• Befriend Someone New!

“A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” – Will Rogers

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I absolutely love meeting new people. It’s one of my favourite things to do. Whether I’m at the train station, in a queue or simply buying something in a shop, I’ll always talk to someone there. Some people may think this is odd, and yes I guess I’m quite bizarre…BUT, I believe it’s so important to build relationships with people, even if it is just a bit ‘o’ banter that may brighten up someone’s day. I’ve had several great train journeys where I’ve sat next to someone really interesting and we’ve laughed all of the way to our stops. I was on the train with an elderly lady called Kathleen once and she then started  randomly talking to me about her love for the Hunger Games Trilogy. It was amazing. Ha! I just love how people can surprise you. At the end of conversations with different people, we often exchange names and shake hands, then off we go on our separate adventures. I love it. (Obviously be tactful though ladies and gents. Only engage in conversations  if you feel it safe to do so. You know, ‘Stranger Danger’ and all that…)

At university, I have found the most incredible friends with the view that I have kept in mind that, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”  On my first day at university, I was rather nervous. I initially commuted to uni and so there was more ‘pressure’ for me to gain buddies as I didn’t have the advantage of making friends through housemates etc. So, as I walked onto campus, I decided to smile at the first person I saw. A girl was walking towards me and so I beamed enthusiastically at her. (I’m such a dweeb.) The girl gave me a very quizzical look back. We then walked in different directions. My quest for friends had failed. BUT, HAD IT?….

I later saw that girl again on the same day. Embarassed at my early attempt to make a pal, I rushed on forwards into a lecture hall for a meeting. The girl awkwardly then tried to catch up with me and to talk to me, asking if I was going to the same Faculty of Arts meeting as her. To cut a long story short, the person in this story is my very best friend and course mate, Becky. Ha! How funny is that? Since, we’ve been on many hilarious adventures together, been in at least one module together each semester for all three years of university and even given presentations together. She’s a flipping legend. God truly blessed me with such a great pal!

Even in this late stage of university, (I’m in my final year, with only two weeks of lectures left – WHAAT?!) I’m still making friends on my course. I am so blessed to have all of these crazy and brilliant friends, who I didn’t know a couple of months ago. Each Wednesday morning is truly brightened up by two particular people who I love dearly. I only met both of them properly 10 weeks ago in our first lecture and they both make me really happy. They’ve made the end of my final year brilliant and I am so blessed to have them in my life. (Ryan and Lex, you legends!)

So, what I’m saying in this blog is, I URGE YOU, to talk to someone new. Can you think of someone you see regularly in lectures, in a society you’re in or perhaps a person at work you never speak to? Go over to them, smile and get into a conversation. Even if it’s about the most random thing. DO IT. You might acquire a brilliant new friend into your life.

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• Life.

Gosh, life.

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Life is bizarre. Life is challenging. Life can be annoying. Life is full of those brilliant moments of pure joy that you eagerly want to grasp onto. Like, when you’re having an incredible laughing fit, or when you meet a brilliant person for the first time.

In one of my very favourite films, Forrest Gump, (with the wonderful Tom Hanks in – what a chap!!) Forrest’s mother says to him, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Well, this is pretty true. (Although, I’m unsure whether the chocolate thing is true. Because, there is always a little booklet inside those boxes indicating which chocolate is which…but hey ho, for the sake of the analogy, stick with me.) Life is just so random and it can be hard to see what is coming next. God constantly chucks things my way and it’s so challenging BUT FUN!

I’m in a place where I’m about to finish university. I’ve learnt SO much over the past three years. I’ve really got to understand who I am and how I, and we all, have a part to play in this very crazy, wonderful world. We all need those people in life who bring us joy when we’re low or those people who are really wise or even those who you can have the nerdiest conversations with. We’re all an odd bunch in the box of chocolates. Some people are nutty, some are fruity and some can appear plain, BUT they are in fact the most interesting ones who have the best fillings, but you need to look past the surface to see how amazing they are.

The immediate future is also bizarre and is a tad daunting for me. I have lots of essays to write, a FAT presentation to prepare for and the almighty dissertation (or “Final Year Trump” as I like to call it) to complete ready for the 1st April. THEN, I have to try and sort my life out and get a full time job! Golly.

To throw another cliche in here, Ronan Keating once sung that “Life is a rollercoaster!” I actually just shuddered writing that. Ha! CRINGE! However, it’s true. I’ve gone from my comfortable life where I mess around, have lots of fun with my pals and, of course, write many essays, to a point where life is about to change and might get a tad scary!

My dream one day is to be a Secondary School English teacher. That’s what I’m aspiring to be. But actually, life is way more than ‘what I’m going to do after university’. It’s about growing in yourself, growing your identity and ultimately loving who you have been made to be! The most exciting thing I constantly discover is how God is using me in other’s lives, understanding what my giftings are and how I can use these to help others. I am LOVING learning about myself and I believe this will continue to happen, which is so fun!

But, I fear that my primary school nickname of ‘Worrying White’ might come back soon as I am still nervous about the future; I regularly doubt myself and my abilities. Am I meant to be a teacher? If so, will I be good enough? Do I have the strength each day to appear extroverted in front of a bunch of teenagers, whereas inside I’m longing to be back in bed by myself, away from the world? However, these thoughts are silly. Because, ultimately, I need to trust in the ‘Big G’ as He has a plan for my life and I don’t need to fear, for each random situation that life has thrown my way has made me the person I am today and will help me in any future job I may have. He planned it all long ago!

What I’m trying to say is, if life seems rather daunting and you don’t know what decision to make, just believe in yourself. As Winnie the Pooh says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” LISTEN TO MR POOH! He knows what he’s talking about! And, all of those people in life’s box of chocolates are there to help you within all of this.

Also, if you’re struggling with the thought of the future, think about what your motivation is for getting up each day. Mine has always been this: To show God’s love by bringing joy to someone’s day and make at least one person smile. So, have a think about what yours might be and how you can fit that motivation into your life.

You can do it. You really can. Just smile, hold your head up and crack on. You’ll be great. 🙂

“Live with what you have now and make the best of what’s to come.” – Phillip Phillips, ‘Tell Me A Story’.