Category: Introducing…

Alex Dawson : What to expect from your first year of Uni

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As something a lil bit different on the blog today i am going to share a complete contrasted lifestyle. Myself and my sister are two peas in a pod, however this year of our lives has been worlds apart when she left for Uni and the promise of cheap alcohol and I ended up with a mortgage and a resident in my cramped up uterus (I obvs picked the short straw). Whilst my time of being passed out in a gutter and vomming onto someone elses fake Gucci sliders whilst inhaling a dirty kebab from Mr Egg is over, for my little sister it’s just beginning. I don’t cover much of what to expect if you do in fact follow educations expected path: “Go to school, Go to uni, Get a job, Settle down” because for me I left education at 16, so I thought why not get the other version of me (My sister) who experienced the standard Uni transition to share her insight on what the first year of university entailed.

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” I’ll start firstly by introducing myself, I’m Chloe’s younger sister Alex, I’m currently finishing my first year of university at Liverpool, and I’m going to tell you my experience at university. Now going into university, I had very high expectations, I had a large group of friends already and we would love getting f*cked up every week, but also could rely on each other for anything. So, I assumed I would make friends straight away and just have constant fun (I’ll get back to why this isn’t the case later). Six of us from my group all decided to move to Liverpool, I would try and lie and say I loved the city and my course sounded amazing, but the truth was I wasn’t ready to leave my friends behind, I think the same can be said for them too.

On the way to uni , the car all packed up, I sat in the back of the car and cried along to Hannah Montana ‘I will always remember you’, whilst sending snapchats to the group chat of me sobbing, for my friends to respond with crying selfies too. 2

This was followed by my friend Isabelle sending videos of her forgetting all her coats and being screamed at in the back of the car. ‘YOU’RE LIVING IN A DREAM WORLD’, will still to this day be funny.

Once I got to my accommodation I went out for a meal with my family, the nerves had really kicked in at this point, I hardly touched my food and found it hard not to think of the fact that in a few hours I was going to be all alone in an unknown city, without being able to call up my parents when I needed them. I said my goodbyes after and held back the tears as they left me in my room, now it was really happening.

To take my mind off my nerves I started unpacking all my stuff and waited for my flatmate Mollie to arrive, a friend from back home, (told you we weren’t ready to part ways just yet). Of course, just being her luck, her car broke down before she even set out, so it was a long wait.

When Mollie arrived, she had about five hundred bags of stuff which was not going to fit into our tiny box rooms, I helped her bring her stuff into the room and questioned her on why she needed nine types of hairbrush. The following day me and Mollie did our first food shop and met our flat mates, sigh. The first was a girl from Wales called Lacie, she seemed like a nice girl, the second was a boy from Liverpool whose name was James, he was ginger with a dark tan, (that didn’t quite add up to me). Our third flatmate I have seen all of four times this year, he leaves as I enter the room, so I have nothing more to say on him. Our final flatmate Bella joined us the next day, thank god is all I’m going to say.

Fresher’s week was now beginning, and the week consisted of the six of us from Birmingham joining our flats together in a bid to make as many friends as possible. I know many people claim Fresher’s week to be amazing and the best time of the year, but personally adding as many people you can on snapchat and looking for things in common with people you would never normally talk to, just didn’t seem that great to me. I now have a bunch of strangers who I know I will never speak to again. This was also the week I discovered James was an absolute twat, firstly Mollie walks in and he looks her up and down and goes “yeah you look a lot better than you did this morning.” He then later comes up to me and goes “Alex you don’t look anything like your pictures you know.” I am well aware I’m a catfish James, but I would rather you didn’t tell me, thank you. Also, at our pre-drinks some lad had forgotten to bring drinks for himself, so asked if anyone could spare their drink. James then measured a double vodka coke, hands it to him and goes that will be five-pound mate. Some may think fair enough, but to me that was so rude. He also runs everywhere, I am constantly woken up by his pitter patter down the hall, freak. Enough about James, now onto Lacie. She walked into pres firstly in a top, no bottoms at all, pants on full display, is that how people dress in Wales? I wasn’t going to judge her by her interesting outfit choice, but I couldn’t help but laugh at her hilarious dancing, a move that could one day be famous. I’ll be honest, she did carry me home on this night after I fell down the stairs of the club head first, I was going to thank her for this, however we never spoke again.

