University

I still remember as if it were yesterday. I was young; I was smart, I was dumb, audacious and annoying.

Oh University, thank you for three incredible years of lame jokes, award-winning fancy-dress parties, and sleepovers at the library.

They say it’s the best years of your life; it was for me.

By the way, if you’ve already decided that university isn’t for you, fly over to my backpacking story. My ‘career’ blog post is currently climbing the corporate ladder (my blog feed) and is due to a promotion.

It’s been a few good years since I graduated. For those of you who have just finished college, there are a few words of advice that I wish I had been given when I left home to become a ‘real, live, fully-functioning adult’. Hey, it’s okay if you haven’t reached the stage in your life, where you can find your socks.

Network

I know, I know. You’re fresh outta’ college, and you’re a tiny bit nervous. I’ve been there. Don’t worry young Fresher. Everyone is as lost as you are. Fortunately, Uni’ has sneaky ways of bringing everyone together. You’ll naturally befriend your fellow peers in halls, seminars, lectures, coffee shops and societies. Oh and ladies, you know when you’re drunk, and everyone becomes your best mate? The student union toilets are the official networking zone*. I saw friendships blossom from a simple “I love your bag, where’s it from?”, Or (and here’s my lame attempt to guy-speak) ‘Nice watch mate’ — you get the gist. Photos are an excellent excuse to add people on Facebook, without being weird about it. Strike up a conversation by asking for directions to your lectures. The best friendships start in the strangest places. You will meet your lifelong friends at University.

*Disclaimer: the student union toilets may not be an official networking zone. You may just be very drunk.

Societies

At the Fresher’s Fair, scribble your name down on every club that interests you. Okay fine, I initially did it for the freebies. Alongside the free stuff, you may end up picking up: life-long skills, friends, and wonderful experiences. I fell in love with cheerleading (don’t laugh — it involved extreme body flexibility), and it became one of my biggest passions.

Research

There is only really one thing I wish I did more of, and that’s some digging. I will pass on a little pearl for you: delve deep into your career prospects in advance. Find out what qualifications and experience you need to get your desired job — before the other grads get there before you do.

Job

Unless you’re rinsing the bank of mum and dad (most of us aren’t), a part-time job is handy. For flexible working, your student union is a good starting point. Employers will be impressed with what you did with yourself alongside your studies. During the summer period, go and bag that scheme/internship, you’ll thank your grown-up self later.

Wonga

Every time my loan appeared in my bank account, I would scream ‘f**k yeah!’. I was terrible at money management. I firmly believe that at school: we should have been taught about credit ratings, interest rates, bank accounts, mortgages, insurance, and why you should start saving like £100 per week, because by the time you’re 50 you’ll be a quadruple-gazillionaire. That’s a rant for another day. It’s a skill you will learn and value after you graduate. I don’t want to sound like your mother but always set aside some dosh for the future.

The not-so-serious survival guide (debatable)

1. Do not attempt to bring your whole room with you.

I brought absolute useless crap with me to my halls. It took five trips from the car to my new room. Not only were my new flatmates seriously confused, but my dad (bless him) also had to carry my stuff with a lorry cart! You do not need, I repeat, you do not need five pairs of PJ’s and fifteen pairs of shoes. Pack wisely young’uns. Pack carefully.

2. Wash. Please.

It’s not sexy to let your personal hygiene go in the bin (I’ve Wheelie bin trying not to think up some rubbish puns, sorry). Aside from the obvious health implications, smelling like you’ve not had a shower for a few days is not a great icebreaker.

3. Don’t get with your flatmate unless you’re planning on marrying them. (And for the nosey posey, this isn’t from personal experience, I’m observant / watched the tears roll in).

I don’t care if he has a big room (wink), six-pack and looks like a Model. Guys, I don’t care if she looks like Mila Kunis. If it doesn’t work out? Awkward. You have to live with them for the rest of the year. Mega lolz.

4. Freshers love rumours.

If you do something silly, expect it to spread like wildfire. You might even get a new nickname.

5. Make use of the time you share with your flatmates.

You will remember the fun times more than when you stayed alone in your room (obviously, organise your time to revise). I was lucky. In my flat, we all got on well like a house on fire (literally, we set the microwave on fire). We played pranks, cooked, watched films, went for meals and played silly games together. Don’t worry if you don’t get on with your flatmates; another flat will eventually adopt you.

