It’s funny how quickly 6 weeks will fly by, barely allowing you a moment to catch your breath. At least that is how I have felt over the past month. It seems no time since I packed my bag and moved 130 miles south.
I lead a very different lifestyle here to the one to which I am so accustomed. There I live between a leafy Nottingham suburb, or a student-ridden part of Leeds. Here I live in a small village in the Thames Valley. There I shop at my ease, 24 hour supermarkets make my slightest grocery whim a reality. Here I have endured Weetabix with water for breakfast because I couldn’t get hold of a pint of milk until the next evening. There I am treated to a variety of forms of public transport, would I like to travel by regular bus, train, tram or taxi if I’m feeling rich. Here there is transport, but a lot less.
I’m in Oxfordshire while I undertake my placement year, while this was never what I imagined I’d be doing with my life I learnt long ago life doesn’t stick to your plans, and the placement opportunity was just too perfect for me to pass up. I have high hopes for the year, primarily in building my skills and knowledge but also to continue to develop a strong degree grade. So far, it is proving to be going my way. Six weeks in, I am understanding my job role, the part it plays within my organisation and I have settled in well with my colleagues. Country living is proving to be more challenging!
There are some huge advantaged to the countryside. My commute to work takes me up and down hills with some of the most amazing views I have seen in this country, the 5000 year old Ridgeway is a pleasure to cycle along, even when it’s muddy and defeats my bike, simply because in the worst weather conditions it still looks fantastic. I have seen animals, lots of animals; rabbits run wild in their tens, red kites soar through the skies and I even saw my first cockerel one morning – I thought I’d stepped into a Cornflakes box. Living in the countryside has seen me far more active that I used to be, aside from cycling 12 miles a day, I love walking in the area, have started jogging along the Thames Path and really want to try rowing down the glorious river. Oxfordshire is so breathtakingly beautiful that I can barely keep myself in the house, I want to be outside all the time.
There are major disadvantages, it’s hard to meet people. I am living in a family-orientated village of commuters. The social side of the village is limiting and that can be very isolating. However the village is nicely connected with trains every half hour running between Oxford and Reading, going on to London. Trips to the capital are pain free and I enjoyed my visit to watch Olympic Hockey the weekend before last. The lack of transport to my workplace has been difficult as well, it was that which led me to give up city life as without a car, living any further away would have left me stranded.
Another problem I have is lack of access to the Internet. In the last 6 weeks I have learnt to adapt to a www-free life, but I miss it all the same. Instant information is a commodity I feel uneasy without and I am sure when I get back to connected life I won’t be reminiscing on these web-free days!
So that’s where I currently am, in rural Oxfordshire, working on furthering my career into communications. Who’d have thought it?
- PR placement wish list (rachelbarkley.co.uk)