Did I Achieve My 2017 New Years Resolutions?

At the beginning of each year, I like to set out some goals that I’d like to achieve. I think they call them New Years resolutions… At the start of this year, damn I must’ve been incredibly ambitious because I wrote a list of 52 things I want to achieve in 2017 (you can read it here).

So before I write a list of things I want to achieve in 2018 (I definitely won’t be setting a goal of 52!! What was I thinking?) I want to look back at the year that was and assess whether I met my goals or not, and how I can maybe check them off next year and what I need to do to turn these goals into actions.

  1. Play netball
  2. Do yoga – every week –  I need to bring yoga into 2018 for sure!
  3. Meditate – outside in fresh air for replenishment
  4. Get flexible – being flexible makes you sexible (Thanks Logan Paul)
  5. Don’t eat shit – steer clear of fried food, fast food and cakes (birthday cakes and pizza are allowed) (birthday pizza is allowed and also encouraged) – yes if home made pizza is acceptable
  6. Eat mostly vegetarian – buy and cook vegetarian, if you see something tasty on the menu like some chicken, treat yo self
  7. Compost
  8. Learn how to compost- fail
  9. Buy an awesome coffee mug and bring it everywhere (no more takeaway cups)
  10. Buy an awesome French Press coffee maker to put awesome coffee in my awesome coffee mug
  11. Make my lunch the night before
  12. Make an entire meal for my friends and family
  13. Learn how to cook an impressive meal. E.g bake a fish, lasagne, brownies, pad thai
  14. Go to a new country  – went to 4 (Thailand, Mexico, Belize and Guatemala)
  15. Learn Spanish – on the list for 2018 for sure!
  16. Visit Tasmania – points for a camper van, extra points for hitch hiking or bike riding – no but I did camper van explore around Western Australia so I’ll count this on. Tasmania I’m coming for you next year!
  17. Visit home more often – sorry mum. I’ll make that a goal for 2018
  18. Have coffee and cake with my Grandma & Grandad, Nan & Pop – 2018 is going to be very family oriented!
  19. Send letters
  20. FaceTime my friends overseas – yes but I need to do this more
  21. Experiment with video styles
  22. Make a video once a week
  23. Blog once a week – it hasn’t been once a week but between writing for Twenty Something Humans, making videos and doing uni work, I think I’ve been going pretty well.
  24. Make some money from said videos and blogs
  25. Graduate (with distinction) WOOOOOO
  26. Watch 12 sunrises (once a month)
  27. Learn to surf
  28. Try Bollywood/Pole Dancing
  29. Volunteer at uni
  30. Make a killer CV #employable
  31. Go on a roadtrip Hello Byron Bay
  32. Have lunch at the grounds of Alexandria
  33. Work hard at uni. HD’s come at me.
  34. Enquire about honours/masters (overseas)
  35. Go to careers central and plan my future career path
  36. Go to a trampoline park and learn how to do a back flip
  37. Read, read, read – bulk books have been read this year!
  38. Go in the City2Surf
  39. Work hard at work
  40. Practice my French by watching French films, French YouTubers and as part of the French Society – Salut French Major!
  41. Don’t buy things for the sake of it. How many more clothes do you really need?
  42. Complete the waste challenge
  43. Have at least 1 make up free day a week – Fuck make up! I’ve started going fresh face every where and my skin is loving it!
  44. Make people birthday gifts
  45. Make a vision board and decorate it with fairy lights – did the vision board (turned into being a vision wall) but no lights.
  46. Learn how to edit videos – I think I’m getting better but I’d love to upgrade from iMovie to Adobe or Premier Pro. 
  47. Make a snapchat filter
  48. Meet new people and put myself out there
  49. Go to a festival/concert I’ve been to so many gigs this year I wish I could cross this one out twice!
  50. Stress less
  51. Promote peace and understanding. Try not to be as critical of others and myself. Believe in myself, my values, decisions and choices. Don’t drink as much as I did in Montreal (sorry liver). Look for the joy in life. Be accepting of others.
  52. Be FIERCEYAS QUEEN!

