The London Book Fair

On Tuesday 14th March, 2017, I was fortunate enough to go to the London Book Fair.

My experience was incredibly interesting and I enjoyed every minute of it! So, as per,

Being a B.A. Creative and Professional Writing student, I aspire to get into the publishing industry. Whether as a writer, editor or sales assistant – who knows? I’m just fascinated by the whole process of publishing books.

However, this was my last week of lectures and I knew an opportunity like this would most likely never come up again, so I decided to go.

After arriving at London Victoria nearly two hours before I was due to meet my lecturer and my classmates, I decided to kill time by visiting the City of Westminster. Seeing the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the Eye once again reminded me of how much I love this city.

After two Tube journeys and a bus journey, I finally arrived at Olympia London 10 minutes before we were due to meet. After mistakenly thinking I was outside the main entrance, I was informed by my lecturer (thanks, Emily!) that the main entrance was, in fact, opposite the train station. Can you tell I had never been to this area of London before?

Once I entered the venue, it was huge. At least hundreds of publishing houses from around the world had arrived at this fair. You could see authors making deals with publishers and agents. It was overwhelming. As me, my lecturer and one of my classmates tried to find a seat, we ran into Sam Missingham. She works for HarperCollins, and it was an interesting chat about what we wanted to do in the industry. She gave us a few tips which will come in handy! It was inspiring to meet someone in such a popular company who was enthusiastic, passionate and energetic about what they do!

After 10 minutes of scurrying around the place, we eventually found a table and discussed what stalls or talks we were going to attend. We were joined by the others, and after a quick tea and coffee break, we went to all the different various publishing houses including Bloomsbury, Gardners (a book wholesaler company), Penguin Random House and Nosy Crow. The representatives were generous enough to spare a few minutes of their time to talk to us about all the different aspects of publishing, and I was even more impressed. They gave us a few pointers on where to start, who to go to, and what to do to ensure that we start a career in publishing if we so wished.

I won’t go into detail about every piece of advice we received from these successful people, but I absolutely cherished every single moment of my time there, and I couldn’t be more grateful to our lecturer for making it happen! Thanks to the LBF, I am adamant that I want to pursue a career in this profession and it motivated me to finish my assignments and graduate. Will it be a challenge? Yes. But I’m willing to put in all the hard work to get to where I want to be, and I’m so excited to join such an amazing community.

 

The End of a Canterbury Tale

In September 2014, I travelled to Canterbury to enroll as an undergraduate student. Naturally, I was terrified. I was about to start in a new academic environment and I had no idea what to expect.

Would I make friends?

Will I succeed?

Did I make the right choice?

These questions were constantly going round in my head, and unbeknown to me at the time, I couldn’t have been more stupid and paranoid to worry about such things.

Here I am, in March 2017, six months away from finally graduating with a B.A. Hons degree in Creative and Professional Writing, after the most challenging and stressful, but amazing, three years of my life so far. Has it been easy? No. But since when has university ever been easy for anyone?

Over the past three years, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve grown in a way that I never would’ve expected to happen whilst I was at school. I’ve become more outgoing, social, honest and confident as well as another host of things that I never thought I’d overcome. I’ve embraced my flaws and stepped out of my comfort zone, trying new things and grabbing opportunities instead of waiting for them to happen. I have truly lived during my time at university.

As sentimental as I can be, I’m going to miss everything about university when I leave. The campus, the people, the memories… all of it. As I prepare myself for the working world, I can’t help but wonder if my life would’ve been the same if I hadn’t decided to sign up to UCAS in sixth form. And as much as I hate to admit it, I’m going to miss the assignments. The theory? Maybe less, but I’m definitely going to miss the creative stuff which will be in my portfolio for future employers to look at.

Also, I’m going to miss my small group of friends who have literally made my life at uni so funny and great. I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye and go my own way, but I’m hoping we will remain friends for a long time after graduation. I couldn’t thank them enough for being a part of my life and I wish them every single bit of success in the future.

The assignments might be stressful, but when I stand up on that platform in September, the effort and sleepless nights will be worth it all. I’m not ready for my time at Canterbury Christ Church University to be over, but I’m excited about what the future brings.

Let’s do this, Class of 2017. Let’s make our final months as students worth the hard work. Let’s get those 1st and 2:1 class honours with integrity and pride. We are the future.

As a chapter ends, another one begins. It is the end of my own Canterbury Tale.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!

 

I’m sorry for the lack of activity since September. I’ve been too preoccupied with work and university that I completely forgot about this blog. There will be more posts in 2017. I promise!

Even though it was 2 days ago, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you had a fantastic day with your families. I certainly did! Whilst it is exciting to receive gifts, it’s equally exciting to give to your loved ones and see their faces light up as they unwrap their presents. I was fortunate enough to buy more than a box of chocolates for my parents and siblings this year (thank you, employment!)

absolutely loved the dinner too! What can beat a lovely Christmas dinner? Especially pigs in blankets, and pulling Christmas crackers and jumping out of your skin as it goes bang.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas or celebrate something else instead, I would like to extend my hand in wishing you Happy Holidays. There’s a lot of backlash about this phrase right now, but I still mean it in goodwill, and I hope you still had a great day. You also deserve a break from your everyday life.

