Lessons learned during my time at college

 

At 18 most of my friends are off to University. They’ve done the mandatory two years of education after secondary school and are starting a new chapter of their life. For me though, this wasn’t the case. After studying BTEC Applied science/ forensic science for two years and leaving the course with an Extended Diploma at D*D*D*, I was more than capable of heading off to Uni. However, I decided against this and stayed on at my college.  Now on my third year of college I am studying business.

As I have a free between my lessons and assignments starting to flow in, I thought it best to procrastinate and share with you all some of my best lessons and must haves for college, because procrastinating is fun!

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STATIONARY

It’s a well-known fact that I have a slight obsession with stationary and notebooks. I love them!

Something that I can almost guarantee is that there will be two types of people in your class.

One type will have the bare minimum of stationary, they will have a simple refill pack of lined paper and might spend most the time scrounging a pen to use of someone. This is fine if this suits your learning style, some people don’t need a mass of colored pens, rubbers, and notebooks to get through their time at college and that’s cool. You learn in what ever method suits you. The second type though, is the category  I live in. We love stationary. Our favorite thing about education is going stationary shopping and we will probably get too much (though I personally think you can never have enough stationary!).

For me colored pens, a bullet journal and a good notebook are essentials. I would recommend a laptop for ease when researching things, but you don’t need one as your college will have a library with computers that you can use, so don’t worry about that.

My favorite thing in my pencil-case are my Staedtler ball 432 pens. They write in medium size and come in a range of colors, I have ten of them. The pens are a nice shape and write well, not to mention that the color shows on the paper great. If you look around, you can also get them quite cheap. Stores like Wilkos sell them for a whole lot less than some of your more well know stationery stores, what I think is fantastic!

Another thing I can’t live without is my bullet journal. My first bullet journal was a Moleskin but I recently made a switch as every academic year I start a new one. My current journal is a turquoise Leuchtturm1917 (you can see it on the photo above). It is fantastic. I’ve always been a bit of a Moleskine’s girls, as that’s my preferred book for my diary, but I tried the Leuchtturm and I can say that I’m never going back.

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TIME OUT

Unlike school, college gives you some freedom. But this also means you can have a lot of time on your hands.

At the start of the year chances are you’ll be a bit board, you won’t have that many assignments so you spend a lot of your frees doing very little. The only thing I can say to that is ENJOY IT WHILST IT LASTS! As the year progresses you’ll find yourself with a whole lot of work to do and not a lot of time to be doing it. Suddenly all that free time you had at the start of the year has gone and you don’t quite know where either.

One of my biggest mistakes was not recognising when I was becoming stressed. I allowed myself very little time off in these last two years, I was doing my course at college, doing my leadership qualification with guides at the same time as leading, I was working on Saturdays, using my day off to catch up with people and spending lots of time writing on my old blog. I left very little time for me. Soon stress started to pile up and I just got worse.

Take it from me, time out is so important.

Time out can be what ever you want. Last year my art journal and writing poetry was my time out, this year I’m learing to play the viola and practising at home is my time out, I enjoy it and it calms me down when I’m stressed.

So make some room for some you time.

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Liar Liar – Oswestry

A GOOD COFFEE SHOP

I’m often asked why I have a Saturday job. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t have obvious spending habits and I don’t pay bills. For most it’s confusing why I would work when I don’t really need the money. However, I have one main area that I need my job to fund.

Coffee shops.

I love them, I find them relaxing and a really comfortable environment to work in. There’s nothing more I enjoy than siting at a table with my laptop with a good hot chocolate. Lair Liar and Booka are my two favorites where I live. Both have unique atmosphere that are polar opposites of the other but I love them both the same.

So why would I recommend coffee shops?

I often find my college very loud and overwhelming. As the year progresses the library, where I usually hide, gets louder and louder as panicked students descend on it. For someone who doesn’t like loud, a coffee shop is the best place for me. The pair I like are both relatively quite, the one doesn’t have wifi so I can get on with my assignments with no distractions from social media and the other is so quirky and play lovely music in the background that is calming. They also feel very safe, I go quite regularly so the staff are friendly and I can really alow myself to relax and just get my work done.

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TIME WITH GOD

I save this one for last but this is the most important of them all.

My college doesn’t have a Christian union or anything and the church that I attend is very small and has very few youths. So I don’t have that many people around me my age to walk with me in my relationship with God.

College also presents some issues that you might not particularly face at school. There’s new temptations with the freedom that college offers and new challenges that will test your faith. Not to mention that college is hard. Your identity will be challenged during your time there, you might have a new group of friends and class mates that belive in totally different things than you do, they might act in a manor that doesn’t reflect God at all. You’re going to come up against challenges but that’s not a bad thing. How can you expect your faith to grow if it’s not challenged and stretched?

Spending time with God might not be the easiest thing to do during your time at college, it wasn’t for me, but it’s important. You might come home and crash with only the derire to sleep, you might make lots of plans to meet up with your friends after college, do lots of extra curiculum activites or you might just be exhauseted. All of these things are perfectly valid reasons why you might not read your bible and pray but it’s still worth trying to get into some sort of routine where you have time to spend with God. No time with God is ever wasted.

Something simple that helped me was listing to worship music. Unlike school you can have your headphones in if your tutor is ok with it. Sometimes on my darker days I’d just put on worship music and get on with my work. It didn’t take away the pain of what was happening or the feelings, but it shifted my attention from the problem to the problem solver. 

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