What I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

So it’s getting close to the last few months of my college years and my, it’s been a journey. I loved college for its freedom, relaxed environment and social aspects (I mean, who doesn’t?) But there are some things that I just wish I knew before I actually began college and perhaps it would’ve been just a little easier.

1. The teachers can be useless

Honestly, the teachers in college are usually nice and understanding. Unfortunately, they can be a bit unhelpful at times. From my experience, teachers took ages to respond to emails, never spoke to me in lessons to check on my work or they’re just bad in general. If I had known this before I enrolled, I would’ve ensured that I literally got all my work completed from the get-go so the only thing I had to worry about was asking for improvements. But thanks to this issue, myself and other friends/classmates were left on our own to do everything.

2. You’re probably not gonna have many friends

Unless you’re good at socialising, then you’re fine.

3. Your subjects are not going to be easy

I think it’s common knowledge by now that A-Levels are definitely not easy. You may be taking 3/4 subjects but the workload is massive. If I had prepared for this and developed a habit of studying and getting organised, I would have been much less stressed.

4. Never take Media Studies

The subject is probably fine in other colleges, but in mine? IT IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER NIGHTMARE. Not only is our teacher not good, she makes the subject way too hard when it’s actually not. Our temporary teacher, while she was away on maternity leave, was an infinite times better, knew how to teach, was funny and friendly and helped us achieve A grades with ease. If he was the main teacher I would have still taken it. But if I had known beforehand that I would get a bad teacher, I wouldn’t have and would’ve chosen another subject.

5. Concessions are available

Well, I managed to just about sign up for concessions this year, but if I had known from the beginning that it was an option, I may have applied in the first year and thus, do my exams with ease. Concessions are basically options you can take for the exams: using a laptop, additional time, being in a separate room etc.

6. You can be an A* student at GCSE but don’t expect much at A-Level

I kinda fared well despite this, mainly because I wasn’t actually an A* student so it was a process of moving up the line. But the amount of work I had to put in to achieve A grades was massive. I should have looked through the specs for my courses so I knew how it all worked.

7. The library is actually comfortable for studying

Our library isn’t huge, but it’s not too bad either. When it’s sunny, the sunbeams come through the ceiling window and it’s just a nice atmosphere to get cosy and studying. I wish I went to the library more often so I could’ve done this.

I can’t think of anything else that I wish I knew, to be honest. College has been interesting so far but if all of this was common knowledge before I officially enrolled I would’ve been a lot more cautious. If you’re still yet to go to college, please consider everything carefully and seriously. If you’re in your first year, you can still make up for everything in your second year at least. Don’t be like me :””) I don’t want to see the next generation of students struggle.

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Where Have I Been?

Hey guys!

I know what you’re thinking, where on earth have I been?

I don’t think I have much of an excuse, to be honest. These last couple of months, I guess I lost some of my interest in blogging as well as personal matters and studying. I didn’t really know what to write about and where I was going with this blog. But now the year is coming to an end and I want to start fresh in 2018!

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to write more often on this blog. But what am I going to write about? Since my love for reading has returned, I decided that I would write book reviews and do some book-related posts. I might also share some other random content that I think would be useful for you all. I will warn you though, I have final exams this year and if you notice that I’m inactive during May-June, then I will be away trying to get those grades for university!

So I hope you all look forward to the new content I will create on this blog and I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2018! 🙂

Finding Your Passion

It took me years before I finally realised what I love doing and what I’m good at. As a child, I firmly knew that I loved arts and crafts. I used to spend a lot of time trying to be creative and while my Mum encouraged it, school ultimately won over my time.

Once I was into primary school this flame inside me, of drawing/painting/being creative, was decreasing into nonexistence. My parents were more concerned about looking at top scores and grades on a piece of paper rather than my passion and interests, which truly made me happy instead of maths or science.

Secondary school was the worst. I was thrust into a hectic schedule of studying and GCSE’s invaded majority of my time. While choosing my GCSE options, I was determined to choose photography and music. However, my parents convinced me to not take photography because it wasn’t worth a GCSE to take pictures. Music was ruled out because it wasn’t “academic” enough. To say I was incredibly frustrated is an understatement. I ended up doing subjects I didn’t even enjoy. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I had followed my heart instead of my parents. It didn’t help that my grandfather told me that medicine was the best path for me, despite the fact that I absolutely detest science.

Then came college. This current part of my life so far has been a significant improvement. My parents are now more accepting towards my career aspirations after they saw the hell I experienced during GCSE. I took subjects that I was genuinely interested in for once, although I still regret not taking photography once again.

