I Want To Go Travelling – But Where?

For a while now I have been thinking about going travelling after I finish my final year at university. I saved up over my placement year and realistically I won’t get a better time to go because as soon as I begin work I will more than likely begin the cycle most go through of getting a new car then mortgage, then miserable about the prospect of working for the next fifty years of my life! So before I have to take the final jump into adult hood I think I would like to go travelling and experience different cultures and places around the world.

But where? I have thought about the typical travelling package for people my age where you spend some time in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia which does look incredible but part of me can’t help but think I would rather travel around America instead. I love how each state offers different cultures, foods, experiences and sights and feel like you would never get bored travelling from state to state.

However, ideally I would like to go travelling with someone but not sure if I have any friends who would want to travel America for a few months over the summer. I’m also not sure how much it would be travelling from state to state by myself. I could do a few Trek Americas but I’ve been told by a few people that whilst they are great experiences, it’s cheaper to organise it by yourself. Another route I could look into is graduate schemes in America however that would come with a lot of admin including looking for a place to stay and working visas.

So basically I’m stuck with what I should do, where I will go and whether I should go travelling for a year or just for a few months before my graduation ceremony in November! If you have any advice or recommendations please let me know!

If you liked this post you may also like I Was On A Billboard In Times Square or Rockerfeller or Empire State?

It’s Been A While

Hello! It’s been four months since I last posted but I finally decided to turn my dying laptop back on and write a new post. I’ve thought about writing new posts a lot over the last few months and considered a complete blog overhaul, focusing purely on weight loss. But I decided I didn’t want to limit myself to one topic so have decided to stick with the mixture of lifestyle posts, healthy lifestyle updates and any thing else that sparks my interest.

There were a couple of reasons I decided to write a new post. I’ve missed blogging, it was something I used to do a couple of times a month over placement and I enjoyed writing my thoughts and hearing what people thought! I also arrived back at uni and got a few comments from some friends who had read what I have posted and told me I should keep at it.

But a strange push which I didn’t expect came from a book I read on my flatmate’s kindle because we didn’t have wifi for over a week when moving into our student house. There’s only so many times I was willing to pay EE for more data so thought I would give The C Word by Lisa Lynch a read to stop me going mental. I’ve now nearly finished it and found I couldn’t stop reading her brutally honest account of cancer. At the beginning of each chapter is a blog post she had posted throughout her treatment and seeing how she used blogging to cope and document her story inspired me to start writing again. Blogging not only helped her but also gave others an insight into what she was going to and it is brilliant that someone else could relate or learn from her experience.

So I’ve decided to give my blog a new name. It has been Chins On Tour for nearly a year now but I don’t post photos anymore pulling chin faces. (If you scroll back far enough you will find a few if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Also because my blog got a new regular focus since beginning my weight loss journey in January I have settled on a name I think acknowledges the old but welcomes new content: Chins No More!

I’m not sure what you’ll see next from me, perhaps a Healthy Lifestyle Update? But it’s good to be back!

4 Things I Have Learnt On My Placement Year

A conventional nine to five job might not be for me
My placement has been my first experience of a traditional nine to five job office job and whilst I have enjoyed my job and got on well with my team I don’t know if it is what I aspire for in the future. Knowing my placement is only for a limited time has been helpful on days when I feel unmotivated as I know I will be going back to university soon. However, the prospect of graduating and having a mundane office job where I sit at a desk all day staring at a screen fills me with dread. I still don’t have an answer when people ask me what I want to do with my life but I’m learning that I shouldn’t be in such a rush to figure it out. I have plenty of time to explore different avenues, make mistakes and learn along the way!

I want a job that incorporates creativity
I decided to begin blogging as my job didn’t have enough creative elements. Whilst I build websites with my team in numerous different languages there are guidelines we must stick to and our content management system has limitations with what it can achieve in terms of design. Blogging has allowed me to write content on different topics and I have been lucky enough to borrow a camera from my manager, learning more about photography. Trying new projects in my spare time has shown me I would love a job that incorporates creative elements. I would love to learn more about design with Photoshop and other programmes and continue to improve my photography.

I want to go travelling
I look forward to exploring different career paths in the future and hope to one day find a job that I love. But before I enter the world of work for good I’ve decided I would like to go travelling for a year or maybe more. I have been in education my whole life so I think embracing the freedom that comes with lack of structure or restricted holiday times will be exciting.

Every person I have spoken to has told me to go for it either saying they had the best time of their lives or they have always regretted not going. Realistically I don’t think I will ever get a better moment in my life to be able to go travelling. When I graduate I will have little responsibility holding me back. I haven’t made any concrete plans so far but I think Australia and New Zealand are on the cards with some stops around South East Asia as well. I would also love to explore some of America as I loved New York when I visited. For some reason the thought of having an apartment in Brooklyn and getting the subway into New York City each day sounds incredible!

