Recently, Sky was invited to attend the NUS Conference up in Glasgow as part of the NSoA Leadership team. Fortunately for me, she decided that she wanted me to come too, which led to a lot of excitement and over planning.
I have never left the country without an adult. I was terrified. Sky is probably the best member of the team to go anywhere with because she travels so much and knows how to get out of pretty much any difficult situation; so I felt pretty safe but that didn’t stop me over planning. Plus the fact, I have never left the country without an adult. Now I am an adult, leaving the country for a few days with someone who is the same age as me, and is an adult. We’re adults.
I have always wanted to go to Scotland. I have never really known why, but I have always wanted to go, so this was an amazing opportunity for me. So, of course, I begun planning straight away.
I was fine, until I realised we were going by plane. I have never been on a plane. This was a trip for so many firsts. Being in a different country, with someone I’d only known for a year, flying to this new country and being surrounded by new people and the only people I’d know were Sky and the person who I’d met many months prior who I hadn’t really spoken to on a train.
As soon as I found out we were going by plane, I had to start even more research and planning than I’d done. This meant, I had to scrap a page of my Google doc I’d made where I found all of the train times to Glasgow Central, and had to start the ‘OMG, how do I even plane? Travel sickness? Times? Itineraries? How much liquid can I bring?!’ section of the Google Doc.
It was difficult. I almost gave up on the trip about eighty times. I must have asked Twitter the same question about 80 times…
I have a lot of make-up. Ok? I’d like to make it clear that it is not because I am insecure of the way I look, I come to work/ go places without make-up all the time. It’s a way of expressing myself without standing on a table saying ‘look at me’. I don’t like attention. But I do like being the colourful, creative person I am. Which is why I have mermaid hair.
I ended up bringing powder alternatives and I managed to squeeze all of the liquid make=up I just had to bring in the little plastic bag. I couldn’t bring my hair shampoo and conditioner though and had to make a mental note to myself that I would have to buy it when I got to Glasgow.
BTW, if you don’t believe I was hyper-organised for this event, here is a picture of just the outline of my doc…
Yeah. I was organised.
Yay! Day of spending the morning on a train and day 1 of the event!
I spent the previous night dyeing my hair pink, purple, blue, red and aquamarine… to the point where I went to sleep around 12am and had to wake up at 3am so I could curl my hair ready for the event – I know, I know, but you only get one chance to make a first impression, and if I do say so myself, my hair looked awesome.
I arrived at the train station about quarter to six and waited for Sky with my cute, perfect, little Cath Kidston Disney suitcase. Sky appeared around six as I frantically checked I had my train tickets in my hand. I am, honestly, the most irritating person in the world when it comes to getting on trains. I love trains but I cannot, for the life of me, either keep the ticket in my hand or trust myself to put it in my pocket. So I have to keep hold of it, incredibly tightly, which results in me dropping everything else I am holding or panicking every 5 seconds about it being in my pocket.
But it’s fine – we got on the train and all was well.
As you can see, my ticket was in front of me the entire journey because I did not want to lose the ticket.
The train journey was fine. We got off of the train at Southampton and we were greeted immediately with the airport. This started my anxiety off pretty quickly as it was coming closer to the time I got on the plane.
BUT I managed to get a picture with the plane (although, I got distracted by some random guy and didn’t look at the camera):
I cannot find the picture… I will have to find it and add it.
The plane journey was absolutely amazing. I want to go again, and again, and again. The view was absolutely beautiful and I loved the feel of being up in the air. It was about an hour and a half, but with David Bowie in my ear, it flew by (pun intended) and I was almost sad when we got off as I wanted to stay on for longer (definitely planning another trip to Glasgow by plane).
Glasgow airport is a lot bigger than Southampton airport, but strangely, less busy.
We ended up getting the bus into what we assumed was the town centre and then we were lost. Completely lost. We went up one way, then back down, all around. I don’t think I have had so much hot chocolate in one day, but it was so good.
It took us about half hour to find the venue of the event. We had Google Maps and a keyword: The Hydro. I was hoping the Hydro was some water themed shuttle thing and I was excited because I was definitely in for anything that sounded like it came directly from Ratchet & Clank. It was a building. I even shamed myself by putting it on Twitter that I assumed we were going to some cool thing. It was a building.
I wish I could say I was lying.
Anyway, we made it. We decided many times we were just going to unpack our suitcases and live on the roadside for the rest of our lives but luckily, Sky got us there by following the road signs.
