As I turn 23 today, I thought I’d put together a little list of things I’ve learnt this year. I’ve loved being 22, and somehow feel like I’ve been 22 for absolutely ages. It’s been a challenging but really brilliant year, and I feel like I’ve become so much more confident in myself because of it. So, here are twenty-three things I learnt before turning twenty-three.
I’ve learnt to believe in myself. To take the chance and say that, actually, I can do it. After fearing that I’d fall short of getting a First so what was the point of taking up full residence in the library, I pulled it out of the bag and it’s a reminder that I can do anything.
Getting your foot in the door in journalism is really tough, and you just have to persevere. Journalism is definitely what I want to be doing, though, and the last few months have really put this to the test.
Cats are great, and I’m no longer allergic to all cats. IT’S THE BEST. My boyfriend used to have the most awesome cat called Sid, and I kind of got used to him being around and could give him a little stroke, wash my hands and not explode in a sneezy, itchy, puffy mess. Then I went and met his mum, who has four cats in a small house, and when I returned to just Sid, the allergy had vanished.
Hemp milk is the best. It’s cheap and hemp is basically the only thing that can save us. HEMP.
The importance of consistent, good sleep. A few nights’ dodgy sleep and I will start to lose it.
To live with little. I’ve learnt to get used to not having the option of buying a new top for an interview or treating myself to things, because I’m so deep in my overdraft it’d just stress me out.
When buying bikinis, sizes must be disregarded entirely.
Hummus and cucumber sticks solve everything.
Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch taught me that I can still read fiction for pleasure without giving up half way through. I’ve battled with myself for a while over fiction, wanting myself to like it more than I do, and sometimes I really struggle. But that book is a work of art and I loved it from the very first page.
The joy of a Pret 99p coconut filter.
Not to be disheartened when it feels like you’re not making progress. I’ve found myself having to sell myself in cover letters when inside I’m feeling a bit worn down by working for months without earning anything and wondering what makes me stand out.
Linda McCartney vegetarian country pies + new potatoes + parsnips + carrots + lashings of vegetarian gravy wins time and time again.
To end interviews with a punchy phrase to help them remember you. When it gets the whole ‘Do you have any questions for us?’ bit, I’ll always ask any questions I have, I’ll ALWAYS ask what the process is and when I can expect to hear, and then I’ll say ‘And the lasting impression I’d like to leave with you today is…’
Lidl’s caramel waffles. On top of a cup of tea. For a few minutes. Bliss.
To say sorry less. We often apologise when we just don’t need to. People really don’t mind if didn’t know how to do something because you’re new.
The Newton Abbot to London megabus is a gift.
To ask people how their day’s going – the woman in the supermarket, the guy serving you in a cafe, because it’s nice to be nice. On a similar note, talking to people on trains can lead to some really interesting conversations.
Trainline is great. It’s actually worth the service charge over National Rail’s ancient website that constantly gives me the ‘Oops, something went wrong’ page and fills me with utter fury when I just want to get home and am already being totally rinsed.
Live music events feed my soul and I need to plan ahead and go to way, way more of them.
Running is the best possible thing for my mental health, and signing up to a yearly run is crucial for me. When I haven’t run for a while, the prospect of it fills me with dread but I never, ever feel more positive and productive than just after a run. Just putting on my running gear makes me feel strong.
Aand we have reached the end of my 23 lessons learnt this year. Now that I’m navigating the waters of graduate life, I feel like next year I have so much more to learn. What have you learnt this year? Let me know in the comments.