Sunday, June 25, 2017

June Favourites

Hey lovelies!

It has come to the end of the month again (why does it keep doing that?!), and that means that it is time for a June favourites. I finished uni about halfway through this month, and I don’t have to go back until the end of July (yay!). However, I do have six books to read by that time. They are young adult and children’s books, but six is still a lot. As of right now, I am about sixteen pages into the first book (which is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak), so I have a long way to go. Anyway, on with my favourites!

First of all, on the nineteenth of this month, after five long years, I got my braces off! I got my top braces on when I was 12, in 2012. I was in grade eight, expecting to have them on for about eighteen months to two years. I had them on for so long because my teeth were a lot more stuffed up than they first thought. My teeth had so many issues: my front teeth needed straightening up, my upper canine teeth were fused to the bone (which required surgery), my jaw was completely out of line (which required elastic bands). Once I didn’t need the elastics anymore, then it was a waiting game (if it wasn’t already). Another six months passed and I was on the train to the city, excited to finally be free of my metal-y burden.

My next favourite is of the musical variety. I recently purchased an EP from iTunes called Same Kind of Different, by Dean Lewis. I believe it’s debut EP and I think it’s absolutely brilliant (I’m listening to it now, in fact). I was recommended it by one of my friends, and I was already partial to his single, Waves, so of course, I bought it. I have listened to it through a few times and it is the best bunch of songs I’ve listened to all month (and I’ve listened to some right corkers), so I would 100% suggest you buy this EP; I think it is fantastic. It uses acoustic guitar throughout the six songs, which I love, and gives me a kind of Ed Sheeran type vibe. My favourite songs from it are Waves (obviously), Lose My Mind, and Adore. I do love them all, but they are my absolute favourites.

As it is the uni holidays, I thought it was only right that I have a movie marathon. The longest series of movies I have is the Harry Potter series (which I am also currently reading when I’m not reading for uni), so I let myself get pulled into the magical world of Hogwarts for about a week. I only finished the last one yesterday and I think it’s the first time I haven’t cried over all the deaths. I still cried over some of them, but not to the extent I have in the past. I once even cried over old Voldy, but maybe I was still crying from when Harry “died” (but then I was still crying from Snape, Dobby, Sirius, and Cedric). I just love the Harry Potter movie series. Though I do think the books are better, I also think that that is a given with book adaptations. I have loved Harry Potter since I was little. My Mum read them when she was pregnant with me, back in ’98 and ’99, and we both share a love for all things magic. Me more so than her, I think.

What have you been loving this month? Do you like mine?

Love, Nicky x

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Anxiety of Change

Hey everyone!

Every time I have a major change in my life my anxiety freaks out and I feel like there is nothing I can do about it. With the amount of times I’ve had to deal with change, you’d think I would be used to it by now. You’d think I wouldn’t still have massive amounts of anxiety about the new situation I was being forced into. You’d think I’d be a pro at making friends by now. I’m not. I had to leave primary school for high school by myself, and the same when moving from high school to university. I went from a small primary school to a medium sized high school to a giant university, an already tiny fish jumping into ever growing ponds.

One of the things I had to deal with was physical afflictions my body gave me as a result of my anxiety, which all culminated on my first days of high school and university. Moving to a different stage in your life is always hard, but sprinkle a generous handful of anxiety on the top of that and that’s me.

Leaving all my friends behind in their public high schools, I was sat in the back of our clunky green Hyundai with Mum and Dad (who had both taken days off to see me off) dreading my first day of high school – lockers, assignments, exams, finding new friends. As we arrived, my dread reached its peak, which manifested itself as a pile of cornflake-and-Milo-ridden vomit in the school’s pristinely kept front garden. At least the heavy summer rain would wash it away. I wished it would wash away my anxiety, too.

“Do you have to leave? Why can’t you just stay?” I begged my parents, rain dripping down my new school uniform and a bag a third of my weight.

On the brink of tears, I hauled my oversized bag to my homeroom and saw about ten other grade eights all in a similar situation as me, only they hadn’t left a delightful mixture of Cornflakes, Milo, and stomach acid in the school’s gardens the minute they set foot in the campus. I heaved my bag onto a table and dragged a chair up behind it, planting myself directly in front of the plump, old woman I assumed was our homeroom teacher.

“Good morning grade eights, my name is Mrs. Vickery and I will be your homeroom teacher for the rest of the year,” she introduced herself with a thick South African accent. Then she suggested we do something that reignited my feelings of dread all over again. Get-to-know-you activities.
My first day of university wasn’t much better as far as my anxiety goes.

Mum was at work, so Dad accompanied me on the bus to the first day of orientation week. The bus ride was fine, except for the knots in my stomach that squeezed tighter and tighter the closer we got to university. The whole way, we were chatting about what we were going to do. I had registered for the Library tour a couple of weeks ago, but other than that, we were free.

Dad and I collected campus maps and things from the kiosk. With my legs now ablaze after climbing that monstrous hill, we sat down outside of what I now know as W-Block. At that exact point, a group of around ten people ambled past. A tour group.

“Dad, we didn’t sign up for this, I don’t think we should be here,” I complained, after his suggestion of following them.

