So, this leaving-the-course decision.. I’m really not good at this.

Case in point, yesterday there was a choice between 4 different trains from London to Gatwick airport, all spaced within 15 minutes of each other and I was completely paralysed by it. I just couldn’t understand why there were so many, or the differences between them and therefore couldn’t make a decision. I also wasn’t sure I was even booking enough or too much time, and maybe I should book a flexi ticket? But then I would just be delaying the problem. Anyway it turned out that they weren’t all going from Victoria station, so that whittled it down and I made a decision pretty quickly after that. 

Back to my point. I usually make a decision and then am pretty zen about the consequences of it, as I did my best and had considered all options and outcomes. With this … it’s not so easy. 

I go through periods (hours and hours..!) where I’m completely happy and relaxed about this, and know it’s the right thing to do. Then, I’ll read an account of some excellent care delivered by a neonatal nurse, or about the role of a school nurse and just freak. My heart rate goes up, and my brain starts shooting thoughts. The same happens when I remember that I’ve not told my parents, and I’m not doing so until next weekend (as my dad has a pretty important operation on Friday). The reason this concerns me more than normal is that back in May we made the decision together that I would stay on. I had been so sure I had to leave, but a few days later they’d changed my mind. Now I’m sure I’m going to leave (and it’s almost too late to go back now), but I’ve not had any kind of conversation with them about it. But I do think not telling them is the right thing to do, for a little while. 

It kind of whittles down to this, which I texted to my boyfriend earlier today; 

‘I’m making up my own role*, and I just have no idea if it’s going to work or fulfil me’ 

Being an adult, eh? It’s the worst. (And the best) 


* For those interested, I’m planning on building up being involved with a variety of projects/age groups/companies. This will hopefully include respite caring (during day time or overnight visits), Roots of EmpathyNightstop host for troubled teenagers, Befriender to teenagers leaving care. In the longer term, I hope to include a relationship with teenagers regarding relationships, consent, sexual health and mental health. I hope to do further training for all the previously mentioned schemes, but also with Kids Company, and Place2Be. I also want to start a family.

As far as I can tell- I don’t need a children’s nursing degree to do any of those things. Therefore I’m OK to leave- right? (What is it with me and needing permission..!)


Open Eyes

I’m in a strange place right now.

Throughout May, since my last blog post about it, I fretted and worried about my future on the course. It got to the point where I was sure I was going to leave. However I went to France for 4 days with my parents and little brother, intending to keep my doubts to myself, but ended up spilling the beans. I spoke to both my parents, individually, for hours. I made a decision to stay, and felt better for having made a decision. I decided to try to do many of the volunteering things I hadn’t signed up for due to the unpredictable nature of the course. I put the doubts to bed, and continued on to my second placement.

I hated it, in summary. Again. It was in fact slightly worse than my previous placement. I just thought to myself, ‘well – I’m obviously not destined for a hospital. This is a stepping stone to whatever it is I want to do, which I have yet to discover (but isn’t nursing).’  My mental health remained good this time, and I was able to live a slightly more normal life whilst doing the shifts.

I then organised a routine compulsory meeting with my personal tutor. I filled out the form beforehand, quickly summarising that I had had doubts but was now staying on the course- and the volunteering things I’d recently signed up to do, as well as a brief bit about my home life and interests.

The meeting was yesterday, and it was not what I expected. She was so lovely. In a nutshell, she said ‘why are you doing this? If you’re going to stay, you need a very good reason- someone specifically saying that you need a child nursing degree to do what you want to do. No one is making you do this, and it sounds like you hate it. I want you to be happy. For most students, the placements are what get them through the hard times- but they are your hard times’. She had a point (understatement), and over the course of the almost 2 hour chat (!) I realised I’d started speaking about the course in the past tense.

Since May, I’d put the decision to the back of my mind because I was so relieved to have made a decision. I was too hasty. If my tutor thinks that, then I shouldn’t ‘just wait until the community placements… just wait until you can choose your own placement in 3rd  year.. now you may as well finish’ which is the line I get from the other students on my course. In some ways, if I’m going to leave, it needs to be now- a dignified exit, not dropping out because my flimsy ‘decision’ doesn’t stand up to the pressures of constant placements and the academic work on top.

