E Awards 2017

As most of you know, I disappeared in November to work on my event with a beautiful bunch of people from Edinburgh Napier University, that event was the Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt and you can read more about it here.

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It was a cool event to put on but I never thought anything more of it until our group received an email from our lecturer in January. Obviously, when a lecturer from your previous semester emails you, you’re naturally going to panic and assume you’ve failed – or maybe that’s just me and my crippling self-doubt. The email from our lecturer told us that she loved our event and had put us forward for the Student Event/Festival Excellence award at the Excellence in Events “E” Awards 2017.

That was in January and there are literally hundreds of student event groups in Scotland so again, we never thought much of it, until 3 weeks ago…

We received an email from our lecturer telling us we had been nominated for our event, it was nice to be nominated for an award and know your work is being appreciated. Also, I hadn’t been nominated for an award in a good few years since I knocked the music career on the head. It meant a lot for me personally, as someone who sees their career in PR and studying it. To even be nominated for something that reflects your future career, it does make you feel good knowing you’re on the right track in life.

We even found out that 2 of our competition were also from Edinburgh, including one from our very own Napier, which was quite nice knowing I made the right choice to come to this university/city. It goes to show, how important it is to choose the right university and city that will be best for your own career, rather than the most accessible. I can’t help but wonder that if I stayed in Glasgow, would this still have happened? I doubt it…

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The big day arrived and of course, anyone who has lived in Britain knows how bad the traffic is between 4pm-7pm. Now, imagine being on a motorway between the 2 biggest cities in Scotland – I lowkey think we would have been quicker walking. We arrived fashionably late and found our seats, just in time for the winner for our category to be announced…

WE LOST.

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. There were free glasses of wine being passed about, so, every cloud and all that, eh?

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We did our obligatory post-event mingling session, a few pats on the back from individuals, shaken a few hands, congratulated winners and drank a lot of some wine. Considering we hadn’t eaten all day, we treated ourselves to a Nando’s for getting at least nominated – Everyone eats when they’re sad, don’t judge us!

We left soon after and it gave me time to think on the journey back to Edinburgh. I have more belief in my ability and although we never won, we did not bad, in my opinion. That is all the inspiration I need to push on and go and do even better next time. It’s amazing how such a little thing, such as confidence can make a huge difference to your own perception of things. It doesn’t need to be an award nomination, even just a nod or even a simple “well done” can make all the difference. Just a simple acknowledgement that you’re on the right track, it can put you in a good place mentally. If you’re reading this, and you know a colleague, classmate or just anyone in general who is doing good, tell them, let them know that they are. It could make the world of difference to them.

Before I go, I just want to say congratulations to the Robert Gordon University students for their Aberdeen Student Festival and also a huge mention to my partners in crime, Jeanie, Misbah and Rachael who were great to work with. Here’s to next year!

 

Jay Carrington

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September: The Month Of Independence & Homesickness

One full month has passed since I broke out on my own to become the ultimate student and by that, I don’t mean getting my head down and studying all the time. The ultimate student is your stereotypical student, the sort of guy who can go for a night out with £5 in his bank account and come back with £10, a pint glass and a traffic cone.

The first 2 weeks of living by myself in Scotland’s beautiful capital were amazing, I met so many new faces,  went on a pub crawl, started my course, went flat shopping AND HAD THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE! – I am falling even more in love with this beautiful city.

Even though I am such a mummy’s boy, my mum did literally everything for me besides washing me it seems. At home, I paid no rent, I always had food on a plate for me – and in large quantities as well, dishes cleaned themselves and so forth. However, there is nothing quite like having your own freedom. If you want to go a run at 2am on a Sunday morning, you don’t need to explain to your mum that she doesn’t need to worry. If you want a friend to come over for a couple of drinks and raid the cupboards, you don’t need to worry about your mum coming over in her dressing gown and having your mates giving you a nudge and a wink.

When did I become an adult, doing adulty things?!

3 weeks in and this holiday-feeling was still going strong… That was until I received negative feedback from my lecturer about a group activity and it felt like a massive kick in the stones. Usually, I can shake off things like that and learn from it. However, I got back to my flat and the realisation that I’m living here, in a different city, by myself, for the next year. Sob.

