University: Don’t Rush.

A bit of sound advice for those waiting on University Acceptance Letters.

There is a certain narrative that young people are sold these days: University is the only path to success.

We’re told that if we want to make a difference, we need to pack our bags and join the never-ending queue of people rushing to University straight after High School.

But I’m here to tell you that attending University is not the only way to succeed, and it certainly isn’t the only way to make a difference.

Opened Notebook With Three Assorted-color Pens

Please don’t get me wrong here – I am a firm believer in education. Without an educated society, we give in to ignorance.

But what I am saying is:

If you don’t know exactly what you want to do when you finish High School – University won’t magically enlighten you.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of rushing off to university with everyone else.

We’ve all heard the same old lines, over and over again:

‘University is the only way to make good money.’

‘No one will hire you without a degree these days.’

‘You’ll be stuck in this town forever if you don’t go to University.’

The trouble is, entering a degree straight from High-School is oftentimes not what we should be doing. We risk being put in a box, becoming disillusioned and regret going to University at all.

I’m not saying everyone will have this issue – some people know exactly what they want to do for a career and enter University with confidence that they know where their future is headed – and that’s absolutely fine!

Question Mark Illustration

But when I was in High-School, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I was told by my teachers to fill out a University Application like everyone else, and put some preferences down.

I chose Nutrition, Art, Law and Psychology as my preferences.

My choices were based on what I thought everyone else would want me to do, because I was young, impressionable and everyone expected me to go to University. I really had no concept of how big of a decision a degree was.

I was a bright student, and got accepted into Law School a couple of months later.

But I had never studied anything to do with Law before, and had chosen the topic because I thought it would be ‘cool’ and that my Dad would be ‘proud’.

I didn’t choose Law because I had a career in mind.

I struggled my way through three years of Law School, because I didn’t want to let my friends and family down. I felt guilty for going off to University and not liking what I was studying.

I had poor grades, I hated my degree and had realized my passion lay elsewhere – I wanted to help vulnerable children and young people.

It wasn’t until 3rd year that I had realised I hated Law School and had never wanted to be a lawyer – I was just caught up in the hype of going to University.

It was this sudden realization that made me switch into Psychology instead.

I enjoyed my Psychology studies, but I was already three years into University, and was becoming more and more depressed and regretful – I had wasted 3 years of my life studying something I never truly cared about.

I kept thinking: ‘If I had done Psychology to begin with, I would have graduated by now…’

This mindset led to me becoming miserable and resentful of going to University at all – plus by this stage in my life, I was in my 20’s, had bills, a job and plenty of personal issues that distracted me from studying.

Boy in Brown Hoodie Carrying Red Backpack While Walking on Dirt Road Near Tall Trees

I ended up dropping my studies.

I contacted my University a year later and asked if there was anything I could do, or any qualification that I could attain from the University, considering how long I had studied for.

The University offered me an Associate Degree for the amount of topics I studied – basically the equivalent of an Advanced Diploma (which would have only taken me 2 years at TAFE).

I graduated in 2017 with an Associate Degree (I began University study in 2011). I didn’t attend graduation because I was ashamed and felt I had failed myself and my family. I then spent 5 years in different industries, gaining valuable life experience, before I ever even used my Associate’s Degree for anything. To me, it was just a bit of paper that reminded me I could have been much more successful than I currently was.

Luckily, an opportunity arose, and the Associate Degree was enough for me to obtain work in the field I have now realized I have a passion for: Youth Support Work.

Flat Lay Photography of Notebook, Pen, and Drafting Compass

I have now been working as a Youth Support Worker for over 6 months, and enjoy every moment of it.

I work with vulnerable young people who are wards of the State and have a relationship with a range of people from different organisations and the Department of Child Protection.

It is only now, 9 years later, that I have finally decided that if I go back to University, it will be to do Social Work – something I am passionate about.

For a long time, I felt I had achieved nothing but accumulate a large student-loan debt and a waste a lot of years studying something I didn’t even care about.

