4 Decisions That Signal You Are Approaching Adulthood

You’re young now, but you won’t be forever!

Youth is a glimmering mirage, like grains of sand it is impossible to hold onto but that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

This post is a subjective one, so don’t feel like you’re old before your time because you’ve already ticked some of these decisions off before you’ve hit 20. Young people advance and develop at vastly different speeds, so where some folks might discover that they’re settling down at the age of 22, some folks might not feel like settling down until they’re much older – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Some of the following decisions might seem a little trifling, but they nonetheless signal that you’re entering a new adult stage of life and that’s certainly something that should be celebrated:  

Buying a new sofa

You know you can get those for free on Gumtree right? One of the great surprises of youth is how much things cost. Whilst it’s no surprise that televisions, houses and cars cost a lot of money, it can be a little galling to realise how much furniture costs. For students, this realisation that ‘nice things cost money’ is usually followed by the response of settling for thing that simply aren’t ‘nice’. When you decide to fork out hundreds of pounds on a brand new sofa, you’ll know that you’re entering into a brave new world of financial commitment. Watch out for those red wine stains!

Moving away from home

The day that you fly the coop is both an exciting and a scary one. You might think that you’re ready to look after yourself, but have you considered everything? Are you going to have time to iron your clothes, or will you not bother? Are you going to do a weekly shop, or just buy food when you need it? Do you even know how to cook? And how about cleaning the bathroom? When you move home you’ll have to take charge of all these responsibilities, or simply tumble into a messy state of decay.

Talking to a financial advisor

A few years into your first proper job you might think that you’ve got this financing thing sorted. You’ve not starved, you’re paying your taxes and bills: what’s to worry about? Have you considered what your long-term financial goal is? You should be commended for keeping to your financial responsibilities, but have you thought about your financial future? It’s fine to spend what money you’re earning, but doing so doesn’t leave much wriggle room for your future self – do you really want to be working for the rest of your life? Talking to a financial advisor is the first step to securing your future stability.

Choosing a quiet night in over a big night out

Friday comes round yet again and all your mates are heading out on the town (as usual), it’s a perfect summer night, ideal drinking but you’re absolutely shattered. As an impressionable youngster you might feel the social pressure to go out with them, but as a level-headed adult you’ll know that doing so will just make you more tired tomorrow and £69 worse off. Making the decision to skip a night out in favour of getting some rest is a sign that you’re valuing your future health and happiness over your immediate desires. This is a key part of growing up and something that you shouldn’t be ashamed of!

Are You Ready To Move In With Your Partner?

Moving in with your girlfriend or boyfriend is a big step that requires serious thought before you make the leap.

Relationships are tricky things to navigate, especially when you’re in the process of growing up.

There are no rules when it comes to figuring out when you’ve reached the right time and, although it’s always a good idea to get advice from other people, only you will be able to make a judgement call on the stability of your relationship. With that being said, self-reflection and analysis can always help when you’re presented with a decision of this magnitude, so we’ve got a few questions that you can ask yourself that should help you suss things out.

Have you got enough money?

Moving house costs money (duh!), have you considered how much money you’ll need to move into your new place? The costs of living go beyond just your first month’s rent and your deposit, you’ll need to consider how you’ll divide bills, food and other shared amenities too.

You may not have had any serious discussions about money before and if there’s a disparity in the amount that you and your partner earn then you could be in for some awkward conversations…

Do you have the same sense of style?

What you consider good home design might not necessarily align with you partner’s idea of home design. Before you take the step of looking for a place to stay together, you might want to consider if your design choices are compatible. Say, for example, that you’re a self-confessed comic book geek who loves to plaster everything they own in stickers and prints. In an ideal world your partner will share the same affinity for comic books and you’ll both happily skip to a shop to order your vinyl decal prints to paste all over your new home. However, the world is rarely ideal and it’s more likely that your partner will object to your dorky design choices, in which case you’ll both need to compromise. Are you prepared to do that?

Have you spent enough time together?

Even if you’ve been dating for months, your relationship might not necessarily be ready for the amount of time that you’ll soon be spending together. As soon as you move in together you’ll find that your personal time disappears and your moment-to-moment decisions about how you choose to live will be a little more difficult. Decisions like what you’ll eat for dinner and what you’ll do in the evenings will now become a joint decision, rather than an internal one – are you ready for this change in dynamic?

Are your lifestyles compatible?