She also said that I should have children sooner rather than later, if that is what I want- there is nothing stopping me. And I should foster, if that’s what I want- again, there is nothing stopping me…Apart from my fears of what other people think; my parents, my boyfriend’s parents, my siblings, my friends from my school. She said I need to make decisions for myself, and for our future. I felt pretty empowered.


So I’m now in the curious position of still attending two tutorials today, but finding out the awesome local nannying job I applied for last night want to see my CV, and registering my interest with Barnardo’s to accept emergency teenager night placements, and with Leeds Council to begin the fostering process.

I can see this. 3 days a week nannying, which would be making more than my current allowance. The remaining 4 days a week filled with training with various organisations, occasionally hosting a teenager, and soon fostering; respite placements, arranged short breaks or support care.

Living my life- not just waiting. (sidenote- We could also arrange a wedding without me being a ball of stress..)

As my tutor said- staying would be the easy option, as it would mean no changes, but it’s an incredibly difficult ‘easy option’ to put myself through, and doesn’t make a lot of sense. So I guess I’m saying goodbye to the course.

But really, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Round Up

Written in early January.
So, my initial thoughts (as always) is that 2013 was a good year- just fine you know? But let’s sum it up and see if I have anything more to say by the end..
// January.
[Bad start to this post, hazy already.] Boyfriend was working hard at his job, and I was just going with the flow.
// February
Ditto? Set up this blog, here on wordpress rather than on tumblr. I gave up chocolate, which lasted for 6 months. Boyfriend bought me a huge bunch of roses for valentines day. He bought a fish tank, and began collecting strange things in it; Shrimp and snails etc. We did some yoga together.
// March
It was still snowing. His job was hard. I learnt and wrote about unschooling. I beat everyone at bowling at my neice and mum’s joint birthday party.
// April
He got fired/left his crappy/well paid job, and started working as a courier. Cue, crazy month where I was adjusting to him being home so much, and he was adjusting to being free. He turned 24. We considered the idea of him getting a job in London and me skipping Uni but decided to go with the original plan. He set up a business renting our marquees with a couple of friends. I reached 1000 views and 100 likes here on the blog.
// May
He bought a new van. We signed the lease for a new flat, closer into town. Was at the birth of my third niece in London. Boyfriend was still sleep talking. I confirmed my place at University. Boyfriend’s family bought some land in Canada!
// June
We moved house, and realised that it really is the nightmare that people have described it as.
My sister came to visit me. I started working full days with the eldest boy; bad times. Had to stop working at a local special needs nursery, where I had fallen in love with a little boy who was up for adoption. I did a collaboration on the blog, which I got very excited over. The middle girl had a traumatic violin lesson, that really affected me. I bought a rice cooker.
// July
My parents came to visit 2 weeks after we’d moved into our new place. My nannying job ended and I hung around for a while. Bit of an identity crisis- that continued for a while. I watched lots of Nip/Tuck and Vikings. He began applying for more jobs; train driver, for a charity, etc.
// August
Went to France to my family’s house; Boyfriend there for the first week and by myself the second week. Don’t like being by myself! Lots of interesting discussions with my eldest sister about life and love, etc. Doubts about upping sticks to very rural Canada. Began daily journalling, first on Oh Life. Caught a bit of carnival in London, woop.
// September
Progressive nerves about big changes. Apparently I had dreams about my teeth cracking. Started University, and it wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but slowly got into the swing of things. Sold my old car. We celebrated 2 years, minus the actual celebration. Began journalling on evernote instead. Boyfriend did the important exam for his personal pilot’s license. Gave up on alphabet project. The noisy neighbour saga began.
// October
My brother came to stay with us. I had my first student rep meeting. Went to dinner with my old family. I got obsessed with listening to podcasts.
// November
I met his extended family down near London. We had a lovely fireworks night. My first placement, on a tiny baby ward. Nerve wracking, and unpleasant. Made me doubt the course in general. Tried Days app for photo journal but didn’t like it. Boyfriend had a very important job interview- we’ll hear the results before end of Jan! Celebrated birthdays in London with a family brunch. I realised I’ve made a real university friend.
// December
Boyfriend made a new flying friend. Bought a new car, fiat 500! Signed on to a new flat. I turned 21, with my best birthday in memory. Chauffeur, hotel, trampolining, decadent if slightly strange carrot cake, dressed up frozen pizza living room picnic. We moved house, and it was pretty stressful but not as bad. I went France to see my family, queue more life crisis. Switched daily journal to Day One app.
So, lots happened. 3 different houses, 4 different vehicles between us. Start of Uni, end of both of our jobs, many job applications.
Some Goals
/ This year is going to be the year I grow my hair back. No more donating blood (big sad face for that) and gotta take my iron supplements every day. Had blood tests last week to rule anything super bad out, and at the doctors a few days before that he informed me I had had an iron level of 14 in October 2012; normal range being 10 to 100 (but some doctors say 20 to 100)- so thanks for that, GP surgery- you were supposed to call me if anything looked strange.
I will grow this hair back, I want it thick and lucious like it was when I was a kid- and like all my siblings.
/ I want to stay active- not slip back into passive like I was while Boyfriend was at his tough job. It was necessary for survival at that time, but now I need to make sure I represent myself and make my choices, not let them happen.
/ I want to keep working on widening our list of meals, making them more veg-heavy.
/ Who knows what 2014 will bring?
Potentially; essays and placements for me- lots of learning and discovering, engagement, total life gear change & happiness if he gets this pilot job (though it wouldn’t start till 2015)  Fingers crossed no more house moves this year, and no babies just yet,


