Living Life Outside the Comfort Zone: What Was it Like for You?

Living our lives outside the comfort zone means there are new challenges that can help us to prosper and succeed if we work hard, but what is so different about living life outside the comfort zone?

The difference of living outside the comfort zone means you are not used to working hard on something in the same way you would originally think at first. For instance, before I started working full-time, I got so used to having bundles of free time that I would, on some days, go out and have a good time, whereas, other times, I would stay at home and either write articles or play on one of my consoles, and often enough, it did get to the stage where I would want to be working in a job at some point, as working full-time now in the job I have has enabled me to step outside of my comfort zone and do a lot of working hard that I underestimated I would be used to, but as the weeks have gone by and considering I just finished my first month of working full-time, my mindset has changed from being the student who just left college to working full-time and getting up early in the mornings.

I’ve noticed I have a much better mindset now compared to when I was at college, as I’m working all the time and I don’t sit down as often as I used to as I love to be busy, as I can keep myself occupied with my job whilst being able to work hard on my photography work and anything else that may be job-related.

You can probably tell I have written differently for the first time in this article compared to all the articles I have already published, as my mindset has changed; I’m focused on the job and the tasks in hand and I have noticed I am busy mostly which is better than doing nothing at all.

What was it like for you? Was life different for you once you started to live your life outside the comfort zone? Did you begin to notice you had a better mindset once you started living life outside the comfort zone?

I would love to know your thoughts on living outside the comfort zone in the comments.

Alex Smithson

I Just Got a Full-Time Job!

After months of job-hunting and a lot of hard work, I have finally secured myself a full-time job! I’ve not given up once despite some stress along the way following rejections from some companies left, right and centre, which isn’t too bad as I got used to that, but I am pleased to say I am officially in a full-time job.

I have felt euphoric about the positive news since I woke up at 8:30 AM this morning, and even now I still feel the sense of euphoria in the air. As it is a retail assistant full-time apprenticeship, this is beneficial for me considering I’ve had some retail experience following a two-week work experience placement with Tesco PLC which I completed from the 13th May to the 25th May 2013, with my most recent work experience placement being with Watches2U, but this full-time job will really help me to gain confidence whilst I retake GCSE Maths.

I wanted to share this fantastic news with you today as it is my first ever full-time job and I’ve been bursting with excitement to tell everyone, including all of you, the fantastic news.

Alex Smithson

 

Monthly Roundup: September 2017

September sure flew like the wind, though to be fair, because I’ve been so busy applying for jobs whilst getting a good result back despite having to send my laptop in for repair, it’s safe to say I have been quite the busy bee.

Without further ado, I shall take a look back at the articles published over the course of September.

1.9.2017 – As I welcomed you all to September, I mentioned that this month was set to be just as busy as the last, as I mentioned I wouldn’t be publishing as often as I used to, considering that I would prioritise my time effectively around looking for jobs.

18.9.2017 – ‘The Harsh Reality of Social Media (Parental Guidance is Advised)’ was my way of expressing my own realistic views on how social media has changed the way we communicate with one another, as opposed to how negatively used social media can be, given that social media is often used by some or most people to criticise and judge those online without them even having the bottle to say their comments to that person’s face.

25.9.2017 – ‘My Personal Note to Reality’ was my way of finally being open to everyone about where I stand, and that I would treat everyone equally and diversely, but that I would refuse to tolerate, let alone mix with the judgmental type that are in-equal and lack diversity for others.

On the same day, I published an article, called: “Mindfulness”, in which I would give a short but straightforward run-down about how mindfulness can be helpful to certain aspects of our everyday lives, based on the life experiences that we are or may have already been through.

26.9.2017 – ‘Camden’ was an article I wanted to share with you all, as I had paid a visit to Camden a few weeks prior to writing the article, given that Camden is a wonderful and friendly place, which is home to the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

29.9.2017 – ‘Should We Listen to the Non-Believers?’ was my way of describing how the non-believers were and always would be the bad people who would spread poison wherever they go, intentionally bringing others down when they don’t deserve it.

On the same day, I published a small but quick-fire article in which I announced I had decided to put publishing my photography work on hold, given that my laptop was sent off to be repaired after the Audio Enhancements tab wouldn’t work whilst headphones were connected, but that I would publish the photography work I wasn’t able to publish at a later stage. I also mentioned that I finally passed GCSE English after three years and that I no longer have to do GCSE English, which is the best result I wanted.