Besides these important social matters, it’s also worth considering how you’re planning on decorating your new home. This may sound like a trivial matter, but it can make all the difference when you’re sharing a space with a partner. Are you happy to make compromises when it comes to decoration choices? Will you be comfortable with another person having an influence over the space that you’re living in? Decisions will have to be made about everything from kitchen utensils to interior doors – are you ready for these conversations?

Have you got to ‘that comfortable stage’ yet?

Lastly, are you ready to see your partner as they truly are? If you’ve only spent time together outside of the house you may find that you’re in for a bit of a shock when you move in. Although you both might scrub up well, you won’t be able to keep this facade up forever. This means that there are bound to be nights when you are woken up buy your partners’ flatulence or when you roll over to see them drooling into the pillow. These moments will no doubt prove to either make or break your attraction, but it’s definitely better to find out sooner rather than later.

Swiping Right: Are Dating Apps Worth It?

It has been over 6 years since the dating app Tinder was unleashed onto the world and since that time the very notion of single-life has been completely transformed.

Although online dating had been around since the mid-90s, Tinder marked a watershed moment for Millennial singletons across the world. The success might be due to some impressive digital marketing campaigns

Services like Match and Plenty Of Fish had been making a pretty penny from middle-aged singles for years, but these sites had not made online dating an attractive prospective for younger people. The sign-up experience lacked immediacy and (worst of all) these dating services were associated with desperation, a last-chance saloon for socially awkward or unattractive people to find their life partners.

Although Tinder might have been lumped with its fair share of stigmas since its meteoric ascension, this new service provided young people the opportunity to quickly sign up, link their social accounts and get swiping within a matter of minutes. We’ve reached out to a few young people to get their say on how they use the app and how it has affected them:

Brad, 20

I started using Tinder last year after I broke up with my long-term girlfriend. I’d pretty much spent the whole of secondary school with this one girl and felt like I’d really missed out on those early years of interaction with the opposite sex as a result. When I got to Uni I wanted to make the most of my new single life, so I started swiping and I haven’t stopped since!

Jenna, 25

I’ve been messing around with Tinder for years, but it’s impossible to tell how serious someone is. Although it might sound a bit cynical, I always expect the worst of guys using these apps. It’s so easy for a deceptive individual to appear that they have the best intentions over messaging, but it’s always clear what they’re really after as soon as you meet them in person. Sometimes it can feel like a real waste of time.

James, 23

I’ve always found nightclubs really oppressive places to meet new people. The music is always too loud and there’s this under current of sexual tension that I find really uncomfortable. Although Tinder is definitely rife with sexual possibilities, I find it so much easier to get a simple conversation going which can then lead to a real-life dating scenario which feels more romantic and in-line with how I’ve always seen dating.

Mike, 24

My experience with Tinder has been mostly disappointing. Loads of my mates are always boasting about how many matches they get and how much they’re getting laid, but I’ve just not had the same kind of luck. I’ll go for days on end without a match, and when one finally comes along the chat will quickly peter out until I’m left twiddling my thumbs again. If anything I feel more alone than I did before!

Callie, 19

If my Mum knew about half the things that guys have said to me on Tinder she’d probably have a heart-attack. Me and my friends all signed up as a joke, we thought it was fun to increase the age range as much as possible and see how many random men would start chatting to us – I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised to find that there were so many creeps out there. I’ve never used the app seriously, it’s just a bit of fun for me.

High-End Fashion, Bobble Hats & Influencers

Do you have what it takes to become an influencer?

The Information Age has created literally hundreds of jobs all over the world ranging from the most mind-bogglingly technical (think UX designers and network engineers) to more creative avenues, such as digital graphic designers and film-makers.

In order to enter into a career in one of these careers it’s still beneficial to have an appropriate degree, as most people will still need to  gain sufficient work experience before ‘striking it out alone’, should they so wish. There’s one occupation, however, that requires no formal training and no formal qualifications. We now live in a world where individuals can make hundreds, even thousands of pounds, for simply taking a photograph and sharing it on Instagram.

The rise of the social media influencer has been gradual, but today it is considered a key component of marketing strategies for all kinds of enterprises around the world. The premise is simple enough: by harnessing the huge reach of social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat; brands and companies are able to make deals with influential users to either feature their product or mention their brand. Depending on the size of a user’s following, a brand could spend up to a few thousand pounds for a simple post or, conversely, simply send the influencer a free product.

So what does it take to become a social media influencer?

