4 Years Later: A Reflection on Study Abroad

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January 24, 2015 was a day that changed my life forever.

In 2011 I visited London for the first time on a band trip. It was love at first sight and I immediately felt like I was at home in the city. We left London for Paris after just a couple of days but I told my friends that I would be back in a few years to Study Abroad.

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Studying abroad scared me to death even though it was something I knew that I had to do in my heart and soul. It was something I had wrestled over doing for years but knew that I would be regret it if I didn’t. So I packed my bags, gave notice to my job, and left.

When I said goodbye to my mom, dad, sister, and Brett at the airport I tried to stay strong. But the moment I got through security I completely lost it and sobbed all the way to my departure gate. Luckily enough, I was traveling with a girl from my home university who would end up being my roommate in London. She showed me true kindness that day and I’m really grateful that I had her there with me.

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I’ll never forget the moment I saw Regent’s University for the first time. I had studied pictures, maps, and brochures for months but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I arrived. The dorms were like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The university itself was small but beautiful.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I made friends life-long friends at orientation that week and found myself exploring the city with my classmates. It was freeing.

My family likes to joke that I was born old. I’m a homebody and I always tend to take care of others before myself. I started working at 17 and took that job very seriously. In college I worked long hours and went to class full time in order to graduate in 4 years. Studying abroad was my chance to be selfish. To worry only about my happiness and to finally take some time off of work and act my age.

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Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.comEaster Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I felt like a brand new person. I was the “fun” friend for once in my life. One of my friends even called me “irresponsible” which at first upset me but looking back I’m so happy that I got to not be the responsible one for the first time. I had a great group of girls to hang out with. We traveled on weekends and during Easter break. We had lunch together everyday and they really seemed to get me.

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Sometimes I wish I could go back. On our honeymoon in 2017 we went to London and visited Regent’s. I e-mailed a few weeks before to get visitors passes for campus so that I could officially show Brett around. We sat in the library, walked through the refectory, and went by every classroom that I had classes in. We walked through the park and admired the grounds in the summer. But something was missing.

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London will always be my favorite place to visit. It will always be the home of some of my happiest memories. It will always be the place where I met my best group of friends. And it will always be the place where Brett asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

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Our honeymoon showed me that it’s okay to move on. London will always be waiting for me and my friends will always be just a WhatsApp message away. Things have changed but I’m still grateful that I got to be the “fun” friend for a few months. I really found myself when I was in London and discovered who I am as a person. But London is no longer my home. My home is now with Brett and it’s time to make new memories.

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4 years ago I took a giant leap of faith when I stepped aboard an airplane flying from Chicago to London. That terrifying decision was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Everyday I am grateful that I had the experience to meet friends from all over the world. And I am SO glad that I had this blog to document all of the moments of my time in London. I love looking back on my study abroad posts.

Thanks so much for reading!

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5 Years of Blogging!

5 Years of Blogging

In November Life of Hayley turned 5! Since then I have been struggling on how to properly commemorate this very special occasion. 

Let me start out by saying that I began this blog right after my 20th birthday as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. At the time I was a sophomore in college and felt incredibly lost about what to do with my life. I felt unaccomplished and lonely. I had started a blog the year before for my freshman English class so the thought of writing had been in my head for some time. My 20th birthday was the perfect starting point for a lifestyle blog.

In the beginning I wrote about whatever I wanted and it was never about the views, likes, or comments. When I studied abroad in London I posted once a week and my blog gained a small following. I really loved the interaction with fellow bloggers and fell in love with the community. My senior year of college I took an internet marketing class that forced me to once again start a new blog. I spent all my time and energy on getting traffic to that blog. My grade was based on the number of followers, likes, and comments. I started to hate blogging when I no longer felt joy in interacting and instead found myself fixated on the stats. After I graduated from college I took almost a full year off of blogging and honestly thought that I would never blog again. 

My current job is what inspired me to open my laptop and start writing. I work in finance so there’s very little creativity in my normal day-to-day activities. I found myself wanting to write again about getting married and life after college. My first post was a challenge to write but after that I got back into the swing of things. 

My life has changed greatly since the day I sat in my dorm room and began writing. Life of Hayley has developed into something that I’m really proud of. This community has supported me during some of the hardest moments of my life and for that I am grateful. I hope 5 years from now I’ll be around to reflect on my 10 years of blogging.

Thanks so much for reading!

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8 Tips and Tricks to be more Financially Responsible

Learning How To Become Financially Responsible - How I graduated from college debt free plus more tips and tricks for saving money

 

Hey friends,

Today I thought I would share a little story with all of you. I get asked a lot of questions by friends and acquaintances about how I can be so young but so responsible. I always have a hard time explaining that I ended up this way based on the lessons my parents taught me growing up. I was extremely lucky to learn these lessons at a very early age. I didn’t always understand the “why” but I did understand what was expected of me.

