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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Taking On Too Much

Well… howdy. I’ve missed you, the community and my writing an awful lot. I never thought I’d take a break from blogging but, here we are, almost 20 days later saying hello all over again.

Taking On Too Much

The transition between September and October (and the weeks that followed) was a bit manic, to be honest. After finishing my work placement, a.k.a Hell on Earth, I was quickly reintroduced to the life of a not-so-typical university student. A lot of people seem to think I took a year out of university to get a job, but that’s not the case. Instead of sticking with three years, my degree is made up of four with a year of industrial experience plonked right in the middle – that’s what I was up to last year and, frankly, it was crap. It was obvious I’d never be able to smoothly transition back into my final year of university but, as a whole, it hasn’t been so terrible. It’s nice to be back on my own schedule and it’s really nice to not be surrounded by bullies day in, day out.

Despite that, it wasn’t university that led me to take a break. I just took on way too much, way too quickly.

Being all over-excited that I’d finished my work placement, I instantly began building up my photography portfolio. If you know me at all, you sure know how deep rooted my love for photography is, so I jumped at the opportunity to monetise my passion. I began photographing practically all of the children in my family and, without me realising, I didn’t have weekends to myself anymore. After finding myself completely chuffed with the results, I recently moved on to photographing friends of friends’ children and people I’ve never met before. I’m finding this more of a challenge as I have to maintain an air of professionalism whilst entertaining the children, reassuring the parents and working behind the camera. It’s tough, but I love it. The whole journey has been incredible in lots of different ways – incredibly enjoyable, because I am in love with being behind the camera, and incredibly insightful, because who knew it could be this hard?

With my degree, my photography and all attempts at maintaining this standard of mental health, my much loved blog just fell behind. A day hasn’t gone by without me feeling guilty but taking a break was definitely the right decision.

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Anyway, enough of the excuses. It’s good to be back.

What do you think of the new look? Check out my blog’s home page to have a peek at my new design!

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Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

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

Matt’s Graduation Day

After 3 years of studying English at The University of Hull, Matt (my gorgeous, clever hubby-to-be, if you didn’t already know) finally graduated at the city hall. I am very, very proud.

It was a really great day, as you can imagine. His mum and grandma joined me as guests, and after the ceremony his brothers and my mum joined us for pictures and celebratory drinks in the town centre! Even the brothers kept saying, there was just an atmosphere throughout the day and you couldn’t help but feel proud. I’m so happy for him.

Hull University English Graduation

When we met about 5 years ago, Matt didn’t have any plans to go to university – he actually wanted to join the navy but, as we grew closer, he decided against that and got stuck right into his studies like his workaholic girlfriend! Now, he’s going on to work at his favourite college in Hull, the place we actually met, for a year of teacher training. He’s proper chuffed.

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After the graduation ceremony in the city hall, which I’ll get onto in a moment, we met up with the rest of the guests and went for some drinks in mine and Matt’s go-to pub. When the parents and grandparents set off home, the rest of us decided to stay out for more celebratory drinks… of course. I was going to say “you only graduate once”, but I guess that’s not always the case! The night ended up being absolutely fantastic. We had drinks on the marina, before going home to change into something less formal, and then head back out to a little, quirky theatre pub that I’d never been to before. Lots and lots and lots of drinks later, I set off home with a very drunk newly graduated fiancé.

Note: This pub is called the Old English Gentleman and if you’re ever in Hull, check it out. Because it’s next door to Hull’s New Theatre, you get a lot of actors popping in for drinks. It’s super.

The ceremony itself was weird, enjoyable, but weird… I wasn’t actually expecting so much formality, and I don’t know why. I’m not at all religious, so the heavy focus on religion and faith was unexpected. I presumed the main focus would be more on the hard work of the students who have made it this far, but instead it felt more like a like a very formal, very old-fashioned wedding. It was an experience, nonetheless. The city hall is beautiful. Awkwardly, the entire area around the city hall is currently under construction so the ‘hat throw’ thing was in the middle of a building site! It didn’t bother us though – we headed straight into Queen’s Gardens, which is a small bit of greenery in the city centre, for some pictures.