4I do have to add, during fresher’s I met all of Bella’s friends including their flatmates Andri and Niamh, all people who I absolutely love and now call good friends. A few friends from home came up to visit on the weekend of Freshers, friendly faces were very welcome after a week of forcing friendships. We had a great weekend and it ended with me and my friends waving them off at the train station sobbing once again, we all walked back from the station crying, and I almost got hit by a taxi, ‘Take me then I dare you’ I had said, don’t joke with Liverpool taxi drivers, they don’t play.

I was also very keen to join societies, so signed up to netball and the singer’s society at the Fresher’s Fair. I attended the netball trials, which may I add were an hour’s bus journey away which was off putting from the get go. I managed to get into the netball team and so I went on my first netball night out, never again. It firstly consisted of the fresher’s having to stand in front of everyone and say their most embarrassing memory, for a lot of people this would have been an easy task but that, mixed with the huge crowd of unknown people was very overwhelming. As it neared my turn to stand up I ran to the toilet and had an anxiety attack in the cubicle, whilst messaging Mollie on what to do. She told me to breathe and just stay there until I had calmed down, this was great advice as it meant I would get to miss the public speaking. I waited it out and left the cubicle, when people asked where I had been I told them I felt too drunk and thought I was going to be sick- an easy lie to tell at Uni. This was shrugged off and we continued to the club. This was where I realised I definitely was not suited for a society. Fresher’s were given challenges which I just found annoying like ‘hump the floor’ and ‘go and grind on the security,’ hilarious right? Whilst I was still out at the club I saw a friendly face, my friend Remi out with people from her netball, I joined her for the rest of the night and proceeded in having a decent night. After my anxiety over a simple speaking task in front of people, I then realised I just didn’t have the balls to actually attend  the singer’s society open mic night, I used the excuse the people who went didn’t seem like my people, but I knew it was because I was too terrified to try and fail.

During the actual Uni part of Uni I met Jodie, we had already spoken online in uni group chats and I had spotted her in the crowd and thought, wow she dresses like me we would get on. It turns out we did get on, we discovered we are practically the same person, we have the same walking pace, and she once asked me if I had seen Les Misérables, those that know me know will know why this was music to my ears. I made other friends on my course as the year went on, but it is very hard to actually bond with people during a lecture hall that is supposed to be silent. 7

A common misconception about Uni, one that I did make myself, is that you are going to go and make so many friends in your building and on your course, this hadn’t really happened for me yet. At least not to the extent I had built up in my head. Ill also add that the actual Uni work of Uni often got in the way a lot, but I did find i breezed through the year, admittedly my attendance fell as I began favouring student nights or simply an entire season of ‘RuPauls Drag Race’ over lectures in the morning, I’m only a first year was my excuse.

As I began getting into the swing of things as the year went on I began having more and more fun, I realised quite early on that I just wasn’t the type of person that wanted to go to a new pre-drink each week and meet constant strangers in a bid to know as many people as I could. I knew that the new friends I had picked out from a large group of people were people I wanted to spend time with, and that of course nobody could beat the friends I came with. Now I had this mindset, Uni really became amazing and what I had believed it to be.

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I will now bore you with memories that will forever make me laugh. We learned that Isabelle is a complete liability. She once threw up on the dance floor and we propped her up in a booth trying to ignore the people slipping over in her sick. Another night, which is called 999 night, actually turned into 6 six people carrying a lifeless Izzy home, with me standing idly by, shouting ‘OHHH FUCKINGGG HELL’, whilst the security attempt to drag her to our room. Remi phoned an ambulance as she choked on her sick in my hall, they told Remi to put her in the recovery position. (Izzy told me to insert a warning about Tesco vodka here ). Mollie had what was called the sick cup which she would use to keep her place on the dance floor, classy. Remi often ‘lost her health’ a phrase we find hilarious, she went out in arctic temperatures in a skimpy skirt and see through top and claimed she could no longer feel her limbs- she later got mumps and had to leave Uni due to being too contagious.

