Part one of two.
For the last 2.75 years, I have been taking part in something called the Day Zero Project, where I set myself 101 challenges to complete in 1001 days. This project came to a close in November 2012, and I completed 53 of the 101 challenges – could’ve been better, but then again I think that my values have changed since I first wrote that list, and some of the challenges were hopelessly overreaching (particularly the “travel” section)! Here is an assessment of the first half of the list.
Start Date: 21st February 2010
End Date: 18 November 2012
Tasks completed: 53/101
Tasks failed: 48/101
001. Create the list and post it online – completed.
002. Mention every finished goal in my blog - completed. The bigger challenges were given their own blog posts (e.g. 365 Ways To Change the World), whereas most were mentioned in passing in various blog posts.
003. Get a first in one essay – completed, 08.03.11. When I started the Day Zero Project, I had only ever had 2:1s in my essays – thankfully by the time I reached my third year, I managed to get quite a few firsts, which I was chuffed about.
004. Do necessary reading & preparation for all future seminars – failed, 25.02.10. Not much to say here – I suffered a lot with my depression during my second and third years, and doing seminar reading was often a struggle. A noble task to set myself, but ultimately overreaching.
005. Graduate with a BA (Hons) in Theology – completed, 13.07.11. Hurrah!
006. Make an appointment with the Centre for Career Development – completed, 13.03.10. The Centre for Career Development is an office on UoN campus where students can discuss their career options with career advisors. I went there twice, and found both visits incredibly depressing. When I first attended, I was thinking of going into journalism (how predictable!), and wanted some advice on what I could do while I was still at university that would pad out my CV and stand me in better stead for finding paid writing work after graduation. The advisor was kindly, but told me in no uncertain terms that journalism was a very competitive industry with a large number of applicants for only small amount of jobs, and that I would need to do a lot of unpaid internships before I would even be considered for an entry-level job in the industry. How depressing. Not only would I struggle with money if I wasn’t getting paid to work, but how could I compete with the ‘Impact‘ editors and the Comment Is Free writers when I had barely any work published? I gave up on that dream, reluctantly at first, but now the more I think about it, the more I realise that I’m just not good enough or passionate enough to really succeed in journalism. At my second visit to the Centre, I was now considering working in the third sector. This was just as unrealistic, she told me – most humanities graduates are interested in this field, and it’s become so competitive that you need an MA to be considered for any work in the third sector. Again, how could I compete with the MA students with experience as rep officers and exec officers, or who’d volunteered extensively at charities and refuges in the past (something I couldn’t afford to do – when I’m not at university, I have to do paid work, or I have no money)? Subsequent visits to career centres and job agencies in Wales have been just as fruitless. I’m currently trying to work out what I want to do with my life, but at least after a year of full-time work, money isn’t so much of a barrier anymore.
007. Write a better CV – completed, 01.04.10.
008. Get a decent job (not a career yet) – completed, 02.11.11. I currently work in NHS admin, and I’m pretty content there at the moment.
009. Visit a Scandinavian country
010. Visit America
011. Visit Stonehenge
012. Visit Disneyland Paris
013. Visit Canada
014. Go camping
015. Buy postcards from each place visited
Ok, so this whole section was a complete pile of fail. With retrospect, choosing 4 different countries to visit in only 2.75 years was hugely overambitious, especially considering how broke I was throughout my degree. I am disappointed that I didn’t go camping though. Maybe this year!
016. Leave an inspirational note in a book for someone else to find – completed, 02.12.10. Blogged.
017. Get involved in a Women’s Network campaign – failed. The Women’s Network ended up not running any campaigns during my time there, which is such a shame.
019. Do the London Moonwalk – failed.
020. Do a Race for Life – failed. I feel guilty about not doing these fundraisers. I hope to do them at some point in the near future though.
021. Give blood at least twice a year – failed. I struggled with lethargy so much at uni that I didn’t want to give blood in case it made me feel worse. That’s kind of a shitty excuse though. I’ll make an effort to donate blood in the next month or so.
022. Buy a Big Issue – failed. I feel guilty about this one too; I should probably make an effort to buy more than one every 3 years.
023. Give 50p to charity for every goal I don’t achieve at the end of the 1001 Days - completed. My total was £24; I donated the money to the Swansea Women’s Centre, a local women’s charity/refuge.
024. Go to five different museums/galleries – failed. I visited The National Gallery in London a few times on my numerous visits to London, and I visited the Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, but nowhere else. I don’t make enough time for museums and galleries.
