Reflections on the Past Year

Reflecting on the past year has been incredibly hard, but also somewhat of a blessing in disguise. I can easily confirm 2018 to be the hardest year so far for me emotionally and mentally. Exams all but broke me and the wait for my results was heart-wrenching. My first term at university has just come to an end; the beginning was rocky, and I was worried that the feeling of faliing would mean I would never find my own feet amongst the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. 2018 was rough mentally and by this point of the year, I’m practically a mess. But when I began to reflect on the social aspect of my 2018, I saw a very different side to the story.

2018 has been the year of me. Absurdly cheesy and cliché, I’m very much aware. But I really feel I’ve come into my own this past year in a way I don’t think I had before. I became published officially this year in ‘Buzz Magazine’ whilst I was working there on a work experience placement. I’m a full-fledged journalist now, ladies and gentlemen – I did my first ever interview and everything! The experience allowed me to explore journalism and expand my skills, as well as explore the environment I may hopefully work in some day. I got the chance, thanks to a family friend, to shadow her when she was invited to be interviewed on BBC Radio Wales; the staff were incredible and took the time to explain to me the different aspects which surrounded the workings of a radio show, for which I’m forever grateful. I was also on BBC Radio Cymru myself on International Women’s Day with some of my friends, which was an experience and a half!

Although I may be one of the only people to ever quote Joseph Stalin in my personal statement (don’t worry! It was in order to mention how I aim to refute the quote ‘A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic’ in my lifetime), I received five university offers! The university I had my heart set on offered me the lowest grade of all the others, and despite the fact it made the emotional aspect of A Levels that much harder because I was so desperate to earn my place, it worked out perfectly in the end. Since being at university (I’m studying Welsh and Journalism) I’ve learned so much about Journalism and the fact I’m so incredibly excited to potentially become a Journalist just proves I made the right choice. Since being at university, I’ve appeared on the Welsh radio show ‘Cicio Sodle’’ and it feels like I’m really coming in to my own! I’ve also filmed an advert for the Welsh Government in support of ‘Having a Chat’ about Organ Donation in Wales – a matter I believe very strongly in (I Opted-In this year and I feel it was the best decision for me!).

Reflecting on this year means reflecting on my friends and on my own personal growth. At the beginning of 2018, I felt as though I had a complete lack of self-esteem concerning my appearance. With the help of my incredibly supportive friends, and the ‘I Weigh’ online movement, I’ve become far more confident in my own skin. It was once a rarity to see below my shoulders in a photo, but now it’s common place to see a full-length picture of my body. I’ve learnt to embrace my body and understand that being skinny doesn’t define beauty. Okay, I’m not completely healed of hating my body. HOWEVER, this past year I’ve learned to stop caring, and I’ve realised that I worry about people looking at my stomach when I sit down. I don’t care what other people’s stomachs look like when they sit down – which means no one’s going to care about me and my little tummy. Wearing bikinis has never been my thing, but this year I embraced it, and I felt more in my element wearing bikinis and form-fitting one pieces than ever before.

I’ve found myself surrounded by a support system of sensational people this year. My best friends are the people who are always there to listen to me and who don’t care if I say something stupid. I mean, yeah, they’ll bring it up for the rest of my life, but that’s true friendship – I know they’ll be around for the rest of my life. Two of my best friends moved to a completely different city this year; they’ve both found this first term difficult but considering they’re two of the people who’ve taught me the most about strength, I know they’ll be fine. If it’s not fine it’s not the end (thanks Mam and Dad for being so great this year). Finding new friends when you’ve become accustomed to people you’ve known since you were eleven, or even four is incredibly hard. To everyone who’s made it easy to be friends with at university: I thank you all.

This year I’ve changed. 2018 was the year of me; I learned a lot about myself and despite it not being my best year, it’s by far not my worst. To everyone reading this, I thank you for following my journey. I’m not sure you understand how thankful I am to you. I’ve changed, but I’m still me.

By Tirion Davies