For many young people the notion of making a living out of social media is certainly alluring: you’re free to set your own schedule, your favourite brands send you free stuff and, best of all, you’re famous! Unfortunately, the reality of life as a successful influencer isn’t quite at simple as taking a few pictures and reaping the benefits. In order to achieve success as an influencer, an individual must be a charismatic personality, proficient photographer, a savvy marketer and a consummate personal assistant all in one – quite the tall order!

Let’s break down each one of these roles with some examples, so that you can understand what it takes to achieve in the world of influencer marketing:

Do you have a big personality?

In order to attract the attention of major brands or companies you will need to have a large social following, and in order to do that you’ll need a charming personality! Whilst this is certainly a subjective matter, it’s worth considering if you have the force of personality necessary to ‘come across’ in Instagram, this means having a sense of humour, appearing approachable and having the patience to be able to sit down each day and answer to comments from people that you don’t know!

Take a look at this Instagram post from @Jodie.Melissa, she takes time to reply to comments and describes her current status in a humorous, self-deprecating fashion:

Can you take good photographs?

The world of social media is one of ‘surface pleasures’, in order to succeed you will need engagement and ‘follows’, these will only come if you post attractive, ‘gramworthy’ content. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to take ‘nice’ photos, you also need to stand out from the pack which means developing your own unique style. Brands will pay attention if you take clear, eye-catching photos – blurry or dark pictures won’t impress anyone.

This image from successful crafting blogger @abeautifulmess is a good example of a clean, attractive image:


View this post on Instagram


To infinity + beyond! 🚀 Toy Story costume on the blog today! (Photo by @amberulmer)

A post shared by Elsie + Emma A Beautiful Mess (@abeautifulmess) on

Can you market yourself?

Sometimes it’s not enough to simply take good photos and be a funny person, in order to get noticed will have to be a savvy marketer which involves constantly considering your end goal, your audience and how you’re planning on engaging with them. A problem many amateur influencers face is not having any kind of niche, or image. It’s important that you understand who your account will appeal to, what those people want and how you can attract more of them.

Bloggers Oliva and Alice are not only successful influencers, but they also sell fur pom pom bobble hats on their own website, their Instagram photos clearly mark them out as young fashionable people with an eye for what’s ‘on trend’:


View this post on Instagram


A leopard never changes its spots, Sunday with lots of coffee and lots of animal print please! #OliviaandAlice #Sunday

A post shared by Bloggers, Designers, YouTubers (@oliviaandalice_) on

Are you an organised person?

In order to achieve success as an influencer you’ll need to be an organised, punctual individual who is dedicated to their new profession. You will be responsible for every facet of your business, which means that you’ll need to ensure that you are planning and scheduling content, reaching out to brands, replying to comments and emails, researching your niche to stay on top of trends and also interacting with your community. It’s a full on occupation that can quickly turn into an ‘always-on’ existence – so be prepared to work hard!

Let us know if you’re just starting out as an influencer, or if you’re planning on starting a new career as one – we’d love to hear from you.

How To Gain Valuable Experience At University

Attending University is a great opportunity to make friends, learn and build your CV.

Depending on the course that you decide to take you may have a significant chunk of spare time at your disposal whilst you’re studying at University.

Most full-time degree courses require you to spend between 35-40 hours each week studying, similar to the time that you would have to dedicate to a full-time job. This time will be made up of lectures, ‘contact hours’ (time spent 1-on-1 with your personal tutor) and personal study time. As much as it’s fun to make new friends and go out when you’re a student, your studies should always be your top priority whilst you’re at University.

Taking this into account, you’ll have 5 evenings and 2 full days on the weekend to make use of for extra-curricular activities. It’s a good idea to use this time wisely and consider that how you spend your time outside of study hours will reflect on your CV come the end of your degree.

With this in mind I’ve put together a few ideas of where to pick up some valuable experience so that you can leave university with more than just your degree certificate:

Run for a position in a club or society

Every university has a bevy of societies and clubs that you can join which gives you the opportunity to try out a new experience, or continue a skill or hobby that you already have. Clubs range from Amateur Dramatics to Chess, to Medieval Re-enactment to Skydiving; regardless of the society that you join you’ll be able to apply to take an administrative role within the society. Whether you’re the Social Secretary, Treasurer or President this kind of experience shows would-be employers that you’re keen to take on responsibility and that you’re a social person.

