I Am An Emotional Sponge

I Am An Emotional Sponge

In a world that is so stressful and highly emotionally charged, it’s easy to take on other people’s problems. Research has even shown that emotions can be contagious, you can potentially ‘catch’ fear, anger and joy from people without even realising it. This is something I know I do. I am very susceptible to ‘catching’ people’s emotions. It’s something I really struggle with.

Are you an emotional sponge?

Being an “emotional sponge” isn’t always a bad thing. Being sensitive towards other peoples emotions, I like to think, can make you a better person.

The question ‘are you OK?’ is majorly underrated. Those three words can make someone go from feeling alone in a situation, to having an outlet. Being sensitive means you observe emotions far more than others. Being an emotional sponge means you probably worry about how someone is feeling perhaps more often than others, and can read situations differently.

Though, sometimes it’s easy to take on too much. I find this incredibly easy to do.

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So, in being aware of my sponginess, I hope to be able to deal with it better and use it to my advantage.  Here are a few ways I have learnt to deal with my tendency to be an emotional sponge.

  • Answer this: is this feeling mine, or someone elses?Sometimes I feel such strong empathy for other people, that it can genuinely dictate my entire day. From the moment I wake up I can find myself concerned for somebody else’s emotions. I often have to put it into harsh terms, with the question: ‘is this any of your business?’Because half the time- it’s not.
  • Recognise the difference between empathy and sympathy.Empathy is where you feel other people’s emotions, whereas sympathy is simply the compassion. If you empathise you’re putting yourself in their position. It’s better for you, and for you to guide other people, when you’re sympathetic, rather than emotional invested.
  • Express yourself.This is something I find so difficult: saying when enough is enough. It’s important to be honest, to say I’m sorry I can’t help you’. When you sit for hours and hours, listening, it is unbelievably easy to be a sponge. This is the one I find the most challenging, because often I feel that to back off can feel like you’re abandoning people.
  • Distance yourself from the suspected source.If you know specific situations or individuals can bring your mood down, and perhaps you’re particularly vulnerable to it at this time, remove yourself from the situation. I find this equally hard, especially as I like to help people and despise seeing people feeling isolated.
  • Talk to other people. If you’re concerned for somebody it’s easy to take on the role of ‘the rock’by yourself. But speaking to other people about it really can help. This keeps your own mental health in check. I always remind myself that I am far more helpful if I, myself, am happy.

I refuse to think of being sensitive as a weakness. To me, it is a strength. But sometimes you have to put number one first and that means taking a step back. I’ve learnt to accept that I am not responsible for others.

This is a personal struggle I am attempting to overcome- I want to be more sympathetic in life and a little less empathetic.

What People Don’t Tell You About University

What People Don’t Tell You About University

Recently, I’ve been feeling more and more as though my degree is coming to an end. One of the main things that I think when I look back on my 3 years at University is ‘it’s not what it was cracked up to be’.

For some reason, there are just a few things people don’t talk about. And I want to. Some people might be able to say that it met their expectations and more. But over the last few years, where University hadn’t quite met these expectations, I wondered if it was me that was the problem. And that’s what I want to prevent- because it’s not you. 

University has almost become the norm for those finishing A Levels and putting off ‘adulting’ for a little bit longer. In fact UCAS announced that in England alone last year, 235,400 people at just 18 years old (aka not including people doing gap years!) chose to go to University. That is the highest number to date.

Before you’ve even started University, you think you know how it works. Lots and lots of drinking, whirlwind romances, friends left right and centre, minimal responsibility, caffeine non-stop, late nighters at the library and you come out the other side with a degree. And these three years will be ‘the best three years of your life’.

That’s what they tell you. And that’s what you expect. But half way through Uni, with these expectations in mind, you might question am I ‘doing uni’ right? Because there is an (very messed up) assumption that there is a ‘correct’ way of doing uni. But there isn’t. I assure you, you’re doing it right. It’s not you. It’s because of those expectations that you’re wondering why life isn’t exactly matching up to the typical university depiction.

University can be a lonely place.

Being surrounded by so many people, on a buzzing campus, with every opportunity to have the social life of your dreams- you wouldn’t expect this. To an extent, it’s true. Physically, you’re technically always surrounded. But there is something very different from living at home, living at University. This, I have come to the conclusion, is because you feel almost 100% comfortable in your family’s presence. During my first year, I was really homesick. I missed my family, my routine, my friends and even simple things like my bed. The simple pleasure of being able to see my sister every day. Instead, you spend a lot of time on your own. This isn’t entirely bad though. I am far more independent now and I am very comfortable in my own company. In fact, at times, I like it.

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Boredom.

