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I have been blogging for less than a year now and so I would still say I’m relatively new to this community. Of course, I have been following other people’s blogs for a while and you get familiar with the common blog post ideas. One post I have read countless times is the ’30 things I hope to do before I’m 30′ post which I love! I think this is possibly because i’m extremely nosy! I find it incredibly fascinating that so many people want different things by the time they’re 30.  So, I decided to give it a go, here is 30 things I hope to do before I’m 30…

  1. Skydive for charity
  2. Bungee jump
  3. Working holiday visa Australia
  4. Write my own novel
  5. Rescue a dog
  6. Take my mum on holiday to wherever she likes
  7. Learn to ski
  8. Learn to surf
  9. Go back to Camp!
  10. Start my own business
  11. Graduate!
  12. Volunteer abroad
  13. Learn to drive
  14. Finally stick to a gym membership
  15. Complete a charity run
  16. Climb to the top of the O2
  17. Inter-rail round Europe
  18. Host Christmas one year
  19. Start a YouTube channel
  20. Be an Extra in a film
  21. Attend a baby shower
  22. Monetise my blog
  23. Learn to code
  24. Write a play and have it produced
  25. Begin to learn Spanish
  26. Be my own Boss!
  27. Own a property
  28. Scuba dive
  29. Write a collection of short stories
  30. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the West End!

Comment below some things you would love to do in future years! 

To any of you who have worked in retail before, you will probably have a good indication as to the purpose of this post. Why? Because we have all been there. Listening to the manager explain to the customer what you said five minutes previously. Reorganising a shelf after already tidying it twelve hundred times that day. Last but not least, having to hide the frustration and resentment you have towards a difficult customer with a smile. It can be hell on earth but here I am explaining why everyone should work in retail at least once in their life…

It gives you thick skin…

I got my first retail job when I was 16 years old. I work at Colchester Zoo, to anyone who has heard of it. And no, I didn’t do anything interested like feeding the Meerkats, I merely worked in a gift shop. It was slightly different to the average retail job, meaning that you would often get to wander round the zoo with a giant handful of balloons or dress up like Jigsaw at halloween. I enjoyed the unique aspect to this job. However what I didn’t enjoy was something which all retail employees get to experience – being yelled at!

I had my fair share of nightmare customers come my way. One in fact decided to call me a bitch in front of his children because the monkey enclosure was closed for refurbishment. I mean, did I – at 16 years old – look like I had any authority in the overall running of the zoo? No, I did not. Did I have any control over the fact that this man stupidly didn’t check the website for updates on the runnings of the zoo. Absolutely not. Did I deserve to be scream at like a naughty child, NOOOO!

Working in retail you learn to develop a thick skin. You can’t let customers get to you even if you have been working ten hour shifts and really don’t care to actually ‘check the back’ when they ask. I mean, we’ve all walked to the cupboard stood for a few minutes only to regain some strength and then returned to the customer apologising for the lack of stock. Anyway, the point being is you learn to handle rude people and not let it get to you. This is one of the reasons why I truly believe everyone should work in retail at least once in their life. You’ll soon realise that you no longer get treated as an individual and adapt.

Your levels of patience will be tested!

When you work in the same shop for however many shifts, your patience will get tested. It will be the same routine and you will be repeating yourself to every customer that walks into the shop. You begin to get a routine in your head of what you said to each customer. For me I used to get so tired by the end of the shift I would end up not making sense and getting my words muddled. For example, instead of saying ‘hi, can I help?’ to a new customer I mixed it up with ‘enjoy the rest of your day’. They were beyond confused.

Ultimately, working in retail can result in you becoming more patient. There will be customers that will need something explained to them a million times and you just have to bear with them. Especially when they’re not rude, you’ll be eternally grateful and happy to spend a little extra time helping them out. You will also find customers that are beyond lovely and will ask about your day, rather than just complaining about the price of something. These people honestly lift your day up and get you ready for the next demon customer you have to face.

You meet the best of people

When you work in retail, especially in a big store, you get to meet a wide range of people. Some of who you’ll remain close to for long after you leave. You bond over the simplest things. One Boxing Day I worked and we had the privilege to sit down all day counting stock rather than having to deal with people – we literally just locked ourselves in a cupboard all day and opened up a puzzle we sold. It’s the little things that make you happy.

You also gossip about all the eventful things that happen at work. One summer Ed Sheeran paid a visit to the zoo with his family and it was so exciting. When he came into store, we all laughed at our managers who were bothering him more than the customers.

