For the past four years of my life, September has been my January.
September means the start of a new academic year. It means the end of a summer spent at home, it means buying new stationery and books on a reading list, it means moving back to the bustle of Glasgow city centre that I love so much. It means a renewed feeling of motivation and excitement and touch of anxiety and nerves.
This September is different to the last few, though, as although I am returning to the same city and the same university, it is in an entirely different manner. If you don’t know, I graduated in June after four hard years of my undergraduate degree in English Literature, Journalism and Creative Writing. I moved out of the flat I had lived in for the three years following student accommodation. Now, I am moving back into a different flat and starting a new course. I am starting my masters, an MLitt in Creative Writing.
Of course, I am excited. I can’t wait to learn more, write more, see more (party more). But there is also this little niggling feeling inside of me that is rising closer and closer to the surface with each passing day. What if I don’t like the people on my course? What if they are all older than me because it’s a masters? What if I don’t like my classes? What if they are all better writers than me? What if I’m not good enough?
I am trying to remind myself that I can’t be that bad at writing. I did get a degree in it. I did get accepted into a very small course based on my grades and a portfolio. But as I am sure a lot of you know, that type of rational thinking doesn’t always get you very far when you have started thinking in a negative fashion.
The only thing that will (hopefully) reassure me is to just throw myself in there. I have every hope that this course will set me on the right path and help me figure out exactly what kind of writer I am, what I am good at, and where I want to take it next. There is nothing better for a writer than being surrounded by other like-minded writers.
If September is really January, maybe that means I should be making some new year resolutions for myself.
1. Don’t be so scared.
You won’t learn anything, improve, or gain great opportunities by holding yourself back. People aren’t judging you. They aren’t criticising you in their head (I hope). Talk to those people, make those connections, get yourself out there.
2. Find a good writing opportunity outside of class.
Last year I spent a lot of my free time as the Arts Editor for the Strathclyde Telegraph. I also wrote several articles for The National Student, which very sadly closed down a few days ago and no, I am not over it yet. It was an incredible platform for me and gave me great opportunities to expand my writing repetoir (also, free books). I was contributor of the month in May and my articles stand at over 21,000 total reads. I am very proud of everything I did with them and really am sad to see it go. My writing profile is still online to view here.
Now, I am going to have to find a new venture. I would love to do something similar, so I need to get my thinking hat on these next few weeks and find something new. I would also like to look into submitting pieces to online literary magazines, so if you have any ideas then do let me know! This is me putting some feelers out and seeing what I can come up with. Alternatively, if you have a platform and would like me to write for you, then YES PLEASE. Send me an email, a tweet, a comment. I would be ever grateful. You can see a sample of some of my other published work here.
3. Expand my horizons.
That is a very corny way of putting it, but after the summer I just had it is the only way I can really describe it. I spent a month volunteering in Fiji, teaching English and Maths in a local school and living true Fijian village life (you have no idea what I went through, trust me). Afterwards, I spent two weeks travelling in Australia, starting in Brisbane and heading down the coast to Sydney with several stops along the way. The things I saw and did this summer far surpassed my imagination, and I don’t want it to end there. Obviously, that was on a pretty extreme scale, but it did give me a taste for absolute freedom. It was liberating. I guess this also comes under resolution #1, but I think it is important to experience things you never would have otherwise. I’m not sure how I will do this yet, but that’s all part of the excitement. Maybe it will even make me a better writer.
This ended up being a very diary-like confessional post and I really had no idea where I was going with it when I started. Somehow, I feel better after writing it. I feel even more excited about being back in Glasgow, which I didn’t think was possible, and a tiny bit more ready for what lies ahead.
Even if no one has actually read this, it was definitely something I didn’t know I needed to write. That’s the power of words, I guess.
P.S. Happy new year to you all!