#4: afraid to feel anything

I just crashed my bike.

On my days off I cycle to the shop across town, grab my food shopping for the next few days and cycle back. Yeah, it’s not the closest shop, but I like the ride.

On the way back, two full shopping bags, one on each side of the handle bars and a backpack full of drinks, I go past another shop. As I leave this shops car park, they have those trolley stops. I come around the corner and as soon as I get into the trolley stop, one of my shopping bags decides to wrap itself around on the the bars and in turn my bike gives up on moving and I slide head first down the pavement.

No less than four people walk past me before someone stops to ask if I need any help. The man helps me get my now scattered cinnamon buns to the side of the path and I assure him my girlfriend is only around the corner and she can help me get home.

When I was a kid I remember being covered in cuts and grazes. Constantly out playing with my brother, who can climb this tree faster, who can go faster on their bike, never giving a fuck if we got hurt. If anything, that was the fun part. Offering mum and dad, bumps, bruises and cuts to tend to as we just laughed because fuck it, at least we had fun, right?

But as I’ve grown older, suddenly I don’t remember the last time I had a graze, I don’t remember the last time I cut myself on brambles, I don’t remember the last time I climbed a tree. I don’t remember the last time I did something because it sounded fun, even though I might hurt myself.

I’m sitting writing this with a bump on my head and a graze on my knee and I feel fine. If anything now I have a good story to tell to people when they ask me how my day was.

But I was always so afraid of falling or hurting myself, even a tiny bit, I stopped having real, proper, fun.

So today, I challenge you to do something just because it seems fun. Climb a tree, go a little faster on your bike, sit on a skateboard and power down a hill. I don’t give a fuck what it is, just do it. And if you’re lucky, you can come join me in the grazed knee club.

Hly.

#3: the best damn people in the world

You make friends for life at uni is a phrase often thrown around.

My course led to one specific career route: go to London, make adverts. Which is great, but when I found the London life wasn’t for me, I hung around in our crime-rich student town with no idea where to go next.

At this point I struggled to find a job, and couldn’t afford to put a roof over my head. I think I would call this my rock bottom. One week I graduated uni, the next I got kicked out of my house with no idea where to go, and no idea what to do.

At this point my course mates were landing internships, some even jobs, flying across the globe and achieving dreams. None of these things were things I wanted to do anymore, but I was so trained to want them, that my “breaking” London was a sign of success, it was hard to face my peers when London broke me.

Not because I know they wouldn’t support me, I believe they are the best people in the world. Not because I knew they wouldn’t still respect me, I would help and admire them through anything. Just because the idea of not wanting that path was so foreign to even me, and it was how I felt, that how could they even know what to say.

Suddenly the people I stood shoulder to shoulder with felt like they towered above me like giants. They knew what they wanted. They had a job, a purpose. They had a roof over their heads that they knew wasn’t going anywhere.

This blog is an excuse, a reason for missed parties, declined calls and unanswered texts messages.

This blog is a reason, a reason I wasn’t there, a reason I’ve gotten lost somewhere along the way.

This blog is a message, you people are the best damn people in the world, and everyday I wish the best for you. I’m just finding my feet right now. I’ll get there.

Hly.

#2: the curse of the unpaid internship

It’s something you never consider when coming to uni, or I didn’t anyway, working for free. You study for three years and become good at what you want to do, you even get a neat little certificate and a ceremony to tell you and your nearest and dearest you are good at it.

It’s a creative thing, mainly, the unpaid internship. An elephant in the study room, a whisper on lecturers lips and a very real problem for graduates.

I recently applied for my dream job, writing online content for an extreme sports company. It was a five minute train ride away, working with great people, and it was something I really knew I would be great at.

I got an interview and even ironed my special ‘I need to look smart’ shirt for it. Arrived half an hour early and had a coffee in the cafe opposite the office. I was told my interview would be an informal chat where my interviewer would try and get to know me, see if I would fit into the company, nothing to worry about.

After a very shaky 20 minutes that felt like 20 hours, I left what can only be described as the interview of a creative persons nightmare. An interview featuring a surprise guest that was the CEO of the company, and a potential job molding into a unpaid internship with no chance of a job at the end right before my eyes, but the experience would look GREAT on my CV.

As I walked back to my 5 minute train ride I had to do some math, how long can I survive with no income? A question I’m sure most graduates have had to ask themselves at some point.

Because of my “lack of experience” my work is still deemed worthless. Regardless of my degree, my portfolio, my previous internships, my work is still not deemed worthy of pay.

Agreeing to an unpaid internship is agreeing that your work isn’t worth anything.

Graduates, we haven’t paid tens of thousands on degrees to be told our work isn’t worth anything, we haven’t given up three years of our lives to not be able to put a roof over our heads or feed ourselves, we haven’t worked our asses off to be told that work still isn’t worth a penny.

Please don’t be scared to let go of your dream job because it means you won’t be able to survive. Don’t be scared to tell someone their offer is offensive. Don’t be scared to stick up for yourself.

I did. (And I’m doing great.)

Hly.

#1: the start of the end

It’s weird.

I don’t know what you go to university thinking, but when you leave life seems much different. Suddenly you kind of know how to take care of yourself, you also realise just how brilliant your mum and dad were at doing that, and you have no fucking clue what’s going to happen next.

Well, that’s how I felt when I left.

I felt this air of positivity. As if now I had spent 3 years working my ass off I was owed something by the universe, owed something by society. In all honesty part of me still feels that way. You stay up for nights on end completing assignments, spend hours on Photoshop just getting those few pixels perfect, spend time commuting into the city in order to try and convince someone you are worth their time and then after three years you’re kinda owed a job, right?

Wrong.

Turns out society doesn’t give a shit that I used to keep a toothbrush at my desk because I wouldn’t go home so often it became necessary. Turns out employers don’t give a shit that I missed family birthdays and events to be on the other side of the country working. Turns out these people don’t give a shit that I spent weeks with only pennies in my bank account trying to work out where I could get my next meal from because I had to spend all of my money on train fare to get into London for no one to even give my work a second glance.

When it comes to business, employers have one decision to make, who is the best person for the job? Until you get a job however, your lack of experience will deem you in fact NOT the best person for the job, it’s somewhat of a viscous cycle really.

Since graduating life has become about finding that person who can break the cycle, and think maybe, just maybe I could be the right person for the job, if I was only offered a chance.

So that’s what this blog is. A place to share stories, start discussions and hope that maybe someone will read this and think ‘hey, I could be that person.’

Hly.