You grow a new respect for employees wherever you are…

To sum up, why everyone should work in retail at least once in their life is so that they grow a new respect for employees wherever they shop/eat at. Since I started working in retail I will never put something back in the wrong place, because I know how frustrating it can be to the employer. I have also grown to always be polite to the employee and never treat them as if they are not an individual. Sometimes big companies don’t pass down information to the lower-level employers so it is just unreasonable to be rude or belittling because they do not know something.

What I hate most in the world is watching a customer be incredibly rude to an employee and the staff member not knowing what to do. As much as we would like to put you in your place, we are always told to polite to customers I just wished it worked the same way!

 

Anyway, there are my reasons as to why everyone should work in retail at least once in their life. I would love to think that this post has inspired you to apply for a new job, but lets face it, it probably hasn’t. Working in retail sucks but at least I have done it and can take lessons learned onto my next occupations.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Comment below your worst experiences working in retail or the worse things you have seen whilst shopping!

 

As I approach the end of university, I am surprised as to how I have managed to see the final days of my degree. For some people university is the best years of their life, but for others it can be soul-destroying. I sit firmly in between the two. So, I thought I’d give my top advice on how to survive university. Some of my advice may sound like the most obvious thing you’ve read today, but believe me, when you’re thousands of words behind on an assignment it can be easy to loose sight of the simple ideas.

Gain Perspective

My first piece of advice, to anyone who is wondering how anyone ever survived this nightmare of a degree before you, is to gain perspective. If you fail your degree, get a third, or drop out – you will still have air in your lungs and a life to be lived. I know university can be stressful and everyone wants to do well, however I find that having the perspective that you don’t have to have a degree makes it suddenly less stressful. It’s easy for me to say I guess, I was the first person out of family to attend university and so I’ve never had any academic pressure from my family. But, I do know that if you do have a family that expect you to get a first, there can be a lot of pressure put on you. Just remember that it’s your life – not theirs and being proud of yourself is the only thing that matters anyway.

Most of the time, when I’ve done bad on an assignment, I can almost always put it down to overthinking and stressing before the deadline. This just proves that stressing about something is pretty pointless. I read a quote the other day and it said that if you stress about something you essentially go through it twice. This enlightened me and from now on, I’m going to try and live by this. Although I always find it difficult to follow my own advice.

Get involved

I’m a strong believer that you only get one life and so there is absolutely no point in sitting around doing nothing. Yes, university is hard work. But – if we’re being honest at times it’s not that time consuming and so you can get up and do something productive. Volunteering? Part-time job? Gym? A benefit to all of this is that it will make you stand out on your C.V. after university. There are plenty of people who have a degree, but even less who have a degree and ran a society, for example.

In my experience, I also find that having a job has helped me with my studies. Before, I would procrastinate so much because I was worried about the assignment. Now, I have no time to procrastinate and it just makes me get on with it. I’m also earning money too, which is never a bad thing.

Just do it and worry later

If you’re like me, and you’re a complete stress head who will defend their procrastinating until the day they die, you may struggle the most with starting the essay you’ve been dreading. Once I have a flow of words going on a page I tend to just get on with it, however I always worry that It will not be perfect and so I delay starting the work. Sound like you? The biggest thing I’ve learnt is to just get anything onto the page – even if it’s just a few words. You can always come back to editing it later!

Another thing to remember is that just because you are a poor university student, it doesn’t mean you should put a pause on your personal life. If there’s a big party coming up and you’re worried about getting your work done, just go to the party and worry later. Chances are you would only be procrastinating doing the work anyway. Honestly, when you’re old and you’re looking back on your life I think you’d much prefer having memories than a first class degree.

Anyway, that’s just my advice. I’ve never been the perfect student and so I’ve always struggled. Now, I just do what I can to get by and thats all what matters to me now – seeing the end of it. But if you are struggling with university and it’s all getting a bit too much or you, please contact someone. I did, and it did me the world of good. Contact your university counselling service, your academic advisor or (if you’re in the U.K.) contact the Samaritans. From my own experience, they are brilliant at making me feel a lot better in myself!

 

 

Despite what society screams at you, you do not need to attend university to become successful in life. If you’re like me, a student who is in doubt about whether University is for her, you can still drop out and… EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY! Of course, before you drop out, you should plan what you want to do when you sign your degree away. Perhaps the reason I haven’t dropped out yet is because I am indecisive about what I wish to do with a degree or without a degree. If I could be paid 40k to lounge on a tropical island, where my only care in the world would be which cocktail to drink at dinner that would be fabulous.

