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I recently stumbled upon www.dailypost.wordpress.com, a site which provides prompts and challenges to inspire blog entries. Having been fastidiously hoarding their questions in my inbox for the past few months, I thought I’d have a go at answering some of the talking points which have most inspired me. Presumably, most people post a response every day, but for us busy types who don’t have chance to blog that regularly, hopefully this’ll suffice – the sentiment remains the same! Look out for more posts of this ilk to come shortly…

Where were you when 2012 turned into 2013? Is that where you’d wanted to be?

Courtesy of Google Images

Due to having Christmas off, I was working in the bar on New Year’s Eve. Having spent the evening with my brother, sister, their respective partners, my nephew and my mum, I dashed off to serve the thirsty population of Colchester. We stopped serving for a 25-minute period over midnight, allowing us to see in 2013 with our own glasses of cava and to rile the waiting customers who thought it necessary that we spend the countdown pulling their pints.

With my boyfriend in Liverpool, there was no midnight snogging for me. However, enjoying being amongst the revellers (albeit on the far less crowded side of the bar) was quite a welcome change to something I always perceive as a bit of a let down; NYE is a celebration which causes entry price uphikes and severely increases your risk of being elbowed, Cosmo in hand – and for that reason, I never particularly relish nights during which a new year chimes in.

Thus, when 2012 became 2013, I was stood in the Slug kitchen, shouting down my iPhone to my partner who was 260 miles away at a DJ night. Like a soppy fool, I spent a good half a minute yelling “I love you baby!” over and over, before I realised that if all I could hear was bass from his end, the same was probably true vice versa. So we resorted to texting, that good old romantic means of communication (Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have been half as tragic if they’d shared the odd iMessage), and happily went on with our separate nights.

My celebratory drinking came after we’d shut the bar around 2ish, and found one of the only venues still open in Colchester. And sure, I felt sorry for their staff (especially since we didn’t leave until closing at 4.45am!), but I’m sure the additional pay softened the blow a bit.

So, despite it always being couple-central on New Year’s, I actually had quite a fun night – as, I’m reliably informed, did the boyfriend. Sometimes it’s not about spending midnight with your tongue down your beloved’s throat; it’s about shouting incoherently down the phone at them it’s about enjoying the atmosphere with friends, and enjoying the fact that you didn’t have to pay to get into the bar…

What’s the one thing you hope other people never say about you?

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It’s not often that I’m concerned by other people talking about me – as Oscar Wilde once said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” and that’s a statement I try to live my life by. However, we all harbour dreams about how others perceive us and have insecurities which we hope others fail to pick up on. Personally, I hope that no one thinks of me as disloyal or fake; I aspire to be true to myself and a supportive and considerate friend at all times.

Invent a holiday! Explain how and why everyone should celebrate.

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For a long time, I’ve had a speech prepared for anyone who has the misfortune of mentioning grandparents around me. I strongly believe that considerable enrichment is offered by spending time with your grandparents, and I am lucky enough to still have both of my mum’s parents around to chat to.

When you’re a child, it is all too easy to think of visiting the oldies as a bit of a chore and to consequently miss out on the perspectives of a different generation. Being regaled with stories about your own parents’ youth and being taught skills which ma and pa might be too busy to have educated you in (scone-making and blackberry-bush picking in my case) is a source of enjoyment all round.

So, if I were to create a public holiday, it would be one which honoured grandparents – a day in which you could be shocked by tales of the war, when they could tell you all about where they grew up, or when you could remember those you’d lost, and look fondly on the times you’d spent with them and all they’d taught you.

A sanctuary is a place you can escape to, to catch your breath and remember who you are. Write about the place you go to when everything is a bit too much.

Courtesy of Google Images

Anyone who knows me relatively well could answer this; my sanctuary is, hands down, the bath tub. Preferably my own and only ever someone else’s if they’ve not heard of my 6-hour, water-bill rocketing baths, Lush products have made me an even more committed tub-dweller (So White’s my favourite, if you’re asking) and the addition of an engrossing book or something good on iPlayer is reason enough for me to hole up in there for half a day.

What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

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To me, conversation is the greatest way to spend one’s time. Even above writing, I prefer to talk to people about their ideas, their opinions, their dreams, their regrets, their lives. And, considering I talk at the rate of knots and have a tendency to fill out my anecdotes with irrelevant and unnecessarily long details, it’s not often that someone asks me a question which makes me feel ill at ease.

If I had to choose a question which makes my heart sink a little, it would probably be when people ask about my university and whether or not I enjoyed it. To reflect negatively makes me feel ungrateful for the opportunities UCL afforded me and it is an inaccurate report of my time spent studying there. However, I forced myself to stick at a course which I didn’t enjoy, for the sake of obtaining my degree and fulfiling plans I’d made with a friend who couldn’t see them through. Looking back, I would probably change the discipline I studied, though linguistics taught me many things which I’d have been unlikely to come across otherwise. And perhaps that’s what university is meant to do – educate you with experiences you’d not have had without studying at a higher level.

To most people, I try to explain my reasons for having had an unusual university experience which didn’t lead to me binge-drinking and eating out-of-date pizza (well, until my third year!) as student stereotypes dictate. However, when asked about my degree in interviews or on application forms, I find it hard to describe my time at UCL without seeming spoilt and excessively critical. It’s not a subject I relish being asked about, but it’s one I understand the sentiment behind.

Still, I try to find positives in everything I do, and although I can’t speak altogether glowingly of my time at university, the three years I spent there taught me a huge amount – in both academic and personal contexts. I’m thankful for having been to UCL, for everyone I met whilst there and – when I was starving – I was even grateful for the mouldy spinach and ricotta pizzas.

If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?

© Alisha Riseley

Seeing as I’m hoping to move back to London next month, I’ve been dwelling a lot recently on where I’d like to live in the future. Though a born and bred ‘townie’, cities are where I feel most at home; to me, the wealth of opportunity and intellectual stimulation on offer in the city is dizzying, yet wonderful.

Not counting the Big Smoke though, if I were given the chance to live anywhere in the world, I’d choose New York. Having visited this September to celebrate my 21st, I can’t wait until my career takes me to the city that never sleeps and allows me to live in of of the most cosmopolitan places in the world. Though I was won over by the 24-hour delivery services of most takeout joints and the cultural acceptability of having someone else do your laundry and make your morning coffee, there is an indisputable vibrancy to New York which is unrivalled in my mind.

I adore London and am the first to champion it’s many eccentricities and delights, but New York is still widely recognised as the capital city of the world – and for good reason. I’m a pretty extroverted and impulsive person, and I try not to do anything by halves, so I think NYC would suit me to a tee!

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