On that note, I will leave you with this one message:

Happy New Year! May your 2017 be filled with good health, happiness and optimism.

 

“What Do You Want To Do After You Graduate?”

“What do I want to do after I graduate?”

It’s a question every uni student will struggle to answer during their studies. Will my career choice change when I’ve received my degree? Will I regret taking my course? Should I pursue a postgraduate course, or just go straight into employment? These questions are enough to make you want to pull your hair out or slam your head into a wall.

When a friend or family member asks what you want to do after your graduation, it can feel like you’re being asked if you had committed a crime. You just don’t know how to answer without appearing lazy or unproductive. Say you come out with a 1st class in BSc Psychology, and you no longer want to be a psychologist, but you want to be a film director. How do you go about saying it?

Oh, I don’t want to be a psychologist anymore because I have an interest in producing films. Sorry!” will just not make the cut. It can be daunting. It doesn’t help when because you go to university, you’re expected to know what you want to do right away.

For example, I plan on getting an internship or part-time job, travelling across Europe and being a freelance writer. Will it happen? Who knows. It might happen, but it might not. Realistically, I could be working at the local supermarket and not travelling through the extravagant Spanish beaches or hiking through the Alps.

It’s okay to not know what you want to do. There’s plenty of time to figure yourself out, even if it doesn’t feel like it. That’s the interesting thing about life; it doesn’t often go the way you wanted to, but sometimes, it happens for a reason.

So, don’t fret about it too much. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. It just means your life went in another direction, and that’s fine.

Third Year Fears

In September, I will be in what is arguably the most important year of an undergrad’s life.

Third Year.

I’m terrified. Not because of the tremendous amount of work I’ll have to endure for hours in the library, or the dread and fear about my dissertation (which, admittedly, I haven’t made a start on planning in the two months of summer I’ve already had), or the fact that it’ll mean less free time to myself as I’ll be too busy preparing and writing assignments until they’re due until my fingers become numb from all the typing I’ll do.

No, it’s because I only have a year until I finish education for good. You submit your dissertation for marking, and then it will be graduation a few months later. It will mean the endless stress of trying to find a relevant topic to write about for your paper. It will mean living the student life as much as you can because your days as an undergraduate student will be numbered. It will mean working harder to achieve greater grades to ensure you get a satisfactory result at the end of your degree. It means graduation being your last chance to say goodbye to your friends as you eventually part ways and follow your own path in life.

However, I’m determined to make it the best. I want to go out clubbing. I want to meet new people. I want to take up more opportunities, and I want to live a little unlike 1st and 2nd year. Honestly, I just want to leave university on a high note. University means hard work, but who’s to say you can’t have fun, especially during the hardest year?

University has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I don’t have a single regret in my body about going. I’m feeling slightly confident about 3rd year to better myself as a student and as a person. My time will be too short to leave my assignments until the last minute. I need to start improving my spelling, punctuation and grammar so as to hone my essay writing skills for the critical essays I’ll have to write.

I want to be satisfied with my last year of education. I don’t want to be one of those university students who leave with a 3rd and hope for the best. I’m not freaking out. But I have fears; what if I don’t do well? What if I don’t get to graduate? What if my degree gets me nowhere in my life, no matter the result?

But also, there’s no time and place for negativity at such an important time in my life. Focus is key. I’m determined to put it to use.

So, what do I need to tell myself? Keep calm and keep your eye on the prize. Because on graduation day, I want to have a smile on my face, knowing that I made it out alive and the world will be my oyster.

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Just a small town boy…

Ever wondered what it’s like to live in a town which sits right next to the shore?

I’ve lived by the sea nearly my whole life. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. The beach in my home town, Sheerness, is something I can’t fault. Despite the town’s many flaws, it can be quite elegant in the summer.

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Sheerness at dawn. [Cameron Jull, 29th April 2016]
Everyone says they hate the place where they grew up. I’m guilty of it. I have a love-hate relationship with this town which so interestingly has a lot of history behind it. If you look out to sea carefully, you’ll be able to see the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, and the various different buildings scattered in Southend-On-Sea. Fun, right? Sometimes. I might complain a lot about it, but this is home to me and it will always be. I’m not particularly proud of where I live, but come on, who actually wants to stay in the same place for the rest of their lives? Definitely not me.

When the sky is blue and there isn’t a cloud in sight, it makes the town look like a paradise. A rare sight considering this is Britain we’re talking about. I’ve walked across the promenade many times by myself and it’s such a great place to escape to. I consider it my ‘happy place’ and I always have.

There’s just something about the tranquillity of the beach; the high waves crashing graciously against the shore, and the local townspeople walking their dogs or cycling between the two white chalky lines. Sometimes, I’m tempted to just pick up a book and go there to read, but naturally, I don’t get round to actually doing it.