A positive attitude is imperative
I have worked with a range of people over placement year from all walks of life who are motivated by different things. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is how valuable a positive attitude can be. In every job there will be frustrating aspects whether it be mundane admin jobs or software not working correctly but it is how you react to these situations that matters most.

In my second year of university I frequently focused on the bad aspects of my course allowing it to overshadow the parts I enjoyed and I definitely think my productivity and efficiency was affected. Being exposed to negative attitudes on placement year was a bit of a wakeup call for me. Moaning about something not working isn’t going to fix it. Arguing with people who cannot change the situation won’t lead to a different outcome.  I have become more aware of how my attitude can affect others and affect the motivation of my colleagues. Whilst some have called me naive and told me my positivity will fade over time, I hope I continue to take a more positive and efficient approach in my final year of university and into my career.

If you liked this post you may also like What The Interview From Hell Taught Me or Employee Of A Month!

What Do I Want To Do With My Life?

I recently watched the Fresh Meat finale and it made me think about university, my degree and what I want to do with my life once I graduate. The finale was infused with the humour that has graced all four seasons but also encapsulated the bitter sweet moment of the character’s finishing university and starting new chapters in their lives. This got me thinking about my own experiences with university and oddly made me dread the day all the exams, dissertations and coursework is all said and done and we move out for the last time. I haven’t always loved university but it is sad to think my final year of university may be the last time I spend time with certain friends I have made along the way.

Instead of looking at graduating as a step into uncertain times without security, I’m trying to see it as a time of potential where I will have different opportunities to try new and exciting things. I am planning to go travelling for a year once I finish university and have been using my placement year as a chance to save money. I haven’t fully decided where I want to go but I think it will be the perfect time to see new countries and cultures before coming home and deciding what career path I focus on. Part of me really fancies the idea of moving to New York for a year. There is something about having an apartment in Brooklyn and being able to get the subway into the city that really appeals to me.

Unexpectedly, my placement year has caused a major shift in what motivates me. I used to be very motivated by money thinking financial freedom would automatically make me happier. Whilst I think having money can give you more access to certain experiences and activities, my placement year has shown me it is not the be all and end all.  I have realised a job I enjoy that offers new challenges and experiences has a lot more value than I first anticipated. Every job will have elements that won’t be thrilling but I hope to find a job that has the right balance.

I’m learning it is okay to not know exactly what I want to do with my life and have my career path set out and decided. I think there is a lot of pressure put on young people these days to make decisions about the rest of their lives before they’ve even got a chance to try different things. The year to come will involve a lot of planning for travelling once all of university is said and done but for now I will finish my placement year and focus on my degree and worry about my future later.

If you liked this post you may also like Employee Of A Month or What The Interview From Hell Taught Me.

Two Plus Two Doesn’t Always Equal Four

Yesterday I returned to university for my mid seminar placement where we had lectures on our options and pathways for final year. I study Business Studies and have the option to finish with a specialisation so my degree would be Business Studies with Marketing etc. I was interested in taking either marketing or international business but after the lectures I feel slightly torn and disheartened.

Both options require group work in groups of 5 however groups are allocated in the international marketing option which worries me. In my first two years of studying I have had a number of problems with group work with people not pulling their weight meaning we have to pick up the slack. I spoke to my lecturer and was honest with how unhappy I was. Final year is worth 70% of my degree so it important that I do well in all my units as it will be the last push before I graduate.

My lecturer tried to assure me that there were processes in place that could eventually remove people from the group who weren’t engaging but I can’t help but feel unconvinced. The timescales of the projects we have to produce are tight and I think by the time these processes have been carried out we would be near the deadline anyway. We also have self and peer assessment but ultimately someone else’s grade does not affect my own. Last year we had people in our groups who barely contributed still come out with a strong 2:1 because the self and peer assessment forms can only influence marks to an extent. If everyone had worked hard we could have ultimately completed the assignment to a higher standard.

This is not to say I haven’t had some great group experiences. Some of the projects I have partaken in as a group have gone really well and I have worked with ambitious and determined students that are ready to work hard. This could happen again in my final year but there is always the risk that I could be put in a group with people who don’t care which worries me when the stakes will be high.

Whilst I want to be positive about going into my final year of education I also need to be realistic and determine what options will give me the best opportunities to succeed. Unfortunately from experience having four people in a group does not always mean four people are actually present and working hard and I’m worried it could make my final year of studies problematic.

We were also told about the final project/dissertation options we could choose and I am currently considering two out of the four. The first is a research project which is like a normal dissertation. If I were to do this I think I would like to do something about women and their opportunities in business or black women in the media and how they are portrayed. However I worry that this steers more towards a HR path as it focuses on diversity. We work on our dissertations for eight months so I think it is important to research a topic I am interested in as they recommend you spend at least four hundred hours on the project but I don’t want to look like I have scattered interests to future employers.

