10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Teen: Advice

My First YouTube Advice Video: (let me know what you think in the comments)

I can’t believe I have officially been an ‘adult’ for five-and-a-half years. Time has absolutely flown. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t achieved anything, because I certainly have, but thinking back to high-school… back to friendship troubles, puberty, pushy boys and peer pressure, I don’t exactly ‘miss’ it. But, I am grateful I came out relatively unscathed. Age 13-19 is a pretty tumultuous time in a young person’s life, particularly for girls. There are a number things that I know only NOW that any teenager would do well to understand. So take it from a happy-go-lucky, hard working, independent 23 year old…

The 10 things I wish I knew as a teenager:

  1. Your ATAR is pretty damn insignificant (In Western Australia, your ATAR is the grade you get when you graduate high-school). Firstly, unless you want to be a doctor, scientist, lawyer or engineer you don’t even really need a high grade, and even THEN, there are bridging courses, TAFE courses and many other pathways you can take to reach your goals. If you want something bad enough, you can have it, regardless!
  2. Parents are actually awesome! Now I’m sure a lot of you are culprits of shouting and snapping at your parents. Those days where your emotions are so high, and every little thing is tugging on your final straw. Hey, I’m embarrassed to say I screamed “I hate you!” to my Mum on a number of occasions as a teenager – totally unacceptable. But your parents believe it or not are actually pretty cool, they will always be on your team, always defend you and will be side-of-court at all times as your biggest cheerleaders .
  3. Everyone is insecure as you are. You’re not the only one going through puberty. You’re not the only one with hair under your arms, pimples on your face or a uterus that feels like its about to implode. You’re a teenager! Bodies are changing. Everyone will get boobs, bums and hips, maybe a little bigger, smaller and at different times, but you’ll all get there! Everything is normal and everything is going to be fine. It’s ok to be nervous about or a little bashful of your new body, but just know you’re not alone and you’re bloody beautiful!
  4. You don’t owe boys ANYTHING. Hear that? NOTHING! Boys will tell you you’re ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ and unfortunately you might even find out one said you’re ‘ugly’ (disgusting I know, but it happens). Boys will try and pressure you into sexual things… YOUR job, is to completely ignore them.  YOUR job is to see yourself as so high-value, so incredible that you don’t need to rely on anyone’s comments to tell you what you are and what you are not. (Check out this post I wrote to help you with this one)
  5. Nothing lasts forever – in fact it usually lasts just a few days! All those fights and disagreements, those days where nobody will talk to you or your ‘best friend’ is hanging with other girls, they don’t last! High-school fights often seem more explosive and brutal because everyone involved is forced into close-contact with each-other every single day. You can’t escape the person who you wish would just disappear for 24 hours. This being said, the close proximity will often mean that fights need to be resolved/confronted much faster and so are often short-lived. Regardless, time heals everything and everyone’s human, so more likely than not that the instigator will realise the error of their ways pretty damn fast. 
  6. You will most likely lose the majority (if not all) of your high school friends – After you leave school you go from being forced to seeing all your 100+ school-mates on a daily basis, to literally never seeing anyone unless it is actively organised between you. This inevitably means, you won’t stay in contact with everyone. In the first couple of years out of school you may still see many of your school-mates but now being six-years-out, I have a very new group of friends and stay in close-contact with around 5 of my school friends. This isn’t to say I dislike my school friends and neither will you, it just means priorities change and a time-poor work-orientated lifestyle forces you to pick-and-choose your social interactions. So focus your time and efforts on the friends you see a seriously long-term and don’t worry too much about trying to be friends with everyone. Quality over quantity.
  7. Have a hobby! Anything! Journalling, scrapbooking, walking, photography, even reading. Just pick something productive that you can focus your brain on in your spare time so your life doesn’t revolve around social media, drinking or getting caught up in gossip and boys. 
  8. You don’t have to do things just because your friends do – Peer pressure is something that I can say I definitely gave into a lot in my teenager years. There were many dangerous and frankly stupid situations I look back on that could have been avoided if i’d have just had the guts to say ‘no’ Any friend that deserts you just because you won’t do exactly what they’re doing, is not a real friend to you. 
  9. Everything that happens to you in life is setting you up to something bigger –This one I can’t claim as my own, as I learned it from the ever-wisdom-filled Oprah Winfrey. This lesson doesn’t just apply to your teenage years, but I definitely wish I knew it back then. Every mistake, argument, wrong turn, fight just any little thing, is just setting you up for something else, that will make sense in time. Honest mistakes will only ever make you become stronger, wiser and more interesting.
  10. The best is yet to come – When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything about life,  that I had experienced everything, and I understood how life ‘worked’. As I get older, each and every year I feel more happy sexy and confident in myself. If you’re having a tough time, Your 20s rock!

