One Year Older: Time for Reflection (Part 1) | Lifestyle

With my 19th birthday around the corner, I thought it would be a nice idea for me to reflect on this past year before becoming one year older – focusing on what I have achieved, celebrated and also the challenges I have faced. This is probably the most personal post of mine to date, and I am hoping that as I write this, it will form some sort of diary and timeline of this past year for me to look back on in the future.

The 11th June 2017 was the date I finally turned 18 – I remember going out that Sunday morning with my mum to our local Tesco to stock up on whatever alcohol I wanted, just because I finally could! I think I got the classic 6-pack of Kopparberg, some Caribbean Twist, and a bottle of Smirnoff ready for when I could celebrate finishing my A-Levels…Yep, my birthday was right in the middle of my A-Level exams. So apart from that quick 10 minute journey to Tesco, I did nothing else to celebrate turning 18 until after my last Business exam on the 23rd June… What a great start to adulthood for me :)!

I remember struggling to balance studying for my exams with working at Primark as a Supervisor during the majority of May/June, and I recollect me and my co-worker Megan stressing about this final Business exam on the 23rd as we carried on folding jeans and size-ordering clothes on the shop floor! I can still picture the time we saw each other in work after it and we were absolutely BUZZING it was all over! – From talking about how to work out net profit and cash flows, we could finally discuss how we was going to celebrate and boy, did we celebrate!

End of Exams Celebrations - Level, Bolton - 25th June 2017
End of Exams Celebrations – Level, Bolton – 25th June 2017

I already had my 18th birthday celebrations lined-up only a few days after, but we just couldn’t help ourselves! After feeling like we couldn’t socialise for the longest time, we took any opportunity to go out and have fun, and it was well deserved!

The 28th June was when I was able to get all my closest friends together for my birthday and have another great night, this time in Manchester! It was great to catch-up with them all after having our different exams, and having my co-workers there made it even better – we had some classic cocktails at the Slug & Lettuce on Deansgate before heading over to the Birdcage where we could show off our dance moves as well as enjoy some cheaper drinks!

My 18th Birthday Celebrations - Manchester - 28th June 2017
My 18th Birthday Celebrations – Manchester – 28th June 2017

After what felt like an endless cycle of nights out celebrating my birthday and the end of exams, it was great to witness my older sister and her boyfriend graduate from the University of Huddersfield with a FIRST-CLASS HONOURS DEGREE!! My sister has always been someone that I have looked up to since I can remember, with me trying to get exam results as good as hers, get a part-time job like she did, and have a career-driven personality just like she does! – So seeing her excel as a teacher in Primary Education has been great, and both her and her boyfriend deserve every ounce of success that they receive!

My Sister Graduating from the University of Huddersfield - 10th July 2017
My Sister Graduating from the University of Huddersfield – 10th July 2017

After celebrating their graduation, it was time to focus on getting set for my annual holiday to Golf Del Sur, Tenerife, where me and my family have been going every year for the past 10 years – It has become a home away from home, and we love flying out their to relax and enjoy the sun! It’s crazy to see how we have all changed over the years as we get our traditional family picture taken in the same place each time we visit!

Golf Del Sur, Tenerife - Summer 2009
Golf Del Sur, Tenerife – Summer 2009

I think the thing that we like about Golf Del Sur is the fact that nothing changes – the people, the bars, the restaurants.. they are all the same! Some may say “Why not try somewhere new?”, but whats the point in fixing something that isn’t broken? – We thoroughly enjoy going, and I cannot wait to be back there this summer!

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It was great to have time away with no stress, and I could finally enjoy myself and spend quality time with my family! Something that is often taken for granted when we are back in England.

On our return home, it was just under a month before I had to go back to college to accept my A-Level results and that is when the worry started to creep back in, but after keeping myself occupied by spending time with friends, the day didn’t seem to daunt me as much because we was all in the same boat, and we just reassured each other it wasn’t the end of the world if we didn’t get the grades we needed for university…

Me and My Friend Kaitlyn - Junkyard Golf, Manchester - 10th August 2017
Me and My Friend Kaitlyn – Junkyard Golf, Manchester – 10th August 2017

Before we knew it, it was the 17th August and it was time to queue up and wait to be sent up the stairs of our college and get our results.. As you can imagine it was the most unnerving experience as it decided whether or not I got into the University of Leeds to study International Business and Marketing! Amazingly, I managed to get the grades I needed and another worry was out the window.. I had never felt more ready to move away and what better place than Leeds!

Obviously, this called for another celebration, so I spent the afternoon with my mum catching up about university and what I needed to get sorted, as well as spending the night with all my friends once again to bounce off each others success stories!

My A-Level Results - Rochdale, UK - 17th August 2017
My A-Level Results – Rochdale, UK – 17th August 2017

Now that I had been accepted into university it was now time to start thinking about getting a new job, as well as getting packed up ready to leave for Leeds towards the end of September!

I originally wanted to transfer to the Primark in Leeds, but after going in and taking the time to speak with the manager, I felt underwhelmed and I just knew I wouldn’t enjoy it there! So, me and my close friend Charlotte decided to have a look at my accommodation and head back to the train station where we popped into Starbucks to grab a coffee, before catching our train back to Manchester. In general conversation, we joked with the barista’s about if they were looking for any new staff members, as my plan to transfer to the Leeds Primark didn’t go the way I had hoped for and ironically, this Starbucks is where I worked part-time up until January 2018!

From working at Starbucks, I was able to meet so many new people who I still care about so much and even though I don’t see them as much now, I still value them endlessly and if I ever bumped into them, it would just be a resumed conversation! – You guys know who you are! x

The Starbucks Team - Roxy's Ballroom, Leeds
The Starbucks Team – Roxy’s Ballroom, Leeds

To my luck, the Starbucks store was getting refurbished during Freshers Week, which really worked in my favour! It was the BEST week where I was able to move into my new flat, meet people who have become some of my closest friends, and also my flat mates! During the week, I signed up to the Leeds University Business Society and I never looked back, it was the best society and allowed me to meet even more amazing people!!

Me and My Best Gal Megan - Leeds, UK
Me and My Best Gal Megan – Leeds, UK

If you are still reading this, then I am pretty impressed as I feel like I have been rambling on for a good while now. So, to give me and you both a break, I am going to post part two of my yearly reflection on Friday which will include what I got up to at Christmas, the down-turn in my university experience and what I am up to instead of university!

But for those people that I have mentioned so far, thank you so much for making this last year one not to forget and I literally LOVE you all!!

James x

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