How many more?

I don’t think that it is news to anyone that American gun laws need to change.

March for Our Lives was a student led demonstration in Washington DC, which highlighted the need for tighter gun laws and restrictions in the US in light of recent events that sadly seem to have become a recurring theme.

Being part of the 846 events run across the world, from Edinburgh, outside the US consulate, the protest gave light to the horrific reality of gun violence in America as we listened to the frightening statistics. Imagine, as a parent, knowing that gun related deaths are the THIRD leading cause of deaths for American children. Sending your kids to school, knowing that there is going to be time taken away from their learning day to practice ALICE (Alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate). These kids should be learning how to write essays and do algebra, and instead of focusing on building their education, it’s being destroyed by learning how survive a terrorist attack.

Scotland and America are obviously very different in terms of size and culture but there are certain things that don’t have to be so different. Something that still haunts Scotland today is the Dunblane School massacre, leaving 16 children and 1 teacher dead in 1996. After a petition, much campaigning and a change of government, the handgun ban was brought into effect in 1997. This “banned the private possession of all cartridge ammunition handguns, regardless of calibre.” SURELY the fact that there hasn’t been a mass shooting using a handgun since, says something???

Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, just over a month ago, leaving 17 dead, it was hard to hear accounts from the relatives of those whose lives were taken in Dunblane in 1996. One of the most touching was from a woman who had lost her sister during the tragedy, she recited a poem which she had written, bringing into account many different aspects that are associated with tragedy like this. How for some, it doesn’t even seem real as it is compressed into a 15 minute news story or even a page that you will scroll past and skim read on your phone. It really made us think about the experience that those who have lost are going through, when the story is adapted over and over again and those who have passed become a deceivingly familiar image in the eye of the public.

There are so many instances that America could look to for guidance across the world. Notably the massive changes made in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 in Australia, the banning of semi-automatic and other military style weapons. And what would you know? No mass killings in the last 22 years.

It genuinely baffles me how those with the ability to make simple changes which would have the biggest effect AS PROVEN, are incapable of doing so. Yet, all the likes of Trump and co. can give back to these families who have suffered devastation are ‘thoughts and prayers’. How many more will it take?

It does not take a genius to recognise that something needs to be done.

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Did someone say uni?

Long time no see!! I literally have no excuse for my lack of writing apart from I’m lazy and I’ve been prioritising other things recently, like getting into uni…

And guess what? IT WORKED. After all the stresses of applying, I have just confirmed my place at the University of Aberdeen for September this year.

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If you’ve read any of my blogs before you’ll know I didn’t get into uni as planned last year, and despite being absolutely gutted at the time, it looks like it’s turned out for the best. In my last post (which was admittedly a long long time ago) I tried to make it come across that taking this more relaxed year at college would be best for me. I’m not sure if at the time I entirely believed that myself or was just trying to convince myself that I did. But here I am, a few months down the line, I couldn’t be happier. This year has let me have a well needed break after constant schooling for however many years, where A levels were hurting my brain more and more every day. Looking back at my last year of school reminds me of the constant stress I felt most days due to the looming pressure of coursework and exams as well as trying to balance my academics, with sport and social life. The contrast between the way I felt this time last year, compared to now is something that I probably wouldn’t have experienced if I went straight to uni.

This year I have been able to get myself together as I had stated that I wanted to do in so many ways. I’ve managed to sort out what felt like nonstop tonsillitis by getting my tonsils chopped out, learning to drive and sitting my test soonish (hopefully), getting my health on track and spending time with so many new and old friends,and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m lucky that I’ve been given this time to think through everything and realise that so many things really do happen for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem it at first. I know when something unexpected and pretty rubbish happens it seems like the whole world is against you, kind of thing but honestly you just need to roll with it because you don’t know where it’s going to take you.

Just wanted to do a short little update for you all, and I’m excited to get back into writing again with everything being in place for the next wee while.

Let the 6 month countdown begin.

Not so gap year

 

So I started writing before results day:

Sitting here, the night before results day with every possible situation running through my head gives you a lot of time to panic whilst thinking about the past few years at school that have been more stressful than an 11 year old me arriving in 1st form could have ever imagined.

There’s something pretty uncanny about leaving school. Its not a feeling that you’ve felt before. I don’t know what it is? It could be the looming pressure of responsibility or perhaps the way that the clock is ticking every second closer to results day. I think that the most daunting thing is that I, and most others my age who are lucky enough to have had the opportunity, have spent the majority of their life in this enclosed safety net that we  call school. Having been away from school for 3 months now, I’m finding myself missing things that I never thought I would, from hearing the knocking on the walls of the rooms next to me telling me to stop singing, and sometimes crying (thanks to A levels) to the nervous shaking you get on Monday morning, when your teacher is standing in front of you, watching you search your folders for the homework that you’ve spent the whole weekend not doing. Most of us just don’t know any different from school and whatever environment we find ourselves in post-results day is going to take a lot of settling in to and even more getting used to.

