Quarantine Update: What’s Next?

What’s lockdown looking like for you at the moment? Have you got back into swing of a normal life or are you still feeling really cautious?

I’m sort of in the middle. Of course I’m still cautious and careful but yet I am thankful that I have been able to get back to normal living in some ways. The start of quarantine started off very slow. Family walks, endless Netflix, university assignments, blogging and filming at every possible chance. Things are looking a bit different now. I’ve been to see friends, I’ve completed the majority of my driving lessons, I’ve finished first year and passed with a 2.i!

During lockdown, one on the things I had time to give a lot of time and attention to was my relationship with God. After the ups and downs of first year, I felt very distant from God. Delving deep into His word, spending time in prayer, finding guidance in older mentors and sharing struggles with my Christian friends that a lot of young adults can relate to has really given me the push in my Christian life that I need. When a lot of people prophesied “2020” vision, I didn’t think this was what was meant, but now I understand. My eyes have been opened.

I am relatively excited about moving into a house next year. There will be challenges, I am sure of it, but I am confident that I will overcome them because of my reignited faith and not be overcome by them. I believe the next year will fly pass and I am excited to get stuck into some new books on my course as well as some personal reads.

In terms of my blog, expect to see posts, same with my videos, maybe not so frequent as you’ve been used to, as I would prefer to take my time to write genuine, honest blogs and create videos that will actually have some lasting impact.

Overall, I’m doing well, I can’t complain and I hope you all are making the most of your time right now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Stop putting them on trial!

In the last few weeks or so I’ve seen so many posts on Instagram and Twitter that say something along the lines of:

“If you haven’t bothered to check up me during this pandemic, I don’t class you as a friend”.

Or something of a similar flavour. Have seen them too? Gratefully all of these posts have been met with backlash which explains that at this time, EVERYONE is struggling and it is quite selfish to cast friends aside only because they haven’t put you above whatever they have going on. Times are tough, and it’s probably a nicer gesture for you to go out of your way to see if someone is okay rather than expecting it from them.

These posts has led me into thinking deeper about what true and honest friendship is. I’ve realised a lot of this generation are constantly putting people on trial. Their friends, their significant others and even their families. Always checking people’s behaviour to make sure that it always works out to be in their favour. I’m not saying to let people treat you like rubbish and walk all over you, of course not. But I feel like we should really examine ourselves, our patience and our tolerance with the people we love and who love us before criticising them for not treating you in a way that benefits you or for not acting the way you want them to act. Should we show more love and attention to the people we care about? Absolutely! Should we be putting our friends on trial and threaten to end the friendship if they don’t check up on us as much? No way! Pride and self-absorption is a killer to relationships, so aim to give more than you wish to receive.

Check up on a loved one that you haven’t heard from for a while today, believe me, you’ll feel better for it.

Stay safe!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Choose your company

As the cliche goes, you are who your friends are. As much as we like to believe that nothing or no-one can influence us, this is simply not true. Who do you want to be? What are you aspiring to do? Where are you going? Ask yourself those questions when choosing your friends. Chances are, if the people you surround yourself are striving for the same thing as you, you are more likely to get to where you intend to get to.

I have had a lot of friends in my life and I have lost a lot of friends in my life. I like to think of my friendships as a circle within a circle. Who is on the inner circle? Who do you trust with your deepest and darkest secrets? For me, there may only be two or three people within that inner circle, and that’s okay, you can’t share your life with everyone. My middle circle is wider, these people sometimes are the biggest influences as they are usually your social group or close peers at school or work. Be careful with who you let in to this middle section of your life. There were some points where I had to leave these friends at the school gates (not literally, but metaphorically) because their behaviours and opinions would influence me so much due to spending countless hours with them. The outer cirlce, while still important, has more room for casual friendships. Your friends of friends, the guy or girl you pop up to on snap once a year on their birthday and perhaps even people in your class or on your university course are some of the people that might fall into this category.

It is inevitable that the amount of people decrease as you get deeper into the centre circle but that is also where the deeper, truer and more meaningful friendships lay. Choose wisely, because who you surround yourself with has a big impact on your mood and character. Friendships are so beautiful, so let’s make them worthwhile.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

How do I juggle life as a sixth form student?

There are many aspects to my life currently as a sixth form student. Many of these exist within the realms of academia but there are other parts of my life that happen outside of school. Everyone’s experience with sixth form/college differs, depending on how they have chosen to navigate life. But here’s how I do it!

