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Can We Please Stop Judging People’s Decisions?

It seems like everyone and their mother has an opinion on what I should do once I graduate. So far, none of those opinions have included or required any of my input. And all this unsolicited advice seems to go along the same route- basically everyone wants me to go do postgraduate studies.

Which would be great if a) it was something I wanted to do or even  if b) People would suggest postgraduate studies instead of simply telling me “you should go do Honours”.

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a journalist which is why I chose to major in Journalism. People just seem to ignore that and it is seriously pissing me off. Which brings me to my next issue with postgraduate studies. If I was to study further, I would prefer to do my Honours in English Studies. I would also prefer to study all the way until PhD so that I can lecture in a university-level English classroom. However that is more of a back-up plan than a goal. Like I’ve said so many times since I was twelve, journalism is the career I want. And like people have done so many times since I was twelve, my decision is being ignored.

My question is this, when did society decide what we can and cannot do? I am sick and tired of being considered odd simply because I don’t follow the stereotypes of what society expects us to do. I’ve seen friends complain about how people expect them to marry and have kids. Like postgraduate studies, starting a family is a great idea if it’s what you want. I remember being totally shocked when an old friend got married at the age of twenty. However my shock quickly melted away when I remembered that she always had been the mother of our friend group. Marriage would certainly suit her. However when other people found out (okay I couldn’t resist bragging that I had grown up with someone who was now getting married), I remember someone asking me if she was pregnant.

Last I checked, everyone had a life of their own. Why don’t we all focus on living our own lives instead of dictating how people live theirs? Some people want to get married, some people want to study, some people want to go start their own business. Unless their plans somehow seriously harm you, I really don’t see what the big deal is.

If we all followed the same life path, we would essentially be copies of each other and what would be the fun in that? People need to step back and allow others to do what makes them happy instead of what they think society would have wanted them to do.

Life as a Second-Semester SeniorĀ 

There’s always been much for me to worry about as a second-semester senior even without actually being a second-semester senior.

I’m supposed to update my resume, start the job search, make a final decision on whether or not I’m pursuing postgraduate studies (and if so, in which of my two majors would I continue studying?). However the day before my 21st birthday, the driver of my liftclub altered my second-semester to-do list. He announced to us that he would be getting a new job and we needed to find new transport. 

Most liftclubs take new members at the beginning of the year so I knew that finding a new liftclub would be difficult. Another thing that worried me was that in my first liftclub, the people delighted in making me miserable. I would even go as far as to say that they were bullies. The end result of their horrid ways was that I left the liftclub as well as my “friends” from high school (Life Lesson: It’s important to know the difference between “friends” and Friends. Sometimes it may take an unpleasant experience to learn the difference but you’ll be better off in the end).

After much searching I did find a liftclub. And boy was it majorly different from both my first liftclub and the second. The people were so friendly I couldn’t help but be suspicious. (So much so that I eventually broke down one day in tears because I had no idea how to respond to them and worried that they would think I was being rude). This liftclub was also huge- with about thirty people. I also no longer needed to wake up at 5AM and was home immediately after my class.

However everything has a downside and for my liftclub the downside is the van. On the first day of campus I opened the van door, only for it to close on me.

On day two, there was a different van with a faulty door that didn’t open unless you put in alot of strength.
I don’t have alot of strength. 

As far as downsides go, these aren’t so bad. It sucks that I’m still so terrified of the people in my new liftclub turning out to be as horrible as the ones in my old liftclub. Especially since these people have been nothing but pleasant to me. However try as I might, I really can’t let go of the past.

My Birthday Book Haul (I think I’m done for the month)

This month was really great for me since I purchased signed copies of Lady Midnight and the Creepy Hollow series (which was on sale for R20 EACH!!!). I also found the last Vampire Diaries book and my father bought me the remaining three books pictured above for my birthday.

I also won a Me Before You hamper from Penguin Books South Africa. I don’t have the book though so that’s a mistake that needs to be fixed immediately.

What was your bookhaul for the month?

5 Lessons Learnt from Gossip Girl

It’s been…a really long time since Gossip Girl ended (sorry but I can’t count the actual time because it will make me cry like a baby). The lessons the show has taught us however will last forever. Much like Blair and Chuck’s romance (or so we hope). Here are 5 lessons from Gossip Girl.