How To: Make the most of your day off

In celebration of my new YouTube Channel and my new Nikon Coolpix A900 I vlogged my entire Sunday and have JUST finished editing and uploading: Take a look!

Today was the first day I found myself completely free of work in about two weeks! Instead of lazing around on the couch, snuggling up in bed or even doing chores, I decided to wholly utilise every second of the day in a really positive way! I figured, my chores are better off done on days when I’m grumpy, tired and overworked (why not be exponentially p**sed-off right?) So I harnessed all the positive energy of my freedom time and made the most of every single minute!

6 Ways: To make the most of your day off:

  1. Walk around a local lake or beside the coast – Picturesque walks are just phenomenal (providing the weather is ok). Seriously, you get all the endorphins without the excessive sweating and heart palpitations of running (or is that just me haha!)
  2. See a friend – Give that buddy a call that you haven’t seen in ages – see if she’s free. It really is the perfect time to see friends. You have nowhere you need to be, no external stresses and nothing on your mind. You can just enjoy one another’s company to the fullest actually being able to tune in to every word (without half thinking about the fact that you need to pickup your dry-cleaning, buy toilet paper and hang the washing out all before work at 4pm)
  3. Eat out – Go on! Don’t be a tight-ass! Spend a little money and enjoy a meal that you really love and will actually have time to sit and enjoy! I think this is why I’ve never really understood the draw of McDonalds as a ‘quick-fix’ – why would you eat oily, salt-ridden fatty food as a quick meal? What a waste of calories.
  4. Lay in a Park – Just lay down on the grass, feel the sun warm you up, forcing you to squint your eyes; take your shoes off and feel the grass between your toes (I guess again, providing the weather is okay). Now I’m no naturist, and in all honesty, don’t even really like the outdoors, but doing this really does make you feel so alive.
  5. Bake Something- Now this one certainly doesn’t depend on the weather. Rain, hail or shine, you can always bake. I love baking, its so therapeutic to me. The process of following recipes, getting creative with flavours, decoration and photography really excites me (and as long as it’s gluten free the family isn’t complaining!). Get off your iPad, shut down your Netflix and pre-heat that oven, everyone wins!
  6. See your family – Depending on your relationship with your family members this one may or may not appeal to you. I however am very close with my parents and revel in the days that I can just drive over to my Mum’s and just mess around with my younger sister or talk to my Mum about boys, work and reality TV. It really is something I’m going to dearly miss when I move to Sydney in July (hopefully not forever!)

 

 

 

New Camera – YouTube Channel!

So on the premise of moving interstate in less than a month, I over-indulged (as usual) and bought myself a Nikon A900 camera for $579. It would be rude not to really, after my friend Hannah sheepishly asked the shop assistant for a deal and they threw in a 64GB memory card for $3! It’s an all black point-and-shoot from JB-HI-FI in Osborne Park, has a flip-up ‘selfie’ screen and can shoot in 4-K. Safe to say it’s much too fancy for a novice, but I have fallen deeply in love with it! Despite seemingly being an impulse buy, I really have been thinking about it for almost a year. Besides, the level of post-purchase euphoria I had only re-enforced that I’d made the right decision!

ZPR-nikon-a900-LCDflip-600px.jpg

The primary reason for my extortionate purchase is my long-held desire to start a YouTube channel. I love the connection YouTubers are able to make with such large audiences through their personality, opinions, editing skills and style. I also thought the timing was perfect as my imminent move to Sydney is a great reason to start a channel. I think my parents, family and friends would love to see and hear what I’ve been getting up to and the general day-to-day thoughts, activities and ‘goings-on’ in my life. There are so many new experiences that lay ahead of me, as well as an abundance of spare-time after graduating university (go me!).

