Health, Fitness and Determination

Hi guys,

I haven’t updated you all in a while. I’m still going strong with my healthy eating and exercising. The food part is easy, I have no qualms eating lots of fruit and vegetables everyday. I make sure I stay hydrated throughout the day, I now add slices of lemon and it feels odd drinking water alone.  I reintroduced white rice to my diet in small doses. I don’t feel as though I have missed out on anything, besides bulgar wheat has taken its place! Bread is still a no no; my colleagues were used to me sitting eating sandwiches for lunch, now I have a container of salad in front of me.
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I wake up at the crack of dawn to exercise 4 times a week. It works best for me! Halfway through the workout I realise I’m awake and before I know it the workout is over.

I have less than two months before I go on holiday and I’m still far from excited. Why? I feel like I’m no where near my goal. I said I didn’t have a goal- I don’t, just an idea of what I want to look like and feel like. I had the shock of my life looking through old photo’s of my stomach and I noticed a slight difference! My brother says there is a big difference 😀 I can’t expect things to change overnight, so I shall keep going.  Even looking at a picture of a beach is more than enough motivation for me.
Ibiza Platja En bossa beach with palm trees

I was aiming to make more smoothies, however it turns out my ‘Magic bullet’ wasn’t magic after all! So I purchased a Kenwood Smoothie Maker for £19.99 from Argos. I had a voucher and it was either a handbag or a smoothie maker. I have used it once and I give it 5 stars, its compact, it isn’t too loud and does the job well.

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So far I have learned...

1. To stay away from the scales. I was never one to jump on off of scales, but I did give it a go. Within a space of 2 minutes my weight changed 3 times (my scales are dodgy). I will use the one at the doctors one day. I measure myself using a tape measure and keep note of the measurements.

2.  To refrain from junk food when I’m stressed, it will not solve my problems! It will add to it if anything.

3. Perseverance is key in all aspects in my life!!! If I can get through a half an hour workout surely I can get through whatever else comes my way.

4. Jilian Micheal’s is the bomb! I feel like I have my own personal trainer in my living room. She often reels off motivational quotes during her workouts and it helps me push myself.

5. I have had my fair share of cakes, biscuits, crisps chocolate and so on. This doesn’t mean I will never eat these foods again. It will be in small doses and on rare occasions.

6. Health is wealth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I took my good health for granted. Recently I was taken a back by some news and it has sunk in now. The bottom line is: looking after myself is so important! What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger!

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Are Apprenticeships The Way Forward?

In my last year of college we were encouraged to sign up to UCAS and attend university. I hadn’t explored my other options or considered what else I could do as an alternative to university.schoolnewThis is the route we all know so well.

My ideal university learning curve

University was a big learning curve for me; however I always found it lacked something vital. It was all very well having us sit through lectures and tutorials from week to week, handing out assignments and sending us on our merry way. What about prepping us for real life situations? Granted we all followed through and gained a degree; what could we expect to happen next?

Why not teach students about what employers want and the skills they need to obtain? Why not encourage students to get as much experience as they can during university?

Lectures could openly share their own experiences and hopefully inspire their students. At the end students would gain a degree along with great cover letters, CV’s, a portfolio, interview prep and so on. Not forgetting feeling more confident as they enter the world of work.

Having completed a Multimedia degree I look back at some of the modules on my course and wonder if they were really relevant. I would have loved a bit more focus on life after university; the importance of gaining experience, a chance to explore how to approach daunting interviews, time to develop our portfolio’s and prep for our futures.

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Is experience a must-have?

Experience seems to be more important than is emphasized, I know this from experience! I’m actually quite puzzled by the concept of some of these internships.I have been lead to believe that internships were a gateway for graduates; an opportunity to gain hands on experience. I have come across companies looking for interns with experience.

So you are telling me I need experience beforehand to get experience? Intriguing! Surely I’m missing something here? If everyone is asking for experience, how will graduates get experience, if you won’t offer experience #catch22.