I haven’t really rambled about any of this yet so here goes;
/ In some ways I’ve been feeling like I’m existing on a different plane to other people. Loads of students walk past a visually impaired guy with a stick, and only I offer to help (nevermind that when he said no, I said ‘ok (smile) see you later’ awwwwkward). People start packing up before the lecturers are finished- they’re people too! People get up and walk away, or don’t listen when someone is sharing an incredibly personal and difficult story- when I could sit there reeling and processing for another 5 minutes. It sounds ridiculous, but it does feel a little that way. I guess it’s just that you never know what other people are thinking, or why they’re doing something, so it’s easy to think you’re the only one thinking it.
/ I volunteered to be student representative for my group (39 child nurses)- and I went to the programme meeting on wednesday- it was so interesting hearing what’s to come in the next few years, finding out the pass rates for the modules I’m doing right now- and the feedback it gets!
/ We’ve got a little group of 5 of us who usually sit together, and can be relied upon to wait for each other or meet up. It’s nice to have someone ask about you or want to sit with you. It’s interesting not to be an ‘add on’ member of something. We all don’t live in conventional Uni halls; 3 with their parents (under different circumstances); S, B, G, then me with Boyfriend and the other girl, L, in some private student halls with no one else from our course. We haven’t met up outside of Uni yet but we’ve hung out a lot, over lunch etc.
/ I tried trampolining club last night with S- it was awesome. We finished lectures at 5 and it didn’t start till 7 so we caught the bus back into town and wandered around then went to Barburrito to get some food. She told me lengthy stories of her summer, and boys. We got the bus back up to Uni, walked through campus to the sports facilities, found a changing room and found the sports hall where it was. It was awesome! We chose the wrong group though- we went total beginner but we weren’t really. We both got sore hands, and scratched elbows. It didn’t finish till 10, then of course I had to wait an age for the bus. It was a lot of fun but I felt terrible when I woke up the next morning- so groggy. While I was out Boyfriend had a steak & beer night with 4 friends but they’d already left by the time I was back. I’d love to go trampolining again but £85 for sports club membership I’m not gonna use, and then £50 for the team. Stacks up! I’m gonna think about it.
/ I’m really enjoying the real ‘nursing’ parts. Thinking about ways to get a child to eat their lunch, finding each others pulses, and learning to bath babies. Some of the modules are just… silly. I can see what they’re trying to do, get us to thinking about how to work effectively in a team that has different disciplines in it, but they way they’ve chosen to assess it is just mad and pointless. Oh well! I’ll survive.
/ There is always a part of me, that in the back of my mind is saying – you don’t have to do this you know. You’re not going to work as a nurse most likely (because we plan to move to Canada). You could just stop now, and start living; start a family and get on. But on the other hand, I do really want to do this. It’s really interesting so far, but who knows how I’ll feel once it steps up a gear. Apparently the second year is the hardest year, because you’re out the community the whole time, which is not something I’d be interested in doing really which makes it doubly hard. I don’t know. I’m giving it a proper chance, and most likely I’ll finish- as long as I don’t get pregnant by accident before I’m done!
Related Posts
1. Uni