As mentioned in my About Me, I really am just an over-sharer. I love to share my thoughts, experiences and advice with others in a fun and non-judgemental way, and think ‘vlogging’ is such a creative and personal way to do it! I think like many other people who have decided to start a channel, there are always reservations. Those niggling feelings of judgement or scrutiny that come with unforgivingly opening yourself up to the opinions of people worldwide. That’s the cool thing about getting older though, you just don’t care as much!

I definitely have a lot to learn about YouTube but I really just love shooting, editing and thinking up fun ideas about what to film and different things I can talk about! Subscribe to my channel if you’re on YouTube!

My First Video!

My Second Video!

Hot girls like beer.

Apparently it’s ‘hot’ for girls to drink beer.

How is it exactly that drinking this typically male-consumed yeasty yellow beverage suddenly increases my attractiveness? Is it that it makes you ‘one of the boys?’ does it mean you’re ‘chilled out?’ or maybe its that you ‘don’t give a sh*t’ what people think? Whatever it is, I clearly am none of them.

I just don’t like beer. I’ve tried, I swear I’ve tried! Pale ale, IPA, lager, Kolsch. I’ll admit I’ve never tried Guinness, but something tells me if I hate the more ‘normal’ breeds as much as I do, Guinness isn’t exactly going to suddenly turn me.

As much as everyone would like to claim they loved beer from the serendipitous moment it touched their lips, I beg to differ. Coming from a self confessed caffeine junkie who used to carry around take-away cups full of ‘Gloria Jeans’ Coffee, taking millililitre sips out of them until I chucked them out. I’m well-practised in forcing yourself to like something. But with beer I just can’t do it! “What don’t you like about it?” people often ask me. Is it the hops? The malt? The bitterness? Beer encompasses a huge number of styles that makes it kinda premature to write off completely, but I have.

Other than avoiding the infamous ‘beer belly’ there are not many benefits of disliking this fermented-yeast beverage.

  1. You can’t enjoy the ‘Parmy* and a Pint’ deals. When my friend asked me if I wanted to go and get the ‘Parmy and Pint’ deal for $20 at the local pub I responded ‘Yes of course! Sounds awesome’ later finding out I wouldn’t actually get to enjoy the deal as supposedly I couldn’t swap out for the ‘house white’ wine.
  2. You can’t readily participate in beer pong, potentially the most fun game to play at a pre-drinks. If you do you are either inevitably asked one-or-more of the five quotes above, OR get sloshed halfway through the game.
  3. You end up drinking more than those around you as you drink the same volume of liquids in a form that is close to 10% more potent.
  4. You look like a complete idiot at a German Beer Hall in Munich when you can’t even manage to finish a stein of bloody ‘Shandy’ (a mixture of beer and lemonade) so you cave and order two glasses of white wine.

Despite these setbacks, I am quite lucky as a girl, as we often get away with this blasphemous behaviour a little more than the Aussie ‘bloke’. The worth of an Aussie man is in direct correlation to his love for beer. The Aussie male is expected to live and breathe the ‘frothie’ and to worship ‘Emu Export’ as the nectar of the gods.

Lucky for girls “wanna go for a beer?” is not a common statement and drinking a glass of white on a Friday arvo is both expected and passable. That being said, saying no to beer is never an enjoyable moment…

5 Things people say when you don’t like beer:

“You’re insane, beer is delicious!”

“You’re just drinking it wrong”

“But there’s nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day!”

“Just try it! Go on, take a sip!”

“Try (insert beer name here) you’ll like that one!”

No thank you kind stranger, I probably will not like ‘that one.’

If drinking beer makes me ‘hot’, I am potentially the most hideous individual to ever live… and I’m ok with that.

*Chicken Parmigiana

The Romance Book that Changed My Life

10 Things I learned about self-love, dating and relationships from:

Textbook Romance – Zoe Foster Blake

This book is phenomenal, it is my bible. It is the only book I’ve ever purchased on ‘iBooks’ and very-likely always will be. Textbook Romance is the perfect blend of tell-it-like-it-is realist advice and comedic genius (and the little side-notes from husband and LEGEND Hamish Blake really lighten the mood). A Textbook. Way to simplify your love-life, right!? Every time I feel myself getting caught up on trivial things, or feeling a little low, unattractive or ‘fat’ (you feel me girls) I just refer back to the pages of my little pink book and somehow I land with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

In no specific order, and 100% off the top of my head…

These are the 10 major lessons I learned from Textbook Romance and practise every. single. day. 