Our friend Georgia also came to visit us from Leeds for the weekend, she lasted for ten minutes before she was throwing up in the toilets and Mollie was carrying her home, she later woke up as afters began at our flat, which turned into cracking eggs of Izzy’s head. Often nights had resulted in people falling asleep in club booths, a personal favourite is Mollie asleep with High School Musical playing in the background. Day drinking in the courtyard resulted in a drunk catwalk to RuPauls ‘Sissy That Walk’ and screaming ‘Shout Out to My Ex’ as loud as possible, I apologise to everyone in my building.

Me and Remi were also known to wonder off after a few drinks, this once had us exploring an abandoned house which we discovered to be a brothel, we made a swift exit. Ella’s hilarious voice notes of what problem she has found herself in also occurred frequently.

Applebum night for Remis birthday turned into Izzy getting kicked out and trying to change clothes on the side of the road with Remi to get back in, surprisingly this didn’t work and resulted in Izzy running home, I spent that whole night thinking I was in an episode of Black Mirror and thought nothing was real. Another messy night being circus, this was my turn to be the mess, I remember nothing but apparently, I got kicked out, refused entry at another club to then steal a stranger’s jumper and tie my hair up in a bid to get in. This worked, and I lost my ID that night, and then arrived at afters in my pjs, I gave my famous matching PJs to Ella and Remi who stopped over.

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Of course, I have to also mention Space jam night, an abandoned warehouse with an outdoor area which looked like the alien outback, which was rather fitting, and old car seats placed randomly. As well as this, inflatable aliens were hanging from the ceiling, we all collected our own alien and as the night progressed I think I became emotionally attached to mine, I held him on my shoulders on the dancefloor and introduced him as Noah to everyone I crossed paths with.

9Me and my friend Isobel have a freaky connection where no matter how far away from each other we are we will make eye contact and have what we call ‘content moments’. We also befriended people who lived in mine and Mollies accommodation, who happened to live in the same area as us back home, we found it mad how our paths had never crossed before. Jack, who is known as BB, the dopiest person you will ever meet but also the funniest, Tom, who is forever sick of BBs shit, also known for his famous side fringe, Alex, a very extravagant dancer but he pulls it off and Ben, known as Beans, the most laid-back person I have ever met, and finally Dom also a bit of a dope and the male version of Isabelle. I can happily say that going out with everyone, I really have had some of the best times of my life, we drunkenly called them family nights.

Now, I realised I have rambled a lot on memories that many people won’t understand at all but writing this I have realised just how much fun I have had. I do want to add though, with highs comes lows. Uni isn’t always having an amazing time, I do spend a lot of time alone in my room watching shit tv or inviting people over to watch to feel shit with me. Often Izzy invited herself to do this, we would mock her about how she practically lives with us, but she was always a welcome addition (I wouldn’t tell her that to her face). 8

Me and Mollie often communicate with a simple ‘tea?’ text every few hours. Mollie also whacks my hand from the pan whenever I try to help as I tend to burn things, my bad. I often went in to her room to talk all things makeup, ‘Do you reckon this smoky eye would look good with a white and red eyeliner combo?’, or to simply complain about how poor I am.

Anyways, back to the point, if you think Uni is going to be constant laughter with your flat, then you could either get really lucky or in reality it won’t be. But find yourself some great friends and you will have the time of your life. ”

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[The following was written by Alex Dawson and edited by Dawsonxo for copyright disclosures. Any implications or defamations of character/place/events mentioned are not of the opinions of Dawsonxo and conform to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948]

 

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Introducing…Mind A Moment

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I feel weird introducing myself as the creator of Mind A Moment because, although I am, it feels much too formal and like there isn’t really much to introduce.