Sometimes there isn’t anything to do. Whether it’s because you’re a friggin boss and have done all of your work, or whether you simply need a break. Sometimes you get bored. And you binge watch Netflix and watch YouTube until you can’t stand it anymore. Yes, this probably sounds like bliss. But after you’ve completed your one hour seminar of the day, with no other plans, it can be pretty miserable. Not to mention, anti-climactic compared to your expectations. To counter this, I mastered the art of being over friendly. I had, and still have, no shame in asking people out for coffee at the most random moments. I found that I didn’t really click with my First Year Flat, so pushing myself out of my comfort zone was a must. Another thing I learnt was to factor these coffees into my weekly budget. There is nothing worse that knowing everyone else is out having a coffee together and you can’t because of £££.

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Clubbing and Drinking Is Not Compulsory.

Drinking is often characterised as a big part of University culture- it is not. Do not ever feel pressured, and if you do, question whether these people are those you should be investing your time in. Some people don’t drink at all, some drink a lot. 

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It’s Never Too Late To Make New Friends.

I found moving to University quite overwhelming and, as I have discussed, found my first year hard. So joining societies etc was not top of my list. Instead I made friends on my course and got settled into university as best as I could. But every year I’ve made new friends and my little bubble of friends grows. Making new friends just helps when the going gets tough, or when you find that your immediate circle of friends have gone home for the weekend. Even in my 3rd year I’m still making friends.

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Having Freedom Doesn’t Mean Moving Away From Home.

As a home bird, I did take into consideration how far away from home I was willing to go. And for me, it was 3 hours. So I got out my map and drew a circle around Home. I then looked at all the Universities in that circle. As I lived in Southampton, I felt like going to Southampton University just wasn’t an option for me. I wanted to move away from home, but not too far. What the internet and social media neglect to tell you is that freedom doesn’t mean moving away. University is all encompassing. You have your own life in your own little bubble at University. I don’t regret going to Warwick, but I often wonder whether I would have enjoyed Southampton just as much. The train fairs surely would have been cheaper!

It’s just so important to do what’s best for you. I often wonder whether living so close to home would have helped me in my first year, had I felt the same way in Southampton. But then, this is all hindsight. It’s just something worth contemplating when you look at University, because even if you’re 10 minutes down the road from home- you still have that independence. 

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You Will Be Both Rich And Poor In The Same Month.

A student loan. A blessing. And a curse. Just make sure you budget, because that money that comes in somehow manages to disappear real quick! Top tip- don’t get over excited on ASOS the day the loan comes in, future (poverty stricken fashionista) will not thank you.

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Missing Home is OK.

While University is definitely a new chapter in your life and a step towards adulthood, you don’t have to abandon your family. I am a total home bird. This became clear, quite quickly, when I moved out into University halls. It’s just an adjustment though. Yes, I missed them (especially in the first few weeks), but it soon becomes your ‘normal’. When you see family or friends from home, you make plans and you look forward to it. It really frustrates me that this isn’t discussed more. If you’re already feeling homesick, there is nothing worse than feeling alone too. So speak to someone about it, chances are they have felt the same way.

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Your understanding of hygiene is completely different to others. 

Yup, sad but true. I have a ridiculously strong sense of smell. A weakness for a student. I can smell damp from a mile off. I’m not going to tell porkies, I often have a few mugs in my room that I can’t be bothered to clean- but I always eventually clean them. Some people, not so much. You will witness Tupperware come alive. Probably from a pasta dish, put on the side and never claimed. Sharing a bathroom? Yeah people are gross. Your Mum will recoil with horror when she sees it. Heads up.

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If it doesn’t have mould, a broken hoover and overflowing bins- it’s not a student home.

Moving into a house in your second/third year after a year in halls may seem like a dream. Reality: absolutely not. Moving into non-University accommodation can come with dodgy landlords and poor insulation. Student housing has a reputation for a reason. My advice (as someone who can get quite funny about yuck in my living space): buy cleaning products. Oh and keep your room tidy and clean, then if you live with students with a lower expectations of hygiene than you- you always have your room to escape to.

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You will change. 

I am not the same person I was when I started University. I am far more confident, far more worldly wise (even if I do have a heap tonne of lessons still to be learnt!) and I’ve made mistakes and learnt from them. A prime example being that a red sock in the washing turns everything pink. I also learnt how to live with a variety of people.

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Just embrace every aspect of it. You only go to University once, and there is a reason people call it the best years of their life.

High Expectations: Perfectionist vs Optimist.

High Expectations: Perfectionist vs Optimist.

From a young age, the expectation to ‘be good’ is something we have drummed into us. But sometimes our expectations of ourselves are simply too high. We’re perfectionists.

