I saw that Kendel from Little Miss Adventures was answering 50 questions reviewing 2014, so I thought I’d hop on the bandwagon and join in.
1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
I think I would tell them about my two-week voluntary trip to Bosnia in the summer. I was on a trip with twenty-or-so other year 12s and we were spending time at an orphanage in Mostar.
2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?
Ups and downs.
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I’m really comfortable with being put in new situations and that I can easily adapt. In the summer, I went to three different summer schools and at each one I was able to make so many new friends pretty easily. I also discovered that sometimes, just sometimes, doing things alone are much better than with others.
4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
Running my first half-marathon. Definitely.
5. What was the best news you received?
That I got into the Eton College Universities Summer School, the Oxford UNIQ Summer School and the Sutton Trust Cambridge Summer School.
6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?
My favourite place would probably have to be Oxford. In 2014, I visited Oxford a total of five times: two miscellaneous visits with friends, one for a taster day, one for my UNIQ summer school and finally, one for interviews. But Boston does come really close.
7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
Determination (to do well at school and tackle any of my goals) and confidence (being able to make friends and to have new experiences).
8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
9. Which new skills did you learn?
I learnt how to read Ancient Greek which was pretty cool.
10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
I’m most thankful for my family – for all their support, love and care. I’m also thankful to my teachers at school, particularly one at my second school (I currently go to two schools), for the massive amount of help I have received.
11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
I think it would be a cross between drama and film noir.
12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
I learnt that it’s okay to be alone sometimes. In society today, people are too scared to go out alone or too scared to do anything alone because they feel they will be judged. I think that’s bullsh*t. I love going out alone: for walks, for runs, for shopping trips and most of all, for coffee stops. Being alone isn’t ‘sad’ – at some point in life, you need to know that you’ll be okay on your own and that is okay.
13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
Finding the motivation to keep going with school work for my AS exams was tough. I hope it won’t be as tough this coming June.
14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Oh gosh there are so many people I could list. Let’s just say I loved every moment with my summer school friends as well as my family and some childhood friends.
15. What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
Realising that I wanted to ‘major’ in Classics rather than in Science. Changing my initial plan of a “Chemical Physics with Classics” degree to “Classics with Chemistry and Chinese.”
16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I think we’re slightly closer than we have been in previous years but at the same time a lot has changed too.
17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
That’s a toughie because I can’t remember the books I’ve read all year, or the movies. I should make a list for 2015.
18. What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?
Ah how can I remember any?!
19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
I enjoyed the unexpected text messages I might receive randomly. I enjoyed the random compliments I might get during the school day. I liked the little things my Mum did at home to help me.
20. What cool things did you create this year?
I created a whole bunch of absolutely amazing memories this year. I’ve also created some life-long friends. Like for real.
21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
Most probably stressed or carefree. Stressed because of the enormous amount of work I constantly seem to have, but also carefree because I like to go out with friends and have fun (completely forgetting how stressed I should be).
22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
I visited Bosnia, Croatia, Switzerland and Boston (USA) for the first time ever this year. I also ran my very first half-marathon.
23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
Favourite moment? Gosh this is so difficult. I think the Eton Summer School was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had – although it was crazy intense and very tough, I loved every second of it and I loved all of the people there.
24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
For my blog to improve and grow in the coming year. I’ve set up a Twitter account especially for my blog, as well as an instagram (both @violahelen_) which has helped immensely to interact with other bloggers and share my posts.
25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Worrying about my AS exam results. I was absolutely convinced that I had received AABBC but in fact I got much better. Also worrying about what people thought about me and worrying about all of the drama that’s popped up has also been a waste of time.
26. What experience would you love to do all over again?
All of my summer schools.
27. What was the best gift you received?
This year? Probably the opportunity to go to Bosnia and take the children out on trips everywhere with money that I had raised myself.
28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I think I’ve definitely got a more spontaneous attitude. I think I’ve found a slightly better work-play balance (though it still needs tweaking) and I think I’ve just found a nice place to be. Life is what you make it.
29. What was the biggest problem you solved?
One that comes to my head is raising £1,000 for the Bosnia trip. I ended up selling cakes every week in school for a few months; I got donations from family and friends; I was sponsored to do a half-marathon and I also did a bit of bucketing.
30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
The gathering a few friends had a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn’t say it was the funniest but it still makes me laugh thinking about it!
31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
I haven’t used my fjallraven kanken yet, but I have a feeling it will be.
32. What one thing would you do differently and why?
Nothing. I’m the type of person to believe in no regrets. Whatever you did, you wanted to do it at the time. However I would say that in my Oxford interviews, I wish I had been more original in my answers. There are so many things I could’ve said but didn’t.
33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
For continuing with all of my schoolwork. It’s tough and I think I deserve some recognition – in fact every student should! I also think I deserve one for surviving Oxford interviews.
34. What activities made you lose track of time?
Shopping with friends and just chilling out/catching up. Deep meaningful chats also. Oh and long phone calls.
35. What did you think about more than anything else?
University and school probably. Also worrying about what I looked like and I found myself constantly comparing my blog and it’s success with others’. It’s not a good thing to think about.
36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Cicero’s life in year 12 was probably my favourite topic. In the first term of year 13, I’ve strangely enjoyed all of the applied maths modules (S2, M2 and D2).
37. What new habits did you cultivate?
Blogging much more regularly than I did at the beginning of the year.
38. What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could?
Make a twitter account for your blog – get out there and interact with other bloggers! Play hard but work even harder – you can do this!
39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Yes. I completely changed what I wanted to apply for at university. I went from caring about school work to not caring, back to caring. Similarly with being healthy: I’d go through a massive healthy stage and then completely switch to binging.
40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
Some of the friends I’ve met from summer schools have been extremely supportive and they give really good pep talks!
41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?
To have fun and work hard.
42. What do you want to see, discover, explore?
I want to see, discover and explore different parts of the world. I want to celebrate New Year on the beach in Australia, experience living and teaching in China, and just travel more widely wherever I can.
43. Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
My family. I don’t spend nearly as much time with them as I would like to. 2015 will hopefully change that.
44. What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
I want to improve my GCSE Mandarin; I want to learn more about blogging and about photography; I want to master the ability to travel abroad unaccompanied.
45. Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
My ability to learn new languages – I want to pick a new one up possibly. Also, I would love to teach myself to be ambidextrous this year (I used to be as a child).
46. What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I want to wake up every morning as if it’s a fresh start. I want to be happy, alive and full of energy! Positivity is key.
47. Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
I’d love to get into an early morning routine again (also an early time for bed each evening). I also want to get rid of my annoying habit of cutting my split ends
(as enjoyable as it is).
48. What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I’d love to get into whichever university I firm. I would also love to achieve A*A*AA in my A levels.
49. How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I want it to be a year to remember. The year I finally finish school, become an adult and begin my gap year!
50. What is your number one goal for 2015?
To achieve my full potential in my A level exams and to become much more independent.
I hope you made it to the end!
Have an amazing New Year – bring on 2015!