I was lucky growing up. Both of my parents had jobs, we had a house to live in, drawers of clothes to wear, and there was always food on the table. However, I felt like the one girl in my class who did not have a Barbie Dream House. You know, the giant pink house with an elevator and fireplace with room enough for Barbie, Ken, and all of their friends?

I can remember going over to my friend’s house and playing with her Barbie Dream House. I wanted one so bad and made sure to tell my parents at every opportunity. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t buy me one. They had jobs and I had lots of Barbie’s to put in the house. Didn’t I deserve a Barbie Dream House?

The answer is no. I was surrounded by Barbie’s, American Girl Dolls, and numerous other toys. My parents did not have a lot of disposable income but we still received many gifts and toys at Holidays and for our Birthdays. I can now appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for us.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that my parents were putting money into a CD and a savings account for me and my sister. The money that they could have spent on more toys for us was put into these accounts to save for our college educations. When I babysat or got money for holidays, my parents made me put half into the bank. I could spend or save the other half on things that I wanted.

Now I realize that this is the most important life lesson my parents taught me; how to be financially responsible.

I started working my junior year of high school and worked all the way through college. Here’s the cool thing, I wanted to work. My parents never forced me to get a job. I saved my money for tuition, books, a new car, etc. I took a lot of pride in being the only person in my college orientation group not relying on their parents for everything.

I graduated from college debt free. Partially because my mom works at the university but also because I knew how to save my money and applied for scholarships to help make up the difference.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for managing money:

  1. Like my parents taught me at a very early age, put at least 50% of whatever you earn into the bank ASAP. That way you are not tempted to spend the money before it has been fully accounted for. For me, this includes my bi-weekly paychecks which are automatically deposited into my bank account as well as any birthday or holiday money that I may receive. My personal preference is to deposit 100% of my money into the bank first and then decide how the money needs to be spent or saved.
  2. Set financial goals for yourself that you would like to work towards. My main goal right now is to pay off my car and build another bathroom in our house. Since I know my goals it is so much easier for me to save money.
  3. Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund for any crazy things that happen along the way. Life is crazy and there are always expenses that happen that we didn’t plan for. It’s great knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on if needed.
  4. Have different accounts for different reasons. My bank allows us to have several savings/checking accounts with the ability to name them whatever you want. I have a “house fund” and an “emergency fund” in addition to a couple of others.
  5. Communicate goals with your partner or spouse. Brett and I are constantly talking about our goals for the future. It’s so important to be on the same page about financial decisions!
  6. Have a budget. I cannot stress this enough. I have a budget for pretty much everything including groceries, gas, clothing, and “fun”. Your budget can be flexible but try to give yourself a range to stay within.
  7. Be willing to say no. My co-workers ask everyday if I want to grab coffee and the answer is always no. I say no for two reasons. 1. I don’t like coffee. 2. I’d rather save the $2+ every morning for something else. It’s okay to say yes every once in a while but be willing to bring your own coffee or lunch to save a bit of money.
  8. Be flexible. These changes will not happen overnight and that’s okay! Keep working towards your goals and eventually you will get there!

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the financial industry and I can honestly say that my interest in finance started from the lessons that my parents taught me about money. While people around me love to spend their money I would much rather save mine for something I really want or invest it towards my future.

I am lucky to have started saving at an early age but it’s never too late to change your spending habits! I hope these tips and tricks help you reach your financial goals!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Dealing With Bad Roommates in College

Dealing With Bad Roommates in College

Hey, friends!

I had way too many bad roommates in college. By sophomore year I thought that I deserved to finally have a good roommate. But fate played a cruel trick on me and made sophomore year ten times worse than freshman.

My freshman year ended with me choosing to live in the same dorm for the next year. I picked a room right down the hall from where I lived and threw myself into the roommate pool. My university had us take surveys to match us with a roommate and I answered very honestly.

I found out my match about a month before move in. I e-mailed her right away to introduce myself but never heard back. I couldn’t find anything out about her on social media but I am a pro internet searcher so right before we moved in I was able to find her. Turns out, she didn’t go by her actual name and instead went by a “stage name”.

Let’s call roommate “P” for the sake of the story. P had already moved into our room when I got there. Our dorm was pretty cool because we had two rooms. The first room had to be walked through to get to the second. P picked the room in the back.

I have no idea how long she had lived there when I moved in but the room was disgusting by the time I moved in. There was trash everywhere and it smelled horrible! My mom and I tried to introduce ourselves but she didn’t move from her bed or acknowledge us. I thought it would get better.