I can’t describe this time between finishing school and waiting for results in any other way than the blank page between chapters in a book. Waiting to turn to the next page but still in stuck in the chapter before is how I’ve genuinely felt. Having said that, I hope some people can actually relate and I don’t just sound too English obsessed??

Almost a month later:

If I was to predict where I would be when I started writing this, I wouldn’t have even been close. After just missing out on my uni place for this year, I’m taking a year out to add to my qualifications and just get myself together really. Having moved to Edinburgh, its given me a fresh start in so many ways which I didn’t realise how beneficial it would be. I’d say that I am almost settled in and continuing to get used to my new life for the year. All these changes in these last few weeks have made me realise as much as maybe you don’t want to change, it can potentially be for the best. Change is normally associated with negativity at this age because we’ve become so used to being children, being surrounded by all our friends, being looked after and having very limited responsibility.

Having just come back from a weekend in Aberdeen, getting a taste of where I’ll HOPEFULLY be next September, I’d say it has made me even more grateful for this coming year. Despite being absolutely gutted after not getting into uni, its given me a bit of time to think, and, in all honesty, maybe I wasn’t quite ready for it this year…Plus, now it gives me more than enough time to get myself ready for it, and maybe learn to cook something more than beans on toast.

Watching all my friends go through their respective changes is comforting in that it makes me realise that I’m not the only one who’s getting used to a new life.

I don’t think this post comes with a great message  or meaning other than there are so many options after school, and just with every situation really there is more than one option and even though you might have to choose one you didn’t want to, it can often come with so many opportunities and new experiences. Change is usually for the best at this young age and there surely is a path for everyone where the power of fate will never stop amazing us.

Young, Dumb & Broke – Zante

After giving you a small introductory taste to my writing habits I thought I’d build upon it with something as cultural as an insight into my Leavers Holiday to Zante. After finishing school it probably isn’t much to your surprise that perhaps cultural isn’t the word, despite being a desolate Greek Island- it seems to be ruled by the infamous Naughty Chris where xenia (the ancient Greek concept of hospitality) isn’t really something he channels whilst fulfilling his duties as a bouncer…After studying Greek literature for a year, I can’t help but think times have changed since Homer wrote the ‘Odyssey” in 800BC.

I hope that this brief outline of events provides you with some sort of entertainment that I got from reminiscing and writing about it.

I knew that tackling one of Europe’s most notorious party islands with my deteriorating health was bound to be a mistake, but yet I still attempted to do it anyway. And here I am, 2 weeks later, with tonsillitis and a chest infection, having lived to tell the tale.

Travelling from the airport to the hotel at 6am was a short but sweet journey, nicely complemented by some drunken teens on the street still trying to make their way home.  Anyway, the reps were sure to try and make us feel more than welcome, by not leaving our room at 6am after we’d been travelling since 6pm the previous day, how considerate right?! After giving Jess a kick up the backside and letting Joe know that most of us had boyfriends they were on their way and never spoke to us again.

So everyday was pretty much the same, we’d all gotten into the routine of saying that we would definitely get up early and go to the beach the following day to try and make the most of our time away, but yet when the alarms were set for 11am, the furthest some of us could walk was the fridge, and that was to get water to attempt to cure the hangover. Most of us managed to stumble down to the poolside where we could shake off the remains any alcohol in our system and prepare ourselves for the night ahead. In doing so, I’m pretty certain that we managed to  annoy every other guest in the hotel, our games and play fighting in the pool came with a number of glares and even a couple of ‘f*ck off”s in the process. This does make it even harder to come to terms with the idea of us as a group of ‘young adults’, being thrown in at the deep end of the adult world. (Literally) Nevertheless, it didn’t get in the way of our fun in the sun and allowed us to all catch up on the drama of the night before.

Although, there were a couple of anomalies of the week in the sun, like the one day we did actually venture to the beach and the other we spent the afternoon sailing around turtle island in the sweltering heat. The beach was well worth the extensive 7 minute walk, and with just our luck, after settling down on our sun-beds we were even ‘greeted’ by a nudist!! We stayed for just as long as we could handle but the heat and gritty sand affixed between our toes became too much for even the best of us. So back to the familiar home turf we went, Mario’s Studios. The other day, Thomas, one of the boys on our trip, who had basically turned into our own personal rep for the week, organising every event and deal that we made had somehow managed to get us 2 boats to be driven by ourselves to actually the escape the alcohol fuelled island.Everyone could probably agree that this was one of the most memorable days with the breath taking views of Turtle island, and watching another boy on the trip, Jonny, who certainly left his mark in the sea… (Whatever that means to you, I’ll leave it down to your imagination)

