It doesn’t matter if you’re at college, university, work or just live a busy lifestyle. All of us can feel a tad overwhelmed at point. Or if you’re like me and you’re attempting to do a million things at once, well… you can feel like you’re drowning on a good day.
We’re only human, so it’s next to impossible to remember ever date, meeting and task. So a lot of us turn to planners to try to make sence of everything.
But a normal planer never did it for me.
I’m not sure if it was just too restrictive, inflexible or just too boring to want to use. I simply didn’t get a long with them. However, I needed something to get everything on paper.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that September is well and truly settled, I thought it best to look back on the manic month of August.
Most months fly past with no significance or value, I’m living, surviving, sometimes growing and other times skipping through the month. However, this month was different. I can confidently say that I stumbled out of this month battered, bruised with a smile on my lips.
August 2017 was easily the most anticipated month of my life to date, both for positive and negative reasons. The main positives coming from New Wine, what you’ll hear about later.
I’m constantly setting goals. I’m a lover of stationary, notepads and colored pens, I find something satisfying about wring goals and lists down on crisp paper with every shade of ink I can get my hands on. It’s part of the reason I love my bullet journal.
One goal I set myself in 2016 was to be ok when August 2017 came along. I had to be fully recovered from both the eating disorder and anxiety. I had to be normal. No, I had to be perfect by the time that date rolled around.
This was a goal I kept secret, no one knew about my deadline. People knew I was trying to get better, but no one knew about the incredible pressure I put on myself to achieve perfection in only a year. When I slipped up or had a little relapse I would be told that it was ok, my reply would always be No it’s not. My slip up weren’t ok because I couldn’t afford them, I didn’t have time to make mistakes. I needed to be perfect by the deadline.
Why did I set this deadline?
It was a combination of things. I was applying for New Wine, I wanted to be the best version of me that I could be so I could help people. I also knew I was going into a new class in September. When my friends would be starting university, I would be staying at college to study for a third year. I knew I would be two years older than most my classmates and I wanted to appear it. Problem with losing weight is that I didn’t look my age. There were other motives as well.
The problem with such a goal was that it wasn’t achievable.
If I’m honest, looking back, that goal, just made things worse. I wasn’t getting better because I wanted to but because I felt like I needed to.
So when August came along and I wasn’t perfect it hurt. I felt like a failure and I slipped.
Then home life went downhill.
The day I found out what was going to happen I was back counting calories. I got my intake to 1200 a day, then 1000 and finally 800. I was a bit of a mess.
August was a bit of a mess, with the exception of New Wine, yet I’m writing this content with myself.
In fact, I haven’t been this ok in a while.
For the past year and a bit I’ve been looking at life through a broken window whilst wearing sun glasses. It’s left me seeing life very shattered and dark. The saddest part was that I didn’t really appreciate that how I was viewing life was wrong.
New Wine gave me the tools to replace the broken window, and by tools I mean I learned that you can’t replace a window by yourself.
The events at home taught me that I really need to take those sunglasses off.
Life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect, church isn’t perfect and homes not perfect but God is.
His perfect loves gives me the ability to forgive people who have hurt us as a family time and time again. I’ve discovered that I have to keep going back to God about these people and having to forgive them over and over because in my own strength I cannot do that. In God’s perfect love though, I can.
In my own strength I’m not doing to get better, recovery has to start with me and I do need to take responsibility for it. However, without God’s influence and is unfailing love, I’m not going to be able to do that. What’s going to be a challenge, I’m not perfect. I struggle praying, don’t read my bible as much as I know I should, I dread coming to church and am very guarded towards other christians.
God doesn’t want a religion, he wants a relationship.
I read this in a book and it really hit home. I can often get caught up in all the religious aspects of things, so what I do simply becomes a habit, it becomes routine. I beat myself up if I don’t pray on a night or if I don’t read my bible everyday, not because I want to particularly and I’m upset that I didn’t, but because it fells like something that I have to do and i felt like a bad christian for not doing them. You’re told to read your bible consistently, you’re told to pray. My attitude towards those things is something I need to effect on and change, right now I’m trying to please people and not God and that’s not ok.
It’s time for me to replace the broken window, take off my sunglasses and enter a relationship with God and not a religion.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit Psalm 34:18