  1.  You are a $2000 handbag – exclusive, rare and ever-so-beautiful – you do not belong to any old riff-raff and should be treated with care.
  2. Be an Apricot, not an Oyster – Potentially my favourite analogy I’ve ever come across in my 23 years on earth. Be an apricot, soft, sweet and amazing on the outside, but inside you are strong, hard and cannot be broken. This is not to say you are to be nasty, it just means have strong morals, that you 100% stick to, and don’t put up with crap. The guy you like will only ever see the apricot, but your strong interior will always protect you from being walked over or mistreated. Conversely you could be an oyster. You have a large barrier up around you, you’re so self-protected that you will never let any guy see that inside you are a beautiful prize… or in this case a rare and expensive pearl! This is easily the best chapter of the entire book – I have not really done it justice here so please read it!
  3. Never, ever, ever make the first move – sure it may work initially, or maybe even for a few years but you’ll always have that niggling feeling in the back of your mind that he didn’t ‘want’ you first.
  4. Men are like animals – think about the animal kingdom, when the lion chases it’s prey. Men love to ‘win,’ its an innate quality they all share. Let them ‘conquer’ you, (and no I don’t mean sexually) hold out a little for that first date, don’t text back straight away, and don’t answer every phone call – after all where’s the fun in that?!.
  5. If you want this to be anything more than sex, if he asks you out on the day, say no, you’re busy – even if you’re not.
  6. What he says, is exactly what he means. – STOP wasting your time analysing his messages. Those two ‘Y’ he put in ‘Heyy’ … sorry to break it to you but he probably just leant on the keyboard.
  7. Never ever cancel your other plans for a date – I know your might be so desperate to go on that date with the boy you’ve been pining over for weeks. I KNOW you’ve been waiting for this ‘all your life’ but trust me, just don’t do it. Why? Because no boy will ever cancel plans with their friends for you. It’s nothing to do with you. It’s just too hard for them. In a boys mental planner there is a big black spot where he is already busy, and nothing, not even your sweet beautiful smile is going to encourage him to go to all the effort to reschedule his plans for you.
  8. If in your head you say ‘He’d be perfect… if he didn’t…’ then forget it, right now. – He’s not going to change. I know I know “but people change!” you say. They don’t, not really anyway. But go on, risk it. Tell me how you go.
  9. It takes 13 seconds to reply to a text – Stop making up excuses for him, and stop listening to his bullshit ones. If he wanted to reply, if he really cared about getting back to you, he would. Don’t take that “sorry i’ve been at work” bullshit, and CERTAINLY don’t take that “sorry I thought I replied” crap. THIR-TEEN-SEC-ONDS, remember it.
  10. Beware of the self-startler – The self-startler is that guy who, seems so perfect. He is everything you ever wanted, straight away, and you didn’t even have to reign him in!? These are a dangerous breed. They will shower you with compliments and gifts and seem to never have too much of you. But trust me pretty soon, he’ll be gone.

So thankyou Zoe Foster Blake, for making romance, like a recipe.

10: Habits I Envy In People

Don’t fear, this is not a self deprecating post about “ooh I wish I was as pretty as her… or as skinny… or had as nice skin, hair teeth or nails (okay maybe a little about nails).” But no, this is a post about those tiny things I see ingrained into a select-few people’s day-to-day life. Those things that… maybe if someone were to offer me a million dollars I probably could change. But the thing is that… seeing as that will never happen… I probably will stay exactly the same.