Do you spend a lot of time waiting? I feel like at the moment I am waiting, but also embracing life today- as I try to always do. I know how lucky I am.

I was waiting to start University, but now I’m waiting for the other people on my course to settle in. To go out for an evening drink (yes!) but not clubbing all night with lectures the next day (no thanks..).  To get to class on time. To realise that the course is serious, and full- time. We need to concentrate, and oh could we work together on x? To get beyond the ‘I grew up here and this is how I lived’. It doesn’t matter much- this is how we live now, and we need to get on with it. You know?

It’s funny getting to know people day by day. Who arrives late, who’s early, who hasn’t read the emails, who invites you out but doesn’t contact you, who asks for your number, who can’t figure out how to use the university online system intuitively. It really sounds like I’m being horribly judgemental but .. isn’t everyone judging everyone? I am keeping as open a mind as I can. I just want to know who my friends will be, who will support me, if anyone. Because if it’s not going to work, then I want to know. I just want to settle down!

I am just really not enjoying being back in education- especially with a bunch of girls. All this politics isn’t my thing. I just want people to be nice, and to want to hang out with me once in a while. Boyfriend says I have it all wrong, and that everyone feels this way- like they’re tagging along. Maybe I talk too much. I definitely think too much.

An Educational History

or ‘How I Got Here’

I sat the 11+ exams to go to senior school aged.. 11. I got into one co-ed school, and was wait-listed for a very academic all-girls school. After a week I got a place there too and had to make a decision. I chose the latter, as I knew I needed good grades to go to medical school. Both my elder sisters had been there. It felt strange to have been waiting listed- perhaps I wasn’t up to scratch.

I went, for the full 7 years. It was fine. I had trouble keeping ‘best’ friends for more than a year- I think the relationships were too intense to continue perhaps. I wasn’t good at sitting in my seat, keeping quiet or revising for tests but I managed. Clowning around the mid to low range of each class; apart from Biology where my passion lay. We were frequently told ‘you are the most intelligent girls in England’ but it didn’t feel like it to me. When I was 15 or 16 I started wondering about the idea of nursing- thinking perhaps it suited me better than being a doctor, and what I wanted from a career. However, I was dissuaded from every side. ‘You’re too intelligent!’ ‘You’re too stubborn to take orders’ ‘You wouldn’t like it’ ‘No one from this school does nursing. You will be a doctor’. I put it to one side- and continued on my path to medicine instead. This was easier, more prestigious and was accepted by everyone I told. I wanted to do paediatrics but knew I had a least a 7 year wait once I’d started before I could do actually do it. I scraped the relevant A grades at AS. I got a place at University of Liverpool to do Medicine. But, when my A level results came around in August of 2011, I was 5 marks away from the A that I needed in History. Why the university couldn’t see past this is a mystery but I’m very glad now, as you’ll see. I had always said that if I didn’t get the grades I would do nursing instead but when it came to that actually happening- it wasn’t allowed or even mentioned. I was very unhappy that summer, distracted, and didn’t have the emotional strength to bring it up. I was enrolled to repeat my lowest paper- on Norman History. I did the exam in January 2012- and moved from 62 to 94%. I applied to a further 4 medical schools that might accept me, and 1 child nursing course.

My repeat exam course only took up 2 hours each week, so I had plenty of time to do some of the more serious volunteering I hadn’t been able to pursue whilst stuck in school 8.30 to 4pm each day. I went to a palliative care centre where I saw first hand the difference in attitude and happiness between doctors and nurses over an extended period of time. This got me thinking. I worked with children in various capacities- homework clubs, after school. I worked in centres for the homeless and asylum seekers. I visited hospitals and saw open heart surgery. I met nurses who had the grades to be doctors but chose to nurse instead. I read many books, on finding your passion and doing what is right for you. This all got me thinking.

