Oxford: the application process

The audience of this post is very niche, but don't worry I'll be back to my usual existentialism soon. Its just something I thought was both worth documenting and was probably quite helpful.
I also don't think there is a magic formula for getting in to Oxford, I just sort of went for it so I'm not sure I can give many tips other than my personal experience, but if you have any other questions hmu!

As of October, I am beginning a History degree at the University of Oxford (??!!). I am going to Mansfield college (the college I applied to) and, if you don't know about the collegiate system of Oxbridge I'd recommend reading this.

I applied to Oxford in my gap year with my achieved A-levels. I think this worked pretty strongly in my favour. By September of my gap, I had read more, was more self-assured, confident, aware of my passion for History, had more to cover in terms of PS and submitted essays and had just learned so many more skills. I also had my A-levels, which helped immensely.
On applying in a gap year I would say, it made it easier because there was no gamble in me as a candidate (I had my grades) but it was also a very difficult process as I had minimal support. There was no grooming or preening to be moulded into the perfect candidate, I just threw myself into it with no idea what to expect.

There are several components to Oxford application:
Application (before October 15th, unlike other uni's which is January 15th) (personal statement, reference)
Written work
HAT (2nd November)
Interview (called (or not) for interview up to a week before (interviews are held at the beginning of December))

Choosing Oxford
School never encouraged me to to apply to Oxford. I don't think they thought I was capable or it was worth the extra pressure and, to be honest, they never really pushed for Oxbridge applications, despite many being able. I had always questioned whether I could get in and, in August, when I opened my A-levels and screamed with utter surprise, I thought "shit, well I probably should give it a shot". At the time, I'd already set my heart on another uni so to me, Oxford was like "well, I'll never know if I don't try". I was slightly intimidated by the strength of passion towards the uni by other candidates, it made me feel undeserving of the opportunity. It wasn't until I got there, for the interview, that I thought "I really want this". It felt so unattainable and distant from the world I knew so I couldn't really imagine myself there. But it now feels like the dream.
Grades had a lot of influence over my decision to apply. A few people have asked me whether their grades could equate to a place of Oxbridge and, honestly its impossible to say. Whilst you have to show academic aptitude, there, again, isn't a specific formula.  It differs for every candidate and there are so many other factors considered (personal statement, reference, contextual data, HAT score, written work, interview performance, predicted/achieved grades, your passion for the subject, whether you'd thrive in Oxford, whether the tutors want to teach you etc).

My GSCE's:  5*, 5A's, 2B's inc. an A in History
A-levels: A*A*A* (History, English Lit, Geography)
(I've included these to perhaps contextualise idk)

Unlike some people, Oxford wasn't something I'd had my heart set on from birth, but I am now unbelievably excited to begin in October. I now can't imagine myself going anywhere else–I still have to pinch myself that its real.

Choosing History
My decision to study History was, perhaps, a late one. I adored it but (for some mad reason) was set on studying French and Politics. Luckily, I was persuaded to take a gap year and reconsider. By late November 2016 it clicked that History was the one–I think both my coursework and my History teacher played a big role in this. I would constantly find facts (such as: 5th February marked the 10,316th day since the Berlin wall fell. This was the exact same number of days it stood for. Cool?!) and opinions and events that I was desperate to share with other people but no one in my class was quite as passionate as me. I loved debating and debunking published view points and discovering astronomical facts to develop my arguments. In reality, I'm still apprehensive about my decision but that is okay. In terms of where to apply for my course, I chose cities and universities I knew I'd be happy at and courses that offered a lot of choice (I also applied to Leeds, Durham and UCL, and received offers from them all, if anyones interested)

Choosing the College
As my application was a bit of a whim, I chose a pretty arbitrary factor when narrowing down. Basically, I went off state school acceptance. I figured I'd be most positively considered and feel most at home where there are the most people from schools like me. It would, as much as possible, replicate the world I have been brought up in. Mansfield has an 91% state school acceptance rate and I really like the ethos and atmosphere of the college. Other factors people consider when choosing their college: reputation, position in the Norrington Table, architecture, tradition (or lack of), ethos, accommodation, food–generally they're pretty arbitrary reasons.