We got some lovely photographs together so I’m over the moon. Normally, because I’m the one taking the photographs, I’m never in them! I asked my mum to take some of us on my camera though. I set it on an ‘auto’ mode so she didn’t have to fiddle with the manual settings, and she got some great shots! Thanks, mumma!

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Well done, Matt! We’re all super proud of you. I’m really glad you enjoyed your special day.

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-Morgan

Photographs are my own. © Morgan Mills

Friday Night, Every Night

Me and Matt are terrible sleepers.

I have always been a thinker, a worrier and a bit of a stress-head so sleep never found me easily. Matt, on the other hand, is a volcano, erupting heat onto himself, the covers and me which you can imagine doesn’t help the situation at all. Recently though, now we’re on holiday from university, it became ridiculous. It’s no longer a matter of ‘we can’t sleep’, it’s simply ‘we don’t want to, we don’t need to, so let’s not.’

Sleeping pattern? Routine? What are those words? Who knows. Last night, we went to bed at 6am, and woke up at 2pm. Our body clocks have temporarily broken. It’s altering our perception of days and nights, our food, our schedules and probably our health too. The ultimate night-owls.

We figured out our problem though. Sleeping is a waste of time, so we put it off for as long as possible. We enjoy each other too much, and love being in the other’s company. We enjoy our hobbies and our home and our cats and never want to leave. Our brains are busy and we’re happy. We’re making the most of our last stress-free weeks in the foreseeable future before it all gets too serious.

In 2 weeks, real life kick-starts once more. This isn’t long term. We’re both looking forward to getting back into the world of normality and routine, yes, but for now let’s make the most of everything we can!

Sleep is rubbish.


🙂

-Morgan

What I Learned From Two Socially Awkward Years at University

Let’s start by painting a mental picture. Think of a typical group of 19/20 year old students. Think of student hobbies, think of student lifestyle, think of student housing and think of student mentality. Like most, I bet you thought of a group of young, wild, loud, messy, lazy teenagers who still rely on their parents for money which they eagerly waste on alcohol and noodles they eat out of the pan. Was I close?

In comparison, I felt like a 60 year old lady. Whilst the rest of my peers would head off to the student bar in between lectures, I’d head over to the library. As they returned to the student bar after class, I’d much rather head home to my tidy, cosy home where my cats, kettle and fluffy pyjamas await me. I must have been a bit naive to presume that just because I was studying a stereotypically ‘nerdy’ subject there wouldn’t be a whole lot of the above.

University of Hull

The University of Hull

Although I felt uncomfortable and awkward at first, eventually I realised it doesn’t matter. I lost the care for what people think about me long ago, probably when I was around 18 and fresh out of sixth form. I’d suffered enough public stress breakdowns from the work load to be embarrassed of taking pride in my education!

I realise not everybody (okay, more like barely anyone) my age who is studying at university is like me. Chances are you were/are probably just as wild at heart, but if you’re not that’s okay too. There is such a strong media presence of the ‘typical’ student, that people presume it’s the norm and follow in the footsteps of those before them. I’m settled and I’m happy. I’m lucky enough to have started a huge chapter of my life early, because I found my soul mate and my search is over. People have different priorities, different hobbies and different lifestyles.

If you happen to be starting your first year of university (or even are returning with a change of heart) and dreading this social situation,

  • Don’t let anybody force you into going anywhere/doing anything that makes you uncomfortable.
  • You’re not boring. You would simply much prefer to spend your free time somewhere you can talk to your friends and actually hear what they’re saying.
  • Find a friend who has the same attitude as yourself. Whilst everyone else wastes a bunch of money at a nightclub, you can treat yourself to pizza, booze and films at your place!
  • Don’t feel unwelcome just because you aren’t a regular at the bar. If you fancy a night out, go for it. No one will judge you. No one cares enough. They will just be happy you’re there!
  • Do what makes you happy, and stop worrying about what others think of you.
  • Despite all the above, just try to enjoy yourself. It doesn’t last long, and I can’t imagine there is much freedom after graduation!

Hope you’ve had a nice day, lovelies!
How was your university experience? Did you live the typical student life, or find a different path?

-Morgan