Friday, 28 December 2018

Looking Back On 2018: January to June

2018 was a mad year, and I spent the majority of the year feeling as if I were going properly mad. The last twelve months have been so full of personal ups and downs that it's thrown me around a lot. It's also felt like a really long year, unlike 2017 which went by so quickly that it felt like it barely even happened, so I felt that it was only fair to look back over the rollercoaster that was 2018, even though the year's not technically over yet. But hey, it's list season, so I'm going to get into the spirit!


The first 24 hours of 2018 were fantastic! I spent the night out with friends at Club Tropicana in Dundee, and rode out the morning-after hangover with a mate by eating pancakes and taking a walk around a very quiet university campus.

In January, I began my final semester of university, and I was more confident in my writing than I had ever been before thanks to the amazing comments that I had received for my writing portfolio from the previous semester. Getting everything written had been such a huge burden on my shoulders, but once I had found a strong theme and a distinctive writing style, I really got into it, and I was so happy that the tutors seemed to actually enjoy what I had written! I printed out the very kind feedback, and I still have the paper pinned up on my whiteboard to inspire me to keep writing even when I believe that I can't.

It was also around this time that I decided to 'rebrand' in a way, and I changed my entire Instagram aesthetic to become an Instapoet account. This was probably where my obsession with the colour yellow started as well, since I chose it to be the standout colour on my page: the brightness in amongst the black and white.

This year was so long that I forget that, in January this year, I wrote a long and ranty article for Fibre Media, Dundee University's online student-run site, about the whole Logan Paul suicide forest debacle. As afraid as I was to have the article published since it would mean outing myself as a PewDiePie fan, I received some surprisingly positive feedback.


February kind of threw me a curveball. I had a ticket to see Galantis in Glasgow, and it's a sign of how excited I was to see them that I battled through an intense bout of nausea to attend the gig. It was totally worth it, of course, even though about half an hour before the set was due to start, I was sitting in the bathroom in my hotel room, feeling as if I would throw up at any second.

The next morning, things were unbearable. I stumbled through Glasgow, trying to convince myself that the world wasn't tilting so far sideways on its axis that I was about to fall into the Clyde, and I eventually found a Boots where I bought travel sickness pills and chucked them down my throat as if they were Smarties in an attempt to stop feeling ill, even if it was just for a little while so that I could survive a train journey back to Dundee. A few nauseating days later, I got an appointment with the doctor and was told that I had an inner ear infection (most likely labyrinthitis), and that prescription tablets would help me feel better in the short term, although the symptoms would likely never fade completely. Believe me, I'm still feeling the effects of that infection today, and it sucks. For a week or so, I didn't turn up to class, and I barely left my flat except to get food. I didn't even put makeup on, which must have meant that I felt like proper garbage.

Of course, February also brought with it the 'Beast From the East', which gave me another excuse to just lie in bed for several days on end and not venture into the outside world. It was one of the few times that I've seen snow in Dundee, a place that's normally much warmer than other parts of Scotland. 

It was around this time as well that the DUSA elections were taking place, and a friend of mine was running for Vice President of Fundraising (an election which - spoiler alert - he won!) which meant that his other mates and I had to help with his campaign. And that was how we found ourselves out and about in hats and scarves and gloves during a blizzard, hanging up posters. That being said, it was a lot of fun, and helping with the campaign was so worthwhile!

I wrote a review of Muriel Spark's The Comforters for Dundee Review of the Arts, a book which I came to really enjoy! Give it a read if you like weird, meta stories that make you question everything you thought you knew about writing.


By far the most exciting thing that happened to me in March of this year was taking part in a poetry reading at Avery & Co. in Dundee. The incredibly talented Shanley McConnell rounded up a bunch of poets from the university and beyond to read at the event, and everything turned out so perfectly. The venue was lovely, the crowd was fantastic, and I'm surprised to say that I would gladly do it all over again, despite the nerves. I read a series of poems that I had written surrounding the theme of 'yellow', and I'd like to think that they went down rather well. It was great to listen to all the other poets read their work as well - Dundee is clearly the place to be for creatives!

A miracle also took place in March: my best mate and I found that we had the same weekend off, and she came down to Dundee for a night out! We hit up Club Tropicana, and went to the Pancake Place the next morning for greasy chips and loaded baguettes. A quiet stroll around the McManus Gallery was also a must. A perfect weekend, all in all.

Nearing the end of my university journey inspired The Fear in me, especially since I had no idea where I was going to go or what I was going to do once I had finished my course. But sitting in my last English seminar was kind of exciting! The last four years had led up to moments like that.

 - APRIL -

April was a bit of a mad blur of trying to finish essays for my English and Film modules, both in my parents' home and in Dundee, although in Dundee, I mostly sat in Starbucks and fuelled my studies with one-too-many frappuccinos. Finally though, I got everything finished, and it was a huge relief to hand everything in at long last. The journey was over.