In August every year, Sheerness often holds a carnival and fair that nearly everyone enjoys. During the evening, fireworks are lit on the beach and you can see the protruding colours pour into the sky, illuminating the water below. It’s a wonderful sight.

Even though there isn’t much to do here and my constant complaints about the boredom, it’s still home. It always will be, and a part of me will always belong to the sea.

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Sheerness beach looking out to Southend-On-Sea, Essex. [Cameron Jull, 29th April 2016]

Reflections

My second year of uni is coming to an end, and I feel like it’s time to reflect on how this academic year has been.

Without exaggerating too much, it has been one hell of a year. While it’s been emotionally and mentally challenging, with hurdles and obstacles along the way, it has also been great. I finally made sense of my identity, discovering more about myself and taking big leaps into being the person I am today, and I’ve learned from my mistakes and improved upon them.

In second year, our grades are actually counted towards our final mark in our degrees. It has been an incredibly stressful journey, having failed one assignment last term and worrying about under-achieving, but I think I’m doing well. I’m not completely failing so that’s good.

I’ve come out of my shell a lot this year. I went out with a bunch of friends at Halloween, which was actually my first night out since I started university. It was a great night and I ended up on the brink of being tipsy, but I still had fun. Everyone who knows me well knows I tend to be on the introverted side, so this was a new experience for me as I had only been out with my family and close friends to the local pubs, which didn’t have quite the same effect. We played Cards Against Humanity, watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show (even though I arrived at my friend’s house just minutes before it ended), went to the Student Union and played pool. As expected, I lost. I really hope we can have more night outs because I absolutely loved it.

As mentioned above, I faced failure on an essay I didn’t particularly like. I expected a poor mark, maybe a third, but never did I expect to fail. Needless to say, I was shocked and disappointed and upset, but it was all my fault because I allowed procrastination to get the best of me. I definitely won’t be doing the same thing again. Nevertheless, I didn’t fail the overall module, so I was relieved to hear that.

I’ve set myself some goals which I hope to fulfil in 3rd year, which will undoubtedly be the most stressful year of my career as a student, so here is what I have so far:

  1. Stop procrastinating and get on with some work.  
  2. Finally publish something, even if it’s just on Wattpad. 
  3. Eat healthier, drink more fluids and sleep earlier. 
  4. Don’t worry too much about assignments. 
  5. Go on more night outs. 
  6. Live more. 
  7. Be more confident. 

Obviously, I can’t say I’ll achieve all of these, because who knows what third year will bring. But this year has taught me that I need to buckle down and stop wasting my time because after all, I will leave university next year. I will graduate and I will wish I never left, so I’m determined to make 2016-2017 the best year ever before I graduate and say goodbye to everything I’ve dreamed of for the past sixteen years.

 

Be Yourself, Be Proud

Every teenager at some point feels embarrassed by who they are. It’s unfortunately common, given the impending pressure of adulthood and examinations where we’re expected to grow up quicker than we should. We start to lose sight of who we really are.

As a 19 year old reflecting on my past, I’m ashamed to say I was one of those teens.

I went through a brief phase of being embarrassed by my love for the Harry Potter series. I was always mocked for being too obsessed with it, even to the point where I didn’t pick up one of the books for a long time in fear of being made the centre of a nerd joke. I started to avoid everything that made me happy, including reading and music, simply because I cared too much about the opinions of others.

I was insecure. I felt like the outcast at school. I didn’t want to be hated because of who I was, so I changed myself to impress other people – especially those who I believed were above me on the popularity scale. I was desperate for validation. I was self-conscious about what other people thought and said about me when I wasn’t around.

But most importantly, I was lying to myself and I was refusing to embrace my individuality.

If I could go back, I would honestly slap some sense into myself.

There is nothing wrong with being a nerd. To this day, I unashamedly obsess over Harry Potter and other books. I enjoy sitting down with a nice cup of coffee, watching the latest episode of one of my favourite TV shows on Netflix, and writing. I love blaring my music out loud from my headphones and singing out loud to all of my favourite songs. I love going to gigs and being pushed around in the crowd, and losing myself whilst seeing my favourite bands live. I love being weird with my friends and coming up with lame puns.

And I love it. I love being myself, even if no one else approves. I slowly realised that I wasn’t born to impress anyone else but myself.

One lesson I gained from this was never be afraid to be you, because there is no greater feeling than living the life you want to lead.

And I say it loud and clear: be yourself and be proud. 

 

Confessions of a Music Lover

Music is something I’ve loved since forever.

Is there a day I can go without it? Of course not.

There is nothing better than sitting down after a long day, with a steaming cup of tea in one hand, blasting your favourite songs, and just forgetting about the problems in your life.

I come from a family where music is everything. My late great-granddad used to play the saxophone, my dad and granddad play the drums, and my brother and I are learning to play the guitar (even though I’m still an amateur). It’s constantly playing in my house, and even though it irritates my mum, she never tells us to turn it off unless she wants to watch her TV shows.

I have always relied on music as a means of letting my bottled-up feelings out. There are songs that make me laugh, cry, think, or just simply want to dance to, and that’s the beauty of it.

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