So after beginning our 1st night with a ride in a horse and carriage down the strip and a handful of drama, which by the end of the week, probably turns into bucket of drama, our nightlife in Zante had certainly started with a bang. But after that, it only went uphill with ‘Cocktails and Dreams’ becoming our second home for the week. This was very similar to the whole doing the same thing every day and promising to go to the beach scenario, as although suggestions came left, right and centre for another destination that night- somehow we always managed to end up next to Naughty Chris in ‘Cocktails and Dreams’. Not being the friendliest of bouncers (rumour has it that he has drawn blood from a number of party goers) no one wanted to get on his bad side. However, most of us girls had it easy, as much as I don’t agree with it, a club that stated “Only female dancers on the bar”, was easy enough for us to get into by flashing a smile and maybe even a cheeky wink. However, it was a little more difficult for the boys- being threatened with ‘sharp objects’ as Naughty Chris put it, and having their personal property flung about like it was dirt on his shoe. This included my hat, that I had just bought 2 days before, on my way to the train station to the airport, being flung from Rory’s head along with some of his hair and never to be seen again, surprisingly, neither of us wanted to follow him up on this.

The last night, after being kicked out of our hotel rooms at 10am, having gotten in from the previous night just after 6am everyone was tired, annoyed and a little bit fragile from ‘Cocktails and Dreams’ (obviously). BUT, this was a night of discovery as Rory and I witnessed that Costos, the owner of the hotel who was eager to draw every penny- or cent- out of you that he could with undeserving fines actually had a heart?! Having spent every euro that we came with, after our week in the 30 degree heat, our mouths were dry and drying out even more as we foraged for a bottle of water. We tried to tackle this by spending a substantial amount of time talking to drunk, and not so drunk people trying to gather as close to 2 euros as possible for a bottle of water. First time round, we were successful and tried to make the bottle last as long as possible but it ran out and we were still as thirsty as before. Trying to gather money this time was different, as Costos had appeared behind the bar and saw us struggling and simply handed us a bottle of water. If only it had been that simple the first time, it probably would have saved us a lot of time, and dignity. Alas, he was not the monster we maybe thought he was.

Khalid’s song “Young Dumb and Broke” that almost turned into our anthem as we blasted it whilst us girls got ready every night and ventured out on the boat, turns even more into an anthem with every word becoming relatable by the end of the trip. With our childish sides ironically coming out, various trips to hospital, running our bank accounts dry and just being generally stupid, Khalid had never been so relatable. But it was these events and qualities that really did make our holiday ‘a once in a lifetime’ sort of trip.

Although there was perhaps a lack of detail in my account of our adventures, I’ve written this with the inkling that my parents could be reading this with the intentions to find out the specifics of my week away from home. (just kidding Mum & Dad…) It may or may not be a week I wish to relive, but despite this, it really did exceed our expectations in one way or another.

Zante, it was a pleasure.

 

“How to Write a Blog Post”

There’s something quite daunting about publishing your thoughts online, which almost makes my life’s worth of education seem pretty irrelevant at this moment in time. Despite what seems like a lifetime (which it practically was) at school, I really am none the wiser when it comes to writing or even starting a blog… so why am I even doing it? It’s actually been something I’ve planned to do for a while, reading other people’s blogs I’ve found to be surprisingly captivating- they let you feel like you have access to perhaps a complete stranger’s innermost thoughts, as strange as it is, I wanted to try and join this ‘sphere of thinking’.

Putting pen to paper myself, makes me cringe ever so slightly, however, I’m hopeful that I can get over the initial awkwardness and manage to get something out of this somewhat embarrassing attempt to disclose my own thoughts.

So, my reason for starting a blog at this very moment is due to the life of uncertainty that I am currently living. Having just finished my A Levels, with no idea whether I have met my uni conditions or not, I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing this time next year.. Being forced to make decisions that could possibly influence the rest of my life *at 18 years old!?!?!?* comes with a lot of questions, consequences and quite possibly an influx of tears. Not knowing where you stand between child and adulthood, is pretty confusing for anyone, not helped by the irony of getting a child’s (under 16yrs) train ticket on the way to a night out. I really couldn’t tell you whether I’d rather be 12 or 20.

Although, when it comes to responsibility, I want to be 12 years old again, with no worries apart from how many x’s my boyfriend of that week is sending me. No matter how serious the responsibility is, I don’t know how to handle it and will almost always resort to looking it up on the internet. My internet search history of today includes “Do you cook pesto?”, “What do you wear to an interview?”, and most obviously “How to Write a Blog Post?”. Some of my questions are perhaps less legitimate than others but still, you can never be too sure. But with still so much to learn- I have so many questions!!! I can honestly say, I don’t think I can go a day without asking google  (or my mum) multiple questions. Hence giving me the title of my new found blog. Having said this, I don’t live a boring life trying to find the answers to my questions but I actually have some fun on the way thus providing the ‘exclamation marks’.

Hopefully reading this hasn’t made your teeth grind too much, because coming to the end of the post I actually feel a lot more at ease, perhaps (HOPEFULLY) a sign of being welcomed into the blogging community…