I think we can all agree 2016 has definitely had its bad moments, from the deaths of David Bowie, Gene Wilder and Alan Rickman to the most recent deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds; it's safe to say the world has lost some incredibly inspirational icons this year, to only name a few of them. Yes millions of people die each year, it's a part of life that is the most evil, but when icons such as these die, it effects not only those close to them but people across the world who have been inspired by, found escapism in, or have simply enjoyed the work of these individuals. My mum told me earlier that we've lost over 40 celebrities this year, and although only a few blew up on social media or were featured massively on the news, each one effected a different age demographic and a different audience. For me, the death of Alan Rickman was the one that impacted my emotions the most, I grew up watching him in films such as Harry Potter and Love Actually, so to hear about his death was for me, incredibly heartbreaking. Although the deaths of these well known icons effected the entire world, we all have our own personal goods and bad's to the year too. For me, I faced one of my biggest challenges yet. 
I knew moving out of home to go to university wouldn't be an easy change, however I didn't anticipate how much I would struggle in my first few weeks either. As September crept closer, and the closer I got to moving to Wolverhampton, the sense of dread I felt just kept building up. I remember staying overnight with Paige in my new room a week or so before I moved in permanently and I popped into my room, leaving Paige in the kitchen and I came back almost in tears (I'm not sure Paige realised at the time) and it was just the thought of being left alone in Wolverhampton, not knowing anyone or anything, that just made me want to break down and cry, and for my first week there, I did. I don't think I've very faced anything so difficult in my entire 19 years. I knew I'd get a bit homesick due to being such a family orientated person, but I think everyone, not just me, were shocked at the degree to which I struggled in my first few weeks at uni. To be honest, I'm not a great person for change anyway, when I moved from GCSE to A-level I hated the difference in classes and routine, but it was one I soon got use to. But this was completely different, I didn't have my usual friends around me, or the teachers I had known for 5 years already, instead I had 5 flatmates I didn't know, lecturers that I knew I'd never get to know directly and I wasn't going home to my parents and sisters every night. Of course everyone adjusts to change in the end, even if it doesn't seem like you will in the beginning. I hugely considered dropping out in my first week and when I found out it wasn't financially possible I got even more upset. However, I found my ways of coping. I only stay at uni 3 days a week and whilst I am there I always ensure I'm in company or on FaceTime. I makes being there more bearable and I've even come to enjoy my bit of independence for the time I am there for. My friends I've made make being there worthwhile, and although we've only known each other a few months it's weird the bond you get living and studying with complete strangers, and now I don't know what I'd do without them.
Even though the past few months were a huge struggle for me, there have been some upsides to 2016 too. Before moving to university I had an incredible gap year, although it was only planned for me to work throughout it I tried to take every opportunity I had to do something different or fun. In the summer, me, Paige and Meg ensured we had the most incredible time; trying to fit in whatever we could, whether it be a meal out together or a day trip to Weston-super-mare, we all made some amazing memories that have made us stronger as friends and have helped us build an even better friendship. Although the few bits and bobs we did doesn't sound like much you don't need a lot of money to make a lot of memories - we had fun going shopping, and to London for the weekend without spending hundreds of pounds. 
Another highlight of my year had to be my family holiday to Mousehole, its a small place in Cornwall which is just incredibly beautiful and peaceful. You can read about that in my previous blog post here. My 19th birthday was also one of my favourite things about 2016, my family and I visited Cotswold wildlife park where I got to see my favourite animals (giraffes) in the close up, as well as various other animals, I most of all enjoyed spending the day with the people I love the most. And most recently - Christmas - I didn't expect much of Christmas again this year due to working in retail and although I wasn't feeling much Christmas spirit, I really did have a magical time. Me and my family lazed around, opened presents, had Christmas dinner - but most importantly we spent time together. And seeing my extended family on boxing day - my aunts, uncles and cousins is my favourite thing about Christmas, it's all about spending time with the ones you love and appreciating everyone around you. 
Every year has its ups and downs and although this year has been tougher than most it's also had its huge ups. And everything's about balance, you have to have bad to weigh out the good and you have to have good to weigh out the bad. The most important thing to me this year (and every year) was spending time with my loved ones, without their support when I moved to uni and their continuous love now I don't know where I'd be. All my good memories involve my family and friends too - it's not all about what the cost is - it's about making fun and loving memories that'll last forever.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

Until Next Time, 
Alice x
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