Personal Statement/reference
Admittedly, I didn't find my personal statement much of a chore. My main issue was, of course, cutting it down. General ideas I outlined were:
Reasons why I loved History/why History was important, what sparked my love of History, which periods I liked and why (generally referencing to school topics), books I'd read, places I'd been, opinions I'd challenged and a very brief outline of my gap year.
I was terrified about the supposed lack of reading in my personal statement. In everything article about Oxbridge applications they warned of the unattainable numbers of books you had to have read from the most ridiculous chronological spectrum to prove your worth. Mine were not 'conventional' historical arguments (2 were testimony, 1 more opinion based but by a lawyer not a historian, 1 fictional (but of significant contextual relevance) and an article by an historian) but they were the books I'd found most interesting. Essentially, I just wrote about what I was passionate about.
I definitely came to the conclusion that its not what you've read, what you've seen, what you've experienced but what it taught you.

HAT (History Admissions Test, sat by all Oxford History applicants)
The HAT is a 2 hour exam that consists of 3 questions, with 2 being source based and one an open ended essay. The sources are generally nothing you've ever seen before about a period you know nothing about. That actually makes it easier because you are simply analysing and inferring from what is present. My sources were about the history of emotions and a fictional letter written as a social and political commentary. I focussed on questioning everything: what is this source telling me? what is it not telling me? what do I need to know? what can I infer? why? what does that tell me about this? what influence does the provenance have? how does this alter the view point?
The essay question was a dream. The essay title essentially presents a question and asks you to answer it in relation to any period of history you know. Mine was "Did change come primarily from the top, from the bottom or from any other level of society?" which fitted my preferred topic perfectly (Gorbachev's role in the collapse of the USSR).
This question provides a lot of free reign which can be both daunting and liberating. They're not testing how much you know but how you use it. I tackled it like I would an A-level essay, outlining my key argument and the factors that supported it, along with other factors and their limited significance and throwing in the infamous twist. Had this question not suited the collapse of the USSR so perfectly, the exam would have undoubtedly gone tits up.
In terms of preparation, I was pretty lost. I couldn't viably revise a whole A-level course. I did all the past papers, analysing, reading the mark scheme, and analysing again. I made plans of all the essays and went over the key arguments of my A-level work. I knew I was most confident with and passionate about the USSR and would try, under almost any circumstance, to twist the question to suit it, so I pretty much just focussed on my arguments surrounding that.
On the day, despite being the only person sitting the exam, I just went in there and tried to prove I loved history. I actually really enjoyed the exam.

Essay/submitted work
I regretted my written work so much. I remember lying in the bath, after I'd got home from my interview, crying because I knew I'd messed up all my chances. I uhmed and ahed for literal months about what to send. They say they want a 2000 word essay of A2 standard, marked and written under normal conditions. I couldn't write anything for the sole purpose of application because of course there was no one to mark it so, to me, the best option seemed a revision essay. But, after talking and overthinking, I knew I should have sent in my coursework which I was passionate about, proud of, interested in and had received immense praise for. Instead I sent in an essay about whether the changes of 1921 were the leading cause of Stalin's increasing power between 1928 and 1953. It was a fine essay but could have been better. I was asked about the essay in my interview and, despite not being able to remember a single thing about the 5-year plans, it wasn't as catastrophic as it felt.

I got invited to interview a week prior. My interviews ran from the 5th-8th December and I stayed in college. I knew absolutely no one attending the interviews, had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. Turning up alone was daunting but amazingly rewarding and overall the experience was very enjoyable. It was mostly spent with other candidates asking "so what are you here for?" etc but people were lovely and, because everyone is alone and nervous, throwing yourself into that environment is actually relatively easy. Contrary to almost every other candidate, I spent the time exploring and going to coffee shops and the pub and shopping and reading with a girl who had also applied in her gap year. We both did very little to prepare when we were actually in Oxford, perhaps because we felt more assured in our abilities. Que sera sera and all that. She had also been through the interview process before so did a lot to reassure me that there really is little you can do to prepare.  The most valuable use of my time, I decided, was to see if I actually wanted to live in Oxford and make myself feel relaxed. It paid off.
(I think most other candidates actually spent their time doing the A-level work they were missing out on which is pretty essential. Obviously, neither of us had any).