My blog was born amongst the chaos of dropping out of university after my first year. I had always loved writing and had shown a real passion for it ever since childhood but had never had anything to write about. Ironically, being so lost in life gave me some much needed direction in my writing. My first ever post  did really well, being shared by hundreds of young people who also felt confused about their future. This gave me the confidence to make my blog a regular thing.

I had wanted to start a blog since I was about 13 before blogging was ‘cool’ so all the positive feedback I was getting helped me to forget about the few people who might be laughing at me. I had written about something that nobody else seemed to be talking about and I had messages from so many people praising me for how relatable my post had been. Riding the wave, I scribbled down more things that I wanted to write about and began regularly posting about another taboo: mental health.

I think I always knew I wanted to discuss mental health on my blog because when coming up with a name for it, I wanted something that related to slowing down and taking a moment out of our busy lives. To me, Mind A Moment means mindfulness, a technique that really helped me during some of my darkest moments.

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Fast forward to now, my content has developed with me. I still talk about mental health but in a much broader context. I discuss my (un)luckiness in love, friendship and spiritual healing in a way that I feel hasn’t really been approached before. And through my journey of recovery and self love, my blog has been a creative outlet for me that I am sharing with the internet. My goal has always been to inspire people, to open their eyes and to let them know that they aren’t alone and I hope that I will always continue to do this.

If you like the sound of any of this or want to know more then head over to Mind A Moment or follow me on Instagram

Maddies Blog, Mind a Moment:

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To read the previous Introducing… article featuring Our Beautiful Chaos, Click here

 

[Written by Mind a Moment | Edited & Published by Dawson.xo | Photos by Mind a Moment, Maddie Jennings | Subject to copyright]

Introducing…Our Beautiful Chaos

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Let me introduce myself, my name is Manda and I’m a mummy to two boys and wife to Phil. I’m known on Instagram as our beautiful chaos. We are currently renovating out forever home which is what made me start my blog … interior design has always been my passion, even as a little girl I remember helping my mum arrange and decorate our home. I would spend hours rearranging my bedroom and making houses for my dolls out of anything I could get my hands on. I’ve always been more creative than academic, I sketch and paint and love designing things. I also love upcycling things for our home, I love natural materials so our home is full of branches, plants and rocks that I have sourced on our adventures and made home worthy. I have a hippy soul and I’m very in tune with my spiritual side.

Starting my blog was an outlet for my creative side, for my love of interior … that’s what it started with anyway …

My childhood was conflicted, on one hand I had a gorgeous family unit, my mum is and always has been my hero. Myself, my mum and my sister are known as the A team we have always been so close. Unfortunately, I had to grow up very fast and experienced another side to my childhood, I am still not ready to tell the world exactly what I went through but I suffered abuse as a child and then fell into a dangerous relationship and was physically, mentally and emotionally abused. I have also lost two babies, which I found to be the most traumatic experiences of my life.

One day I got brave and I wrote a blog post about myself and what I had been through, it was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve done. To put myself out into the world was terrifying but it also set a little bit of me free. Since that blog post I’ve posted a lot about domestic violence, mental health and everything in between. It’s become my therapy and my release. I’ve wrote about things people who know me didn’t even know, it’s helped me so much. Then came the messages from people, they flooded in telling me how they had connected to the blogs, telling me what they had been through and saying how much the blogs had helped them. I can’t express how thankful I am that I have this platform to help others going through what I have been through.

And so, our beautiful chaos is now just that … it’s my life, all of it … motherhood, interiors, mental health, it’s the real raw me.

If I can help just one person I know my fight, my pain and my past wasn’t in vain. I’m now happier than I ever thought possible, I have daily adventures with my boys … I’m a mum trying to do this thing called motherhood, sometimes I smash it, sometimes I fall flat on the pile of washing I’ve not done but every second I adore it.

I’d love you to join in my journey, if you want to read more about the crazy life that is our beautiful chaos please come for a read, follow, message … I would love to get to know you too.

Manda xx

Instagram – ourbeautifulchaos__

 

Blog – ourbeautifulchaos.blog

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To read the previous Introducing… article featuring Trust Your Gut Click here.