Perhaps the problem underlies in the fact that my culture is rather restrictive when it comes to an individual’s passion. I’m sure you’re aware of the typical Indian stereotype of every student being forced to take either medicine or engineering. Believe me, I’ve been to India several times and pretty much everyone I’ve met is either studying to become a doctor/nurse, engineer or accountant. I can’t help but feel sorry for them. Good for them if they truly love these career paths but surely, there are many Indian youths who would rather study something else. My oldest cousin was originally studying accounting or something related to economics/business. But he simply didn’t want to go down that route and our family realised that it wasn’t working for him. Now he’s studying hotel management and is seemingly a lot happier. Unfortunately, India has still yet to move forward in this area. Anything that does not fit the traditional standards is usually seen as a hobby rather than a potential career choice, such as art. Being raised in Britain is certainly a blessing as it has opened doors for me that would not have happened had I remained in India.

My struggle in finding my passion wasn’t just about my future career, but also in discovering what I’m good at. Some of the biggest things in my life which I am upset about is not being able to develop my art skills. Since I was continuously forced to study, I never had much time to practice drawing or painting. Thus, my artistic skills are still very basic compared to my friends who are now almost at a professional level. Now that I have slightly more freedom, I’ve been returning to my beloved world of creativity and will keep working to hone my skills.

My advice to you is to go ahead and follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone judge your aspirations and keep practising so you’ll become good at what you love doing. If you’re still young then I cannot stress enough how you should do so, because later in life you will look back at that former glory and regret not following your heart just like I have. Explore different things, find what you’re good at and what you love and it can be anything. Then stick to it because it will be the key thing that will define YOU.

Being Comfortable With Myself – Appearances + “Body Positivity”

Honestly, adolescence is an enormous wake-up call to reality.

I’ll use my experience as an example.

Growth and transition to adulthood are not just the change in physical appearance, our minds shift drastically. Those eyes that only cared about looking at butterflies in the garden became fixated on the cellulite hanging off my torso. Then came acne and a series of episodes where I became self-conscious about my appearance. Of course, I can’t leave out my mole, which is on a terrible part of my face. I used to be called “pencil-legs” by family and friends and even used to be the tallest in my entire primary school. Then I built up fat in the most unsightly places, due to my careless eating, and didn’t grow any further than 5″3.

You get the point, I hated the fact that my body changed for the worse. I have myself to blame and the raging hormones. So what happened next?

I started using social media when I was 13 so you can guess the nightmare that followed. Beautifully shaped girls with perfectly symmetrical facial structures, no blemishes, nice flowing hair, gorgeous lashes and tall, slender frames constructed most of my friends and my Instagram feed. My self-esteem plummeted so hard that I even developed jealousy over guys and their perfect muscled figures with sharp jawlines. Even when I put on makeup, I still didn’t look as good as my friends, who became the equivalent of supermodels once they started dolling up in secondary school. My pudginess was used as a token for others to say “you’re beautiful just the way you are” or “you don’t need to change that, just be you”. But something didn’t feel quite right in that aspect.

Needless to say, I hated my face. I hated how I couldn’t be as perfect as them. I hated how no matter hard I tried, I still looked horrible. I hated the fact no boy would ever come up to me and want to be my boyfriend (cringy but you know).

But that’s no longer the case (for the most part).

Now, I’ve decided that I couldn’t really care less about my face. I’ve improved my makeup techniques so that’s a plus. But most of all, I learnt to really love my looks. This is the way I was created by God and He makes no mistakes. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and smile, and I have to admit that it’s really cute! 🙂 Seriously, go to your mirror and smile, it really helps.

As for my overweight body? I knew that it would be unhealthy and damaging to my body if I continued that lifestyle of binging junk food, so I now hit the gym and am improving my diet. There is a stark difference between accepting how your face looks and how the rest of your body looks. I realised this quite recently. Having a certain-shaped nose or thin eyebrows isn’t harmful to you in slightest. But being overweight or obese? That is definitely going to cause problems with your health if you don’t act to change it. I didn’t want to destroy my life so I chose the wise choice of working hard to improve my health. Although, my progress is a little slow because I am inevitably lazy sometimes.

I want all of you, girls and boys, to love yourselves. Don’t worry about how your face looks, those who won’t accept the fact that that’s who you are, don’t deserve you. But remember, if you truly and deeply care for your body, you will work hard to make sure it stays healthy. Don’t succumb to the false messages that people provide in this day and age about body positivity. It’s good to accept your appearance as it is, but it is also important that you take care of it as well.

 

10 Ways To Boost Your Happiness :)

So I’ve been working really hard recently (college, exams etc.) and I felt that while it’s good to do so, it’s also important to take care of your wellbeing. Our mental health is just as important as getting those grades if not more. So today, I’ll be showing you how to boost your happiness and relax 🙂

1. Watch your favourite TV series

Nothing feels better than cuddling up in a blanket and drinking some hot chocolate, all the while you binge some Netflix. Have some time to yourself in the evenings to catch up on your favourite show. I would recommend watching after you’ve studied, as a reward, if you’re still in school/college/uni but feel free to do it whenever if you’re on holiday!

