lonely souls in a silent hell filled with nonsensical, ill thought out nothingness.

Now is the time for ambition.

I’ve defended all the times I gave up, or quit or just fucking slept instead of thinking big and I don’t regret a single decision. I’ve had my lie ins, I gave myself time, and even though I have my moments of weakness, I know that I’m stronger for all of it. I’ve built my foundation, now is the time for my skyscraper.

The sky’s too limiting for what I’ve got ahead of me.

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