In terms of interview prep, I re-read some of my books (and the arguments, ideas and notes I'd written for all), went over my essay numerous times and altered my argument, dissected my personal statement and read. In hindsight, this is almost all you can do to prepare. You have no control over what they ask you, and it will most likely not be what you are expecting. Just read over everything you've written and think about how your arguments have changed.
At Mansfield, everyone was given 2 interviews spread over 2 days (this varies college to college) and a potential third interview if you'd been pooled to another college. My first interview was about my written work and my personal statement and my second was about my personal statement and a source. Both lasted 20 minutes and were really enjoyable. The tutors were so lovely and it was very informal. I was asked "What's the difference between History and Memory?" (still no idea), "What causes persecution?", "What do you know about 10th Century anti-Semitism?" (nothing), "What's the value of personal testimony?" and many others that have been forgotten in the blur of the week. Most of my replies were pretty vague, I didn't use anywhere near enough historical evidence to back them up, and if I did it all related to Stalinist Russia or a random episode of the Guilty Feminist that popped into my head. I mostly talked about things I believed or knew or examples I understood, taking their question and putting it into my own context (e.g. I don't know why people were persecuted in the 10th Century for being Jewish but I do know why they were persecuted in the 20th Century). For the history and memory question, I had no answer. I posed one idea, challenged it, contradicted myself then got confused. I basically talked through my thought process, because I'd read an article that told me, if all else fails, to do that. The tutors were really supportive, taking my ideas, expanding the and guiding me when I was lost. There were moments of silence, moments when I went down a path and thought "what the fuck am I saying?" and moments where I had no idea where to even begin.
The source was 10/10. I was given 2 minutes to analyse it then had to answer some questions and dissect its purpose and validity. It was about curing 15th Century stomach cramps. It pulled on themes of religion and wealth and superstition and had an unknown origin. I love analysing sources so was pretty happy when I was presented with it. This is the one part of the interview that I thought went well.

In terms of clothing (something I spent many hours obsessing over) I wore some cigarette style trousers with a black jumper/a striped top and black suede Oxford brogues (lol appropriate). To my second interview I forgot to change my shoes and ended wearing my trainers but I also figured they couldn't care less about what I wore.
I was told that in my interview I couldn't: chew gum, fiddle, touch my hair, look away, fidget, wear trainers, click my pen, but I did all these things. Because when your lost in academic intensity, these feel like the most banal rules.

I had no idea how the interview went, it was impossible to tell. I spent hours dissecting the experience and thinking of all the things I did wrong and the arguments I should have made. I remember crying in a coffee shop on my last day because I realised how much I wanted to go and how badly I'd screwed up.

Decisions were made on the 10th January and, to my shock, were received by email. I was expecting a painful day at work to return to a letter but I received a response at 9am. I was home alone and simply refreshed my emails out of habit (not expecting to see their deicison). I spent the morning with pent up energy and no one to tell, repeatedly thinking "what?!". I genuinely couldn't (and still can't) believe it.

I remember receiving an email from OxbridgeAdmissions that advertised a mock-Skype interview for £600. It felt entirely disheartened, screaming that "wealth remains the only pass into this elite club". The £90 train tickets to my interview made me wince so being offered a £600 SKYPE interview felt like an insult. But now I am on the other side, I hope my experience dispels some of the myths of application. I wasn't preened or prepped, I didn't have a mock interview or advice on the exam, I came from a sub-standard school that sent a maximum of 1 candidate to Oxbridge a year. I didn't spend every breathing hour reading my way through the history of the world since BC, I just spoke and wrote profusely about what I was passionate about and took the experience as it came. Daily, I question how I managed to get a place and feel completely stupid and have a serious case of imposter syndrome– I'm not even there yet.
I still don't know how I got in and it there feels to be so many aspects of luck involved but hey, you never know if you don't try.

If you have any other questions or there's anything I haven't mentioned, message me on twitter/insta!


***My attitude might sound quite blasé, I promise I'm not. I'm just trying to give a realistic experience.

both happy and sad

My words aren't really finding their place on the page.
I feel both very happy and very sad and its making me feel lost and
Lets begin with the blue tinged nostalgia. Sometimes sadness is an easier place to start.

Photos. So many of them so candid and so true and so natural and I could cry with how much I crave to melt into their faded scenes of laughter and happiness. And I am so content with my loneliness and with my self and with my solo company but I am also craving the moments that I know can never be replicated.

