Monday, 19 August 2019

12 THINGS I LEARNT ON MY GAP YEAR

A shot of me crouching in front of street art in Shoreditch by Oliver Rig of a man looking sorrowfully into the distance
With just two weeks left of my gap year, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the last 12 months and document what I have learnt following a year out of education. 

01. If a situation makes you unhappy, leave.
At the beginning of my gap year, I worked at Mcdonalds as a 'Customer Care Assistant' aka a glorified cleaner. I started working there as a crew member and I was promoted to the customer care role after a year. As my 2nd year of working there approached, I started to feel unhappy. I would often call one of my friends while walking home, to cry down the phone to about how awful the shift had been, customers speak to you like shit when you work at Mcdonald's, I know this is the case in most customer facing roles but the abuse you face from customers while working at Mcdonald's is next level. Or to cry about how nasty a particular shift manager had been that day. I quickly realised that a job that reduces you to tears is not a job worth having. I identified the reasons and the people who were making me feel the way I did and filed a grievence against a certain shift manager and my business manager. I felt relieved. I started applying for new jobs almost immediately and landed a job at ASOS. Within two weeks of filing my grievance, I'd handed in my notice and left. I instantly felt a lot happier. I told myself that from this day, if a job made me unhappy, especially to the point of crying, I would leave. 

02. The grass is NOT always greener 
Remember when I said my first day at ASOS was the best first day ever? I lied. It wasn't bad but I didn't feel how I thought I should feel about a new job. I walked into the office and felt anxious. The fashion world was not my cup of tea. This feeling went on for two weeks and on Sunday, the day before my third working week, I woke up, emailed the relevant person and quit the job with immediate effect. 

03. Your mental health should always come first 
This is pretty self explanatory but nothing should ever come before your mental health. Your mental health can make you or break you, take care of it. 

04. I am privileged
I may not be privileged financially but I am privileged to have a roof over my head, a loving family, a solid group of friends, a job, the ability to walk, talk, feed myself and so on. Every one of us is privileged, to live in a country free of war and dictatorship is a privilege. 

05. Being single really ain't that bad 
With my current level of independance, I can see myself dying single and unmarried and I'm not mad. I used to think marriage was the be all and end all but there's more to life. There's nothing a man can give to me (apart from dick but even then, sex toys) or do for me that I can't give or do myself. Children? I'm happy to adopt. I have found peace with myself. 

06. Food is expensive.
I don't think I will ever step foot in a Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury's etc again, Lidl and Aldi are the way forward. I can get a pack of 5 Whirlz aka Twister mini dupes from Aldi for 79p vs going to Tesco for a pack of 8 for £2.20. For 17p more, I can buy 3 packs of Whirlz from Aldi.

07. Outgrowing your friends is normal.
I lost a friend in the first few months of my gap year who I had been friends with since the age of 12. I was upset at first but after a few days of letting it digest, I realised that we had outgrown each other and our friendship had served its time and that's okay!

08. Always keep money saved
Do you have a savings account? No? Open one immediately and put whatever you can, weekly or monthly and do NOT touch it unless you're in need. Wanting a new pair of shoes Fran is not a need and does not warrant taking money out of your savings!

09. Take every opportunity you can, especially the ones outside of your comfort zone
At the beginning of this gap year, I was terrified of heights. A friend of mine asked if I would do a skydive with him to raise money for a charity close his heart, I couldn't say no. I did it and conquered my fear of heights, read the full story here 

10. Don't compare your journey 
Over the course of my gap year, I have found myself comparing my journey to those around me, particularly my peers. "So and so just bought a brand new car", "So and so just graduated" "So and so bought their first flat", you are on your own journey, going at your own pace, I will buy my dream car one day, I will graduate even if its years later than my peers and I will buy my own property, when my time comes. 

11. Take time out.
A day, a week, a month, a year or a few years, it's good for the soul.

12. It's not bullshit, you find yourself.
365 days, 525600 minutes, 8760 hours... a year is a long time! I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this journey and in a month's time, I won't be the same person who is writing this. You learn new things, bump into new people, overcome hurdles, conquer old fears and develop new ones. You're on a constant journey to discovering your full capabilities and the true purpose of your life.

Fran
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