Leaving home

You will be homesick in your first few weeks; there will be tears when your parents drop off their ickle pickle munchkin to grown-up school. Awww, I feel for you, I really do. There will be tears after that. Don’t worry, I promise you, it gets better.

Pop your photos of your family and friends on the wall. Open up your boxes and lay out your duvet. Once you’ve unpacked your life in your new room, go and introduce yourself to your new mates.

Plan a trip to Ikea with your new mates, avoid the temptation to play Narnia in the wardrobes, gobble up some meatballs and buy: extension lead, laundry basket, kitchen equipment and stationery.

When you’re skint, resist the temptation to wander into town, search for bargains on eBay and buy your books from Amazon. Where else can you shop naked and it is appropriate?

My favourite places that offer student discount are ASOS, Topshop, Waterstones, New Look, Currys, Apple, HP, Spotify and McDonalds (free cheeseburger with every main meal, you’re welcome buddy). P.S I do not endorse McDonalds, but it hits the scrimp spot for your student cravings.

My flatmates got sick a lot (a few of us were in sports societies which had insane socials). Mummy Wong recommends lemon, ginger & honey in hot water. It works.

There will be times when you’re revising, and your inner crazy will come out to play. Don’t stress too much, work to the best of your ability and everything will eventually work out.

Time flies faster than you will ever imagine.

University has a way of slowly shifting your identity, like sea sand getting pushed around by the ocean, slowly accumulating into new contours to form the person you’re supposed to be.

Have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures. You’ll be entering the most life-changing chapters of your life.

Location: University of The Wong Blog
MAC Prep and Prime | M·A·C FOUNDATION | M.A.C Powder | MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters, Bronze, Brule and Copper | Plate | M.A.C Liquid Liner | YSL Mascara | M.A.C EYE BROWS | MAC Blush in Animal Instincts | MAC Lip Pencil | MAC Lipstick in Crosswires and Dark Side |

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Photography: Craig Flemming, Stylist: Natalie Armin, Make Up Artist: Laura Gingell and photos from weheartit.com

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Wanderlust

Floating high above the waves, my body drives through the air like a white cloud over the ocean. Surrounded by layers, upon layers, of endless shades of blue in the sea and into the sky. My yellow bikini mimics the sun, pushing the island farther and farther behind.

Through rose tinted sunglasses, I’m living in a realm of vivid colour. The horizon bisects sheets of fire, the beautiful kind.

It’s the only time in my life where my current experience is quite literally a magical romantic novel, with me in love with the earth.

I know, I’ve handed you a plate of the finest cheese there, but it’s how I felt at the time, in paradise.

Eight months ago, I decided to quit my job to travel the world. Welcome to my blog post on real Wanderlust.

It’s a personal post, but I’m happy to share my experiences and to remind myself of why I did it. I’ll re-read this post when I’m a little old lady.

Why did I just pack up my bags and leave home? Here are eight reasons:

Dreams

I was a miserable, and grumpy cat. I needed to make a drastic change. Quitting and leaving is a significant risk. Things just kept happening, and they pushed me to the point where I had to do something about it. I have always believed in signs. If you aren’t living life as you should, the universe will make it clear somehow. If there’s an opportunity, you’ll find out.

I hadn’t done the one thing I wanted to do before my next Birthday. Every day, I woke up and I asked myself (whilst poking my island desktop computer screen): if the world ended tomorrow, would I of been happy? Had I done all the things I wanted to do? Have I ticked enough of my bucket list? The answers were no. Always, always, chase your dreams.

Adventure

I crave adrenaline. As a kid, theme parks were my second home. I was a naughty and weird kid. I always had a “bright” idea. Travelling allows you to express yourself and channel your creative outlet. It enables you to do amazing things all the time and every day. Our world is filled with ventures that if you take the plunge to do, you’ll remember forever. My bucket list was extensive but to a name a few, I wanted to go temple hopping, visit an orphanage, cuddle a koala bear, skydive, jump into the ocean and visit at least one world heritage site. I’ve now done all of those things and loved every second.

Culture

Travelling allows you to see that there is the world out there and that there is just so much more than your everyday routine. Learning about other cultures changes the way you think. Your mind will open. You’ll learn that diversity is a strength and the spice of life. Travelling at least once for a good amount of time will change your perspective forever.

