Monthly Roundup: January 2016

Well I’ve been quite a busy bee since we all welcomed in 2016 on New Year’s Day, but in the first few weeks of 2016, we have lost some notable icons of the film and music industry. On the 10th January 2016, David Bowie sadly passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, just two days after releasing his final album, Blackstar, and just four days after his passing, the Harry Potter actor, Alan Rickman also passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I’ve also just heard the news as of lunchtime that Sir Terry Wogan has sadly passed away today after a short battle with cancer. I must admit, I’m really shocked to hear of his passing, because I didn’t know he had cancer until his death was announced earlier today.

Please accept my sincere apologies if I wasn’t able to publish two tribute articles on both of them this month, it’s mainly been because of the fact I’ve been so busy with the current project that I’ve been on that I’ve had trouble with finding the time to do both of the tribute articles. Please don’t worry too much though, because they are currently being made and are in progress, and hopefully, fingers crossed, I can get them published over the course of February or March, depending on the workload I receive from college. I can promise you that I won’t be leaving them to chance, so I will be making sure to work on them as soon as I get a large amount of time on my hands. I can also promise you that I will be, in light of Sir Terry Wogan’s sudden passing earlier today, writing a tribute article on him to pay my full respects and condolences to him and his family at such a sad time.

To round off what has been a really good, but sad start to 2016, I will be taking a full look-back on the articles published over the course of this month.

1.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for the New Year, and with a redesigned appearance, I mentioned that Mother Nature had changed its colours to: “accommodate for a maturer appearance, given that Mother Nature has now evolved into more of a presentable appearance.” I also mentioned that I would be doing some housekeeping, as I would be taking down some articles and some pictures to free up the website space for Mother Nature.

I had also mentioned that this news had come as I wanted to get back to my roots fully of doing more photography articles. However, all wouldn’t be lost though, because any articles I would be taking down would have their spaces filled with some new articles, as I wanted Mother Nature to focus more on photography, but also on certain interests, as I don’t want to talk too much about one thing, knowing full well that the whole idea of this website is to be a photography site.

3.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang in terms of photography, I did the first Historical Photographer article for 2016 on Walker Evans, who is the second in the Historical Photographers series that I introduced back in December 2015. In this Historical Photographer article, I would talk about Walker Evans’ life, as well as the timeline of events that unfolded up until his death on the 10th April 1975.

Also on this day, I published an article based on my thoughts about maturity and communication in modern society, as I felt that in modern society, maturity was something that shouldn’t really go amiss, especially in our generation and in this day and age, but when it came to maturity in modern society, among many other areas of life, our generation unfortunately lack almost all of maturity.

6.1.2016 – As I wanted to make sure to keep to my promise of being more productive and by also promising to publish more articles on a frequent basis, I started by doing a topic that would focus on whether the media was responsible for promoting eating disorders and negative body image problems in young people. I did also mention that I would tread very carefully when it came to writing this article, as I knew something like this would be sensitive.

8.1.2016 – As I wanted to refer to studying in general, I decided to talk about study time, and whether a large workload from school, college or even university stressed you out. I mentioned that: “Although I believe study time is crucial, I have known on some, if not, a lot of occasions, that it can be stressful, especially when you’re in school, college or university. Over the course of last year, I did notice how stressful the workload was, because I would get on a number of occasions, a lot of work piled on top of me, which, when deadlines were around the corner, I would sometimes panic about any work that may have not been completed, and in a lot of cases, I would often get stressed out.”

15.1.2016 – As violent video games are overruling modern society and my generation nowadays, given that violence is one of the most controversial subjects to talk about, I thought it was good to create a topic of discussion based on whether you thought violent video games should be banned. In this article, I had made sure to give my reasons for why I felt they should be banned, and how banning violent video games could help to prevent the younger generations of today from being brainwashed into committing violence against those around them. I did keep in mind though that a topic like this one is often touchy, and that I would tread very carefully whilst talking about it.

18.1.2016 – As this is something that is close to my heart, which also often bothers me, vanity has been something that I’ve noticed in the real world. In this article, I wrote about how I’ve heard about all these celebrities who have either had work done or had something enhanced to boost their self-esteem, and the same has happened to some of those who aren’t famous at all, and it really bothered me how vanity could cause someone to change something about themselves when they don’t need to.

23.1.2016 – As gangs are becoming a major problem in modern-day life, I focused this topic of discussion on whether the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people. I did know for a fact that this was something that some people may be too afraid to talk about, but I decided to stand up and speak up about this topic in detail because I would not hide my views on gang culture, as I would make sure to outline in this topic whether I thought the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people.

Also on this day, I published two more articles, one of which focused on my trip up to the Croydon Museum, as the museum contains so much information and research “based on a large number of photographers, as well as certain collector’s items, such as an old-fashioned retro 1950s car.”, while the third article was based on uplifting photo moments, given that I took a photo of Croydon College’s Rotunda, as well as getting a photo with The One Show’s Marty Jopson, who is such a nice guy and so down to earth.

30.1.2016 – With it being in the last couple of years since I last visited, and despite the fact my feet were killing me as a result of going up to London for this trip, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum with my class, and while we were there, I wanted to get some photos of the museum, considering that the last time I went, it had a dramatic overhaul in design, and not only that, but some or most parts of the museum had changed from when I made my first ever visit to the Science Museum.

