Back 2 University!

After what has felt like the longest summer holiday, I’m heading back to university this week. The constant late nights & Netflix Originals binges have been fun. A little longer and I would have completed Netflix. But it’s become repetitive, I’ve been itching for a change.

I have mixed feelings about going back. On one hand I’m excited to get back into it. To have a schedule to stick to again. I’ve missed the structure that going to university gave me. On the other hand though, I’m somewhat anxious. Second year is a significant change in gear in comparison to the first, in terms of workload & difficultly.

I would say the former feeling is stronger than the latter though. This summer holiday has given me a lot of time to reflect. (I’m sure you can tell by now that I didn’t leave the house much!) I was able to enjoy my solitude, to be alone with my thoughts, it’s been refreshing.

Whether you’re living on campus or commuting from home. Here are some things I’m certain will come in handy during your time in higher education:

1. 16-25 Railcard

You’ll definitely make use of the train during your time at university, this card gets you 1/3 off the standard price of train tickets. Railcards are £30, and need to be renewed yearly.

Unless you choose to pay £70 for 3 years. I understand that the price isn’t very appealing and you’d rather spend that on a nice tee or some new jeans but trust me, it is worth it in the long run. Also for a limited amount of time, you can get £5 off with the promo code “STUDENTSAVER18”

2. UNiDAYS

If I’m being honest, one of the best perks about being a student are the discounts. I have older siblings that went to university and they sometimes talk about the “good ol’ days” when they were eligible for student discount. This just makes me value it that much more, because the chance to call upon it will not always be there. So it is better to “milk the cow as much as you can while it’s alive“.

This is significantly more popular than the rail card. But some people still don’t make use of it. It is as easy as downloading the app on your phone. You’ll also need to provide proof that you’re a student of course (providing your university email etc). But the vast amount of discounts that are available will come in handy.

3. Online Banking

Super important.

Online banking allows you to keep up to date with your transactions from the comfort of your phone and/or laptop. As a student this is invaluable. Once that student loan drops, the urge to spend lavishly is strong. For some that’s the most they have ever had in their account and it can result in false security.

Spending the money just because it’s there isn’t a good mentality. Online banking will allow you to check yourself if your outgoings far outweigh your incomings (yup, it’s ideal to have an extra source of income. Like a part-time job)

A quick visit to your bank and you can have it set up in no time. Make sure to apply for a “student account” too

4. Stationery

For the first year students, congratulations on getting into university. However, I’m sure studying isn’t the first thing on your mind, is it? You want to experience the independence of being a university student. But you have to remember that you’re still a “student“. And a student needs their books, notebooks and pens. The easier you make it for yourself, the easier it will be. Common sense right?

Also, having the appropriate stationery available will encourage you to use it so you might as well. Especially if you need it, ay?

5. Grammarly

You’ve just finished a 2,000 word essay. You want to submit via TurnitIn but you have to proofread it first. No one likes grammatical or punctuation errors in an essay.

With Grammarly, you’re able to do this without having to proofread. It’s a free app that produces error free pieces of work. It scans for any mistakes and notifies you if there are any. It is compatible with your laptop, as well as your phone. So sending incorrectly worded emails to important people will be a thing of the past.

It’s bound to bump your grade up, it’s a no-brainer!

Well, that’s all from me for now guys and gals.

Enjoy the new academic year!

Happy Sunday.

Are People Afraid to Fall in Love?

I’m typing this out while listening to some R’N’B/Soul. So, I think it’s safe to say that I’m “in my feelings“.

Honestly I’m asking myself this question as much as I am asking you guys. “Why are you afraid to fall in love

Understandably, looking at how things are and how people behave most of the time. I can relate to why most will not want to fall in love.

No one likes to feel vulnerable or helpless. And I guess love makes you feel EXACTLY like that. You’re figuratively giving your heart to another person, trusting them not to play games and strum the strings like a guitar. Also no one wants to be that person that got “played” by the opposite sex. I understand, 100%. If you deep it, love is not only exciting but it’s daunting too. But all good things are on the other side of fear. Remember that.

Personally, I’ve always had a 90’s R’N’B kind of heart. I put my soul into it, if I fall in love, it’s a both a good & bad thing. But because of this, does it mean I’m afraid to fall in love? It doesn’t feel like fear; it feels more like hesitation, or caution if you will.

Why do YOU think you’re not too keen to fall in love?

A few factors come into play here:

  • Past Experiences
  • Social Influence
  • Unwillingness to “Submit” / Feel Vulnerable
  • Not being loved back

Now, if anyone of these factors apply to you then that’s normal. Because more than one applies to me.

I’ve asked myself 3 questions and I think you should also, if you feel like you’re “stuck” concerning this particular subject.