I guess the thing to take away from this is that it’s OK not to achieve all of the things you set out to do (especially if you set 52 goals!). New Years Resolutions are about setting a list of goals and dreaming big. About trying, failing and trying again. They act as a reminder to what you want, what you wanted and may even help reassess where you’re at. I may not have achieved all of my goals for 2017, but I’m pretty damn proud of what I have achieved!

Stay tuned for my 2018 goals! Coming soon….

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5 Reasons I’ve Started Keeping a Journal, Again

“[Journaling] is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time” – Mina Murray – Dracula 

Ever since I was in fourth grade, I’ve kept a journal. Now let me tell you, these fourth grade journal entries weren’t exactly sonnet worthy pieces of work. It usually went a little like ‘omg, my sister is soooooooo annoying,’that cool boy at school talked to me today!,‘ ‘my sister is my best friend,’ ‘ah, my sister is so weird.‘ (Sorry sis). On Christmas, I would always look forward to unwrapping a journal so I could welcome the new year with a fresh start. Keeping a journal is just something I’ve always done. At my parents house, I have a collection of about 10 old journals and that collection is one of my most prized possessions.

Last year though, I just stopped. It had been months since I’d written anything and I kept thinking, I’ll do it later, until I stopped writing altogether. I thought ‘ok, it’s just something I’ve grown out of’ and didnt’ think much of it. Then last month, as I was doing some shopping, I saw a journal at a store and thought about how much I used to love keeping a journal. There was no hesitation, I bought it and wrote in it that night.

I may not write in my journal every night, but I’ve started writing again, and it’s something I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed. I feel like we all need a little journal by our bed to write in. I’m sure the world would be a much better place if we did. So if you’re thinking about starting a journal or keep one yourself, here are my 5 reasons why I love keeping a journal and why I wish I never stopped.

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My journal for 2016. 

1. You can express your true feelings

One of my justifications for quitting my journal writing, was the fact that I planned on blogging more, and blogging more real experiences and emotions. And whilst I believe I’ve done this to some degree, there’s some things that you just don’t want the world to know. And no matter how close you are to your best friend and while you might tell them everything, sometimes it’s nice to have private thoughts that you keep to yourself. You can express your deepest anger or frustration, sadness or joy and the pages will soak it all up. It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to be sophisticated. It just need to come from you.

2. There’s no judgement

A journal is a friend. There’s no evil eye staring back at you as you write. Like I said, its pages will listen politely to you. Sometimes it’s just nice to express how you truly feel about something and knowing that you’re not going to be criticized or judged for it. It gives us the freedom to be ourselves and explore ourselves a bit more, which is a pretty exciting thing.

3. Disconnect from technology

Think about it… how often do you write with a pen and paper? Personally, I work in an office and spend 9-5 at a computer. When I take notes for uni… I do it on my laptop. And when I write/blog… again, on my laptop. The only things I usually write with a pen and paper is a shopping list or a reminded note on my hand. It’s so relaxing and unwinding to sit down with a journal, a pen and your thoughts and just write for ten or fifteen minutes before you go to bed. There’s no notifications to distract you, or likes to evaluate your work. Just put some calming music on in the background and let your words carry you away.

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Some cute little tips I’m trying to adopt. Source

4. Reflection

Let’s be honest, in our busy lives, how often do we get to take 15 minutes to ourselves and really reflect on what we’ve been doing, how we’ve been feeling and how we can improve ourselves? I believe the answer might be along the lines of ‘what, you get time to yourself?’ I really value my ‘me’ time and writing in my journal is a way I talk to myself and listen to myself at the same time. It’s like the quote above ‘whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.’  And I truly believe that by taking the time out to be alone with our thoughts, to take a moment to ourselves and reflect is a great way to move forward in a focused and re-energized way.

5. Future is looking bright

By writing down where we’ve been, naturally we’re prompted to write about where we’re going. By physically writing down our goals, our hopes, our dreams, we’re sharing it. And once you share it, it only encourages us to keep on going. Checking in with these goals and values every now and again, is a great way to ‘stay on track.’ And even if we veer off track, we might even create a new path, with new goals and new ideas. Our journals don’t dictate our path or tell us where to go, they simply show us that we have the potential to go wherever we can dream.