April was a great month for my folks: they went on holiday to Toronto and had a fantastic time. They even came back with British Airways First Class pyjamas and washbags for myself and my brother, and they had found a book of poetry prompts in a bookshop that they ended up picking up for me. I have yet to fill most of it in because I'm a total perfectionist and I want to fill it with only my best work, so maybe that'll be a job for 2019!

 I also just had to share this gem from a conversation that I had with a mate while we were discussing what we thought would happen in Avengers: Infinity War. After I booked my ticket to see the film at the DCA, I avoided spoilers like the plague (a major one STILL managed to slip through the cracks, but I tried to forget about it while I watched the movie), but I couldn't help discussing theories with anybody who would happily engage in a conversation about it. A friend of mine joked that it could end the same way that Sausage Party ends, and that kind of made my mind wander.

The end of university also meant that I had to find a full-time job. I was invited to interview at a local coffee shop, and amazingly, I managed to snag a new role as full-time coffee server! It wasn't much, but it was a job to pay a little rent while I was living at home.

 - MAY -

Because I'm a total narcissist, I made my 'yellow' poems into a wee poetry 'zine. It's currently sitting on a shelf in my flat, although I'll have to remake it at some point since a typo managed to slip through the cracks. I was just in such a hurry to make it that I, Maddie, Proofreader Extraordinaire, didn't actually proofread it. Idiot.

The DUSA Media Awards took place in May, and my friend presented me with the award for Viral Piece of the Year for my Logan Paul article! I got a certificate and everything! I was ridiculously happy that something that I had written out of anger and spite had somehow gained me recognition! The event was such a great experience: lovely food, fab company, the works! Plus I got to properly dress up, and I would have loved the photos from that event had it not been for the fact that I forgot to fake-tan my face, so I look super pale from the neck upwards. Let's just pretend that those photos didn't happen, shall we?

Being back in the little village where my parents live was lovely during the summer months. It was the beginning of a very weird transition period in my life, but at the time, I was fine with slipping back into my old life. I finally got a haircut, and Mum and I started a mission to become healthier and drop a few pounds before graduation and our secret holiday in August. It's so easy to live off of nothing but salad during the summer months, so we picked a great time to start this journey! It wasn't long before I started to feel the benefits, and this was the start of my new-found body confidence, something which I hope will carry on into 2019.

- JUNE -

June was the big one for me in so many ways. I started this blog after debating for a long time about whether or not to get back into the blogosphere. Blogging is one of those things that pulls me in and then pushes me away so fast that I always feel like it's just a fad, but I was so excited to have this blog as my special little corner of the Internet. I make up the rules here, and that's why I'm currently writing this very narcissistic round-up of my year. Yeah, blogging's pretty great, and I'm glad that I started again back in June this year.

My dad, my brother and I all took a day trip to the Highland Wildlife Park to finally see Hamish the polar bear cub, and I can confirm that he is just as adorable as everyone said he was. Also, seeing the red panda was a highlight - they truly are some of the cutest animals in existence. 

Mum and I finally went dress shopping for my graduation, but while she only had to find one dress to wear to the ceremony, I had to find two: one for the ceremony, and one for Grad Ball. I eventually found a beautiful black lace dress to wear under my robe with some black velvet heels to match, and a dramatic, floor-sweeping, sequinned dress to wear to the ball a few days later. 

I think June, as well as being an important month full of big life events, was also the start of things really taking a downward turn in a weird way. The big screw up that involved me having to move out of my flat a week before I thought I had to was something that I will probably never forgive myself for. I wrote a blog post about it once my dad and I got home the evening after I unknowingly left my flat for the last time. 

But plenty of lovely things happened in June as well. I met up with my best friend in Aberdeen for a day of coffee and shopping, and she had bought me a bunch of graduation presents, which was one of the loveliest surprises of the entire year. The message that she wrote in the card nearly made me cry, and the presents were so thoughtful (as her presents always are!). Among these presents was a blogging journal that she bought from Paperchase, one that I had had my eye on for ages but had never bought for myself. She also wrote a sweet message inside the front cover. I literally have the best friend in the entire world. 

Then, of course, it was the big day. I've already written such a long blog post about graduation that I'm not going to regurgitate any of it here. All I'll say is that the last few days of June 2018 are full of memories that will stay with me forever. 

Freshers' Week 2014 vs. Graduation 2018

Having a mum who works in a primary school has its advantages, namely that I was invited in a couple of times throughout the year to do some creative writing work with the kids. It was so much fun, and I felt as if I actually knew what I was doing for a change! It's the only thing that's ever made me seriously consider going into teaching, or specifically teaching creative writing to youngsters. That would literally be the dream. 

And that's it for the first half of 2018, i.e. the good half! I'll make a Part 2 before the year is out (hopefully, if I can continue mooching off the WiFi in Starbucks until I get Internet in my own flat!). This round-up is really just for me to be honest - I've forgotten so much of what happened in this monster of a year that I'm keen to try to remember everything that's taken place. It's been a weird one!

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