And although my journey was long, twisted and had lots of bumps, I finally found something I would be willing to go back to study for, and for that I am grateful. I have long-since let go of my resentment.

But more importantly, what I wish for everyone getting their High-School grades soon and receiving their University offers is this:

Don’t rush. Take time to know who you are and what you want to do before you jump straight into a degree.

And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for doing it.

Quote Of The Day 25/11/2019

MONDAY, 25/11/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/458311699569439668/

‘The highest form of knowledge is empathy.’

– Bill Bullard

Book Review: Boy Swallows Universe.

A review of: Boy Swallows Universe – By Trent Dalton.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37558445-boy-swallows-universe

TITLE:

Boy Swallows Universe

AUTHOR:

Trent Dalton

PUBLISHED:

2018

PAGES:

464

GET IT HERE:

amazon.com.au

Overview:

‘Boy Swallows Universe’ is a raw, coming-of-age debut novel by Australian journalist, Trent Dalton. The novel follows the main character, Eli Bell, as he grapples with finding ‘the answers to the questions’.

It’s 1985 in the suburb of Darra, Queensland, just south of Brisbane. Eli is 13 and juggling his junkie mum, a brother who doesn’t speak, a heroin dealer for a step-dad and a notorious criminal for a babysitter – and he has a lot of questions. Like whether or not ‘Slim’ Halliday, his notorious babysitter, really killed that taxi driver in 1952. Or whether his older brother, August, will ever speak, instead of writing cryptic sentences in the sky with his forefinger:

‘Your end is a dead blue wren.’

And Eli’s questions only get bigger and more complicated as time goes by. And as his questions get bigger, so do his problems.

Eli will have to come face to face with a psychopathic drug dealer and his cronies, meet the girl of his dreams, break into the Boggo Road Gaol to rescue his mum and meet the Dad he doesn’t even remember, all in search of ‘the answers to the questions’.

My Thoughts:

The only regret I have about this book is that I didn’t read it sooner. If truth be told, I picked it up more than once in the store, and, after reading it was an Australian novel, put it back on the shelf in favour of something more gritty.

But ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ was eventually in my hands, and before I knew it, I couldn’t put it down. The detail with which this novel was written is a colossal success. I have never read anything like it – and probably won’t for quite some time.

‘Boy Swallows Universe’ sent shivers down my spine, put tears in my eyes and made me look back on the raw truth of my own childhood – filled with drugs and thugs and alcoholics for family members. And although from the outset, we know Eli Bell has it tough, his story is one of finding himself, finding love and finding meaning in the mess.

This novel certainly sets the bar high for future Australian novelists, and has restored my faith in story-telling. ‘Boy Swallows Universe’ is a true masterpiece – a stroke of genius – and a testament to the author, Trent Dalton.

If you do anything before 2019 ends, read this book.

My Rating: 5/5

If you enjoyed this, check out more below, at:

Editor’s Note: NOVEMBER.

Christmas is HOW FAR away?!

Excuse me, but where has 2019 gone?!

It feels like only yesterday we were welcoming in 2019 with fireworks in the sky and drinks in our hands… And now we have to start thinking about putting the Christmas tree back up!

They say time flies when you’re having fun… but I think time just flies in general these days – even the days I spend in bed depression-napping seem to be over so quick I can barely remember when I had a shower last.

It’s always this time of year that I start to get both anxious, but also more relaxed.

Yes I know that doesn’t make sense. On the one hand, there are bills to think about, the cost of holiday-time (presents, parties and putting up with undesirable family reunions). And on the other hand, November always promises nice weather (in Australia at least), beers by the beach and longer days, with prettier sunsets.

Green Christmas Tree With String Lights
Photo Of Pineapple Wearing Black Aviator Style Sunglasses And Party Hat

‘Tis The Season…

This year, I’ve decided to cut back on all the novelty crap that comes along with the Christmas Season.

