2016 review banner

2016 in review

2016 review banner

It’s 31st December 2016, which means that it’s the end of another year. There’s been a lot of talk about the awfulness of the last year, particularly concerning deaths and politics, but I want to look back at the personal positives, month by month.

BBC Broadcasting House at NightJanuary – although it seems like a distant memory, I kicked off 2016 with a tour of the BBC with Media Society, where the people were so bright and cheerful that I knew I wanted to work there. I also wrote a LOT of articles for the Orbital and started doing radio on Thursday mornings. The month ended in Wokingham at the CU Weekend Away, which was a refreshing break.

Louise Jones and Beth Carr, Orbital Magazine award winners
Photo Credit: Laura Denham

February – again, February is very long ago! I used the lack of presenters on Valentine’s Day to do a Valentine’s special of Entertaining History and finished my day off by watching Bridget Jones’ Diary for the first time. However, my ultimate highlight of February, and perhaps my year, was winning Best Journalist for The Orbital at Societies Ball.

March – the month of my 20th birthday and lots of other cool things too! I was in the band for Pirates of Penzance by the Savoy Opera Society and I got elected to the position of Head of Training for Insanity Radio 103.2FM. I also went to my first Student Radio Conference in Cardiff, which was amazing fun, and built a TARDIS out of Lego.

Tim and Beth on Let Them Hear with Lizzy FretwellApril – revision is my main memory of April but I also cut my hair off to raise money for Evelina London and donated the hair to the Little Princess Trust to make wigs for children. Tim and I also successfully applied for a Christian radio show on Insanity Radio 103.2FM called Let Them Hear, which is still going!

May – exams always overshadow May but there were some good points too! Let Them Hear continued and a particular highlight was Tim doing the show solo while I was in an exam. I also gained a position on the editorial board for the Orbital as Deputy Arts Editor, which I had been hoping to achieve for six months.Beth Carr in the Insanity studio

June – so many great things happened this month! I attended the first Interfaith Ball in the Royal Holloway Picture Gallery with lovely friends from CU and amazing tiny bowls of food. I masterminded the pre-recording and summer holiday schedule for Insanity that secured us enough content to cover the whole summer. I started my two regular shows at Coastway Hospital Radio and aired a special show for International Scoliosis Awareness Day on Coastway and Insanity Radio. I also got the chance to cover the EU Referendum for the Argus newspaper, doing my first all-nighter to cover the count in Horsham. Oh, and we saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

July – the first full month of a long summer saw a new job unpacking and plugging in computers and my first major work experience at Create Productions as part of the Royal Holloway Placements Scheme. It was also the beginning of being part of the regional SRA Training Day, alongside Smoke Radio from Westminster.

Selfie with Paul Layzell
Credit: Paul Layzell

August – my dad retired and we went on a short holiday to Bournemouth (I ate a three course meal outside of my own house for the first time in years and I was so proud). I did have the slight misfortune of trapping my finger in a car door but that pales into insignificance compared to the amazing week I had as a small part of leading R4@Woolie! I also went back to the Science Museum for the first time in AGES and it was amazing.

The Insanity/Rhubarb team with the QuarterlightsSeptember – I met Paul Layzell and the Quarterlights, celebrated a whole year with Insanity, interviewed Alex Manzi on the eighth floor of BBC Broadcasting House: if there was one month that shows how amazing student media is then this is the one! I also started my third year with courses that I really enjoy.

October – one of the hardest months as I struggled with anxiety and depression but also one of the most amazing. I met rising star Tom Walker, saw #SRADayLondon turn out amazingly, and joined a brand new family: Voices of Holloway! A Night At The Theatre was a great experience and the following week I went to Come In Your Socs (which is the societies club night at the Students’ Union) with three societies (I started at Voices, then Insanity, then actually arrived with the Orbital but mixed around once we arrived)

Credit: Student Radio Association
Credit: Student Radio Association

November – I kicked off the month at home for a well-earned rest, but also went to the wonderful Sorted, which was a spiritual recharge and accidental R4 reunion. The following week was the SRAs, where we didn’t win but had a fun time together as a radio station, and then the rhubarbTV Training Day, which was a fab day learning about all things broadcast and something Jon and Catriona (the organisers) should be very proud of. It ended with another CU Weekend Away too, both productive and restful. I also started my podcast, ‘Doctor Who and the Dissertation’.