025. Learn how to use Photoshop properly - completed, 01.09.10. I’m so pleased that I completed this challenge, because my Photoshop skills have been so useful in creating posters/publicity for both the Women’s Network and the Swansea Feminist Network.
026. Learn how to speak basic French – failed. I took a part-time French class in September, but ended up getting a job soon after that meant I was unable to attend the classes anymore. This has been an ambition of mine since I was about 12, and I intend to complete it eventually!
027. Read the entire Bible – failed. TL; DR. What a shit theologian I was.
028. Learn enough about feminism to discuss it confidently with my mum – failed. This was my poor attempt at making a difficult challenge (be more knowledgeable about feminism) more achievable by framing it as a concrete goal. I don’t think I’ll ever be confident enough about anything to discuss it with my mum, a lovely lady but notoriously argumentative and contrary!
029. Keep in touch with grandparents when at university – completed.
030. Write to 5 zinesters whose zines inspire me – completed.
031. Make an effort in society socials in the future – completed. So as you probably know, I struggled to make friends at university. For a while, I thought it was because I hadn’t tried hard enough, or because I wasn’t interesting/fun/exciting enough to be worth spending time with. So I set myself this challenge, and hoped that things would improve. I tried really hard for the rest of my degree to attend socials, even though I always had to go alone. This was documented extensively in HIMH #10, so I won’t relay the story here – in short, it was difficult, and I didn’t end up making any friends, apart from at the Women’s Network (but at least I can say I tried). Having spoken to some graduates since, I realised that I had actually made a remarkable effort to overcome my shyness/anxiety by attending these socials alone – I was told that most people didn’t bother with socials after the first month or so, and tended to stay in a clique with their housemates or course friends. So I try to feel quite proud of myself for the effort I made, even if it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.
032. Keep in regular contact with current friends – failed. Not much to say here. Some friendships I desperately tried to maintain but the other party didn’t seem interested (or perhaps was too busy?), and some fell away quite naturally.
033. Make an item of clothing – failed. When I first started the Day Zero Project, I wanted to learn how to knit and sew and alter clothes, and be more self-sufficient. This became less and less of a priority/goal in my life as time went on, and I’m ok with that. Maybe when I’m older I’ll want to give it a go again.
034. Learn how to knit – failed. See above.
035. Grow flowers in my garden – completed, 21.03.10. Blogged. Alas, I am not green-fingered, and they died soon after. At least I tried. I’m not as much of an earth mother as I’d like to be; if society collapses and we’re forced to live off the land again, I’m fucked.
036. Make 2 zines a year – completed. Check out the ‘zines’ tag on my blog to find out details of all the zines published in the last 2.75 years!
037. Make and send a secret to PostSecret – completed, 04.06.11. And it was published on the main PostSecret website a few weeks later! :)
038. Make an altered book – failed. Despite my best intentions, I just didn’t make time for this.
039. Practice bass at least 4 times a week – failed, 21.03.10. I was always too scared to practice when there were other people in the house in case they heard me I’m over this now, thankfully!
040. Practice piano at least 4 times a week – failed, 25.03.10. See above.
041. Sing whenever the house is empty – failed, winter 2010. See above.
042. Write at least ten new (decent) songs – failed. Not sure if I should be disappointed with this or not. Ten songs in 2.75 years isn’t ridiculously over-reaching, but then again, I have tens and tens of songs written since I released my EP, so why should I worry about adding to that pile when I’m happy with what I’ve got?
043. Record a new EP or album once a year – failed. Waaaaay too ambitious – I’ve actually only ended up recording 1 EP ever!
044. Play a gig - completed, 07.12.10. Blogged.
045. Make a university scrapbook – completed. I love collecting ephemera, and uni provided a wealth of it for scrapbooking!
046. Print off all my online journals and file them - completed, 10.06.11. Because I would hate to lose them in the ether of the interwebs, even if they are mostly just angsty LJ entries.047. Buy an external hard drive to store all my music on – completed, 27.09.10.
048. Start my “ideal home” scrapbook – completed, 16.08.10. I got this idea from a novel. If I ever see photos of rooms or things for the house that I like, I cut them out and keep them in a scrapbook so I won’t be short on inspiration when I come to moving into my own place!
049. Organise diaries/notebooks and put them away in a box – completed, 10.06.11.
Part 2 to follow soon!