The other option I am considering is a consultancy project. This is group work but you are allowed to choose your groups which I feel a lot more comfortable with. The project involves identifying a problem within a business or institution and creating a proposal on how to resolve or better this issue. The brief is vague but it allows you a lot of freedom of who you choose for your client and what problem you focus on. I think this could be a really good option to take as it allows the group to apply theory to a real life situation and work closely with the client to try and better their situation. I need to find out more information about this project as currently I only have one other student I know who is interested and we need to know whether the workload is manageable in a pair.

In the next few days I will need to weigh up the pros and cons of each unit and see which pathway will suit me better. If you have any advice on how you manage your workload or how you cope with group work it would be greatly appreciated. I would also love to hear your insight on whether you think I should take the marketing or international option.

International may be a good option to take as I would like to travel around the world and find it interesting how cultures can affect how people conduct business. However with marketing it may be easier for people within the marketing industry to recognise my interest in the subject – although with that being said my course focuses on theory and strategy more than creative marketing elements such as social media and advertising campaigns which is what I am most interested in.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Why I Am A Feminist

I recently saw a video by the Huffington Post about white feminism and it raised a lot of important issues that need to be considered. I saw the video on Facebook and unfortunately looked through the comments and so many people were posting comments like “We should work towards equality instead of feminism” or “Feminism is the problem”. The world feminism for many now is seen as a negative and it’s core values are so frequently misunderstood or dismissed.

I think one of the main issues is the way the media has portrayed feminism. Extreme feminism is more frequently documented, alienating the cause and misconstruding what feminists believe in. It is no secret that there are a lot of issues in the media with how both men and women are represented and feminism strives to understand and better these representations.

A common misconception of feminism is that it fights for women to be in power over men. This simply isn’t the case. Google defines feminism as:

“The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

However this is not to say that feminists do not care about the treatment of men. Feminists understand how gender roles can be damaging to both men and women and how society puts pressure on both genders to conform.

I think feminism should be taught in schools from a young age. The Always #LikeAGirl advert shows how early sexist remarks that seem harmless can actually impact young people and begin damaging self esteem and confidence. I believe children should be taught media literacy so they can understand the messages and examples they are exposed to on a daily basis. I believe this will benefit young people and equip them with the knowledge they need to make better strides to a more equal society.

If I had to sum up why I am a feminist I think one of the easiest ways is to explain that I have a mum, sisters and female friends. I would never want those people to miss out on opportunities just because they are women. I want them to feel valued and have the same opportunities anyone else has throughout their lives and careers.

I am considering doing my dissertation for university on something around women in the workplace and whether they get the same opportunities. I might write more about feminism as I continue to develop my blog as it is such an important topic that really interests me.

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My Year In Photos

WordPress emailed me a summary of how my blog has performed this year and it prompted me to write a post looking back on 2015. I began my blog two months ago and in that time I have achieved just over 800 views from 16 different countries with the main visitors being from the UK followed by the US and India. WordPress summarised these statistics with a comparison to cable cars found in San Francisco:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 820 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

I’ve enjoyed the short time I have spent blogging and am looking forward to keeping it up in 2016. I also wanted to take a minute to look back at 2015 and put together a post with my favourite photos.

Birthday

This picture is from my 20th birthday where some of my friends came to visit me at university and we all went out together. It took so long to get everyone to stand in one place for a photo to be taken!

New York

I was lucky enough to go to New York this year to visit my sister and this is my eldest sister, her best friend and I in Times Square. I had the most amazing times when visiting America and being in New York is definitely one of my biggest highlights of 2015.

Summer Ball

This photo marks the end of my second year at university. Our university has a big summer ball where everyone dresses up and a load of us went as aliens. It was a brilliant way to celebrate the end of second year.


This is the first picture I took with our new puppy Rufus! He has got so much bigger and I definitely underestimated how stressful a puppy can be at times but he has been a great addition to the family.

Bestival Crowd

Bestival was one of the best weekends of the year and I love this picture my friend took of me and Alice when we were dancing to Missy Elliot. Its not the best quality but it captured such a brilliant moment where were dancing like morons.


This is a photo of my friend Ellie and I celebrating her 21st. I was taking a load of photos of her with her cake because I knew how awkward she felt when everyone was singing to her and her mum took this photo of us. I love that we didn’t know it was being taken but it sums up the brilliant weekend we had celebrating her birthday!

Instagram Best Nine

I thought I would include my Instagram best nine from my chinsontour account to highlight the short time I have spent blogging and how much I have enjoyed it. Hopefully my Instagram will be full of new posts next year!

There are so many more photos I could have included. 2015 has been a good year but I’m looking forward to what 2016 brings. Happy New Year everyone!

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