Do you keep a journal? Is it something you would like to do? Let me know in the comments below!

Have the attitude of an Exchange Student

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible exchange students throughout my time of living at university college. People from all over the world who have embarked on an epic adventure to study for six months or a year are lucky enough to spend their time in beautiful Wollongong. And whilst they’re from all over the world, from many different cultures, they all have one thing in common… an incredibly positive, spontaneous and adventurous outlook on life. And whilst I’m so grateful for the friendships I’ve made, I’ll always be grateful for showing me how to truly make the most of every opportunity. And here are some of the most admirable thing about Exchange Students.

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They’re spontaneous. If you ask an exchange student what the did on the weekend, don’t expect your stock standard ‘aw, not much,’ because chances are, they actually did something awesome. ‘I went to Melbourne… road tripped up the coast… went camping in the Blue Mountains… went skydiving…’ Exchange students are always doing the unexpected, saying yes and have their bags pakced just in time to get on the next train to, well, anywhere. Their answers will leave you reconsidering your saturday night Sex & the City marathon.

They’re productive and balanced. When they’re not jetsetting around the country, they’re busy doing everything else the physically have time for. Playing sports (and trying new ones), being involved with clubs, going out every second Wednesday night, going hiking, surfing, swimming, exploring… And then on top of that, they get all of their assignments done. It must be the all rounded balance that they have in their lives which keeps them motivated and lifted, and this is one of the biggest traits that I’m trying to adopt myself.

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They’re positive and optimistic. Maybe it’s because they’re free to reinvent themselves in a new country, but most exchange students tend not to dwell on the little problems that life throws at you. Instead, they’ll look at the bigger picture and think ‘hey, it’s not so bad, look at where I am, in a beautiful country with so many opportunities and I’m stressing out about a little essay.’ It’s such an beautiful outlook to have on life because it’s so easy to worry and worry and worry even more about all the little things. But instead, we should just take one big step back, take a deep breath and try to look on the bright side.

They’re ridiculously friendly. You say hello and introduce yourself and next minute, you’re talking about travelling and your favourite country/city/food. They’re all open minded because they’ve travelled across the world to study and here to make friends.

(One of the bonuses) You’ll have a lounge to crash on in the future. Think of all the people you know from all of those countries around the world and all of the lounges that are just waiting to be slept on. Plus you’ll have a local tourguide to show your around. It’s a win-win situation.

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They’re focused and driven. They’ve obviously got their shit together. They’ve organized a semester or two to study at another university (and as someone currently going through this process, it’s time consuming and difficult), plus accommodation, living expenses and travel plans to organise, as well as doing something which will positively contribute towards their degree and future… they’ve definitely got a bigger plan. It’s incredibly motivating because it’s something I also want to achieve and lucky for me, I have awesome people to show me how it’s done.

But the WORST thing about Exchange Students… Despite all these amazing qualities about all these incredible people, why do they love you then leave you?! You create an awesome friendship and even more awesome memories… and then they leave! So to all the wonderful exchange students out there, past present and future, if you could just fix one tiny little flaw for me, that’d be great… please don’t leave!

*Dedicated to all my incredible exchange friends here and across the world. Can’t wait to crash on your lounge some time soon.

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xxx A

10 Reasons to add YOGA to your weekly routine

Looking for a way to get a good work out, de-stress, relax and do something good for your mind and body? Then look no further than Yoga. I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it and my week just isn’t complete. So here are my top 10 reasons why you should start too!

(More or less because I can feel my face go red and I’m sure I’m pulling a funny face, I’ve never attempted to take a photo whilst doing yoga and I definitely don’t feel professional enough at it either, so I’ll use some professional photos that inspire me to get better and stronger. And also save myself the embarrassment).

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1. It’s a work out. Despite what you may think or know about yoga, you use muscles your didn’t know existed and you use them until you start shaking. It’s all about core strength, muscle development, awareness and flexibility.

2. And on that note, it does wonders for your flexibility. I’ve always been relatively flexibile due to my dance experience and it’s something I really want to maintain throughout my life. I don’t want to be middle aged and struggle to put my shoes on or other daily struggles associated with ageing. So keeping flexibile will not only keep you young but you’ll also be able to impress everyone with your ability to do the splits.