  1. Envision your life, 5-15 years from now. Would you like to be alone? Or with a companion?
  2. Do you want kids? Because the last time I checked you need a partner for that.
  3. Think back to the last time you felt like you were in love. That shit felt good right? So what’s the issue?

Damn. These tunes I’m listening to really have me by the throat lmao…

Anyway, we aren’t getting any younger, better believe that. And contrary to common belief, love isn’t easy to come by, especially one that goes both ways. So if there’s a chance, put the pride aside & go for it. Allow the heart to lead the way.

Furthermore, people that encourage “building a wall” are unhealthy, both physically & emotionally. It has been proven that we need and crave affection, whomsoever we are. YUP, I’m taking about the guys that walk around thinking they are Tony Montana, “hard as nails“.

Listen, Tony had Elvira. And we all know how he ended up once she left his side. You can’t be “hard” all the time. It’s ideal to have someone to go home to and be sarrrftttt with, ya unnastand?

You can’t even mention family in this case, because there are things you can do with a partner that you can’t do with your family… unless you’re a Lannister. But listen, to each their own.

Don’t be silly by blocking your blessings ladies & gentlemen. I know I definitely won’t.

If you’re hell-bent on chasing numerous & eventual dead-end flings at a time. Good luck to you.

If you’re comfortable with forever being alone, that’s cool. You might as well purchase that first cat now.

If you’re adamant that you don’t want to put yourself in a vulnerable position again then you’re a wuss.

I’m hoping this message has triggered something in you. But if it hasn’t, then I apologise for wasting your time. However, it’s changed my perspective on the matter. So I guess some good came out of it regardless.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some of the songs I had in my ear whilst typing out this piece of work, enjoy.

One Way – ft T-Pain

East Atlanta Love Letter

Overrated

Relax With Me

Happy Sunday.

Substance Abuse

Regardless of who you are, be that a billionaire or an individual, working their 9-5 every week. We all have insecurities, no one can escape it. Insecurity is the root cause of substance/drug abuse and this is why I believe so.

Have a think about why people take drugs. It’s a form of escape, is it not? It gives you the pleasure of forgetting life’s problems even if it’s for a short period of time. Now, insecurity has always been a thing with mankind. But social media certainly hasn’t helped things as of late.

Initially meant as a platform for staying connected, promotion/marketing. Which it still is, don’t get me wrong. However, it doesn’t deter from the fact that it is a factor behind the cause of insecure thoughts

Social media isn’t the only thing at fault here. A number of things could be the cause. But these insecure thoughts have ignited a hunger for approval that we always look to feed.

The mindset of many today is “how much clout will this get me?” The outcome is seeing the most idiotic (sometimes funny) things on social media and just wondering “why”.

To make decisions based on whether or not it will get approval or accumulate “clout points” is 100% insecure. This eats away at you. Human beings long for attention, we like to be noticed and are afraid of being forgotten. Whether you want to admit to that, is up to you. But it’s a fact.

Substance abuse comes into play here when people have said insecurities but don’t necessarily have the means to go about dealing with them effectively.

And with insecurities eating away at you every minute of every day as well not having the right means to deal with them. The natural instinct is to find something that will “numb the pain”

“I hate being sober, I wanted a drug to do” – Mac Miller (Coke Boys TV) Episode 5 #RIP

A common reason behind people having addictions is the fact that they don’t enjoying being sober. Personally, this just says that they don’t like having to be reminded of their insecurities and/or troubles in life. So they turn to something that will take that away or better put, to mask it.

I understand that for some, to stop substance abuse is much easier said than done. And it has become so much of a habit that the withdrawal symptoms could be immense. However, that’s why rehab exists ladies and gentlemen. One step at a time.

People say that I’m always in a good mood or I’m always cheerful. But the truth is, that’s not the case. Every now and again I am reminded of my flaws or insecurities. However I never let that dictate my mood for too long. I think about all the things that I am grateful for & all the things that I could lose and it shows me just how much I actually have. And this people, is a good starting point if you want to fight and learn to come to terms with your insecurities.

Ask yourself this:

If humans were genuinely happy with what they had or the life they lived. Would substance abuse be a problem?

Or would they not even have the time to think about such trivial things, because they was too busy actually living their life?

Are Millennials Too Nostalgic?

Nostalgia,

Looking back on events, people or actions that are sentimental to you or that have shaped your childhood. Apparently, millennials are the most nostalgic generation ever. Constantly looking back, some would say even living in the past. I must admit, even if this is true, you can’t blame us.

