future

Looking Forward.

dream

So a long time ago (a really long time ago – oops!) I promised you all that I would write a post about my plans for the future and I thought it was probably high time I got round to writing said post. Although I’m a girl who knows her own mind I have never really known what I want to do with my life until recently. I’ve always been full of vague and completely oppositional ideas of what I could do but I’ve never been hugely taken with any of the options I came up with. One thing I have always been aware of is how much I enjoy working with children, everyone always jokes that children are drawn to me the way animals are to certain people but it’s true. I’ve always found it easy to be around and care for children. So this led me to make a decision. I didn’t want to graduate at the end of next year, still without a clue about what I want to do and with nothing set up for the following year. I have decided that I am going to apply for a PGCE (postgraduate certificate of education) to become a primary school teacher, when I finish my undergrad.

Yep. I’m going to be a teacher!

Scary.

If you read my blog regularly you’ll probably know that I am in my second year of university studying English Literature so I’m currently starting my dissertation and trying to work my way through an enormous pile of reading for when my next semester starts. University is such an amazing experience and I’ll be so sad for my undergrad to finish but I am really excited for what lies ahead after it all. I have started to have all of these ideas about what I want to do with my life and it’s filling me with inspiration.

I have always had this urge to help people, especially those who are in some way vulnerable and really need it. I’ve recently applied for a volunteer position helping at an after-school club for children and young people with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism. It’s such a difficult condition to live with in our society, so many people don’t really understand it and just struggle to deal with people who have autism. People with autistic spectrum conditions, especially young people, have so many obstacles facing them in society and the club allows them to relax a little and interact with other young people with their condition in a safe and comfortable environment. I think having clubs like this one is a vital and really wonderful thing and I really hope I get the placement so that I can help even in a tiny way!

In my work I have often spent time with children with varying behavioural conditions and disabilities like autism, severe ADHD, and dyspraxia and I know how difficult it is for children with any kind of condition to develop their skills, interact with other children, and fulfill their full potential, without help, and I know they deserve that help. So, whilst the ideas forming in my head will be difficult to make a reality, I want to persevere and get there one day. What I have now set my sights on is becoming an Educational Psychologist.

Now this would definitely not be easy. First of all before I could even hope to become qualified I would have to do a two-year conversion course. Then there is the actual three-year doctorate… And on top of all of that in the current economic climate many educational psychology positions are frozen and it is incredibly hard to actually get the work. But none of this is really phasing me (I must be crazy!). I want to do it, I want to better myself and I just really really want to help children.

So I’m going to start by becoming a teacher. I want to teach for a couple of years before I consider starting anything else. Then I want to think about going overseas to volunteer in Africa and help teachers out there improve their schools and their teaching (but that’s for a whole other post!). Then maybe in my late twenties I’ll start my conversion course… So yes, I will be in my thirties before I achieve my ambition, but to be honest I think to work in a position like that you need a lot of experience and a high level of maturity so I’m not daunted by that!

Change

Well there you have it, a rather wordy post about my big plans for the future. It is a long way off but it feels so good to have ideas and inspiration for what I want to do with my life. And I know that as long as I get to help children, and as long as I’m feeling fulfilled and positive about what I do, I’ll be happy.

I’d love to hear about what your great plans for your future are! Were you someone who always knew what you wanted to do or like me did it take you years to figure it out? Hope you’re all well!

Sophie x

Practice Makes Perfect.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” is usually applied to scenarios where someone is learning something or training in some way but here I mean it in a slightly different sense.

As those of you who read my blog know, I have been battling chronic pain and chronic fatigue for several years now and it is an ongoing fight. (If you are new to my blog and want to know about this then I suggest you read this post to learn a little more!)

At the moment I’ve been seeing the Pain Clinic and the physio and we have had many discussions about where my future lies, what I can do to keep fighting and making progress, and how I can work on making myself better and living as normally as possible. I am not going to lie, I feel that my chronic condition has really held me back over the past year, with my health deteriorating so much in the first term of my first year at uni the year did not go how I expected or planned.

Being on holiday and back at home has made me all the more determined to get better. In September Tom is starting his first full-time job and will be moving to London and I want to be able to visit him easily and do lots of fun things. In October I start classes at my new university and I want to be able to throw myself into my course and into extra-curricular activities. I have plans to volunteer at a primary school and maybe with a charity, I want to have the energy for that. I am going to join the local gym and I want to be able to go regularly for proper workouts.

I know, that’s a lot of ‘I wants’. But the thing is for the past year, longer really, I’ve just been settling. Settling for things which aren’t as I planned, settling for something less than I hoped for, settling for a life I wasn’t 100% happy and fulfilled by.

Whilst I know that I will probably have to live with chronic pain and fatigue for the rest of my life, that doesn’t mean they have to completely dictate my life and it’s within my power to live life to the full as much as possible. I don’t want to spend my life regularly relying on people to help me with things, having to constantly make compromises and not being able to do the things I love.