I moved all of my stuff in and got settled. P slept during the day and hardly left the room. I wondered if she went to any classes. I swear she slept with her eyes open too. There was a door separating our rooms but she refused to shut it even when I wanted to change or sleep. At night she’d blare her TV which was against the same wall as my bed. I tried to ask her to turn it down or shut the door but she was super rude about it and I hate confrontation.

My mom works at my university but I hated using her for anything. I didn’t want any special treatment. I went straight to the hall director and he explained to me that I had to stay in that room for two full weeks before I could petition to move rooms. I was devastated.

The more I stayed in the room the more I felt unsafe. I couldn’t sleep, study, or relax in that room. I tried to talk to my RA who came to our room to mediate but it was a joke. My RA actually seemed scared of P and the mediation only made things worse for me.

The hall director gave me two options after my two weeks were up. 1. Move to a single room and pay an extra $2,500 per semester or 2. Choose the only remaining room needing a roommate. I chose the roommate.

This post is already super long so please let me know if you want to hear about Roommate #2. Let’s just say that she was the exact opposite of me in every single way.

I don’t want this post to be negative or to scare you away from having a roommate. I know a ton of people who met their best friends in college and I wish that was true for me. Take the chance on a roommate! Even if it turns out bad then at least you tried and had the experience of living with a roommate

If you are about to start your freshman year I really urge you to take a chance and say yes to new opportunities. You honestly never know when something great will happen and it’s better to put yourself out there then regret not doing anything.

If you are in a bad situation make sure you ask for help. I wish P and I could have resolved our issues but she really didn’t want anything to do with me and that’s okay. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s a life lesson that I needed to learn. It’s not okay to treat someone the way she treated me and I’m usually not a quitter. But in this case, I needed to remove myself from the situation in order to feel safe.

Just remember that you never know what someone else is going through. I try not to think too negatively about P because I have no idea what was going on in her life at the time. It was still no excuse to treat me the way that she did but I still wish her the best.

Let me know what your roommate experiences were like!

Thanks for reading!

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My Migraine Story

 

Chronic Migraines, Chronic Headaches, My Migraine Story, Migraine Treatments

Hey, hey.

It’s me, back with one of the most personal posts I have ever shared on the internet.

It’s no secret that I have been living with daily headaches and chronic migraines. I have often shared my struggles with balancing life and work with the constant pain. I still don’t have any answers and I may never receive them but I thought I’d share my story because I know that I am not the only one struggling.

I can remember having headaches as a pre-teen but they never lasted that long. My junior year in high school was when my headaches started to become a routine problem but I was able to take an ibprofen and be fine to go about my day.

My mom, sister, and I got into a car accident that same year. My head went through the passenger side window and I still can’t remember the accident. I have a brief memory of waking up in the ambulance but I mostly just remember waking up at the hospital.

After the car accident, I continued to have headaches but they started to get a little stronger. I also started to get migraines that made me sick to my stomach. Senior year was when they became an almost constant problem. My eyesight started getting blurry and it was painful to wake up in the morning. My brain felt like it was pressing up against my skull at all times.

College was when I started to see a neurologist. My headaches had become constant and I was getting migraines a couple of times per month. I was living in the noisy dorms and trying to balance 5 classes, a part-time job, and a minimal social life. It was not how I imagined college to be. For the first time, I was prescribed something for the pain. We discovered early on that I have a bad reaction to most of the commonly used medicines for headache pain. My stomach could not seem to handle it.

I went to London and hoped for the best. My headaches followed me and I spent more time then I want to admit in bed with the blankets covering my eyes. I had to say no to experiences with my friends and missed many of our lunch time adventures. I vowed to make a change when I got home. I didn’t want to keep missing out on things due to my headaches.

Not much changed when I got home and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where my headaches started to rule over me. I needed to take ibprofen three times a day in order to function. My head hurt the worst in the morning when I first woke up and at night when I was trying to sleep. The pain would wake me up from a deep sleep. I started to become dependent on ibprofen because it was the only thing that made me feel normal, if only for a few hours.

Now I understand that my constant intake of ibprofen actually began to cause rebound headaches. My body became dependent on it and it made my headaches even worse. I actually felt like I couldn’t function without it. But what was I to do? I was a full time student and almost full time employee at a job where I couldn’t just call off work if I didn’t feel well. It was a never ending cycle.

I graduated in April 2016 and began looking for a full time job in my field. I spent a lot of time in bed in between working and applying for jobs. I was exhausted and didn’t take care of myself. I stopped taking the preventative medicine that my doctor had given to me because it wasn’t working and I felt hopeless.

Fast forward to me accepting my current position and being thrown into a field that I I knew very little about. I thought that college had prepared me for a corporate job but I was very wrong and very out of my element. I was depressed and sick. I started seeing my neurologist again and we discussed the lifestyle changes that I would need to make in order to start feeling better.