#ProjectMfood

Not just because I’m a food obsessed individual, but food is an essential ingredient of human life – survival, culture, tradition, lifestyle and relationships. Go and explore a hodgepodge of ingredients and intoxicating aromas. I’m still salivating over fresh, and fragrant broths in Asia. I shamelessly ‘Foodstagram’ because my images remind me of how I felt at that time. And yes, that hashtag above will link you to my foodporn Foodgasms.

Poverty

I wanted to see poverty. We’re very lucky but sheltered in the Western world. We see media behind tinted glass. I saw struggles that you wouldn’t think were possible. Being present physically in a third world country is a real eye opener.

Heritage

I wanted to explore my heritage. If you’re an ethnic minority living in a multi-cultural society, go and visit where your parents are from — you will learn so much about yourself.

Appreciation

You’ll appreciate your friends and family a lot more; you’ll appreciate the comfort you never knew you had.

Future

Lastly, it (hopefully) helps you figure what you want out of life. Once you’ve seen what’s available in the world, it makes decision-making so much easier. You can decide whether you want to relocate abroad, continue travelling, volunteer or go home.

While backpacking, I started to blog and this was my first post. I said I would let you know if it was the right decision. I can confirm wholeheartedly; it was the best decision of my life.

Am I suggesting that everyone should travel? Well no, it’s not for everyone. If all-inclusive package holidays to Shagaluf is your thing, then go for it, but it won’t be life-changing. Travelling is physically demanding and will throw you out of your comfort zone. If you’re not willing to engage in another culture, then travelling will not work for you.

Yes. Of course, I asked myself “what if I get kidnapped, like in that film, Taken?”, But when you get there, everyone else is in the same boat as you. It’s safe if you’re smart. Always be vigilant.

Everyone has different dreams and aspirations: you may love your job, have the itch to start a business, buy a house, start a family — all of these things are life-changing experiences that people do in their own time. Do what you want to do. It’s never too late to follow your dreams.

If you are going travelling, have a wonderful time and take lots of pictures. You may be homesick at first, but it wears off, I swear.

Every day is different, exciting and you’ll want to live it with intensity. You’ll meet so many people from all over the world from diverse backgrounds and cultures who will have many stories to tell you. It all happens so fast. I get so excited when I hear that someone has decided to go backpacking.

Have so much fun and don’t forget to Skype your parents from time to time.

There’s a lovely quote by author J.R.R. Tolkien that pops up a lot, “Not all those who wander are lost”.

In Asia, I travelled with G Adventures on the Indochina Discovery and LOVED it. Dare to book your dream adventure? If you’re heading to OZ, pop into your local PeterPans branch, while hopping onto their free internet, I booked several tours with them as they always had the best deals. I booked all of my hostels through Hostel Bookers and Hostel World.

Ps. If you’ve already headed off and think you have a little nugget of wisdom to share, please leave it in the comment section below. I would also love to hear your adventures whether in you’re in the planning stage or you’ve just landed home.

Location: Zi World

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About


About:

Hi, I’m Monica: Wanderluster & Dreamer. I fill these pages with my life & adventures.

What are you like if I met you in person?:

Weird. I’m the girl who always looks lost and has her shirt on back to front. I’m that girl.

What’s your blog about?:

It’s a lifestyle, style, travel and food blog — all of my favourite things, across various chapters of my life, under one roof. My aim is to be different from the other bloggers. I want to give you more than pictures of my face and outfits in various angles. I want to pass on my life-learnings to you. I want us to build a life we love, life in colour.

What is ProjectM?:

In 2014, I decided to quit my job to live my dream of travelling around the world, which I can wholeheartedly say was the best decision of my life. Subsequently, throughout my blog, I encourage you to run for your dreams. My blog originally launched as a style diary. During my backpacking adventure, I released a travel category. I named my experience ‘ProjectM’. In 2016, I changed my blog name to The Wong Blog, but I kept the name of my travels.

 Are you also a model?:

Yes. I’m a commercial model (the non-catwalk kind). I occasionally appear in adverts and films. My portfolio is here.

How do you stay so slim when you eat so much?:

You can read about that here

What camera do you use?:

I use my iPhone 6S – as a big camera is a faff to carry around. I’ve recently brought this DSLR camera to take get better at photography — tips would be much appreciated.

Can I contact you?: 

Yes, of course! If you have a burning question, please get in touch via my social media channels.

Lots of love Monica x

Disclaimer: some of the links I post contain cookies, they’re delicious and taste great with a cup of tea. If I’m sponsored or commissioned by a brand, I’ll share the deets with you.

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