So here it is: 10 habits people have that I envy (and some trivial yet frustrated opinions)

  1. People who untie and retie their shoelaces every time they take their shoes on and off – Seriously how do you have the time and patience to pick the knots, loosen the shoes and tie a nice bow, I’m lucky if I even manage to successfully my heel into the back of them.
  2. People who clean their make-up brushes regularly – and keep them in those little elastic brush-holder bags in perfect order.
  3. People who can finish eating a delicious meal when they feel they are ‘full’ – it’s just wasteful though really…
  4. People who have a skin-care routine every night before they go to bed.
  5. People who file and buff their nails – particularly those who have a nail ‘kit’
  6. People who make their bed every day – some people say this one comes with age… I’m not so sure.
  7. People who always wear matching socks – (so they are not mortified when, on work experience at the WA Supreme Court they are asked to remove their heels to walk through the metal detector, and are caught-out by several on-looking professional journalists, wearing one black sockette and one thick white Nike sock.)
  8. People who re-hang their clothes while shopping, after trying them on in the change-rooms – Sorry retail workers, I may just be your arch-nemesis.
  9. People who moisturise their entire body regularly – particularly those who use an assortment of beautiful scented body butters… oh let me be you please.
  10. People who can keep hold of all the hair-ties (or bobby-pins) that came in the pack of 100.

 

Aspiring Journalists: The importance of confidence, dedication and forgiving yourself.

By Jenna Thomas, 7th June, 2017

Mexican food is delicious – but it wasn’t going to help me get a job as a journalist. Unbelievably (on reflection) I rolled burritos at Zambrero Mexican Restaurant for three-and-a-half years before realising something needed to change. I was a second-year journalism student who really only knew how to make guacamole and tomato salsa. My confidence was not exactly sky-high – but I knew where my strengths lay. I knew that I had the rare and envied ability to strike up conversation with literally anyone and my writing-skills were not half bad. It was from that realisation that my real journey began. It’s a common known fact that nothing worth having comes easy, but in the past three years, it’s never been so true. Being an aspiring broadcast journalist is like driving on a highway, knowing your destination, but having only vague directions on how to actually reach it. Every which way you turn there’s speed-bumps, stop-signs and that big red one shouting at you, ‘Wrong way go back.’ In an industry where judgement and criticism follows you like a shadow, thick skin is a pre-requisite.

New beginnings:

As a young, maroon-clad St Mary’s Girl on the way to school each morning, I used to giggle along to the voices of Nova’s Nathan and Nat and Shaun, as they blast through the car stereo. Never for a second did I think I could one day be working along-side them; giggling with them face-to-face at 4:45am or exchanging words over a glass-or-three of wine at a staff function. But here I am. When I decided to apply for a job at Nova, it seemed a pipe-dream. After-all I really only had experience in customer service, tortillas and cash registers. Then again what did I have to lose? I didn’t have experience in radio nor did I know what the job entailed but I found a company I wanted to be part of and a brand I connected to. After two interviews and a on-the-road trial, I landed a low-ranked but well-loved role in the station’s ‘street’ team know as The Casanovas. It was the best decision I have made to date. I learned to never hold-off from applying for role just because it hasn’t been advertised, because the best ones never will be.

Being thrown in the deep end:

I would love to say that my innate confidence and bubbly nature has always translated well on air, but that wouldn’t be true. The first time I read a live bulletin it conjured up more adrenaline than my first rollercoaster ride on the Royal Show’s Python Loop when I was 10. My hands violently shook. I told myself to calm down, it’s just community radio. But they trembled more. It was 5:56am, I switched the news panel to ‘on-air.’ I looked at the orange button illuminated below my fader, it was switched to ‘off.’ All I could think was when I switch the button ‘on,’ thousands of ears would be tuned in to my voice. 5:58. My news director sat behind me chatting away, “ham and cheese croissants are so much better toasted” he said. “Umm, yeh you’re so right,” I replied; It was honestly the last thing I cared about in that moment, and I wished he would just shut-up and let me concentrate. 5:59. One minute to go. ‘you’re going to be fine,’ he assured me. Oh well… nothing you can do now Jenna, I thought; just read. The news jingle started to play. I switched my microphone on. “It’s six o’clock good morning I’m Jenna Thomas.” It wasn’t a flawless read, nor was it very entertaining, but it was a milestone.

My worst nightmare:

The room was pitch black, the air was still, invisible sound waves were softly stimulated by the gentle inhale and exhale of my breath. Suddenly, a piercing, electronic trill shattered the silence. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. I looked at the time on my bedside clock. 6:33am. That must be a mista- oh wait. No, please no. I opened my laptop. 6:33. Oh no. I checked my phone. 6:33am. Two missed calls and as many text messages, “Where are you?” said one, followed by, “Are you coming?” I leapt from my bed, as if it were a searing hotplate. As I ran to the bathroom I muttered curse words under my breath, soft enough to not wake my housemate. A tear rolled down my cheek. My heart raced and my head was foggy as I played out every possible situation in my head. Will I lose this position? Will everyone ignore me all morning? I didn’t want to go, I couldn’t face them. I smeared on some foundation while quickly throwing on a wrap-dress and boots and then forced my jelly-legs to walk me to my car. Once I made it through the door of the newsroom, my boss softly muttered, “Don’t worry, it happens to everyone once, just don’t do it again.”

