volunteering

7 Happy Things.

So I’ve not been feeling very well, as my last post suggested, and I’ve struggled towards the end of this week to keep my chin up and carry on with life. It is difficult to put into words how much being in pain, in such pain as this, can affect your mind and body. It is all-encompassing. It is all-consuming. My body aches and throbs all over and my mind is dulled. It is so hard to stay positive when my future feels so uncertain, will my exciting plans ever been realised? It is hard when you know that being poorly makes you less interesting as a friend, less appealing as a partner, less able as a student…

But I won’t let it pull me under completely so in an attempt to (at least metaphorically) pick myself up a little I thought of 7 happy things from this week. Enjoy!

wit+delight

{Image via Pinterest, originally from sacramentostreet}

1. As the picture suggests, it is most definitely hot drink weather. I don’t like tea and I rarely drink coffee but the minute the cold weather strikes I turn to one of my favourite treats – hot chocolate. There is something so comforting about a lovely chocolatey hot drink to warm you up. Of course I don’t just drink ordinary hot chocolates, oh no, I go all out! Hot chocolate just isn’t the same without whipped cream and marshmallows, and if possible chocolate sprinkles. I’m not fussy. Promise.

2. I was doing some blog reading this morning and stumbled upon this post from This Book is Reserved. How beautiful are those covers? I am desperate to get my hands on a copy of The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz because the former is one of my favourite childhood stories and the later is so wonderfully colourful.

3. Getting the volunteering position I wanted! I had an informal interview on Thursday at a fantastic centre run by a charitable organisation and got the place so I’m over the moon about that. I’m going to be working for an after-school club run there for young people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism. It’s such a brilliant programme as it gives the young people a safe environment, it’s a place where they can just be themselves and relax. I’m so excited to start volunteering, I’ll be there once a week for two and half hours, working with a group of boys aged 13 to 17. It’s a completely new challenge for me but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning all I can!

4. Going food shopping with my mother (who was lovely and drove over to give me a lift to the supermarket so that I didn’t have to walk!) and having a fully stocked fridge again. I have a fridge full of delicious healthy foods to inspire me and get me back on my feet. Plus a couple of little treats because who can resist After Eight yoghurts?

5. Hearing the best news about my dissertation. When we were first assigned supervisors my heart sank slightly, I’d been given a lecturer who I like as a person but find really difficult to work with. I’ve been emailing her over the summer but I was really struggling to get anywhere. It’s been worrying me for ages as one of the most important things in a dissertation is who you work with so I was ecstatic when my absolutely lovely personal tutor offered to supervise me instead.

6. Having little Clive from two doors down pop in for a cuddle. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@sophiejuliette_mh) then you won’t know that Clive is the adorable little cat who comes round to say hello and hang out when her (I know, Clive is a girl) owners are out.

7. Pleasant interludes in my student life – this week it was going for coffee, or hot chocolate in my case, with my mother on Friday. I met her before my seminar and it was really nice to have a little chat as we are very close. This coming week I’m going for lunch with my friend Aimee and the following week I’m going out for dinner with the lovely Ellie as a late birthday celebration for her 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sophie x

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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