Taking The Plunge

Guess who’s finished university!? Four very long, very hard years of studying for my computer science degree, and it’s all over. I actually finished last month, but things have been crazy and I haven’t had time to catch you up yet. I graduate mid-July (which I’m incredibly nervous about, let me tell you now) and then I’ll officially be a graduate. For the first time in 18 years, I won’t be a student.

That seems weird to me. I’ve been studying practically my entire life, since starting school at five years old, and then it just goes away. I’m already feeling an ache to take on extra courses, but I’m way too busy at the moment. I’ll get there. I just bloody love learning new things.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I’ll be doing with my new, fancy, shiny computer science degree that I worked incredibly hard for? The answer is a big fat nothing, actually. In the final two years of university, I had a horrible time – my health and my mental health were in tatters and I had to take nearly 5 months off. During this time, I realised I’d lost all love and passion for the subject and the industry. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my long life sitting in an office with potentially nasty, sexist and unwelcoming colleagues (after all, that’s all I’ve ever experienced). It didn’t matter that I knew there was a very high possibility that a lot of possible work places would be a lot better than my experiences. It didn’t matter that I’d forgive and forget. I didn’t like it anymore.

If you’ve stuck around for a while on this blog of mine, you probably know of my love of photography, that story I always tell you about having to decide between photography or computer science and that choice of happiness or money. I used to go on about all of that quite often ’cause it was always on my mind.

Well, it finally happened. I took the plunge. Instead of frantically applying for jobs in the final months of university, that would ultimately make me unhappy for the foreseeable future, I began frantically working on something else. Late last year, I set up my portrait photography business, The Rose Quartz Photography, with only the unreachable dream of becoming a full-time photographer. I presumed I’d use my weekends alone to photograph all of the happy families, sleepy newborns and cheeky toddlers, whilst working a computing-based full-time job during the week. Nah, sod it.

Me and Matt discussed this a lot in my final months of university. He has been my rock during these two crappy years and I can’t even explain how incredible he’s been with me, especially when I was at my worst. He saw first-hand how unhappy the computing industry was making me and how drastically it was changing me. I was losing my hair, for god’s sake. When we decided that it would be better for my health (and probably our relationship too) to focus on happiness instead of money, he’s been nothing but supportive.

The Rose Quartz Photography is my new, full-time future. It’s my baby and I put all of my time and thoughts into it. Although I started this venture late last year, it’s only the last month that I’ve been working on it full time. When I’m not photographing wonderful people, I’ll be editing their beautiful photographs. Or I’ll be marketing my business on social media. Or I’ll be advertising my sessions all over Hull. Or I’ll be collaborating with other small businesses. Portrait photography, in all forms, is incredible. I’m constantly learning new things. I’m expressing my creativity. I’m meeting new people – regular clients who come to me with their bumps then their babies, models who love the effort I put into our creative, fashion or makeup shoots, families who leave me glowing reviews. It’s a happy place. It’s exciting.

Blog Stock Photo Flat Lay

So, if you’re up in Hull, East Yorkshire some time soon, and you’re looking for a photographer, drop me a message! I’m always happy to help (emphasis on the happy there, cause I really bloody am).

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What have you been up to recently?

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You can read my previous post here.

 

Hi, Friends, I’m Back

As I sit here, watching Jeremy Kyle on catch-up TV, with a mushroom and ale pie cooking in the oven and a cup of tea in my hand, I couldn’t shake the guilty pit that was building up in my stomach. My beloved blog, where have I been? All of my lovely readers, I’ve treat you so badly. Don’t for a second think that this came easily. Every single day I think “Is today the day? Do I have time?” and since Valentine’s Day, the answer has always been no.

Blog Stock Photos Camera and Flowers

I have reasons though, so let me explain.

I’m in the final two months of university. As you can imagine, all of my deadlines and exams have come crashing down. That’s not my issue though – I work so well under pressure and I’m great at what I do. The work isn’t the problem. What I’m struggling with is the lack of passion I have left for the whole degree and any prospect of going into this field of work after graduation makes me feel sick. I hate it. Believe me, it’s incredibly difficult to put your heart into working hard on something when you hate it so much.

Silver lining? I realised what I actually want to do for a living. I’ve always known, but I didn’t believe it would be possible. I want to be a photographer. Always have, always will, and I finally think it’s in my reach. I remember debating whether or not I should study photography at university, but I was met with laughter. Being easily influenced by other’s opinions of me, I gave that dream up. However, last year, I set up my own portrait studio at home and I’ve been steadily and happily growing my clientele ever since. I love every second I spend with a camera in my hand. The problem is that I have a hard decision to make – follow my dreams and make very little money after graduation, placing a lot more pressure on Matthew to get a job that supports us both, or follow my degree’s career path, be incredibly unhappy and make a lot of money. Happiness or money?