Yes, I’ll still put a Christmas tree up. Yes, I’ll probably dress my sausage dogs in Elf outfits. And yes, I probably will still gain 5 kilograms on Christmas Day from binge eating prawns, cherries, ham and chocolate coins from my siblings’ stockings.

But what I won’t be doing is bothering with the things that don’t contribute to my mental health or happiness.

I’m talking about things like putting up with toxic family members. Or buying unnecessary plastic crap to fill stockings and make the pile under my Christmas tree look bigger or better than someone else’s.

Or wasting money on presents that get opened and forgotten about the same day.

I’ve decided to make a small list of things I want to make happen this Christmas, to truly get back to what Christmas used to mean to me:

  • Don’t Blow The Budget
  • Stop Competing With The Jones’
  • Be Environmentally Aware
  • Appreciate Moments

1. Don’t Blow The Budget…

There have been so many past years where I have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on presents for people.

What I have noticed over the past few years though, is that the list of people never gets shorter, only bigger.

And people’s expectations never get lower, only higher.

Two Gray-and-green Christmas-themed Gift Boxes

So this year, as I start planning my list of people who I want to gift a present to, I’ve decided to:

  • Make some of the presents myself;
  • Cull the list – some people could probably just get a well-written card, and;
  • Stick to my list – no ‘extra’ presents

Maybe that seems a little ‘un-Christmas-y’ to some, but for those who know me, know that I always go out of my way to make everyone’s Christmas amazing. I spend extra on presents. I fill stockings that I bought for siblings I shouldn’t have to look after (but obviously do). I do the whole song and dance.

But the last few years of doing this has left me with a feeling of being unfulfilled, broke and just downright exhausted.

Woman Taking Photo Of Christmas Tree

2. Stop Competing With The Jones’…

Just because someone has it ‘better’ than you doesn’t mean what you have isn’t perfect as it is.

In this age of social-media and instant gratification, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of Christmas time.

We don’t need new decorations every year. We don’t need to tell everyone how much we’ve spent on each child or loved one. We don’t need to compete with anyone, in actuality.

Christmas is a time of love, understanding, peace and coming together with people we care about.

Who the hell cares if Sally down the road bought her daughter an iPhone? Who cares if the neighbour up the street has ‘outdone themselves’ this year with the decorations.

I certainly don’t anymore. I just appreciate the fact I have people I can share my life with.

Sometimes we need to remember that there are so many people worse-off than us. People who don’t have family to spend Christmas with. Single mothers who can’t afford to buy their kids the latest gadgets. We need to appreciate what we have.

3. Be Environmentally Aware…

As the future looms ever closer, my household is more aware than ever of the Climate Crisis on hand.

So this year, we’re planning on reducing, reusing and recycling where we can.

That means things like: using paper wrapping. Not buying cracker that contain little plastic toys. Composting leftovers. Gifting things that help the environment, such as plants, eco-friendly bath-bombs, and not buying plastic and tinsel decorations where we can.

There are so many ways to help the environment – but sometimes it takes a conscious choice.

Photo of Landfill
Round Gold-colored Analog Watch With Pink Strap

4. Appreciate Moments…

That’s what Christmas is all about, right? Spending time with loved ones? Catching up. Taking a break.

The other day, I drove my sister (who I look after) to IKEA to buy a new mirror and clothes rack, because we had moved house. Then I spent a good chunk of time sitting on her bedroom floor helping her build them. I love helping her. I love her. And I love building IKEA furniture.

But after we’d put it all together, and helped her hang her clothes, she did something that I loved so much, that I went away and cried (don’t tell her that though).

She came up to me, gave me a hug, and said: ‘Thank-you, I couldn’t have done this without your help.’

And maybe I’m a cry-baby, but that moment was so amazing. It was so nice to be appreciated for a small gesture. And that’s what I want my Christmas this year to be all about.

The small things. The moments that make you tear up a little. The warm, fuzzy feelings that make Christmas feel like you’re 7 again, when you woke up in the morning and Santa drank the beer you left out for him and his reindeer left a half-eaten carrot on the dining room table.