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I am not ruling out the companies out there who seek candidates who are passionate and show genuine interest in the area over candidates with more experience. I’m glad there is living proof you exist! It goes to show that there is hope for graduates struggling to land a job or internship.

I took matters into my own hands and found an internship programme in my 2nd year of University. I was lucky enough to spend 2 months working for a charity called bibic in Somerset. I discovered this internship through the University of East London, their programme ‘Shellstep’ was open to students from all universities.

My second internship was in partnership with the University of West London and the first 2 weeks were spent working on self development. We attended public speaking workshops, developed our CV’s/ cover letters and learned useful interview techniques. It was a wonderful experience and one I will not forget!

Why do unpaid internships still exist?

I understand there are plenty of graduates out there looking for experience, however working for free in this day and age is ludicrous! Travel alone costs an arm and a leg! I am aware that some companies contribute to travel expenses and money towards your sarnies which is better than nothing!

I do wonder if employers expect you to jump on your skateboard and travel from the outskirts of North London to Central London every day. £5 a day won’t stretch very far in terms of life outside of work. Surely unpaid internships should be called “Volunteerships” or something along those lines. Students are volunteering their services after all!

I appreciate websites that ban companies from posting unpaid internships on their job boards. Graduates need to live too! We are hungry to learn but this shouldn’t compromise money towards living/eating.

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So are apprenticeships the way forward?

I’ve asked a few youngsters their plans for life after sixth form/ college and its apparent apprenticeships are a hit! Merely out of curiosity I have asked the reason behind their decision and it’s more or less the same answers. “I don’t want to go to university” or “I want experience before I go to university”.

Fair play to those who don’t plan on going to uni; uni isn’t for everyone and it certainly doesn’t guarantee a job. Ensure you explore all your options and go with what suits you. There are tons of apprenticeships schemes appearing from left right and centre catering for college leavers. Far more than what was on offer in my day.

All I can say is grab these opportunities while you can and make the most of them.

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6 Reasons To Appreciate Your Job 

1. The people you meet

I’ve met some truly awesome people at work who have become friends outside work. There are days that may not be considered as good days and it’s the people I work with that make my day. You may not make any friends, however you may benefit from learning how to adapt to working with all kinds of people.

2. The experience/skills you gain

It looks better to have a job then to have a huge gap on your CV/resume. Believe it or not future employers do sympathize and understand the difficulties people go through to find a job. Your skills are transferable in one way or another.

3. The income

We live in a world where everything has a price, so do what you have to do! Your job title is irrelevant; it’s what you do when you’re there. Be proud of how far you’ve come. You see that pay check you just received? You earned it! Go you!

4. The connections 

Ok not every job you’re in will have worthwhile connections. Stay in touch with those you get along with. I’m not suggesting you force contact with everyone; Let it come naturally, check up on people every once in a while. Stay on good terms and never close doors unnecessarily. You never know what the future may bring; they do say it’s who you know that puts you at an advantage.

5. You were offered the job for a reason

Your employer likes you? Great! I’m sure they didn’t hire you for that reason alone, I can guarantee they expect you to put the work in. If this wasn’t the case they would be better off hiring someone they dislike, but does the job well. At least they would be getting their money’s worth.

I had to remind someone of this the other day. This person seemed to think that due to his employer liking them, they were sure to hold onto their job. I pointed out that their recent actions were giving their employer reasons to think otherwise.

You are being paid to do your job, at least do it well!  You could be the best computer programmer in town, but don’t think for a second that the best programmer in the next town won’t snap up your job. Don’t be the one that gets replaced. Always keep on top of your game!

6. You chose to be there

Your employer offered you the job; however you took the first step and applied for the job, you sold yourself, they offered you the job and you accepted. You didn’t have to say yes, but guess what? You did! At one point in time this was what you wanted and you got it. It is your choice to remain there. If over time things have changed rethink/reevaluate your goals and start over.
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