Well, the first semester is well and truly done and dusted. Time to box up those memories and lessons learned and file them away in the recesses of the mind in preparation for round two. In the meantime, here’s what’s been occupying my mind – and my time – since I walked out of that last exam room.

1. Making good on a promise to myself

One of many reasons to go to the gym! Gorgeous #views on the way home from your pre-dinner workout.

In my little introduction-type paragraph for this blog, I mentioned that I looked forward to taking advantage of the free gym/Rec Centre membership that comes along with living in student accommodation. Did I want to do that? Yes. Did I actually do that? Not a chance. I kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off until one night after my European Studies exam my friend Jordan caught me and asked if I wanted to go to the gym with her. And because I always have a surplus of adrenaline following an exam, I was like, “uh, okay, why not?!” and had to then go and unearth my previously neglected my active wear (cut to this video). But – let me tell you, team – I had a great time! The facilities serve whatever purpose you’re after – machines, weights, stretching rooms, rock climbing – and people tend to keep to themselves so there’s nothing overly intimidating about it. I’m glad I went that first night because I’ve been back a few times since and now I’ll definitely be making regular trips for the rest of the year. (There are loads of different group classes as well which a few of us girls from the ninth floor are looking into!)

2. Starting afresh

Been taking the ferry to Auckland from my grandparents’ house on the coast recently – definitely less traffic!

A semester of university is very much an undertaking. You end up accumulating mountains of papers and notes, food wrappers, flyers for O Week events, and sometimes what you’ll find is best in order to start afresh for the next semester is a good old deep clean of your room. This sounds boring and tedious as anything, but when my grandmother and I trekked back to O’Rorke for the day this past week, I actually found the whole thing so therapeutic. Not only did we dispose of rubbish and all kinds of miscellaneous junk, we pretty much sprayed-and-wiped the whole room, getting rid of any dust on – post especially above – shelves, and basically restored the room to a completely fresh state. (It might’ve even been cleaner than when I moved in, dare I say it.)

A shot of some of the aftermath – potentially leading into a post on O’Rorke coming up!

It was a huge job – we also went through my wardrobe and all my drawers and everything – but I feel so much better for having done it, especially with so much time to spare before I’m back in there for the long haul. My room is ready for me to return and get straight down to business. (You won’t believe how good that feels.)

3. Occasions

To celebrate finishing exams, Jordan and Alex and I treated ourselves to dinner at Kushi! The lighting was great for ambience but not for blogging, so here’s the best shot I could get – gyoza [heart eyes emoji]

Being on holiday – and truly being on holiday, unlike school holidays where you have assessments to worry about and homework to slog through – has provided me with some solid time to get caught up with family and creative endeavours and to recoup my general energy after a very transitive four months. I headed back home for a few days (beginning with a 7am bus to the airport so I could go with my friend Matt instead of being alone, and then loitering in the airport for another hour or so after we’d had our nutritious Maccas breakfast and he’d gone to catch his flight), which was lovely in the sense that I know Tauranga so well but a bit different than expected because my younger brother came down with the flu and I spent a few days taking care of the bedridden little dude, but hey, still time spent with family. I also got to have lunch with my pal Emily who’s studying at Waikato, and I saw friends who are still in high school perform in their annual production, so the almost-week was not uneventful!

I traded out my go-to eggs bene for french toast at Café Manly – and it did not disappoint!

I’ve also been enjoying a break from the regimented menu of Flame Tree catering and diving back into home-cooked (and sometimes restaurant-prepared) meals. It’s funny not having to follow a specific timetable of when to eat as well, but I’ve managed to not annihilate the entire fridge so I’m pretty pleased with myself in that respect.

As I said, the holidays have allowed for some much-needed family gatherings – and for those distant relatives, being at uni is always a good icebreaker!

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I’m loving having pretty much free rein over everything I do at the moment, but I’m also really eager to back in the game! I’ve got my first two official marks back, and I’m very pleased with them, so now I just want to hurry into the second semester of classes. I’ve followed my gut and I’m only studying what I find stimulating and what I’m passionate about, which I think helps immensely with motivation. Let’s get this show on the road!

(In the meantime I’ve been writing and making and creating stuff of my own, which keeps me occupied and the fire in my belly lit, but, like, I’ve got a week of lectures on Pride and Prejudice waiting for me when uni starts up again, and ya girl kinda can’t wait.)

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Tate Fountain

Most Likely to be Voted "Most Likely to be Analysing Literature or Harping On About Old Relics at Any Given Time".

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