3. It’s good for your mind. Sometimes life gets stressful and your mind gets caught up on insignificant things. Relaxation is a big part of yoga and whilst you might think ‘how is relaxing a work out?’ you can’t expect to get the most from your body until you can get the most from your mind. You have to be kind to your brain up there. It works pretty damn hard day and night to keep you moving and the best you can be, so the least you can do is give it a bit of a break every now and again.

Flexibility is fabulous! Source
Flexibility is fabulous! Source

4. It gets you to the gym. If like me, your yoga class is held in a gym then you literally have no excuse not to go. If I’m feeling extra motivated, I try to do a 30-45 minute work out at the gym before my yoga class so I can work up a sweat, get some cardio in and then stretch it all out and keep the blood flowing. Then before you know it, you’ve spent nearly 2 hours at the gym and tah-dah…

5. Guys do it too. I was so pleasantly surprised to see just how many guys do yoga. And it’s even better when they’re young and attractive. Hello future husband.

6. No one else cares about how good or bad you are. Apart from the occasional eye contact with the hot guy across the room, no one else really gives a shit as to how you’re doing. The first time I went to yoga, I felt so intimidated, and thought thtat everyone would judge my ability. But fear not, everyone’s off in their own little bubble. There’s absolutely no judgement once you enter the yoga room.

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7. It’s important to take time for yourself. In today’s busy hustle and bustle it’s easy to just keep going and going and never taking a minute for yourself. At the end of the day, it’s important to look after yourself and rewarding you with an hour of loving and rewarding yourself (yep, I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true).

8. It keeps you in touch with your body. By activating the different muscles in your body and focusing on your breathing it creates more of a connection between your mind and body. Your body is with you for life and it’s important to look after it.

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9. It makes you appreciate all the little things. Because your mind has been refreshed, you tend to look at things from a new perspective, and it makes life that little bit more sweet.

10. It leaves you ready to conquer the world. Once the lights are switched back on and you go back out into the real world, you feel rejuvinated, re-energized and refocused. You’re calm and warm and just ready to get life happening!

So what are you waiting for? I can guarantee that after a yoga class, you’re going to feel like a new person with a fit new body.

You’re welcome!

xxx A

Smash Those Study Blues

This week is the beginning of Autumn session exams here at the University of Wollongong. Whether you have 1 or 5 exams, they’re never fun and never easy. Whilst I’m one of those lucky one’s who only have 1 exam, I still find myself stressing out, freaking out and passing out each night after hours of excrutiating study. But too much of these bad vibes can bring you down emotionally, mentally, physically and just all round suck. So here are my little tips and tricks to surviving exams and studying, to ensure you make the most of your valuable time and come out on top!

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Have a designated study space. I personally opt for going to the library because it’s quiet and there’s minimal distractions. Many times I’ve tried to study either in my room or out in the lounge room and I find that I’m continuously distracted by people and just try to do anything else but study. Having a specific place to get work done will help keep you motivated, productive and focused.

Eat a balanced diet. Whilst it’s easy to pick up a packet of M&M’s (I’m currently sharing a packet with my friend), don’t forget to include lot’s of fruits and vegetables. Eating nutricious food will provide you with the vitamins and minerals that are needed for your brain to funciton.

Oranges are my favourite study food
Oranges are my favourite study food

Get some fresh air. Sitting down at a computer for hours on end is not good for you. Every few hours, be sure to stretch your legs, go outside, get some sunshine and just do some movement. Excercise is also important throughout exams, even if it’s just going for a walk around the block or a quick bike ride, about half an hour of cardio is enough time to get the blood pumping and distract yourself from any concerns in life you may have.

On that note, positive procrastination is key! No one really expects you to spend 12 hours a day every day just studying. BORING!!! However, instead of watching seasons of How I Met Your Mother in one sitting, is probably not going to help keep your brain and heart active throughout a stressful period. So I like to engage in some positive procrastination, which is exactly what I’m doing now. I think about what else is important in my life after study, blogging, keeping fit, travel plans, seeing my friends… and I try to make time to fit them in to my schedule. Balance is the key to success. 