Self-induced mortality. Haunting. I have obsessed and panicked and cried and screamed over the capricious nature of my mind that tricks me until I am lost with what is real and what is false. My interminable fear of death resurfaced and reminded how messy my head really is.

L'amour. Surrounding myself with the literary warmth of northern Italy made me detest the banalities of reality and crave passion in its purest presented form. It gave the illusion of interminable solitude and inadequacy and set my mind on cartwheels of "am I enough?", "will I ever find someone like that?, "does this story replicate real life?", "will I be forever alone?" (lol stop with the melodrama)

L'avenir (I've found when I don't want to admit things to myself I write them in broken French because it offers an illusion of distance). In my jaded head there is an image of how life will be. An image I never want to fulfil. And I can't picture my life being anything other than that life I don't want. Maybe this is confused by the complete uncertainty that comes with reality.

The past. I'm still sort of craving the support and familiarity and safety and security of the past. By past I mean last year. Its so much better than it was. But still a niggling of "remember how good it was!"

I suppose I'm lost in the labyrinth of rose tinted nostalgia and a glorified golden future, disappointed by the dullness of reality.

But, through the tears and beta blockers, I am also very happy.
My life feels a blessing, I just wish I had recognised that when I wasn't feeling so mortal (as in dead, not drunk). To feel so at one with my solitude and so in tune with my routine and so, implausibly proud of all this year has taught me and all I have achieved and the ways I have grown and the people I have met. The way I am valued and the things I have seen and the excitement that is coming.

For the record, I am so much happier than sad. Really. Life is so good.

But I also want to cry.

edit: noir

These photos were intended to showcase one of my favourite outfits, but they became a project of narcissism. Essentially self-absorbed documentations of my face. Oh well.

I've been feeling in a bit a funk regarding body image recently; its hard to describe exactly what it is but looking in the mirror isn't a fun exercise. I've never really struggled with how I look before so its a new challenge. My mind really does like a challenge.
The two areas I have an interminably toxic relationship with are my stomach and chest. So naturally, this outfit flaunts both those areas.The top and jeans combo, however, did actually make me feel fancy and (temporarily) remedied some of the quells.

I adore this top. The flared sleeves add movement and flow, it ties in the perfect place to make bra-wearing possible (or not!), it covers the back and arms enough to stay warm and, against all odds, I actually like having some boob on show. I wore it out last weekend and am already searching for the next semi-fancy occasion to parade in its elegancy.

I'm really into this tie-front-top-trend, they look really fancy and feminine and add a kinda sexy twist whilst also feeling covered up. I've already decided I'm going to try and use it as a pattern and make an orange floral version (a dream for summer nights out).
I paired it with loads of dainty gold jewellery, black jeans, this belt and (trashed) Nike trainers (because boots felt like a bit too much). I also threw on a black puffa jacket because this is Newcastle and it was snowing.
Makeup wise, I went for warm, matte shades with black eyeliner (surprise!) and actually pulled out a clear lipgloss which, despite giving me serious primary school vibes, I kind of loved.
I urge you all to invest in a tie top, next time I shall be maxing out on the necklaces because I think this could look the dream with some long gold jewels. Maybe some gold glitter on the eyes too, to go all out.

In other repetitive news, this is my final weekend before I am away for 5. I have been spending my days planning my Barcelona adventure, watching films (Kings Speech, Darkest Hour, Ladybird – would recommend them all) reading (finished Cat on the Hot Tin Roof; it reinforced my belief that Williams is a (depressing) genius, broke my heart and made me want to read Streetcar again), working, refraining (unsuccessfully) from spending money, drinking gin, writing existentialist poetry and just generally feeling like I have too many things to do in too little time.
They're all good things, though.
Its a sunny Friday, I have my flute lesson and then a free evening, before work and the usual saturday antics (which generally involve too many trebles and a dance floor).
Ah. Life.

recent reads

For the past 5 years, one of my new years resolutions has been to read 26 books, I've got close most years (except last; I'd read all of 2 books by June) and this year I am determined to smash it.
Some of the below were part of my gap year TBR, others offered a literary escape, some were fucking brilliant and others utter trash.
So here we go.