During my year in industry at university, I spent my time as a software developer for a company that builds software for the fire service. The work was fine but the environment was soul destroying. I broke. My whole mental health was shaken and I’ve never been the same since. It’s been over a year now and I still fight daily. Honestly, I don’t think I could do that again. This is horrible to admit, and I’m sorry, but I wanted to die. I’ve never felt such pain. I’ve been getting better and I don’t want to go back to that dark place.

If I didn’t experience that, without a doubt, I’d be happy running and dancing and bounding straight into a graduate developer role after university. However, I now know better. On the other hand, if I didn’t have a fiance, a home, two precious fur babies, a wedding on the horizon and if I had a bed to return to at my parent’s home like a lot of single students, following my dream would be a piece of cake.

Yeah, there’s a lot going on in my head right now. I won’t know which path I’ll follow for a few months yet, so I can’t imagine I’m suddenly going to be back like nothing happened, but I’ll try. With me in the process of creating social media channels and a blog for my photography, my entire social media presence is soon to increase. Maybe that will influence me to write more often, too. I hope so!

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I’m massively sorry that my reintroduction to this sweet little blog was such an unhappy one, but sometimes the truth needs to be told. Getting something off your chest is always a sure way to make yourself feel a little bit better, and I sure as hell don’t feel that guilty pit in my stomach anymore! Honestly, one blog post later, I do feel a lot more excited to be back (again).

How have you been?

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You can read my previous post here.

My Five Year Plan

It’s hard to tell, because the future is never set in stone, but I have a feeling that the next five years are going to be the best years of my life – or, at least, the start of something wonderful. Having spent my entire life shackled down in education, I’m curious to see what it has to offer me when I’m released into the wild… Don’t get me wrong, my education incredibly important to me but it’s not like I can venture off into my ideal career whilst I’m still studying at university! After graduation and once I fully grasp what I want to do, the rest of my life can really begin.

My Five Year Plan

So, what do I want to have achieved in five years time? A lot, actually, but I’m going to limit it to the biggies – otherwise, we could be here all day!

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Graduate:

This time next year I’ll be a Computer Science graduate with, unless I suddenly halve my ability, a first class degree! I’ve got a feeling my 4th and final year will be the best one yet but I’m looking forward to graduating nonetheless.

Settle on a Career Choice:

Although I love do software development, the office environment is just not for me (as this horrific year has helped point out). I can’t stand being stuck at a desk for 8 hours, surrounded by people I’m forced to spend the majority of my day with, even if I’m doing something completely fantastic. It’s unhealthy and restricting – frankly, I hate it. So, I need to decide what I’m going to do. Freelancing is always an option, but a difficult one. Then, there’s the conflict between my other interests – photography and writing. Ideally, my perfect life would have me working as a freelance programmer and a part-time studio/commercial/event photographer, who blogs on the evenings. That’s the dream.

Overcome a Handful of My Fears:

Yeah, I’m scared of pretty much everything. I’d absolutely love to be able to live my life like the majority of other people do. I was going to list which fears I’m most desperate to overcome but it’s difficult to explain – it’s more my fear of what could happen that makes day-to-day tasks a struggle, and that’s where I need to focus my energy.

Get Married:

Without a doubt, in the next five years, me and Matt will be married. If not in 2017, then definitely in 2018. I just can’t wait. We’ve already decided on every single detail and now it’s just a case of saving up the money. We had another wonderful idea today too, coincidentally, so I’m feeling very excited!

My Five Year Plan

Buy our First Home:

Settling down in our home town would definitely be the easiest and quickest option, but we’re not quite sure if that’s the way to go yet. We don’t know if we want to rent for a few more years – giving us the flexibility to move before making a decision – or if we want to move abroad – to avoid the future of Brexit. It’s a tough one, but it will certainly have to be decided within five years.

Have a Rainy Day Fund:

Building a life without savings is a bit risky but it’s sometimes the only option if money’s tight. Even if it’s tough, I’d love to have a rainy day fund within the next five years or so. Washing machine broke? Poorly kitties? Unexpected dental emergencies? No worries!

Visit Italy:

Me and Matt have dreamt about Italy throughout our entire relationship. It’s our ideal holiday destination but, because I don’t like flying and I’m scared of the current crisis situation that seems to be spreading all over Europe, for now I’ll be sticking to the UK. If the world doesn’t continue to go mad, and everything calms down a little, I’d love to think we’ll be hopping straight on a plane to our little slice of paradise.