Each generation will say they had the best childhood, so excuse my biased opinion when I say… my generation had the best childhood. Millennials were lucky enough to grow up during the “transitional” stage, from analog to digital. We got to appreciate the things that have become a norm today. Children of present don’t have anything to compare with the technological & cultural changes they see today. This will sound cliche, but “when times were simpler

Who remembers;

When cable TV only gave you the choice of 5 channels? Now we have Freeview.

When you had to do the mannequin challenge to ensure that song successfully sent via infrared? Now we can stream millions of songs effortlessly.

When dial up internet was a reality & WiFi was a concept? Now we’re free of the boops & beeps.

When hanging up the phone with vim was always an option due to flip/slide phones? Now everything has a touchscreen.

When you could leave your house with £3 in your pocket & have the time of your life? Even a meal deal is £5 now smh.

When Teletext was the only “TV guide” you knew about? R.I.P. Teletext.

I can already see how old these questions make me look. L o l

Think about how things were when you were a child. Now look at things today, so much has changed. Not necessarily for the worse, recent technology has been revolutionary in everyday lives. But there will always be things that you will miss being able to experience and/or do.

For example, I mentioned earlier about having 5 channels on TV to choose from. Yes, that sounds extremely boring for the younger audience & I will forever be grateful for Netflix & satellite TV. But even with only 5 channels, we made it work. Plus life before reality tv was bliss.

Still on the matter of TV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Boomerang, Disney & Trouble were extremely influential channels in my childhood. It shaped my personality and how I react to certain situations. You don’t really see the same life lessons shown via these channels anymore though.

I’m not saying that things should go back to how they were but I’m just making it known that I am grateful to have grown up in that era. I genuinely feel privileged.

Furthermore, many things make me feel nostalgic. But nothing has a bigger impact than music does. My choice in music is mainly influenced by nostalgia. I like to associate a piece of music with a memory or feeling. That’s why my playlist would seem rather random to a stranger. There’s no sense of pattern. I have a bit of everything. But each one holds somewhat of a sentimental value.

Do you guys have any pieces of music or film that holds sentimental value to you? Something that mentally transports you back in time? Makes you remember exactly how you were feeling or what you were doing the first time you heard it. Or is it just me?

It’s an open debate. Millennials would say they aren’t too nostalgic, that we are as nostalgic as the next generation. It isn’t a secret how millennials are a constant target for criticism and scrutiny. And this sounds like another session of target practice.

I still stand by my decision that millennials had the best upbringing and had the privilege to witness & enjoy such one of the most innovative periods of history.

But, I’m not here to make your decision up for you, that’s your job.

Notting Hill Carnival: 👍🏿 or 👎🏿

Every year since 1966, Notting Hill has hosted a street festival which has over the years, become the second biggest in the the world. An estimated 2 Million people attended last year, just to put things into perspective for you guys…

The event spans over 2 days. Starting on a Sunday & ending on the following bank holiday Monday. It’s always a hot topic on social media, whenever the time for carnival draws near. I guess they loves how it brings people together.

Without fail, you’ll have the annual “would you allow your significant other to go to carnival” argument on social media. Surprisingly it doesn’t get old and it’s a constant that doesn’t seem like ending anytime soon. Alongside “how to make a bowl of cereal“. But now isn’t the time for that.

Carnival is a celebration that screams positivity, but it has been tarnished in recent times by individuals that don’t know how to behave. Stabbings & alleged acid attacks have occurred at previous carnivals. With the former becoming a reoccurring problem.

I don’t want to say that a handful of individuals purposely come out to looking for trouble, but that’s what it looks like. When a festival as grand as carnival is happening, the only thing on your mind is crud (violence)?

It’s borderline retarded. However, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t put it past some people to do such. There have always been people in life that simply enjoy ruining things for others. For reasons, in my 22 years of life I’m still yet to understand.

There have been talks of possible attempts to stop the festival from taking place before and personally I can’t blame them with all the incidents that have happened.

This subject is a difficult one, because I’m genuinely conflicted. On one hand, the carnival should be stopped because of the near certainty that violence will occur. And the job of the police is to stop/prevent exactly that. BUT, on the other hand, Notting Hill carnival has many positive qualities, that it wouldn’t be fair to strip such an experience away from those that go to have a good time.

Honestly, I’m on the fence with this one. I’m yet to come to a conclusion. Does the positive outweigh the negative?

From my point of view, it wouldn’t be a big deal if the government were to stop future carnivals from taking place. But I’m trying to look at it through the eyes of someone that’s not an introvert like myself, but is outgoing & thrives off meeting new people and creating new connections.

You can probably tell that I’m not exactly a devoted carnival-goer. I’ve been once before & that will probably be the last time. It’s definitely not my scene.

Anyway, I’m going to leave you guys with a question: Is Notting Hill Carnival a beacon of positivity or does it do more harm than good?

