Volunteering at the Library

I’ve been volunteering at my local library since the end of June, so for just over a month, and it’s been a mixed bag so far.

At first, just before I set off walking down, I’d get so anxious and scared. I’d just want to crawl into a ball in my bed and hide from the world, because it was a new atmosphere with new people who I didn’t know. But after a couple of weeks of forcing myself out of the door, I started to enjoy it more. I’ve made so many new friends and I’ve helped out so many members of our community that I really feel like I am making a difference and it’s a really nice and refreshing feeling.

I’m also surrounded by books for three hours, two days a week, which is heaven for a bookworm like myself, but it’s a blessing as well as a curse:

I love having all of these books around me and giving others access to some of my favourite books or just encouraging them to pick up something to read. Putting books in the right places on the shelves is so calming and satisfying, and having whole series together is a thing of beauty. But as I look through the shelves during my shifts, I see more and more books that I want to read, which would be amazing if I didn’t already have a list as long as my arm! I have to resist the “compulsive buyer” within me (yes, I know, it’s a library and the books are free, but the principle of ‘oh my gosh yes I need this’ is still there, so it works).

Stepping away from the actual library for a second, volunteering has given me a new way of getting some exercise now I’m not walking to and from school and playing football anyway. It’s around 20 minutes from my house to the library, but the journey back home is all uphill. It’s a nightmare, but it’d definitely keeping me fit, I’ve even lost a couple of pounds.

Overall, I really enjoy volunteering, and everything it offers me, and I would recommend that anyone should go and help out at their local library. And I can always guarantee that they’ll be happy to take on any and all new recruits!

Side note: It still feels weird not making any school related post for the past few months, but worry not, they’ll be back very soon! I have back to school hauls, first impressions, and much more coming in the last few months of the year. Exciting times coming SOON!

20 Bookish Facts About Me

1: My favourite beverage to drink while I read is tea; milk and two sugars.

2: I can’t listen to audiobooks. I don’t know what it is, but I just tune out and have no idea what’s been said.

3: I find it really difficult to sleep without reading first. I need to tire my brain and eyes before I can sleep. Weird, I know.

4: Book series intimidate me. The commitment scares me, and there is so much to read. I don’t think I have ever read a full series before.

5: My favourite book in the entire world is and always will be Matilda by Roald Dahl. I just love it and everything about it.

6: I’ve never been able to go into a bookshop and leave without buying at least one book. No wonder I have no money.

7: When I was little, my friend and I wrote a book. It was about a monkey that was lonely and just wanted a banana, so he went on a trip through the jungle to find one. It was a masterpiece.

8: I refuse to go to the teen section of my library because it’s painfully dismal.

9: I update my Goodreads progress religiously and obsessively.

10: If I read a book I love, I can not and will not shut up about it. I become obsessed.

11: Physical books are infinitely better than e-books. I’ve been trying to read e-books for years now, but I just can’t.

12: Almost all characters I read about and imagine in my head have a heart-shaped face and I’m really not sure why.

13: I have to read in silence, or with very quiet, wordless music.

14: I’ve only not finished two books in my life: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Kill Order by James Dashner.

15: If they made a bookshop scented candle I would literally buy hundreds of them.

16: Reading about love at first sight makes me want to vomit. I find it unrealistic and boring to read about.

17: I’m obsessed with comics and graphic novels. Marvel is life.

18: One of my life goals is to have a room in my house dedicated to books. My own personal library.

19: I have very little self control over buying books.

20: My favourite place to read during the day is outside, in the sun.

10 Things To Do In Summer

I’m pretty sure most people in school finished this week or next week. And six weeks can be a pretty long time, and you’ll run out of things to do, and you’ll become overtly bored. So here are 20 things you can do occupy yourself.

1: Volunteer

If you have quite a bit of free time, and want to give back to your community, you should sign up to volunteer at your local library or a charity shop. It’ll get you out of the house, and you could learn some valuable workplace skills which can help you get a job later. I volunteer at my library and I really enjoy it. I get exercise walking there and back and have met a lot of wonderful people I wouldn’t have usually.