“I’m sure it’s fine, Nic. You’ll learn something anyway, so it’s all good.” Dad reasoned as best he could, despite seeing the disbelieving look on my face. I only wanted to do what I signed up for. I didn’t want to get in trouble before I even went to a lecture.

I reluctantly tagged along at the back. I’m still the shortest person I know, so I didn’t see much.

After tours of the entire campus and the library, we went home. I stayed at home (read: my fortress of solitude) for the next couple of days, only going to uni if I absolutely had to.

Whenever I get forced into a situation where I’m uncomfortable, my body kind of shuts down. I get shaky and nauseous. I’ve gotten better at containing my vomit over the years, so I didn’t throw up in QUT’s gardens. It’s lucky since it wasn’t raining.

On the dreaded first day, I had my dad as a kind of support system, but the next day I went all by myself. I only went to uni to perhaps join a club (which I didn’t) and have my Creative Industries orientation. I did two laps of the stalls at the top of that gargantuan hill, pretending to look around, not making eye-contact with anyone.

I walked back down the colossal hill of our campus to where the faculty orientation would be. There were quite a few people already waiting outside.

“At least I’m in the right place,” I thought, thankfully, calming down a bit, “Maybe some of these people will be my friends. I doubt it.” I then mentally patted myself on the back for my outstanding optimism.

Orientation was the biggest waste of time. I sat in the middle and took notes I would never read again. I failed to make a single acquaintance for fear of stumbling over my words and was out of that theatre and back on the bus faster than you could say ‘Thank you for coming’.

“How was your day, Nic?” Mum asked when I walked through the door, finally home.


I wasn’t about to tell her I felt more alone than I ever had in my entire life. I wasn’t about to tell her I never wanted to go back there again. I wasn’t about to tell her anything, especially that I almost threw up in the garden again. I felt sick and hopeless. Everywhere I looked, people were laughing and chatting with their friends on the way to class. I felt like I would never find friends like they did.

Making new friends is one of the hardest parts of the transition. I struggled with it when moving from primary to high school, and now again moving to uni. Talking to new people is always nerve racking, throw social anxiety in the mix and it becomes unbearable.

On my first day of high school, after struggling through another round of ‘get-to-know-you’s’ in Religion, it was time for lunch, bringing with it another wave of dread. I grabbed my lunch box out of my locker (after a few tries of unlocking it, might I add), and sat alone in the corner at the bottom of the empty staircase to eat my lunch.

“Hi,” a short, brown haired girl said, startling me, “my name is Emily.”

“And I’m Zoe,” said a slightly taller, blonde girl. They both had their brightly coloured lunch boxes clutched in their hands.

“Would you like to sit with us?” Emily asked, with a gentle smile, gesturing with her lunchbox free hand to a table near the garden I had thrown up in that morning.

“Okay,” I stammered, hurrying to pack away my lunch before following Emily and Zoe to where they were sitting. From that moment on, I knew I would be okay. I had found friends – well, they had found me, but still – and even though over the years, they left, were replaced by others, or were added to, I knew I was going to be okay.

That was until it came to saying goodbye to my friends once I had graduated. They were all going off to different universities, doing different degrees with different futures ahead of them. The main difference between leaving primary school and leaving high school is that we all made an effort to stay in touch. We all go over to someone’s house for a board game night as often as we can.

My daunting first day of lectures rolled around and I racked up a total of zero friends and a couple of enemies (that enormous hill and my stomach). I ate my muesli bar and ham and cheese sandwich in the library alone, and this time there were no Emily’s or Zoe’s to ask if I wanted to sit with them. I did some work on my new laptop with a fan so loud I thought it would launch off into space.

The first contact I made with other uni students (other than obligatory get-to-know-you’s) was one whole week later. I was waiting for the bus home, with headphones in trying to block out the world. A girl with mid-length blonde hair and a black bag slung over her shoulder came up to me.

“What time does the bus come?” she asked me, with a concerned look on her face.

We chatted for a little bit about uni. It turns out she’s in one of my tutorials, is a first year like me, and is also the first one in her family to go to uni.

“Oh, and my name is Kitra, by the way,” she said, just before getting on the bus.

“I’m Nicola,” I said. We had a good conversation on the bus about lots of things I don’t remember. I had made a friend!

She got off the bus before me, which I expected considering I go to pretty much the other end of town. I was so excited I texted my mum about it. The excitement wrapped me up so completely that  I almost missed my stop.

I have made a few friends since then, in all my tutorials, so I definitely feel more relaxed and settled in than I did at the start of this year. I fit.

As I became more and more accustomed to going to high school, then university, my nauseousness and overall anxiety went away. At the start of this year, and the start of the year I began high school, I felt like would always be lonely, and always have the same anxiety. I felt like I would never be able to deal with all the abrupt changes, but I have. I was in a situation that was far less than what I would consider comfortable and felt like I would never fit in. I have gone on to prove myself wrong multiple times. “Changing isn’t a bad thing; it never was,” is a quote from a song that I love by Shawn Mendes called Understand, and I really relate to it. It’s been on my mind a lot recently, and it has really helped me come to grips with the plethora of changes in my life at the moment, accept them, and move on with my life.

How do you deal with change in your life?

Love, Nicky x