As midnight approaches on New Year's Eve, I always like to spend some time contemplating what has happened within the past twelve months, or curl up with a notepad and write a list detailing the few things I have achieved; those that, if experienced by anyone else, would not have resonated in quite the same way. I also tend to read through the blog posts and my diary, remembering the events that took place in the first few months of the year, and trying to not correct the words I've learnt how to spell since!
2014 has included months spent in my room revising for the first of my GCSE exams and less time for reading and blogging than I had anticipated; the books I had last Christmas are still sitting on my shelf, unread. But, it's also included trips to Buckingham Palace and Journalism Award wins, all of which I will never forget. In fact, it's been a year crammed with life experiences and lessons to learn. Now it's coming to an end, I'm feeling a little nostalgic!
|That's me with the ponytail!|
At the beginning of the year, I decided to take on the challenge of setting up my own news team within school as part of the national BBC News School Report project. Having had to use the promise of biscuits as a bribe to encourage those in the younger years to join, and stand on a chair to be listened to, I didn't have high hopes within first few weeks. I was piecing together presentations, preparing practice scripts and organising groups at the weekend in an attempt to be ready for the annual Report Day - when all of the work should be uploaded. What I didn't expect when I held that first 'brainstorming' session was for it to result in interviewing poet Benjamin Zephaniah for the BBC, author Bryce Thomas agreeing to take part in the Q&A with those who were part of the team and a trip to the local radio station. And I couldn't have been prouder. Admittedly, it was stressful, but seeing a team I had managed to put together on TV and hearing us featured on the radio made it all worthwhile.
Book-related things in 2014 included heading to the Hay Festival(once again!) and the first YALC in London. Since I first heard of the annual Hay Festival, I've absolutely loved taking a tote bag and some wellies to a few author events there! 2014 was no exception, and although I was disappointed to hear that there was no signing after the event, I did find myself in the same room as Jacqueline Wilson! It was incredible to hear Wilson speak, as she was the author that inspired my love of reading, and whose magazines I would read each month when I was a slightly younger. In an audience of those between aged around seven-to-ten, I sat there awestruck. She was exactly how pre-teen me had imagined her! Although I was a little bit loss during Cassandra Clare's event, as I had to try and avoid spoilers, I did manage to meet her after the event and get my books signed! Despite spending a huge portion of the Saturday at YALC hiding from the Comic Con crowds and cosplay in the toilets, I loved meeting up with some of my favourite bloggers and just seeing those I recognised from social media walk past me. It felt great to be surrounded by people who were all passionate about books - although it was really claustrophobic!
Whilst I visited London for the first time in 2013, this year I've been a tourist on the tubes three times, and I'm still just as excited every time I arrive. In fact, the most recent time I went involved a check-list of what I needed to bring, now that I'm feeling a little more experienced as a Londoner for a day! 2014 was the year that I learnt which way up the ticket goes when trying to go through the barrier on the tube system, how to navigate the different lines(and realised how many different ones there are!) and discovered that, if a bus is running a minute late, it will terminate and leave you at the next stop. It was also at the Royal Society this year that, after arriving a few hours late to the Finals due to traffic, I won a Journalism Award! The highlight of my year was walking in to the briefing late and being told that, in a few minutes, I would be interviewing a member of the Royal Family. The one thing I remember most clearly from that day is the few crazed minutes that followed, where I attempted to look presentable after five hours in a car and tried to scoff a cereal bar within seconds to make sure my stomach didn't rumble!
What I've loved about this year is that it's taught me to never underestimate myself. And, when walking through the gates of Buckingham Palace in October, I also realised that where your from or the school you go to doesn't matter. Being the only person with a Welsh accent, and a schoolgirl who had just typed up a short article in a rush, I was worried that I would feel out-of-place. It was the first time I had ever worn a shirt and tie, and the blazer I wore that day will never be making a re-appearance! Though, everyone was so friendly! I'll say it lightly, but I felt 'at home' and welcomed. I was able to leave my fingerprints on the window(sorry!) and talk to the teacher who was with me like it was an ordinary lunchtime. I've always struggled with my confidence, and have always had a slight camera phobia, so it did merge a few of my once-worst nightmares together. And I probably looked extremely vulnerable, standing there attempting to form a coherent sentence, but I did it. I was okay.
It's been a tiring - but good - year.
I'll be posting some of my not-so-goals for next year in early January...when I manage to escape from the pile of revision I have to do!
What are your own favourite memories of 2014?
Make sure to tell me in the comments!