Also, on the same day that I went up to London with my class for a trip to the Science Museum, we also went to the Natural History Museum to study further for our stop-frame animation project. While we were there, I also took a large number of photos, considering that I took a trip up to the Science Museum. It was also the first time in nearly 15 years since I last visited the Natural History Museum.

As I published both of these articles on this day, I wanted them both to be like a two-part photography article, in other words, a 2-in-1 article.

Thank you so much everyone for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me. I know this month hasn’t been as easy as first thought given that we’ve lost quite a few celebrity icons in the first few weeks, but to David Bowie, Alan Rickman & Sir Terry Wogan, all three of you will be remembered in our hearts forever and you shall never be forgotten.

Again, thank you for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me, and I’ll see you all in February.

Alex Smithson

Study Time: Does a Large Workload from School, College or Even University Stress You Out?

Study time. It can be a good thing to study and do some research based on the kind of work you may be looking to produce, but does having a large workload from school, college or even university stress you out?

Although I believe study time is crucial, I have known on some, if not, a lot of occasions, that it can be stressful, especially when you’re in school, college or university. Over the course of last year, I did notice how stressful the workload was, because I would get on a number of occasions, a lot of work piled on top of me, which, when deadlines were around the corner, I would sometimes panic about any work that may have not been completed, and in a lot of cases, I would often get stressed out.

Sometimes with me, a large workload and stress just don’t go together with me, because if the workload I’m given contains stuff that I haven’t studied, mainly because a teacher has asked or told me not to, I sometimes get stressed out. September 2014 to July 2015 was a massive learning curve for me, and I’ve noticed since I’ve been back at college that I’ve been keeping on top of all the work and completing any work I’m given as soon as I’m given it, because I hate the thought of falling behind, but I have noticed, however, that I’ve been prioritising my time more on my studies than I have on everything else, which is much better now, but I’m also finding that because I have a huge amount of time on my hands now because I have kept all of my work up-to-date, and kept far ahead in the Film & Photography course I’m on, I’ve actually noticed that I’ve been able to publish more articles on Mother Nature, which, to me, is absolutely brilliant, because I’m being a lot more productive now than I was last year. October to December were probably the only three months of the year where I actually published the most articles in those 3 months.

I must admit, although I always keep my work up-to-date now, I have also begun to notice that I feel a lot more relaxed now because of the huge amount of free time I have on my hands, and sometimes, I like to use that free time to play games and possibly take some photos, but a lot of the time, I like to write articles for Mother Nature, as I always like to try to keep as productive as possible, so that my body and mind stays active for as long as possible.

When it came to school studies, I was always feeling stressed about doing work during study time, because the energy was often not there, and because of the fact that the time was either so slow or so fast on some days, it was virtually impossible to keep on top of the work. It was only when I got to Year 10 and Year 11 that I noticed my way of studying was improving, but Year 11 really was the year where my focus would stay up, as I just made sure to concentrate and get all of my work done, including completing homework on time. Year 11 may have been possibly the most stressful and the most anxious year of my life, given that my final exams were just around the corner at that stage, but I just thought that it would be a good idea to just work hard and revise, and then do the exams, at least that way, all that work would eventually pay off.

For college studies, however, I was only stressed out at some stages when it came to completing work in my first year, because I accidentally fell behind in my work at least a month after I began my first year at college, and as a result, to add to my stress further, I had to go in on the days I wasn’t scheduled in, which were, at the time, Wednesday’s & Friday’s, and as you can imagine, I was annoyed, tired and stressed, but now, I don’t feel like that at all, because ever since I went back to college in September 2015 after successfully completing my first year, I just made sure to keep on top of the work, and ever since then, I’ve not looked back, and not just that, but I enjoy the fact that I get more free time to myself now.

School work is stressful enough for those of you currently going through secondary school, but college work isn’t as stressful, because although there may be more work, it’s less stressful when you’ve only got a bit of work to do or no work at all.

Before I conclude, all I can say is even if you are stressed out with large workloads from school, college or university, make the most of the study time you have and value each second as it comes, because those seconds you spend now will never come back, and it’s always the best idea to value your study time, because it is important, and yes, time is precious, so make the most of it while you can now. You might not think it now, but in the future, you’ll be able to look back on your past at the time you used to study, and you’ll be able to say that: “I did all that, and that is the main reason why I am here today”.

Even if study time stresses you out, just keep being yourself, concentrate on you and only you and go for the highest opportunity you can possibly think of, trust me and believe me when I say this, it will all be worth it in the end.

Have you ever had a large workload stress you out? Have you ever wanted to look back and think of how much you achieved? Most importantly, how do you feel now that you’ve used that study time? Do you feel you have used it wisely? What part of your study time would you want to revisit in your life?

Please feel free to feedback your answers to the questions I’ve asked. Your feedback is much appreciated ☺.

Alex Smithson

Announcement: Mother Nature is now on Instagram. If you’re someone who uses Instagram on a regular basis, and would like to be kept up-to-date on the articles I’ll be publishing over the course of time, please feel free to follow Mother Nature on Instagram at this username: @mothernaturewebsite.