 

[Written by Our Beautiful Chaos | Edited & Published by Dawson.xo | Photos by Our Beautiful Chaos | Subject to copyright]

Introducing…Trust Your Gut


My name is Billie Anderson, I’m 21 and I’m a history student down on the sunny English coast! If we are talking hobbies in conjunction with student life, it mainly surrounds how much alcohol you can consume without hospitalising yourself. And also knowing where the cheapest pizza is to soak up all that booze!
The other things I enjoy in life (along with wine and pizza) aren’t exactly mainstream: I owned two very naughty ponies who loved to see how quickly they could throw me into the mud! As a kid I’d spend my pocket money on a new bridle or rugs for the horses rather than makeup and clothes like my friends!
I’m also an avid petrol head – an interest that was spurred by my grandad when he took me for a drive in his classic Porsche 924 when I was 7. I almost drowned when the passenger-side foot well flooded with water! There is so much character to a classic car – the smell of pure petrol mixed with 50-year-old cigarette smoke that is ingrained into the upholstery of a 1971 mk1 Ford Capri is so much more exciting than a Prius! Ive always preferred scrolling through classic car magazines looking at engines and the restoration of some beaten up old Beetle, than the ‘top ten reasons why your crush is ignoring you’ section of Hello!
Im also a super nerd! With the end of university growing ever closer, it’s a time that every student dreads… Dissertations! Along with my not-so-conventional hobbies, the area of study I specialise in is the history of piracy. So it’s 10,000 words about the life of Jack Sparrow and ‘research’ includes watching my way through every single Pirates of The Caribbean film! Not a bad way to spend the year if you ask me!
Now I’ve tried to make myself sound slightly interesting, onto the blog I run! Around 9 months ago I created Trust Your Gut. I started this project after being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis – one of the ugly sisters of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) – the other being Crohn’s disease. I decided to write about my illness due to how isolating it can be; I felt so alone in my fight against Colitis, not knowing anyone who had experienced it, and I didn’t want anyone to go through the same thing I did.
I found myself spending more time in hospital, talking to doctors, rather than going to uni and partying with my mates, so Trust Your Gut became a place where I felt other people could get a more human response to the illness rather than just the clinical talk you get from doctors and nurses.
As my illness progressed however, it became clear that my UC was very serious and the drug therapy I was placed on wasn’t making me any better. So in January 2018, one year after my diagnosis, I underwent major abdominal surgery to remove my very angry, ulcerated colon and given an ileostomy (so I haven’t got a large intestine and my small intestine pokes about an inch out of my stomach into a bag). Due to my surgery, Trust Your Gut went from being all about my life with a chronic illness and spreading awareness for IBD, to stoma awareness.
It is now all about how my little stoma bag saved my life!
From my point of view there isn’t enough awareness about IBD or stomas – particularly for younger people – and I hope that Trust Your Gut can be a platform to spread the word! This is a blog that has been a little refuge for me and hopefully other people (those who are diagnosed, have a connection to the disease through someone else or even those who just want to find out more) in raising awareness for an illness that isn’t talked about enough!
Along the way I’ve been inspired by so many other bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers who all do so much to raise awareness for IBD and stoma life. The little Instagram family that I’ve built up over the last few months has been a lifeline of support and love in the fight against such a difficult disease!
Trust Your Gut has been something that I’ve found I truly love – a little project that hopefully helps raise awareness for those who don’t know about IBD and also a place where those who do know about it can find some comfort in knowing they aren’t going it alone! I love divulging all my secrets and probably boring the pants off everyone on there! In amongst the non-conventional hobbies I have, I now have a very non-conventional blog to go with a non-conventional stomach, all in the hope of spreading a little love!
You can find out all my secrets about bag-life here (https://trustyourgut.blog) and on Instagram too (@billieandersonx)!
Here’s to making the very non-conventional stomach I have conventional!

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*Written by Billie Anderson, Trust Your Gut | Edited by Dawsonxo | Photo credit by Billie Anderson, Trust your Gut | Subject to Copyright*