Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I was asked recently by my old school to write to a few of the current students a bit about why I took Geography at GCSE and A-Level so I thought I'd transfer that to this blog in case any of you reading this are uncertain about whether Geography is the right subject for you and for your future.

I'm not going to pretend that I have always been a lover of Geography because that would simply be a lie. When I started out at senior school, there were only two subjects I freely admitted that I hated, and both in equal measures; Geography and Drama. Why did I hate geography so much? Well, I think it was a mixture of things. I came from primary school having a limited experience of what geography entailed, hazy memories of sitting in a classroom learning about rivers and oxbow lakes that made my eyes heavy with boredom. I don't think I really gave Geography much of a chance when joining senior school, my teachers were irritating and all we seemed to do was crafts and look at maps. I have never been the type of person who enjoys doing crafts, so spending most of my time making sheep farms, rainforests and volcanoes was not my thing. I'm someone who likes to learn by reading, listening or discussing, not by using my hands and imagination.  So, in the first two years of secondary school, from age 11-13, I counted the days til I could drop Geography and say goodbye forever. Luckily for me, in hindsight at least, we weren't allowed to decide our GCSE subjects until mid year 9, ages 13/14, and by that time we'd moved away from the Pre-GCSE course and started the GCSE course and that was the point at which I started to learn just how vast Geography is as a subject.

Although I write this now from somewhat of a physical Geography standpoint, it was in fact human geography that got me interested at first. I don't remember much of the pre-GCSE course, only that I hated it with a passion, but moving into GCSE level, with a teacher who was passionate and knowledgeable, I seemed to learn so much about the world in such a short space of time. It felt like Geography finally began to click. Geography wasn't just about Oxbow lakes and cutting and sticking, Geography was actually about all elements of the world. Finally I began to relate what I learnt to things going on around me and understand so much more about the world we live in and the processes and flows that link everyone together globally, from the way in which big companies (TNC's) influence the world, to immigration and emigration, the issues of an ageing population, the make up of cities and rural spaces, all of these issues and problems that I'd heard about or seen with my own eyes but never really thought about or questioned before and problems that I had never heard about before. I decided to continue Geography for GCSE and as my perception of geography changed, my interest in the physical side of Geography began to increase. We started to learn about things I could relate to my own experiences of the world around me, like Coasts and Biodiversity and other that I'd only heard about like Volcanoes and Earthquakes but were still interesting to know about. The mix of physical Geography and human Geography kept me intrigued and consistently learning so much. Even still, despite taking A-Level and having finished my first year at university, there are things that I learnt at GCSE that come up time and time again in the news, conversation and generally just life.

Taking Geography at A-Level was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made. At the time it meant very little. I took Geography as my filler subject, the one that didn't really have much to do with my future plans but the one that I wanted to take simply because I enjoyed it. It should have clicked then that taking subjects you don't particularly love in order to get a job that you think you might enjoy wasn't exactly a recipe for success in terms of the future but you live and learn. It shouldn't have come as a surprise really when the subject I took purely because of enjoyment, ended up being the subject I wanted to study at university. Even if I had decided not to continue it further after A-Levels, the knowledge and skills base that I have acquired from Geography will be some of the most important I will ever gain. Geography broadens the horizons and changes your perspective on the world, helping you to be far more critical and informed in your decisions. There is no doubt that wherever you go and whatever you do later in life, the skills you learn and the knowledge you acquire in Geography will always stand you in good stead.

That's enough Geography love for today,

Take Geography. You won't regret it (most probably).


Friday, 5 June 2015


I absolutely adore reading. I know not how to describe the feeling that encompasses me when opening a book. To escape into a world created entirely through the imagination of another seems somehow intimate, yet how that world is perceived is entirely up to the imagination of the reader. Books are my constant, a place to escape when the burdens of life are too great, when the desire to feel less alone overwhelms me, when the want to learn something new surfaces, or just simply when I need to sit back and relax. Reading is my strength, my passion, my thing.

Books are always there. People can chop and change, life can take unexpected turns but there will always be a book that I can relate to. There will always be characters to love and characters to hate. There will always be places to explore. There will always be things to learn. Horizons to expand, vocabulary to be stretched, discussions to be had. I find a great comfort in knowing that.

I find that books are a gateway for me. The gateway to many an opportunity as a result of a common love of a book. Many a conversation has been started. Many a friendship has been made. Many a time have books been my saviour. If you know me, you'll know that books are the key to my heart. Nothing is as certain to get me animated than an extremely good or bad book. I never travel without one. To me they are a necessity. They are fantastic. I am in heaven when I am surrounded by them. It's for this reason that I could never have chosen to do a degree in English Literature. Books are my means for escape. The day that I need to escape from books is a day that I hope to never experience.


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Being Single

Being single can often be underrated. It's easy to fall into that trap of feeling that a relationship will fix all of your heart's problems. But then something happens to make you realise just how awful being in a relationship can be sometimes, and you're happy just to be single for a little while, even if that little while doesn't last very long. So today, as I'm feeling the true, undiluted pleasure of not being romantically involved with anyone I thought I'd share with you my reasons why.

Number One on the list is FREEDOM.
I'm not trying to imply that being in a relationship is like having shackles tied round your wrists, but, being in a relationship can... limit, or restrict, you in various ways. Being single comes with the ability to grab opportunities that may otherwise have involved serious consideration and compromise. You want to go and work abroad for 6 months? Great. You don't have to sit down with your other half and have that big conversation about your relationship, the risks, the heartache. Phew. Another example, going out. When you're single, you can go out with whoever you like, whenever you like (for the most part) and you don't have to incur the wrath of a potentially jealous boyfriend or girlfriend. You can be spontaneous and you can do what you want. Pure bliss!

Number Two on the list is Personal Space.
As someone who likes to spend time alone without talking to anyone but myself (yes, I do talk to myself) being single is perfect. Sometimes you just need your own space, to get to know who you really are. Being in a relationship often involves being around that person constantly. Spending lots of time with that person and even when you're not together, talking to that person on the phone, via text, email, Facebook, whatever social media you have. I don't do to well with being around the same person for too long, I get easily annoyed by people when I spend over a certain amount of time with them. Which is why I tend to have a lot of friends and not many close friends. So when I'm in a relationship, or when I get close to being in a relationship, I feel really claustrophobic. I don't know why, I get this feeling that I just want to switch my phone off and be by myself for a few days until it passes. And... most people don't tend to understand that about me, so it tends to piss people off. Having personal space ties in well with the freedom of being single. Sometimes you just need to do what you want and be who you are, without having to think about being a part of a relationship. Go on a date with yourself and figure out how to love yourself before someone else falls in love with you.

Number Three is the lack of arguments.
Being single involves fewer arguments. You don't tend to spend enough time with people to get pissed off with them as much as when you're in a relationship. Simple as that. When two people decide to spend their life with one another or at least be in a committed relationship, it is the beginning of combining two people into one unit. And that isn't always easy, so just be glad when you're single that you don't have to deal with the less than rosy side of being in a relationship.

That's about it. Being in a relationship is a wonderful thing, but it doesn't have to define who you are and it won't solve all of your problems. So, try and be happy being single, make the most of it and when you feel good about yourself and ready to be in a relationship, go for it and you'll experiences all those different joys that don't come with being single. And, when I'm in that frame of mind, I'll write another blog post on the delights of being in a relationship.


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