Get a job for the summer

Your university days will be the last years of your life when you get a full Summer holiday – don’t take that for granted! The 12-14 weeks that you have at your disposal each summer should be used wisely, it’s the perfect time to pick up a job and earn some much needed cash.

Customer service jobs are usually the easiest to pick up for this stretch of a time and if you do a good job then you’ll be able to return throughout the years.

Pick up casual work in term-time

There are always a few odd jobs going during term-time that can add value to your CV in the long run. Often your university’s career hub will regularly post part-time jobs which can vary from taking part in a psychological study to helping out showing prospective students around your campus.

Keep an eye out on regular job sites using the ‘Part Time’ filter to see if there are any other opportunities – you could find useful experience marketing to college students or working in a call centre.

Volunteer in your spare time

Dedicating a portion of your time to a good cause is a great way of meeting like-minded individuals and also adds another dimension to your CV. Depending on the charity that you choose to help out you could be driving subscriptions on the street, knocking on doors to raise awareness or even working ‘out in the field’. Always make sure that the charity that you’re helping is legitimate and be wary of working for private firms that focus on ‘making sales’.

Jackie Li is an architect and writer who focuses on offering advice to prospective and current students. She’s passionate about her work and loves to help graduates find work post-uni.

Five Simple Steps To Getting Fit

Are you looking to get fit?

As a student currently in the throes of a challenging Masters course I’m acutely aware of my fitness starting to suffer.

I’m a very single-minded person, meaning that I tend to only focus on one thing at any given time. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only one of my friends who’s like this and if I’m honest it gets to me from time to time. I’m part of a very active group of individuals, we all exercise and we all try to eat healthily, but whenever I have a big load of course work to get done my fitness automatically gets put to the wayside and I find myself indulging in all the wrong foods and spending all of my spare time holed up in the library, instead of exercising.

I don’t need to weigh myself to know that my fitness level is dropping, my energy levels begin to drop earlier in the day and I find that my mood begins to suffer as a result too. Thankfully, I’ve got plenty of friends studying Sports Science qualifications who can help me out and after recently getting ‘back on the horse’, so to speak, I thought I’d share how I was able to regain my fitness. This is a very general guide that should be able to be applied to all kinds of people, regardless of your current fitness level or experience. Before we jump into it I want to just remind you that everyone is different, we all have different thresholds and it’s really important not to rush into a lifestyle change without a bit of caution.

Get motivated

You can’t get fit without the motivation to do so. If getting fit is more of a vague dream rather than a concrete goal then you’ll likely not stick to your plan and soon return to your old habits. In order for change to occur you must want the change to happen. Making your fitness a priority is a key part of this journey, if you don’t value your fitness highly enough then you simply won’t succeed.

Set yourself a target

Having a target in place is absolutely key in getting fit. A clear defined goal helps to keep you focused and allows you  to track your progress. Whereas many people still choose to use their weight as a metric I’d warn against using it as a goal. Being lighter on your feet does not necessarily equate to being more fit. Your goal should be performance based – so you could time yourself jogging round a park and then set a target of beating that time in the course of the next month.

Make an exercise and nutrition plan

A structured plan is key to you making progress. Try and get the help of a fitness professional when putting it together as it’s really important that your plan reflects your current capabilities, as well as taking into account your lifestyle and how much time you have to commit to getting fit. You’ll also need a rough nutrition plan which might mean making a food diary of your current intake. If you’re going to be exerting yourself more then you might find that you need to be eating more to fuel this exertion, just make sure that you’re eating more of the right food.

Get stuck in but stay grounded

Once you have your plan then you’re ready to go! This is the fun part, with the right motivation, a structured plan and a goal in place you have everything you need to get fit but don’t let your new fitness plan completely absorb your life. You’re only human, so you should pay attention to what your body needs and have the flexibility to adapt your plan should you need to, depending on your calendar, budget and how your body is responding to your new regiment.

Assess your progress and re-evaluate

Once you’ve reached your target it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate how far you’ve come and where you want to go next. You might be happy continuing your current plan or you might have an even bigger ambition, only time will tell and only you will have the answers.

Best of luck!

Jess Fullwood is a contributor to Young People In Focus and Social Sciences student, her work mainly involves how the causal link between 21st Century Technology and modern day relationships.

Body Dysmorhphia

Body Dysmorphia is a mental health issue associated in the public’s mind with women rather than men…

…this comes as little surprise when you think about the societal expectations that have been put on each gender over the last decades.