Dark Skin

This was one of the two biggest insecurities I had growing up, alongside my stammer. I’m relatively over both now. However, the journey I embarked on to get here was tough.

People don’t notice or choose not to pay as much attention to the negative effect that having dark skin can have on a man as much as they do with a woman in society. I guess because with being MEN, we should be emotionally stronger and be able to withstand much more than the opposite sex. That shouldn’t be the case.

My earliest memory with my insecurity about my dark skin, was in primary school. The kids would turn the lights off in the changing rooms during P.E. and giggle with one another because I had “supposedly” performed a magic trick & disappeared. If it wasn’t silly jokes/gestures like that, then it was

Dark skin isn’t a burden, nor is it an excuse to beat down on yourselfKyle Stanley (OdysseyOnline)

Having dark skin is apparently “popular” today. But it definitely wasn’t when I was in school. Nowadays, it’s more fetishised than accepted. If you were to come across a dark skinned person on social media, 9 times outta 10 it’s accompanied with the chocolate and tongue emoji. Or, it is being sexualised in some way shape or form.

Listen… so many people are sheep & it makes me sick. A lot of the people that shunned me for how dark I was (especially girls) or making stupid remarks & jokes, are the same ones that are screaming and putting heart eyes under the posts of individuals like Stormzy & Kofi Siriboe. Or proclaiming their love for dark skinned women.

Where was this energy when we were in school?

This is why I will never let this current “trend” get to my head, or “gass me” because who knows, it could all end tomorrow. That’s just how trends are.

Moreover, It never got to the point where I felt like I should bleach my skin. And I’ve come across many testimonies from people talking about how they felt like they were pushed to do so.

Coincidentally, this week a woman I know was interviewed by the BBC concerning this very subject & how herself and a friend felt like they had to bleach to “fit in”. No one can tell me anything: Kids can be the meanest little shits known to mankind.

It’s comforting to know I can relate with other people. And knowing that I wasn’t the only person that went through that stage during school. Because at the time, it genuinely felt like it was only happening to me.

Anyway, for myself personally everything that happened has been forgiven… but not forgotten.

Is Being Metrosexual Normal Now?

What is a Metrosexual you ask?

First of all, what rock have you been living under? Secondly a metrosexual is a heterosexual male that enjoys partaking in activities that normally a female or a homosexual male would (excluding the sexual stuff). For example: shopping, fashion, skin care etc.

This term came to prominence in 1994, before I was even born. And I feel like I fall into this bracket. I enjoy buying new stuff, I take pride in how I look and I have a skincare routine #FineBoyNoPimple.

A single man with a high disposable income living or working in the city is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade – Mark Simpson, 1994

Now, I don’t have a high disposable income yet but this was 1994, products are much easier to come by today and can be brought literally anywhere.

What I’m thinking now is, has it become more of a norm among black men throughout the years than it was in 1994?

I grew up in south east London, the youngest of 4 children and the only boy. I grew up around women, exposed to different things. From face masks to body salts and everything in-between. I guess that’s the reason behind my urge to want to look good and the interest I have in personal hygiene routines.

More men are becoming less embarrassed to admit to looking after themselves and taking an interest into fashion. Guys are getting pedicures and manicures, following fashion changes and developments just as much as women do nowadays.

Before all this, give a guy a bar of soap and some deodorant and he’s happy. But in 2018, the variation of skin and hair care products that are available for men are amazing. It’s just as vast as the women’s. Getting ready for a night out would have taken 10-15 minutes for the average man before 1994. Today I’d say it takes me and probably every other metrosexual close to 40 – 60 minutes. This is down to the creams and lotions that are available.

I found out recently that men only washed their balls, ass and armpits while in the shower. I don’t know if that’s true but the diagram was hilarious. Anyway, it was no surprise that a shower took 5-8 minutes if that’s all they were scrubbing.

You’ll usually start caring about your appearance once you hit adolescence. That’s when pimples start appearing. Your body is constantly changing and that’s when most metrosexual men are born. During their teenage years. Some guys still don’t see getting a pedicure or manicure or being conscientious of personal hygiene in general as “masculine”. But that’s why they have dragon claws. Their feet and hands look like something out of Game of Thrones.

It’s a Man’s World. I’ve seen the future of masculinity and it’s moisturised. – Mark Simpson, GQ exhibition, 1994

Coconut Oil or Cocoa Butter was the default moisturiser for black men in the past and still is in some respect. But new lotions have come into the mix and have drew the attention of many a men to try something new.

Even the management of beards, with shampoo, conditioners and oils. It’s all falls under the characteristics of a metrosexual man. You’re taking time out of your day to groom yourself.

At the end of the day: Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

Simple

God bless.