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1) If your boyfriend cheats on you, do NOT take him back. It doesn’t matter if he’s hot. It doesn’t matter if he says he won’t speak to the other girl again,DO NOT TAKE HIM BACK.

2) You’re not a stop along the way, you’re a destination- Kinda ironic that the woman who said this took her cheating boyfriend back but I’ll try not to judge.

3) “Friends” are fickle but friends are forever- Despite Blair and Serena’s many ups and downs they were (usually) always there for each other. Blair’s minions however were a let-down time and time again. Anyone remembers how they attached themselves to Serena in season one when she decided she wanted to be a bad girl again?

4) You don’t always get what you want but that’s okay – Am I the only one who cried when Blair didn’t get into Yale? I was as heartbroken as she was. After all, if the Queen Bee couldn’t get into her dream school, what did that say about the rest of us? That episode taught me that things in life may not always go as planned but it doesn’t mean you should give up.

5) Always dress your best- The fashion on Gossip Girl was one of my favourite things about the show. The characters wore amazing outfits and they wore them with confidence.

What lessons did you learn from Gossip Girl?

A Change in My Usual Reviewing Schedule

My University runs a “Student Media Lab” where students get the opportunity to attend the Durban International Film Festival and review their movies. I’m excited to announce that this year I’m one of the students. I haven’t attended any screenings yet but I have picked up a very cute media pass as well as a media pack.

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Look. I'm finally a member of the media!

The Durban International Film Festival showcases a variety of films from feature films and short movies to documentaries. The first movie I’m watching is “Alison” by Uga Carlini. “Alison” tells the real-life story of Alison Botha who was raped, brutally stabbed and left for dead.
Unfortunately since my mother has just come out of the hospital after a shoulder replacement, I won’t be attending too many screenings. However, if you’re a fan of film I suggest you get a DIFF programme ASAP and start booking for some of the movies. They all look great!

Have you attended DIFF before? Will you be attending this year? I’d love to know in the comments below.

6 Pinterest Tips for Newbies

Since my post on 10 Tips for the Instagram Newbie was so popular, I thought I’d do one on Pinterest. Not many people use Pinterest that often which is a shame as it can be so useful. I got my first sponsored post opportunity through Pinterest so I believe in it strongly. Here are six tips for the Pinterest newbie:

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1) Have a decent number of pins per board- personally I feel that your board looks abandoned if it has any less than ten pins. Make sure your boards have a good number of pins so that people know that you’re active on Pinterest.

2) Be active on Pinterest- Like, follow and repin other members. They may return the love. If not, atleast you know you’ve found great new pins.

3) Create a Pinterest board for each of your interests- My Pinterest boards consist of fashion, college, books and blogging. Make sure you state clearly in your description what can be found inside your Pinterest board.

4) But don’t make it too broad- I once saw a great pinner who had about 20 different boards from make-up and organisation to blogging and food. I was too lost to even look at the pins. Ensure that your boards are not too different from one another.

5) Don’t have a million different boards- just like boards that have nothing to do with each other, a large amount of boards are overwhelming. Stick with enough boards that someone can browse through them and not feel like they’re in a Pinterest maze.

6) Update your Pinterest whenever necessary- delete boards and pins, create new boards and pins. People change and your Pinterest should change with you especially if you’re using it as a business.

What are your tips for Pinterest? What are your favourite tips of pins? Let me know below.

I’m Taking A Hiatus

I’m taking a short break from college-blogging. For June the content of this blog will be solely book-related. I have exams until the 24th (and that is taking into consideration any possible supplementary exams) so I will be busy focusing on that. I will also be busy attending the Durban International Film Festival (more on that in another blog post).
In the meanwhile, I’ve searched far and wide to find the best books and I’m sharing them here.
Happy Twilight (and other books) Month!

5 Items to Help You Survive Winter

I’m sitting in the library right now and I’m freezing. Unfortunately the air-conditioning isn’t even on. Yes, winter is coming and it can even be felt in Durban (which is normally pretty hot). Here are a few things you’d need to help you get through winter:

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1) Hot-water bottle- Heating a hot water bottle is a quick and easy way to get warm. For kids, you can get one of those stuffed toys with the hot-water bottle or sandbags inside. It’s such a treat to be warm and toasty in your bed while the rain falls outside.