Perfectionism: Perfectionism means setting our goals too high and having unrealistic expectations. Being allergic to failure is often driven by an underlying sense of shame. If we can achieve some lofty goal and be perfectly successful, then no one can shame us. Failure is often a prerequisite for success.

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Sometimes these high expectations of ourselves and want to ‘do good’ can stop us from getting properly stuck into life. I have learnt that there are times to ponder over decisions and there are times to just do it. 

If we let expectations rule our lives, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

I always feel so embarrassed when people ask me what I intend to do with my History Degree. As a Final Year Undergraduate, I really hoped I would know by now. I know what I want to do, in a generic sense- Marketing, HR or Advertising. But I’m not entirely set on anything. And I am not willing to make a decision, or even fib, just so that I don’t feel silly answering that question. Degrees are SO time consuming. I admire anyone who has something lined up after University, because the application processes are crazy long! But that’s the thing: I have time.

I’m itching to get a job, to have money and I want to travel and be one of those ‘free’ twenty-odd people I see all over social media. I was so set on having the above, and (for some peculiar reason) linked it with having a job lined up. But I have years to find the ‘perfect‘ job. And I will. My expectations, set by 18 year old me, of my 21 year old self, were too high. 

My favourite phrase recently has been ‘but we’re millennials’. My friend, Hannah, uses it all the time, and I kind of love it. I use it almost as an excuse! Us ‘millennials’ are pretty fortunate, we can have multiple jobs in a lifetime, we’re supposedly more self-assured and have a stronger sense of ‘civic responsibility’ and a healthy work-life balance. So, as a ‘millennial’ I want to focus on the now. I want to be my own kind of ‘good’.

(Note: having googled ‘millennials’, i am not one. How tragic. For the purposes of this blog post I will pretend I am. Though I am actually Generation Z. How naff does that sound? Lol.)

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I want to ‘be good’ in my own way. What does this mean? 

  • I will not be letting my own, or others, expectations of me rule my life. This is a vicious cycle, whereby I set myself up for disappointment. Then judge myself harshly for it.
  • I am going to try to think of life in terms of adventures and ditch my ‘expectations’ and instead set myself realistic ‘goals’.
  • I will be hopeful that I exceed these ‘goals’ and will happily make way for something bigger and better.
  • I plan to trust that everything will work itself out, it always does. I’ll just keep working away.
  • When things go ‘tits up’ I am going to try my darned-ist to remain positive. 

I want to enjoy the little things in life, and look back with achey cheeks and wrinkles from a lifetime of smiles and have zero regrets when reflecting bad on my good’ life.

 

 

University Life … In GIFs

University Life … In GIFs

Hi everybody!

Today’s blog is all about University… in GIF’s.

  1. When the lecturer reads off of the powerpoint #whyamievenheredarcy
  2. Deadlines.responsibilities.gif
  3. After I complete deadlines.celebreate.gif
  4. Realising you did the wrong readings.lily.gif
  5. Sitting next to ‘that person’ who knows everything and wants to debate everything too. 
  6. Putting the bins out and realising your flat live like animals.elf.gif
  7. When you don’t get your essay back for months on end. Like, do you realise how long I slaved away on this, Simon? I pulled an all nighter. I ate an entire tube of pringles.melissa.gif
  8. When somebody steals your milk. It’s war.
  9. Washing up after you’ve used every utensil and plate you own. #ignoreit #itwilldisappeardishes.gif
  10. Going to the gym with your friend.gym.gif
  11. When your friends aren’t in, and you’re alone on campus.one
  12. People stealing your chair in a study space.stress
  13. Awkward silences in seminars.seal.gif
  14. Finally getting a decent grade. powerranger
  15. When all your friends make it to the lecture. Bridesmaids.gif
  16. When the going gets tough, and you miss home. tears.gif
  17. Being given the ‘this is the most important year of your life’ speech for the millionth time. shut up
  18. Giving your friend that look because it’s your song. song.gif
  19. Looking at your bank account after ignoring it for weeks.amy.gif
  20. My brain during exam period. christina

Right now I’m a mixture of exam period, looking at my bank account and being told this year is the most important of my life! I mean, I’ve been told that every year so far (like since year 6)! So I’m also channelling my inner Melissa McCarthy and metaphorically punching this history degree right in the throat. Well attempting to!

Bee xoxo

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

I always say how much I love the beach. One of the biggest reasons is that it never fails to brighten up a day (no matter how grey or rainy) and makes me feel super fresh. I had been in the house pretty much all day and I was in need of some vitamin sea (punny).

I found out today there is a name for beach lovers- Thalassophile. Meaning: a lover of the sea.

Here are a few of the photos we took today!

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A walk on the beach just never fails to blow the cobwebs away!