It’s been a year and a half and very little progress has been made. I have a headache every single day and am almost constantly nauseous. I struggled a lot in the beginning of my career because the pain made me feel really self conscious and I didn’t want my new co-workers to know my problems. But now they know and understand that sometimes I need to sit in my corner quietly and just work. I try to miss as few days as possible at work but my boss is very understanding if I need to take a break.

So, that’s where I am at. Many years and no answers. I should mention that my mom and grandma both have these headaches so the doctors know that it is genetic. I am also consulting a neurologist when taking medications. It is very important to speak to a medical professional when taking any sort of medication.

I am trying to stay hopeful that my neurologist will find something to help me. At my last visit we discussed trying physical and massage therapy.  I start physical therapy this week and am super hopeful that it will help! And now you know that if I ever go a long time without blogging it is most likely due to having a bad headache week.

Let me know if you have any recommendations! I might write a post on all my tips and tricks for dealing with headaches or migraines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

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An Honest Life Update

Anxiety, goodnight
Hello, hello

I can’t sleep so I thought I’d hop on the blog and talk about what’s keeping me awake.

For starters, Brett is off on a boy’s trip to Oregon with his friends and it’s storming in Michigan. He’s tracking the weather from his trip but I’m still missing his constant stream of commentary every time it thunders. I’m having a really hard time sleeping without him even though I am enjoying having all the blankets to myself.

I’m also having some extreme anxiety about work. We are very understaffed at work which has lead me to working many long hours. I am fine putting in a lot of work because I know I am making an impact on our client’s lives but lately I cannot seem to catch up. The work keeps on piling up and even though I am working at a crazy fast pace I still can’t get everything done.

I am a perfectionist which is why I am good at my job. I like to take my time and make sure that everything is correct which is hard to do when I am cramming so many tasks into each day. I keep getting angry at myself that I can’t get more work done. I am physically and mentally exhausted by the time I walk to my car at the end of the day.

Today I also found out that I made a huge mistake back in July of 2017. Everyone keeps telling me that it’ll be okay but the problem is that I can’t even remember making the mistake. I’ve been so busy, angry, and frustrated that I haven’t had the time to dwell on anything.

So now I’m sitting in bed thinking about work and wishing that I had brought home my work laptop so I could get a jumpstart on my to-do list for tomorrow.

Does anyone know the definition of work-life balance? Because clearly I do not.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will be better. I want to point out that I do love my job. It’s just busy season and I am still covering a maternity leave. It will get better. I will survive. My team is amazing and I am grateful for this job.

Wish me luck as I try to get some sleep tonight.

Goodnight, my friends! Let me know if you have any tips for falling asleep or anxiety.

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

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Friday Introductions

 

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Hey friends!

Since I re-launched my blog in late 2017 after taking a year long break I figured now would be a great time to introduce myself to my new and old followers.

For starters, my name is Hayley, hence Life of Hayley. If I had to categorize my blog I would say that it is a “Lifestyle Blog”. I love to share my favorite products, books, travel, and most recently, wedding planning. Not only do I love blogging, but I also love reading other people’s blogs. I am also looking for new bloggers to follow!

I began this blog in November 2013 right when I was turning 20 as a way to document all of the things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. It’s been four years and I am so proud with how far I have come! I will be 25 next fall and I feel more than ready. I have accomplished far more than I ever thought possible and am in love with the way my life is turning out.

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My biggest accomplishment was studying abroad in London in 2015. I was SO scared to move to London for a semester but it turned out to be the best decision. I made life-long friends and cherish the memories that I made along the way. London will always feel like home!

I graduated from college in April 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. I majored in Electronic Business Marketing and minored in General and International Business. After I graduated, I began looking for a full-time job in my field. I ended up accepting a position at a financial company in September 2016. I expected to like the job but never expected to fall in love with it! I love my company, my co-workers, and the work that I am doing every day. I really feel like I am making an impact on my community and our client’s lives.

Wedding Planning - Wedding Pictures

On August 19th, 2017 I married my boyfriend of six years, Brett. Our wedding day went by so quickly but it turned out better than we could have ever imagined! We got married at a Lake where I spent most of my summers growing up. We were surronded with all of our favorite people; our friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone who joined us had made an impact on our lives in some way. It was so special to start our married lives with all of the people who we love the most.

Brett and I went on a two week Honeymoon in London directly following the wedding. It was just like coming home. Brett proposed to me in London so the city holds a special place in both of our hearts.

Now I am just enjoying life with Brett and our cat, Lucy. We live in a cute little apartment and love spending time with our friends playing trivia or old PS2 games. I love tea, The Crown, Harry Potter, and reading. I’m an introvert who greatly values my alone time. I am also a Target addict and a wannabe interior designer.

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I hope you stay awhile!

 

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