Autumn–Ali Smith

I wanted to love this. I loved the cover. I loved tiny snippets in an isolated manner. I loved the ease to read.
But it made no sense. I have no idea what it was trying to say, what the characters were doing, who the characters were, what (if anything??) happened. It all felt like one self indulgent poetic metaphor, the meaning of which was impossible to discern. In fact, it was entirely self-indulgent. As though the reader remains in a position of stupidity to make the writer feel superior. I think it was supposed to be some kind of commentary on Brexit and the political turmoil and division but it was, to be honest, very difficult to tell. There were certain chapters I adored and some of the writing was so beautiful but there appeared to be no running theme, nothing linking the chapters together and as a novel, it just didn't work.

Pride and Prejudice–Jane Austen

I loved this. So much. Maybe as a result of studying Shakespeare and Wilde, but I found it surprising easy to read and loved Austen's subtle critique throughout. It is, fundamentally, a romance and I love that because it shows a good love story and feminism can go hand in hand; not everything needs to be heavy. Elizabeth is such an empowering and powerful character and, when considered in the context of the novel, she's fucking awesome. Historically, I found the (realistic) presentation of the patriarchy so eye-opening and the restraints, expectations and formalities of the 19th Century shocking. The weight placed on marriage, for securing wealth, reputation and continuing the family line, the importance of class, the separation of genders and inability to ever relax. It all contrasts with 21st Century modern society so powerfully. The characters and their subsequent relationships are confusing but, with the help of a diagram I found online, it all ran very smoothly.

Billy and Me-Giovanna Fletcher

I bought this when I was having a bad day and I needed to escape into a world of idealised, cliched romance. For that purpose, this book was ideal. It was such a quick read and I could lose myself in its complete predictability. Its trashy and badly written, sickly, sickly sweet and unbelievably cliched (think tea shop! cupcakes! florals! purple converse! shaggy-haired hunk who mysteriously falls in love with the nervous socially awkward girl! you get the picture (its like Cathy Cassidy for adults)) and appears to mirror 13 year old Katie and her literary dreams but, all jokes aside, I can't critique it. I bought it for one sole purpose, to read a trashy romance. And for that purpose, it completely delivered. Its not a work of literary genius, in fact its pretty crap but if you need to lose yourself/feel 13 again, I'd recommend.

How to Stop Time –Matt Haig

All things considered, this book was fantastic. I usually hate anything with any element of fantasy but this was engaging and easy to read. The book was laced with wisdom and relate-ability and so much of the novel and characterisation became a vehicle to explore mental health and the feelings of loss, of emptiness, of disappearance. It felt very comforting. It explores what it means to be alive, what it means to be different, enjoyment of art and fulfilment of life, the purpose and value of memory, identity (or lack of), happiness, love, loneliness and, in many ways, the actual storyline became secondary to the feeling of understanding. It made me think about all the things I want to achieve in my lifetime, all the different lives Tom had lived and how you could recreate this element of interest and intrigue in your own world.
It also challenged and presented humanity as a whole, our existence, our attitudes, how they've changed and how they will perhaps never change.
It evoked so many interesting questions and ideas about history, what it teaches us, whether we ever really learn from the past, whether humanity is programmed to make the same mistakes, and seemed to echo this article I read a while ago.
Tom Hazard meets so many interesting people and explores so many scary and exciting and humiliating moments in history that make you think about what it means to be a part of society, past and present. For a history nerd, it was idyllic, but could be enjoyed by almost anyone.
I had this really weird moment when reading this on the bus when my memories felt so present. It was like an epiphany, realising that all the things that have happened in the past haven't been left there to never be experienced again, they are continually surrounding us, shaping who we are and being a part of the journey. Idk. Cringey but I felt it pretty strong.
By the end, I found the storyline a bit depressing and the end was a bit predictable but, these minor details aside, I did thoroughly enjoy it.

Next on my list are: Call Me By Your Name (Libby said the book is even more beautiful than the film), The Cat on the Hot Tin Roof (which I started last night and I remembered why Tennessee Williams is my favourite playwright), Never Let Me Go and The Go-Between (for the 3rd time, because I honestly regularly get moments of craving nostalgia and I know I just need to read it again).

Leave literary recommendations below, my list is ever growing.