2: Take up a new hobby

Whether it’s knitting, running, or learning an instrument, getting a new hobby and learning how to do the activity will fill the inevitable void left by school finishing. It’ll just give you something to do, so you’re not just sat around doing nothing.

3: Learn a language

I think that you can never go wrong with learning a language. You can do as little or as much as you want, and it could help you in the future if you learn quite a bit. I would recommend that if you’re studying a language at GCSE or A-Level, just focus on that language, don’t learn another, because your focus should be on your school subjects.

4: Read a book

I couldn’t write this post without including my favourite activity. Reading is perfect because there is something for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in. You can learn something new, or be transported into another world, whatever you want.

5: Go to the seaside

I mean, who doesn’t love going to the beach? If the weather’s nice, grab a beach towel and just head to the shore. You could go alone, bring some friends or go with your family. It’s always nice to get out of the house and do something different.

6: Binge a new TV show

We live in an age of binging. Thousands of hours of TV available to us at the push of a button. Now school’s out, there’s tons of uninterrupted hours to spend in front of your TV. I would highly recommend Brooklyn 99, which you can watch on Netflix.

7: Get a summer job

I think that a job is perfect if you want to earn some money, which everyone loves, as well as giving you something to put on your CV for work experience. You’ll learn valuable life lessons as well as meeting new people.

8: Do some babysitting or dog walking

This is another way of gaining some extra cash, and this may be a bit more enjoyable than getting a job in a cafe or something. And you could work more, getting more money, as you are technically self-employed so you can manage your own hours.

9: Join a gym

Now school’s finished, you may not have any opportunity to do some exercise, so joining a gym will allow you to get out of the house and get some exercise, so it’s a win-win, and a membership won’t be too expensive.

10: Rest

The most important thing on this list I think. It’s been a tough year for everyone, and we all deserve a bit of a break and a lie-in. So don’t wear yourself out during the holidays, there’s plenty of that to be done during term time.

Prom

It was my Leaver’s Prom on Friday, and in the months leading up to it I was not looking forward to it, and I didn’t really want to go. But on the day, when I got my hair and makeup done, I was really excited.

I think we all have mixed feelings about Prom, and all for different reasons. I think that it’s a good way to say goodbye to the people who you’ve known for the last 5 years, and it’s really the only time that everyone in a year group has a similar focus, so it just brings everyone together with the same cause. However, I think that the amount of money that some people spend on their outfits for this one night is astronomically high, and I know that it makes the people who don’t spend as much feel bad about themselves, and self-conscious, because I know that I felt this way. But on the night, I felt so gorgeous, even though I didn’t spend hundreds of pounds on my dress.

That’s the most important thing that Prom can do to teenagers. People who normally don’t feel pretty or have quite low self-esteem, can feel gorgeous, and love themselves, even if it’s just for one night.

Organising My Bookshelf

After recycling or giving away my revision guides, I had an abundance of space open up on my bookshelf. It needed a good clean and I wanted it to look a bit prettier and less like a bomb had gone off.

The first thing I did was completely empty everything off of every shelf, dusting off all the ornaments and memorabilia as I went, because it seemed like a waste of time to take it off, put it down, then pick it back up to clean. Once I’d laid out all everything out on my bed, I took a pack of multi surface wipes and completely scrubbed every shelf until they was nothing to be seen but wood. It was probably the best workout I’d had all month.

Then the more difficult task for me: organising the contents. I wanted everything to be grouped in some way and almost all easily accessible, as well as aesthetically pleasing and nice to look at. The first way I tried to do was like a rainbow order, but I didn’t have books for all of the colours so I had to give that up quite quickly. I got stumped for a while because I couldn’t think of a good way to organise them. It was really difficult because I have some really tall books that can only go on one shelf because it’s bigger than the others, so I had to really work around what fit wear.