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Keep motivated. I know it’s difficult, but try and hold on to it, because motivation is what will kick you over the finish line. Keep your end goal in sight, seek inspiration and when in doubt refer to the Ryan Gosling image above.

The night before an exam. Get a good nights sleep! This is something I still haven’t mastered but it’s really important to ensure you wake up energised and motivated. If you’ve got an early exam, make sure you set an alarm (or two or three). Get prepared! Pull out everything you need for your exam, pens, pencils, erasers, student card, clear water bottle, clear pencil case and anything else you may need and put it in a neat pile in the middle of your room so you won’t forget anything. If like me, you have a case of ‘I have nothing to wear,’ then pre select clothes that you’ll feel comfortable in the night before. It just means that in the morning, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Have a healthy and hearty dinner and have a re read over your notes so they can circulate around your mind whilst you sleep.

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The day of your exam. Woo hoo! Exam day is here and you’re ready to smash it! Make sure you have breakfast! You need nutrients to keep your brain working! Have your coffee, have your orange juice, have whatever you normally have. Afterall, it’s just another day! Play some music that will get you pumped and feeling like you can and will do well! Get rid of all those negative thoughts and just breathe. Make sure you know where your exam is and you get there early to avoid unseen interruptions to your day. Once seated, just concentrate on what you need to do and do it.

After your exam. Make sure you take time to congratulate yourself. You’ve made it through another exam period! A common way to do this is at the uni bar.

Good luck to everyone with their exams! Do the best you can and remember to maintain some balance! OK, so I think this is enough procrastination from me for one day! Back to the books.

xxx A

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The Ultimate Study Playlist

Let’s face it, studying is less than enjoyabe, slightly boring and a drag. Whilst its necessary to chain yourself to your desk to force yourself to do those readings you should’ve done in week 3 to pass your exams, as lame as it sounds, you want to try and make studying as much of an enjoyable experience as possible. And the most important thing for me is having good but appropriate MUSIC! 

When I study, the type of music I listen to is very particular. I can’t have music which has too much beat because then I can’t stay still. I can’t have super catchy songs because then I want to sing along at the top of my lungs, and trust me, no one wants that. And I can’t have rnb playing because then I get stuck watching all the cool video clips. Instead, I opt for quite relaxing, etheral, chilled and inspiring music to keep me going through all of those study notes.

So here are some of the playlists I have on repeat when studying.

It would appear that Icelandic music is the key to successful study! What can I say, it’s a country that provides the goods!

Happy Studying!

All These Little Things

Some say that we should enjoy all the little things in life because one day we’ll look back and realise they were actually kinda a big deal. Well I’m not sure how this is going to shape or define the rest of my life, but it was definitely a nice little reminder of how important the beautiful moments in life are.

I was on the bus heading home from town when a family of three were sitting towards the front of the bus, the Mum, Dad and 2 years old boy. Because it was Sunday it was relatively quiet and I could easily over hear their conversation. An elderly lady sat in front of them when the little boy said an excited ‘HELLO!’

The little boy then began to tell the lady about how much he loves Finding Nemo and fishies. The lady was so engaged with what he had to say and began to quote some of the movie. The little boy then sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in a very quiet and extremely cute little voice. All of the people on the bus had a little grin on their faces.

It may not seem like much, but in a world where people seem to ignore others on the bus, too afraid to start a conversation or even make eye contact, it was beautifully refreshing to see a 2 year old break those boundaries.

Be kind and appreciate the beauty of the little things,

xxx A

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These Are A Few of My Favourite Things: APRIL

It’s that time of month again. Where I’m filled with hope and optimism that I’ll actually begin training for the City2Surf or stop spending so much money on ASOS. So as Summer is well and truly over and the cold dark nights get longer, it’s time to reflect on the awesome month that was April.

Going home for Easter

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Catching up with my housemates from London.

This was one of the absolute highlights of my year. You can read more about what we got up to and how special it is to have life long friendships which transcend space and time here.