I’m sure I will talk to lots of you beforehand, but I hope you guys have a wonderful November in the lead up to Christmas! And for my American friends, I hope you enjoy Thanksgiving and get to spend time with your loved ones – because that’s what this time of year is all about.

Until next time! x

Quote Of The Day 02/11/2019

SATURDAY, 02/11/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/291256300875119945/

‘You don’t have to make something that people call art. Living is an artistic activity, there is an art to getting through the day.’

– Viggo Mortensen

Quote Of The Day 30/10/2019

WEDNESDAY, 30/10/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/543950461243738963/

‘Youth is a gift of nature but age is a work of art.’

– Stanislav Lee

Quote Of The Day 03/10/2019

THURSDAY, 03/10/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/320670435967109149/

‘No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.’

– Greg Kincaid

Quote Of The Day 15/09/2019

SUNDAY, 15/09/2019:

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/502925483387229579/

‘The most dangerous irony is, people are angry with others because of their own incompetence.’

– Amit Kalantri

Hopeless Musing #28

Losing Time.

 

Source: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/AZwGHxmE2jAmJGxLwOBJXMSK-xHpcQKODrC-uas5_i3CVUTpaAPoUyU/

LOSING TIME.

One minute I’m here, the next minute I’m there. Except from this minute to the next, has thirty more in between that I can’t recall.

I lose time from time to time, when I don’t think I do at all. Sometimes it’s minutes, other times it’s months. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I do not.

Depending who I am, depends on where I am. Depending on who appears, depends on what I know. Depending on who comes out to play, depends on how I act.

I never used to think about it, until I had to think about it. When I realized the different ‘parts’ of me know different parts of me. 

Top Talks (#5): 10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week five of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

So…

WHO IS ADMIRAL WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN?

McRaven is a retired Navy SEAL for the United States. Among his long list of accolades, he has served as Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Commander of Special Operations Europe (SOCEUR), and Director of NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC).

McRaven also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and is openly critical of the Trump Administration (for those who care).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._McRaven

10 Life Lessons from Basic SEAL Training – Admiral William H. McRaven

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This ‘Top Talk’ is not necessarily new – McRaven gave this speech in his 2014 Commencement Address to the students of the University of Texas (which is when I first heard it). However, it has always stuck with me as I’ve made my way through my University and young adult life. McRaven gives his 10 Life Lessons from his SEAL training:

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses
  6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first
  7. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks
  8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment
  9. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud
  10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell (to quit)

Although all of them are worth their weight in gold, I always liked number one and three the best:

Photography of Bedroom

MAKE YOUR BED EVERY MORNING

This particular life lesson is especially notable (McRaven even published a book based around it). The idea is:

‘If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.’

Your brain releases a hit of dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness) every time you complete a task, meaning you will feel good and want to complete the next one.

By the end of the day, that one task head lead to many others, big and small.

Making your bed each morning is a reminder that the small things matter and are always worth doing. McRaven also reminds us that if we do have a crappy day, at least we will come home to a nicely made bed!

MEASURE A PERSON BY THE SIZE OF THEIR HEART, NOT BY THE SIZE OF THEIR FLIPPERS(!)

… or the size of anything else, for that matter – be it bank account, friend group or other.

McRaven speaks about the ‘Munchkin Crew’ – a crew of SEALS that were all under five-foot-five; but the best crew of the lot.

The other crews would lightheartedly make fun of the ‘Munchkins’, because their flippers were a smaller size than the rest. But no matter what, the Munchkins always made it to shore faster than all the other crews.

McRaven said SEAL training was a great equalizer:

‘Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.’

Pair of Black Flippers

McRaven’s main message throughout his speech is one of empowerment, and of the profound impact one person can have on the world and on others. One decision can have an incredible impact on those around us – meaning it is vitally important we make decisions that are embedded in integrity, compassion and strength. We need to band together, rather than let our differences keep us apart and be strong even when it seems we should give up.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

ADMIRAL WILLIAM H. MCRAVEN