I decided to put all of my comics and graphics novels together, some notebooks and paper pads together, and a JK Rowling / Harry Potter section. Once I was happy with where all of the books were, I started adding my Pop figures and other ornaments. I put all of my Marvel Pops with my Marvel comics, but moved my The Flash comic into a section of its own, so it could stand with my three Flash Pops. I kind of just fiddled with the placement, order and angle of the figures until I thought it looked nice. My JK Rowling / Harry Potter section turned into a sort of blue / green section, so I put some of my blue ornaments in that corner. I left the bottom shelf as it was, messy and unorganised for a day or two because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to put on it or how I wanted it to look. I needed a place for The Night Circus and because it has such a beautiful colour I wanted it on display, so that was left out for a couple of days.

A couple years ago my mum gave me these book ends that you slot in the middle of the book at the end so you can’t actually see the bookend, which I think is so cool, but I’d only used one of the two that I had. I came up with the idea of using the second book end as a stand of The Night Circus on the bottom shelf, completely on its own, because it deserves that attention. Because it was paperback, when I stood it up the front cover fell open so you couldn’t really see it. Then I remembered I had a cute plant that would be the perfect size to fit in the gap between the book edge and the end of the bookcase, and would hold the cover in place so it could be seen.

And there we have it, the final product. My pride and joy. I think it’s so beautiful and I could honestly just look at it for days. I’m not sure what I will do  when I have to add more books to it, but I will think of something when the time comes.

EDIT: So I wrote this post on Tuesday, but I finished a new book on Thursday, so I had to find a place to put it. I wasn’t sure where I wanted it to go because I thought it looked so beautiful as it was. I think I will always have to adjust it slightly to accommodate for when I finish a new book, so this will always be outdated, but it will be roughly be like this for the foreseeable future.

SECOND EDIT: I went shopping on Friday and bought two more comics as well as my dad giving me two of his old ones. All four of them are DC comics, so my Flash section has turned into a DC section, with the not-Flash comics going in a pile underneath. My TBR list is mostly comics at this point, and I’m not sure how I feel about it, I don’t know if I will do reviews on the comics, because I feel like they’re not the kind of things that you guys would be interested in, but we will see.

Emptiness

12 years. I’ve spent the last 12 years, at school, 8-3, every weekday.

Now I’ve finished. Now there is nothing. I have all of the free time in the world (unless I get a job but honestly it’s not looking good for me) and I have no idea what to do with myself.

It’s weird how you get so comfortable doing the same things in the same places every day for the majority of your life, and then all of a sudden… it’s just gone, and there is literally nothing you can do about it.

I’m acting like things will never be the same again, but it’s only like 2 and a half months until I start school again, and almost everything will be exactly the same as it has been for so long.I think I am slowly getting used to it, and I’m sure that this time next week it’ll be like I was never at school in the first place.

I was thinking earlier about seeing if I can go volunteer at the local library some days, just to get out of the house and give me something to do rather than just sitting at home mindlessly watching Netflix.

That’s really the only advise I have for anyone feeling the same. Get a job or volunteer somewhere just to get you out of the house and interacting with other people. But make sure you do give yourself time to rest and relax because we’ve all earned this long break from school.

Applying For My First Job

I won’t lie, the last couple days have been stressful. I’ve had a CV made for about a year, but I really didn’t like it, so I never applied for any jobs. But with school ending in literally weeks, I needed to get it together and apply for something.

I hated my CV so much, I completely rewrote it, removing like half of it because it was tedious and unnecessary and I was finally happy with the results. Normally, I would’ve asked my dad if he would check it for me, but I knew he’d find dozens of improvements and I didn’t want to go through that all again, so I just sent them off. I’ve currently only applied to two places, but as they come to mind I’m applying.

I don’t want to spend my entire summer working, but I would like to get some income so I can go out and enjoy the time I’m not working. I think that’s the thing that everyone should consider when getting a part time job, especially during school holidays. You need a position that’s flexible, because when you go back to school, you won’t be available all times of the day like you are in the holidays.

One of the things I considered as well was how easy it was to get there, not only from my house, but from my college too. The places I’m applying to have stores in the town where my college is, and are quite near the train station, so it won’t take long to travel there. Obviously there will be times when my parents can drop me off and/or pick me up but it’s always good to have the safety net of being close to an easy route home.

Whether you’re going to get a job or not, please ensure you give yourself time to relax and collect yourself. It’s been a stressful year, and we all deserve a long rest.