2) Winter clothes- I strongly believe that you should always go out with layers of clothing especially when it’s winter. This allows you to be warm when you’re cold and you can simply shed a few items when you’re feeling hot.

3) Socks- my dad once told me that “you can’t be warm unless your feet are warm”. I don’t know what the science behind that is but it’s true.

4) Pack an umbrella- an umbrella is nice to have unless you live in one of those areas with a really strong wind.

5) Cold and flu medication- Pretty much everyone I know and their grandmother has already gotten sick from the cold. Stock up on cold and flu medication- especially med-lemon to help protect against cold and flu.

What are your tips for surviving winter?

10 Tips for The Instagram Newbie

When I first got an android device, Instagram was the first app I installed. This was about two years ago. I’ve only just started figuring out how to use Instagram and use it well. If you’re a newbie to Instagram, here are my tips:

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1) Always add hashtags: Hashtags increase the visibility of your posts. Don’t know what hashtags to use? I always use “Instaworthy” (if a pic isn’t Instaworthy why would it be on Instagram) and other variations with “Insta” such as “Instatravel” or “Instapets”.

2) Interact with others: Like all social networks, Instagram is a place to be social. I’ve met so many great people through Instagram.

3) Return likes and comments: if someone likes or comments on your pictures, it’s always a good idea to return the favour.

4) Try to take as many shots as possible in the daylight: I don’t know if I’m the only one who didn’t know this but natural light is the best for pictures. Take out as many pics as you can during the day.

5) Photo-editing apps are made for Instagram: okay no they’re not but they make your photos look so much better. My favourite apps are Photo Editor and YouCam.

6) People are less likely to follow you if your profile is on private: With private profiles there’s always the risk you might be rejected and who wants that?

7) If your profile isn’t on private, ensure that there’s nothing that would give a future employer a bad image of you: you don’t want or need your employer seeing your Friday night out on the town.

8) Don’t overload people’s feed: Don’t post so often that your photos are the only ones that appear on your followers’ feed. That’s like Instaspam (which, if it’s not a thing, should totally be one).

9) Post regularly- Don’t post once a month either. Post on a regular basis so your followers know that you’re still around. If your last photo is from ages ago, chances are people are going to unfollow you thinking that you’ve abandoned ship.

10) Find your community- I think this is the most important thing. There is someone out there Instagramming the same shots that you are. This may be someone who Instagrams their German Shepherd (if you’re this person, kindly leave your Instagram link in the comments thanks) or pictures of beautiful sunsets. Find the people who Instagram the same things you do and connect with them. I love seeing pictures of German Shepherd puppies and pretty bookstagrams when I log in to Instagram.

What are your tips for Instagram? What do you post on your account? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Four Lessons I’ve Learnt Since Having My Novel Rejected (Thrice!!!)

I promised myself as a kid that I would publish a book before I turned 21. I’m now just over a month away from 21 but I don’t even have a synopsis or outline written. This reminded me that I’ve been rejected thrice by publishers. The first two times were by a local publisher who didn’t publish teen fantasy. The third time was a digital publisher who didn’t really like the story. However those three rejections taught me ALOT:

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1) Not everyone is going to like you or your work- This was such an important lesson for me. The story I submitted the third time was a story incredibly close to my heart. It was described as not being “compelling enough”. Now while that may be true, I liked that story. That story was my baby and nothing would change that.

2) Always give in your best work- Admittedly, I never did much editing on those stories. I’ve never gotten the importance of editing until three rejections in because now I know that yes I can make my characters and story more compelling. (Just not while college is still on). Whatever it is that you do make sure that you know that you’re giving your 101%.

3) All you need is one yes so keep trying- Whether it’s a job or your driving license, lots of things in life simply require a yes from one person. You may get rejected once or a hundred times but it is the one yes that will change your life.

4) Never let failure get you down- I was fourteen when I got my first rejection letter. Looking back I wonder why I was so stupid to send in my manuscript but I’m also pretty impressed at how brave I was. Yes, I know now it was not my best work but maybe it was my best work at the time? After being rejected for my first novel, I went on to intern at my favourite magazine just over two months later before having an article published in that magazine. Yay me! Never ever let rejection get you down because you have no idea what life may hold in store for you.

What lessons did you learn from being rejected? I’d love to know below.

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