Those expectations have slowly been changing though and as a result men and women are now subject to a much wider range of social pressures ranging from cultural expectations to how they should conduct their relationships, to how their bodies should look and how they should dress.

The way that we perceive our culture has changed irrevocably over the last century. Just take a look at this photo from the 19th Century:

These men are certainly stylish, but there’s a great deal of similarity between what they’re wearing. At this point in time society expected the individual to conform to the norms and individuals wanted to do so. In order to fit in with society and avoid vilification the individual had to sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy and personal choice – but once they had to so they could be considered a part of the wider society. This wide-reaching cultural identity was enforced through interpersonal connections and persisted due to the lack of social mobility that existed at the time.

Flash forward to the 21st century and it’s clear that things have changed somewhat. Take a look at this photo:

Today people of all different walks of life mingle and present themselves in whatever way their own culture dictates. Thanks to globalisation and the growing influence that the internet has on us we are no longer expected to conform to a specific fashion or style, how we choose to present ourselves is completely dependant on the complex set of social rules that are dictated by our upbringing, our perceived social ranking and our own cultural preference, to name a few.

By enveloping ourselves in our personal cultural bubbles we have become more susceptible than ever to developing psychological issues that affect how we choose to lead our lives from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and how we spend our spare time. The insular nature of technology is pervasive and subtle at the same time, many people do not consider the effect that it has on them and allow their minds to be freely manipulated by the whims of social pressures which has led to a rise in Body Dysmorphia in both men and women across all ages.

People are growing increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies and, unfortunately, this discomfort does not remain internalised. Men and women are now acting upon their compulsions. Breast enlargement/enhancement surgery is at an all time high, as well as minor surgeries such as botox fillers and it’s not just women who are going under the knife in order to readjust their image. In a recent study it was found that the prevalence of Body Dysmorphia is actually higher in men than it is in women.

‘Bigorexia’ is the new term given to men who believe themselves to not be large enough and it’s a condition that is starting to pick up steam without any sign of slowing…

Jacob Meyersmith is the site editor for Young People In Focus who works as a freelance web developer, he’s a self-confessed nerd who likes to keep one eye on societal shifts.

Getting REAL FaceTime

Human’s are very adaptable creatures.

Regardless of how smart or stupid you might think you are, your brain is an incredible piece of hardware that performs hundreds of microscopic decisions each and every second.

We often think that taking shortcuts is a bad thing, we associate this habit with negative traits such as laziness, but in reality our brains are constantly looking for ways to cut corners, economise on power and achieve tasks with the smallest amount of effort possible.

In most cases this is a good thing. When we are learning new skills our brains work in overdrive to get to grips with any new motor functions and try their best to catalogue this information effectively so that you can perform the task better next time. This is ideal when we are approaching practical tasks such as those associated with childcare or home maintenance; many of these tasks will need to be repeated countless times in the course of your life, so it makes sense for your brain to make each of these processes as efficient as possible.

This means that whenever you approach a task, such as washing the dishes or changing your child’s nappy, you can get the job done without putting any thought into the action at all – as if you were on auto-pilot. This allows you to get what you need done with the minimum fuss, whilst giving your brain a chance to plan more future actions; great news if you have a busy schedule with loads of different things to do.

Computers and mobile phones have allowed us to ostensibly get even more done at the same time, they’re a multi-tasker’s dream and our brains have quickly adapted to using them in almost every facet of our day-to-day lives. We use them to plan our holidays, shop for groceries, discover new music and (perhaps most importantly) keep in touch with our friends and families. Whilst the proliferation of technology has allowed us to become a lot more efficient in our day-to-day lives, our clever brains have been given access to technology that has effectively streamlined how we approach our entire lives – perfect for household chores, but perhaps not so good for our social lives…

Several pieces of research have found that the use of online communications, specifically social media accounts, can have a negative impact on how we conduct our real-life relationships. Plenty of research from all over the globe points to how regular use of social media can damage relationships; this issue goes beyond our romantic relationships and encompasses how we conduct relationships with all of our friends and family.

If you’re reading this and are thinking that this doesn’t apply to you, then it might be worth taking a good honest look at your relationships and consider how many of those rely on social media – you might find that your brain has made some shortcuts that you were unaware of…

Jess Fullwood is a contributor to Young People In Focus and Social Sciences student, her work mainly involves how the causal link between 21st Century Technology and modern day relationships.