Time seems to pass me by, almost like it's slipping through my fingers when you hopelessly grab a handful of sand and watch it funnel away and return to its masses. Whilst I am still in my youth I am being approached by big decisions. Like University. Do I want to go? What do I studyWhat do I do afterwards? Stuck in-between raging loose, enjoying my teenage angst years or making responsible decisions like driving and education. It's a strange age. One year until so-called 'adulthood' whilst still being institutionally classed as a child despite the fact you're making such impactful choices. I didn't know how to approach writing this because it is so easy to fall into making a generic "__ things I learnt" or "things I would tell my ___ self." So I will talk about my growth this past year. Sixth form. New people. My blog. Writing. Self confidence. Social anxiety. Fresh set of struggles.

I've realised the importance of education and encouragement regarding it. Coming from a very pro-education family I always knew it was necessary. Now I finally understand why. So not only am I trying to help myself I have simultaneously taken on the role of helping others academically. I tutor a few individuals, write vaguely useful academic guides and provide revision notes to those who need them. I hope to continue this until the end of my academic journey because it is all very worth it.

I've grown more conscious of everything. I transitioned to vegetarianism as I gained knowledge of what I'm putting into my body and how it harms my own health and the Earth we live on. I researched, read, watched and listened to anything I could find regarding it and ended up writing a hefty post all about it which can be found here. And now that I believe I know enough about it I'm now trying to get others to pursue cutting out meat because I love helping others become enlightened.

Returning to the motherland is key. I didn't get to go home to Morocco in the summer of 2016 and subsequently, the rest of that year and the next were my most difficult times. I booked my ticket to Morocco for this summer in April because it was the only thing motivating me to get out of bed in the morning. The prospect of home is what got me through everything, regardless of whether it set me back £400. And when I was finally there I felt new and like all the tiredness of the past year vanished. Happier, smiling more, my skin was glowing, more inspired and outgoing. Being somewhere you're used to where everyone looks like you, has the same God, same language is comforting. Because in a country where you're a minority, going back to where you feel comfortable is the most heart-warming feeling. Trust me, I cried throughout the whole plane journey back to London and on the tube home from Heathrow terminal 4.

Family first. Part of why I always yearn to go back to Morocco is family. They are my biggest support system and without them I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am right now. why am I crying? They encourage me to try new things, better myself and motivate me to work hard. Because despite the odds of living in a country, hell, continent that has been overexploited and severely mistreated by the likes of European colonialism in the past, they are still defying odds, gaining masters and working, working, working. Nothing beats the feeling of going back after a long time and literally being flooded with love by them. أنا أحبك جميعا، إذا كنت تقرأ هذا.

I am always learning. School wise, blog wise or social issues wise. We are surrounded by various information outputs. So take advantage of them. Sign up for taster lectures at nearby universities, living in London provides a wealth of these. I personally love SOAS, Kings College and LSE for this. There is more to YouTube than Zoella and clickbait. Crashcourse and Vox are perfect channels for learning new things, regardless of whether you're in education or not. I can not imagine myself living a life in which my learning is stagnant and neither should you.

I have finally realised the importance of taking time out for yourself and not exerting too much pressure on myself. Anyone who knows me is aware of the immense expectations people and myself have on me. It is destructive and is often counterproductive. Worrying about not getting a top grade will actually fault you of it. I've lived it. Self-care is something that is thrown around so much but never actually practiced. It is seen a something that only privileged, middle aged, successful white bloggers do with their Jo Malone candles in their semi-detached Notting Hill home...not something for the more urbanised, underprivileged youth. wrong. Sit somewhere and cry. Then go home, have a hot shower and think. Then put on a face mask, moisturise your skin with pretty potions and wholesome oils and listen to Daniel Caesar or Jorja Smith whilst you chill. I need to do this more often.

I understand why having physical memories and copies of things is so crucial. Ever since my (poor, poor) iPhone 5s began to show serious signs of software wear and briefly reset to factory settings in the beginning of August *but somewhat returned to normal* I cried so much over all the photos and notes and short stories I had collated ever since December 2014. I quickly backed everything on there onto my laptop and started using the disposable camera my little sister had bought me as an early birthday present (thank you so much Malak) I have been trying to use those 27 shots throughout the summer and beyond: taking pictures with family, experiences, beach trips, picnics and more. I cannot wait to develop them.

I have stopped internally pressuring myself into making friends. I can assure you that I don't wallow in my own self-pity because I'm constantly alone. Just when you move to a new sixth form, you feel like you have to make friends with everyone. You don't. I stick to a few people and religiously keep in contact with old ones. Do not feel like you must be loud and bubbly in order to not be alone. Learn to be more confident with yourself and your own company but do not completely block out any support from friends and family.

Contrastingly, internet friends are so amazing and you need some. Don't ever let anyone mock you for having friends on the Internet. Those friendships are just as valid as those you have in real life. They remind you that not everything you do has to be conventional. To all my internet friends: Fran, Lexie, Tasha, Esme and more, I love you all so much.

So, 17. This year will see me through the most stressful year of my life so far. The run up to final A-level exams, university applications, personal statement writing and more of that fun stuff. But I wholeheartedly believe that I will be okay and I will be able to power through it. This post is here for me to look back on when times are tough. When I feel like giving up. When the weight on my shoulders is unbearable. future Dalal, please drop your shoulders, I know they're tensed up right now, relax your forehead muscles too (premature wrinkles!) and don't sweat it. You've survived 100% of your worst days. You're doing great. And regardless of whatever happens, it is all written out for you. So you just have to take it as it goes. It is all meant to be. Don't be too hard on yourself, okay?

-with love, Dalal


  1. Your words are so inspiring and beautiful!! Thanks for the shoutout ily too !!! I know for sure you will do amazing in your alevels and the future!!

    Tasha x

  2. I loved this post Dalal, I hope you have an amazing year and definitely use your self care tip- try not to get too bogged down in thoughts of the future and exams and all that! I know it's easier said than done but a nice hot shower always helps a stressful situation :)x

    1. Aw thank you Libby! I'll try not to (easier said than done indeed) I'll keep that noted though <3


Thank you for reading! I love reading comments and will always reply to them.

Lots of love, Dalal

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