Okay so I might not have exactly passed yet – I received 34% on an exam I took before summer so that’s getting sorted in a couple months – but my first year of university is almost (not officially) over!
It has been a weird old year in Manchester and spellbindingly diverse in comparison to last year. Innocent me taking on the world in the heart of Manchester with some acquaintances that would come to me when they fancied a night out (and vice versa) or wanted to lend some money (not so vice versa). Surprisingly, none of these people cast a shadow over my life anymore.
I also believed I was embarking on an odyssey where student life was concerned – safe to say I dropped out of my Music Journalism degree at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music as soon as I realised this was a no-go area. Best decision of my life to change courses to attend The University of Salford? I reckon so.
The 2016/17 academic year has firstly made me question the girl I was becoming. I realised at The Warehouse Project in October 2016 that I needed to quit the life I had led for the past year. Did I really want to go stand in a sweaty room of eighteen-year-olds, bouncing around to the ridiculously horrendous David Rodigan, pretending I was having a good time? Did I really want to be downing double vodka oranges every other night in G-A-Y and stumbling home at 6 am? It just wasn’t me anymore and that was a really scary realisation. I was the party girl and all of a sudden POOF. Vanished. Weird, huh?
This idea that I was evolving was totally cemented in when I visited my best friend Kate Shepherd at York St. John’s University, and we attended at University of York student night at Fibbers… Never, ever again am I stepping foot in Fibbers. Give me a chilled night in Manchester’s Jimmy’s or Cane and Grain any day of the week. EVEN Soup Kitchen on a Saturday night!
I have sadly come to terms that I just do not like the partying student lifestyle anymore. That might make me beige by your book but for me, it is probably my greatest epiphany of this academic year.
So once I stopped wishing DJ EZ was at South Nightclub every weekend I did not really replace this musical desire with anything. The Libertines said “If you’ve lost your faith in love and music oh the end won’t be long”. And honestly music was lost on me. I did not care. I did not see a live band from November-May and I genuinely just was not interested. I had given up hopes of writing about music and I was seriously at a loss. What changed? I decided I needed a hobby other than the gym, knew I was good at writing so started again. Seriously as simple as that… I just did not want to run on a treadmill anymore.
In December I started writing for Gigslutz.co.uk again after taking a year hiatus to experiment with other things. IE. Not do anything and was wasting away in my bedroom. I gained the position of News Assistant and was then sent to Liverpool Sound City and Isle Of Wight Festival to become a roving festival reporter for the weekend. As soon as I stepped through the gates of Sound City I knew this was what I was missing. The hunger for live music, to discover the next-big-thing, to interview none other than Metronomy frontman, Joseph Mount – this is the gal I was. I just lost her for a couple years. Shout out to the Gigslutz team for allowing me back into your world so kindly – Mari Lane, Steve Aston, Becky Rogers and Melissa Svenson (who does a pretty cool podcast which can be listened to here https://soundcloud.com/modernstrife), you absolute angels.
So I rediscovered my passion in life, I ditched the nights out blah blah that is all well and dandy Ella but what did you achieve this year? Power over my own life. I learnt to say “no” when I did not want a beer (I went to Funkademia at Mint Lounge and was buying rounds of lemonade and water for me and one of my favourite chefs at work AND was home by 2 am, sober. It was a proud moment.) I learnt to say “fuck it” when an opportunity I was desperate for popped up. I learnt that my life was mine and the people that filled it was the people of my choice. I learnt that I am twenty years old – I have plenty of time in my life to mess up one night and spend the next day lying in bed eating cold pizza from the night before, but right now, at twenty, all I want to do is make an impact in the music industry.
This year at university has taught me to be determined and I will get there, eventually. I now know not to give up. Cliche? Cheesy? Embarrassed? All three, yes probably.
I have also managed to take my blog a hell of a lot more seriously this year. I am not posting as much as I would like (hello life, nice to see you throwing things at me as always) but it has taken a serious turn in the upward direction. We celebrated our third Cigarette Sounds birthday in April of this year and we are definitely preparing for the milestone of the fourth. There is no slowing down with this baby, we are speeding up in every single way possible. Hopefully, soon I shall be able to settle down into a nice lil’ routine of blogging a few times a week, rather than a couple times a month… Here is to hoping. I do need graphic designer to make Cigarette Sounds a bit more personal so if you are free, give me a holler.
Speaking of blogs, one of my gal pals from work, who also happens to be a sick manager too (Em definitely paid me to say that) Emily Brooks, started a blog this year after she was toying with the idea for so long. It is a good little start-up, you should check it out at small-thoughts.com
Kate’s sister, Laura Shepherd, also started a blog earlier this year called My Northern Rose Blog which I heavily enjoy reading. It is extremely aesthetically pleasing and very satisfying, I lav it a lot, check it out here – www.mynorthernroseblog.com.
I do of course realise that I haven’t ACTUALLY talked about university throughout this entire piece and this is because honestly, this year is first year this year is the year you make mistakes and learn basics and NEXT year is the academic year which counts. So eyes peeled for when I start to take education seriously…
Shout out to all the girls in the industry who are killing it. This time next year, I hope to be as close to my goals as you are.