Start Horse Riding Again:

Me and my mum used to go horse riding and it’s something that has stuck with me, right into adulthood. I still get butterflies thinking about riding – it’s magical. Horses are beautiful, powerful, majestic animals. A lot of little girls love horses, but I just never grew out of it. Recently, I was looking into taking adult lessons and even if I only get to ride a couple of times a month, that’s still life goals right there.

Complete the Race For Life:

I’ve had this on my ‘to-do’ list for a few years now (and it means a hell of a lot to me), but since getting it down into words for my 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge, it’s been etched deeper into the forefront of my mind. To complete my challenge, I have to run the Race For Life in 2017 – I better get training!

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What’s on your five year plan?

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Doubts About The Future

I thought I had my career figured out.

Although a Computer Science degree does leave my options pretty wide open in a field that I absolutely love, I was sure that writing code for a living was my future and my passion. I’m sure it still is, somewhere deep down, because when you put me in front of a computer and let me code for fun I’m in my element. There’s a difference, though, between that and between doing it because you have to pay your bills. For me, being forced to do something (whether that’s for a job, coursework, or because you’re faking interest) sucks the passion out of it. This has happened to me before, as I’m sure it has to most people, and I’m sure I’ll get over it, but there has always been other things that I love more… I was too anxious and too practical to believe I’d be able to make a living from them.

It’s always something creative, too. My life-long passion for creativity and my need to do everything to the best of my ability work incredibly well together. It’s like I was born to be creative, in one way or another. I could go on for hours about all the different ideas I’ve had to allow me to be creative for a living, but they never happened so I won’t bore you.

The best example of this would be my photography. I feel naked without my cameras. If I knew I’d succeed, making enough to money to live as happily as we do right now, I would drop everything for my chance. It’s a dream, and it’s one I’m not sure I’ll ever have the guts to follow. I’ve always been obsessed with taking photographs, documenting my memories, meticulously organising and storing them away for almost a decade, but it’s not just about memories now and photography is simply part of me.

Related: How I Organise My Digital Photos

But hey, you gotta pay the bills.

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-Morgan

December

December was a busy, social and very exhausting month, but it was a time for Christmas, family, fairy lights and scented candles. Any excuse to stay indoors is a winner for me, and Christmas films and chocolates are a good enough excuse.

Zooey Deschanel Elf gif

DividerI guess this month’s monthly wrap up is a bit of a special one, with it being the final wrap-up of the year. Next year (that’s the first time I’ve said that!), I’m hoping to create more of a schedule for blog features, such as my Saturday’s Super Six, which will allow me to put more time and effort into my favourite weekly memes!

I’m also planning to feature other bloggers, possibly once a month, as guest writers and with it being my first full year on WordPress, I’m hoping to take suggestions from you about what you’d like to read about.

Candle Light

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So, here is my December wrap-up! (If you missed it, here is my November wrap-up too):

Personal Achievements and Memorable Moments:

  • I started working for a marketing company as a STEM Writer – that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It’s a brilliant opportunity. I love writing, so having the chance to write more and get paid for it is just fantastic!
  • My blog reached 300 followers, and I was super proud of myself 🙂
  • Me and Matt went to watch two shows at the theatre that we were asked to review – Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Both were amazing!
  • I got a selection of craft books for Christmas, and now my head is buzzing with potential craft posts on my blog. Watch this space.

Entertainment:

  • The Doctor Who Christmas Special, “The Husbands of River Song”, aired and finally ended River Song’s beautiful time line.
  • We finished Parks and Recreation, and I cried like a baby. I’ll miss them all!
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in the cinema, but I still haven’t seen it! Shame on me. Instead, I created a list of gift ideas for Star Wars fans.
  • Fallout 4 is ruining my chances of ever enjoying another game again. It’s so fucking good. How can I ever love another game?

Blog:

Another great month of posts…

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How was December for you?

-Morgan

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“When I Grow Up…”

When you’re growing up, adults always ask you “what do you want to be when you grow up?” as if at 4 or 5 years old we have any clue at all. You want to be unicorns or dragons or wizards or mermaids – at that age the importance isn’t quite understood, but it’s a question that continues all the way into higher education. I’ve only recently finally managed to answer the question myself.

Throughout my life, I’ve been adamant that I will be this or will be that, but in fact, my life took a huge turn (for the better, thankfully) and I ended up on the path to computer science and software engineering. I’m glad, of course, that I’m now settled with the idea that this is what my future holds, but I’ve had so many aspirations and dreams that it’s hard not to look back on them fondly.