(I feel like this post is really badly written. I'm kind of rusty. I haven't posted so infrequently since Summer. Bare with whilst I get my jam back)

at peace

I feel wonderfully at peace. Life feels kind and busy and enjoyable and eye opening. I am content.
Writing this scares me, what if its not true? these feelings won't last?!
No. But they are how I feel now.
Everything just feels very at ease. As though its all running smoothly and with sufficient purpose and relaxation.
Of course, if I delve too deep I can ignite a fire of existentialism in a heart beat but currently, the voices are buried beneath the surface. I think the weather plays a crucial role in my mood. Today, its bright and fresh and the sun is shining and the birds are signing and it has an immense sense of hope. Every year, on days such as this, I get a tingle of excitement, a flourish of motivation to create and explore and a strong sense that life is good.
The year when the sun stops making me feel so free I'll panic, but until then I am indulging in the bliss of my life sans responsibility.

My window is open, I am (avoiding) tidying my room, exciting things are on the horizon and its feeling good.

Sending these sunny vibes to you all.

Twitter - Bloglovin - Instagram

musings #2

in the past 2 weeks I have: felt relieved that January was over, worked a lot, cried a bit, finally tracked down vegan Ben and Jerry's, done yoga for 12 consecutive days, made a lot of plans, finished 2 books, done a lot of online shopping (and sent a lot of parcels back), started a French class, survived a mob of 20 drunk 16 year olds descending on my house, felt shit and then good and then shit, been to the theatre (to see Ballet Rambert's Ghost Dances–v. good) cooked a lot of new recipes and drank a lot of G&T's.

Its a bright Sunday morning and, despite having work later today and a headache, I have a good feeling about today. Mornings like this are my favourite, when you feel the crisp inklings of Spring. We're going out for brunch this morning for which I am greatly anticipating some pancakes. In this moment, I feel at peace. Its been a challenging few days and I find myself thinking about the future too much but good things are coming.

In the mundane, I am planning to read a lot of books, teach myself some basic Spanish and seek some premeditative therapy because I'm starting to become very, very scared about Oxford and whether I'll cope. I'm also trying to be more conscious about my plastic usage and ethical footprint and its something thats playing on my mind a lot.
In more fun news, the future is -very- exciting and March through to August are going to be pretty fun months. When work is painful I remind myself I couldn't book all the spontaneous planes and trains without those hours of dulness. Planned I have trips to Barcelona, Oxford, Brighton, Suffolk, Paris, Budapest, Corsica and Marrakesh along with tickets to Matthew Bourne's Cinderella and the Guilty Feminist. I'm also hoping to visit some of my friends before easter, if I have any time, because I miss them. Fuck, man. Its gonna be so good. And, whilst my bank balance might be crying, we're still planning another holiday. Oh well–gap yah and all.

I suppose if that mood board is anything to go off, I've been spending my time dreaming of travelling and finding solace in other people feeling as lost and crying as often as me. The musings above are just a few I've found on Pinterest whilst procrastinating–you can find the others here.
I really like making visual boards of the things I've been thinking and feeling and dreaming of over the past few weeks. So sorry there haven't been many photos but idk just not really feeling photography at the moment. Or blogging particularly. But I need to put my thoughts somewhere, update the diary, document the moment. You get the picture

I hope you're all well. I'll be back.

the fire

"Here is a pen, I say. Use them. Write me how it feels"

If your house was on fire, and you had 5 seconds to grab one item, what would it be?

I'd reach my hand under my mattress
and pull out this
my heart and fears and tears and thoughts bled onto the pages of this invaluable notebook.
The leaves of this physicalised copy of my mind provided solace when the rest of the world felt too harsh to let in.
It explores a journey, from my darkest moments to my happiest to my bravest and, as personified objects go, it perhaps knows me better than I know myself.
Tonight, I indented the final page with the lyrics of my mind and turning the cover felt like closure.
A door on the past year of my life.
And now it lies, in the safest place, close to my dreams and rest, as a reminder of survival.

Writing is such a magic form of therapy.
It makes sense of thoughts intangible to the human mind.
It reduces fears to simple letters on a page.
It offers a reminder of the days when it all felt right.
And the days when it didn't.
It offers an opportunity to reflect and hope and connect and explore.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if, in a century this pointless collection of notes was found; what would be discerned of my life? What would they think? What would have happened to me? What could it tell them about life in 2018? What would have changed?