Homesickness is such a sucky feeling and unexpected. One minute you can be on a massive high and the next you can feel super lonely and isolated. I’ve met some lovely people here but it’s not the same as being with people you’ve spent years bonding with.

To anyone who is in a similar position, all I can recommend is not necessarily calling your family – that made me want to see my mum more, but speak to your new friends around you, especially if you live in Student Accommodation because they too are experiencing the same things and emotions as you. My homesickness only lasted a night and I felt so much better after a good night’s sleep and some junk food.

So if you experience homesickness do these 3 things:

1) Talk to people nearby – in your class, flat, block, work (people who are in the same situation or recently were)

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2) Food – put down that salad, throw away that bottle of water. Go and get yourself a great meal. Curries, pizzas and burgers are generally a good shout washed down with a fatty milkshake.

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3) Sleep – a 1-hour nap is not going to cut it, this time, you need at least a solid 5 hours under your belt. For me personally, I always feel so much better after a great sleep.

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*If you have followed the steps correctly then eating a lot of food (2) will make you really sleepy anyway (3) which means when you wake up, you can reheat your food and eat some more (2) *

Moving swiftly on, for one of my university modules I need to put on an event. For my event, I shall be putting on a Harry Potter scavenger hunt in the city of Harry Potter, Edinburgh in the middle of November (TBA). So if you like the idea of walking around a beautiful city, being a Harry Potter nerd for a few hours and also drinking then stay tuned on my social media as the event will be fully announced in the next week or so.

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Jay Carrington

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My Summer Story

Well… I’m back!!!

I have noticed a few of you on social media have been aware of my absence on here over the past few months and it was, well needed. Studying and blogging is all fine and dandy until assessments are required to be handed in and grades are needed to be met. To cut a long story short, I took a break to focus on my studies as I needed a B to go to university – Your boy got an A!

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Also, for one of my units we had to work in groups to create a PR & Advertising campaign for a charity called Rainbow Valley and well, this happened…

 

Our college project has now snowballed into so much more than we ever thought and we are currently in the process of working with the Rainbow Valley and Wire Media to take our campaign idea and turn them into a reality which our group is excited about.

Winning this meant that I got an internship at McFrank PR Agency which was without a doubt one of the most incredible and educational few weeks of my life. Seeing campaigns come to fruition, being involved with projects in the morning and seeing it in the newspapers that same evening was magical. It has only further confirmed that this is exactly the path that I want to go down for my career.

In April, I got invited by Renfrewshire Council to attend the Paisley Food Festival and you don’t need to ask me twice whether I want to attend a food festival. I swear I went home that night easily 2 stone heavier than I left the house that morning! A day where, the legendary chef, Nick Nairn cooks you beef stew and you’re sipping a rum & coke on beach chairs while listening to live music, is definitely a good day!

In June, my best friend Ryan Lawrie taken part in a competition to be Vodafone’s Summer Breaker with Capital FM and he won! His prize was performing at Capital’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 and I honestly couldn’t have been prouder. So obviously I had to go and show my support and I travelled down with his girlfriend…

and his girlfriend’s mum…

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and we all conducted ourselves in a mature and professional manner…

but we’re super proud of him and his performance and now they’re both doing XFactor, while I eat 15p Asda-priced noodles – who’s the real winner here, eh?

Since then, I have spent some much-needed downtime with my nearest and dearest. My mum has been sorting herself out, seeing the physio, lost nearly 3 stone in a few months and she is looking so much more like her old self. The confidence is back, her pain is getting treated, exercising more and the weight is falling off her! As her baby boy, I could not be more proud of her.

As for my brother, Adam. He only decided to pack in his job and use his journalistic nous to write a novel. Write a novel in Scotland? No chance. Write a novel in the UK? Nah mate. Write a novel in Holland? Hmm yeah sure. How would a regular person travel from Glasgow to Holland? Fly? Train? Boat? Nah, not my brother. He cycled! 2 weeks on his bike, pitching a tent and camping out at each location. But hey, he survived the journey only to get glandular fever in his second week.

I have packed up my life into a couple of suitcases and started preparing for life at university. Who knew moving out for the first time would be so stressful?! So check back in a bit and I shall leave a survival guide for moving out. It might be a few weeks or if I don’t post it then clearly my findings are incorrect and I haven’t survived. In that case, DO THE OPPOSITE!!!