Nativity castDecember – the month just gone has been as busy and good as all the others. I’ve had the Voices of Holloway Christmas Concert, multiple Christmas meals, R4 reunion, the Unscene Festival, Create work experience for the second time, chances to see friends from slightly far, the Let Them Hear Christmas Special with added audio drama, work, rest, study, relax, seeing family…

Of course all of the events above don’t count the wonderful friendships I have made and maintained over the year. From those who have been there for years and years to those who I’ve only just had the pleasure to meet, this year has been one I wouldn’t have got through without your love and support. I couldn’t possibly list everyone for fear of accidentally forgetting anyone so I hope you all know who you are!

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Obelisk Pond through trees

Blogmas 24: I did it!

Today is Christmas Eve, which marks the end of Advent, which means the end of Blogmas! And I’ve completed it! 24 daily blog posts consecutively! Going into this I knew it would be a challenge and half expected myself to fail part way through but I managed one post every single day, written the same day.

2016 has been an interesting year. In some respects its been amazing. In others it has been awful. A lot of unexpected events happened in politics, a lot of people have died and a lot of things have altered. The public feeling is that the end of 2016 can’t come soon enough.

However, great things have happened in 2016. Malaria is decreasing, more children are getting an education and Harry Potter returned. I want to do a more detailed post about the amazing things that happened this year, but a few highlights are going to the BBC (twice!), getting elected as Head of Training, being reminded of how amazing my friends are, getting involved in the fabulous R4 and so many more wonderful things.

Whether you’re having a huge family Christmas or spending the day alone in bed, have a fabulous Christmas Day! And if you’re wondering what it’s all about, have a look at the Nativity story in the gospels of Matthew and Luke and then…keep reading to see what baby Jesus becomes.

Blogmas 13: 3 x 10 List

I am officially over halfway through Blogmas, which must be better than last year’s efforts. Today’s post is inspired by a post on the blog Life Lenses and I thoroughly recommend that you check it out via the link here: http://catrionas-lifelenses.blogspot.co.uk. It is the 3 x 10 List, outlining things about me and my life in 10 lists of 3 – you may find it incredibly boring and I apologise if that is you!

3 things I’m looking forward to
✎ Going home for Christmas
✎ People hearing the Christmas special of ‘Let Them Hear
✎ Seeing lots of friends

3 things I’m not looking forward to
✎ Commuting
✎ Being anxious about work
✎ Potential post-graduation uncertainty
3 things I like
✎ Friends
✎ Kindness
✎ Productivity
3 things I don’t like
✎ Water
✎ Rude people
✎ Pressure
3 things I want to do
✎ 24 hour radio marathon
✎ Drink more water
✎ Go to the cinema

3 things I should do
✎ Write Christmas Cards
✎ Sleep more
✎ Stop worrying

3 things I can do
✎ Edit audio
✎ Write
✎ Buy things
3 things I can’t do
✎ Stop worrying
✎ Ride a bike
✎ Keep my room tidy
3 things on my mind
✎ Anxiety
✎ Food
✎ Work
3 things I talk about a lot
✎ Myself
✎ Insanity Radio 103.2FM
✎ Anxiety
3 things I want
✎ Less anxiety
✎ People to pay attention to what I email/say
✎ Better timekeeping
3 things that make me calm
✎ My bed
✎ My parents
✎ Glenn Miller
3 things that stress me out
✎ Packing to go home
✎ Being on time
✎ London
3 things I’m doing this weekend
✎ Working
✎ Driving home
✎ Carols by Candlelight
3 things I have done these past week(s)
✎ Had my first experience of a drive-thru
✎ Listened to The Last 5 Years A LOT
✎ Written my last essay of the term

Blogmas 12: Today

It’s day 12 of Blogmas and I thought I’d try a more personal style. I started my work experience at Create and had a wonderful first day doing fun things that actually contribute to projects they are involved in (and two people offered to make tea for me! Usually that’s the intern’s job). One of the best things about it is that they remembered me from last time and my fellow intern, Eleanor, who I hope is doing well whatever she is doing.

However, yesterday I was incredibly anxious, and will probably be the same tomorrow. The good thing is that I packed my sandwiches yesterday so I have food to pick up, plus a drink from Pret A Manger that I didn’t finish AND plenty of croissants to pick up for breakfasts all this week. If nothing else, I’ve tried to be organised!