I also had met Boyfriend in September 2011, and his plan to always follow his dreams inspired me to think about what I really wanted- away from the rigorous academic and close-minded environment of school. Independent thinking. I finally piped up in December to him ‘I think, in some ways, that I would rather be a nurse’ and he replied with ‘Yes! I didn’t want to say but I’ve thought that for a while! And my parents think so too!’. It was a revelation. I pinned all my hopes on that 1 nursing place, and was fairly chilled when the medicine rejections inevitably rolled in. When the nursing school rejected me in February 2012, as my application had been purely medicine-focused, I was devastated. In fact, the upset that it caused made me realise that I had to do this. Even if a medical school accepted me- I wasn’t going to go. I only wanted to be a child nurse. But I had to apply, via Clearing, quickly. So I had to cancel that pesky last medical school who were keeping me in suspense- to apply for further nursing places. This upset my parents- though it probably would have been a no from the medical school anyway. I applied to probably 3 or 4, one by one but each said no. No places left. It began to get to the point of ‘these are not places I would ever have applied for by choice- should I really keep trying?’ I stopped trying, and made plans to apply afresh to better Universities in October 2012.

As this was happening, our relationship was strengthening. We realised that instead of just daydreaming about it, we actually could live together. By this point, May or so, I was finished with living at home, with my parents. Done. No more. We made plans for me to get a nannying job (bliss!) and looked for a flat. I told my parents. They were unhappy. I was happy. We were happy.

The rest of this story you know. My job was great but hard at times. Our flat was the sweetest. I got 5 interviews, went to 3 of them- got  3 offers. It all felt so right. In my element. I chose one, and we found a flat nearer to it- where we live now.

I have 4 days before freshers week, and 11 before my course begins. I can’t wait!


Relevant Posts

1. My Work 

2. Strings and Bows

3. My Work (2!)


“talk like best friends, play like children, argue like husband and wife, and protect each other like brother and sister”

I just came across this quote. It struck a chord with me. This is what Boyfriend and I are like.

[It’s so funny that I call him Boyfriend on here because in real life, depending who I’m talking to, I call him my partner. Hardly ever boyfriend]

In many ways we’re a bunch of contradictions, as the quote implies. Sometimes (often) we can’t sleep at night because we’re laughing too much and being dumb. Sometimes we have so many boring things to decide and we take a moment to think of all our carefree friends who would have no idea that BT are a bunch of devil spawn.. I don’t know about protect each other, because I don’t think I’ve ever had to. I’ve wanted to go ruin a few shops when he was at his previous job with people being small minded and mean. (I don’t know how I protect my siblings either. I’d stand up for them, if someone is slagging them off if that’s what it means!)

But anyway, it struck a chord. He is the best (and the only).

It also made me think about how people view me- my old friends from school think that I’m very ‘grown up’ because I pay council tax etc, and I definitely have moved on from that stage but I also feel like I have most in common with children- the intensity of emotions, and the rapid change between each one.  It’s strange to read blog posts entitled ’20 things I wish I knew when I was 20′ and they’re all about doing dumb stuff- I AM twenty. I don’t want to do dumb stuff, but not because I’m afraid to but just because I don’t want to. Am I not a good enough young person?! It’s also strange that in my previous job many people thought the kids were mine (I’d have been 13 when I go pregnant..). But on the other hand when I was discussing potentially not going to University as boyfriend was considering a job in London (this was a while ago) and they asked why I wouldn’t go to which I said ‘because he is more important to me’- and that freaked them out. No doubt because they had a teenage daughter. We met a few 28 year old Phd students the other day who were hanging out in bikinis and talking about being young and carefree- and it felt very strange. To meet people who are both older than you and younger than you at the same time.

It’s another of those ‘who am I?’ questions. No doubt to be all switched up again when I start University, and people don’t know whether I am a school-leaver or a mature student. I’m neither, and both.

But overall, I’m very happy being me. Smile.

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