Anyway, for now, I have left Glasgow behind to make a new life for myself in Edinburgh as a student/blogger/party animal/Pokemon master. It’s the first ever time I’m living away from home without any supervision and I don’t know who should be more worried, me, my mum or everyone I’m living with.

Oh well, here’s to this new chapter of my life and I could not be more excited to see what life has in store for me.

It feels good to be back!

Special Mention: Jen McEwan – I worked so closely with this girl over the past year and a bit and it has been an absolute pleasure. Together we got an A for our HND and we also won our Advertising & PR campaign for Rainbow Valley together. Her animation and graphic designs are incredible and were probably the reason we did so well. Her Harvey Milk animation also won 2 awards at the Equality & Diversity Awards in Glasgow in May.

 

Jay Carrington

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Week 12 2016: The Week of Progression, Reflection and The Taboo of Mental Illness

After a rubbish week I now feel so much better. I received a conditional offer for University, I got paid and I submitted a massive part of my coursework. I feel a lot more relaxed and in a much better headspace than I was last week.

The past couple of weeks has led me to reach crazy levels of stress, the fear of not knowing what my future held is a scary moment but, at least, I have that security blanket and now I feel so much better and relaxed. Now it looks as if I’m heading off to Edinburgh to attend Napier university for 3rd year Marketing with Digital Media and I could not be happier!

After blowing a lot of my wages on a string of expensive first dates, I am still majorly unsuccessful in love. 0/3 successes this month so now I have decided I might give Tinder a try – if you see me swipe right, thanks.

Even though I’ve submitted a major part of my coursework I feel a lot more relaxed considering studying takes up 99% of my time (this statistic is not 100% accurate) I am excited for the much-needed Easter Holidays. It feels like the full year has mentally drained me going into the final block, I’m finding it hard to muster up the energy to finish off this final lap.

Also this week, it has been one full year since my friend Chris Hardman aka Lil Chris sadly passed away. I first met Chris in 2012 and we remained in contact over the following years, whether it was via a friendly Facebook message or we saw each other at various events. He openly spoke of his struggles with depression and never shied away from it but the one thing I can say about him is that he was a true gent and he truly had a beautiful soul.

 

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It seems fitting that I post a picture of the first time we met. (Samsung picture quality suck)

 

I believe that the subject of “mental illness” is still quite the taboo due to it not being a physical illness. If someone has depression, people may play it off as someone “having a bad few days”. When my brother was growing up we often thought he was “just erratic” or “quirky”but only a few years ago at the age of 22 he got diagnosed with Bipolar. It was only after that diagnosis that everything started to make sense. There would be times where he was the life and soul of the party and then there would be other times he would become a recluse. He tends to go through intense phases, the first one I recognised was his guitar playing, where he would play for hours and hours and nothing would stop him, then his gym phase along with several others.

It is hard to know what kind of person I will be meeting with my brother, most of the times he’s great but he can say stuff that isn’t exactly “socially correct”. I’m one of those yo-yo dieters, one month I’ll  be fit and looking good and the next month I’ll balloon up by 2 stone (slight exaggeration). However, pointing out that I had put on weight and poking my stomach in the middle of having a family lunch, allowing me and my mum to pay for the full lunch without even offering to chip in and various other controversial statements. Whereas the week before he was almost like a completely different person. It can be hard at times but he is my brother and I love him.

Jay Carrington

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Week 11 2016: The Week of Self-Doubt

It seems that the title is fitting that this article is being posted several days after my usual Friday entry due to it being from me suffering from crippling self-doubt.

Am I good enough?
Will I ever succeed?
What if I was born to generally suck at life?

The week didn’t start well for me after finally hearing my first response from UCAS and getting a rejection. When I said the other week, that I didn’t care what I got as long as I heard, at least, something – I regret saying that.

After that mental kick in stones from UCAS, I decided to get stuck into my Advertising and PR campaign I’m working on for Rainbow Valley charity, I got great feedback from my lecturer about our idea but she feels like it is just missing that one little hook to tie it all up and since then I’ve had a million and one ideas, each idea seems to be worse than the other.