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The Wombats new ablum: Glitterbug

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My centre for happiness

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Celebrating 21st’s and college friends

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Triple J – #1 Dads – Like a Version

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Because being environmentally responsible, aware and friendly is not only important but cool

And MAY you all have a lovely month

xxx A

A smile is a smile by any other name

It doesn’t take much to make me smile

Oh no, not much at all

For a smile should cross your lips as quickly and as easy as remembering the tune to your favourite song.

And a smile can stretch from ear to ear or perhaps just quiver above your chin.

Maybe you hide your teeth behind your lips to try and hold the excitement in,

But for me, my crocodile smile is always on show, creeping across the bridge of my nose so that my eyes squint and my cheeks ache.

 

It doesn’t take much to make me smile,

Oh no, not much at all

A simple hello, a fluffy white puppy, a blueberry muffin or a warm and sweet coffee.

A kiss on the cheek from the ones that I love, a hug, a handshake and sunshine above.

Painting your nails a bright, bold colour, getting to the train station one minute before departure, a text from your friend to say g’day, being woken up early on Christmas Day.

Finishing a book, cooking dinner, submitting an assignment, and getting a distinction.

When my favourite song plays on Triple J, when I arrive back home and look out over the Bay, going to sleep before midnight, and knowing that when I wake up… everything will be alright.

 

Sometimes I smile when I’m happy, even when I’m nervous or trying to be brave. Some days I don’t know if I can smile because the sunshine is gone and the clouds are grey.

But I now know a secret, something that will break a frown, when someone smiles at you, don’t look at the ground.

Look them in the eye and let that smile infect you, until you hear your favourite song ring through your mind and a smile sweeps across your face.

Then pass that smile on, you never know how much someone will need it.

xxx

A

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Looking Back to Move Forward

“The Media”

These two simplistic yet extravagant words, evoke diverse emotions and reactions within individuals across the world. The denotations of the media are relatively basic –the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, andmagazines, that reach or influence people widely.” However the connotations of the media are exponential. From political corruption, sexualisation of children, a mediated public sphere, mass communication, controversy, exploitation, heroes, the list goes on. 

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MEDIA – generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
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I always thought that my knowledge on the media was current and knowledgable. That is until the #BCM110 took over my spare time and I was exposed to the big wide work of the media. Extending far beyond celebrity hot gossip, sport highlights and natural disasters… it is the unheard stories on unheard mediums, addressing unheard concepts which captured my attention and heart.

Some of these new concepts were difficult to initially understand, helping me criticise, debate, comment and re-evaluate certain aspects of my knowledge. The concept of “Media Ownership” challenged the way I viewed everyday ‘news.’ Was I hearing biased, personal, edited stories from the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Gina Rineheart?  By figuring out the small network of people who own various aspects of the media, it allows myself and others to critically assess the validity and integrity of specific media platforms.

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Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg

The discussion of ‘corporate paedophilia’ regarding the sexualization of children in the media and moral panic, is a very controversial topic, one in which I am interested in investigating further. “Children’s general sexual and emotional development is affected by exposure to advertising and marketing that is saturated with sexualised images and themes,” (Rush and La Nauze, 2006) highlights the impending issues regarding such a sensitive topic and its importance to address it. We all treasure our childhood and children should be innocent and carefree as long as they can, before the pressures of growing up/adolescence/adulthood kick in. I don’t believe it’s a cause of ‘moral panic’ due to the long term effects it has on each individuals sexual and emotional development.

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Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg

Being a woman in today’s society, I am very passionate about equal opportunity for everyone on this earth and unfortunately, the media is blamed for its misrepresentation of women, which can limit these opportunities. It is a renowned fact that ‘sex sells’ and from a young age, we are told that beauty is a primary concern, other than intellect or personality. The media is both the solution and the problem and a path I would like to further develop is working towards positive representation of women in the media.

Throughout this journey of awareness, understanding and evaluating the media on a local and global context, I have learnt many things about the world and myself. It has reinforced my passion for exploring and learning about places, events, people and concepts which ultimately shape who we are.

References

Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze, Corporate Paedophilia, The Sexualisation of Children in Australia, http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP90.pdf, October 2006, accessed 9/04/14

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZkC_fNxmQk, 2011, accessed 9/04/14