School Work

Week upon week I spend around 30 hours in school and I dedicate a decent amount of time (usually :/) per week to revision. For someone so engrossed in their studies like me, stress is inevitable, especially when the desirable outcomes aren’t produced. I try to balance all three of my subjects evenly but it’s difficult when perhaps I favour one subject (obviously English Literature) more so naturally, out of pure interest, I put more effort in or become so concerned with falling behind in a weaker subject (Maths) that it compromises the amount of time I get to put into the remaining subjects. I somehow managed to dedicate the right amount of time to each subject by assessing my strengths and areas of improvement and revise according to my weaknesses rather than constantly revisiting topics that I already have mastered.

Part time job

When I begun sixth form I promised myself (and my parents) that I would get a job. It was only then that I realised the value of money and could truly appreciate how hard both of my parents work for us. The cliche that “money doesn’t grow on trees” suddenly made sense. Being in charge and responsible for my own money prevented me from spending unnecessarily. Although it can be hard sometimes to juggle full time education and a job but it’s good preparation for real life – it doesn’t hold me back. I enjoy my job, I enjoy the company of the people I work with and I feel blessed to be in the position that I am in.

Family and Social Life

My family are my best friends, my favourite people ever. However, in the midst of life, between work and study, it’s easy to neglect, yes neglect, those close to you. Upon realising that I couldn’t constantly use my education and exams as an excuse to not spend time with my family, I switched up my priorities. And guess what? My grades didn’t suffer. In fact, I believe that the positivity of my family actually benefitted my study. As for my social life – personally, is not a big aspect of my life. I love my friends to bits but most of them are from my sixth form or other sixth forms with similar targets and aspirations. We’re not the biggest party animals so prefer to sit at home together and eat pizza but we have the best time. Everyone’s social life is different and balance doesn’t always mean 50/50. Although studies may take out a fair chunk of your time, always give some time to your loved ones.

There are other parts specific to my own life e.g being head girl, driving lessons etc but I think I covered most of the main general points. Feel free to comment if you want advice on any more aspects of life.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

A matter of connection: A bit of friendship advice….

Friendships and human connection are a major part of the lives of the majority of people living amongst us. Humans are social creatures and thus desire to connect with others. Many people, more specifically teens, have the mentality of “group=safety” whereby they spend the majority of their teenage years thriving on the idea of “fitting in” rather than being an individual.

Now, there is no issue with wanting to fit in and there’s no problem with wanting to find friends that resemble oneself but the toxicity comes when the desire to fit in puts your happiness at stake. In essence, it becomes an issue when you go out of your way to change yourself in order to gain respect and admiration from those who you associate yourself with. This can be in the form of changing your passions or interests, compromising your personal morals and adapting your appearance. These are all toxic signs. I’m not generalising all circumstances and I’m not dictating that all people who experience this are in toxic friendship groups, but from personal experience and from the tales of those close to me who have also encountered these situations, it is a good sign that you may need to reassess your friendships.

Friendship should not be competitive regarding things that you cannot control; ie: looks, weight, popularity, intelligence, family life, but instead ones friendship should encourage you, support you, value you and of course help you to believe that you can reach your goals. We should be quicker to listen to others than we are to speak and I believe this is important, especially when one requires the care and attention of the other.

Everyone is an individual, so it’s by no means a 1-for-all topic. It’s not always a matter of acquiring meaningful friendships overnight. It does happen though, that people meet, unexpectedly, and become the best of friends but also note that friendship is a journey, not a destination. You’ll meet many amazing people as you go about your teenage years, and some will become lifelong friends. However, do not live in blatant ignorance. Although I value all people regardless of their past actions and do not believe that a person alone can be toxic, I do strongly understand that not all friendships you encounter will be sincere, so just be mindful. Ultimately, friendship and human connection is so important and I hope and pray that you all develop powerful friendships that will lessen the downsides of this beautiful life.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Beauty of Christmas!

Hey guys! Merry Christmas!! What’s your favourite part of Christmas? Is it the decorative lights? The presents? Spending time with your family and friends? I love all of these aspects, as most people do, however, as a Christian, Christmas to me is so much more! Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ through joyful songs, generous giving and all round fellowship and collaboration with those in my community is what truly makes my Christmas special. This year, today in fact, I had the absolute pleasure in helping out at a Christmas party/meal for those who are less fortunate than myself which was organised by my incredible church family. Giving back to the community and sharing this special holiday with those who are short of either company or money has definitely been one of the major highlights of my Christmas.

Christmas for most is a season of peace, love and joy regardless of faith and beliefs. I hope all of you out there experience the peace, love and joy that you well and truly deserve. I wish endless laughter and happiness to you and all your families!

Will be back with another blog in the New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Love Always,

Shadz xo