Thank you so much, everyone, for such a fantastic month, and although I haven’t published as much lately considering I have been making sure to put my priorities first, I will try to fit a few articles in now and then when I can get the free time.

Before I say goodbye to September, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Coronation Street actress, Elizabeth Dawn, who sadly passed away on the 25th September 2017, but I want to take this opportunity to also pay tribute to Bobby Knutt, who also passed away on the same day. They will be greatly missed, but shall never be forgotten and we’ll all remember them for bringing positivity, humour and joy into our lives. Also, to the victims of the recent earthquakes that have devastated Puerto Rico, I want you all to know I am thinking of you at this time and that I am keeping you all in my prayers and hope that something good comes soon.

Again, thanks so much everyone for such a fantastic month and I shall see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

Photography Work on Hold. Please Read.

As my laptop went off for repair due to a problem with Audio Enhancements not working when headphones were connected, I have decided to put the photography work I produced in August for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” on hold, and an article which I was supposed to be publishing before the end of this month that is photography-based is also going on hold for the short time being.

However, I can still publish articles briefly with my HP Stream 11 whilst my other laptop is being repaired, but don’t worry, the photography work I have produced that is due to go up on here will be published soon, so rest assured they will still be published but at a later stage whilst I get everything sorted.

On the plus side, I have some fantastic news I would like to bestow.

As my former GCSE English lecturers felt the D grade I got was an unfair result, I am pleased to announce that after my former GCSE English lecturers sent my paper off to be re-marked, I have finally passed GCSE English with a C grade after three whole years! It took me long enough after some ups and downs, including some bumps in the road, but I finally got there and I no longer have to do GCSE English. Result!

RESULT!

On a positive note, the photography work will go up soon, but in the meantime, I will be continuing to apply for more jobs whilst I work hard.

Thank you so much for your patience so far, it really does mean a lot to me and I will do the absolute best I can to get everything back up and running soon.

With love,

x Alex Smithson x

Camden!

Camden is a wonderful and friendly place to visit. I went up to Camden last Monday to get an idea of the place and how I could go about getting there, but honestly, the people of Camden are so friendly and welcoming, and even though I was only there for at least a few minutes after an hour-and-a-half-long journey that I took to get from Croydon to Camden, it was worth paying a visit.

Camden is home to the late music legend, Amy Winehouse. A legendary musician who, despite being taken from all of us too soon, changed the music industry with her raw and powerful voice, which changed the course of the music industry. Although she released two albums in her lifetime, with a posthumous third album being released a few months after she passed away, her music revived and gave Camden the best recognition it deserved!

It is hard to believe the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, studied at the BRIT School, because you don’t get homegrown talent like Amy Winehouse come around often, so it’s best to make the most of the musicians you hear of now, as they will leave this mortal coil like we all will towards the end of our lives, so there’s no point wasting time on what’s not important. What is worth our time is making the most of the musicians we have come to love and listen to through albums, and even though Amy Winehouse is no longer around, her music, soul and mind live on forever.

If you ever get the chance to visit Camden, I suggest you do, because it is so friendly there that it will even put your mind at ease. It is also a great photography hotspot, so make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to visit Camden at any stage.

At some stage, I do want to travel to Camden again but for now, I am staying grounded to Croydon whilst I familiarise myself with travel routes.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to September!

Welcome to September on Mother Nature! As this month is set to be just as busy at the last, it is safe to say I may be publishing not as often as I used to, considering I am making sure to prioritise my time as effectively as possible, given that I have been looking around for jobs, with some good news in mind.

I sent off my CV & Covering Letter late yesterday morning for a photography job, and received a phone call within 24 hours of applying as I’ve been invited to go along for an interview on Wednesday 6th September. It’s a big step for me considering it is my first ever proper job interview and I am nervous to tell you the truth, but hopefully it will go well. This came at such a good time, to be frank, as my dream job is to become a photographer, and hopefully, fingers crossed, if the interview goes well, then I might get the job. At this stage, as I’m preparing myself for the interview next week, I will be making sure to plan the route in advance so that I can get to and from Camden before, during and after my interview. It’s a big step for me so fingers crossed! This does mean I will be inactive a bit more often than usual as I am making sure to be as flexible as possible considering I really want this job.