2. Read a good novel

I cannot stress enough how important reading is. Buy a book, go to the library and sit down in the comfort of your room or the atmosphere of a local coffee shop. Immerse yourself into these beautifully crafted worlds and characters. You won’t regret it, trust me.

3. Eat your favourite foods

Just eat whatever you wish. Satisfy your taste buds and stomach. But don’t gorge yourself, you’ll fall ill!

4. Write in a journal

Transferring your thoughts onto paper is an effective method of releasing any tension within you. Vent out your frustrations, write down your goals. You are likely to feel a lot better.

5. Learn a language

Take it easy and find a language you think is fascinating. Step by step, practice the vocabulary, learn the grammar and if necessary, the character system. Organise all your notes in a beautiful notebook and look over it every day. Learning a foreign language is a useful skill and will render you knowledgeable about other cultures. Don’t stress out though, take your time.

6. Take a warm shower

You’ll feel clean, refreshed and much more alive than before.

7. Make art

You don’t have to be an expert to draw or paint. Just take a piece of paper or get a sketchbook and draw whatever comes to mind. If you’re feeling ambitious, YouTube is your friend to find helpful tutorials to do so!

8. Get a good night’s sleep

Sleep is so important. There’s nothing more or nothing less to it. I sound like a hypocrite right now because I’m struggling with my sleep hygiene. The first step is to set up an early bed time and turn off all your electronic devices. Follow the above, such as taking a warm shower or reading a book instead. Maintaining a good sleep pattern will obviously decrease fatigue but is also beneficial for a good memory and a healthy brain.

9. Share the love

Smile at people, even if they’re strangers. Be helpful to someone. Perform little acts of kindness. You might make someone’s day and you’ll feel good too 🙂

10. Find your passion

Do whatever you’re good at and it can be pretty much anything. Praise yourself while you’re at it, but don’t fuel your ego though. Finding that spark will lead to an adventure like no other!

 

So I hope these will help you in finding happiness. It’s important you do and don’t forget to smile! You’re valued and loved and you have gifts. So keep on being awesome! Positivity is key 🙂

The Future Is Equal: Poetry & Thoughts

the future is equal.
it will not be an
imbalance of matriarchy
or patriarchy.
but rather a joy in
celebrating the very
existence of ourselves
as humans.
there is not much
difference for the
same scarlet blood
flows through all
of us.

– Ashika

I often see or hear the phrase “The future is female.” and quite frankly, this bothers me. It is implying that females will rule and become superior to men as if it is a warning call of replacing patriarchy with matriarchy.

I do not agree with this concept. The future needs to be equal. There should be no superiority of a specific gender, race, sexual orientation or political ideologies. Everyone needs to learn how to love and treat others equally. While it is easier said than done, I have no doubt that one day in the future, people will begin to realise the beauty of cohesion, fairness and harmony. It may be within the next couple of years or it could be decades later.

But remember, if we need our children and the future generations to not suffer the troubles of the past, the future needs to begin with you.

Misandry: Poetry & Thoughts

The boy had his mind tortured and his body besieged

“But others will create a mockery of me”

He will not be clothed, fed or given a roof to find solace

“I’m expected to be flawless”

The boy cannot ponder a second’s thought of another

“I’ll become a caricature or monster”

Because he’s a boy

Life will become a toy for other’s to play with

Not a single ounce of care or concern

It will be too long

Before any soul can discern

– Ashika

Misandry. A word so uncommon in every nook and corner of this world. How many people know the meaning of this word?

Misandry – The hatred of men.

People scream and cry and demand justice for women subjected to misogyny. But a silence echoes when a boy or a man is subjected to the same hurt, pain and injustice. This is not an excuse to belittle the women, in fact, they are obviously important and should not face harshness from any soul. But this lack of impartiality towards our boys really angers me.

In this day and age, this topic is rather controversial. But for what reason? Because they are boys? Because they should be manly? Because they should already be blessed and fed and protected with the hand of God because they are men?

Let me inform you all on why misandry is just as important an issue to battle:

  • Men suffer from mental health issues
  • Men can get raped
  • Men can be subjected to domestic violence
  • Boys can suffer from self-esteem issues
  • Males usually do not show their emotions over fear of “losing their manliness”

Just because these issues surrounding males aren’t as prominent as women, it doesn’t give any of us an excuse to ignore or belittle those who do go through these terrible periods of their lives. Let’s tear away this stigma surrounding male victims and stop this unnecessary hatred of men who are only seeking a good life.

Hate will not end hate!

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.