When I Grow Up

“When I grow up” I wanted to be a:

  • Vet: Most animal lovers adore the idea of looking after animals all day, especially as a child. I imagined people bringing their cats and dogs in with little coughs, I’d give them medicine and play with them, and then they’re go home. Like a game. When you’re a child, the reality of being a vet hasn’t yet ruined the dream for you. It’s not all baby bunnies and kittens, sadly. This dream left me when I understood that animals died there (sob), and I’m a little squeamish of other’s blood.
  • Teacher: From primary school all the way up until the last year of college, I was sure I wanted to teach. I’ve wanted to teach lots of subjects, but always magnetised back to teaching English. I changed my mind ultra last minute when I choose the course I wanted to study at university. It was a coin throw between English (be a teacher) and Computer Science (be anything I want, or so it felt). I made my choice, and I’m happy with it.
  • Farmer: This pops up quite regularly still to this day. The idea of living in the countryside, with my animals and my crops and my pets has always appealed to me. I know farming isn’t an easy job, but it’s something I’d have loved to be born into. If I ever happened across a lot of money in my life, I’d love to buy a smallholding or a ‘hobby farm’. Not for profit, but for the freedom of ‘grow your own’. Fruit and veg from your back garden, eggs from your chickens, milk from your cows. That’s the life.
  • Author: Writing is a huge passion of mine. I’m that one person in a group project who would love to sit and write all the reports. I’m the one who doesn’t mind writing up all those notes from this mornings meeting. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing – a blog post, a poem, a story, a report, test scripts, code – I’m happy to see the words come together. Being an author appealed to me hugely in school but now I have my blog, and that’s enough for me right now!
  • Lawyer (specifically for the forces, for no particular reason): In my final year of school I attended an opening evening for college, and the entire evening I spent lingering around the colleges that offered law. Then it clicked in my head (very randomly) that the armed forces stall in the corner could tell me some information about joining them as a law student. For weeks I was sure this is what I wanted to do. Looking back, it baffles me. Law, sure, but why I suddenly had an interest in the army is a mystery to me.
  • Photographer: I studied photography at college and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I found a bone deep passion, and I doubt it will ever leave me. I studied my ‘proper’ subjects alongside too, but photography was my escape. I could step into the red room or the studio and all my troubles would be lifted. Because I’m a workaholic, I’d stay up for hours and hours taking, editing, printing, cutting, backing all of my photographs before writing about each of them aiming to achieve the highest possible mark I could (which I did). If you care enough, it’s a very time consuming and mentally exhausting course, and of course I cared. My photography sketch books were pristine, and I was proud of every single piece of work I produced. I also met Matt in my first ever photography class, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I would have loved to be a photographer, but I was always too worried about job prospects.

I’m still passionate for a lot of the dreams I had as a child and throughout my education, but for now they can all wait in the sideline as hobbies. Even though I seem to have my future and my career figured out, nobody knows what the future holds! We can only wait and see!

HIYMY Barney


🙂

-Morgan

First Day @ Work | Seed Software

Today was a super exciting day – I can now officially call myself a software developer, because today was my first day at work! I’m working for Seed Software, who provide dependable front line, mission critical software solutions for the fire department in the UK. How exciting is that?! Because I already knew all of the other guys (and girl) after spending a team building day with them, I wasn’t slightly as nervous as I thought I would be.

Work
I have to take a second to say this though… I’m adulting in the real world. That’s scary! I’ve been thrown into the deep end of a company, and left to fend for myself. It’s such a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to get my brain stuck in, but there’s always the slither of doubt: can you do this?anigif_enhanced-22726-1442759712-2
If I wasn’t capable, they wouldn’t have hired me so shut your face negativity.

I’ll finally be on a regular 9 to 5 schedule, which means my blog will benefit hugely too! My posts will be far more regular, and presumably will be a lot more planned as I won’t have the luxury of time to sit around thinking about which blog post I’d like to do tonight! I presume there will also be much more variety arriving to my blog. With Monday to Friday consumed wholly by technology, I can only imagine that this will seep into my blog world too.

Not including how happy I am to be working with this company, I’m most happy to be gaining routine again! It makes the evenings and the weekends so special. Like tonight, for example, after a long day at Seed, when I arrived home me and Matt instantly got into pyjamas, closed the curtains, lit the candles and dimmed the lights. It’s timed perfectly with the coming Winter months!


Short and sweet update from me! I just wanted to let you guys know the good news!

I hope you’re all well!
Thanks for reading, lovelies.

-Morgan