Pushing feelings aside:

I sat there, watching and documenting the fate of a man who would soon find out he’d spend the rest of his life in prison. “The trial of Aaron Raymond Craig,” said the magistrate. We sat in the first-of-two media rows inside the WA Supreme Court, at the sentencing of a man on trial for committing a brutal and pre-meditated murder. It was my first day of Industry Placement at 6PR. I sat next to my mentor, sneakily glancing over at what he was writing on his note-pad just to make sure I was doing things right. As the trial went on I hurriedly wrote down all the important information I heard. This man had brutally murdered another, over the sale of a hand-gun he had paid for, but never received. He had, along with two other men, kidnapped a man, and taken him to the Armadale pines where he bashed, burned and buried him. I stared at the accused, his ill-fitting suit, his short grey hair and leathery, weathered skin. He barely moved. But what happened next I wasn’t quite ready for. He reached toward the railing of his stand and picked up a plastic cup of water, bringing the drink closer to his face he glanced over at me. His eyes lingered, connected to mine. My stomach turned over and over, my heart sped and my fingers tingled. Was this guilt? Shame? Why did I feel this way? I remembered the role of a journalist and the publics right to know the disgraceful actions of this man. I told myself, this is your job now.

Small sacrifices:

Up, down, up, down; my shoes ferociously rubbed against the back of my foot. The press-conference was at 12. I stared down at the time on my phone. 11:56. Why on earth did I choose to wear five-inch suede boots? And why has the universe paired me with a six foot tall male reporter. I increased my speed, ‘wider strides, wider strides’ I repeated to myself over and over again. “We’re probably going to have to start running,” he said. Kicking myself into third gear, I ran. It was a moment of introspection for me, as block by block we ran down through Perth, looking like well-dressed escapees. 12:01, we made it. My calves ached and my heels were red raw. “Yes, I’m Media and this is Jenna she’s on industry placement” said my mentor to the Dumas House security. “Okay, the Premier is just about to start, go right through” he replied. Lesson? Cuts and blisters are trivial, just get there on time… and never wear heels to work again.

Risk vs Reward:

Booking a one way flight is a big decision. Aside from 10 months in England when I was seven, I’ve lived in Perth all my life; so accepting a job in New South Wales was not a choice I flippantly made. At 23 years old, I’ve lived out of home for four years, a long period of time in comparison to other girls my age. After my Dad moved to Houston and my Mum re-married, there wasn’t a spare bed for me in Perth anymore. It wasn’t all bad though, I grew up, and fast and have now developed a real comfort in my level of independence. Moving house may not be foreign territory for me anymore, but moving states is. When an opportunity is handed to you, and you’re in a position to accept it, you have to take it. Despite a terrible salary, challenging hours and looming financial strain, when I sat in Introduction to Print 100, on my first day of my journalism degree, my tutor told us, “If you’re looking for a 9-5 job and a decent income, you’re in the wrong field.” It was on that day, in that class, that I knew my future may not hold wealth nor simplicity – but I didn’t care. I am positive that moving to Sydney is undoubtedly an integral step to achieving my long-term goals.

Despite the competition, setbacks and challenges, I always get back up. I want to create a real connection with my audience through my work. Whether it be writing, reading or visuals, I want to form genuine and mutually rewarding bonds and relationships with people and tell their stories with grace and conviction. I want to entertain, inform and be a friendly face in the lives of so many Australians. A ‘strong voice’ and the right ‘look’ may have initially got me through some doors, but hard work and a positive attitude has gotten me much further. I’ve learned you can’t always please everyone but you can do what’s best for you. You just have to learn to forgive yourself. But breaking into the media industry, when your only choice is to sink or swim – you have got to doggy-paddle your arms and kick your legs, because there aren’t many life-rafts.