I am not in denial. I know how difficult this is going to be and I know that there will be days and even sometimes weeks when I struggle and feel awful but I don’t have to constantly live as though I am an invalid.

With chronic conditions there are always periods of remission followed by periods of relapse, it’s just the way things are. I just want the remission to be the more significant part of my life. I want to feel healthy and able-bodied, I want to be happy with myself.

This is where the practice comes in.

Recovery and remission is not instant. It doesn’t just suddenly all clear up. Although some of it is just down to your body working better, a lot of it is down to the individual. Healthy living is so important for combating chronic fatigue and exercise really helps with the pain too. Equally your mental attitude can make an enormous difference to how you feel physically.

If I were to give into the pain and exhaustion, to just let my family, friends and Tom do everything for me, if I didn’t push myself to work, to study and to pursue my hobbies, I have absolutely no doubt that I would be worse and this is something my pain consultant wholeheartedly agrees with. It isn’t easy, you have to work past the lower levels of tiredness and aching. But it’s so worth it to be able to live the life you enjoy.

So I will practice pushing myself in a healthy way; not going to extreme to the point that my energy levels drop below around 20% or my pain levels rise above 8/10, but merely gradually doing more.

I will have goals to work towards, building up my physical ability and my day-to-day energy levels. I will make life worth living. I will live the way I love to be, I will make the most of all of the wonderful positive things I have and I will be healthy and happy.

will beat this.

Big News.

Hey hey there :-)

So, as I promised you all yesterday, I’ve got some BIG news to tell you!

First, let me backtrack a little. As those of you who have been reading my blog for the past few months will know, this has been my first year at university. You will also probably know that it has been a difficult year at the best of times. Over the course of the year my condition has become far worse and I have really struggled to get through it all. Earlier this term, after lengthy discussions with my parents, my disability adviser, my English lit tutor and Tom, I made a difficult but important decision…

As of next year I will be transferring to a university closer to home.

This means that starting September I will be moving back home full-time and transferring to one of the local universities to continue my degree. I am still going to be studying English literature and I will still be going into my second year, just at a different institution. Although I made the decision a while ago, I wanted to wait till I’d been in to see the head of English at my new uni and received my official offer before revealing this to the world.

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been an easy decision. The lecturers and tutors at my current uni are fantastic and I’ll miss some of their lectures greatly, I’m sad to be leaving a campus and a city that I have really grown to love, and of course I’m really going to miss the brilliant friends I have made! I also have to say that I’m a little disappointed to lose to my independence. If someone had told me, this time last year, that this is how things were going to turn out I would have probably laughed, it is definitely not what I planned. But I really feel that it is the right decision to make – I have to prioritize my degree, and of course my health.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have supported me through this year! Your kind words, your advice and your endless support has really really helped me get through this. You truly are an amazing bunch of people :-)

So I hope I now have your support with this change! It won’t be easy to begin with, but I am really optimistic that it will improve my life for the near future.

What do you see in your future?

Hello again bloggies!

I stole borrowed this post idea from the lovely Jasmine who blogs at Eat Move Write. If you’ve never visited her blog then I strongly urge you to, she’s a fantastic writer and her posts are both entertaining and thought-provoking!

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In Five Years…

What will be your favorite hobby?

Photography, I’ll have bought some exciting new lenses, like a macro lens, and will hopefully have improved lots! (Obviously I’ll still bake :-P)

What’s in your refrigerator?

Mostly vegetarian stuff hopefully. Lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies, especially raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, courgettes, avocados and spinach. Milk and greek yogurt. Maybe tofu? Hummous. Other dips and spreads. Fruit juice.

What will your fashion look like?

I have no idea, probably not that different from now. Maybe a few more tailored pieces? Maybe even some work clothes…

In Ten Years…

Will you still be blogging?

Who can say? I hope so! It’s so fulfilling that I can’t imagine wanting to stop but you never know with life. Maybe I’ll have a new blog and built up a huge blog following! (I can dream :-P)

What will your work day look like?

Wake up early, workout (I want to be one of those people!), eat a delicious breakfast, cycle to work, do productive and interesting things at work (whatever it is), cycle back from work, relax with my boyfriend, blog, read, cook, sleep!

What kind of car will you drive?

None! Or if not maybe one of those hybrid, eco-friendly cars? Maybe we’ll all drive electric cars!

In Twenty Years…

How old will you be?

Gosh, I’ll be 38!

Will you still be working?

Well something will have to be horribly wrong for me not to be able to work at 38! Maybe my hips will even be better :-). Even if I was a stay at home mum I’d still want to work on the side, probably write and maybe even train?!

What will your significant other look like?

Well… I’m going to pretend that I’m being reasonable and say who knows… but really I’m thinking he’ll be about 6ft, dark, fit, handsome, with gorgeous deep brown eyes and that smile that makes me giddy ;-) (I can’t imagine anyone else sorry! I promise I will introduce my guy on the blog when I get back!)

Now it’s your turn, what do you see in your future?

Sophie x

P.S. I’m missing you all in sunny Spain!