Tomorrow is another challenge that I know I’ll overcome. I have podcasts to keep me entertained, hopefully a plan to meet a friend after work, and fingers crossed that I don’t get back too late to walk home safely (because taxis are not what I want to spend my money on). There’s a partially edited podcast ready to upload and, although my kitchen has been gutted, I do at least have some food and a microwave to make basic meals.

I don’t really think I’ve said very much in 250 or so words, but it’s a sort of self-expression. It’s okay to be anxious and an adult. You can get through it and be a ‘normal’ person on the outside even though you’re internally screaming (or something like that, I don’t think in screaming terms). Ultimately, look after yourself but don’t be afraid to take the challenges that come.

Now, it’s time for me to go and wash up my baked bean covered crockery and utensils, have a shower, and get my eight hours of sleep ready for ‘work’ tomorrow.

 

Ballot boxes arriving in Horsham

Blogmas 9: #EUrefSussex

You may have noticed that before the influx of posts for Blogmas, my blog has been pretty empty over the last few months. This does not mean that I haven’t done anything, maybe more the fact that I have done a LOT and have been too busy to update it with news of what has been occurring. Today I wanted to look back on the Referendum on membership of the European Union in Britain and the exciting things I did over the election night.

The EU Referendum took place on 24th June 2016, a week or so after I moved back home for the summer. I am part of the Student Publication Association Facebook group and a mild acquaintance (We’ve never actually met but I’ve heard fantastic things!) posted about opportunities to cover the election with The Argus, my local paper. I sent a speculative CV over to the contact and thought little of it but, to my surprise, got a reply asking if I was able to drive over to Horsham to cover their election count. Although I’m veering away from a career in journalism, I thought it would be a great opportunity and something I would be unlikely to get the chance to do.

On the night, my role was to live tweet the Horsham count and then write an article about the result for publication in their election special the following day. It was my first ever all-nighter and one of my first night/morning drives, but it was a great experience. As a 20 year old ‘workie’ I was the only member of the press in the press gallery and struggled to find anyone official to speak to, save the organisers of the count and a few prominent campaigners in the area.

The live tweeting of the event was my clear strength over the evening and you can relive all of the action over the night on my Twitter moment ‘#EUrefSussex – Horsham’. Getting my name and face in the local paper was pretty cool too, even if it was only 10 words of my own work – the experience definitely showed me that I don’t want to deal with the harsh, fast editorial world if I can avoid it.

Blogmas 5: CU Christmas Carol Service 

Tonight is the annual Christmas Carol Service run entirely by the Christian Union at Royal Holloway, University of London. It’s always a wonderful evening with free mince pies and wonderful music as well as a smashing talk from a great speaker, all brought to you in the beautiful setting of Founder’s Chapel. It’s kicks off at 7:30 and I highly recommend it, plus Ella-Sophia Peaple’s poster is fabulous and deserves to be shared! 

The Unscene Festival

Blogmas 4: The Unscene Festival

Two years ago I saw my first (and currently last) Unscene Festival at Royal Holloway, the Drama Society’s showcase of new short plays and poems. My spontaneous trip was something I really enjoyed and it inspired me to try and write my own short play for inclusion in the festival. This isn’t something I ever expected to actually happen, but tomorrow my own short drama will be performed on the Jane Holloway stage! It is set in a very unique location on campus and depicts a situation that many people can probably relate to (at least according to my friend Jess when she responded to my astonished/excited messages about its inclusion).

Come down to Jane Holloway Hall at 7pm to see ‘The Conversation’ and a host of other original theatre pieces plus an Improv performance by the Holloway Players! It costs just £1 and the Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/664398803728447/.

Reblogged below is a review of the Unscene Festival staged in November 2014, particularly ‘On The Spectrum’. The featured image above is by Dana Hudson, RHSU Drama Society’s Publicity Officer.

After Scoliosis

On Monday evening I rather spontaneously went down to the Drama Society Unscene Festival. I say rather, it was actually VERY spontaneous because I literally agreed to go about 5 minutes before I left – my flatmate was going to support his girlfriend (who I actually vaguely know) and didn’t particularly want to go alone, ergo I agreed to accompany him, on the condition that I finished my dinner (which I did).

On walking into Jane Holloway Hall it was certainly remarkably different to how it looks every other time I’m in there for a lecture – fewer chairs and no tables for a start! We saw Katie (the girlfriend) as we came in and she automatically assumed bribery had been involved; however she was in fact incorrect and I was genuinely interested in seeing what the drama society had to offer, albeit not enough to have considered going alone…

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