A piece of paper:

success

That piece of paper we are handed on results day has too much power over us. We lose sleep over it. We doubt our abilities over it. We accredit the day to being either the worst or best day of our lives because of it. When, in reality, it’s just a piece of paper.

Some of us take comfort in the saying ‘everything for a reason’ and that’s enough to subside the anxiety this day thrusts upon us. For those who can’t help but look beyond this, I remind you to look at the bigger picture. Yes, these are an important indication on what to do next – they help us see where our strengths and weaknesses are, where we are excelling and where we are not, what steps we should take to getting our lives on the track we want them on. They do not, however, mean you are dumb, or incapable or unworthy.

If they went as planned, great. If they did not go as planned, also great. The truth is the reason this day is so important is because it’s the first time in your life you are actually in the drivers seat – you’re in a situation and have to decide how to move forward, by listening to your instinct and exploring your options – decisions others can help you with, but can’t make for you.

Someone once told me you learn more from failure than you ever do from success, and this is a prime example of this saying in action; the way you handle this day says a thousand times more about you than this piece of paper will.

 

Placement Year Hacks I: A Guide to Commuting

Whilst I love every part of my work placement, the commute to and from the busy city is something I definitely do not look forward to; commuters tightly packed into carriages like sardines, delays affecting your route and the screaming four year old who refuses every one of the bribes offered by his parent in exchange for silence. Though we have no control over these factors, there are a few things that I have learnt carrying around can make commuting slightly more bearable, detailed from left to right, top to bottom.

Photo 13-08-2016, 09 45 40

  1. A tote bag: A lot of the time I will pick up things for dinner on the way home and carrying a tote around eliminates having to carry (and pay for) plastic bags. And for those of us who don’t have desks we can leave smart shoes under, you can use this to carry those too (I’d highly recommend commuting in comfortable footwear!)
  2. A good read: Commutes can be long so I suggest carrying something which can help pass the time. I like to read as it means I don’t miss any announcements as I would with headphones in, and it also gives me a chance to disconnect in the day.
  3. Keys: Keep these in a separate pocket of your bag to avoid rummaging around later!
  4. Wallet: I’d be interested to hear why someone doesn’t carry this around
  5. Mints: No one wants to smell what you had for lunch
  6. Side Pocket 1: The emergency stuff: I keep these things in the zipped pocket of my bag so they don’t get lost among the 200 other items in my bag:
    1. Hair Ties: We all need a hair tie some day, just remember to replace them once used!
    2. John Frieda Frizz Ease: I’m blessed with naturally very frizzy hair that only John can handle, this travel size is a life saver!
    3. Hand Sanitizer: I personally wouldn’t want everyone on the central line touching my desk
    4. Hand Cream: Hand sanitizer can dry out your hands so it’s best to follow through with hand cream
    5. Nail file: When you break one (wow this post is making me realise I really care about my hands)
    6. Tide to go: I’m a messy eater and this instant stain remover prevents everyone from knowing that
  7. Emergency tea stash: I’m British. And particular about the teas I drink.
  8. Flask: I carry tea in the mornings and water after that, it’s never a good idea to travel without water, especially when the weather is a little warmer
  9. Headphones: Don’t be that person who plays videos out loud
  10. Charge bar: For the days I’m not organised enough to make sure my phone is fully charged before leaving the house
  11. Side Pocket 2: Work ID & Oyster: Again, keep these in a separate pocket so you’re not faffing around trying to find them!

NB: I don’t carry an umbrella because I find them difficult so opt for a coat with a hood instead, I also don’t carry dry shampoo as I have this at my desk, with a travelo so I don’t have to carry a perfume bottle

The sky is falling:

When I open my twitter feed I can’t help but think of chicken little’s famous four words. Social media, newspapers and various other platforms are being drowned in passionate views on the recent referendum – which is great to see at such a momentous time like this – though I feel some of us ought to be reminded the line between passionate and aggressive can often become blurred, especially when you are met with responses you don’t necessarily agree with.

The contentious nature of politics leads many to argue it is something which should not be discussed in social settings, though I disagree in that it should be discussed, but regarded with the utmost diligence; being mindful of the rights, freedoms and feelings of others. Freedom of speech is just as much of a democratic right as voting a certain way in a referendum; you have every right to articulate yourself on any platform you choose, as long as you put some thought into the way this is done.

Yes, the state is currently in shambles, though the way we handle this as individuals has a great impact on the way this event is recorded in history. We’re so fortunate to be experiencing this at a time where social platforms provide us with a space to have a voice so that we don’t have to take to the streets, rioting with unclear messages. By all means if you think your physical presence is the best way to express yourself, I strongly urge you to protest peacefully, as many great figures in history have, where messages are clearly thought out instead of an act of aggression.

