Earlier this week, I stretched, took a deep breath and dived into the past. Specifically, into a blog I’d written in 2012–14. I was looking for a post about goals, curious to see whether I’d met 22-year-old Nikki’s expectations.
I didn’t actually find out – but along the way I came across an interesting post called ‘personal development’ from January 2014. I’d forgotten the struggles of being 21, so I’m going to share it with you today.
Whenever I see the phrase ‘personal development’, I close my mind – it’s sounds boring and tedious – the sort of thing you’d have to fill in sheet about during a PSHE lesson.
But I’ve come to realise that personal development is something we should strive for everyday and it should be fun and inspiring. We can get so trapped in the mundane details of life that we forget the most important thing is to enjoy it, to be happy and fulfil our personal goals.
I recently came across a diary I kept for a very short time in early 2012. I was in my last year of uni and wishing the academic year would hurry up and finish. I wasn’t particularly into my course but I desperately wanted to be ambitious about a career – the only problem was, I didn’t know what that should be.
Without whipping out my tiny violin, I was lonely because almost all of friends were in long-term relationships and had life-consuming dissertations to commit to. And, worst of all, I didn’t feel at home at university. I felt out of place and uncomfortable, longing for trips home so I could feel happy and relaxed. In the end, I basically lived at home and commuted for the lectures I couldn’t get away with skipping. I was very anxious around this time and scared to face the unknown ‘life after uni’.
Wow. Deep breath! I don’t know if you can relate to the problems I had in my third year, but if you can, I hope this makes you feel less alone – it’ll all be okay, I promise! At the time it felt completely horrendous, but I now appreciate that overcoming your problems will make you a stronger, wiser, more compassionate person.
Two years on and I’m so much happier – I’m on a better path. I finished uni with good results and moved back home properly. A few months after graduating, I got a part-time job, I started this blog and I started writing for a fashion website. This made me realise how much I loved writing (and fashion).
I’d spent my childhood writing stories and always did well in English, but that kind of career felt like a pipe dream. I was always told that thousands of people wanted these ‘dream jobs’ and for most, it would never work out. It felt like there was no point in perusing it. Instead, I’d chosen a ‘smart’ degree – but it wasn’t quite right for me. I think not being true to my likes and interests and not having that belief in myself was really where it went wrong.
This is why it’s so important to follow your dreams. If there’s something that really interests you, something that sets your pulse racing a little faster, no matter how silly or difficult to achieve it seems, go for it. You need to try or you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if’.
And back to 2018
I’m actually really glad I wrote about something this personal, so I have an insight into myself at 21 and 23. And this had served as a reminder that everyone gets overwhelmed and lost sometimes. But then maybe you need to lose your way to find the right path sometimes.
It’s just four years on and I’ve achieved a lot, which this post has made me really appreciate. I’ve gone from an unpaid intern, only just finding her feet, to a fully-fledged editor, trusted to manage her own publication. In hindsight, I think 21-year-old Nikki would thrilled.