Everyone was so welcoming when we got there, it very well may of been because they wanted us to vote for them (which we actually couldn’t because we weren’t delegates, but we didn’t tell them that) but we got sweets out of it. We eventually found where we were meant to go and the NSoA team were absolutely lovely!
For the first day, it was more of a feeling our way around. We went to the main conference, spent time with the NSoA and just familiarised ourselves with our surroundings. We were incredibly tired due to have been travelling all day but it was lovely to meet such kind, like-minded people who had the same thoughts about what was important.
We did get down to the main conference though. Here are some of the apprentices discussing apprenticeships and all the good stuff.
Click here for two. (Sassy caption because I was on a bit of one during)
Here are some pictures of the conference I took:
We did a session where we learnt about zero hour contracts and how some apprentices or workers on zero hour contracts are being made to work illegal hours, give up their tips (or pay a percentage of their tips) and much, much more. I didn’t do very well on the quiz about apprentice and young workers rights so I know I needed to re-educate myself about this as it is incredibly important!
We didn’t get up to much as it was more introductory so I will just move onto the hotel. The hotel was lovely and they knew I was coming because Selena Gomez, Love You Like a Love Song was playing and I won’t deny I love a bit of Selena.
We made our way up into our room and I barely unpacked before deciding: it was time to sleep.
Sky and I took bad selfies because we don’t know how to do it. Here’s two…
I feel like Day 2 was so much more … adventure-filled than Day 1. I mean, Day 1, I went on a plane. But Day 2. There were protests, anxiety, Hangouts calls from Scott and a dinner at a very new place! Oh, there was also an Avocado cafe. Okay. Let me explain.
So, we woke up, I did my makeup which Sky definitely thought was way too much but I am never too concerned about that. We went down for breakfast, which we weren’t 100% sure was included but we assumed it was as we didn’t get charged for it. Breakfast was good and I was very happy with my double chocolate chip muffin.
When we got there, it was pretty similar, there were lots of students setting up their fringes for the afternoon. There was a chance for someone to speak in front of the many, many, many students there to fight for apprentices potentially not getting support if we did not support a specific company, which was not on. Of course, Sky and I snapped that up, we are very passionate individuals, especially when it comes to learners and apprentices! We wrote out our speeches and I decided I was going to do the longest one because I wanted to push myself and grow. I was very excited to do it.
Unfortunately, protests broke out as things weren’t discussed due to timeframes which was incredibly unsettling and made it certain that Sky and I probably weren’t going to be able to our speeches. Sky and I decided to take a step out and go to a new cafe. Yes, this is where I discuss the Avocado cafe. It was awesome! We had hot chocolate and coffee and it was pretty good. Due to all of the madness of the event, Scott called in to check if we were OK which was cool as we were able to speak with him during the time in Glasgow. It was really settling to hear someone’s voice that was calm and I knew – especially with all the things going on back at the event.
We eventually went back where we did a fringe on Women in Apprenticeships and the stereotypes that come with it. I must have spoken for ages. I absolutely loved it and got so many questions. I brought up common themes with working in technology being female and having a unisex name e.g. expected to be a boy or others being unsure about my skill set as well as teaching games and students are unsure as the stereotype of women not playing games. It was really lovely and everyone seemed to agree with my points (even if I was a little sassy) and it was so eye opening and wonderful to do. Everyone said it went really well and I am really glad it did. It was a brilliant way to end the busy filled day.
Here I am on my phone because I was posting to social media about the event!
Also, it was really cool to meet Leo!
We then went off to a really cool food place which I don’t really remember the name of! Sky and I had the veggie platter which was really good. I really, really enjoyed trying new food and going to new places whilst I was in Glasgow.
Day 3 was pretty much saying goodbye to those who were leaving and wrapping up what we thought of the event. We went to the Conference for the last bit which was cool. I am pretty sure they played All Star by Smashmouth when we all left… but do not quote me on that!
We travelled back to Basingstoke all by train. I was incredibly tired throughout the six hour train journey so I didn’t get to watch any of the films and TV shows I had downloaded from Netflix.
There’s not really much to say about Day 3 as it was mainly another travel day!
It was absolutely unreal to be able to attend the NUS National Conference this year. I am forever grateful to all of the new experiences, new friends who are just as passionate as Sky and I and being able to speak up about women in tech + apprenticeships. I believe this event has boosted my confidence so much more than I ever thought was possible and I am incredibly grateful to of been able to attend.
Here’s to the next one.
Thanks for reading.