To end it all, I planned to sort out an internship at a PR Agency but I’ve been so sidetracked with all this coursework but it’s impossible to find the right time to start an unpaid internship right at the end of my course when hand-ins are coming thick and fast. Do I apply right now or do I leave it a few weeks/month and then apply? I can hold my own at college but can I work with seasoned professionals?

For a person that goes about life with a smile and a wink, I do suffer from a lack of self-belief at times, which does kinda suck.

 

Jay Carrington

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Week 8 2016: The Week Of Doggy Discussions and UCAS Stress

So after the frantic past couple of weeks of London, the flu and submitting the Planning Stage for my Graded Unit, I’ve spent the past week relaxing, napping and generally making the most of my spare time by drinking copious amounts of tea without a care in the world – until my friend got his first acceptance from university. Not just any university, one I also applied for!

Although I applied for a different course the sharp pain I felt reminded me that I haven’t heard back from any universities yet and it’s almost March. I’ve been feeling nauseous and panicky “Did I forget to submit?” No, because I can track it. “Did I miss something out in my personal statement?” Surely not, I covered all bases and went over it 25 times. I don’t think I would feel so bad if I even got a response to tell me I hadn’t got in. It is the not knowing that that is dangling that bit of hope right in front of me, taunting me, teasing me and until I get a definite “You have been ACCEPTED” then I shall remain a shadow of my former self.

I got home on Wednesday and was enjoying the usual dinner chat with the mother and the number one topic was dogs. Ever since our dog passed away in late November my mum has been incredibly firm about never ever getting a dog, never ever, never! So I kind of accepted the fact I would never have another pet until I get my own. But over the past couple of weeks, my mum has seen a few dogs and she’ll sit and speak to its owner and I think she’s started to get broody, but over dogs! This particular conversation went from just discussing dogs to discussing which dogs we would actually get. I wanted a fluffy pup but my mum wants a mature, rescue dog.

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Dog my mum wants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of us, both having very different opinions, one thing is becoming clearer, we do want a new dog.

Jay Carrington

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Week 4 2016: Friendships, Fashion & Failing

It’s great having friends, a group of people that you enjoy hanging out with, watch movies with, share stories and generally just have a good time. However, when the peace and harmony of a group of friends split in two that’s when everything gets a bit messy. I had 2 friends who were involved in a long-term relationship break-up and since then I have had a bit of a dilemma. Even though everyone says”oh there’s no need to pick sides” they don’t really mean that but we still try anyway. Several days after the break-up I decided to meet up with one-half of the former relationship just for a simple catch-up. We spent the day hanging out, strolling around Glasgow, eating KFC and singing along to Disney classics – I mean how good is High School Musical, guys?! – By the time I got home and word had got out I had been out with said friend it was fair to say I received a lukewarm reception in the group chat. I hate being caught in the middle, can you realistically go back to how everything was before?

Anyway, I have just found out I shall be attending a Saira Shoes event in Shoreditch, London on 11th February, my first event in London in 2016 I can actually attend due to my nightmare studying schedule. It’ll be fun to get out of Glasgow and hit up my London which is basically my second home. Since the event is 3 days before Valentines Day hopefully this might take my mind off the inevitable being single on Valentines Day struggle that affects a select few or I might meet a girl in London and live happily ever after, who knows? I hope it will be the latter, though.

After joining Slimming World with my mum last week, we went back for our first proper session and I was so proud of my mum who lost 5 pounds in her first week just simply by eating healthier and at the right times. Me, on the other hand, didn’t do quite as well – I put on 1.5 pounds. It seems a week of not going to the gym, going out for dinner 3 times in 1 week and going out and drinking lots of cider isn’t good for you, who knew? A man is allowed 15 “sins” which is basically what makes up unhealthy food and drink. In 1 pint of cider, there are 13 sins, if like me, you have 10 pints of cider over the week then that means I have… sinned a lot. Y’know what’s really unfair, those people who can eat anything they like and still be a size 0 but yet all I need to do is look at a Greggs store and put on a stone. Where is the justice?!

I did promise you this week I would write about my studying struggles again ’cause that is literally all my life revolves around so here is an update for you.

Study Update

I am still studying and writing a million reports and hating life. Yay.

Show your support by using the hashtag “#Pray4Jay”

 

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