As I turned the leaves of my crisp new book, I knew it was right. I knew this haven of safety was my closest companion.

And so, as the burning flames inhaled the bricks and mortar of my safety, I wouldn't hesitate to save this paper copy of me.

What would you save in a fire?


A brain dump.
Yes, my last post was an existential crisis. And this one is too. But I feel sad.
So here's my head.
In its most vulnerable fashion.
I feel lonely. I feel socially lonely and romantically lonely.
I feel bleurgh about the fact I have so few friends in this stagnant city, that they're dispersed across the country and are living their separate lives and I feel shit about spending my nights alone, even though I sort of enjoy this. I also don't want to make new friends in this city of mine because I'm so ready to move on and away but then also do want to because I need newness. I feel fucked that my gap year isn't "fucking wild" but just sort of life and that's not what its supposed to be (this is, in fact, what its supposed to be because its just another part of life but societal expectations etc)...and that other people have so many friends and are having so much fun and hey shouldn't I be doing that? (shouldn't I be getting smashed every night to prove I'm having the time of my life, whilst simultaneously filling incessant gaps in my mental health? Shouldn't I be spending every night out loving life? Will I ever feel like I'm loving life?)

((vulnerability)) I am craving romantic engagement, I am lusting after investment and interest and someone just to talk to. I fear commitment and attachment but also just want something. To understand how I truly feel about about this topic read Zoe's post because she talks about what I'm too lol awkward to talk about and I'm shit at openness beyond existentialism.
Yeh. I feel very alone. 
Okay. Katie, stop with the italics.

But I also know for the good bits (trips to Budapest, Manchester, Paris, Barcelona, Birmingham, Brighton–yes, self recognise there's so much good happening) the shit has to happen, you have to work to have money to survive to have fun.

I know these are just January blues. And they will pass. But they also feel like they are plunging me into an abyss of darkness, under a cloak of stagnation, as though nothing around me is changing. Where do I meet new people (that don't live 10,000 miles away from me who I can only see for 3 hours every 3 months) who are fun and save me from loneliness but also not too invested; I descended into a sort of pathetic sporadic mess of tears after I fell in love (realised I fall in love much too easily) and then was discarded after the most superficial engagement so fuck, what's the real thing going to be like?

I also feel unwholey (that isn't even a word) unmotivated. In e-v-e-r-y way; I spend my mornings before work achieving approximately 2 things on a list of 10 and this makes me feel like I'm simply surviving and its grating on my mental health. I feel as though I'm pushing up a hill with a massive fucking boulder on my shoulders. I want to read and run and do yoga and mindfulness and write and create and meet people and change the world but I'm just plagued with the nausea of anxiety.
And it wasn't supposed to be like this.

Another realisation: getting so smashed you can't remember what happened isn't, in actuality, that fun, despite forever thinking it successfully removes inhibitions. It just sort of messes up your life for the next few days.


some good things: Libby (meeting for a drink, even if only for a few hours), Manchester (a night away with my best friends, feeling so at home in their hearts, having insurmountable fun and drama), travelling (booking a trip to Budapest with said friends, plans to travel to Barcelona alone (!) which is a serious bucket list amirite???, Paris), writing (because it isn't really helping at the moment, but it will), makeup (because its the only thing making me feel marginally good about myself atm).

Even writing this doesn't feel that therapeutic. I just don't feel like myself. In my head, I categorise periods of time with feelings. January will be a bad feeling.

The final panic. Oxford. (yeh I'm so lucky its like the second best uni in the fucking world but I've gotta keep it real and I'm freaking oooout). I haven't written an essay in like 7 months (how do I do it again?) and don't have the motivation to reengage with the subject. I'm also freaking out that its not the uni experience that society tells me I want but I don't actually really want. I crave a mix of clubbing and antics and academia and fun and hard work but am so stressed I won't find it. And I won't survive and I won't meet my people and will hate it (but I'd be freaking out wherever I was going so its ok.)

Okay. I feel so very far from myself right now.
Will these feelings pass.
I feel like I'm going to throw up.

so yeah. someone love me (because i don't love myself) and save me (because i can't save myself)
(yes i can. i've done it before)

(fuck count in this post: 8 (sorry if my profanity offends you))