The sky may be falling, but above it is unknown space that we have the power to determine the nature of.

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Local Elections!

London Elects

Working within local government makes me full of excitement for the upcoming elections, however, the feeling isn’t mutual with most people I speak to (shocker there?) Below, I have compiled a list of reasons for why individuals may not vote alongside some suggestions, which will hopefully help combat the evil that plagues most elections – poor turn out.

1.The ‘I don’t know who to vote for’ reason

Up until this point, candidates’ communications strategies may have been fairly subtle to avoid overwhelming and annoying voters with their campaigns. However, with less than a month to go, there’s no doubt mailboxes and community notice boards will be flooded with flyers, brouchers and various other forms of information to help you make an informed decision about who, and more importantly, what you’re voting for. Key points of candidates and their policies can also be found online, especially since the Transparency Fund has provided opportunities for smaller authorities to increase their online presence.

2.The ‘local elections aren’t as important as parliamentary elections’ reason

Local authorities are at the heart of combating the challenges facing communities, working on a more local level, councils often a better understanding of their residents and how issues may be impacting them. MPs and Parliament are increasingly seen as being out of touch with ‘real people’, but local authorities are seminal in forming better links between Westminster and communities, through the work they do with other bodies in the sector. Furthermore, local authorities play an important role in keeping public spaces clean and accessible, as well as promoting multiculturalism and community cohesion.

3.The ‘I don’t have time’ reason

No time? No problem! There’s two simple solutions to this very common reason for not voting – you can either register for a postal vote via your local authority or register with a proxy; where you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Do note, however, both of these methods must be registered for in advance of the election day – be sure not to leave it too late as you may miss the opportunity!

4.The sad, but honest, ‘I can’t be bothered’ reason

Unlike the other reasons for not voting, the answer to this one is more of a simple – yet hopefully effective – rant: We have the privilege of living in a country where one of the many political freedoms we exercise is the ability to elect our public officials. Many countries all over the world are still fighting for this privilege. If you’re not voting because you feel a great sense of apathy, vote to honour the fight your ancestors fought. Vote for someone you like, vote against someone you dislike, spoil your ballot – just use it!

April Thoughts:

Jan: LHR ⇄ MAD

Feb: LHR ⇄ YVR

March: New Job

April: Settling back into being home

2016 is flying by (pun clearly intended). As well as learning about the world of local government, I’ve been learning to enjoy the added benefits of working in Public Policy for a national organisation; being in Parliament so often, travelling around the country, networking, and of course, being closer to family and friends.

'No joy on earth brings greater pleasure than that of a Grandchild to love and to treasure ~ '
‘No joy on earth brings greater pleasure than that of a Grandchild to love and to treasure ~ ‘

#INTERNATIONAL Womens Day

For most of us, International Women’s Day is known for the ritual of posting, liking and sharing quotes and photos of the types of women we aspire to both be and know. It’s a time where women come together and unite under this hashtag to celebrate proud achievements as well as share hopes for where we’d like to be in coming years. Whilst many of us – myself included – feel empowered by sharing such moments, I think we easily forget about the ‘International’ aspect to this movement; we forget about the many places in the world where women are failing to be empowered.

Many of us have been fortunate in the societies in which we have been raised – societies where the education, drive and independence of women is championed from a young age. However, the harsh reality remains that in many communities, abilities and opportunities are inarguably linked to gender. What you do, where you go and who you become is not in the control of these women because they lack the resources and communities that should empower them. Whilst we could discuss (at length) the various reasons for this disparity, it’s important to recognise such disparity continues to plague women all over the world, in different forms.

Women predominantly in African and Asian countries, are fighting for unhygienic FGM procedures – which continue to be performed widely on girls as young as 10 – to be abolished. Women in less developed countries are fighting for girls to be able to go to school, child marriages to become illegal, the right to fair trials. Women all over the world are fighting the forces that are failing to empower them.

It’s easy for us to continue our day-to-day lives not thinking of the struggles others may face around the world; International women’s day isn’t one of these days. It’s a day for women to empower and be empowered, regardless of where in the world they are so I ask for us all to talk about and share causes completely unrelated to our circumstances, and how we promise to empower these women through raising awareness of the need for women’s day to truly be international.

behind-every-successful-woman

#JK2016

Congratulations to my brother Jas and beautiful new bhabi (sister-in-law) Kiran! I’m so happy you found each other; your wedding was out of this world. Can’t wait to return to Canada soon; hopefully for your baby shower in a couple of months’ time! #JKBabyShowerSoonCome #GetAMoveOn

#ItsOfficial #IHadTheBestSeat #HeyyBhabs
#ItsOfficial # JK2016 #IHadTheBestSeat #HeyyBhabs #Vancouver #PGBoyPOCOGirl