Meanwhile, over the course of this month, I will try and get some more of the photos I produced last month for the photography series: “The Concept of Expression” published on here, as I have been noticing some of the photography work I have published for this self-produced photography series has gained quite a lot of good traction and feedback on Instagram, and while we’re on the subject of photography work, expect some photos to be edited to black and white to add effect to the original photographs, as I will be experimenting further with some of the photos I choose to edit.

What are your plans for September, everyone? I am keen to find out what you plan to do over the next few weeks. Please feel free to submit your responses below in the comments.

Until then, Welcome to September!

Alex Smithson

The Concept of Expression / Oli Regan

Following on from when I photographed my close friends, Saviyon Thomas & Shaquille Roachford, I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to photograph my close friend, the actor and mental health awareness campaigner, Oli Regan, again, but this time for my photography series: “The Concept of Expression”.

As I look to explore the concept of expression in the subjects I photograph, photographing Oli gave me the chance to explore his personality, regardless of the angle, but more importantly, as body language is a consistent boundary for the subject’s facial expression, photographing Oli again gave me the chance to explore his personality through these photo headshots, as well as his persona, so in this case, because he’s an actor, he puts on a serious face, which makes the photos interesting, considering that being serious really makes him stand out.

The serious impression and the modelling approach that Oli has taken to make sure the photographs I have produced look visually eye-catching are out of this world. Whilst I remember, keep an eye out for Oli on the latest EE advert that’s been on TV recently. You don’t want to miss it. To spot him, wait for Stormzy‘s song: “Big for Your Boots“, taken from his album, Gang Signs & Prayer, to come on after Kevin Bacon finishes with the word: “INCOMING!” and you should see Oli on the left-hand-side of the screen skanking to Stormzy’s record. It’s a bloody good advert and you will not be disappointed.

Below are the photos I’ve produced of my close friend, Oli Regan.

I am pleased with the way these photographs turned out, but I won’t lie to you, naming each photograph based on the expression and emotion is quite hard, and the photography work I produced when I was at Croydon College is living proof that naming each photo based on the expression and emotion is harder than it looks.

What I will need to improve on is angling the camera when I photograph any subject, so that rather than photograph the subject the way I would usually photograph them, I would need to put the camera up higher, but with the camera angled down a little so that there is little to no head-space on the portrait photographs. These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good

These photographs I have produced are really good as they capture the expressions and emotions I wanted Oli to make, but I will be making sure to improve on certain photography-based areas I may or may not be so good at so that this gives me a better chance next time.

Other than that, I am actually pleased with the overall outcome from these photographs.

These photos will be in my E-Folio so please make sure to check my E-Folio as I will be updating the E-Folio as often as I can.

If you like these photographs I have produced of my close friend, the mental health awareness campaigner and actor, Oli Regan, please leave your comments below. I would love to hear your response and if there are any further improvements I can make for next time, please let me know. I am open to criticism as this will help me to improve the photographs I take for next time.

Alex Smithson

DSLR Used: Nikon D3300

For the Love of Amy

After hearing about the beautifully artistic mural that the artist, Bareface, had produced of the late music legend, Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away at the age of 27 on the 23rd July 2011, on the Croydon Advertiser, I just could not resist seizing the opportunity to photograph the mural.

Artistically and eloquently visual as it is, Bareface made sure that his mural spoke volumes. This mural he has produced sure did speak volumes as it is not just powerful, is not just colourful, but is very musical considering that the mural is inspired on Amy Winehouse’s record, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from her second and last album before her death on the 23rd July 2011, Back to Black, with the third and final posthumous album that was released shortly after Amy Winehouse passed away, titled Lioness: Hidden Treasures.

You have to admire Bareface’s hard work, effort and time as he has stuck to Croydon’s roots and produced such a fantastic piece of art work that connects to the BRIT School & Sylvia Young Theatre School, both schools of which Amy Winehouse was alumni for.

It’s such a beautiful and wonderful tribute to the late musician and I can honestly say that this mural is worth preserving for anyone who wants to visit and see this beautiful mural.

