It’s hardly within my capabilities to deny that my blog posts have, in the last four months, become inconsistent, rare and altogether isolated from one another. It upsets me, to a point: not excessively, in all honesty, and clearly not enough to make me do anything about it. But I wish it wasn’t so — of course I do. I guess life changes.
I’ve been living at college for almost three months now. It’s difficult to believe it’s been that long already: it simultaneously feels as if I’ve been here forever, and that I moved in just a matter of days ago. I love it though — there’s no doubt about that, even if some days are significantly better and easier than others.
Even in such a short space of time, college has taught me so much more than just academics and languages, although of course that’s all important stuff too. I was reflecting upon it this week, whilst I sat in a hospital bed (long story short, I managed to have a severe moment of dizziness, fell and was caught by my friend, and then experienced the most excruciatingly painful headaches of my life), and decided that I wanted to write about some of the things college has taught or showed me.
It’s OK to be Good at Things
Whether it’s a result of the society we live in, or some other factor incorperated into our upbringing, it’s fairly common for people to find it difficult to talk about what they’re good at. Ask me to list my weaknesses, and I’ll go on all day, not because I want the attention and ego-boosts that can accompany self-criticism, but because I am genuinely best at listing my flaws, however minor, however unresolvable. Standing up for myself, as it were, and claiming to be ‘good’ at something is a skill which I have simply never possessed: I really struggle to blow my own trumpet (c’mon, that has to be a warped innuendo which, somehow, has made it into everyday English language).
But, slowly, I’m learning. I’m learning that it is OK to be good at things, and OK to know that. Sure, there’s a fine line between self-awareness and arrogance, and crossing that line changes the situation entirely, but being self-aware enough to acknowledge and even celebrate your strengths is just as important as — if not more important than — recognising your weaknesses. I’m coming to embrace this idea, and to slowly — very slowly — recognise my strengths, and the things at which I excel.
Take Every Opportunity Going
Since being at college, I’ve involved myself with so much, both within the curriculum, and extracurricularly too. At first, I was nervous: I didn’t want to put my name down for things, because what if it looked pretentious, or what if I messed up when someone else could have succeeded, or done so much better than I ever could?
But, in time, I stopped worrying. There are so many fantastic opportunities at college, reserved for those who go forward to grab them. It’s terrifying — believe me, I know. It gets easier, once you realise the benefits of taking part in as much as possible, reaching for those chances becomes part of the process. My confidence has grown dramatically, I’m chair of our Student Representative group at college, playing Goalball — a visually impaired sport — for college, actively participating in committees and groups around college, and embracing an extremely full-on, but wonderfully rewarding social life. Sometimes it’s hard to say yes, at first, but once you learn how, the results are more than enough to spur you on.
Hey, People Actually Like you
As many of you will know, I find it very difficult to grasp the concept that people might actually, um, like me, and see me as a friend? I’m so quick to self-criticise, judge and distance myself from people who just seem way too cool for someone like me, that I often forget that actually, maybe I’m not that weird after all. Sometimes. Maybe.
As I briefly mentioned in the introduction to this post, I had a short stint in hospital this week. All is fine, if a little unclear, but the most heartwarming thing was the amount of people who texted, called, or even left comments on my social media, asking me if I was OK, telling me that they were worried. Of course, I don’t wish for anyone to worry about me specifically: I don’t want attention or for people to feel worse, one way or another, for me. But to know that people care enough to want to see how I am, and in some cases to visit or call, is more than I ever imagined. Sometimes, I guess it’s hard to see that people honestly care and want to help, because we’re so wrapped up in working out what people hate most about us. But trust me when I say that more people than you know care, and want to stick by you.
Sometimes, You Just Need Chocolate
I have been wrongfully skeptical of those who believe chocolate to be a cure for anything.
Sad? Have some chocolate.
Tired? Have some chocolate.
Broken leg? Chocolate it is.
But, in reality, I’m beginning to learn that chocolate might not be as fictional a cure as I first thought it was. There have been days — long days, usually — that have maybe been a little bit worse than average. And, on those days, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more comforting than a piece of chocolate, or, better still, a cup of Cadbury’s hot chocolate (I know, really splashing out now…)
Top tip from Kel: if you’ve got a long day coming up, and you know it’s just a chocolate kinda day, put some dark chocolate sprinkles on your morning coffee (everyone drinks coffee, right?). Nothing beats it. ever.
So, there you have it: what I’ve learnt in my first three months at college. Have you found these to be true too? Anything I’ve missed? Do let me know — I hope you’re all well!