During first year, although I didn’t realise it at the time, I knew there was other stuff I would rather be doing with my younger years than binge-watching a Netflix series whilst my shared kitchen slowly became a home for disease and mice. The only difference between 1st year and 2nd year was that my mental health became a lot worse and that’s when I came to the realisation that academia is not worth risking your health over.

Luckily for me, I was prescribed anti-depressants for my anxiety; have had amazing support from my boyfriend and I am now less stressed about getting a degree than last exam season. It is because of this reassurance that academia is not the only thing that matters in life, I’ve found that I’ve been working better with keeping up with my uni work; it was the stress and the panicking before that wasted my energy and concentration.

Below is some advice about deciding whether or not University is for you which I’ve learnt from two years of not feeling fulfilled from University and two years of absolutely hating A levels.

(PS. If you’re more interested in my advice on how to take care of your mental health whilst studying at university then check out my post on Taking care of your mental health whilst at University)

Careers

Okay, I am going to sound slightly like a careers adviser here, but, does the degree, or doing a degree full-stop, benefit you in your career aims? Years ago, a degree was something that few people got, but now, so many more people are going to University and plenty of people find themselves unemployed for longer than 6 months after they graduate; I have spoken to many Uber drivers who had degrees in a wide range of subjects, and when graduating just could not find a job in the area they were after. Of course this shouldn’t be the only reason to base your decision on attending uni upon, in fact, a lot of graduate jobs start on high salaries and if your CV is great and you have that element of luck associated with employment then you could be one of those fortunate souls.

However, there are different routes into many careers which do not require a degree. Sometimes it can be easier to start in a lower paid job and work your way up. This can be extremely beneficial because by the time the graduates finish their degrees and are looking for work, they will be up against you who will have 3/4 years work experience in the industry you’ve applied for. However, please bear in mind the obvious… some careers require a specific degree, for example, if you wish to be a brain surgeon, I expect you must know that a degree in medicine is essential.

Location

One of the main reasons I came to  university was to move out and become independent.   I chose to study in  Manchester for two reasons: to live in a city, because there are a lot more opportunities for me than in my home town; and I wanted to live far enough away from home that the distance would prevent my home-sickness from taking me home every weekend. When I applied, I didn’t know what a Russel-group university was. I looked at where I wanted  to live and I assumed that high entry requirements equalled a good University. In terms of choosing the right course, I would advise  choosing the course > the location, because after all, you are paying for the course and need to be able to put that first. If you can’t enjoy your course, how do you expect to enjoy University?

University?

I attend a Russel-group university and that doesn’t make me feel any more intelligent than someone who does not attend a Russel-group university. In-fact, I didn’t even know what a Russel-group university was until I arrived at one and some pretentious students were mocking a near-by university for not being one.  After studying in a ‘prestigious’ university for two years, I’ve came to the conclusion that I wish I were on a more practical course; I study Drama and envy my friend who is studying television production. If you take one thing from this article, take this piece of advice… do not just look at a university league table and then aim to attend the one at the top. It is not always the one most ideal for you, this is especially true for the students who do not wish to continue their academic career into postgraduate education.

 

Money

One thing you will be warned about when you come to university is… you will have no money! Even if you receive the highest of loans, one thing I’ve learned in life is that unexpected finance issues pop up and you may not be ready for them. My advice here would be to SAVE YOUR PENNYS before you arrive at University. Keep that money in a separate account until you really need it. To those who have their parents to get them out of sticky situations this still applies to you. What harm could having extra money really do? Do you want to have to turn down nights outs because you weren’t prepared, no? Then follow this advice and SAVE YOUR PENNYS! As my grandma always says, “look after your pennies and your pounds will take care of themselves!”

DISCLOSURE: The most annoying expense you will have when living in University accommodation is the outrageous amount those circuit washing machines charge! You’ll be paying around £5 a wash and dry!

Enjoyment

From what I’ve learned in my lifetime is that doing stuff you do not enjoy is just not worth it. If you know you hate academia then is investing more time and energy into something you don’t enjoy worth it? The only thing keeping me through this experience is I do enjoy what I am learning about. My issue is I suffer from anxiety. The stress I get from bad grades makes me feel like its not worth putting my mental health in harms way. I am currently still trying to figure out what’s best for me. No matter what I hear from anyone, I have to figure out what works in my best interest and if you’re struggling to make your mind up like me, know that you can listen to people’s advice and turn it away. Only you know what’s best for you!