To see the mural in full, I have provided below three photographs of Bareface’s own take on the late music legend, Amy Winehouse.

 

Scratch that, it’s not just beautiful, it’s exquisite as Bareface’s take on the late music legend stands out from the crowd.

If you live in Croydon or you are looking to visit Croydon to see this mural, please seize the opportunity to see this artistic and eloquently beautiful mural of Amy Winehouse, produced by Bareface in accordance with the RISE Gallery.

Alex Smithson

If you want to follow and be kept up to date on Bareface’s exquisite and powerful art work, please follow him on these Social Media Accounts shown below.

Instagram: @bareface_art
Twitter: @BarefaceTee

© Amy Winehouse Art Work Mural Copyright of Bareface, commissioned by the RISE Gallery. Full Copyright goes to the respective owners.

The End of the Road! I’ve Passed!

It’s officially the end. My education comes to a remarkable close as I have finished my final year at Croydon College.

Who would have thought that this time three years ago I would be starting my first day at Croydon College, only for the time to fly so much quicker than school? Even I am shocked myself by how far I’ve come since I started at Croydon College.

This time, three years ago, I had just marked the end of secondary school for good as I finished Year 11, and I can even remember starting my first day at Croydon College. I introduced myself to everyone and within the first day, I had made a lot of friends, as we instantly clicked with one another. Three years later, I have so many friends who I keep in contact with and even now, the support I’ve received from my family and my friends has made me realise that I can talk to anyone if I ever feel down about anything.

Croydon College, despite the ups and downs I went through over the course of the three years I studied, gave me the chance to realise my potential and now as I am at the stage of applying for a full-time job, I have officially decided to take a gap year to apply for jobs as I am considering possibly doing a degree in photography next year, which, for me, will really help me in many years to come.

I have enjoyed this year better than the last, but it’s safe to say I will miss Croydon College and everyone in that respect. On the plus side, I have left with my head held high knowing that I have done so well and I cannot wait to take on the best opportunities that become available to me.

Although my work is sufficient enough for a Pass instead of a Merit, I will settle for a Pass instead as I have managed to pass my final year of the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma Film & Photography Course. That’s good because I have passed my final year. Result!

I am so chuffed to have worked so hard because despite spending a countless amount of hours getting work done, even whilst having to pull all-nighters that would last up until 8:35 AM or 9:00 AM in the morning, I am glad to have passed because now I can officially bring my time at Croydon College to a remarkable close.

Thank you, Croydon College, for all that you have done to get me to where I need to be and I shall continue to go the extra mile to really get the best out of the work I produce in the foreseeable, and thanks for giving me the chance to realise my potential to become a photographer. None of this would have been possible without your help and guidance, so thank you, Croydon College, I’ll miss being at Croydon College but my time at Croydon College has now officially come to an end. Thanks for everything.

Alex Smithson

Welcome to July!

Welcome to July! As the weather is expected to be much hotter and more humid over the course of the next few weeks, it’s safe to say that everyone, including myself, will need to be prepared in the event of sunburn, given the scorching hot weather we had at the beginning at June made us all feel like parts of our houses were saunas even after letting some fresh air in.

As I am looking around for jobs considering my time at Croydon College has almost reached the end, it’s safe to say I am going to miss Croydon College so much, given that this college gave me so much and helped me to realise my potential, and the fact that this college got me through difficult times that I went through in the past year, I am so glad that Croydon College was my first choice of college as this college changed my life for the better. Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

Fingers crossed I can get myself a job as I don’t want to be sitting at home doing nothing when I could be going out and earning money for myself, whilst also contributing to my family.

I will be making sure to publish more articles this month considering June was an extremely busy month for me, even though it was a fantastic month for me in the process given that I celebrated my 19th Birthday on the 16th June, whilst also celebrating the Crash Bandicoot: N⋅Sane Trilogy which only came out exactly two weeks after my 19th Birthday. On the 8th July, I will be heading around to my friend’s house as she is holding a party at hers, so it’s me and quite a few people who’ll be going next Saturday, so if there’s no sign of an article or signs of any articles on that day, it’s because I’ll be partying and making sure to make the most of the free time considering I won’t be able to do this as often once I’ve secured myself a full-time job.

The holiday is almost here so that’s a good sign but for now, welcome to July!

Alex Smithson